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OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – BAR FIGHT? NOT WITH DOC BIONICFINGERS! Part two.
Continuing… “You asshole”, Roy muttered into his beer. I was having a large time. Es was right. This is just what the Doctor’s wife ordered. I was now trying to explain to Zac American Football. “So, let me get this straight. These huge cousins of yours, kitted out in all that heavy protective gear, basically smash into one another, up one side of the field and down the other. They can run, throw the ball, and jump on each other.” He observes. “That’s the gist of it.“ I reply. “Sounds like Rugby with more padding. Must be a bunch of pansies; don’t want to get hurt.” Zac laughingly laughs. I chuckle. I guess after my cricket fiasco, I deserved that. The drunk Kiwi, now 3.5 sheets to the wind wanders by, hears the tag-end of the conversation again and says: “Yeah. Fucking American pussies. Stupid game. Not a one would last a second against the All Blacks. All Americans are pussies. ” I turned slowly, looked at this weaving retard, and said: “You should feel honored. I’ve never done this for another person. Yet.” I slowly turn and extend my kevlar-coated middle finger right in front of his face. You could almost hear the micro-stepper motors whine. “Oh, yeah?” He counters, “Well. Fuck you.” “Eloquent little miscreant”, I mention to Roy and Zac. Then he makes a slight misstep. He reaches out and grabs my left hand. I swear. It wasn’t intentional, but his grasping of my hand triggered my reflexes. That is amped and amplified by this fine Japanese technology. My hand opened near-instantly, caught his, and flexed back down. Hard. There were a couple of audible cracks. They weren’t from me. The hammered Kiwi went down on his knees in an instant. Evidently he was feeling some pain. “Sorry mate; but you shouldn’t have done that. Automatic reflexes. I’m still getting used to the power curve.” I said. “ARRGH!” he wailed, “Let me go, you motherfucker!” Suddenly, a dark shadow arrives. Sandeep enters and looks over the situation. He sees Zac behind the bar, who gives him the high sign. “Doctor Rock? This bag of shit giving you a hard time?” Sandeep asks me. “Well, he was being the most antisocial of creatures, Sandeep”, I calmly replied. Sandeep grabs the Kiwi by the scruff of the neck and rear belt. He then picks him up like a scrap of dogshit-smeared day-old newspaper as I let go of his slightly mushed hand. Sandeep carries the Kiwi, physically, to and out of the front door. Zac smiles at me and says: “If that’s not worth another round, I don’t know what is!” Even Roy tried just a little of the vodka. He had to as the bottle was almost empty. He groaned audibly as Zac returned with a fresh one. Roy wandered over to an unoccupied booth. He sat down, leaned his head back and started snoring loudly. A buxom waitress, but not the one from earlier, came over and began to complain. “How am I supposed to make any tips with this birk snoring away like this?” she haughtily asked. Zac and I look around the bar. It’s nearly deserted. I ask her to step over to the bar. I explain that Roy is with me and he’s just a bit tired from driving all day in the hot Dubai sun. Then, I hand her a random assortment of notes from off the bar. She accepts them and her demeanor swings 1800. “Is there a problem?” I ask. “Oh, no. No sir. He can sleep there all night for all I care.” She smiles. The other buxom waits-person from before sees the transaction, and emits an audible “Harrumph!” She throws down her towel and makes it rapidly for the kitchen door. “Hmm”, I say, “What’s eating her?” Zac just smiles and doesn’t even bother to ask if he should pour us another. Zac, Sandeep, and I were going through the bar’s taped collection of sporting events, trying vainly to find something we could all agree upon. It seems that time, as it’s wont, had passed and the bar was closed. At least, to other patrons. As long as I was happy buying everyone rounds, Zac and Sandeep had nowhere else to be. We stumbled across some sport fishing show from years and years ago. We all decided that yes, we all liked fishing, and this would serve a fine counterpart to our MST3K-like riffing of the show. We had a fine time. Zac, Sandeep, and I swapping fishing lies and Roy snoring away like a buzz-saw over in the booth. But, as the sun crept through the windows, I decided it was time for me to vamoose. I settled up my bar tab with Zac, leaving both him and Sandeep a couple of cigars and healthy tips. Sandeep rouses Roy and after a bit of cajoling, Roy joins me at the bar. “Looks like you’ve got a driver for the next two weeks”, Roy sorrowfully laments. “Nahh…I was just funnin’ ya’.” I said. “No. A bet’s a bet. I lost. You are something else. What? I don’t know, but I do know you’ve won this bet.” He admits. “I just hate to lose”, I smiled back. Roy looks at me a bit unsteadily. He has severe booth hair. “Roy”, I say, “You look like what we in the business call a ‘Go Devil”. It starts out spiffy but comes out looking like hell. You need coffee. In fact, so do I. Go throw some cold water in your face and I’ll ask Zac to set us up.” I offered. I didn’t need to tell Roy twice. He toddles off to the euphemism, and I ask Roy for two black coffees. Roy returns and sips at the hot beverage. He stops short and asks: “There no booze in here, is there? I can smell booze.” He notes. “It’s a bar, Roy”, Zac laughs. “Yeah, Roy”, I reply, “Only booze fumes are from my coffee.” “Over the evening, I told Zac how to prepare a Greenland Coffee. One with whiskey, Kahlua and Grand Marnier; hold the schlag.” “You are drinking one now?” Roy asks, incredulous, “After all that last night?” “After all what?” I reply, “Yep. Best eye-opener in the world.” “You’re fucking inhuman,” Roy says, deep into his mug of Joe. “Never claimed I was anything but.”, I smiled and waved my cybernetic fingers in his direction. “What did I do to deserve this?”, Roy muttered. Well, we finally, around 0600 depart the Quantum Sports Bar. I was a bit peckish as the pub grub available was just a bit too amuse-bouche cutesy for me. I want Luigi’s gut bomb pizza; with extra cheese, Italian sausage, and anchovies. Alas, none were to be found in Dubai at this hour. Roy deposits me back at the hotel and I pay him his due, with a smart tip. He makes certain I have his business card and that if I ever need a Dubli driver, to call him first. Up in the room, Es is sawing lumber. I decide not to wake her and grab a quick drink or five out of the mini-bar. I run a luxuriantly foamy hot tub in which I can relax my cares away once I disconnect my digits and set them in the charger. Esme and I were later at lunch after I tubbed for a while then decided to grab a few hours’ sleep. Es was up and puttering around the room when the doorbell rang. I went to grab something other than sleeping clothes as Es answered the door. “Rock! It’s for you” Esme called. “Probably the fuzz. The Kiwi narked on us and now I’m in Dutch.” I thought. It wasn’t. It was a local Emirati, one Mr. Abdul Jabbaar el-Abdalla, from the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development. “Yes?”, I said to the dishdasha-clad individual at the door. “You are Dr. Rocknocker, late of the Sultanate?” he asks. “Yes,” I replied. I’m not letting anything on past name, rank, and serial number until I get the lowdown on this character. “Ah. Wonderful”, he smiles back, “Might we have a chat?” “Regarding?” I ask warily. “The upcoming Late Summer or Early Fall Dubai Shopping Festival.” he smiles like a cheetah back at me. “Weird”, was the only thing I could think. “Most certainly. Won’t you come in?” I ask. “Thank you”, he says and sweeps into the hotel room. We take seats near my work desk. I introduce Esme as my wife and they exchange pleasantries. “Could I get you something? Coffee? Tea?” Esme enquires. “I could go for a cold one, dear,” I say. Arab or not, this little piece of Dubai real estate is dogma-free. Mr. Abdul surprises me and asks for a cold beer as well. “I may look Emirati, but I’m really, by family, Omani.” He smiles broadly and goldly. “Well”, I reply, “That explains it. Yes, dear. A couple of Balticas, please.” I say. “Care for a light or dark beer, Mr. Abdalla?” “Oh, light please.” He remarks. “A number 3 and one 9, please,” I say to Esme. Over his light and my very dark Russian beer, he lays out the program. “Yes, at the conclusion of the festival, we want to mark the passing of the occasion after the virus pandemic with a special finale.” He noted. “Such as? And why me?” I ask. He smiles and actually chuckles a bit. “We plan on Tchaikovsky’s 1828 Overture as a finale.” He lights up. “OK. A good piece of solid show music”, I reply, “And this applies to me how?” “Well, you obviously know of the score”, he says, “And we want to set a record with our rendition of a finale.” “Really?” I ask, “Let me guess, you asked around and the pyro crowd gave you my name?” “Precisely.” he laughs. “Every time. We tracked you down from flight records. Imagine our astonishment to find you right here in town. “ “Yep. Yippee. So, if the normal pyrotechnicians can’t supply what you want and you come to me, you must want some really big booms.” I note. “Exactly. Such a quick study, Doctor”, he notes. “How big?” I ask and have a swig of beer. “Record-setting”, he replies. “OK. What are the previous world’s record for such an endeavor?” I ask. “The performance by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Eastern Army Band, 1st Band, and 1st Artillery Unit in 2010 used M101 105mm howitzers. The final part of the performance of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture in London 2012 was with live gunfire of HMS Belfast. The Boston Pops in 2015 used a record of 1.5 tons of fireworks. We want to surpass that.” he replied. “OK. Now I’ve got a basis for comparison. Leave me to it. We’re not leaving any time soon, it appears. Let me cogitate the matter for a while and I’ll get back to you with a plan and procedure. OK? What’s the budget?” I ask. “Unlimited. But within reason”, he chuckles. “Use your best judgment.” “I can do that.” I reply, “I’m sort of bored right now so I’ll get right after its wild ass.” A bit taken aback, he continues: “Fine. Fine. Most agreeable. As is this beer. Thank you. My card, Doctor. Please call when you have a plan.” he states, rises, shakes my hand, says goodbye to Esme without shaking her hand, and departs. “You heard?” I asked Es. “Oh, yes. Damn. Talk about giving Dracula the key to the blood bank.” She smiles. “Gonna need your help on this one”, I say. “Oh, yes, oh deaf one. Call me when you need me.” she smiles. “I always need you”, I reply very truthfully. After a bit of research, we find that Tchaikovsky’s 1828 overture finale consists of 12 cannon fires. 1-11 are pretty much the same, but #12, El Ultimo, it is the loudest and most sustained. “We’re setting records,” I say to Esme, “This will not do…” Two days later, I have a plan and procedure. I call one Mr. Abdul Jabbaar el-Abdalla, from the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development for a second visit. “Good day, Mr. Abdulla. I trust you’re well amid all this craziness?” I ask. “Oh, yes. Thank you. You and yours as well?” he asks tangentially. “We have fully functioning immune systems”, I reply, “We’re good.” “Excellent! Shall we see what you’ve worked up?” he asks, anxiously. “Absolutely. But first, a libation?” I ask. “I wouldn’t say no if it were wet and cold.” He smiles. Esme returns with our beers and I pull out the pages of procedure and the list of materials with projected costs for Mr. Minister of the Culture and Know-how. He looks at it and emits a low whistle. “Well, Doctor, one cannot say you don’t do your homework.” He smiles in appreciation. “I always try to be succinct, sufficient, and satisfactory. Plus, I always add an additional 25% contingency.” I reply. “Can you walk me through this?” he asks. “Most assuredly”, I remark. And I do. “Based on results from a nine element vertical line array (VLA) with hydrophones spaced 0.7 m apart and an autonomous recording system recording on a multi-channel coherent data acquisition system (Astro-Med, Inc.) for which each channel was recorded at 62,500 samples per second; the initial shock wave can be approximated as decaying exponential with a decay constant h given by Chapman as Ø = 8:12 x 10–5 W13 (W1/3)0:14. Remembering that attributes of a sound at a particular point are usually obtained by measuring pressure changes as sound waves pass; this Δ detonation pressure equivalent for 1 kilo of C-4, which is composed of 91% RDX ("Research Department Explosive", an explosive nitroamine), bound by a mixture of 5.3% dioctyl sebacate (DOS) or dioctyl adipate (DOA) as the plasticizer (to increase the plasticity of the explosive), thickened with 2.1% polyisobutylene (PIB, a synthetic rubber) as the binder, with a density of 1.58 grams per cubic centimeter, and an explosive velocity of 8,092 m/s (26,550 ft/s) is 257 kilobars. This is the equivalent of ‘noise dosemeters’, record the Pa2·h (pascal-squared hour) decibel level of an instantaneous 140.” “Um, yes Doctor. “ Mr. Abdalla says, “A little less theory, and a bit more practical if you please.” “Oh, yes, certainly”, I say, and proceed right along, “Using the equation ‘Distance = 215(NEQ)1/3, and since 140 decibels is considered as a "safety cutoff" for exposure to impulsive noises without using hearing protection, as per a festival; it’s not a question of how loud do you want the bang, just how far will you have to keep people away to ensure their safety.” “How is that?” he asks. “Well, with 10 kilos, you need to be back 463.20m to be safe. 100 kilos? 