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Soccer Critics Are Right, But itís Time to Zip it and Cheer
Townhall.com ^ | June 27, 2014 | Mark Davis

Posted on 06/27/2014 8:16:11 AM PDT by Kaslin

I think the points have been made:

— Soccer is largely a tedious game featuring long stretches of uneventful play punctuated by the all-too-rare moment of scoring;

— The clock concept is infuriating. We love the 45-minute halves with no commercials, but then the arbitrary one or three or six minutes of “extra time” violate every concept of precision that a clocked sport should have;

— Soccer has its fan base, and it is not small; but the pressure on America to embrace it to some far larger degree is absurd. We simply never will as long as we have other sports featuring far deeper intrigue.

I have spent a lot of time during World Cup 2014 making these very points against those passionate souls who have insisted that this is the year, this is the time, now is the juncture at which America welcomes soccer in a fashion approaching football, baseball, basketball— hockey, maybe ? Golf? NASCAR?

Nope. Not going to happen. They say never say never. I’m saying never. Soccer will never— ever— reach consistent viewer levels approaching even our fifth or sixth most popular sports, in terms of TV ratings and attendance.

The attempt by elites to cram soccer down our throats are comical, as we are made to feel like rubes for not embracing the sport most of the world loves— because most of the world doesn’t have anything else.

That said, I have heard the diatribes and read the columns crafted by people pushing back against soccer fever— and enjoyed them all, and agreed with most.

But with the USA team’s improbable path into the World Cup’s final 16, I want to offer advice to all the soccer critics— everybody gets it. Points made. Now shut up and root for the Americans.

There has been a window for slapping soccer around. It was wide open for the opening games, when soccer dorks scolded anyone not embracing the sport as God’s greatest gift. We gave as good as we got, and we won. Even the late-arriving bandwagon types knew they were crowded into various venues for two reasons— first, the USA was playing, and second, we understood what a big worldwide deal it is.

As soon as America is ousted— and that could well be after the Belgium game Tuesday afternoon— this entire phenomenon evaporates. We will not gather by the thousands to watch Argentina battle Colombia. But if we can get by Belgium and make the Final Eight— the nation will be going crazy, and everyone keeping the soccer hate alive will come off looking like a bunch of jerks.

I say this with all love to people I share a lot of space with. Conservatives in particular have had a great time savaging soccer— from Ann Coulter, who properly taps the brakes on any sport where girls compete alongside boys, to Marc Thiessen, who crafts a sublime argument that soccer is socialist.

But the fact of the matter is that the world plays it, the world cares about it, and the United States of America might just crash the party even further.

If we do, there is only one proper reaction: celebration. By dinnertime Sunday, July 13, the World Cup final will be over. The USA team will probably not be involved. The next day, America will return to its default soccer setting of ambivalence leaning toward disinterest.

All the critics will have been proven right. There will be no burst of marketplace appetite for soccer in our daily, even yearly lives.

But between now and whenever the USA is done, if the whole World Cup thing is too boring for you or too foreign or too whatever— keep it to yourself. Thousands of your countrymen will be busting their behinds to excel at a game the world cares about a lot more than we do— which should be cause for enthusiasm. We all know American football, baseball and basketball are far better than anything other nations can offer up. As such, American successes in those sports on a world stage are not so surprising.

But for a team of Americans to fight its way out of a group containing three teams from nations that live and die for soccer? To face next week another country that does not have Jack Squat except for soccer? For us to excel in that context makes me enormously proud, even with my pocketful of criticisms for what the world calls “football.”

I know what football is. It is the punishing, compelling, high-scoring affair culminating every year in a Super Bowl that excites me more than any soccer game ever will.

But right now, a team of Americans is trying to win a tournament followed by more human beings than will watch any Super Bowl. I, for one, will cheer for them to win it. And to all of you who have sought to show us how cool you are, or how conservative you are, by bad-mouthing soccer? Stow it for a while. Not because you are wrong, but because large throngs of your fellow Americans will be rooting for our nation to do well on this world stage. And a handful of your countrymen wearing our colors are fighting hard to make us proud.

