Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas! Wesolych Swiat! Maligayang Pasko!

Christmas time, my most favorite time of the year, is here. Wish for health for all my family and good, happy new year. God Bless us everyone!

But this Christmas time is more special to me. God has answered my prayers and is healing my beloved Mom in front of my eyes. Thank you Lord for your mercy, thank you Baby Jesus for your touch and thank you Mama Mary for your constant love and support. That is all I need for Christmas. Next year if You can make our house crowdier it would be nice as well. I know that You give us what we need. I am forever grateful for Your love.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Orlando-Phoenix-Washington trade

Suns are the big winners! Orlando got desperate, Washington is rebuilding so getting insanely overpaid Lewis still is better than much longer Arenas contract. However, it is my wife's Phoenix Suns that clearly got what they needed. Size (Gortat), defense+scoring (Pietrus) and offense (Carter, on some nights but still a good deal). Nash can do his magic again. It is stupid to read some reports that now Nash will be traded. Suns just got better! And assured a playoff spot. I see them finishing 6th and...taking out Lakers in the first round! You heard me! Nash will have his revenge. The biggest obstacle to Suns will be Spurs. Last year I picked them over Spurs and actually predicted the sweep (yeah, I am THAT good) but this year grandpas from San Antonio will be more dangerous. Much more.

Orlando removed itself frome the East elite making a room for Bulls. Miami is not on the same level as Boston. Only Bulls can, and will, challenge successfuly grandpas from Boston. Bulls-Boston east finals will be a beauty and see the end of short Boston's reign. The next decade will belong to Bulls again.

NBA playoffs 2011

Why not?! It's only Christmas but the top 8 teams in both conferences seem to be set already. Who gets what spot? I think I know! (one question mark is Carmelo: if he is traded, Denver won't make playoffs. And to whom traded? Exactly. If New York then Knicks can finish 4th or 5th. If Nets, they are 7th or 8th. I am guessing it is Knicks. Overall, it does not matter. Melo can only succeed in Chicago but we don't really need him to win it all! Go Bulls!

1. Boston Celtics
2. Miami Heat
3. Chicago Bulls
4. Atlanta Hawks
5. New York Knicks
6. Orlando Magic
7. Milwaukee Bucks
8. Indiana Pacers

1. Dallas Maverics
2. San Antonio Spurs
3. Los Angeles Lakers
4. Utah Jazz
5. Oklahoma City Thunder
6. Phoenix Suns
7. Portland Trailblazer
8. Houston Rockets

East 1st round: no upsets
East Semis: Boston-Atlanta 4-1; Miami-Bulls 2-4
East Finals Boston-Bulls 3-4

West 1st round: Dallas-Houston 4-2; Spurs-Portland 4-1; Lakers-Suns 2-4; Utah-Oklahoma 4-3
West Semis: Dallas-Utah 4-2; Spurs-Suns 3-4
West finals: Dallas-Suns 4-3

NBA Finals
Chicago Bulls vs. Dallas Mavericks
(I can see Suns beating Mavs, mostly because they are my wife's team but I am sticking to me preseason picks. It would be nice though to see Steve playing at least once in the finals. Whether Suns or Mavs it is Bulls time anyway).

The 7th heaven for Bulls as we will celebrate first of many Grant Park parties after 4-2 victory over cry-baby Cuban. BULLS are BACK!!!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A rise to stardom

Wojciech Szczesny, a 20-year-old Arsenal London goalkeeper, is another phenomenal Polish kid who could become #1 in the Polish national team for a decade.

He is a son of Maciej Szczesny, a very good goalie himself who, however, never got a chance to be #1 in the Polish team playing only several times. He won Polish national championships with 4 different teams (an amazing accomplishment) but he was not trusted to be Poland's #1. It was likely a mistake but to his satisfaction his son could live his dream.

This is a golden age for goalies in Poland. For some reason world-class goalkeepers are growing like mushrooms nowadays in the land of milk and honey. Boruc, Fabianski, Kuszczak and now Szczesny. They could start for any team in the world. Szczesny replaced an injured Fabianski in the starting lineup last Monday. That was his first game in the English Premiere League. And he got this opportunity to play against arch rivals - Manchester United! Szczesny, who is a very cocky goalie, did not disappoint. Despite the loss (0-1) he was named the best player in Arsenal receiving a 7 (out of 10) note. His counterpart, legendary Van der Sar (still playing at the age of 40) got 6. Manchester had a great chance to score one more but Rooney missed the penalty badly sending the ball over the bar. If you ask Szczesny he will tell you that it was no accident. He played a big part in that miss. He might be right.

Szczesny could very be THE most talented of all Polish goalies. Fabianski is very good but Boruc was not only my #1 choice being overall a better player. But Szczesny has something extra special. He does indeed since Barcelona, already interested in him for some time, was so impressed after the Monday match that it now is seriously considering acquiring Szczesny over the summer. Lucky Poland! And lucky Barca as well. I can really feel that good days are returning and the beginning of the golden age will be the Euro 2012.

Monday, December 6, 2010

WC 2018 - Russia; WC 2022 - Qatar

Russia somehow managed to copy Brazil, which has its WC in 2014 followed by the Olimpic Games in Rio de Janeiro two years later. The Winter Games are set in 2014 in Sochi and now a beautiful game will travel from the sands of Copacabana to the dry fields of Moscow.

England is the big loser receiving only 2 out of 22 votes. USA and Australia felt confident enough but it is Qatar where the world's best teams will compete in less than twelve years. Unfortunately, there are many reasonable voices that the Russian pick is a political move and Qatar - an economic. It is hard to disagree but what's done is done. More important is the game itself and that becomes the focus for everybody from the very first kick. Just wait 11 1/2 years!

P.S. Revenge of the Brits. Katia Z., a 25-year-old Russian employee of the British Parliament, charged with espionage, is to be deported from England. How will USA/Australia spank Qatar?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Decision 2018/2022 World Cup

December 2, 2010, Zurich, Switzerland. At around 3pm tomorrow, FIFA officials will announce the successful bid for the 2018 and later on for the 2022 World Cup.

The finalists are:
2018: Spain/Portugal, Russia, England, Belgium/Holland

2022: Qatar, USA, Australia, South Korea and Japan

The first vote should give a good indication of how the second will go. If Spain/Portugal prevails for 2018, that's bad news for the USA, since it's been widely reported that the seven or eight international allies of the Spain/Portugal bid have made a deal, in which they've agreed to support that bid in 2018 in return for backing Qatar in 2022.

One is already known. WC 2018 will take place in Europe. The latest favorites are Spain/Portugal and Qatar. My picks were England and US but now I am not sure because the voting is unfortunately not so clear or better say not just (they put it "deliberations and votes are secret." Secret my ass!). The 2006 WC was to be played in South Africa but one of the voters was bribed and never showed up for the voting. That one vote cost South Africa the election. Germans. Go figure. Pretty disgusting. Nein, nein, nein! And who ended up in jail?! Nobody! And that was a real crime! Makes me sick! At least pizzaronis denied bratwurst the final.

WC in England in 1966 saw the English side win its lone WC title. US was not so lucky in 1994, though getting out of the group stage was considered a great step forward at the time. For some reason I think the two might be winners but it does not really matter to me. A beautiful game is beautiful everywhere.