997.94m or near as hell one kilometer. 1,000 kilos? Just over two kilometers or 2150.00m to be precise. Just for laughs, 10,000 kilos? Nearer to five kilometers, or 4632.03m.” “I see”, he says and rubs his neatly trimmed beard. “So, I propose building or acquiring three sea-going barges, 75m x 15 meters, and have them anchored offshore from a kilometer to two distant. That’s easily done as the water here off Dubai is quite shallow.” “Continue, please.” He says. “There are 12 cannon shots in the 1812 Overture finale. An initial set of three, a set of four, another set of 4, and the grand finale. I suggest that you build 12 flat-topped wooden platforms where the height of the platform relates directly to the C-4 charge size. If the charge is 100 kilos, then a minimum of 6 meters in height; scaled proportionally. The flat top of wood eliminates missiles if the platform disintegrates, as the blast energy will radiate outward hemispherically and basically just scorch the hell out of the wood platform.” “Understood. Please continue.”, he asks. “OK. This way you can scale up the charge, move back the barge, and build your towers just so large.” He snickers at that and asks me to carry on. “I suggest three initial charges of 100 kilos. Then four of 250 kilos. Then four more of 500 kilos. For the Grand Finale, I suggest 1,500 to 2,000 kilos. Do that, and the record will be assured.” “Excellent!” he exclaims, “Anything else?” “Oh, yes”, I smile, “C-4 is pliable and easily molded. I suggest you form the charges with a flat base, but into an auricular shape. That is, chop off your ear and set it on the table. Mold the C-4 in that approximate shape, aiming the low-side toward the audience. That will maximize the volume, but dissipate the shock wave the fastest.” “Outstanding!” he clasps his hands. “But, wait. There’s more!” I say, “The flash from C-4 isn’t that especially bright. You want sight as well as sound. So, mix 15-25% Tannerite, a binary explosive, with the C-4. Also, you can place potassium nitrate/magnesium or potassium nitrate, aluminum, and sulfur flash powder packets into the cavity of the auricular shape. The pyrotechnicians handling the show can rig this no problem. You can mold the C-4 and Tannerite up to 3 days in advance if you cover it with biophane, a breathable bioplastic, and keep them cool and in the dark.” “Oh, this is wonderful, Doctor. But you’ll not be here?” he asks. “No, I’m afraid not.” I reply, “Once the quarantine is lifted, my dear wife and I are gone to the Sultanate. We’re packing as quickly as we can and headed back to the states. I need to get to university where I’m pursuing my DSc degree. We also want to get out of the Middle East. 22 years is quite enough, thank you. Of course, no offense intended. We just want to get home to family.” “I see. That I can understand.” He notes, “Thank you for your time and design. I do appreciate the list of materials, that will make things most convenient. How much do we owe you and the Mrs. for your time and efforts, Doctor?” “Mr. Minister, nothing”, I say. “We’re stuck here and just working on the preliminaries for my dissertation. It was a welcome respite from Helium exploration and Rb/Os ages of Neoproterozoic biomarkers. Consider it the Rocknocker family gift to the cause.” “My, my Doctor and Mrs.”, the Minister of the Small and the Silly remarks, “That’s very generous of you. Your names will be mentioned prominently in the proceedings of benefactors to the festival.” “Mr. Minister”, I said, “We’d rather you didn’t. We neither desire nor require the notoriety, and in this case, we would rather just remain safely anonymous.” “If that is your wish, then your requests will be respected.” The Minister says as he rises to leave. “How much longer will you be staying with us?” “Ask your brethren to the south. It’s all up to them” I wearily replied. “I’ll see what I can do. Once again. Doctor? Mrs. Thank you. Thank you so very much. Good day.” He shakes my hand, ignores Es’ and takes his leave. “Well,” I relate to my beloved, “That was fun. I’m going swimming. Can you charge up my fingers for me, dear?” She smiles and says of course. Besides, it’s siesta time for her. I want to get out to the pool before it’s the Skin Bubbling Hour. A day passes. We’re still bored and waiting for liberation. The next morning, the doorbell rings. I’m working on the New York Times crossword and another Greenland Coffee. “Bloody hell.”, I remark, looking at my watch. “It’s Oh-Dark 30 early. Now, what the fuck?” After closing my robe, I open the door. I don’t trust those little fisheye peepholes since I saw Hard Target and Leon the Professional. I’d rather see it coming. “Yeah?” I say to the huge bush of fresh-cut flowers. “You’re Dr. Rocknocker and Mrs?” a voice asks. “Yes to the first and no to the second. But she’s here.” I say warily to the talking greenery. “Gift for you from the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development. Sign here please”, the foliage requests. I grab the clipboard and scribble something similar to what passes for my signature. I hand the clipboard back to the mound of sentient vegetation whereupon it asks where I would like it to be set in the suite. “Anywhere you can find that’s there’s room,” I reply. Holy shit, it’s not a floral arrangement, it’s a floral shop. He sets it in the middle of the dining room table. The damn thing extends from one side, parallel to its longest dimension, to the other. The damn thing must weigh in at 50 kilos. Or more. “Wait here, please”, the now visible delivery person asks. “Like I’m going somewhere?” I mused. He returns with three huge boxes of custom, hand-dipped chocolates. Somehow, he finds room for these on the table as well. I tip him 25 dirhams and he says “Thanks” and bids a hasty departure. Es hears all the hubbub and wanders down from the bedroom. “What the hell was all that …What the hell is this?” she asks. “Let me look at the note,” I say, find it and rip it open. “A small gesture of our everlasting thanks. Signed, Minister Abdul Jabbaar el-Abdalla, and all of us at the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.” “Well, so much for that diet we discussed.” I snickered to Esme as I opened the first box and saw the easily 20 to 25 rows of lovely looking hand-dipped dark chocolates. “I do so wish I liked chocolate.” I mused aloud. Esme adores chocolate. The doorbell rings again. Es hustles upstairs in her nightgown, and I wander over and answer the door. “What?” “Dr. Rocknocker?” this new delivery guy asks. “Yes?” “Sign here.” He says. I do. He takes and hands me a yellow flimsy from the triplicate delivery order. He turns and begins to walk down the hall. “Hey, Chuckles. What did I just sign for?” I ask. “Look down”, he says over his shoulder, never breaking stride. “Oh”, I said. Hey, it’s early. Leave me alone. There’s a suspicious-looking parcel, approximately 12-7/8” x 9-11/16” x 12-1/2” and weighing in at around 34 pounds or so. I drag it in and find space for it in the kitchen. Look. There’s a card. Addressed to me. I open it. “Doctor. Best regards and wishes. Abdul Jabbaar el-Abdalla.” Nice. I open the case to find a dozen bottle sampler of Chopin Vodka. Four wheat, four rye, and four potato vodka. Es wanders back down and is almost consumed by the overwhelming pong of the tropical flower shrubbery that has taken up residence in our dining room. “OK. You can have a few chocolates. As long as I can have some of my present.” I say. “Deal” Es replies."Gimmee." Remind me to say something nice about Dubai sometime in the future. But only once; let’s not get carried away.
DWAYNE JOHNSON, 45, is holding his hand over his mouth as he coughs lightly. He proceeds to smile and chuckle through the pain of 500,000 thousand Scoville units. The First We Feast title sequence plays. We are greeted by the bald-headed beauty, SEAN EVANS, 32. Sean’s voice is more passionate than usual, he looks into camera one with a massive smile on his face. SEAN HEY! What’s going on everybody, from First We Feast I’m Sean Evans, and you’re watching Hot Ones. Sean looks into camera two. SEAN It’s the show with hot questions and even hotter wings. AND. TODAY. We are joined by a long time comin, the man, the myth, the legend, Dwayne Johnson. Better known as The Rock, but really, what isn’t Dwayne Johnson known for these days. DWAYNE Thank you guys for having me. SEAN Dwayne, we’ve been chasing you for a while. Are you ready to do this? I know it’s early and this isn’t your typical “The Rock” regime bodybuilding breakfast. Dwayne Chuckles and smiles at Sean DWAYNE I am SO ready. I just finished hitting back this morning. I skipped the post-workout meal. I’m ready to get some protein in me – regardless of how hot. SEAN That was my next question, how are you with hot food? DWAYNE Like most people my age, I don’t seek it out in my diet every day, but what I do seek is a challenge so I am ready for whatever… Dwayne picks up a bottle of hot sauce and shows it to the camera. DWAYNE El Yucateco wants to throw my way. SEAN Let’s do it. The Hot One’s title sequence plays – featuring images of hot sauce dousing wings, Sean and Dwayne posing with one another in various positions while Dwayne towers over Sean’s puny mortal body. The “First We Feast Presented by Hot Ones,” graphic is displayed. Next, Dwayne is seen chomping on a drumstick wing. DWAYNE Oh yeah. I can get down with Sriracha, baby. Dwayne cleans the wing. SEAN So, Dwayne, you have one of the most decorated and illustrious pasts of any guest we’ve had on our show, but let’s start at the very beginning and then maybe go a little chronological, does that sound good? DWAYNE Right on. SEAN It’s no secret that you were on the move as a kid. What was it like attending four different high schools? And if possible can you share with our viewers, who may be transitioning to new schools, how you dealt with maintaining any social relationships and even building new ones and fitting in? DWYANE (Smiling) That’s a good question. And you know I’m not sure I have a good answer. Ideally, you’d hope the transition to a new school will go as smooth as possible but that is rarely the case. I was a pretty hefty kid, and high school kids are nasty, so I was never looking to be something I wasn’t so that kid’s I didn’t know would accept me. SEAN (Nodding) Right. I got you. DWAYNE Despite how cliché it may sound, if there is any advice I can give it’d be, to be yourself, and the right people will fall into your life. Don’t adapt to please shitty people. Dwayne covers his mouth in embarrassment. DWAYNE Can I--. I can swear on here, right? SEAN Fuck yeah, you can swear. I don’t think there’s a corporate sponsor on this episode. DWAYNE (Smiling/chuckling) Well, fuck yeah! SEAN I also, don’t feel comfortable telling The Rock, no. So swear all ya want Dwayne. The Scovilles get upped to 5,000. The Aardvark Hot Sauce title sequence plays. DWAYNE This is good. This is good. A little bit hotter. SEAN (Sarcastically) Yup, that’s the idea. We like to bring it in droves. Dwayne is seen cleaning his wing to the bone. SEAN It seems if so American Football changes dramatically each year with the way different rules get instated. The most recent rule change that has both fans and players in an uproar is the tackling rule/lowering the helmet rule. Are you familiar with what I’m referring to? DWAYNE Totally. Absolutely. SEAN So I’m gonna read the rule to you verbatim. And I want to get your knee-jerk reaction to the verbiage, and also if you could cue us in on how you would adapt your play style to the rule if this had been put in place while you were still balling out at The University of Miami. Sean quickly reads the rule aloud. DWYANE Honest to god. And I don’t think I am the first person with a football past to say this but I think I would have to hang up the pads. Guys are being penalized for what used to be a reward, a promotion, the pinnacle of the position. Dwayne collects himself. DWAYNE With all that being said, I understand and want nothing more than for the game to be as safe as possible for the post-career sake. You know? SEAN Absolutely. DWAYNE But as archaic as it sounds a lot of what I’m seeing is no longer the sport I grew up playing and that sucks. SEAN A few more rapid-fire football questions: Who’s the GOAT? DWAYNE Tom Brady. No doubt. Five rings, cmon. SEAN Favorite player growing up? DWAYNE ***(I imagine his answer would be Brian Bosworth)*** SEAN Last one – is there a player in the league today that reminds you, of yourself and your play style. DWAYNE God, that’s tough because y’know unfortunately I never made it to the league. But a guy a have a ton of respect for, and just love the way he plays the game is Aaron Donald. Right in my backyard here in LA. The dude is a MANIAC on the defensive line. The Scovilles are upped to 9,000. El Yucateco title sequence plays. Both Dwayne and Sean clean their wings. SEAN Cleaning wings. I love it. Though if there was ever a guest who I knew would come in and clean wings to the bone I would’ve bet a years’ worth of rent it’d be you, Dwayne. Smoke alarms start going off in Dwayne’s head. DWAYNE WOOOOO! This is kicked up a notch… So did you say that people come in here and don’t eat the whole wing?! SEAN That’s right. Dwayne is genuinely shocked. DWAYNE WHAT! SEAN I’m not gonna get on them if they’re not trying to ruin their stomach lining for the foreseeable future. I can’t be telling Charlize Theron and Natalie Portman that they have to clean bones or otherwise we won’t plug their movies, you know? DWAYNE Understood. Dwayne looks into camera 2. DWAYNE But seriously, eat your fuckin wings, people. SEAN