So let’s be proud. We have the rest of our lives to push back against those who overstate soccer’s appeal. Until our fellow Americans are shown the door, let’s appreciate them by not denigrating their field of battle.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: coulter; fifa; soccer; unitedstates
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1 posted on 06/27/2014 8:16:11 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Google has gone absolutely berserk trying to ram this down our throats for the last - it seems like - month and a half.

Today they’ve stopped, for some reason.


2 posted on 06/27/2014 8:18:34 AM PDT by Steely Tom (How do you feel about robbing Peter's robot?)
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To: Kaslin

Anyone have a link to the Thiessen column? Is he an economist?


3 posted on 06/27/2014 8:20:12 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Steely Tom

No games today.


4 posted on 06/27/2014 8:20:29 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Kaslin

Soccer and the metric system. Both communist plots. Obviously.


5 posted on 06/27/2014 8:22:52 AM PDT by cdcdawg
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To: Steely Tom
I watched programming yesterday in a local store. All the discussion was about the USA team and there was a lot of flag waving with countless fans being interviewed most wrapped in the American flag.

The show was all in spanish...

6 posted on 06/27/2014 8:23:19 AM PDT by pfflier
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To: Kaslin

I am by no means a soccer fan. But wouldn’t it be absolutely fantastic if we could over the next decade or so become one of the top soccer nations, and Americanize the sport with cheerleaders, Budweiser commercials, stadium rock, etc. and see the libs cry about how the ugly Americans have taken over this “beautiful sport”?


7 posted on 06/27/2014 8:26:22 AM PDT by dinoparty
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To: Kaslin
I just don't have any interest in Soccer. I don't really care about it beyond being confused by this winning while losing things.

I like win or lose games with a mountain of stats and averages.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
8 posted on 06/27/2014 8:27:52 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: dinoparty

I made my son play football. It is safer.


9 posted on 06/27/2014 8:28:36 AM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: Kaslin

I love soccer, and really enjoy the World Cup, but I don’t care whether or not anyone else cares about it, as long as I am able to watch it.

I also love to watch most other sports. I don’t care if someone doesn’t like those. To each his own.

I say live and let live.


10 posted on 06/27/2014 8:30:18 AM PDT by FamiliarFace
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To: Kaslin
Conservatives in particular have had a great time savaging soccer— from Ann Coulter, who properly taps the brakes on any sport where girls compete alongside boys

Huh? Girls play soccer alongside boys up to about U-10, and later in some coed rec leagues, but competitive soccer differentiates just as rapidly as do other sports. Boys and girls are different, as even Ann may have noticed. A WNBA team would lose to a good boys high school basketball team, and the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team would lose to a good men's college team. I'm glad women's sports have gotten much more competitive, but they are a different game.

11 posted on 06/27/2014 8:31:57 AM PDT by sphinx
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To: cdcdawg
General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water?
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Well, no, I can't say I have.

12 posted on 06/27/2014 8:32:16 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: pfflier
The show was all in spanish...
I hate soccer, but will watch some of the World Cup - but only in Spanish (which I don't speak) ... very entertaining.
13 posted on 06/27/2014 8:33:35 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: dinoparty
It's starting already. The European football clubs are instituting salary caps next year, I believe. (An American concept that penalizes rich teams and favors poor ones).

Which is why I'm interested to read why Thiessen thinks soccer is "socialist."

14 posted on 06/27/2014 8:35:34 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: cdcdawg

Soccer: agree.

Metric system: disagree.

As a scientist, why stick with a dysfunctional way of measuring things when an objectively better system is available?

Perhaps stupidest of all is our present (non)system of using “normal” for measuring some things and metric for measuring others.


15 posted on 06/27/2014 8:37:41 AM PDT by Sherman Logan (Perception wins all the battles. Reality wins all the wars.)
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To: 1rudeboy

It’s too bad you couldn’t get a frame that shows Mandrake glancing uncomfortably at Ripper’s hand on his shoulder.

I am something of a Peter Sellers fan, and I think that scene is one his best.


16 posted on 06/27/2014 8:37:44 AM PDT by Steely Tom (How do you feel about robbing Peter's robot?)
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To: FamiliarFace

I agree with you 100%


17 posted on 06/27/2014 8:38:24 AM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Steely Tom

Peter Sellers was a treasure.


