"I Don't Want To Go On The Cart!"

So boo-frikkin-hoo. The US didn't get drawn into a group with Cobra Island, Elbonia and Cape Suzette. Instead, we're going to have to sack up and play with the big boys.

Or maybe you'd rather have Sunil call Jamaica and tell Horace Burrell they can have our spot. We just aren't feeling it.

Of course if we did that then the Lincoln Nebraska Mafia that runs American Inlaws might have to pay for their own hotels, tickets and airfare instead of getting a bunch of suckers to cover them.

We sure can't have that.

Anyway, if the money dries up, who's going to pay the attorney fees from the lawsuit Pancho Villa's Army filed against them?

It seems a group of Mexico fans figured they could just copy the Inlaws blueprint using El Tri fans as their personal ATM's. So last July they signed a contract with the same travel agency, TenDot Travel, that AI uses, wherein fans would buy $5000 all inclusive packages for the World Cup and the founders would pocket $500 per customer.

Reportedly, this didn't sit well with the Cornhuskers whose motto apparently is "get your own damned scam, this one is ours" and, according to Pancho's lawyers, an Inlaws official threatened to find another agency unless TenDot canceled, which they did without explanation just a month later.

Everybody denies everything but bottom line, Pancho's boys are suing AI for a big old pile of pesos. And they didn't even need to arrange for a planeload of Capos from Seattle.

How did I get off on THAT one? Ah well, nothing for it but to plow ahead:

There was some early unease down at the draw ceremony yesterday when Sepp Blatter called for "a minute of silence" in honor of the life of Nelson Mandela and then, a scant 10 seconds later, he told the audience “Let’s celebrate humanity, celebrate Nelson Mandela and most of all celebrate football. Applaud please!”

Everyone was a bit confused, there was a smattering of polite applause and they quickly moved on. It was a pretty awkward moment, but then since many of the 1300 assembled dignitaries in attendance are the same people who keep electing this clown, they have no one to blame but themselves.

In the overall scheme of things, it was a whole lot less embarrassing than the investigation, which could lead to criminal charges against FIFA for fostering racism, which is a crime in Brasil.

It seems that originally the host committee selected Lazaro Ramos and Camila Pitanga, a racially mixed couple (he's decidedly of African descent while she has a mixed background) who star in a popular Brazilian soap opera, to host the draw show.

Then, at the last minute, they were replaced by Fernanda Lima and Rodrigo Hilbert, a Caucasian TV couple.

The Sao Paulo state prosecutor, one Christiano Jorge Santos, has opened an investigation. He, and everyone else, is assuming that it was FIFA who made the call, but in fairness it could have been TV Globo, although they're the ones who hired the original presenters.

God help them if it turns out to have been FIFA. They sure don't need any more enemies in Brasil right now.

Personally though, I'd just like to applaud whoever it was who decided to feature Fernanda Lima's cleavage as part of the festivities. Unlike Charlize Theron, who seemed somewhat confused by the whole affair and had obvious trouble with the stilted, canned "dialogue" with stiff-as-a board Jerome Valcke, Lima seemed to actually be enjoying herself.

And who amongst us didn't look forward to her part of the ceremonies? Yowie.

Other entertainment was provided by a decidedly icy Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who did everything she could to demonstrate her contempt for Sepp Blatter short of simply spitting on the man.

That's Hilbert on the left. He hits that. It's OK to hate him. You're not alone. Reportedly the search term "Fernanda Lima" came close to frying the entire internet yesterday afternoon.

Paradoxically, a probably corrupt choice made by now-disgraced Tricky Ricky Texiera - who until recently was hiding in Miami from Brazilian police but is now apparently holed up in Luxemburg along with a hundred or so million dollars he stole over the years as head of the Brazil fed - ended up being a great relief for FIFA.

Yesterday's ceremony was held in remote Costa da Sauipe, a McResort community which was difficult and expensive to get to and which has literally none of the Brazilian passion and charm and spirit which is supposed to be the hallmark of these finals.

Texiera chose it because, well, let's just say he likely found it profitable.

As it turned out, the whole thing was a blessing for FIFA, Sepp, Jerome and the rest who, by avoiding anything like average Brazilian people also negated the possibility - nay, probability - of massive street protests against the whole thing, which would have happened almost anyplace else in the country.

Instead, FIFA burned a couple million gallons of jet fuel and left the resultant carbon footprint flying in a couple thousand people for a two hour TV show after which pretty much everyone got back on airliners and flew back to Rio.

Worked out well for them.

Something else of note, however - assuming you're back from the Fernanda Lima search - is how Michel Platini managed to out maneuver Sepp Blatter, cause him some embarassment and maybe, just maybe, give us a glimpse of FIFA's future.

We all know that the FIFA rankings are kind of a joke, but Coca Cola pays a whole lot of money for the right to have FIFA issue The Coca Cola World Soccer Rankings once a month.

The first odd thing happened when FIFA chose to use the October rankings for purposes of the draw rather than the November ones.

Then there was the problem of having nine European teams, making it necessary to move one into another pot to make four groups of eight. The last time this happened, the lowest ranking team got moved and, thus, faced the possibility of being drawn into a much tougher group.

This time, it would have been France.

So everyone was surprised on Tuesday when it was announced that instead of following the previous format, they would randomly draw one of the teams from Pot 3 to place into Pot 2.

Platini got the Confederation presidents, who technically have control over the process, to change the methodology and then presented the arrangement to Blatter as a done deal. There was nothing he could do.

So France avoided being the Pot 2 team, Platini demonstrated that he has a bunch of pull where it matters and Blatter ended up looking weak and out of the loop.

It's a small thing, but in politics appearance is reality and, in any case, it's always been possible for the Confederation Presidents and general Secretaries to run FIFA day-to-day. They just always chose to defer to Blatter.

And Platini has already demonstrated, with the little revolt he and Jeff Webb gave in October when they stopped Blatter from declaring that Qatar 2022 would be held in the Winter without first at least talking about it, that Seppy is losing some of the control over affairs he has enjoyed for 20 years.

Just saying.

I'm happy that there's been very little comment about how some old guy basically chucked a placement ball halfway across the stage.

Bob Ley's utterly stupid "the conspiracy theorists will have a field day" exclamation notwithstanding, (it wasn't a Group pick, just a slot. Try and keep up, Bob.) the man who did the chucking, 86 year old Alcides Ghiggia, deserves our respect.

Playing for Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, he scored a goal in every match and then, in front of 200,000 fans jammed into the Maracana Stadium on Rio, with Brazil needing only a draw to win the Championship, it was Ghiggia who, ten minutes before time, slotted the ball past Barbosa and destroyed the heart of the host nation.

How big was it? In 2001 he was going through Brazilian customs on the way to some ceremony or other and a 20-something female customs officer asked him if he was "the Ghiggia".

He admitted that he was, but commented that, in view of her age, it was hard to belileve that she actually knew who he was since it was all so very long ago.

She replied: "we in Brazil still feel this moment as if it were today".

Finally, a note on Nate Silver, who ESPN is apparently pimping as their bracketology expert.

Pish and posh says I.

If they really felt they needed someone like that, a much more entertaining and erudite choice was obvious:

Our own Dan Loney.

We could easily have provided him with cheap, badly fitting and ill-matching clothing and a pair of Mr. Magoo glasses, since that's the look we were going for.

And if the attraction was that Silver used to be on DailyKos, let me be the first to assure them that Loney is so left wing he makes Karl Marx look like Bob Dole.

I'm not sure we could have made him anything like as dull and lifeless, but there are always drugs.