Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Twelve Days of Gheorghe-mas: Day Seven

On the seventh day of Gheorghe-mas, Big Gheorghe gave to me...

Seven Football Stories
Six Bits Worth Reviving
Five Awesome Gifts
Four Smokin' Rock Chicks
Three Blogging Concepts (Sports, Drinking, Elitism)
Two Footie Stories
And a Doofus on a Pony

Yes, we're hitting you up with more football talk. We will focus on EPL action here, as recent events in league play have set the stage for a fascinating Spring in 2012. So without further ado, let's kick it off.

1) The Big 4 is Now the Big 7. The Big 4 have seen some newcomers infringe on their turf at the top of the league tables, and while the title chase appears to be a two-horse race with the Manchester clubs, spots 3-7 remain very competitive. It seemed to be a given that Manchester City was going to run away with the league title, but a 2-1 loss to Chelsea in an intense match ten days ago has shifted momentum. Manchester City, with 44 points, leads Manchester United by two points as we near the halfway part of the season. A quintet of clubs trails them, hoping to climb into the Top 4 to qualify for next year's Champions League. They are Tottenham (34 pts), Chelsea (32), Arsenal (32), Liverpool (30) and Newcastle (27).

2) Spurs Is for Real. So is Newcastle. The biggest surprises of the season have been Tottenham and Newcastle. Spurs have been aided by ageless American keeper Brad Friedel, while Newcastle has seemed to scrape and claw their way through every match, rediscovering their swagger in their second season back in the EPL after being relegated a few years back. They have fallen back a bit of late, but their cool uniforms make them worthy of inclusion.

3) The Return of Landon (Calrissean) Donovan. Landon will be loaned out to Everton again for two months, after a successful stint there in 2010. Everton could sneak up into the top 8 of the standings if Donovan can provide the horsepower on offense to compliment Tim Howard.

4) Will Manchester United Sure Up Their Midfield? The Red Devils have been struggling to put the ball into the net for much of the year. The center midfield position has been an especially weak spot, forcing Sir Alex Ferguson to play Wayne Rooney in more of a midfield role. Michael Carrick is serviceable but not great, Phil Jones is a natural wing player and Darren Fletcher is suffering from a "chronic inflammatory bowel condition" called ulcerative colitis. Sounds unfun. So let's cross our fingers that the Glazers can pony up some casheesh to bring in a talented player during the January transfer window.

5) Will Manchester City's Team of All-Stars and Lunatics Implode the Squad? Since my last post on Manchester City on Day Two of Gheorghe-mas, the team has not disappointed me. Model-banging striker Mario Balotelli got into a fight with teammate Micah Richards at practice. Practice!? We talking 'bout practice. Practice. The club is dealing with the situation by increasing the height of its fences at its training field so the media can't see the dysfunction firsthand. For the record, I wouldn't mess with Micah Richards. Dude looks like he can whoop some ass. But then again, if I was a 20 year-old Ferrari driving multimillionaire, I might do it.



6) The Fall (And Subsequent Rise) of Arsenal. Arsenal shat the bed pretty fiercely out of the gate this Fall, starting the season 1-3-1, which included an 8-2 arse-whooping loss to Manchester United and a 4-3 loss to feeble Blackburn. However, the team has pulled it together since then, going 9-2-1 in its subsequent twelve matches to climb into a 4th place tie with Chelsea.

7) Sports Appetizer This Afternoon. We have a great weekend of NFL and NBA action ahead of us, but you can start your sports viewing this long weekend by watching Spurs-Chelsea at 3 PM. Go get some.

Bonus footage: Ruud van Nistlerooy highlight clip. Mr. van Nistlerooy was a prolific Dutch striker who played for Man U for six years earlier this decade, and then for Real Madrid for four more years. His skills were almost as awesome as his name is, so we are including a clip of him. I admire this clip poster's fandom, if not his grammatical skills.

36 comments:

T.J. said...

Whoo hoo soccer talk!

T.J. said...

Can I get a Bolton Wanderers update, please?

