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Archive for July, 2012


How the mighty have fallen

Scroll crest worn from 1990–1994

Scroll crest worn from 1990–1994 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scottish football has been  caught between a rock and a hard place right this summer. The league football started this weekend and who could have guessed that one half of the Old Firm would be playing their League football this weekend, instead of a next Saturday when the rest of the Scottish Premier League starts.

Glasgow Rangers went into administration last season and were bought by Charles  Green’s Sevco consortium which then created a new company after failing to prevent the old one being liquidated. Scottish Premier League clubs voted against accepting the new club into the top flight and the Scottish Football League clubs voted them into Division Three instead of the First Division. Charles Green has accused some of the SPL clubs of jealousy, pettiness and bigotry after they denied the new Rangers into the SPL. He may be right. Or could also be wrong. We are not here to judge.  The Scottish FA  having taken cognisance of the massive impact the implosion (caused by the Rangers meltdown) would have preferred Rangers to play in the First Division. They attempted to restructure Scottish football and offer incentives to the lower division teams. This alternative was however, unsuccessful as the other teams saw this as a chance to punish the League giants for their misdemeanors. Rangers played Brechin in the League Challenge Cup this weekend and came out winners after extra time by 2-1! A fixture the Rangers of  the past would not even have contemplated during the off-season (unless it was a pre-season friendly or testimonial match).
This refrain shall be heard down in the lower echelons of Scottish League football next few seasons:

Hullo, Hullo
We are the Rangers Boys
Hullo, Hullo
You’ll know us by our noise
We’re down to our knees to see our team
At Ibrox or away
For we are
The Glasgow Rangers Boys

Rangers FC  is definitely down to its knees. Scottish Football too may also be down to its knees as result. As a result of the meltdown at Rangers, the majority of their first teamers have left. The Manager Ally McCoist reckons over 20 players have left. A few have crossed the border to join the likes of Everton FC, Norwich and other Premier League and Championship teams. Rangers deserved to be penalised for the misdeeds of the previous owners/executives. Moreover, tax avoidance is abhorrent. However, penalizing the ‘newco’ so excessively will be to the detriment of Scottish football. How many people outside Scotland will be looking forward to the SPL games on television? Many of the SPL teams are going to suffer financially as a result of the chasm created by the absence of Rangers football club. Clubs like Inverness Caley Thistle and St Mirren (just to mention two) have all ready voiced their concerns. The financial plight that faces Scottish football, in the backdrop of revenues that have not significantly increased for years may take some clubs to the wall. It will be a sad day indeed if any one of the SPL clubs faces bankruptcy or liquidation. Moreover, the absence of the ‘Old Firm’ games will remove the only ‘glamour’ Scottish league game from our screens. Many people from across the globe have always followed the ‘Old Firm’ matches – frenetic, sectarian, absorbing, tribal rivalry very exciting all the time. There will be no one standing in the way of Celtic for the next few years, and if that does not make a League boring! Celtic are a great club, and the rest of the SPL are not anywhere near Celtic in terms of quality or financial power so it is going to be quite interesting to see how things pan out.

Rangers like the phoenix will rise again. They are wounded, and certainly hurt. However, the club with the backing of the thousands of its supporters will get back to the top of league football again. In the meantime the team’s presence in the lower reaches will be good for the 3rd Division teams financially. Juventus suffered the ignominy of relegation to the Serie C in 2006 following one of the worst scandals in Italian football. The Old Lady of Turin only won the Italian Serie A again  last season. We wait to see how Rangers will fight back. We are certain they will come back stronger. Scottish football though may yet suffer more heartache in the meantime.

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A silver medal with the olympic rings inside

A silver medal with the olympic rings inside (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally they have arrived. The whole world witnessed one magnificent spectacle last night when the Olympics were officially kicked off.

