The big game is coming up on June 3rd. In preparation, Bahrain played Saudi a couple of days ago and drew 1-1. More on the analysis in the next few days, but first to more important matters.
I'm sure quite a few of you are in the same problem as me, where it is very hard to find places to watch to Bahrain games if you are abroad. Sure, if you're in London, you can go to Edgeware road, but usually there are other games (e.g. Saudi Arabia or Kuwait) on at the same time that attract more people and hence are shown in the coffeeshops. Also, Eurosport occasionally shows the games (Eurosport one will show the Bahrain-Japan game), but this is not always the case and it is of no use if you don't have cable. Hence, we are sometimes reduced to watching games on the mediocre steaming of the Saudi sports channel.
I have just stumbled across this cool thing called, surprise surprise, coolstreaming. It's really good stuff, where it streams lots of (Chinese) channels that show lots of football games live. The difference between coolstreaming and normal streaming is that in normal streaming the more people are watching the stream the worse it becomes. It starts to buffer a lot, and it jams. Coolstreaming has the opposite features. THE MORE PEOPLE WATCH IT THE BETTER THE QUALITY AND THE LESS THE BUFFERING! This is why I'm telling you guys about it. Not out of the genrosity of my heart, but because the more of you that watch it the better quality I get. It apparently works in similar fashion to bit torrent, where people share the files (or buffering in this case) between them, something similar to peer-to-peer programs. I'm not sure of the technical stuff, I'll leave it to the computer whizzes.
Anyhow.... it's really good because it also shows tons of premiership, italian and spanish leage games. All for free!
There is a drawback. First, you need quite a high broadband connection. Secondly, all the channels are chinese, since the inventor of it is chinese, so no Al Jazeera etc and pretty weird commentary. Just shows you how creativity is flourishing over there but it is largely stagnant in our area of the world. When will we get an Arab who does this stuff?
3. Make sure all firewalls on the program are turned off.
4. Pick a channel and enjoy!
The schedule for the channels and the games showed are found here.
The Bahrain Japan game is shown on ESPN on june 3rd at 17:30 BST (Bicester Shropshire Tranmere) timing.
One last thing. If you really want to watch the game, load up the channel and let it buffer for as long as possible beforehand (the longer the better). This way it'll never chop up or rarely buffer again.
The most unbelievable comeback in the history of football was achieved in Istanbul last night. Liverpool, the greatest English club ever, came back to beat AC Milan on penalties.
It was something beyond belief. Having been schooled in the first half, Liverpool were 3-0 down and most people (including myself) thought this might end up being an embarassing whitewish. Like Lazarus rising from the dead, however, they came back and won the mother of all Champions' league finals.
And what a final it was. Pre-match, most pundits described it as one of the most boring games ever. An ageing Italian pensioner team known for their 1-0 victories against a dull and boring mediocre English team that was lucky to be in the final. Boy were they wrong.
The tone was set from the first minute. Paolo Maldini's 36 year old legs scoring a glorious volley within 53 seconds. Crespo then showing his class in scoring two goals before the half time whistle.
What was Benitez thinking? The idea of an attacking formation is good but at the expense of our midfield? Liverpool looked disjointed and disorganized, with the midfield looking miles away from either the defence or the forwards. Up-front, we were reduced to long balls reminicent of Houllier, and every ball from Milan's midfiled seemed to utterly pierce our defence. Kaka was able to make Gerrard, Alonso, and Garcia look ordinary.
Liverpool's entire champions league campaign (excluding the Olympiakos game) was built on solid defence. Although the defence played an important part in this, the link-up and support role the midfield plays was a crucial factor as well.. Yesterday in the first half our midfield was non-existent, with Milan rampaging down the field like a Qatari Sheikh down a French highway. Omitting a holding midfield player in Hamman or Biscan seemed to be a grave error.
At the start of the second half came the turning point of the game. Either due to tactical genius or pure luck, Didi Hamman was brought on for the injured Steve finnan. The midfield suddenly regained it's composure, and one wondered whether a miracle was on hand.
3-0 down at half point, the obstacle facing liverpool seemed insurmountable: Scoring three goals against what is billed as the best defence in the world. Furthermore, Milan were rampant, playing absolute world class football. The more likely scenario was an embarassing drubbing, maybe 5 6 7-nil? Chelsea, Man Utd, and Everton fans were busy scripting their insults to throw the next day. They (and most of us) wrote off Liverpool too early.