So, Dwayne, you were famously a part of wrestling’s attitude era, and really, you were front and center alongside Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Triple H, and many more. My question to you is, did you guys know what you had was peak entertainment gold before you really hit your stride? DWAYNE (*I really have no clue how he’d answer this*) Yes and no. When Vince and Jim first approached me, I was both ecstatic and skeptical, you know I had a big personality but so did all the other guys you mentioned so I wasn’t certain how we would gel. But once I got in a room with Steve, I knew there was magic there. SEAN The Rock will go down in Wrestling lore forever but more importantly, his catchphrase - - Both SEAN & DWAYNE “It doesn’t matter what your name is!” SEAN (Laughing) Will live on forever in meme culture, so I’m gonna show you a few that have made their way through the internet and you can just tell me what you think. That sound good? DWAYNE Totally. Sean shows Dwayne a slew of vines and other videos where the punchline is his famous catchphrase. Dwayne is amused by each one. The Scovilles are upped to 15,600. Hot Ones’ own Fiery Chipotle Hot Sauce title sequence plays. SEAN Dwayne, this is one of two Hot Ones’ own hot sauces in the gauntlet. DWAYNE Oh, you guys make this yourselves? SEAN I don’t make it there’s a team of people behind the scenes that make it. But if you like it, I’ll be happy to take credit on their behalf. DWAYNE It’s excellent! Dwayne kisses his fingers like a chef. DWAYNE Definitely, something I could see myself tossing on chicken breast to help choke it down easier. SEAN I hear ya on that. Which segways nicely into my next question… Can you talk about “The Rock” training diet a little bit? Can you talk about what it’s like eating over 5,000 calories a day, sometimes training twice a day, all to maintain this larger than life physique? DWAYNE Oh gosh, of course. Yeah first off, I don’t recommend it to anyone. Seriously anyone. Unless of course, your physique is comparable to mine but you know I keep my body conditioned this way partly because it helps me land roles and because I love fitness. I’ve been tossing around weights since I was in elementary school. And you have to eat big to be big. SEAN Funny you mention not recommending trying to mimic your diet because seated before you is someone who attempted and failed “The Rock” diet. DWAYNE Right! See! SEAN A tapped out at around 3,000 calories, I think. And more trips to the bathroom than I had anticipated. DWAYNE It’s no joke man. Eating has really become work for me. SEAN What’s the meal prep situation looking like because all of my meals were just like a bed of rice and a piece of chicken or fish that could’ve easily been mistaken for a bicycle seat. DWAYNE (Laughing hard) Well, fortunately for me, I learned very quickly that once you make it in show business, chefs start throwing themselves in line to cook for you. That hasn’t happened to you yet?! SEAN Unless their emails are going directly to my junk folder, I cannot say I’ve been approached by anyone who wants to cook for me. Dwayne motions to his entourage, off camera. DWAYNE We need to get this man hooked up! SEAN I’ll have my people talk to your people. The Scovilles are upped to 18,000. Queen’s Majesty limited edition Hot Sauce title sequence plays. SEAN Alright, Dwayne. We have a reoccurring segment on our show called Explain That Gram, where we do a deep dive on our guests Instagram and pull interesting pictures that need more context. And you’re actually one of the more prominent posters to Instagram compared to our guests of the past so this works out well. So what I’ll do is I’ll show you a picture and you give us the bigger story, does that sound good? DWAYNE Let’s do it. SEAN (Pointing his index finger in the air.) Laptop, please! A laptop appears by Sean’s side thanks to a PA. Sean shows Dwayne his own Instagram post from June 29th, a picture of a black notebook and a globe. SEAN So what’s going on with the notebook here at 2 AM, Dwayne? Will we ever know what lies within those pages or is that private? DWAYNE Ahhhh, yes. That’ll mostly stay between me and people close to me who I trust can bring some of the ideas to fruition. SEAN Is that what the 2 AM grind usually looks like? DWAYNE Absolutely. It’s one of the few times I can get away from external distractions and let my brain dump out what has been festering at it. Sean shows Dwayne his post from August 19th, Dwayne is standing in front of a squat rack with 315lbs on the bar. SEAN What’s going on here? Is this a warm-up set? DWAYNE (Chuckling) HAH! It used to be. I’m reworking my form, trying to maintain a strong base with my compound movements. And of course, never skipping leg day. Dwayne looks directly into camera 2. DWAYNE YouTube, you better NEVER skip leg day. SEAN I imagine the bulk of our viewers will tune this segment out. Sean shows Dwayne his post from April 19th, Dwayne is seated atop alligators back while grabbing the gator by the throat and jaw area, clamping the gator's mouth shut. SEAN Okay…what is going on here? DWAYNE (*I can’t make up an explanation for this, it’s too outrageous.*) The Scovilles are upped to 21,000. Dirty Dicks Hot sauce title sequence plays. DWAYNE Hmm. Dirtyyyy… Dirty Dicks. SEAN Yeah, it was no holds barred when naming this one. DWAYNE Oh god. This is the first genuinely bad sauce. Dwayne (finally) reaches for his glass of water. SEAN Is the water to combat the heat or the taste? DWAYNE Taste, mostly. SEAN So Dwayne, one of your very first IMDB credits, that didn’t have you starring as a variation of yourself is the CGI abomination known as The Scorpion King from 2001’s The Mummy Returns. Do you remember what it was like getting pitched to do that and do you remember your initial thoughts after seeing what “you” looked like on screen? Dwayne’s character image is displayed on the screen. DWAYNE I couldn’t jump on the role fast enough. The Mummy franchise was a huge property in the early 2000’s and I was honored when the casting director came to me and told me he wanted me to play Scorpion King. SEAN I know it was a testament to the early 2000’s but how about the CGI? DWAYNE Yeah, the CGI doesn’t really hold up today, does it? Both Sean and Dwayne share a laugh DWAYNE I mean for 2000 I was psyched when I saw the final product. I mean shooting that was unlike anything I had done before. You know up until then I was always used to using my entire body and my charisma on screen but all I really had to do for this was make some facial expressions. They did the rest on the backend. SEAN The power of CGI. DWAYNE It grows greater every day. The Scovilless are upped to 100,000. Zombie Apocalypse Hot Sauce title sequence plays. DWAYNE Oh shit. Now, this… this is spicy. Dwayne reaches to wipe his eye with the back of his palm. SEAN Careful. Careful around the eyes. DWAYNE Right. Right. I can only imagine… Hot Ones’ music intensifies. DWAYNE Woooo Shit! SEAN Now, Dwayne, I don’t know if you know this, but according to your Wikipedia, you hold the record for the most selfies taken in three minutes. And it happened on the red carpet during the premiere of San Andreas in London… Was there a conscious effort to set this record or is that a typical red carpet practice for Dwayne Johnson? DWAYNE First, no I did not know I held this record. My plaque must’ve gotten lost in the mail. Second, I try to make red carpets truly enjoyable for the fans because, truthfully, they’re really the only ones there enjoying themselves. Dwayne quickly justifies what he means. DWAYNE Now don’t get me wrong I love red carpet events, they’re extravagant, and they’re a part of history for the project. But at the core of it, myself, as an actor, and most of the other people there are still working. You know you’ve got journalists, and photographers, not to mention, I still gotta sell you guys on this movie! SEAN Totally get ya. DWAYNE So yeah I try and make it as pleasurable, for those who are truly there for pleasure. But how about you? I imagine you get noticed or asked to take a selfie on the street? SEAN (Humbly) Very rarely, Dwayne. Verrrrry rarely. It’s mostly dudes asking my how my butthole feels. Dwayne laughs the hardest he has yet. (Even celebrities like butthole humor.) The Scovilles are upped to 135,600. Da Bomb, Beyond Insanity, Hot Sauce title sequence plays. Sean pants and exhales deeply. DWAYNE Uh oh. What’s he doing? Dwayne looks around the room as if someone is going to answer, then smiles. Each of them dives into their wings and each of them are visibly taken back by how hot it is. The bass intensifies. Both Dwayne and Sean have now both broken the seal on their glasses of milk. SEAN No shame in hitting the milk, Dwayne. DWAYNE Fuck me, this is hot. The sauce is yelling at me. Dwayne coughs. DWAYNE Like I said something about its mother. SEAN So like all A-list celebrities, you’re no stranger to the tabloids and the TMZs of the world. DWAYNE Right. SEAN What’s the craziest headline you’ve ever read about yourself? Both Sean and Dwayne are exhaling deeply and grasping for cooler pastures. Dwayne takes a big breath and begins his answer. DWAYNE Damn, there have been a few… I think I saw one, one time that said I was getting a sex change. SEAN Oh dear. How’d that go over with friends and family? DWAYNE Well, my wife at the time, was the one that sent it to me, and she was all over those sort of stories. So she calls me up, screaming, like “IS IT TRUE?!” “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” And I’m like “What, what, hunny?” And she’s like “You’re getting a sex change!?” So, yeah I had to talk her off the ledge and let her know it was all bullshit – Fake news, I think they call it these days. SEAN You can never be too careful. And what about TMZ? Any run-ins with them? Dwayne retorts quickly. DWAYNE (Smiling) They know not to fuck with me. The Scovilles are nearly quadrupled. Blair’s Mega-Death Hot Sauce title sequence plays. DWAYNE So how am I doing? SEAN I mean, you’re eight wings in, you’ve only hit the milk once, there’s no visible sweat on your body, I’d say you’re doing well, Dwayne. DWAYNE Good. Good… cause I feel like shit. My taste buds have been scorched. SEAN Most of the damage done here isn’t permanent. I promise. Dwayne takes a sip of his water before biting into the wing. Dwayne is battling the pain mightily and still trying to keep is charming demeanor. DWAYNE (Coughing lightly) Mhmmm. Shit. SEAN So Dwayne throughout your historic career you’ve gotten to work alongside some of the heaviest hitters in Hollywood. In 2017 alone you worked with on projects with, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, and not to mention the star-studded Fast and Furious cast. So my question to you is who was your favorite? Sean quickly admits he’s only joking. SEAN My actual question is which one of these actors is most like the character they depicted on screen? And you don’t have to limit your options to what I listed. Anyone you’ve shared the medium with. DWAYNE Wow. That’s a great question. SEAN Thank you. Dwayne leans back in his seat, looks up at the studio lights, and really begins to think. DWAYNE My mind immediately wants to jump to Efron because he’s so god damn good looking but he’s nothing like his character in Baywatch. Dwayne still pondering hard. DWAYNE Maybe Jack Black? I mean in Jumanji it gets a little ridiculous because we’re playing characters, who are characters in other characters bodies, and Jack is of course also playing a woman in a man’s body. But I mean, off shooting and off-set he really sank his teeth into the role and ran with it. It’s safe to say he had the most fun while shooting and was really authentic on and off camera. The Scovilles are now upped over 2,000,000+…Hot Ones’ The Last Dab, title sequence plays. Sean grabs the final bottle of hot sauce and begins shaking it vigorously. Sean sighs in preparation of what lies ahead. SEAN Alright, Dwayne. So this is the Last Dab. We call it the Last Dab because it’s tradition around here to put a little dab on the last wing. You don’t HAVE to if you don’t WANT to. DWAYNE Cmon! What do I look like? SEAN I had a feeling you’d be up to it. Sean dabs his wing with the hot sauce and passes the bottle to Dwayne who follows suit. Each of their dabs are about dime size. SEAN Here we go. DWAYNE (Smiling) Cheers. The two toast their wings like champagne glasses and proceed to dive into the eternal realm of spice. Sean’s face is now smushed together despite this being like the fiftieth time he’s indulged in the sauce. It is as if each of his facial features moved one inch toward the center of his perfectly symmetrical, round head. Dwayne pounds his fist against the table a few times and lets out a bit of a roar. DWAYNE Wooooooooo! Damn! Dwayne begins exhaling incrementally and quickly as if to keep the heat off the interior of his mouth. Triumphant music begins to play, signifying the show coming to a close. SEAN So Dwayne… you’ve starred in movies. You’ve headlined international wrestling events. You had a short stint playing professional football. I could truly go on for hours illustrating a resume like yours. Sean is still visibly battling the heat. SEAN You’re an inspiration to many, but at the core of it what or who inspires The Rock. What gets, Dwayne Johnson out of bed and into the weight room at 4 AM every day? How does a guy, who seemingly has it all continue to strive for greatness? DWAYNE Wow, that was really beautiful, Sean. SEAN (While burying his face in milk) Thanks, man. DWAYNE …
The ranking of the most colourful characters in Polish football of the 21st century! Part 1/10, (91-100).
