Showing posts from January, 2015

Liverpool v West Ham

West Ham is 7th and Liverpool is 8th. A win by Liverpool allows them to leap over West Ham. Tottenham is not likely to lose to West Brom but it is a road game for the Spurs. A loss would allow a victory by Liverpool to bring the Reds to 6th place!

Thus, am sure the Rodgers' braintrust to go with the strongest line-up they can muster.

Starting XI: Mignolet, Johnson, Can, Skrtel, Gerrard, Henderson, Moreno, Lucas, Coutinho, Sterling, Lallana.

UPDATE: Okay, the line-up is out. Sakho is back from injury and surprisingly Gerrard is not even listed as a sub. Maybe he is injured?

Substitutes: Ward, Manquillo, Lovren, Allen, Markovic, Sturridge, Borini.

First off the bench will be Sturridge allowing Coutinho, Sterling, or Lallana a break. If Liverpool needs more offense then maybe Moreno goes out instead. The other consideration is whether Gerrard will need a break. Perhaps, you consider starting Markovic and bring in Gerrard in the second half or visa-versa.

Saturday 7AM PST on Extra Tim…

Super Bowl XLIX - New England Patriots v Seattle Seahawks

Vegas has New England a one-point favorite.

Both teams are 12-4.

New England has more offense scoring 468 points for the regular season compared to Seattle's 394 points. Seattle's has the better defense allowing 254 points compared to 313 for New England.

Given that defense usually wins, the edge has to be given to Seattle.

But what about performance against teams that made the playoffs?

In the regular season Seattle beat Arizona (2x), Carolina, Green Bay, and Denver. Their only loss to a playoff team was Dallas, thus, they went 5-1.

New England beat Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Detroit, and Denver in the regular season. They lost to Green Bay. All told, they went 4-1.

Based on common opponents, both beat Denver but Seattle beat Green Bay while New England lost to Green Bay. And of course, Seattle beat Green Bay again in the playoffs. Based on common opponents, give Seattle another edge.

Looking over the season, New England tends to beat people by running up the points. Very few o…

2016 Presidential Nomination: Democrat Tribes

The field on the Democrat side is much smaller and in fact, barring anything unusual, it appears to be a given that Clinton will be the nominee.

Nonetheless, there are other names mentioned.

Thus, if I had to sort the names out, I'd say there are perhaps three tribes in the field.

Establishment Democrats
Clinton, Biden, and Cuomo. These have been or are office holders and would be considered pretty much mainstream of the party. As of now, only Clinton is viewed as likely to enter the race. If she were to drop out for some reason (health has been cited as a possible reason), it would be interesting to see which of these two would get in the race and whether there are some others out there we haven't even considered would enter.

Left wing/socialist Democrats
Warren who has garnered much attention from those who think President Obama has been too conservative. Sanders runs as an Independent in Vermont but sides with the Democrats in the Senate and has called himself a socialist. …

Leg 2: Chelsea v Liverpool

From the cautiously optimistic comments from Rodgers in regard to Sturridge, I am thinking Sturridge will not be playing Tuesday but maybe a substitute for Saturday's home match against West Ham.

Am not sure who is going to lose playing time when Sturridge is slowly worked back into the line up. Right now, looks like Rodgers' favorite three speedsters are: Coutinho, Sterling, Lallana. If I had to guess, Lallana would come off when Sturridge comes on the 2nd half for some fresh attacking vigor. Once Sturridge is shown to be 100% healthy again, he will start and Lallana may come in as the substitute for whomever looks to need a break.

My guess for the XI on Tuesday:
Goalie: Mignolet
Defense: Sakho, Can, Skrtel
Midfield: Markovic, Henderson, Moreno, Lucas
Forward: Gerrard, Sterling, Coutinho

Goalie: Ward
Defense: Lovren, Johnson
Midfield: Lallana, Allen
Forward: Borini, Lambert

Lallana and Borini likely first off the bench.

Not sure what they would do if they find themselve…

Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Mark 1:14-20 (NRSV) Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. Over the years, I've heard many sermons that talk about "the kingdom of God." I suppose the simplest explanation I have heard, that I remember, is that the "the kingdom of God has come" means that the King has come, and, of course, that king is Jesus! Now, of cour…

Liverpool FC Manager Brenden Rodger's Challenge - XI for Bolton Match?

Jan 17 - Liverpool defeated Aston Villa 2-0 in Premier League game
Jan 20 - Liverpool drew against Chelsea 1-1 in League Cup game
Jan 24 - Liverpool will play Bolton in an FA Cup game
Jan 27 - Liverpool will play Chelsea in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final
Jan 31 - Liverpool will play West Ham in a Premier League game.

Five games in 15 days!

Manager Brendan Rodgers has to decide his starting XI and substitutes for each match. Much like a baseball manger, he will occasionally rest older players or players he thinks need a break. For instance, Sterling, a younger player but plays a position that requires a lot of running, was rested in the two matches prior to Aston Villa. Gerrard, an older player, was not in the Aston Villa contest recovering from an injury and was substituted out in the middle of the second half of the game against Chelsea.