T.J. said...

Can I get a Bolton Wanderers update, please?

zman said...

I cannot believe that you didn't name either of your sons Ruud.

TR said...

Bolton is on track to be relegated. Sorry to be the one to break the news to you.

T.J. said...

Wheelhouse Jerry had hinted at relegation...how am I supposed to live without them? I'll have to get back on my feet again.

Igor said...

So Day 2 was Two Footie Stories and Day 7 was Seven Football Stories? I think next year we can just give TR Day 9.

T.J. said...

Which member of the editorial staff forgot their login and/or password? Gmail ratted you out.

T.J. said...

Also, Igor, where's the recap of your evening?

rob said...

my cats are named siick and ruud.

and what the fuck is wrong with fulham?

Igor said...

Event was mostly uneventful. Beer and wine were served in the main ballroom but a few of us ducked into the upstairs bar where we knew the barkeep and slugged Jameson like they were planning to close the distillery down in 2012.

Later I was chastised for dancing with the 23-year-old daughter of the host "too wildly." I guess my moves are too hot. "What is this, Footloose?" was not the appropriate retort, apparently. No big deal, though. They know what they're getting inviting me.

Most amusing was my former HS/college girlfriend who was looking down on me - in every sense of the expression - as I tore it up in a drunken frenzy of tuxedo-tearing rug-cutting. The head-shaking look of "dear lord, thank you for not letting me marry him" was plain as day.

zman said...

A 23-year-old is a grown ass woman and you can dance with her in any manner to which she will permit you.

TR said...

From the oldest of times, people danced for a number of reasons. They danced in prayer. Or so that their crops would be plentiful. Or so their hunt would be good.

And they danced to stay physically fit...and show their community spirit. And they danced to celebrate.

And that is the dancing we're talking about. Aren't we told in Psalm: Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song. Let them praise his name in the dance. Amen.

And it was King David-- KingDavid, who we read about in Samuel. And what did David do? What did David do? What did David do?

David danced before the Lord with all his might...leaping and dancing before the Lord. Leaping and dancing.

Ecclesiastes assures us...that there is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to laugh...and a time to weep. A time to mourn...and there is a time to dance.

rob said...

keep it up, tr. i'm doing absolutely nothing here at the rockpile today, so i need some entertainment.

Dave said...

igor, i would have loved to see that exchange . . . not many footloose allusions these days.

tr-- nice allen iverson allusion. i suppose i will have to get cable to understand any of the soccer stuff . . .

Mark said...

Nice work by TR. I bet he secretly went and saw the Footloose remake earlier this year.

Nice Michael Bolton ref by the Teej as well.

T.J. said...

The greatest game of chicken ever filmed... Footloose tractor race.

rob said...

what's the etiquette of commenting on gtb via ipad while on the shitter? asking for a friend.

rob said...

gio gonzalez is a national. that's a pretty solid top 3 in their rotation with strasburg and zimmermann.

rob said...

tim tebow's florida jersey was the third-highest seller in ncaa football. this year.

Igor said...

Dave, full disclosure, I borrowed the Footloose allusion from myself 10 years ago. It was way less popular and much dorkier then, if that's possible.

I was at the Four Provinces in DC, dancing with Flynn's wife. Not a bar where people dance. But the old man bouncer was incomprehensibly infuriated by it, especially the part where I tossed her into the air. He came rushing up, "No dancing!!" Hence, Footloose.

I only mention this to include a Flynn anecdote. The situation escalated when Flynn told the grumpy old guy, "Hey, if you've got a problem with her, you've got a problem with me." With much false bravado.

Just before something happened, a dude pulled Flynn aside and said, "Hey, look, I'm an off-duty cop, and this bouncer is being an asshole, I know, but before anything happens, maybe just be the bigger guy and let it go. Maybe even get your tab and go somewhere else, it's not your fault, but like I said, he's being an a-hole."

Flynn, deadpan: "Dude . . . you had me at 'off-duty cop'. We're out of here."

Miss that idiot.

