Football and other links of interest

More photos coming tomorrow, but today I’m starting with a subject that rarely comes up in this blog, namely sports, more precisely football (or soccer to the Americans among you). But here in Bremen, this really is the biggest news of the day and top news item over all the political stuff: Coach Thomas Schaaf will be leaving our local football club Werder Bremen after 14 years as head coach and another 17 as a player, effective immediately. The official news sources talk of mutual consent, but unofficially the separation wasn’t quite so mutual and consensual.

Now Werder Bremen played badly during the current season and seems unable to win any matches of late. And an inability to win matches usually results in coaches getting fired. I’ve never understood this – shouldn’t they rather fire the team or those members of it that don’t work, then the coach? Still, the usual response to teams playing badly is sacking coaches. Werder Bremen is actually better in that regard than most German first league clubs, since they don’t tend to fire their coaches and had two coaches, Otto Rehagel and Thomas Schaaf, who stayed on for 14 and 16 years respectively, separated by an interregnum of “those interchangable idiots whose names no one remembers”. What is more, I’ve always liked Thomas Schaaf. He lives near me and his children went to the school where I teach (they were never in my classes, though). And personally, I think Werder didn’t treat him very well by basically making him leave after 14 years, three DFB cup wins and a championship, without so much as a send-off. As for the team, I doubt they’ll do any better under a different coach. Talking to my Mom about this today, I said, “Isn’t Felix Magath [successful but widely disliked football coach] currently unemployed? Werder can hire him, cause Magath is certainly the coach they deserve.”

That’s all about football for now, so all of you who don’t care for sports (I normally don’t care for sports either, but I make an exception for Werder Bremen) can stop scanning. And now on to some other links of interest:

Urban fantasy author Lilith Saintcrow had a series of Livejournal posts about the adventures of the squirrels living in her backyard plagiarized by a Daily Kos user who – in the manner of plagiarists everywhere – denies having lifted any text. Found via Martha Wells.

Foz Meadows has a great post about how the portrayal of wolves, whether werewolves, direwolves or regular wolves, has very little to do with biological reality and how the whole domineering alpha werewolf concept (and have you ever noticed that werewolf heroes are all alphas?) is just sexist claptrap disguised as biology.

Here’s yet another addendum to the latest go-around of the Women in SFF debate, a New York Times article about women and science fiction by Susan Schwartz (by whom I once read a pretty good novel called Heritage of Flight) from 1982, just in case we needed proof how long this debate has been around and how littkle progress has been made. There’s a bonus jab against The Cold Equations as well. Found via Foz Meadows.

Jay Lake has an insightful post about reasons for writing and literary posterity. With regards to posterity, I always find it fascinating to look at bestseller lists as well as the winners of Nobel Prizes, Pulitzer Prizes and other distinguished literary awards of decades past and see how many names you recognize. Most of the time, it’s quite sobering, because you won’t recognize many names either on the bestseller list nor among the award winners. For example, Germany can boast nine winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature (ten, if we include Nelly Sachs, who was born in Germany and wrote in German, but was a Swedish citizen by the time she won). Of those nine, the first three are completely forgotten and unknown to anyone who is not a scholar of German literature. Honestly, you cannot predict which works will stand the test of time and which won’t.

The nominees for the 2013 Mythopoetic Awards have been announced. Looks like a good shortlist and I am particularly pleased to see The Spy Princess by Sherwood Smith among the nominees in the children’s and YA category.

More awards: The television BAFTA awards for 2013 have been awarded and my reaction is a big resounding “Meh”, since I don’t even know what most of the nominated and winning programs are. There’s a lot of love for the adaptions of Shakespeare’s historical dramas broadcast under the banner The Hollow Crown, which is probably deserved since everybody who has seen The Hollow Crown assures me it’s excellent. There’s also love for a mini series called Accused and for something called Mrs Biggs, while the BAFTA award for the best drama series of the year goes to Last Tango in Halifax, a drama about two people in their seventies finding new love. Looks like the BBC is gradually turning into ARD or ZDF, the German public TV channels which are (in)famous for broadcasting lots of dramas about very old people such as this really cheery example called Die Auslöschung (The extinction) in which Klaus Maria Brandauer suffers from Alzheimer’s. Mind you, only last year the best drama series BAFTA went to supernatural teen drama The Fades, in 2011 Sherlock won and in 2010 Misfits, all of which are really good television. And in 2013 the awards goes to a series about elderly people falling in love*. I’ve been having the niggling feeling for a while that British TV – long provider of really good drama programming – is on the decline and has resorted to churning out one nostalgia laden costume drama after another. But this year’s BAFTAs confirm it for me, though at least the nostalgia laden costume dramas weren’t nominated either, unless you count the Ford Maddox Ford adaption Parade’s End. Plus, it’s also notable that while the last three winners in the best drama series category were at least borderline SFF, as were other nominees in the category like Being Human, the only piece of speculative programming that shows up among the nominees is Game of Thrones in the international category, where it lost out against Sex in the City 2.0 a.k.a. Girls.

*It’s probably a well made, well acted programme, but it’s still not something I am even remotely interested in watching, sorry. As for all of those old people dramas on German public TV, not even my Mom watches those and she is the target demographic.

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6 Responses to Football and other links of interest

  1. Cora, on the topic of wolves, have you seen Heather Schell’s article on “The Big Bad Wolf: Masculinity and Genetics in Popular Culture”? I’ve got a link to it (and a bit of a discussion about biological research into animal behaviours has been affected by human beliefs about gender and gender roles) in this post.

  2. Sherwood Smith says:

    Thank you, Cora!

    • Cora says:

      You’re welcome. And also congrats on your nomination again. I think I congratulated you on your LJ, but the thread seems to be gone now.

  3. Mark says:

    Magath? You mean after his first failed attempt at coaching Werder? He was one of the interchangeable idiots :)

    • Cora says:

      In fact, Magath was the interchangable idiot who directly preceded Thomas Schaaf. Still, given some of the more entitled new additions to the team roster such as the guys who were caught drunk and speeding on the highway the day before a match, probably deserve someone like Magath, just so they’ll know how good they had it before.

      Though apparently Mehmet Scholl is a name that’s currently being bandied about. Not really someone I can see fitting in with Werder, but you never know.

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