From time to time, coaching legend/sartorialist/unlicensed SCUBA instructor Howard Schnellenberger provides us with his Top 25. In this edition, he's focused on The Beautiful Game, a sexual manhunt that takes place once every four years in the Kakadu Jungle. Oh, and also soccer.
1. Portugal. The tenant who hasn't paid rent to Spain in nearly 400 years. There's a not a damn thing you can do about it, either, Spain. Not as long as that case of vinho verde keeps showing up at the Sheriff's house every Christmas.
2. Nude beaches. Or, as you may call them, beaches. You don't see that man o' war wearing pants, and I've always taken my cues from the sea. It's why I had this baleen put in. Never felt so efficient at a brunch buffet.
3. Sideline sport coats. Soccer's one of the last places where some coaches still have the decency to dress like they didn't just come from the hardware store or Jazzercise. There's never a wrong time for a finely tailored jacket, especially when you need to convince security that you're a detective and that's why you have this knife in a ziploc bag.
4. Belgium. Industrious people.
5. Frank Solich. I've seen the man headbutt a city bus just because his blood sugar was low. That's a competitive fire you can't teach.
6. Rent-to-own furniture. It makes no financial sense, admittedly, but money is fleeting and the thrill of intimacy on a settee you don't technically have title to is not.
7. The taste of iced tea when you wake up in a canoe drifting down the Snake River with several unexplained bite marks on your person and a map of Thailand with the words "DELIVER ON TUESDAY" written on it strapped to your thigh.
8. Nancy Sinatra. Tremendous voice. A wily spades partner. Adequate stonecutter. Dangerous omelet chef. Can't say enough about her.
9. Penalty kicks. If it's good enough to settle office disputes, it's good enough to settle a sporting event.
10. Loquats. Swallow two whole every morning and you'll never need to see a gastroenterologist.
11. Turfman's Chewable Conditioner. Taking care of your hair only after it's emerged from your scalp is the height of "too little, too late."
12. Algeria. The national motto is "by the people and for the people," and as a silent partner in FUBU that's just good for my checkbook.
13. Kandinsky. You can keep The Joy of Sex. I'll stick to Du Spirituel dans l'art and a dehumidifier.
14. Half bathrooms. A man can't focus on completing the Jumble if he's too busy making sure Danny Ford's not hiding in the shower with a bicycle chain.
15. Italian customs agents. Discretion when you want it, advice when you need it.
16. SMU. The cream has to rise to the top sooner or later.
17. Chile. When you control Easter Island, you control the Vatican.
18. Train travel. I was sold at "bar car," especially once the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles denied me a daiquiri riverboat captaincy. Sometimes I wonder where this country lost its way.
19. Flares. Teach your children to use them wisely and we'll win the eventual war against the hyenas.
20. Minor league baseball. Dollar beers and desperate men who won't think twice before agreeing to participate in a warehouse robbery at the docks. Forget what I said before - America is just fine.
21. Vulcan. The Roman god, not any of that Star Trek nonsense. You look like a fool proposing an intergalactic future where we're not all wearing comfortable shorts.
22. Store credit. Fiat currency will rise and fall based on world events. $175 at the pool supply store? Timeless.
23. Manumatic transmissions. A seamless blend of classic feel and modern technology, like a robot that whittles. Hats off to you, Bill Snyder.
24. Jockey silks. Wear a pair to bed and you'll feel like a luxurious giant.
25. Tangeray. The preferred cocktail of astronauts.