18 posted on 06/27/2014 8:38:48 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

Who is Thiessen and what does he have to do with soccer and this column>


19 posted on 06/27/2014 8:40:37 AM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin
'Bout halfway through:

Conservatives in particular have had a great time savaging soccer— from Ann Coulter, who properly taps the brakes on any sport where girls compete alongside boys, to Marc Thiessen, who crafts a sublime argument that soccer is socialist.

20 posted on 06/27/2014 8:41:49 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Sherman Logan

metric is decimalized
standard is halving/doubling

they suit different purposes, imo, convenience for science calculations or convenience for daily use


21 posted on 06/27/2014 8:42:51 AM PDT by Ray76 (True change requires true change - A Second Party ...or else it's more of the same...)
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To: Kaslin
Why the Left Loves Soccer: You Can Win by Trying and Losing

-Rush-

22 posted on 06/27/2014 8:43:21 AM PDT by TexasCajun
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To: sphinx
A WNBA team would lose to a good boys high school basketball team

That's gonna leave a mark.

23 posted on 06/27/2014 8:43:42 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Conservatism is the political disposition of grown-ups.)
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To: Kaslin

Olbermann had a hilarious rant on soccer yesterday... Yes he’s a putz, but you still should watch it.


24 posted on 06/27/2014 8:44:10 AM PDT by Fernet Branca (i had a tagline but....)
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To: Kaslin

I think you need to be drunk when watching it. It numbs the pain the boredom inflicts on the viewer. My husband likes it because he can go to the bathroom and not miss anything.


25 posted on 06/27/2014 8:44:10 AM PDT by Cry if I Wanna
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To: Kaslin

I played soccer in high school. Goalie. Fun to play, boring as all get-out to watch!


26 posted on 06/27/2014 8:44:11 AM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: Kaslin

Whether you are a soccer fan and/or an American football fan, please:

Give the painted hair and face A REST!


27 posted on 06/27/2014 8:44:31 AM PDT by Huskrrrr
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra
Fun to play, boring as all get-out to watch!

You've just described jazz. At least most jazz.

28 posted on 06/27/2014 8:46:03 AM PDT by Steely Tom (How do you feel about robbing Peter's robot?)
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To: cdcdawg
You're full of it. Obviously

Metric it a lot easier then the American system because it goes by ten, hundred and thousand, which is much easier to remember.

29 posted on 06/27/2014 8:46:08 AM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin

Typical American take. Not enough scoring as if that was the only thing to watch for in a sporting event. Ignore the flow of the play, the improvisation, the athletic skills and physical prowess of the players. Just ram the ball, puck, or whatever into a goal over and over again. Seven foot tall physical anomalies shooting at a ten foot high target. Two hundred or more points per game. Time out after time out, substitute after substitute, Deliberate fouls in BBall OK. Soccer..oh my criminal. Football 300 pound goliaths covered in everything short of armour plate ramming into one another for a 15 minutes of play that drags out over three hours spiced up with seemingly endless commercials. Then after the final 2 minutes which take in some cases 20 minutes to complete, the game is won by a European soccer style kicker with a spotlessly clean uniform and a kick from 25 yards. Point difference 1,2, or 3. Big deal. Soccer (football) is the most popular game for a reason. It is exciting in all phases. BTW the highest paid athletes in the world...Soccer players. Just saying.


30 posted on 06/27/2014 8:47:03 AM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannoli. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: Sherman Logan

I should have added Esperanto to the list.

For things that require precision (science & engineering), the metric system makes infinitely more sense. For less precise, everyday use, an inch, a foot, a yard, etc... are much easier. That’s why there’s still resistance to the Metric system for things that don’t require much in the way of calculation or precision.


31 posted on 06/27/2014 8:47:37 AM PDT by cdcdawg
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To: Kaslin

Mark Davis applying the pejorative, “tedious,” is the apotheosis of the pot calling the kettle black.


32 posted on 06/27/2014 8:48:37 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Qui me amat, amat et canem meum.)
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To: Kaslin
Metric it a lot easier then the American system because it goes by ten, hundred and thousand, which is much easier to remember.

Having your choice of hospital assigned to you by the government makes that a lot easier to remember, too.

Not being allowed to own a private car makes remembering the train schedules easier, I'm sure.

