Super League Hoopla Explained for Americans

What is the Super League and Why It’s a Horrible Thing

Using baseball as an analogy, to help Americans understand

Imagine last year’s Major League Baseball division winners playing their MLB season this year, while also competing in a year-long tournament that includes the division-winning teams from eight nearby nations whose Major League Baseball is as good or better than in the USA.

The top prize being tons of money and a trophy considered more rare and special than the World Series. That is the Champions League.

The Super League was supposed to be the richest clubs  (i.e. Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Cubs) starting an Only Rich and Powerful Teams Allowed League from all those nations, which would vacuum up all the future top talent and TV revenue, destroy the Champions League that many “little David” clubs get to now and again, and degrade and possibly destroy the 180 year old leagues in the various nations.

Now imagine if the last place teams from each MLB division got “relegated” to the minor leagues each year and were replaced by the top teams from the minor leagues. That is how all the European leagues operate. But the Super League would do away with that. It would only be for and about whoever is rich enough to afford the Super League dues, regardless how many games they lose.

It is nothing less than a plot by American hedge fund managers and Emirati sheiks to create a money mine beyond the wildest fantasies of the NBA’s and NFL’s greediest owners, and with complete disregard for the impact on local populations supporting hundreds of smaller pro and semi-pro teams that enrich the cultural fabric of millions of common people.

Manchester City and Chelsea, Champions League semifinalists, have pulled out of the Super League.

Manchester City was the first of six English Premiere League teams to announce they were backing out of the Super League, after the public backlash from fans and politicians. Chelsea and the other four soon followed. Less than a week later, the project appears to be doomed, as clubs in other nations have either backed out or declined their secret invitations. But there may be legal challenges going forward to try to force the Super League into existence.

While executives of some European clubs claim the project will continue to develop, the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) and their world-governing body FIFA have threatened to expel any Super League teams from their domestic leagues, and block their professional players from representing their home countries in international competitions like the World Cup. Fortunately, most players and coaches came out against the Super League when the secret plans were made public.

In England, where soccer was invented, there are 72 professional teams (including 3 from Wales.) But there are actually 140 individual football leagues, with over 5,200 clubs, all part of the same divisional pyramid system, where the top teams of a league are promoted to the next tier for the following season, theoretically able to advance all the way to the top 20 teams of English Premiere League.  And the revenue sharing from the top tiers trickles down a good ways into the lower divisions.

Similar systems exist in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, and to a lesser extent in other nations like Russia, Portugal, Sweden, and the Netherlands. The Super League threatens to destroy or at least greatly cripple and disfigure European football as we know it and as it has evolved from its earliest organizations of the mid-1800s.

Emblems of the top leagues in and around EuropeEurope_Football_Leagues_onemanz

Revolutionary Russia – Monday Map


Come the Revolution!

March 8, 1917, “bread riots” in Saint Petersburg light the flame that engulfs Tsarist Russia

For the next five years the chaos of revolution changed Russia forever. And the map the late Nicholas II’s vast empire was latered into a number of new states. By 1923 most no longer existed, having been destroyed by or absorbed into the U.S.S.R..
Russia 1917 Revolution States onemanz

Little Known History

Few westerners remember the existence of such places. But when it comes to Russia, Siberia is a name known to many, even if they do not know where it is or much about it – other than as a place in the movies or TV shows where people were sent when they had done something bad. But deep in the American conscience the dreadful omen associated with Siberia remains, because of the ill-fated invasion of Siberia by American troops in 1918.

Here is a fascinating article from Smithsonian magazine about the forgotten troops that ended up in the middle of the Russian Revolution in those days.


Too Tired to Go to Bed?

Ah yes.

Those special moments, when you feel extra tired extra early and can’t even find the wherewithal to watch TV, or even want to get up to head to bed.

But you manage to get up and shuffle down to the kitchen to wash out your water glass, and all those other odds and ends that you haven’t washed yet, and then wipe down the counters, and brush your teeth and wash your face, and floss, put down some dry cat food and fresh water, and take off your slippers and get undressed and find you are now wide awake and nowhere near being able to fall asleep.


T Spoon Phillips Music for a Socially Distant Audience

Spend and Hour with Your Humble Spoon

T Spoon Phillips Live Every Wednesday!

T Spoon Phillips Live Social Distancing

Live from Brooklyn.  On YouTube Live, that is!