Here's the original: https://weszlo.com/2020/03/24/ranking-najbarwniejszych-postaci-xxi-wieku-91-100/ Polish football site Weszło.com made their ranking of 100 most colourful characters in polish football. I decided to translate its 1st part and, if there will be some interest in those stories, I will translate them all. So here we go: Polish football is full of colourful, unusual characters. Sometimes they are charismatic leaders, sometimes unforgettable heroes of anecdotes, sometimes it's just plain dickheads. Because we sit at home and get a little bored - we decided to gather all these colorful birds into one ranking. And here is a hundred of the most colourful figures of Polish football in the 21st century. What criteria did we choose? Basically - different. Sometimes we were guided by a person's influence on pop culture, sometimes by a multitude of strange stories, but also by charisma, charm or the level of an unusual CV. The most important thing is that this character is INTERESTING. We start from the bottom and every day we will throw in a tenth from our ranking (and I will translate it from time to time ~Bartoni17). We chose the form of the ranking with the classic division into places, but remember - it's more of a form of inviting you to a discussion and an excuse to remember the dozens of anecdotes provided by our colorful characters. We realize that it is impossible to compare Bogusław Leśnodorski to Zbigniew Boniek or Jarosław Królewski and Orest Lenczyk. The whole thing is totally discretionary, but we hope that we treated the participants of the series "Polish Football" honestly. We hope that you will smile a few times. Have a nice trip and... until tomorrow! 100. WILDE-DONALD GUERRIER & EMMANUEL SARKI An ideal kind of foreigners who come to the Polish Ekstraklasa. They raised its level? Undeniably. And at the same time they added some colour, although usually by actions which, hmm, are not MENSA references. When Wilde-Donald Guerrier came to the Wisła, he declared that faith is of great importance to him, he avoids parties and alcohol. And for a long time it was like that, until he came to know Emmanuel Sarki. Then he turned into a demon. The Kraków's clubs "Coco" and "Frantic" became the second home of the colourful two. There were legends about their erotic conquests, some cannot count the offspring that one of them left behind after a few years in Krakow. People from Wisła clutched their heads in disbelief when Wilde-Donald confessed that he was feeding the child... with raw meat. A few months old child, let's add. Wild Donald is the protagonist of the most absurd social media accident that happened to an Ekstraklasa footballer. He wanted to upload a picture of his jersey to Facebook, but he threw in a free photo of his cock. NSFW Sarki? Another incident that went down in history. In an interview for "Przeglad Sportowy" he revealed: - My great grandfather came to Nigeria from Haiti as a missionary. He died recently, at the age of 132. At the age of 132, which meant that Sarki's great-grandfather was the oldest man in human history. What's more, he beat the second oldest person by thirteen years! To make it even more funny, Sarki was a Nigerian of blood and bone, and that great-grandfather was supposed to have Haitian roots, which would allow the player to play in the Haitian national team. In the same national team that Wilde-Donald (a hundred percent Haitian) persuaded him to play. When Sarki's call-up to the team came to Kraków, the club asked for any documents confirming Sarki's relationship with Haiti. In response, Wisła read that... the federation is not yet able to send papers. But it will soon. Both of them were basically identical - a style for an „American rapper”, their own world, and not one by one in their heads. Guerrier had his own brand of clothing and loved cars. At one point in his life he had seven of them. Yes, at once. When one of the fans suggested under the picture of the Porsche Panamera that he should focus on playing instead of cars, he wrote briefly: - Fuck off. Saying goodbye to the White Star, he wrote to the fan that his mother was a prostitute. He lost himself in the cars to such an extent that one day a lift trucker appeared at the Wisła training. The footballer took a few leases on him, but forgot that... they still have to be paid off. Franz Smuda said that Sarki and Guerrier would send him to a psychiatrist. Watching the Wisła then had its peculiar charm - one of the Haitian aces was losing the ball, cameraman took a shot at Smuda, and he used his broken Polish-German-English to say the worst things to them. Once he shouted to one of them: - I'll kill you! Guerrier told the media about Borusia Dortmund's interest, Sarki about Galatasaray. Eventually the first one went to Alanyaspor, the second one - to AEL Limassol (and today he plays in the fourth league Odra Wodzisław). Guerrier leaving, tricked his agent, Daniel Weber, who did the transfer, but... when it came to signing, DG77 flew alone so he didn't have to share the commission. Well, it's no coincidence that he got the name "Wilde" from his parents - supposedly because he's been behaving in a wild way since his first days. 99. STANISLAV LEVY The Social One, Sultan of Olomouc, Denatured Midas. Imeprsonations in the commentaries on Weszło became classics. Probably the only coach in the Ekstraklasa, who had his club to tell him to get himself together, because a messy moustache, thinned haircut and a few days' beard were making associations for itself. And Levy himself din't look as a saint with his statements. Such as when he fainted during the match with Lech and during the live interview he admitted that he drank too little during the day. The image of taxi driver from Mielec was making a base for incredible stories invented by our readers. Loans taken for ID of Sylwester Patejuk, Wigry 3 bicycle trips, a struggle hanging in the air, the smell of excrements, purple ragweed, dog named Scrappy, Jerzy the Dwarf pawned in a pawn shop, moonshine made from rats, a sip of Blue Paris, Sigma Olomouc's tracksuit... We don't know if there was a better series of fake stories in the history of the Internet. But we're afraid not. And We don't think it will ever happen again. The Social One Maybe we should drop off some classics, because there may not be a better opportunity:
(London, Stamford Bridge Stadium. Journalists from all over the world are coming to a press conference, during which the owner of The Blues himself is to introduce a new manager. To the amazement of the journalists, Chelsea's coach turns out to be not Jose Mourinho, but a Czech coach from Olomouc, Stanislav Levy, champion of Albania and bronze medalist of the Polish Ekstraklasa. A nice moustacheman makes him call himself "The Social One". Stanislav's first decisions were to hire a new training staff: his new assistant is a man named Mietek, a sports director named Mirek, and his concubine is appointed as a Chelsea's spokesperson. Levy's first move on the transfer market is to hire "a young, forward-looking," 26-year-old left defender Patrik Mraz. The Czech also decides to cooperate with the Bohemians Prague. Unfortunately, as the conference progresses, the coach more and more often drinks an unidentified liquid from his drinker. With every sip, the Czech Mourinho seems to be more and more absent. Embarrassed by the situation, Abramovich significantly pulls him by the sleeve of his jacket... Then Stanislav opens his eyes. It turns out that he is not sitting but lying down, not on the Stamford Bridge, but in a social house. It is not the Russian oligarch who lint him by the sleeve, but the Scrappy Dog, while in front of him, instead of English journalists, he sees empty bottles and a worn sweatshirt that says "Hansa Rostock 1986". London can breathe with a sigh of relief - the drunken eldorado has still not crossed the English Channel.
again this month, careless games with a cigarette and a denaturate end in a fire in a social tenement house. The sound of fire sirens is intertwined with the sinister creaking of the Wigry 3 bicycle on which the creator of the Olomouc catenaccio moves away from the place of the event.
completely drunk trying to tear the grating from a confessor in the confessional, thinking it's a grating from a sewer, he curse, and waves his fists when he fails to get absolution on credit.
On Saturday morning on Wrocław pitches officials notice the lack of nets on goalposts, there are holes in the fences after cutting with pliers. The monitoring system shows that on each object 4 men break into the object and still effectively took off the nets 2x5m. The officials scratch their heads with a helpless face. On Saturday, near Olomouc by the lake, the first poaching collection is taken out of the football nets just after noon. The victims were sturgeons, perches, hurdles but also children from the Wrocław pitches.
When the Skoda 130L on the Olomouc registration was leaving Śląsk's stadium, many footballers breathed a sigh of relief. - He was able to criticize the team so much that I felt sorry for some boys. I understand the reprimand and sometimes I got it myself. But he would come and insult people. Coach Lenczyk was a very strict and demanding trainer, but he did not destroy people. Levy did," said Sebastian Mila. After all, they weren't footballers, they were pozoranty. 98. NICKI BILLE NIELSEN Lech Poznań boasted that they had thoroughly examined the Dane and knew everything about him. They knew this nut so well that they put him in an apartment right next to the Old Town. And it's a bit like locating a guy fighting a candy addiction between a Haribo shop and a chocolate drinker. No wonder that after Nicki Bille's transfer, the profits of the nearby pubs and fast food bars reached record levels. Kolejorz's attacker may not have left a beautiful card in statistics, but Wrocławska Street was rumbling during his stay in Poznań. We have heard from several people from Kolejorz, that he entered the first training games like a boar in an acorn. Bombardiero, as you look at it, scored against Termalica right at the beginning of the round and... later it was only worse. A muscle injury, then a mysterious nose fracture. The official version? A collision with a colleague in training. Unofficial version - boxing sparring on the town. Psychologically overwatched before transfer Nicki had no problem with organizing a trip to the capital, drink few stronger drinks and then driving in the car around the city. In this hooligan mode, Bille Nielsen's lifestyle was quite broad. He was interested in art, painting, movies and rather the more ambitious ones. It is only a pity that he was a weak footballer. But at least he could guarantee the show. During the official presentation on the club's website, he said that one thing he was sure of - he would never go to Legia. We immedietely thought that in his childhood, throwed darts at posters with Brychczy and Pisz. Later, he said that shooting a goal is better for him than sex, and if it went to Legia's net, it would actually be like an orgy. Well, in recent months he has been shooting so many goals in Poznan that all sport he has left he has to do at home. Nicki had even more interesting life after he left Lech. Fights, drugs, sex in public, almost shot off, threats to the doctor... Maybe he didn't become the Danish athlete of the year, but at least he had an interesting relationship at InstaStories. 97. ARKADIUSZ PIECH As effective on the pitch as outside of it. So, once he hit the right one, and once he didn't. In 2003, he and two of his buddies beat a 45-year-old. Firstly he and his mates threw some rocks on the victim's house, and when the guy, over 20 years older than the guys, went out to chase the kids away, the three assailants beat him with the rails pulled out of a nearby fence. Piech and his colleagues explained at the Police Station that it wasn't like that, they first had a contest in throwing stones at a distance and one of them accidentally fell in the garden of a 45-year-old man. He started to get angry, caught up with three guys, and an argument was started. The cops, didn't quite believe that a man with heart disease ran after the three guys. Eventually the earlier testimony was withdrawn by the attackers, Piech himself got a sentence - 1.5 years in prison, he got out after nine months. "Świdnica County Eagle" (he supposedly described himself as such) hit for the second time in 2014. The media circulated information that completely drunk Arkadiusz Piech (then the name given without the letters I, E, C and H) fell into the emergency room together with his injured colleague. As we read - the sniper from the Ekstraklasa did not like waiting for his turn, so he decided to take matters into his own hands. And it wasn't about changing queue numbers, but about the hit in the chin of the doctor. We heard various stories about Świdnica. That it can pull you in, and if you can't fight, you might have not the best stories from the city. Piech not only could fight, but he liked it. He was bragging about the connections in the Świdnica crime-world, the doctor mentioned above was supposed to be intimidated with the words "you know who the fuck I am and who I know?". We cannot deny Arek the colourfulness, although it is not the colour desired by mothers with future son-in-laws. 96. PIOTR LECH One fact is indisputable - he must love goalkeepeing. He started playing in 1986, finished... 30 years later, in 2016. In his last performance in the Ekstraklasa he was 40 years, 10 months and 28 days old. And then he played in the lower leagues for eight more years. If you believe in stories of a large number of Polish footballers, Piotr Lech would write the most interesting biography. More a legend of changing rooms than the media he never liked. A typical representative of the old school - a relaxed approach to lifestyle, first to the atmosphere and cloakroom mockery. In his book Szamotulski writes that Lech was one of the worst players in the history of the league in terms of lifestyle. Górnik once organized a meeting with a nutritionist. He asked the players how their breakfast looked like. Lech smiled: - A cigarette and a coffe. "Szamo" also describes another story about Lech: "He liked to play with fate. As a player in the Ruch Chorzów, he made a bet with Jacek Bednarz that he would jump over the car. What's worse, a moving car. "Benek" didn't believe it, and that's a mistake. When the accountant was going to the club with her Fiat126p, suddenly Piotr ran right in front of the hood and jumped as high as he could - at the same time pulling his legs up to his chest. The car went under him, and Lech claimed the prize. Another time Lech made a joke on Jacek Wiśniewski, to whom he proposed before the match "something good to stimulate". He glued a ball from a piece of paper and recommended to drink it with a liter of water. „Wiśnia” without asking what it was, swallowed and drank. After the match, friends ask: - Wiśnia, how's that?
Great! What was that? Great!