;)

33 posted on 06/27/2014 8:49:20 AM PDT by Steely Tom (How do you feel about robbing Peter's robot?)
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To: Kaslin
2   cups = 1 pint
2  pints = 1 quart
4 quarts = 1 gallon

Pretty easy to remember.

Doubling/halving is much easier to do "by eye" than dividing/multiplying by ten

The systems are suited to different uses

34 posted on 06/27/2014 8:49:56 AM PDT by Ray76 (True change requires true change - A Second Party ...or else it's more of the same...)
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To: Don Corleone

“Typical American take.”

We hear that a lot in the context of other debates. Only industrialized country that doesn’t ... like soccer?


35 posted on 06/27/2014 8:50:47 AM PDT by cdcdawg
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To: Kaslin
I am enjoying the World Cup, mostly because the last time the World Cup was going on I was in Europe and our hosts made me a fan. US didn't advance to the next stage, but they were delighted we tied England and beat Algeria.

The inevitable questions came about why Americans don't support soccer despite it being "America's fastest growing sport", and I answered "To say Soccer is America's 'fastest growing sport' is something I've been hearing in America for thirty-plus years and it's akin to saying 'I own America's fastest growing goldfish in this here little fishbowl'. If America actually enforced our immigration controls, Soccer would be America's #1 fastest diminishing sport.

Euros can watch Association Football matches in their own language, but the USA is in the Central American league and you'd have to watch the match in Spanish on some Mexican channel like 'Telemundo!' or Noticiero eSporta, or whatever. Americans just aren't tuning in to hear 'GOOOO-LO-LO-LO-LOOOOOLLLL!' being shouted when some team scores. Just can't get excited about Uruguay versus Latvia. There's no compelling draw for a contest like that in the USA.

Besides, I said, our American football gridirons are too small to be used as soccer fields. The biggest US football stadium is rinky-dink compared to a typical soccer stadium in The Netherlands. You could take off and land a C-130 on the field in one of those enormous stadiums. The first time I saw one, I couldn't believe the magnitude of their soccer stadiums. When the Euro NFL played their games inside them, the teams looked like they were playing croquet on a postage stamp.

But I like the spectacle of the World Cup and don't get snarky or jingoistic about it. I think it's neat. I'm glad the US team isn't made up of real professionals like all the big Euro teams have. Our guys are college students that nobody in America would recognize by name or face to the point you'd have to ask a Mexican day laborer hanging around outside of Home Depot to identify them for us as to who the hell our national team players are. Even Americans who've watched all three US World Cup games so far would be hard pressed to give the last name of any player on the US team.

36 posted on 06/27/2014 8:52:13 AM PDT by The KG9 Kid
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To: Kaslin

Meh.

Sorry, Mark, I just don’t care about soccer, no matter who might be playing. It’s pro football for me.


37 posted on 06/27/2014 8:52:42 AM PDT by CatherineofAragon ((Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization).)
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To: Cry if I Wanna

I think that when somebody understands the game, they get more enjoyment out of it. If you don’t understand the rules, it’s a bunch of gibberish. That goes for any sport. I find most of them are enjoyable the more I understand the rules and how to play.

If you understand the game, you realize that every single touch of the ball, every position of every player, is an integral part of the game. This goes for football, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, hockey, etc. Soccer is no different.

Shoot, card games aren’t fun if you don’t understand how to play them. Pretty much anything in life isn’t fun if you don’t know know or understand the rules and see no point in different strategies to win a game.


38 posted on 06/27/2014 8:52:48 AM PDT by FamiliarFace
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To: Sherman Logan

The metric system is easy to understand. I would have to look and see how many feet are in a mile. A kilometer is exactly 1000 meters


39 posted on 06/27/2014 8:52:50 AM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: TexasCajun

In the interests of hyperbole, Rush conveniently neglected to mention that the U.S. actually advanced with a level record of 1-1-1, the same as Portugal’s except a tiebreaker was involved… Also forgotten apparently is that in the beloved NFL it’s not unheard of that an 8-8 team ekes into the Playoffs, or that a team backs in while losing its last game (sometimes purposely).


40 posted on 06/27/2014 8:53:06 AM PDT by mikrofon (Weekend BUMP)
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To: TexasCajun

With all due respect to Rush, he is way off base on this one. The group stage at the WC is analogous to the regular season in American football. Is it not possible for a team to lose its last regular season game and advance to the playoffs despite losing? Do we criticize football for that?