What ensued was the most breathtaking 6 minutes of football ever played. Within the time that it takes to smoke a cigarette, Liverpool, from being 3-0 down, rooted the best defence in the world and were level at 3-3. Gerrard heads, Smicer shoots, and Alonso fires up the crowd!!!!!!
Then came the penalties, and as the saying goes, the rest was history.
Who would've thought that the likes of Jerzy Dudek, Djimi Traore, and Igor Bisan, much maligned at the beggining of the season as lucky to play in the third division, would emerge to become immortal Liverpool legends? Special praise goes to Jerzy Dudek. Although he committed some serious howlers in the first half, he pulled off one of the most stunning saves I have ever seen against one of the world's best strikers, and then topped it off by dancing like a maniac and saving two penalties.
And the most sadistly satisfying part of it all was reading the posts by Man Utd, Chelsea, and Everton fans at half time in the forums on the internet. "For the sake of not embarrasing English footy, referee please end the match." "I love watching the global humiliation of your team." "ps. troare or woteva his name is, is uselsess, not taking a cheap shot, but seriously, u seriously thought u cud win the CL with him in the team?!"
Ahh... how they must be eating their words now. Anyway, who gives a toss about United or Chelsea or Everton. We're in a different league with the big boys now. The likes of Ronaldo, Maldini, and Zidane are who we are competing against, not Carlsley, Drogba, and Heinze. When they can win the trophy five times and keep it forever, then we'll have a chat again.
LIVERPOOL HAVE WON THE EUROPEAN CUP FOR THE FIFTH TIME, KEEPING IT FOREVER!
I don't think anyone will forget where they were watching this game. Some lucky fellas were in Istanbul, shouting their voices off, watching 11 heros on the pitch with a master tactician behind them achieve the impossible. I was in a spanish bodeguita with a group of friends watching the unbelievable unfold. Where were you when history was made?
Dudek - 8 A couple of serious howlers in the first half. He redeemed himself magnificently by first stopping the Shevchenko free-kick and then the doubl-save from point blank in the dying minutes of the half. The penalty saves were the icing on the cake. You gotta take your hat off to any person who's willing to wiggle around maniacally in front of millions of people. Imagine the embarrassment if he didn't save any. That took guts.
Traore-6 Was ripped to shreds in the first half but was able to hold his own in the second.
Carragher-6 Again schooled and outpaced in the first half but made some crucial tackles and played through a stomach injury in the second half. Our player of the season.
Finnan-6 One of the few players to try and attack in the first half. Injury forced him off to bring on Hamman and the turning point of the game.
Hyppia-6 Also outpaced by the Milan defence in the first half. Improved in the second.
Gerrard-7Schooled in the first half. Led the comeback in the second. Great header.
Alonso-7 Like most of the team, mediocre first half but much better second half. It's simply amazing seeing him miss a penalty with his favoured foot but then score the rebound with the other one.
Riise-7 Our best player in the first half, and throughout the game he seemed the player with the most ideas. Great cross for the fist goal. The missed penalty was the only drawback.
Luis Garcia-5 Not the best game the Spaniard has produced. Wasted a couple of good chances, but became more dangerous as game progressed.
Kewell-4 Not much to say. Hopefully he'll be better next season.
Smicer-7 Great farewell match for the Czech.
Baros-5 Didn't have much chances to work with.
Hamman-8 His introduction made the team look completely different. Arguably his entry was the turning point in the game.
Cisse-6 Like Baros not much to work with. He did make some runs which made you think he might just tip the game though.
Benitez-7 The initial tactics backfired badly in the first period. I don't know what he said to the player in the interval, but boy did it work. He also rectified the tactical errors after the interval. It's great to finally see him smile!
George Galloway, an anti-war UK MP, today gave the U.S. senate a schooling in public oration.
If you want to see someone who sends a tingle down your spine when he speaks, here's a link to the video to one of the most explosive ever exchanges in the political world of the U.S. The first few minutes of the charges levied do drag on and can get boring, but once Galloway is speaking, you'll be hooked.
To understand the circumstances fully, here's a bit of background. George Galloway is a British MP who has been against the UN Iraq sanctions, the oil for food programme, and then the most recent invasion of Iraq. During the sanctions, he made an appeal called the Myriam appeal to gather donations for kids in Iraq under suffering from the sanctions. Before the war, he called UK soldiers in Iraq "wolves", and got kicked out of parliament and the Labour Party, his party until then. In the most recent election he got his revenge by controversially moving to a mainly Muslim election area and beating the incumbent female local labour candidate. Many people saw this as outright oppurtunism.