Another show? Shooting firecrackers in the locker room. It took a few seconds of silence for Lech to enter the game, boom! He could see the victim and chase him with those firecrackers - the more fearful someone was, the more fun Lech had. Lech was also non-predictible on the pitch - he happened to hit Dariusz Wdowczyk, then Legia's coach, after a match in which, according to Lech and the whole GKS Bełchatów, the referee whistled suspiciously biased. He instructed the young ones, as Rafał Gikiewicz, for example, tells us: - Don't be a cunt! Get out from the goal, even if you make one mistake for five actions, they will still remember that you defended four! Believe it or not - in those days Lech was a legend of many locker rooms. 95. PRZEMYSŁAW CECHERZ We regret that we can't find the statistics of sending coaches back to the stands. Cecherz would have dominated over the rest of the stake with a lead worthy of Liverpool in the current season. Maybe only Ryszard Tarasiewicz would be able to compete with him. The author of perhaps the most famous rant of referees work at the memorable press conference after the match between Olimpia Grudziądz and Sandecja Nowy Sącz. - I don't know why. I have no idea. Maybe beacause of a weakness? Mister... In the match, show eleven cards? ELEVEN? Now, in the match, when two footballers meet with their heads, the card goes to two. And in my match only Szufryn got it. Why? Because he's weak. Can I swear? Because he's fucking weak. Or biased. Or biased... Why does he see two punishments one way and not for us? I'm asking. This is a situation that decides about a picture of a whole game. Am I afraid of those words? Sir, I'm afraid of God, no one else - Cecherz shot like a rifle. RANT – you really don't have to understand any of this to be scared of him xD He was also famous for the drying in the locker room. Sometimes trash cans and bottles were flying. Once at a press conference the stewards had to come to watch over furious Cecherz. He could shoot a whip over the players heads. Once, during a trip to the game, Michał Chrapek was quietly went to KFC. He tried to explain that he didn't eat anything there, that he just drank a milkshake. - I'll give you a fucking shake! You got your whole face in a coat! - Coach erupted. 94. NENAD BJELICA Maybe he didn't leave a full trophy cabinet in Poznań, but he made the Polish ball richer with texts that have permanently entered the language of the Polish Ekstraklasa. Whoever hasn't thrown "cirkus and skandaloza" at least once, doesn't know life and sleeps head to toes. You can say a lot about Bjelica - that the coach was not bad (maybe even very good), that he did not achieve successes in Lech, that he was sometimes impulsive. But you can't deny him one thing - he was damn expressive. When he made a thesis, he defended it until he fell. When, after Lech lost with Utrecht, he said that he was proud of the players, he teared up with everyone who dared to question the importance of this success. When he didn't like the VAR, he put on a castet for every verbal skirmish with a supporter of video-verification. Oh, circus and skandaloza is just the top of what we remember him from. Well, because Nenad happened to complain about the weather ("the temperature wasn't perfect") or throw himself almost with his fists to the fans (lost in Szczecin, the team manager had to separate him from the visitors' sector). Referees sent him to the stands regularly – one time he teased Kibu Vicuna, Jan Urban's assistant in Śląsk. Once he said to the referee "Jebe ti mater (I fuck your mother in Croatian, as you can expect, completely understandable phrase for Polish referee), what the fuck have I done?!". He also decided that the Poznań journalists should play with Lech to one goal, and if Kolejorz reaches for the championship, then with their participation. Bjelica's testosterone level was way above normal. And at the same time - when he cooled down and put aside his emotions - he was one of the most pleasant people in Polish football. 93. RICARDO SA PINTO When he was signing the contract, it was not known if it will be better with Legia, but you could bet on something else - that it will be more interesting. He had a rich resume, but also a patch of the troublemaker, who can only last a few months in one place. And what a surprise - in Legia he turned out to be a troublemaker who only lasted a few months. But even those few months were enough for him to argue with the whole world. Even with people as conflict-free as Waldemar Fornalik (!), with whom the Portuguese stood during the match to a little fight, just like with Michał Probierz. He was disturbed by everything - the church bells next to the Legia training field, which he ordered to be silenced. The advertising bands around the bench, which he willingly treated from his shoe. The pitch at Łazienkowska Street, which condition he openly criticised. The VAR system and the referees, who got the worst treatment from him at every possible opportunity. But also the older players he kicked out of Legia without regret - Michał Pazdan, Krzysztof Mączyński or Arkadiusz Malarz. He did not even trust his co-workers and he happened to throw out Polish members of the training staff from the briefing room. He even had a fight with journalists who had been with the Legia for years and who decided to insult Sa Pinto by coming to the training camp in Portugal. The coach cut them off from everything (even the photojournalists), and when he found out that one of the newspapers had been accommodated above his room, he put the whole hotel personnel on full alert and had the insolent writers evicted. In fact, Iza Koprowiak from "PS" even couldn't ask questions at official press conferences. In her articles we could read about the sick rules that the Portuguese introduced. Not answering the phone from the staff? A few hundred euros penalty. Distancing yourself from Warsaw by 30 kilometres? The penalty. Sa Pinto didn't even respect his assistants, who he once ordered at 11 p.m. to go to the stadium for a cosmetic bag he forgot. We don't even mention such actions as throwing muddy shoes to a warehouse worker. And we were not at all surprised by the recording, which circulated the Internet a moment after the release of Sa Pinto from the Legia, in which Richard the Lionheart was invited out from the plane. Probably someone got a problem with him again! 92. STANISLAV SALAMOVICH CHERCHESOV Igor Lewczuk: - In the preparatory period before the season during Cherchesov's era, the warm-up was more tiring than the main training with other coaches. Marcin Komorowski: - It's the hardest preparation I've ever participated in, I don't think it's possible to train more. He was able to make a dryer in the locker room after a 2:1 victory over the Zagłębie Lubin, and he was also able to pat the players on the shoulder after a defeat with Termalica and say that football is sometimes like that. He suspected Ivica Vrdoljak about simulating an injury, he said something back to him, and since Cherchesov's hierarchy in the team was clear, Cherchesov only responded to the footballer with blaclisting him from a camp where Legia was at that time. In Legia they laughed that he train players like dogs. Stories from the football-fiction series made a sensation, in which Cherchesov with a bear on the chain rushes players to intervals. Whatever the appraisal - the attitude and way of being fit into these imaginary stories like to no other coach. Well, imagine such a story with - let's say - Jacek Magiera. It would come out comically, and with Cherchesov - even being aware of the absurdity of this story - it did not seem so abstract. There was a lot of truth in the stories about the football player puking after training with Stani. His approach to players can be summed up by the story of when, after Legia, he wanted to put Roman Pavlyuchenko into play, who had a broken arm. Cherchesov only asked: - Wait, he plays with his hands or feet? Cherchesov with his players He also trained journalists - just a memorable skirmish with Żelisław Żyżyński (yes, that's a Polish name) in a pre-match interview, or a classic from the conference 'gentlemen, the end of these questions, we have a plane right away'. The trainings were closed, for exceeding the allowed quarter of an hour to watch Legia trainings, journalists were to pay "a few euros penalty, because in Legia a new era began also for journalists". Bloody Stan from distant Ossetia chewed on the nails and desires of his opponents. Bogusław Leśnodorski (one of Legia's owners at the time), who defined his role in the Legia accurately, stated that a certain group of people, under certain circumstances, needs this type of boss. Legia took a task-seeker who was to give her the crown of the Ekstaklasa twice for the centenary of the club and eventually he gave it. But in the long run it was difficult to work with him. And we're not just talking about footballers who would probably withstand a maximum of one more round with him, and then you would have to give them to Ciechocinek healt resort. Cherchesov didn't even care for club academy, which he called a "kindergarten". And this in an interview on the official Legia club website. In the same conversation, the eternally injured Mateusz Szwoch was sent to learn to play the violin. 91. JACEK WIŚNIEWSKI When he was going out to the presentation in Górnik Zabrze, he joked that he "bumped into a crooked snout", and when the fans were taking pictures with him, he suggested, with a smile, that you have to turn the camera to make the photo come out normally. You shouldn't judge people by their appearance, but Jacek Wiśniewski's appearance... says everything about him. A killer on pitch who played in over 200 games in the Ekstraklasa. He's talking about himself - "chopping lumberjack." In the locker room they joked that as a kid he chewed raw beef instead of gum. He was not a virtuoso, but in every club he was extremely respected. A lot about Wiśniewski is said by the situation from GKS Jastrzębie. A field clash, "Wiśniewski" on the ground, a bone breaks in his wrist. When the doctor sees this injury, he immediately reports the change on behalf of the player.
No, no, no change! - Wiśniewski protests and... plays the game to the end. With a broken arm, wrapped in a bandage.
After the match, he said that he will train normally this week. Plaster? He can wear it if the referees let him run out on the pitch in it. And since the rules forbid playing with plaster, he stands on an elastic bandage. For Górnik Zabrze he was able to give back a lot. He declared that he would come to this club on his knees. We once asked if it was true that for eight years he had played in Górnik for three thousand złotys (around 600-700 euros) - No. I'm honestly saying that the last two years they raised me to five - he answered with a smile. Do you already understand why he was the perfect material for the stand's favourite? Anyway, he was even respected by fans of opposing teams. And if not, there was a confrontation. Szczakowianka Jaworzno, a train trip to Szczecin. Train stops for a while, three Pogoń fans stand on the platform. They catch on, show Wiśniewski with a finger. The footballer, thinking little, jumps out the window and runs towards them. Three on one. The fans of Pogoń can see that it is about to get hot and soften momentarily. To get out of the situation somehow... they ask for an autograph. They know what the fight can end with. Wiśniewski liked to fight, which he never hid. But how can you hide it if your face says you've taken a few harder punches in your life? Wiśniewski trained boxing when he was a kid. He finished when he came home with a black eye. But he came back to martial arts after his career, he performed in MMA. When before the gala he got a question about what repertoire of punches he will present, he answered with confidence: - Good fucking hit from a leg is way to go. As befits a footballer. The interview after his first fight became a legend. "Okay, I lost, but is that what a knockout man looks like? Let's not fuck around! The referee could still let us fight!" INTERVIEW AFTER FIGHT He's never been a good boy. He says if it wasn't for coach Bochynek, he'd either be dead or at best landed in a jail. Friends in the business? Some of them are "cunts" for Wiśniewski and would gladly beat them up. Many times he happened to discipline other players from the team.. One of the statements about players who complain about trainings: - Well, don't let them sign contracts! Let one of them go to the mine with the other one, work for eight fucking hours! And then what will he say? "Fuck, I'm gonna go down that mine for eight hours again?" And he's only got two-fourty here, and for a lot of money! And he's still whining! I've never been fucking around! Wiśniewski worked in the mine, so he knows how hard it is. He always said what was in his heart. Just like in another interview that went down to legend "Wiśnia" had his undeniable charm, but he was not always brainy. This is testified to - but also about his strong character - the story from the league debut, for which ... he forgot his boots . He founded the ones that were in the cloakroom at hand, two numbers too small. Wiśniewski recalled in Przegląd Sportowy: - I was running like a duck on the pitch. During the break, I take off those damn shoes, and there is a lot of blood, it was possible to spill, on every finger, a hellish blaze. His sloppiness was also a reason for jokes from his teammates (anecdote above with Piotr Lech in the lead role). Some time ago, we tried to arrange an interview with "Wiśnia". The details were to be determined by text.
Which day will suit you? - we asked.
Yes - we read in reply.
The appointment failed. Authors:: DAMIAN SMYK i JAKUB BIAŁEK
"The Color Purple" February 5 - 9The Foxwoods Broadway Series. Don't miss the Tony Award-winning Broadway smash hit The Color Purple at Foxwoods Resort Casino. The Color Purple is the 2016 Tony Award® winner for Best Musical Revival! Hailed as “a direct hit to the heart” (The Hollywood Reporter), this joyous American classic conquered Broadway in an all-new "ravishingly reconceived production that is a glory to behold” (The New York Times). With a soul-raising, Grammy®-winning score of jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues, The Color Purple gives an exhilarating new spirit to this Pulitzer Prize-winning story. Don’t miss this stunning re-imagining of an epic story about a young woman’s journey to love and triumph in the American south. Experience the exhilarating power of this Tony-winning triumph that New York Magazine calls “one of the greatest revivals ever.” Fri. 8 p.m., Sat. 2 p.m. & 8 p.m., Sun. 1 p.m. & 6 p.m., $40-$70,Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino, 350 Trolley Line Blvd. Mashantucket, CT
CT Guitar Festival, 7-9It's time for the 3rd Annual Connecticut Guitar Festival!!! World music duo "Instruments of the People", jazz legend Joe Carter, and acclaimed classical guitarist Mak Grgic take the main stage at Westport Library TONIGHT to officially begin Suzuki Schools' "Connecticut Guitar Festival". Don't miss this amazing night of music for only $10 a ticket., 7pm-9pm, The Westport Library, 20 Jesup Rd Westport, CT
"Sylvia", February 7 - 23 *Sylvia introduces us to the characters of Greg and Kate, who have entered the empty-nest time in life and have moved to Manhattan after 20 years in the suburbs. Greg is struggling with being dissatisfied with his job while Kate is excited about her new teaching opportunities and new found freedom. However, life has a way of giving you what you think you don’t want and that’s when Greg finds Sylvia, a street-smart lab/poodle mix, and brings her home only to promptly become a wedge in Greg and Kate’s marriage. Sylvia, while a comedy, has touching moments about relationships, nature, and growing older.Fri. 8 p.m., Sat. 4 p.m. & 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m., $35-$65,*Music Theatre of Connecticut, 509 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT
94th Annual Jumpfest Winter Festival - Eastern States Ski Jumping Championship, February 7 - 9Excitement returns to Salisbury February 7-9, 2020 when the Salisbury Winter Sports Association (SWSA) hosts the 94th Annual Jumpfest, a three-day celebration and competition featuring the best junior ski jumpers in the eastern United States. The jumpers you watch We make our own snow. Even if the Winter looks brown outside your window, it's white over at Satre Hill thanks to our two state-of-the-art snow guns. We will do our part to keep you warm with blazing bonfires hot food and beverages hot and cold- but do dress warm- it's Winter outside! If you have never seen ski jumping live, you have never truly witnessed the sport. Standing amidst the ringing cowbells, with crowds cheering on their favorites, hearing skis slapping against the landing hill as these brave jumpers soar up to 200 feet through the air at speeds up to 50 miles an hour, is something you must experience. Various times, various prices, some free, Satre Ski Hill, 80 Indian Cave Rd.(off Rte. 44) Salisbury, CT
Central CT Beer Shuttle, February 7 *Friday night beer shuttle to Relic Brewing, Better Half Brewing, Witchdoctor Brewing and Firefly Hollow .There are three sessions to choose from. $20, includes transportation only. Must pre-purchase tickets online. Please be outside of the breweries at these designated times to catch the shuttle. We will wait approx. 5 minutes per stop but are not responsible for you missing the shuttle.*5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. $20, Firefly Hollow Brewing, 139 Center St, Bristol, CT
Atlantic Broadband Garde Cinema Series: "Parasite", February 7Bong Joon Ho brings his work home to Korea in this pitch-black modern fairy tale. Meet the Park family, the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Parks obliviously bankroll their entire household. When a parasitic interloper threatens the Kims’ newfound comfort, a savage, underhanded battle for dominance breaks out, threatening to destroy the fragile ecosystem between the Kims and the Parks.The 2020 Atlantic Broadband Garde Winter Cinema Series Pass brings you – for one package price – twenty or more critically acclaimed and Oscar and Golden Globe nominated films with state-of-the-art 4K digital projection and full surround sound. Limited availability so buy today. Rated R. 7:30pm, $12 ticket, series pass $62, Garde Arts Center, 325 State St. New London, CT
Saturday, February 8th, 2020:
Monster Jam, February 8 - 9Monster Jam brings high-octane entertainment to the XL Center. These action packed live events showcase some of the most recognizable Monster Jam trucks in the world, performing jaw-dropping displays or gravity-defying feats. Sat. 1 p.m. & 7 p.m., Sun. 1 p.m. $15-$50, XL Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Hartford, CT
Atlantic Broadband Garde Cinema Series: "Uncut Gems", February 8 Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a charismatic New York City jeweler, is always on the lookout for the next big score. When he makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime, Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win. Rated R, $12, 7:30pm
Boozin' In Your Onesie Bar CrawlHartford, the weather is cold & you want to be comfy... What better way to be than Boozin' In Your Onesie @ The World's Most Comfortable Bar Crawl on FEB. 8th, 3pm-10pm, $18.75-$29.99,Hartford, CT (DOWNTOWN)
Celebrate Chinese New Year in the Elm City, February 8New Haven Museum is partnering with the Yale-China Association for Lunarfest 2020. Activities include children’s arts and crafts; music; dance; Tai Chi and Qigong; shadow puppetry; theatre; exhibits, and more. Lunarfest begins at 10 a.m. with a colorful lion and dragon dance parade from Church/Elm to the corner of Whitney/Trumbull, and a lion dance "meet and greet" on Whitney Ave. at 11 a.m. The fun moves indoors at 1 p.m. at several locations: William L Harkness Hall (WLH) (100 Wall St.; Affinity Federal Credit Union (55 Whitney Ave.); Ely Center of Contemporary Art (51 Trumbull St.); Office of International Students & Scholars (421 Temple St.); Yale-China (442 Temple St.); New Haven Free Public Library (133 Elm St.), Rosenfeld Hall (109 Grove, enter on Temple), and New Haven Museum (114 Whitney Ave.), 10 a.m.- 5 p.m, free, New Haven Museum, 114 Whitney Ave.New Haven, CT
Atlantic Broadband Garde Cinema Series: "1917", February 8Director: Sam Mendes, Writers: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Stars: Andrew Scott, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Studio: DreamWorks/Universal, Awards: Two Golden Globes (Best Picture, Director), Three Critics Circle Awards (including Best Director), Nominations: 10 Oscars (including Best Picture), Schofield and Blake, two young British soldiers during the First World War, are given a seemingly impossible mission. With time against them, they must deliver a message, deep in enemy territory, that will stop their own men, and Blake’s own brother, walking straight into a deadly trap. Rated R. 3pm, $12, Garde Arts Center, 325 State St., New London, CT
Sunday, February 9th, 2020:
Rock & Roll Playhouse: Music of Phish for Kids, February 9The Rock and Roll Playhouse, a family concert series hosted at historic music venues across the country, allows kids to “move, play and sing while listening to works from the classic-rock canon” (New York Times). Performing songs created by the most iconic musicians in rock history, The Rock and Roll Playhouse band offers its core audience of families with children age ten and under games, movement, stories and an opportunity to rock out in an effort to educate children and explore their creativity. The Rock and Roll Playhouse is an early and often first introduction to a child’s lifelong journey with live music and rock and roll. 11:30am, $15 in advance, $17 at the door. The Warehouse at Fairfield Theatre Company,7 0 Sanford St. Fairfield, CT
The great conference was formally opened at the Quai d’Orsay, yesterday on the 48th anniversary of that scene, so calamitous to Europe, when the German Empire was proclaimed at Versailles on the eve of the capitulation of Paris. If anyone had chanced to be present at both ceremonies, he would have been struck by a sense of contrast. The meeting in the Galerie des Glaces gave birth to a new order which has been a fatal burden to Europe. The meeting at the Quai d’Orsay is to give birth to a new order to which all mankind is looking for freedom and peace.
