Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Nine months!



Saturday, November 28, 2009


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Watch out Mick and Keith

Several weeks ago, Gavin was whining in the car to Don on the way home from school, "I want..." this and "I want" that. Don replied, "you can't always get what you want, and you know what, someone wrote a song about it."

He taught Gavin the song and, well, now he has become such a fan of it he taught it to his friend Bridget at school and tonight wanted me to repeat the You Tube video I found of the Rolling Stones performing it in concert. Here he is trying to play along to the CD, which Don dug out of his music archive so Gavin could hear the real thing this morning.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

8 months...



Friday, November 06, 2009

More from the peanut gallery

In my continued over-analysis of the US Men's national team chances in South Africa I spent a bit of additional time working out some ideas on the upcoming draw for the 2010 World Cup. Specifically, running the numbers to evaluate the assumption from my prior analysis that the seeded teams will be South Africa, Brazil, Argentina and five UEFA teams.

The main assumption here is that the seeding will be determined similarly to the 2006 World Cup, with the combination of FIFA Rankings and results from the last two World Cups being used to rank teams. In 2006 the scoring was done by totaling the following five numbers:

2002 World Cup Rank * (2/3)

1998 World Cup Rank * (1/3)

Nov 2005 FIFA Rank * (1/3)

Dec 2004 FIFA Rank * (1/3)

Dec 2003 FIFA Rank * (1/3)

World Cup Rank was computed on place of finish with the champion earning 32 points and last place earning 1 point. Non-qualifiers earned 0 points. FIFA Rank was computed by place in rankings with the highest ranked qualifier earning 32 points and the lowest ranked qualifier earning 1 point.

So our assumption is that the 2010 scoring will be done using these five numbers:

2006 World Cup Rank * (2/3)

2002 World Cup Rank * (1/3)

Nov 2009 FIFA Rank * (1/3)

Dec 2008 FIFA Rank * (1/3)

Dec 2007 FIFA Rank * (1/3)

Without boring you with all the details I ran the numbers using the October 2009 rankings in place of the not yet released November numbers. South Africa has already been given a seed as the host team, leaving seven seeds available to the remaining 31 teams. For the teams that are currently qualified six of the spots seem to be locked up based on my very unofficial numbers. In alphabetical order – Argentina, Brazil, England, Germany, Italy and Spain.

The seventh spot gets a little trickier, but not too murky. The Netherlands is the "leader in the clubhouse", but both Portugal and France are positioned to pip them for the seed if either wins their play-off to qualify for the tournament. Based on October rankings Portugal has a slight edge over France if they both qualify.

The Netherlands would likely be in a more comfortable position if they had qualified for Korea/Japan in 2002. Even with group stage crash outs the points earned by France and Portugal in that competition help push them both past the Dutch. A good showing in 2010 and the Netherlands will likely be in a much stronger position to earn a seed in Brazil.

On the outside, looking in are Mexico and the United States. Barring a crazy shake-up in the November rankings neither has a realistic shot of earning a seed. Mexico, seeded in 2006 and making the knock-out stages in both of the last world cups, can point to their mixed results over the last three years including qualification struggles in the final two rounds.

The United States has only to look at their 2006 World Cup performance to understand why they are again unseeded. In 2006 USA fans pointed to the quarterfinal performance in 2002 wondering why the finished one spot out of the seeds. A better performance in 1998 (when they finished last out of 32 teams) and they might have had a seed. A better performance in 2006 (tied for 25th) and they might be challenging for a seed this time.

In fact, the 2006 showing impacts both the upcoming tournament and 2014. If a semi-final or final run doesn't materialize in South Africa, the team's best chance of earning a seed anytime soon, other than hosting, may be to reach the knock-out stages in consecutive World Cups – something we have never been able to do. The current scenario – knock-out stages in South Africa and Brazil – seed in London anyone?

So my original assumption holds up and solidifies a little bit predicting seven of the eight seeded teams and the contenders for the last spot based on results of the upcoming play-offs. Of course that all goes out the window if FIFA announces a new system in the upcoming weeks.

Can't wait for Dec 4!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Danny @ 6 months and 1 week, Gavin at 3 1/2 years

photos from Labor Day Weekend 2009 by Karmen Lindner, http://www.karmenlindner.com/

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Viva Uruguay!

After some deliberation I have made the decision that as a fan on the United States national team I am rooting for Costa Rica to lose their two-legged play off with Uruguay. The decision is a mixed one but in the end I feel the right one. Let me explain...

My natural instinct when supporting a team is to pull for the other teams in the same conference or confederation to win they are playing "out of conference/confederation". I went to the University of Wisconsin – Madison. I have a strong dislike for quite a few teams in the Big Ten. But come post season time, I am pulling for all of those teams to win their bowl games and make deep tournament runs. Why? It validates the Wisconsin program when the conference does well.

Following my natural instincts I was ecstatic when Chris Birchall hit a wonder goal for T&T and they went through to the 2006 World Cup. Four CONCACAF teams in the World Cup helps both the USA and the confederation overall. We'll skip over what happened once everyone arrived in Germany and the severe funk that followed.

Fast forward to Oct 15, 2009. USA is coming off a tough few days, Honduras is going crazy and I'm preparing to get my DVR working so I can pull for the Ticos to book their ticket to South Africa. I even debated searching for some Costa Rico gear online, but who am I kidding. With two kids in full time day care that's not money I need to be spending.

Then I started mapping out various scenarios for the draw trying to project where the CONCACAF teams might get slotted. After a solid look through the numbers I came to the conclusion that my natural instincts were wrong. As a USA fan, I wanted Uruguay to win the play off.

