Friday, July 30, 2004


chelsea and a.s. roma drew 25,000 in pittsburgh last night.
manchester united and glasgow celtic drew 55,000 in philly.

i have a modest proposal for major league soccer.

include some of the top european and south american teams in the mls playoffs and get one or two of the best mls teams invited to participate in the champions league.

"harris, you're nuts! NUTS! NUTS! why would the european teams do it and risk their prestige? why would mls risk being unmasked by 6-0 outcomes?"

think about it for a minute.

(1) there IS, and always has been, a market for top flight soccer in the u.s.: the cosmos, rowdies, the u.s. women's team's win over china, etc., etc. people just ain't gonna turn out for the equivalent of triple a or double a ball just 'cause it has fifa's imprimatur as "first division."

(2) mls is in a sisyphean rut of mediocrity. they are not taken seriously, they never WILL be taken seriously until they prove themselves in REAL matches--not friendlies--against the top world teams.

(a) mls is literally building in this mediocrity with this mindless craze for soccer-specific stadia. it started in columbus and then l.a. dallas has one in the works as do the metro stars and the fire and colorado just got one approved.

what's the matter with that?

they all seat 20,000-25,000. mls wants to build in "intimacy," "tradition;" what they're building in is the financial impossibility of ever becoming truly big league.

(3) european soccer teams aren't the girlie-men that sports teams are in the u.s., afraid of taking on an inferior opponent and risking a loss of prestige, a la the university of florida refusing to play florida state until the legislature intervened, same thing with the university of kentucky and louisville, etc.

in england the fa cup is open to every pro soccer team in the country, like the old indiana high school basketball tournament. so you get arsenal playing matches that count against podunk united and the like. they ain't skaed.

(4) not that man-u and real madrid need the cash but capitalism is all 'bout "expanding markets." man-u has already signed a joint promotional arrangement with the yankees. america is almost as lucrative an untapped soccer market as china was for coca-cola and marlboro.

(5) mls WILL suffer some embarassing results. so did the afl in super bowls I and II. but just as that was the only way for the afl to gain credibility, this is the only way for mls.

mls does have some real world-class talent. the u.s. national team, heavily stocked with mls players, has been consistently ranked around 10th in the world. last time i checked they were
(and have often been recently) one spot ahead of the english!

this is all about "upside." there WILL be some upsets, just as there are every year in the ncaa basketball tournament. some 15 seed knocks off some 2. happens every year.

IMAGINE if the galaxy beat real madrid!!! forget the "intimacy" of the home depot center. they'd have to hold the galacians next match in the rose bowl to accomodate the crowd.


and now, back to more realistic things, like "the war is with islam."

-benjamin harris

Tuesday, July 27, 2004



in court yesterday waiting for the end of calendar and the start of my trial, a wretched combination of boredom and anxiety.  arraignments, miscellaneous reports on the status of cases, my mind drifting from the banal chatter of the calendar call to my trial.

former judge tom johnson addressing the court on the status of one of his clients.  "...and then two DUDES jump in my client's car and when everything's said and done, there are a bunch of stolen checks, money orders and bags of marijuana..."

tom delivers his factual proffer absolutely straight-faced, his client standing next to him doing his best impersonation of the wrongfully-accused. i laugh inside but almost audibly, a smile crosses judge miranda's face.

i step out for a second to get a drink of water or something.  i return a minute later,  " as you can see judge, arthur here was the victim of circumstances..."

-benjamin harris


Tuesday, July 06, 2004

started again to read john bunyan's "pilgrim's progress." don't know why it's considered such a classic of literature. it is neither a classic nor literature in my opinion.

the first time i started reading it, a few months ago, i got bored with its religious theme, and depressed that it seemed so like sayed qutb's "in the shade of the koran."

even on two adderal yesterday i found it the same in this second attempt at reading only more so.

then i read in the introduction that it had been widely read in some islamic circles. ugh.

the koran, "shade" and pilgrim's progress really do have a lot of similarities, very allegorical/metaphorical, very "fundamentalist," very intolerant of "unbelievers," totally accepting of the infallibality of "the book," very totalitarian.

bunyan says, as does the koran, that it is better to leave one's wife and children in their unbelief and pursue the path of holiness than stay with them and live in error.

like muhammad, bunyan was persecuted, jailed, and has the (some) victims rage against his persecutors, all cloaked in what is meant to be the soothing light of divine wisdom.

like muhammad, bunyan seems to me likely to be diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic grandiose-type and anti-social personality by today's psychiatrists.

made me think: how many women have written books like this?

is it only men who have seen themselves as the offspring of god, chosen by Him personally to deliver His message to the world?

pilgrim's progress also was a splash of cold water in the face for my view of the relative benignty of christianity. we have become so pluralistic, so ecumenical in the west that few of the even the hardest line religious hard liners would write something like pilgrim's progress today.

reinforced my disgust with religion generally also. the most murderous thought disorder in human history.

most of the time i honestly respect people of non-intrusive religious faith. "faith" itself, in general, is a good thing i think. i accept kierkegaard's point of the limits of human cognition and the necessity to take the "leap of faith" that SOMETHING must/might be beyond its ken.

but then i read stuff like the koran, "shade" and "pilgrim's progress" and i just get so disgusted and angry.

man, i'm really in trouble if there really is a god.

-benjamin harris

Sunday, July 04, 2004

"...i only thought to make
i knew not what; nor did i undertake
thereby to please my neighbour; no, not i,
i did it my own self to gratify.
neither did i but vacant seasons spend
in this my scribble; nor did i intend
but to divert myself in doing this,
from worser thoughts, which make me do amiss."

-john bunyan, "the pilgrims's progress."