On the 20th, the group of representatives from more than two dozen countries began discussing punishments for the “warmongering” Kaiser, without Germany. The Conference was buzzing along through its second week on Jan. 31, when in Cairo, GA, sharecroppers Mallie and Jerry Robinson were honored with the birth of their fifth child, who they named after the recently deceased president: Jack Roosevelt Robinson. Six days later, on February 5th, four of the largest movie-picture stars in America: Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffin and Mary Pickford created and agreed to the United Artists Corporation, in an attempt to control their artwork and profits more directly. There was no block booking for the new movie studio, and the actors and directors themselves controlled much of the common stock. That same day, in the National League offices, the Cincinnati Reds were making a case of corruption against a former player, Hal Chase. He was accused all throughout baseball for throwing games to his gambler friends while leading the league in hitting with .339 in his first year in Cincinnati, 1916. What triggered this hearing? Several Reds reported to their manager, Christy Mathewson, that they had seen or overheard Chase discuss his bets on the team. The NL president decided the suit when Mathewson was still serving in France:
"The testimony shows that Chase acted in a careless manner, both on the field and among the players, and that the club was justified in bringing the charges, in view of the many rumors which arose from the loose talk of the first baseman. In substance, the player was charged with making wagers against his club in games in which he participated. In justice to Chase, I feel bound to state that both the evidence and the records of the games to which reference was made, fully refute this accusation."
On Feb. 19th, the Reds traded him to the Giants and he signed his contract the day his old manager Christy Mathewson was named their assistant manager. On Feb. 25th, the state of Oregon created the first gas tax in U.S. history of a penny. On that same day in Haleburg Alabama, 81 miles west of Cairo, Monford Merrill “Monte” Irvin awoke to his first day of life. Only a few hours later on the 26th, President Wilson signed Senate Bill 390 which designated the Grand Canyon as a national park. Almost a month later, on March 23rd, Benito Mussolini founded the Italian fascist movement as a direct response to post-WWI turmoil. At this point in the year, however, spring was busting open and baseball was beginning to unveil itself again. The only problem was- baseball had taken such a hit in 1918: the “work or fight” movement derailed the season and it prematurely concluded with an almost false-World Series. This year, the season would be cut to 140 games and every owner lost money in the process. Still, many teams traveled to the south per usual for spring training. The Yankees and Tigers to Macon, GA, the Indians to New Orleans, the Red Sox to Tampa. The Phillies to Charlotte, the Robins to Jacksonville, the Pirates to Birmingham, the Braves to Columbus, GA and the Giants to Gainesville. While the Cardinals and A’s stayed put in the home parks, most of the rest of the teams settled in Texas, which was once the hot spot for Spring Training but was now losing its popularity. Still, the Reds showed up to Waxahachie, the O’s to San Antonio and the White Sox to the fabled health center, Mineral Wells. Their offseason was turbulent:
No one was quite sure how Gleason’s team would fare in the pennant race. The White Sox’ lack of pitching depth behind Eddie Cicotte and Lefty Williams was cited as a major concern by Chicago Tribunereporter Irving Sanborn, who predicted on April 20, “Unless he has a lot of luck developing new pitchers … (Gleason) is going to have a hard time keeping his team in the first division of the American League.” Veteran Red Faber, who had won three games in the 1917 World Series, was hampered by arm and ankle injuries, and he had come down with the flu virus and could not shake it. A global influenza epidemic had killed more than 600,000 Americans in the winter of 1918-19 alone. Faber’s condition was noticeably weak during spring training and it took him all year to fully recover.
How could we get into this much of 1919 without commenting on the global pandemic gripping the world: the Spanish flu virus? The world’s first wide war had given humanity an unwanted gift: bird flu, the H1N1 virus. Why call it the Spanish flu virus? Because the pandemic arose during the war, any country fighting censored reports of the disease, leaving neutral countries like Spain to wonder what was going on. No one knows where it started, but some estimates say 3-5% of the world’s population died. 10-20% of humanity was infected, including 28% of the American population. The worst year was 1918, but with the political instability the Great War had caused, the chaos of human civilization was seeping into baseball. As we would see, the White Sox would be in the center of a troubled, shaky world. Before teams departed from Spring training, a man put in the ground work to his legend. Red Sox two-way player George H. Ruth was on the starting nine for the Boston club in an exhibition game in Tampa, where he hit an estimated 587 ft. home run. Ruth and dingers this year would be a common theme, but this homer resonated far after his career was over- and this was important because Ruth had just ended a hold out with the Boston front office. PLAY BALL!: Until the 19 of April, 1919, Sunday baseball in New York was illegal. Governor Al Smith signed a bill repealing the blue laws, which opened up a new wave of passion for the national pastime on Sundays, when workers have the day off and are able to attend games. The president of the NL, Mr. Heydler, said:
I feel sure that baseball will have one of the greatest revivals in the history of the sport during the coming season, and I expect to see 1919 prove to be one of our banner years. I make this prediction more as a lover of baseball than as a baseball official… I believe the public can look forward to one of the most interesting seasons it has ever known.
144 years to the day after the Lexington and Concord skirmishes that started the rebellion, the season got under way. The Robins completed a sweep of their twinbill against the Braves- the rest of the teams got underway on that Wednesday the 23rd. One week later, if you had awoke in America to inspect the standings, you would see the 6-1 White Sox at the top of the AL and the undefeated 6-0 Reds at the top of the NL. You would have seen another full slate of games for that day: the Robins and Phillies tied a wild 20 inning game, where both starters (HoF) Burleigh Grimes and Joe Oeschger went the distance. Oeschger yielded 24 hits and only got two punchouts. Both teams scored 3 runs in the 19th before home plate umpire (HoF) Bill Klem called the game. But over the past few days in America, anarchists sent sticks of dynamite to the residences of prominent anti-labor and conservative politicians, specifically designed to coincide with May Day. The governor of Mississippi, Theodore G. Bilbo, the Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson, the police commissioner and mayor of NYC, John D. Rockefeller, Chicago District Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis and Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, among others. The country was horrified --) would the violence and revolts that were racking Germany seep into America? Fear spread like air throughout the country and the government quickly rounded up suspects. Only two days after May Day, a composer and his violinist wife welcomed their son, Peter Seeger, into the world in Manhattan. Three days later, on the 6th, the Yanks lineup featured leadoff hitter and 24-year old rookie George Halas in a game against the 3-7 A’s. Halas got 4 PA’s before being removed for a pinch hitter and got his first hit in the Yankee loss. Rambling through the days to the 11th, Halas was still in the leadoff spot for a matchup against the Senators. Walter Johnson and Jack Quinn each went 12 innings- and Halas collected 2 of Johnson’s 9 K’s that day. In fact, Johnson gave up a double in the first and put down the next 28 batters until surrendering a leadoff single in the 11th. The game ended locked at 0 because of a curfew, but at least they were able to play the game after the disappearance of the blue laws. Johnson’s masterpiece was not the most amazing pitching performance of the day. The Reds were sitting in second place when they took on the bottom-feeding Cardinals. The game went by uneventfully in the first inning just before player-manager Rogers Hornsby led off the second with a walk. He was thrown out trying to steal second, and Reds starter used that momentum to only give up two more walks the entire game, achieving a no hitter in the process. This was the first no hitter at Crosley Field and Eller used his shine ball to baffle the Cards, according to this thought provoking look back.. On May 20th, the 9-8 Red Sox ran out onto the field of Sportsman Park to play the Browns. In the second inning, the first three Sox hitters Harry Hooper, Jack Barry and Amos Strunk all reached base.. Their teammate, Babe Ruth, socked a ball over the fence for his first career grand slam, to put his club ahead 4-0, his second regular season dinger of 1919. JUNE: A month had passed, but the red scare was just beginning with more dynamite sticks flying into unsuspecting residences. The next wave of anarchist strikes occurred on the 2 with larger bombs arriving at judges and mayors’ doorsteps, as well as a second bomb directed at AG Palmer, each carrying this message:
War, Class war, and you were the first to wage it under the cover of the powerful institutions you call order, in the darkness of your laws. There will have to be bloodshed; we will not dodge; there will have to be murder: we will kill, because it is necessary; there will have to be destruction; we will destroy to rid the world of your tyrannical institutions.