Each Wednesday at 3 PM Eastern (7 PM British Summer Time) and 8 PM Eastern (5 PM West Coast.)

Go to Youtube and search for onemanzguitar if you are not already a subscriber.

If the first video listed doesn’t say “LIVE,” keep refreshing your screen until it does.

Martinfest 2018: Epilogue

“Each Martinfest is different. And this one was differenter than most.” That is how I put it throughout the weekend.

For example, I didn’t get into the Inner Sanctum but once the entire weekend. The irony of this is, for once my room was directly next door to Special Ed Madonio.

I walked in on Sunday night, and listened to Ed sing a song, while playing what was probably Mike Longworth’s 12-fret 00-45.

And then I went off to make an appointment, and I just never found my way back in there to see what priceless guitars were stacked up in there like Aladdin’s cave. I heard tell of a pre-war Gibson J-200 made of mahogany no less. Actually, I had played that guitar before. But I am sure there were others I would have loved to see for the first time.

But I did finally track down Wayne Wirta (twelvestringer) and his amazing #1 of the last Laurence Juber Signature Editions, that is made with Guatemalan rosewood, high-altitude Swiss spruce, as well as hide glue and thin finish, etc. My custom is similar, but made in the short scale, with Adirondack spruce. And while I find that Juber model to be particularly awesome, I was pleased the Wayne felt my guitar was right up there with it.

After we left the hotel, we drove to Brother’s Music in Wind Gap, PA, where we were treated to a pizza lunch, and I got to check out Brother’s Music’s first build. This is the first guitar they have built from scratch, with koa back and sides they had to bend to make the sides, a righteous Adirondack spruce top, 1937 style bracing, but a post-1938 1-11/16” neck, all done up in Old Style-42!

It has much more soul and depth in the bottom end then one might associate with koa, typically speaking, and that worked so well to support those angels in the high end that koa has like no other tonewood. REALLY magnificent.

And they also had a 1927 00-45 belonging to someone who wondering around Martins on Main, and was in the song circle room when I arrived Saturday night. But she and her sideman were just leaving. A pity. Oh, and they have a 1932 OM-28, in need of a lot of work on the neck and fretboard. But I have never seen a ’32 before! A very cool way to end the day.

And for all the guitars I missed out on playing at this once in a year opportunity, or maybe even once in a lifetime, there were also the people I missed out on.

So many names and faces that came and went who belong in this journal of adventure, and are in it, even if I failed to mention them directly. But for too many of them were barely brushed as I made my way to some room or another.

I got to play some sore-hand licks in the hallway, for maybe one minute, as Craig Lambeth (Craigo) tore UP a 1943 000-18. I got to hear some of Marshall Oberholtzer tearing up some blues his own weathered D-18, at the Park open mic. But saw narrow a note during the hotel jamming. But at least I got to hear Danny Kerr nailing a Jason Isbell tune that Laura would have LOVED. And then sing a stunning tune with with his partner in music Bri Fornay, and his Aunt, Margaret Prunty (0018Vfan.)

And then there are those would couldn’t make it, like Jim and Pam Fix from Arkansas, and Fred Cummings and Jim Behnke from Arizona, and Evan Blanchard from Wisconsin, and Ira Strum from New Jersey, and Bill and Amy Kunsman from Pennsylvania who had to be in Texas for very important family reasons. All wanted to be here but more important matters kept them away. And then there are those who really should come back one of these days, like Gary Hydrick, Tom Conroy, Ed Ard, Cliff and Paula Monges, Tim Porter, Rick, Marylou, and Jack Colgan, Pete Bentley, the list really does go on and on.

But their ranks have been filled with newer folks, and some who can’t always make it but did this year, like Mike Thompson from Cambridge, England, and Rod Loomis (Rod Loomis) from Michigan, who was happily back after a year off for other important matters.

As in other years, when someone would ask, “How are you?” I would answer, “I’m at Martinfest!” And enough was said.

But while this was as bittersweet as any Martinfest has been to date, there were many, many people walking around with that smile they didn’t even realize they had, because they were at Martinfest, Len Rosenberg (Ragpicker,) Dick Boak, and Tony Phillips come to mind here, as does Rich Gerardis (Rich 28H) and Sue Probst and Sue Schier (Jamesue1.)

And it is less than 360 days to the next one.

I hope you all can make it!

Ya never know who you might run into…

Spoon, out