Igor said...

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), famously engaged in the quest for the Higgs boson, has turned up a heavier variant of a sub-atomic particle first discovered a quarter-century ago, scientists reported Thursday.

The newcomer is called Chi-b(3P), which was uncovered in the debris from colliding protons, according to research published in the open-access online journal arXiv. Like the elusive Higgs and the photon, it is a boson, meaning it is a particle that carries force.

But while the Higgs is not believed to be made of smaller particles, the Chi-b(3) comprises two relatively heavy particles, the beauty quark The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), famously engaged in the quest for the Higgs boson, has turned up a heavier variant of a sub-atomic particle first discovered a quarter-century ago, scientists reported Thursday. The newcomer is called Chi-b(3P), which was uncovered in the debris from colliding protons, according to research published in the open-access online journal arXiv.

Like the elusive Higgs and the photon, it is a boson, meaning it is a particle that carries force.
But while the Higgs is not believed to be made of smaller particles, the Chi-b(3) comprises two relatively heavy particles, the beauty quark and its antiquark. They are bonded by the so-called "strong" force which also causes the atomic nucleus to stick together.They are bonded by the so-called "strong" force which also causes the atomic nucleus to stick together.

Described by some as the world's largest machine, the LHC is located in a 17-mile (27km) ring-shaped tunnel near Geneva that straddles the Franco-Swiss border up to 580 feet (175m) below ground. Streams of protons are fired in opposite, but parallel, directions in the tunnel. The beams are then bent by powerful magnets so that some of the protons collide in four giant labs, which are lined with detectors to record the sub-atomic debris that results.

On December 13, physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) said they had narrowed the search for the Higgs -- the so-called "God particle" that may confer mass.

The theory behind the Higgs is that mass does not derive from particles themselves. Instead, it comes from a boson that interacts strongly with some particles but less, if at all, with others.
Finding the Chi-b(3P) is a further test of the powers of the LHC, which became the world's biggest particle collider when it was completed in 2008.

"Our new measurements are a great way to test theoretical calculations of the forces that act on fundamental particles, and will move us a step closer to understanding how the Universe is held together," said Miram Watson, a British research fellow working on the CHi-b(3) investigation.

A massive collaborative effort that brings in physicists from around the world, the LHC has cost more than 6.03 billion Swiss francs (roughly $4.5 billion).

Danimal said...

For some reason I just opened a heineken. The only beer I officially dislike.
Nice Flynn story Igor. Not a ton of time spent w that guy but enough to be able to say the same thing.
Rob....who u like tonight? Boise giving 14. I made my wager but was just curious.

mayhugh said...

I like Boise. It has got to be a let down for Boise to be playing a .500 team from a middling BCS conference, but I think Kellen's a leader and he has them up for this game.

Dave said...

ahh flynn . . . that story is so flynn. and glad you're "covering" your old comments-- it's good to revive that old material and see how it does. perhaps i will bring back "carlos the latin lover."

Igor said...

Ooh. I miss Carlos, too.

Danimal said...

Mayhugh....I like boise too but was hoping rob favored a.s.u.
I'm 2-0 w going against the rob grain. A little easy grain to get over but against it nonetheless.

zman said...

Daddy needs a drink to keep the wheels from rubbin.

mayhugh said...

Aging Dennis erikson is looking more and more like Ted Knight.

Shlara said...

Love the story Igor...the world misses Flynn

Igor said...

Speaking of, Zman, Truckers playing a trio of shows in DC to close out 2011. Not a strong chance I make one, but not impossible.

zman said...

Make it happen.

rob said...

danimal, sorry for the late input, but i like boise tonight. i'm noted for my poor gambling skeelz, so i hope it works out for you. i did once predict the exact final score of the sec championship game, as did mark. it's pretty much the greatest thing that ever happened on the internet.

mayhugh said...

Teej's USC-Texas championship prediction is way up there too.

rob said...

he paid you to say that, didn't he?

rob said...

terry bowden's back in the coaching game. at akron.