Palmer was not home when the pipe bomb went off. His neighbors across the street, Franklin and Elenore Roosevelt, walked past his door moments before the explosion and were only feet away from serious injury. Roosevelt was the assistant secretary to the Navy, tasked by Palmer to root out “homosexual behaviors” in the navy. FDR did this by arresting and trying veterans for sodomy. Roosevelt began expanding the illegal investigation harshly and was rebuked by Palmer, who shut down the investigation.. The calls of violent mayhem were not just coming from inside the house. Mexican revolution leader Francisco “Pancho” Villa organized an attack on nationalist forces in Ciudad Juarez, which his godson carried out at his wishes on the evening of the 14th. As the bullets hit buildings in nearby El Paso, the United States army got nervous and invaded Juarez to calm down tensions. Two American citizens were killed and over 90 Mexican soldiers and civilians died. One day after the tensions subsided, on the 17th, the New York Giants (30-14) prepared to play the Chicago Cubs (25-21) at Weeghman Field. Cubs ace Pete Alexander notched a win after giving up two runs to the Giants in the second. Hal Chase was playing at first and got a hit but was removed for a pinch hitter in the late innings. This would be the major league debut of Frankie Frisch. Strikes, bombs and violence was not just the new normal in Mexico and America at this drawn out summer of 1919. Back in mid-May, the entire population of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, went on strike. The population wanted more worker protections and a better life. The strike surged until the leaders of it found themselves behind bars on the same day Frisch made his debut. On the 21st, Canadian soldiers began a silent parade on main street and were met by Mounties with pistols, who unloaded their ammunition into the crowd, wounding 30. These battles between common folk and police, revolutionary leaders and military soldiers were occurring all over the world as the general population waited for the countries to settle their differences in Paris. All throughout this year, this season, the grand leaders sat in rooms hashing out the new world order and as you can imagine, this was quite an exclusively elusive bunch. A former baker from a Boston hotel, born in French Indochina and living in London, co-wrote a letter to the assembly asking them to attend on behalf of their home nation. He was Vietnamese and argued for the creation of a country under the yoke of French occupation, one of several foreign entities that had invaded and tried to control their countryside. In fact, the man who called himself Nguyen Ai Quac showed up at the conference and demanded to speak to President Wilson!. This did not happen and Nguyen the Patriot would find different political idols in France- communists. On the 28th, the leaders emerged from their comfy halls of power to alert their subjects that they had agreed on terms and at the suggestion of Woodrow Wilson, established the “League of Nations”. Wilson embarked on a vigorous campaign to convince the isolationist country to join the world powers. JULY: On the 28th of the former month, Brooklyn’s Ed Konetchy went 3-3 in his plate appearances. In fact, he got a hit every single plate appearance until the 1st, when hit his 10th straight baseball in 10 tries at the box, setting the major league record for consecutive hits. Four days later, on the fifth, was Halas’s last PA in baseball. A hip injury forced his retirement but he continued playing semi-pro baseball and football back home in Ohio. He got a day job at a starch manufacturer, A.E. Staley. He served in sales and ran the company football team, the Decatur Staleys and by 1922 coach George Halas was guiding the Chicago Bears through the infant seasons of the NFL. One day after Halas left the stage, Chicago Cubs president/manager Fred Mitchell gave up his job of controlling the business side of his roster to his VP, William Veeck Sr., a former sportswriter. Veeck would transform the team with shrewd moves, partnered with the infant radio industry and he brought his son, William Veeck Jr., along with him. The Chicago they lived and worked in was not cheerful or peaceful. As soldiers burst back into domestic life, black soldiers began questioning the Jim Crow system that terrorized them at home. Back in May, NAACP co-founder W.E.B. DuBois published an essay, “Returning Soldiers”--) and scolded the status quo which supported lynching and encouraged ignorance. He ended with a call to arms:
This is the fatherland for which we fought! But it is our fatherland. It was right for us to fight. The faults of our country are our faults. Under similar circumstances, we would fight again. But by God of Heaven, we are cowards and jackasses if now that the war is over, we do not marshal every ounce of our brain and brawn to fight a sterner, longer, more unbending battle against the forces of hell in our own land. We return We return from fighting We return fighting Make way for Democracy! We saved it in France, and by the Great Jehovah, we will save it in the United States of America, or know the reason why.
By 1919, the rest of the country was tightly segregated but Chicago, mostly, was not. Beaches along Lake Michigan were, and that’s where we go on the 27th. The White Sox were 6 games up in first place, the Cubs had Pete Alexander toeing the bump and a unknown white attacker on a beach in Chicago stoned a black swimmer to death. America’s common man poet, Carl Sandburg, wrote an essay about the race riots that ensued and ripped the city apart. A major societal trend was occurring- African Americans were leaving the Black Belt in the South, which they had clung to since Emancipation, for better job opportunities in the industrial north. Sandburg reported on what we call now the “Great Migration”, and predicted the chaos earlier in the year. For a week, gangs of Irish citizens and rabble rousing racists donned blackface and lit up immigrant neighborhoods to stoke tension among the races. The mayor and the governor haggled over the specifics of sending the national guard as 23 African American citizens were hunted down and murdered. Gangs, like the Hamburg Athletic Club continued escalating the violence because they occupied south side neighborhoods stuck in the middle. History will never know for sure if Hamburg Athletic Club gangster, 17-year-old future mayor Richard Daley, took part in busting skulls of protesting African Americans. AUGUST: By the 4th, Chicago declared the riots had subsided. Now, the battle that occupied their time was in the National League Standings, where the Reds and Giants swung back and forth through the next few weeks. Twenty days later on the 24th, the 28-79 Athletics sent their abysmal hitters up to face the Cleveland Indians at League Park, against Ray Caldwell. The Indians scored twice in the fourth, around the time the foreboding sky started to emit rain and Caldwell waltzed out in the 5th and surrendered his only run. With two outs in the ninth, Caldwell needed one more out to end the game and bared down- when he was struck by lightning and knocked unconscious. A sportswriter described the scene:
“There was a blinding flash that seemed to set the diamond on fire and Caldwell was knocked flat from the shock of it.”
Caldwell came to, stood back up, and retired the last A’s hitter for the victory. This kept the Indians 8 games back of the White Sox, who were the first team to score over 500 runs. The next day, the 25th, in Clio, Alabama, George Corley Wallace Jr. entered the great stage of life. SEPTEMBER- Entering the 8th of this month, the defending pennant winning-Red Sox were squarely out of the race. Their bright young pitcher, Babe Ruth, was in his first year of a three-year pact and was slowly transitioning into an electrifying power hitter when he wasn’t pitching. He set the AL record in homers in July and on this day he set the major league record with his 26th homer, in the first game of a doubleheader against the Yankees in the Polo Grounds. Harry Hooper also hit his third home run. The 66-53 Yanks wouldn’t get much better luck later in the week, on Wednesday the tenth the red-hot Cleveland club came to town. Ray Caldwell, fresh after his run in with a bolt of electricity in the sky, got two quick supporting runs from his team in the top half of the first. He knocked in his second double of the season later in the game and was a walk away from a perfect game. Caldwell’s first no hitter occurred less than a month after being struck by lightning. Earlier back in the year, Giants manager John McGraw traveled to the Ohio farm of Harry F. “Slim” Sallee and offered him a contract. Sallee was focused on retirement but noted he would only play for a team close by, in this case, Cincinnati. McGraw walked away and watched as Sallee achieved great things as a control master lefty for the Reds. He even got his own day at the ballpark, for his start on the 21st. He threw 65 pitches in total and finished his complete game shutdown of the Giants in 55 minutes. Six days later on the 27th, the last Saturday of the regular season, Babe Ruth became the first AL hitter to homer in every park. The October matchup was already decided: White Sox vs. Reds. POSTSEASON- The White Sox were the best team in baseball, but their success originated from their clique-driven clubhouse. Team captain and superstar Eddie Collins, his future Cooperstown buddy Ray Schalk and others were well-paid and good at their jobs. The second half of the clubhouse- Eddie Cicotte, Happy Felsch and 1B Buck Weaver were culturally on a different planet. Weaver was underpaid, and in his search for money contacted a Boston bookie to place a bet against his own team. “According to the grand-jury testimony of Eddie Cicotte, his faction first began to discuss the feasibility of throwing the upcoming World Series during a train trip late in the regular season”. There was still the persistent rumor that the Cubs threw the previous World Series to Ruth’s Sox, and Hal Chase had escaped hot water over his close ties to gamblers. Lefty Williams and Joe Jackson joined the fix during the off days before the Series. Every player demanded their 10k share but only Cicotte got his before the series, which began on the first. At this point, according to “Eight Myths Out” from SABR,, the Chicago owner Charles Comiskey knew about the fix, as did famously connected gambler Arnold Rothstein and Hal Chase. Cicotte hit the first batter in the back as a signal that the fix was on. Here’s the footage. The Reds scored a run in that inning but Chicago answered it. In the fourth, Cicotte made a throwing error and the Reds ended the inning with five runs, eventually winning 9-1. The Reds won again the next day on Sallee’s masterful performance, to go up 2-0 and rolled into the south side of Chicago, still smoldering from the race riots earlier. Not all the cheating players had received their share and the White Sox had a rookie pitcher who was not in on the fix for game 3, so the club got their first series win. Eddie Cicotte was scheduled to start the next day, and after Jackson and Cicotte made obvious errors, the Reds went up 3-1. For what its worth, Cicotte would later mention he tried to win that game. All the White Sox went cold in October, going 26 innings without plating a run during the series. After a rain delay gave the teams their first off day, the Reds lost the next game 5-0. Jackson finally got support from his teammates the next game which led to a 5-4 White Sox win. Cicotte pitched up to snuff in game seven to give White Sox fans hope. Lefty Williams started game eight and gave up a four spot in the first. The Reds won 10-5 and their first World Series. Some writers and fans had questioned the White Sox for their sloppy errors and their owner Comiskey led an investigation that confirmed the truth. He buried the news, ruled Gandil ineligible and hoped no one would find the skeleton in his closet. This scandal would rock baseball to its core for generations and was one of the most famous events from this year with the faulty myths. In that first week of October, however, throwing the World Series was not the only thing occurring behind closed doors. Woodrow Wilson crisscrossed the country to campaign for his League of Nations to see its ratification in the Senate. In April, he contracted H1N1 and his sickly picture of health and asthma loomed ominously. For days, Wilson [ignored his health and felt painful headaches](https://www.pbs.org/newshouhealth/woodrow-wilson-stroke). On the day of game two of the WS, he either got up from bed and collapsed or woke up to feel his left hand numb. It was a stroke- he was paralyzed on his left side. Partially blind in his right eye. Suffered a UTI infection three weeks later and another bout of influenza the next year. Just like the White Sox scandal, it would take months for the American public to get wind of just how serious it had been. Until then, his wife, Edith became the de-facto president, our first female executive. Her duties included, in her own words:
I studied every paper sent from the different Secretaries or Senators and tried to digest and present in tabloid form the things that, despite my vigilance, had to go to the President. I, myself, never made a single decision regarding the disposition of public affairs. The only decision that was mine was what was important and what was not, and the very important decision of when to present matters to my husband.