This may "hurt" the long term perception of CONCACAF, but it gives Bradley and company a better shot of making a run in South Africa. My assumptions, any and all of which could be completely wrong.

1. FIFA will use a "pot" system similar to 2006 to complete the draw.
2. There will be four groups of eight.
3. Rules will be in place to prevent teams from matching up against opponents from the same confederation – with the exception of UEFA's 13 teams.
4. The seeded teams will be South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, and five UEFA teams. They will constitute Pot 1.
5. Pot 2 will include the eight remaining UEFA teams.
6. Pots 3 and 4 will be made up of the unseeded teams from AFC (4 or 5 teams), CAF (5), CONCACAF (3 or 4), CONMEBOL (2 or 3) and OFC (0 or 1).

Given these assumptions, the ideal pot for the USA to be in is the one with the five teams from CAF because none of these teams can be drawn into the group with South Africa. That leaves the remaining three teams with a 33% chance of being drawn with the weakest of the eight seeded teams (no disrespect to the hosts intended). The other two teams get the benefit of avoiding an African team playing a World Cup on their own continent for the first time.

The key number in that scenario though is three. As in three teams in the pot with the five African teams. Currently there are three CONCACAF teams qualified for the World Cup, a perfect fit to bring that pot up to eight teams.

Lets look at the scenarios that can play out depending on the results of the two inter continental play off match ups.

Scenario A – Uruguay and New Zealand win.
AFC with four teams, CAF five, CONCACAF three, CONMEBOL three and OFC one.

Scenario B – Uruguay and Bahrain win.
AFC with five teams, CAF five, CONCACAF three, CONMEBOL three and OFC none.

Scenario C – Costa Rica and New Zealand win.
AFC with four teams, CAF five, CONCACAF four, CONMEBOL two and OFC one.

Scenario D – Costa Rica and Bahrain win.
AFC with five teams, CAF five, CONCACAF four, CONMEBOL two and OFC none.

In the event of a Uruguay win (scenarios A & B) we have both CONMEBOL and CONCACAF with three teams. In the 2006 draw the CONCACAF teams were in the same pot as the AFC teams and the CONMEBOL teams were in with the CAF teams. Given the option, my bet (ok, another assumption) is that FIFA flips it and puts CONCACAF and CAF together.

In scenario C the AFC and CONCACAF both have four teams and slot together nicely leaving New Zealand to join Chile and Paraguay in the pot with the CAF teams.

Scenario D leaves FIFA with some juggling to do since they will have the AFC and CAF with five teams each and CONCACAF with four. No combination of which adds up to an even eight teams. I can only guess what they do with this one, maybe draw one of the CONCACAF teams at random to slot in with Chile and Paraguay? At that point we'd have a 50/50 shot of being in the "ideal" pot.

We'll know more when they kick off the second leg in Uruguay of course since either Bahrain or New Zealand will already be in.

Things that could happen to throw of my little analysis, none of which I think is going to happen:

1. Argentina is somehow not seeded. The CONMEBOL number is now three or four. Better for the USA if Uruguay wins as a four team CONMEBOL would not be matched in the same pot with the five from CAF.

2. Mexico is seeded – the CONCACAF number of unseeded teams is now two or three. Better for us if Costa Rica is in as our three teams would match up nicely with the five from CAF.

3. USA gets a seed – all is right in the world and my entire exercise becomes a fun, but ultimately pointless, way to spend my time.

Cheers, now back to Jenny!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Danny at 7 months (and a look back)

Whoops, let this one slip by a bit, but here is our little guy at 7 months along with a shot of Gavin at the same age just for fun. I think they really are starting to look different from one another...

"I've got to get that dog..."

Danny is in love with Keely. She enters the room and he can't take his eyes off her. He is determined, I think, to snuggle up with her but that excitement has so far translated into him once grabbing a fist full of her fur and generally stalking her now that he can crawl. To her credit, our often anxious dog has responded the way she always does to the boys, she takes the abuse and comes back for more. Click on the photo above for a slide show that gives you the play-by-play...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gavin's view

Some shots from our resident 3 1/2-year-old photographer... click on the photo to see more!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Daniel at 6 months

I meant to post this on Sept. 1 and well, I forgot! So here you go, just a week or so late...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Update on Gavin

Gavin is 3 1/2 -- he is getting ready to leave the classroom (the Rainbow Room) where he has spent the last year growing from a toddler to a little boy -- learning to ride the city bus, using the potty and taking care of a menagerie of animals. We are so lucky to have such wonderful teachers and hope to be as fortunate in his new room, the Purple Room, a Spanish immersion classroom where the teachers will speak Spanish and English and some of his classmates are from homes where only Spanish is spoken. It should be a cool experience to see what he learns and a handful of his friends from the Rainbow Room will be joining him in this transition so he won't be alone.

Danny at 5 1/2 months

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Our boys at 5 months



Friday, July 31, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Four generations of Iversons

Grandpa (88), Mom (64), Me (34) and Daniel (almost 5 months)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Monday, July 06, 2009

Walking in a spider web...

We were very fortunate to spend the holiday weekend in Minneapolis and, thanks to my brother-in-law Rick, we were able to attend the No Doubt concert last night! 
Gwen was in great voice and seriously rocked. Note to self: begin doing crunches STAT
We had a great time and the band sounded amazing... what a treat to have a night out!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I'm Four Months Old!

Smiling for his big brother...

And just for fun, here's Gavin at 4 months old ...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hometown Days Parade

Be sure to check out Art in the Barn this summer!