Showing posts from February, 2018

Market Value of Players and Clubs

It is very hard to compare soccer clubs from different leagues and by extension players in one league versus players in another league.

In continental competitions, there can be some indicators of relative strength. For instance, the top Spanish teams have dominated European Champions League so they are regarded as the strongest. However, how does the 3rd and 4th place Spanish League teams compare to the top 4 in other leagues? Head-to-head competition gives clues but it is hard to be sure. Anyway, it is this concept that drives the "UEFA club coefficients" which is the soccer analog to NCAA basketball's RPI. From those stats, one can see that the 3rd and 4th place Spanish league teams compare very favorably to the rest of Europe.

But when you get beyond the handful of top teams in the top leagues, it gets harder to compare. And it is even tougher to compare MLS in the USA relative to what is happening in Europe.

One attempt to rate strength is "market value" o…

Star Trek Discovery - Episode 15 Season Finale spoilers and opinions about season 1 overall

The breakneck pace of episode 13 was going to be hard to top and indeed episodes 14 and 15 seemed almost a let-down yielding a somewhat muddle-headed finish in episode 15, "Will You Take My Hand?"

First off, hats off to the actors.

Doug Jones and Mary Wiseman are clear fan favorites and I would second the vote to declare them the break-out stars of this flavor of Star Trek.

Anthony Rapp, Shazad Latif, Jason Isaacs and Michelle Yeoh have been very solid especially Yeoh who got to play BOTH a very admirable and good Georgiou and a deliciously very evil Georgiou.

Sonequa Martin-Green has also been very good. Thus, I hesitate to detract from her fantastic performances but unlike other editions of Star Trek, the story lines rested very heavily on the singular character of Burnham and her choices. Yes, the Original Series was mostly Captain Kirk but Spock and McCoy had their own stories that were quite substantial and Kirk's development as a character rested very heavily on hi…

Star Trek Discovery Episode 14 - relationship status: "Its complicated" and other things

Episode 14 was a break from the shot-em up action of episode 13 and soon to drop season finale episode 15 on Sunday that will probably have a fair amount of shot-em up.

Thus, it was a time for some heart-to-heart talks among the cast and crew.

At the center of it all was Tilly. She talks to Tyler and others join in. She talks to Burnham to get Burnham to talk to Tyler.

Meanwhile, Saru continues to grow as a character as he is now the captain of the ship and shows his blend of getting the job done in the opening when he quickly sized up the situation in the transporter room. He also exhibits compassion as she filled Burnham in on Tyler's condition. He continued to display his generosity and firmness in the sickbay conversation with Tyler.

Stamets took center stage for a scene with Tyler and his response was what you would anticipate from the character we have seen develop through the series. Well done by Rapp. He also steps in with his engineering acumen with the terraforming the d…

Liverpool at a Crossroads

Liverpool FC plays Southampton (Liverpool South!) on Sunday and then Porto on Wednesday in Champions League.

LFC wants to stay in the hunt for a top 4 spot in the Premier League and beating a relegation zone Southampton would be very helpful. On the other hand, you want a fresh squad for the Porto match on Wednesday.

So one suspects Klopp will not play his strongest 11 on tomorrow but how many of the usual players will get the start? How many will be available on the bench? How many won't even be named to the 18 to rest them entirely?

Karius now appears to be the #1 goalkeeper for Premier League matches and for Champions league games.
As for the back 4 for Sunday?
Probably Virgil van Dijk and Lovren are in to face their old club?
At left back? Moreno? With Robertson for Porto?
At right back? Alexander-Arnold

What about midfield?
Is Can, Henderson, Milner the "A team" for Porto?
Thus, Wijnaldum, Chamerlain, Can for tomorrow?

And what about the front three?
No question Man…

Zlatan to Galaxy? Yea or Nay?

The rumors have been going on for a couple of seasons already and so it was no surprise they have popped up again. With Zlatan now relegated to the bench and maybe not even to the game day 18 at Manchester United, he is looking to his next destination.

How much is he worth to the LA Galaxy? To the MLS?

The downside is that he could be injury prone and simply not play many minutes and his salary would be on the bench or not even in the game day 18. That could be okay if the marketing madness he provides brings fans to the stadium. The worst case scenario is that he is a headache in the locker-room.

Certainly, he is no longer DP worthy as his injury was pretty serious and he simply hasn't shown signs he is anywhere near what he was before. From a strict "what does the LA Galaxy need perspective," he could serve as a backup for Ola Kamara and perhaps in some circumstances the two of them could be up at the front together.

One could envision some scenarios where you might ha…

Star Trek Discovery episode 13 - the Star Wars episode

That was an action packed episode!

Am still behind an episode as I finally saw episode 13 while episode 14 has already been released.

Anyway, all appears answered regarding Lorca.

(1) Indeed, the cross over to the Federation universe was due to a transporter accident during an ion storm just like in ST-TOS, Mirror Mirror.
(2) He was through and through an evil-hat villain purely out for his own power.
(3) He said a "Star Wars" like line to some so-and-so about that person's lack of vision much like Darth Vader did in Episode IV about finding some flunky's lack of faith disturbing.
(4) His attempt to draw Burnham over to the "dark side" was somewhat like Darth Vader trying to pull over Luke Skywalker.
(5) His falling to his death in the spore reactor looked a bit like the Emperor falling into the reaction chamber in Episode VI. The Engage - the Official Star Trek Podcast guys are speculating that maybe falling into the spore reactor might be a crazy way to k…

QPR get a victory!

QPR's objectives for the rest of the season are modest:  avoid relegation, be safely in the mid-table, and identify some young talent to build for the future.

They remain on track to do this. 538 has them with a only a 4% chance of relegation.

This past weekend, they took care of business defeating Barnsley.

Living in Los Angeles, I suspect there are not a lot of QPR fans. Premier League teams get on TV every weekend while English Championship matches rarely do. I suppose there could be some displaced London people living in LA in which case they could follow a variety of London clubs.

My tie to them is purely a narrative one: love scrappy teams with big hearts.

COYRS = come on you R's!!

The role of preaching the Bible in the life of the church

Over the years I've attended and visited a variety of churches. And, not surprisingly, there is quite a variety of ways preaching is embedded in the Sunday gathering.
How much time devoted to the sermon? At one end of the scale, I've seen 10 minute sermons where there might be one or two key points of reflection. On the other, I have heard 45 minute deep dives into a topic or passage with three or four key points and explanations and defenses of each point. And of course, have heard pastors speak for anywhere and everywhere between 10 to 45 minutes.

How does one decide how much emphasis (in terms of tangible percentage of minutes) to place of the ministry of the word in communal Sunday gatherings?
What about the content of the sermon? Some teaching pastors preach through the Gospel of John (or some other book in the Bible) and they do so for however many weeks or months are needed to cover the text they are teaching from.

There are pastors who teach through a series of sermo…