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3-2 loss to Burnley

on opening day (or

is it 2-3 because Chelsea

was the home team?

I can never remember)

with Cahill

and Fabregas both sent off

(lunging “tackle” for the captain

and sarcastic clapping and

clumsy tackle for the Spaniard)

but we came back

in the second half and made

a game of it

and it was more memorable

than the 1-0 wins against

West Brom and blah and whoever

last year

and if you don’t love football

even when your team loses a

stinker

you love it for the wrong reasons

 

[wrote this more than a year ago but the loss was too painful to post until now]

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This ought to be a TV commercial.

I was sitting at the bar of the Celtic Hearth on Water Street in St. John’s, Newfoundland watching the game when a retired couple came in and sat beside me. The gentleman asked for a Guinness and was shocked to hear they didn’t have it, but rather Kilkenny.

Surprising that they didn’t, but moreso that they usually do but were somehow out, and most surprising that this wasn’t the first bar on the strip he’d asked after a Guinness, only to be denied. He turned to me and asked could I believe it? His people had settled the damn place and they didn’t have Guinness?

Where are you from? I asked. Originally Ireland but lately Sudbury. We talked a bit about the footie and then he left, off on his appallingly quixotic search for Guinness in a city more Irish than Ireland.

I love football (that’s soccer to you North Americans!) so much and the Euro championship is second only to the World Cup in international competitions for me. Every four years the best of the best in Europe face off for bragging rights.

I like to think that I know a little bit about football, and hopefully I’m learning more all the time, so I was excited to try to predict who would win each group, and who would qualify for the knockout rounds. I’m happy to report that I did incredibly well… I’m sure all the so-called experts will be amazed at how unerring my picks were!

With a feisty performance, Croatia came out ahead of Spain, who has won the last two Euros. Not many would have picked Croatia to top Group D, and I was not one of them.

Fuck.

I may be Canadian, but my spiritual home is England, and I think they’re going to go all the way this year, winning their first international tournament since World Cup 1966. I have so much confidence I knew they could purposely draw to Russia and Slovakia, allowing Wales to lead Group B, putting the whole competition right where they want them, and setting up a matchup with the overachieving Iceland.

God damn it.

You say Hungary hasn’t been good since they were world-beating in the 1950s? I totally knew they’d fool everyone and beat their former imperial partner Austria as well as achieve a high-scoring draw with Portugal and their star and arguably the best player in the world, Christiano Ronaldo.

Are you fucking kidding me? Hungary?!

Wales, Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland all moving on to the Round of 16? Called it!

I also predicted Golden State beating Cleveland in four straight, and that’s exactly what happened, right? I’m so confident in that prediction that I didn’t even bother watching the NBA Finals!

I didn’t enter a pool at work this year, or show any other living being my picks, so you’ll just have to trust me that I picked all sixteen brackets and no doubt have every slot all the way to the final correct. That’s pretty amazing, considering all the upsets and underachievers, don’t you think?

Piss on a stick.

 

Carefree Wherever You May Be

“Carefree Wherever You May Be” with model Rollie from ninjakillercat.co.uk

Although I grew up with dogs as pets and a baseball fan, tastes change, and now I love cats and soccer. Lately I’ve been thinking about getting another cat, and the thought of naming it to honour my favourite team, Chelsea, has crossed my mind. Cat lovers, above all other pet owners, seem to be fond of giving their furry companions grandiose and/or punny names. And I’m certainly at a time in my life when I should be allowed to be eccentric… Keep the Freak Flag Flying High! So here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  • Super, Super Furry Lampard – after the song for club legend “Super Frankie” Lampard
  • Gary Cat-ill – this is just horrible, and I know it, don’t worry!
  • Thibault Cat-ois – is he the best goalie in the world? Is kitty got the fluffiest tummy?
  • Tabby Courtois – keep in mind that I don’t have the cat yet, and this only works if it’s a tabby
  • Florent Meow-louda – Malouda played for Chelsea when I first started watching them
  • Stam-fur Bridge – the home of Chelsea since their inception in 1905, Stamford Bridge

These are all OK (except Gary Cat-ill, of course), but I’ve saved the best for last:

  • Jose Meow-rinho
  • Kitty A. Drogba

Help me choose between them! But keep in mind, this poor cat will have to live with this silly name, whether Chelsea are winning the league at a canter like in 2014-15, or losing in every possible way in 2015-16.