More than 11000 athletes are competing. Well, watching the archery today I thought, umm maybe the word athlete is abused here. Whenever ‘athlete’ is mentioned, I for one expect a specimen of physical fitness, evidence of hard work at the gym, running swimming or whatever. The Olympics motto is ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ and I am sure the Olympic family embraces all those who take part.  But looking at the archers,well! It doesn’t matter anyway. The Queen apparently parachuted herself into the Olympic Park! Who would have ever thought or imagined that possible. Whether it was the Queen or not is secondary. David Cameron was in attendance too. What he made of it I will always wonder. The best bit for me was watching the athletes walking into the stadium. They are the performers, without them there will be nothing to watch.

Mark Cavendish (cyclist) did not win the gold medal as everyone expected. He didn’t get any medal at all. After Bradley Wiggins‘s victory in France last week, we all expected Cavendish to triumph on home soil as well. He is a very, very good cyclist.It wasnt meant to be. Michael Phelps could not get a look in as well. He came fourth in the 400m Individual Medley. Ryan Lochte,had the cheek to beat him. The American part of the Olympic Village must be a fun place to be tonight. Team GB ladies football team is doing well and I hope that will be replicated by the male team.

Football/soccer

Just been watching English teams playing or showcasing the ‘beautiful game’, in the USA and Canada. They prefer calling it soccer in those parts. Liverpool just played a 0-0 draw with Spurs,and that got me wondering whether the Americans enjoyed it at all. Or how much they are enjoying it. Of course there is a significant proportion of fans who have always watched ‘our football’ or migrated from the hotbeds of football and they will of course enjoy watching the teams from England and Europe. Liverpool have a massive fan base across the globe too. The English teams have every right to invade those ‘virgin’ territories to develop more marketing opportunities. How is the market responding?  The MLS seems to be getting stronger and more competitive too. It’s a good thing the MLS never thought they would name their competitions a ‘world Series’ like the MLB does. Is soccer proving to be a major competitor to MLB, NBA, NFL, NASCAR etc? As a football lover, I really hope soccer becomes big in America. The other side of the same coin though, is that I would also love to watch say the Boston Red Sox playing the White Sox or the Dodgers in the UK. The NFL have a game annually at Wembley. Surely MLB could also have something similar, at Lords or the Oval! After all even NBA has exhibition ,matches, plus, there is the Harlem Globetrotters!

Darts.

It is indeed a very good weekend for sport. We have got darts tonight as well. We have got the World Matchplay at Blackpool. Here is to Hoping Phil ‘the Power’ Taylor is victorious. Whats in a name anyways? All these sports like to call their tournaments ‘world’ this and that. Americans do that for competitions involving not more than 2 countries. Yes Uncle Sam that’s true. Darts now have also got onto the act and proclaim to have a ‘World Matchplay’. Possibly involving more than 5 countries. The mind boggles. But does that give these sports the right to add ‘world cup’ to their competitions? At least with football (or soccer we know every country in the world gets a look in. Why is darts not an Olympic sport,any road? Surely it is a sport and you are very unlikely to find anyone taking performance enhancing drugs in this sport. Moreover, there would have been a guaranteed Gold Medal for Team GB – Phil Taylor would have won it. It time the IOC reviewed the games on offer. Talking of performance enhancing drugs, Hysen Pulaku from Albania has all ready been thrown out of the Olympics for using anabolic steroids. At least two other athletes from Morocco and Hungary have been precluded from taking art in the Olympics because of the use/abuse of these illegal substances.

Formula One

Congrats to Lewis Hamilton getting pole for the Hungarian Grand Prix. The boy is made of sterner stuff. The British tabloids have been relentlessly trying to make his personal life a nightmare of late. If not discussing the ins and outs of his contract with McLaren, they are busy trying to turn a mole hill into a mountain – Apparently Lewis Hamilton had the temerity to hang out with mates (including girls)  when Nicole Scherzinger was away working.Therefore his girlfriend is either (1) going to give him a stern talking to, or (2) Dump him. Well,well, well,I bet the same journalists are allowed to go out for drinks with friends of the opposite sex without asking for explicit permission from their other halves! Ignore the barracking Lewis, and win the Hungarian Grand Prix for all the millions who follow you and McLaren. Admittedly McLaren have had a bad time of late with pit stops, mechanical faults, weather et al. Hopefully they have turned a corner! An interesting fact I just felt I had to throw in: Sebastien Vettel has never won in July. He doesn’t win in July. Therefore the competition for first place tomorrow will just be Alonso, Webber, Schumacher and or Button. Those are my bold predictions. Ladies and gentlemen.