After the war, his name was included in the notorious oil coupons scandal through the Myriam appeal, which, in its first edition, apparently included Bahraini politicians such as Rasool Al Jishi and Abdul Rahman Al Nuaimi. No evidence emerged to substantiate the allegations against Al Jishi and Al Nuaimi. Mr. Galloway successfully sued the newspaper that published the allegations (Daily Telegraph), arguing the documents were forgeries, and won about £1.35 million. The U.S. senate committee looking into the oil for food scandal published his name as one of the benefactors, and said it used evidence other than that the Daily Telegraph used. Mr. Galloway, after the publication, was invited to attend the Senate hearing to clear his name. The above video is the result.
Now I don't agree with a lot of Galloway's stances, particularly when he saluted the courage and indifatigueability of Saddam Hussain. However, you gotta give the guy credit on two fronts: 1. First, his fiery energy in pursuing what he believes in. 2. Secondly, his amazing oration and public speaking skills. His booming voice, his ultra-clear language, his Scottish twang, and his in your face style creates a really thunderous atmosphere. You do not want to be stared right in the eyes by him. The Senators, used to being reverred and extremely polite conversations, did not know what was coming their way. As one U.S. political pundit put it, he gave them a knock-out.
Anyway, even if for the pure thrill of it, I do recommend you watch the above link.
Finally finished my thesis. I am completely unhappy with what I handed in but it was not my fault. It was due to a late bust-up with my love and companion. It has shattered any dillusions of an academic career, but life moves on I guess.
In all this hiatus, an important event in the world has passed by unrecognized even by me. At the end of the the last month (April), this blog celebrated its first anniversary! ONE WHOLE YEAR! I've been blogging for one complete year. For an easily distracted and lazy bum who lacks energy drive like myself, this is a big achievement. Sure I have taken a couple of six weeks breaks, but hey, I'm not being paid for this and I'm not a computer engine either. Give me a break. Still, 170+ posts and more than a hundred thousand words in one year. This and I've struggled to produce thirty thousand words in my thesis. My priorities are screwed up.
Do you remember those cheesy Friends, Simpsons, or Seinfield episodes where producers run out of ideas and basically put in snippets of what happened over the past season of the show? Mainly for self-gratification purposes, I'm going to do one of those episodes for this blog over the last year:
-First controversy. A post about sex brings about indignation from conservatives and liberals alike. I get quoted in some NeoCon blog whose goal is helping in instigating some sort of change in the gulf. Their advice is "look West young man!" Ummm... no thanks. I look West in terms of many things, but sex is not one of them.
-Alter ego series started. The source of many problems to come. Some people don't seem to understand it's an alterego thing.
-Big debacle regarding a post about blogging and religion. I get accused of being anti-shia and sectarianism by a coalition of Islamist feminists and liberals. This despite the fact that I posted about earlier about sectarianism in Bahrain.
-Next controversy surrounds me being too mushy mushy in talking about women and Arabic society in a series of posts. I am called a chauvinist, a yarn-spinner, a day dreamer, and plain out of my mind. Yes, I was in a watery-eyed mood that day. I take what I said back; women are no angels.
-Showing how high-browed and intellectual blogs are, a post about rumours in Bahrain's private schools scores my highest number of comments in a post. Mercdez benz in Ibn Khuldoon and smelly turds in Saint Christopher are discussed in a highly sophisticated manner. This record is subsequently beaten by a foul-mouthed comments exchange concerning Bahrain and Iran football (see below). The Coyotes still rule, however.
- Bahraini blog awards are inaugerated, giving prizes to the best bahraini blogs in different categories. Many parts of it are a catastrophic failure. The organization didn't go too well, and the presentation was just tacky. Maybe it'll be better next year, if there are any. Congratulations to everyone who won though!
- Biggest spat of them all. Following a series of posts about Iranian and Bahraini football, there is a flood of abusive posts from angry Iranian fans. Foul mouthed exchanges about football, monkies, sisters, mothers, and bodies of waters occur. There is still regular stream of comments that come on this issue. I'm proud that I haven't stooped to that low level and am yet to use a single F or C word.
Actually I am proud of them all! I know this is a pointless exercise in self-indulgence, but it is pretty cool going back and seeing what you've written. You just think, did I really write that? Is it me? Is it the same person? Takes me back to the post on personal identity.
In the end I just wanted to say thanks for all of you out there who bother to read and comment on the posts. I know I'm not a very likeable person and I can be quite annoying, but if you guys never gave any feedback I would've shut this thing down a long time ago. Thanks a lot guys, and with your help hopefully I can keep this blogging thing going for a bit longer!