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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.

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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”

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…”

As reported in the Globe and Mail, National Post, and Toronto Star, a Toronto Public School has banned balls–with the exception of Nerf balls–from school property after some unfortunate injuries to students and a parent. I don’t really have a comment, I just wanted to thank the newspapers and the Internet for providing me with so many opportunities to giggle inappropriately and immaturely. I haven’t laughed this much since last year’s infamous “Public Works promises to fill up every hole and find every crack” campaign, not to mention 2004’s “What does the city propose to do about our nuts?” kerfuffle.

Citing safety, Toronto school takes brave stand against balls.

Balls have been removed from the playground at the Earl Beatty Public School in Toronto.

After several “serious incidents” where people were “almost struck” by flying balls, and one person was tragically bonked on the head, a Toronto elementary school has cracked down.

Students rebel against Toronto schoolyard ban on balls.

“It was total disregard for rules and total disrespect,” said Principal Alicia Fernandez, adding that parents, teachers and students have all been struck by rogue balls.

“We have very limited space in the playground, so it’s hard to monitor those balls as they’re flying around,” Ms. Fernandez said.

“I think they need these balls because they have a small schoolyard and that if they’re not going be able to play [with them] they might be picking up rocks, or the pinecones,” said Ms. White. “They need some kind of bouncy ball. Every kid does.”

Students at Earl Beatty Public School revolt: ‘We want our balls back.’

“We want our balls back! We want our balls back!” they chanted as supervisors in fluorescent vests shooed them away from the edge of the property and reporters gathered on the other side the fence.

“They’re indoor balls,” said 13-year-old Annabelle Grant, a Grade 8 student. “If we don’t have (real) balls we won’t be as active.”

Ahh, yeah.

“I was told there’d be more hair-pulling.”

“I haven’t seen a woman kick balls that hard since that time Carrie found out Steve was cheating on her.”

“This is for that foul in the last game!”

“This is for Pearl Harbor!!”

“This is for the boyfriend you stole!!!”

“World Cup, huh? More like “A” Cup, maybe a few “B”s…”

“I thought this was going to be lingerie football…”

“There’s no crying in football!”

“What do you mean ‘if there’s grass on the field, play ball?’ Of course there’s grass on the field!”

“I hear the North Koreans are smuggling weapons of mass destruction in their shinguards.”

“I haven’t seen so many pony-tailed athletes since the Men’s World Cup.”

“Heh-heh. ‘Heads the ball’… heh-heh.”

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