It is quite exciting at the moment.London is doing well. We hope the weather decides to take a back seat and not rain on this parade. Oh and we hope Mitt Romney and his apparatchiks are watching: ‘YES WE CAN.

52nd Post

English: World Athletics Championships 2007 in...

English: World Athletics Championships 2007 in Osaka – Jamaican 200 metres runner Usain Bolt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have done the golden jubilee, half-century or just plain 50.Now racing to the hundred. Actually sprinting, so Usain Bolt better watch out!

I thought to celebrate the grand occasion,I would review one of the best books I have read, and share my views.

KAFKA:  The Trial

The trial is about a man called Joseph K who, on his 30th birthday gets accosted by two ‘police officers’ and gets arrested for a ‘crime’ he never committed. A ‘crime’ he was not to know either. Josef K is a junior manager for a bank and lives by himself. He is of course very enraged and starts to wonder what is really happening around his world. Thus the nightmare begins.

The book is a detailed account of the trials and tribulations Josef K goes through until the day he is ‘judicially murdered’ a year from the day he was first arrested. It is like someone somewhere has been watching Josef K and is reminiscent of Big Brother (1984) in a way. Kafka is subjected to ‘Chinese water torture‘  for the whole year. The saying ‘those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad’ aptly describes the ordeal he had to suffer throughout that period. His life is turned upside down and he becomes a ‘prisoner’ and is told to ‘accept his situation’. The warders and the courts never tell him what his ‘crime’ is.

The bureaucracy and Invisible Law is staggering. He attends court, there are constant court appearances yet he does not know what the charge(s) is/are. The legal system is so crushing and it is hopeless. Maybe he should never have acknowledged that he had committed a ‘crime’. He is made to interminably wait and they simply mess up with his head. The court systems is at best very strange and yet at the same time there is such a bureaucratic mire he has to navigate. The court officials do not seem to have an acute understanding of cases and ‘consequently they could hardly ever quite follow in their further progress… ‘It looks like there is a psychological determination to destroy him.Perhaps its he way the bureaucratic system was perceived in early 1900s when the book was written. Joseph K is offered advise from ‘mentors’ and they all seemed to at times. He also tries to put his trust in females,but no one can help him with his case. He is marooned.  The psychological quagmire he is entrapped is so suffocating. ‘Guilt’ seems to be the overriding theme. Everyone assumes he is ‘guilty’ or else he would not be in that ‘situation’. When he tells court claim that he is ‘innocent’, he is asked in turn ‘innocent of what’? He has no human rights whatsoever and his life is at the mercy of the state apparatus.

It is not difficult to find oneself sympathising with this character. The state has pressed a self-destruct button and although he tries to keep level-headed, going to work and keeping to routines, he can not escape the knowledge that in the eyes of the law he is deemed  guilty. Its said Kafka did not finish the book and the end comes rather unexpectedly. Maybe that is why there seems to be a gap between the Cathedral  scene and his final demise. At the Cathedral he seemed to suggest to the priest he was going to fight to prove that he is not guilty. Yet when the two warders come to collect him and lead him to his death he does not protest. Joseph K ultimately dies at the hands of the state’s executioners. He accepts the inevitability of his death. Is this a final act to escape the nightmare or is it mere submission to authority yet again? At least the nightmare comes to an end.