What line-up card will Rodgers fill out for the FA Cup match this Saturday knowing they have a huge battle with Chelsea on Tuesday?


Learning to be a Liverpool FC fan, part II

6. Liverpool has a been one of the more successful football clubs in its long history. They participate in many different competitions and have taken home the top prize on a number of occasions.
For a list of their trophies go to

Of UK honors:

7. Liverpool has won 18 League Championships of the top tier since the system started in 1888. The last title was in the 1989-90 season. Currently, the top tier league is the Premier League started in 1992. They have yet to win a championship in the Premier League.
For more about the Premier League go to

8. They have won 7 FA Cups which has been contested since 1871. The FA Cup competition involves 10 levels of football leagues (736 clubs qualified to participate in the FA CUP in the 2014-15 season). Liverpool last won the FA Cup for the 2005-06 season.
For more about the FA Cup go to…

Learning to be a Liverpool FC fan, part I

Will be updating this periodically as I learn more about my newly adopted team.

1. The Liverpool anthem is the song, "You'll Never Walk Alone," from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel.

2. The home colors are red and road colors are yellow.

3. Though one of the more successful UK football clubs since its founding in 1892, it has never won an English Premier League (EPL) title since EPL's formation in 1992.

4. The geographic rivals of Liverpool is Everton, also in Liverpool, that plays in Goodison Park a mere one mile away. The other geographic rival is Manchester United, 35 miles to the east.

5. The home pitch is Anfield. Interestingly, Everton used Anfield from 1884 to 1891. However, there was a dispute between the team and the stadium owners. Everton moved to Goodison Park and Anfield's owners started Liverpool FC.

Second Sunday after the Epiphany

John 1:43-51 (NRSV) The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon…

GOP Tribes for 2016

Candidates are inching toward the start line with winks and nods.

Unlike other countries with low barriers to entry to parliament where multiple parties are normal, in the USA, there are really only two political parties. Officially, there are other parties but they really don't play on the national stage and for that matter rarely impact state and local races.

However, within the two major parties in the USA, there are distinct tribes.

In the GOP, they can be broadly described as: establishment Republicans, national security hawks, social conservatives, and libertarian/tea-party.

Of the current crop of possible candidates, how do they fit into these tribes?

In the establishment wing of the party:
Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, and Chris Christie. These guys really are the big three right now. If they really enter the race, they will draw a lot of the donor dollars and media oxygen.

There are others who have enough national standing for various reasons such that I would think they garner t…

First Sunday after the Epiphany

Mark 1:4-11 (NRSV) John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” There are a handful of events in the life of Jesus that are describ…

UCLA 86 Stanford 81 (2OT)

Bruin Blue and Gold!

On one hand, anytime the team gets a win, especially a gutty come from behind win, you got to feel good for the team!

On the other hand, it is an indication of where the season is going when this win broke a five-game losing streak!

Coach Alford is on the hot seat. It was understood that he will need a few years to turn things around if all goes well, especially, in light of the NBA departures last year. However, I don't think people expected the team to have fared so poorly in some of the losses this season. Would a 0.500 record be about right for the Pac12 season?

I think they may have the talent to do a little better than that. The key is for the unit to pull together especially in close games in hostile road environments.

Second Sunday After Christmas Day

John 1:10-18 (NRSV) He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known. With the beginning of the New Year, we begin here with the beginning of the Gospel of John. And at the…

Lectionary Blogging

My faith journey has largely been in what has been called "low church." As you can see in the Wiki entry, there is quite a bit to what that means in a historical sense and within the context of Anglican practice of faith.

For me, the idea of "low church" is simply, less formal in the organization of the Sunday worship.

One feature of "high church" is the usage of the Lectionary to guide the use of Scripture in Sunday worship.

And so, will see how long I can keep up Lectionary blogging for 2015. My aim would be to take the Gospel reading for a given Sunday and write some reflections on that passage.

Happy New Years!

Steven Gerrard to Leave Liverpool FC

Iconic Liverpool soccer player Steven Gerrard has announced he will decline Liverpool's contract offer and is likely to go to the MLS at the end of the 2014-2015 Premier League season.

LA Galaxy has been mentioned as a possible destination. With Landon Donovan retiring, LA Galaxy may want to bring in a marque name with talent to fill that spot.

The business side of MLS calls for a salary cap on all teams but there is the Designated Player Rule (or Beckham rule) that allows teams to bring in two players of international stature. A team can sign a third player under the DP Rule but have to pay a luxury tax on that salary.

As new Liverpool FC fan, I don't have a storehouse of personal memories of Gerrard's contribution to the team but in it is clear he is a revered figure in their team's history. Hopefully, the team will rally to a strong second half of the season performance to send out their captain with a good showing.

As an LA Galaxy fan, it would be very exciting to h…