The US did not win the World Cup by losing. They merely advanced to the playoffs, ie the knockout round. At this point, the games are more or less analogous to the playoff games in football. You lose and you’re out. No more celebrating after a loss now. To win the WC, you have to keep winning.


41 posted on 06/27/2014 8:54:54 AM PDT by stremba
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To: Kaslin

No thanks. It’s baseball season and the Nationals are in first place in the NL East. I’ll stick with American sports.


42 posted on 06/27/2014 8:55:08 AM PDT by pgkdan (ISLAM IS THE RELIGION OF THE ANTICHRIST!)
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To: Kaslin

You’re humor-impaired, Obviously

Yes, and a meter is a little more than a yard. Inches, feet, and yards are far more useful for everyday needs. That’s how they came to be. The metric system is far more useful for precision, due to it’s Base 10 organization.


43 posted on 06/27/2014 8:55:40 AM PDT by cdcdawg
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To: cdcdawg
Soccer and the metric system. Both communist plots. Obviously.

I am laughing heartily at this, as, when my children were young, I would say to them that "soccer is a Communist plot". I was half joking; but, I am glad to find a fellow "traveler" who also thinks soccer is a Communist plot.

44 posted on 06/27/2014 8:57:02 AM PDT by LibertarianLiz
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To: Jeff Chandler
That's gonna leave a mark.

It shouldn't. It's a simple reality, understood by anyone who has ever done physical work or been in serious physical training. The female athletes understand this as well as anyone.

We have an insane GI Jane notion running loose in generally leftist circles that discounts the physical differences between the sexes. I find it difficult to believe that its advocates take it seriously, but if they do, I suspect most of them have been so insulated from physical work/training that they simply have no clue.

Women's sports will never succeed financially if they try to be clones of the men's game. They have to be taken on their own merits and develop their own fan base.

I have soccer playing daughters and they and their teammates sometimes attend Washington Spirit games (Women's Professional Soccer). The stands are full of youth soccer players and older women (i.e., early 20's and up), many with boyfriends/husbands, most of whom clearly used to play the game (and perhaps still do, recreationally). That's a start.

45 posted on 06/27/2014 8:57:05 AM PDT by sphinx
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To: Ray76
standard is halving/doubling

Really?

5280 feet per mile?

16 oz. per pound? 2000 pounds per ton?

45,360 square feet per acre? 640 acres per square mile? 27,878,400 square feet per square mile?

8 quarts per peck, 4 pecks per bushel?

16 oz. per pint, 8 pints per gallon, 128 oz. per gallon?

The problem is not that "standard measurements" don't use decimals, it's that every type of measurement uses a different number.

All that said, the metric system can screw you up royally just by misplacing the decimal point.

46 posted on 06/27/2014 8:57:49 AM PDT by Sherman Logan (Perception wins all the battles. Reality wins all the wars.)
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To: Kaslin

Wow. Talk about trying to have it both ways. I would suggest that if this clown’s interest in soccer is that superficial, he should go back to watching his trained gorillas beat each others’ (minimal) brains out in between Miller and Budweiser commercials.

Soccer sure as hell doesn’t need him.


47 posted on 06/27/2014 8:59:16 AM PDT by IronJack
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To: Don Corleone

Excellent riposte, Don. As one who wouldn’t walk across the street to watch the Super Bowl if you gave me free tickets (although I would scalp them for an obscene amount) it gets a little tedious listening to soccer bashers brag about the superiority of American sports, especially the absurdly misnamed football.


48 posted on 06/27/2014 9:00:14 AM PDT by allblues (God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat but Satan is definitely a Democrat)
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To: cdcdawg

I notice that in UK they still talk about how much a person weighs in stones, not kilos. I have to look up every time how much a stone is. (14 pounds.)


49 posted on 06/27/2014 9:00:19 AM PDT by Sherman Logan (Perception wins all the battles. Reality wins all the wars.)
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To: 1rudeboy

They were talking yesterday morning on Fox and Friends about Ann Coulter’s column and the census was that she should stick to something she understands and not criticize what she doesn’t


50 posted on 06/27/2014 9:00:51 AM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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