* * * * *

Just for fun, in case I can ever afford to live in a house and can get a dog (I still love them, too!), here are a few Chelsea dog names:

  • Os-cur
  • John Terrier
  • Didier Dogba

“bundled in the box”
“that went in from a very tight angle”
“false 9”
“fullback”
“dead ball”
“top of the table”
“scoring from set pieces”
“come-backer off the post”
“studs up”
“nutmeg”
“marking his man”
“hand ball”
“Hotspur”
“he was adjudged to have handled the ball”

cincinnati redsChicago Cubs – There was a time when baseball was America’s pastime and the sport held the allegiance of all right-thinking people, but football has since supplanted it in the hearts of an increasingly conservative populace. In a more innocent age, Cubs were a perfectly acceptable mascot, but football demanded more machismo, and so it was that Chicago’s team became the Bears, in an effort to one-up the beloved baseball team. Bears were big, burly, and tough, while Cubs–or worse still, Cubbies–were derided as less manly. Of course, after the sexual revolution of the 1970s, the irony of big, hairy men who rolled around in the grass together and were prone to patting each other on their butts being seen as exemplars of heterosexual toughness became apparent. The Cubs, meanwhile, remain simple adorable losers, with little sexual identity whatsoever.

Milwaukee Brewers – During Prohibition, Milwaukee, which had long been known as a centre of beer production, struggled mightily. Looking to save their businesses, the breweries diversified their products to include colas and root beers. Al Capone took advantage of the situation and arranged for the smuggling of illicit booze into Chicago from nearby Milwaukee. Always eager to conceal his criminal operations behind a veneer of legitimate business, Capone owned a company that supplied public school cafeterias with soft drinks. In 1927 his entire operation was almost brought to its knees when alcohol meant for speakeasies was accidentally shipped to grammar schools, resulting in mass drunkenness amongst Chicago’s 5 to 8-year olds. Capone managed to shift the blame to the Milwaukee breweries, which were shut down for the remainder of Prohibition, and the entire city, by extension, was vilified as a den of iniquity. In Chicago, ever since, a “Milwaukee Brewer” has meant someone who serves alcohol to minors.

St. Louis Cardinals – Catholics were once viewed with as much suspicion in America as Muslims and Scientologists are today. In fact, the main targets of the Ku Klux Klan after African Americans were Catholics. St. Louis, for a time the biggest city on the Frontier, and the Gateway to the West, once had two baseball teams: the Browns and the still-extant Cardinals. Much like Rangers and Celtic in Glasgow, the teams garnered support from opposite sides of the spiritual divide. The pious and unprepossessing Browns were the choice of dour Protestants, while the Cardinals, as much as they tried to hide their papal allegiance behind their bird mascot, were Catholic to the marrow. For the many born-again Christians who don’t believe Catholics are Christians, the Cardinals still represent a fifth column in the heart of the Mid-West.

Pittsburgh Pirates – At the height of their success in the nineteen-oughts, the Pirates were the preeminent base stealers in baseball, but off the diamond were notorious ladies men, apt to steal your best gal from under your nose. This reputation took a severe hit in the 1970s with the rise to prominence of the homely Kent Tekulve, and was well and truly put to rest with the addition of the monstrously ugly Zane Smith in the 1980s.

Cincinnati Reds – Dirty Commies. Still, twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall? You betcha.

– Many of the players will never, in their entire careers, touch the ball, let alone score

– For such a supposedly tough sport, there are an awful lot of rules about what you can and can’t do to tackle

– The extreme macho bullshit

– The scoring system is complicated and arbitrary

John Terry and fans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I expect that I would not have much trouble defending you lot, eh?”

“How about your mum, lads? Is she a goer?”

“Lovely wheels, boys, mind if I take them for a spin?”

“Me an’ two ol’ ‘eadhunters, yeah? Nah, I’m only takin’ the piss.”

“… carefree, you and me, lads… not like that c**t Rio Ferdinand…”

20130125-073114.jpg

Toronto City Councillor and World War I flying ace Giorgio Mammoliti addresses the media moments before hopping into his Sopwith Camel to go shoot down the Red Baron. Mammoliti is convinced that there’s a vast conspiracy in Toronto targeted at and organized by City Councillors and their allies, designed to discredit Mayor Rob Ford, who was convicted of a conflict of interest violation, accused of threatening a reporter and giving the finger to a seven year-old girl, used city resources to benefit his family business and to help coach his football team, and involved in numerous other self-made scandals. Mammoliti, who can purportedly “smell” communism and is best known for his efforts to erect the largest flag pole in the world, taking his shirt off at City Hall to make a point, suggesting that the Toronto Islands be turned into a red light district, and who has been known to attend the Dyke March with a video camera, is conducting an investigation on his own, and will notify the police when he has sufficient evidence, or when he finds a mysterious one-thumbed man who he is convinced can explain all of his odd behaviour and shenanigans around City Hall.

“My defence is that you’re all liars.”

“That never happened, and if it did, it was because I was drunk.”

“The kids!”

“The football players!!”

“The black football players!!!”

“Folks…”

“It’s not a conflict if I never understood the rules in the first place.”

“Err, Doug, maybe you shouldn’t… <sigh>”

“I do not understand math.”

“________? I don’t know the meaning of the word.”

“Do you wanna step outside?”

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