The book seems to want to highlight the problems with bureaucracy. Even senior officials do not know the rules, they claim to work under. People who work in these bureaucracies might as well be robots. It also portrays the state as an organ that it can willy-nilly disregard the rights of  citizens. It is omnipresent and also destroys people’s lives. Kafka  also cleverly illustrates the human tendency to submit to authority. Even when the authority’s actions are questionable. However, one finds themselves wanting to support him, and or expose the state for what it is, a cold-hearted bully.

lifesocommon

The three mates were having a good time . Chilling out and having fun. They had not been out together for a while and tonight it felt really good. Clare, Amanda and Jason were  best mates and they loved hanging out but most of their hanging out lately had been on the social network site  Facebook. Work and relationship pressures had made it nigh impossible to meet often.
‘Girls lets have some fun. We are gonna party tonite!’, enthused  Jason. Giggling as he brought 3 Flaming sambuccas to the table.
‘Wow Jase. You sure know how to get the party  started!’ trilled Clare.
TGIF!’ Responded Amanda. ‘I so needed this after the week I have had’, she continued.
‘Hear, hear. Girls this is just the appetizer. We are going to have a proper party tonight. Are you up for it?’ Jason enthusiastically enquired.
‘I have…

View original post 1,693 more words

 

 

Love

The internet can be an effective place to find love. According to a recent Pew Research study, about 37% of single people have used some form of internet dating site, and about 17% of online daters have found long-term love online. With well over a million paying members and 20,000 new members joining each day, Match.com is the leading online dating site. And, overall, online dating sites are expected to earn 1.9 billion in revenue this year alone.

When looking for love online, women seek men with high-paying jobs. In turn, men are more likely than women to reveal financial information about  than women are.

However, the most common answer that you will hear if you ask  women about what they want in a man; it would be either good looks or good sense of humor.

Grammar matters! Studies have shown that when it comes to online dating profiles and messages, grammar matters just as much as the content itself. Poor punctuation is a turn-off to both sexes.

In Qatar there are 307 men for every 100 women.

Olympics

The Olympic Torch relay was started by the Germans for the 1936 Olympics, as part of their propaganda onslaught

200

200 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

.

London is the first city to host the Olympics three times – 1908, 1948 and 2012.

London 2012 Olympics will run for 17 days.

Over 11000 athletes are competing at London 2012

The Olympic motto is citius, altius, fortius – Latin for faster, higher, stronger.

The five interlocking rings represent the five continents.

Greece’s athletes enter the stadium first at the opening ceremony.

541 athletes are representing Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics.

Track and field athletics dominates with 2,242 athletes, but after that (and excluding team games), there’s swimming (948), then shooting with 391 and Judo with 390.

As recently as 1984, women were barred from running marathons, and in 1996, 26 countries had no female athletes in the Games.

First Olympics ever where every country will be represented by at least one female.

The United States has more female athletes competing than male athletes, with 269 women competing, and 261 men.

Middle Eastern countries Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Brunei are sending women for the very first time.

Female participation in sport is banned in Saudi Arabia. Their female representative was born, raised, and trains in the USA.

Some 44% of all athletes are women (highest numbers from the UK). In terms of percentage of the major teams are: Japan (53%), Russia (52%), the US (51%), the UK is further down the list with 48%, behind Ethiopia.

Over 11000 athletes are competing at London 2012

150 000 condoms have been provided to the athletes at London 2012. 130 000 were supplied at the last Olympics in Athens.

4 billion viewers worldwide are expected to watch the Olympics

For the first time ever, 3D Live television will be screened at the Olympics.

The world’s biggest McDonald’s with seating for 1500 was constructed for the Olympics.

1948 Olympics-Athletes had to bring their own food.

Baked Bean is cockney rhyming slang for the Queen.

The Cook Islands’ eight athletes represent a rate of 40 per 100,000 inhabitants – the highest rate in the world.

Other

Though toilet paper is often thought of as a cornerstone of modern Western civilization, it was invented in China in the 6th century.

Toilet paper comes in two varieties: virgin, which is freshly made from chipped wood and non-virgin, which is recycled paper.

India’s population is set to grow by over 295 million, or 26% by 2025.

Italy has the highest rate of mobile phone subscribers in Europe.

In Japan nearly 30% of the population is aged 60 or over.

More than 30% of women and men in America are obese.

 

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