Would the chaos, the suffering, the pain of 1919 continue into the next decade? Was violence, corruption, disease and the lying be the new normal? Around this time, a young veteran in Germany, disillusioned with the ridiculous post-war society joined the German Workers Party. They convinced him to make his first public speech at the Hofbraukeller brewery in Munich on the 16th of October. According to Adolph Hitler, it was the Jews who were to blame for the 1919 post-war madness. Over one hundred brown shirts in the brewery latched on to Hitler’s ideas quickly and his public speaking scheduled increased as President Wilson attempted to regain his health after the stroke. November-December Historians would later call the summer of 1919 the “Red Scare”, where conservative forces in the government and its citizens lashed out against reformers, socialists, and African Americans with zeal as anarchists and foreign revolutions spread fear. AG Palmer had been a victim of the bombs earlier in the year. This August, he appointed 24-year-old J. Edgar Hoover to prosecute political threats from foreigners and leftists. Hoover forged a pact with local cops to conduct a raid on November 7th, as Wilson sat in bed. Many of the humans they arrested were later freed and Palmer drew condemnation for the raids that bear his name, if little of his actual handiwork. Jumping ahead to December 12, inching toward 1920, the major league owners met and decided to severely limit the use of the spitball, allowing two players on each roster to continue the practice. After the 1920 season, the number would go down to one, allowing several pitchers to be grandfathered in. Toward the end of the year world health officials celebrated the end of the Spanish Flu epidemic and as fans would learn in 1920, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sent George H. “Babe” Ruth for a hundred thousand dollars and a 350-thousand-dollar loan for Frazee’s new Broadway play, tied to a mortgage on Fenway Park. STANDINGS
By Charles Dickens XIV. Chambers. HAVING occasion to transact some business with a so- licitor who occupies a highly suicidal set of chambers in Gray's Inn, I afterward took a turn in the large square of that stronghold of Melancholy, reviewing, with congenial surroundings, my experience of Cham- bers. I began, as was natural, with the Chambers I had just left. They were an upper set on a rotten staircase, with a mysterious bunk or bulkhead on the landing outside them, of a rather nautical and Screw Collier-like appear- ance than otherwise, and painted an intense black. Many dusty years have passed since the appropriation of this Davy Jones locker to any purpose; and during the whole period within the memory of living man, it has been hasped and padlocked. I cannot quite satisfy my mind whether it was originally meant for the reception of coals or bodies, or as a place of temporary security for the plunder "looted" by laundresses; but I incline to the last opinion. It is about breast high, and usually serves as a bulk for defendants in reduced circumstances to lean against and ponder at, when they come on the hopeful errand of trying to make an arrangement with- out money,——under which auspicious circumstances it mostly happens that the legal gentleman they want to see is much engaged, and they pervade the staircase for a considerable period. Against this opposing bulk, in the absurdest manner, the tomb-like outer door of the so- licitor's chambers (which is also of an intense black) stands in dark ambush, half open and half shut, all day. The solicitor's apartments are three in number; consisting of a slice, a cell, and a wedge. The slice is assigned to the two clerks, the cell is occupied by the principal, and the wedge is devoted to stray papers, old game baskets from the country, a washing-stand, and a model of a patent Ship's Caboose which was exhibited in Chancery at the commencement of the present century on an application for an injunction to restrain infringement. At about half past nine on every week-day morning, the younger of the two clerks (who, I have reason to believe, leads the fashion at Pentonville in the articles of pipes and shirts) may be found knocking the dust out of his official door-key on the bunk or locker before mentioned; and so exceedingly subject to dust is his key, and so very retentive of that superfluity, that in exceptional summer weather, when a ray of sunlight has fallen on the locker in my presence, I have noticed its inexpressive counte- nance to be deeply marked by a kind of Bramah erysip- elas or small-pox. This set of chambers (as I have gradually discovered, when I have had restless occasion to make inquiries or leave messages after office hours) is under the charge of a lady named Sweeney, in a figure extremely like an old family umbrella, whose dwelling confronts a dead wall in a court off Gray's Inn Lane, and who is usually fetched into the passage of that bower, when wanted, from some neighbouring home of industry, which has the curious property of imparting an inflammatory appearance to her visage. Mrs. Sweeney is one of the race of pro- fessed laundresses, and is a compiler of a remarkable manuscript volume entitled "Mrs. Sweeney's Book," from which much curious statistical information may be gathered respecting the high prices and small uses of soda, soap, sand, firewood, and other such articles. I have created a legend in my mind,——and consequently I believe it with the utmost pertinacity,——that the late Mr. Sweeney was a ticket-porter under the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, and that, in consideration of his long and valuable service, Mrs. Sweeney was appointed to her present post. For, though devoid of personal charms, I have observed this lady to exercise a fascination over the elderly ticket-porter mind (particularly under the gateway, and in corners and entries), which I can only refer to her being one of the fraternity, yet not competing with it. All that need be said concerning this set of chambers is said, when I have added that it is in a large double house in Gray's Inn Square, very much out of repair, and that the outer portal is ornamented in a hide- ous manner with certain stone remains, which have the appearance of the dismembered bust, torso, and limbs of a petrified bencher. Indeed, I look upon Gray's Inn generally as one of the most depressing institutions in brick and mortar known to the children of men. Can anything be more dreary than its arid Square, Sahara Desert of the Law, with the ugly old tiled-topped tenements, the dirty windows, the bills To Let, To Let, the door-posts inscribed like grave- stones, the crazy gateway giving upon the filthy Lane, the scowling iron-barred, prison-like passage into Veru- lam Buildings, the mouldy, red-nosed ticket-porters with little coffin-plates, and why with aprons, the dry, hard, atomy-like appearance of the whole dust heap? When my uncommercial travels tend to this dismal spot, my com- fort is its rickety state. Imagination gloats over the ful- ness of time when the staircases shall have quite tum- bled down,——they are daily wearing into an ill-savoured powder, but have not quite tumbled down yet; when the last old prolix bencher, all of the olden time, shall have been got out of an upper window by means of a Fire Ladder, and carried off to the Holborn Union; when the last clerk shall have engrossed the last parch- ment behind the last splash on the last of the mud- stained windows, which, all through the miry year, are pilloried out of recognition in Gray's Inn Lane. Then shall a squalid little trench, with rank grass and a pump in it, lying between the coffee-house and South Square, be wholly given up to cats and rats, and not, as now, have its empire divided between those animals and a few briefless biped,——surely called to the Bar by voices of deceiving spirits,——seeing that they are wanted there by no mortal,——who glance down, with their eyes better glazed than their casements, from their dreary and lack-lustre rooms. Then shall the way Nor'westward, now lying under a short, grim colonnade where in summer-time pounce flies from law-stationering windows into the eyes of laymen, be choked with rubbish, and happily become impassable. Then shall the garden where turf, trees, and gravel wear a legal livery of black run rank, and pilgrims go to Gorhambury to see Bacon's effigy as he sat, and not come here (which, in truth, they seldom do) to see where he walked. Then, in a word, shall the old-established vendor of periodicals sit alone in his little crib of a shop behind the Holborn Gate, like that lum- bering Marius among the ruins of Carthage, who has sat heavy on a thousand million of similes. At one period of my uncommercial career, I much fre- quented another set of chambers in Gray's Inn Square. They were what is familiarly called "a top set," and all the eatables and drinkables introduced into them ac- quired a flavour of Cockloft. I have known an un- opened Strasburg pâté fresh from Fortnum and Mason's, to draw in this cockloft tone, through its crockery dish, and become penetrated with cockloft to the core of its inmost truffle in three quarters of an hour. This, how- ever was not the most curious feature of those cham- bers; that consisted in the profound conviction enter- tained by my esteemed friend Parkle (their tenant) that they were clean. Whether it was an inborn hallucina- tion, or whether it was imparted to him by Mrs. Miggot, the laundress, I never could ascertain. But I believe he would have gone to the stake upon the question. Now they were so dirty that I could take off the distinctest impression of my figure on any article of furniture by merely lounging upon it for a few moments; and it used to be a private amusement of mine to print myself off—— if I may use the expression——all over the rooms. It was the first large circulation I had. At other times I have accidentally shaken a window-curtain while in animated conversation with Parkle, and struggling insects which were certainly red, and were certainly not lady birds, have dropped on the back of my hand. Yet Parkle lived in that top set years, bound body and soul to the supersti- tion that they were clean. He used to say, when con- gratulated upon them, "Well, they are not like cham- bers in one respect, you know; they are clean." Con- currently, he had an idea which he could never explain, that Mrs. Miggot was in some way connected with the Church. When he was in particularly good spirits, he used to believe that a deceased uncle of hers had been a Dean; when he was poorly and low, he believed that her brother had been a Curate. I and Mrs Miggot (she was a genteel woman) were on confidential terms, but I never knew her to commit herself to any distinct assertion on the subject; she merely claimed a proprietorship in the Church, by looking, when it was mentioned, as if the reference awakened the slumbering Past, and were per- sonal. It may have been his amiable confidence in Mrs. Miggot's better days that inspired my friend with his delusion respecting the chambers; but he never wa- vered in his fidelity to it for a moment, though he wal- lowed in dirt seven years. Two of the windows of these chambers looked down into the garden; and we have sat up there together, many a summer evening, saying how pleasant it was, and talking of many things. To my intimacy with that top set I am indebted for three of my liveliest personal impressions of the loneliness of life in chambers. They shall follow here, in order; first, second, and third. First. My Gray's Inn friend, on a time, hurt one of his legs, and it became seriously inflamed. Not know- ing of his indisposition, I was on my way to visit him as usual, one summer evening, when I was much surprised by meeting a lively leech in Field Court, Gray's Inn, seemingly on his way to the West End of London. As the leech was alone, and was of course unable to explain his position, even if he had been inclined to do so (which he had not the appearance of being), I passed him, and went on. Turning the corner of Gray's Inn Square, I was beyond expression amazed by meeting another leech, ——also entirely alone, and also proceeding in a westerly direction, though with less decision of purpose. Rumi- nating on this extraordinary circumstance, and endeav- ouring to remember whether I had ever read, in the Phil- osophical Transactions, or any work on Natural History, of a migration of Leeches, I ascended to the top set, past the dreary series of closed outer doors of offices, and an empty set or two, which intervened between that lofty region and the surface. Entering my friend's rooms, I found him stretched upon his back, like Prometheus Bound, with a perfectly demented ticket-porter in at- tendance on him instead of the Vulture; which helpless individual, who was feeble and frightened, had (my friend explained to me, in great choler) been endeavour- ing for some hours to apply leeches to his leg, and as yet had only got on two out of twenty. To this unfortu- nate's distraction between damp cloth, on which he had placed the leeches to freshen them, and the wrath- ful adjurations of my friend to "Stick 'em on, sir!" I referred the phenomenon I encountered; the rather as two fine specimens were at that moment going out at the door, while a general insurrection of the west was in progress on the table. After a while our united efforts prevailed; and, when the leeches came off, and had re- covered their spirits, we carefully tied them up in a de- canter. But I never heard more of them than that they were all gone next morning, and that the Out-of-door young man of Bickle Bush and Bodger, on the ground- floor, had been bitten and blooded by some creature not identified. They never "took" on Mrs. Miggot, the laundress; but I have always preserved fresh the belief that she unconsciously carried several about her, until they gradually found openings in life. Second. On the same staircase with my friend Parkle, and on the same floor, there lived a man of law who pur- sued his business elsewhere, and used those chambers as his place of residence. For three or four years Parkle rather knew of him than knew him; but after that——for Englishmen ——short pause of consideration, they began to speak. Parkle exchanged words with him in his pri- vate character only, and knew nothing of his business ways or means. He was a man a good deal about town, but always alone. We used to remark to one another, that, although we often encountered him in theatres, concert-rooms, and similar public places, he was always alone. Yet he was not a gloomy man, and was of a de- cidedly conversational turn; inasmuch that he would sometimes of an evening lounge, with a cigar in his mouth, half in and half out of Parkle's rooms, and dis- cuss the topics of the day by the hour. He used to hint on these occasions that he had four faults to find with life: firstly, that it obliged a man to be always winding up his watch; secondly, that London was too small; thirdly, that it therefore wanted variety; fourthly, that there was too much dust in it. There was so much dust in his own faded chambers, certainly, that they reminded me of a sepulchre, furnished in prophetic anticipation of the present time, which had newly been brought to light, after having remained buried a few thousand years. One dry, hot, autumn evening, at twilight, this man, being then five years turned to fifty, looked in upon Parkle in his usual lounging way, with his cigar in his mouth as usual, and said, "I am going out of town." As he never went out of town, Parkle said, "O, indeed! At last?" "Yes," says he, "at last. For what is a man to do? London is so small! If you go West, you come to Hounslow. If you go East, you come to Bow. If you go South, there's Brixton or Norwood. If you go North, you can't get rid of Barnet. Then the monotony of all the streets, streets, streets,——and of all the roads, roads, roads,——and the dust, dust, dust!" When he had said this, he wished Parkle a good evening, but came back again, and said, with his watch in his hand, "O I really cannot go on winding up this watch over and over again; I wish you would take care of it." So Parkle laughed and consented, and the man went out of town. The man remained out of town so long that his letter- box became choked, and no more letters could be got into it, and they began to be left at the lodge, and to ac- cumulate there. At last the head-porter decided, on conference with the steward, to use his master-key and look into the chambers, and give them the benefit of a whiff of air. Then it was found that he had hanged himself to his bedstead, and had left this written mem- orandum: I should prefer to be cut down by my neigh- bour and friend (if he will allow me to call him so), H. Parkle, Esq." This was the end of Parkle's occupancy of chambers. He went into lodgings immediately. Third. While Parkle lived in Gray's Inn, and I myself was uncommercially preparing for the Bar,—— which is done, as everybody knows, by having a frayed old gown put on in a pantry by an old woman in a chronic state of Saint Anthony's fire and dropsy, and, so decorated, bolted a bad diner in a party of four, whereof each individual mistrusts the other three,——I say, while these things were, there was a certain elderly gentleman who lived in a court of the Temple, and was a great judge and lover of port wine. Every day he dined at his club, and drank his bottle or two of port wine, and every night came home to the Temple, and went to bed in his lonely chambers. This had gone on many years without variation, when one night he had a fit on coming home, and fell, and cut his head deep, but partly recovered, and groped about in the dark to find the door. When he was afterwards discovered dead, it was clearly established by the marks of his hands about the room that he must have done so. Now this chanced on the night of Christmas eve, and over him lived a young fellow who had sisters and young country friends, and who gave him a little party that night, in the course of which they played at Blindman's Buff. They played that game, for their greater sport, by the light of the fire only; and once, when they were all quietly rustling and stealing about, and the blindman was trying to pick out the prettiest sister (for which I am far from blaming him), somebody cried, Hark! the man below must be playing Blindman's Buff by himself to- night! They listened, and they heard sounds of some one falling about and stumbling against furniture; and they all laughed at the conceit, and went on with their play, more light-hearted and merry than ever. Thus those two so different games of life and death were played out together, blindfold, in the two sets of cham- bers. Such are the occurrences which, coming to my knowl- edge, imbued me long ago with a strong sense of lone- liness of chambers. There was a fantastic illustration to much the same purpose implicitly believed by a strange sort of man now dead, whom I knew when I had not quite arrived at legal years of discretion, though I was already in the uncommercial line. This was a man who, though not more than thirty, had seen the world in divers irreconcilable capacities,—— had been an officer in a South American regiment among other odd things,——but had not achieved much in any way of life, and was in debt, and in hiding. He occu- pied chambers of the dreariest nature in Lyons Inn; his name, however, was not upon the door, or door-post, but in lieu of it stood the name of a friend who had died in the chambers, and had given him the furniture. The story arose out of the furniture, and was to this effect: Let the former holder of the chambers, whose name was still upon the door and doorpost, be Mr. Testator. Mr. Testator took a set of chambers in Lyons Inn when he had but very scanty furniture for his bedroom, and none for his sitting-room. He had lived some wintry months in this condition, and had found it very bare and cold. One night, past midnight, when he sat writing, and still had writing to do that must be done before he went to bed, he found himself out of coals. He had coals down-stairs, but he had never been to his cellar; however, the cellar key was on his mantel-shelf, and if he went down, and opened the cellar it fitted, he might fairly assume the coals in that cellar to be his. As to his laundress, she lived among the coal-wagons and Thames watermen,——for there were Thames watermen at that time, in some unknown rat-hole by the river, down lanes and alleys on the other side of the Strand. As to any other person to meet him or obstruct him, Lyons Inn was dreaming, drunk, maudlin, moody, betting, brooding over bill discounting or renewing,——asleep or awake, minding its own affairs. Mr. Testator took his coal- scuttle in one hand, his candle and key in the other, and descended to the dismallest underground dens of Lyons Inn, where the late vehicles in the streets became thunderous, and all the water-pipes in the neighbourhood seemed to have Macbeth's Amen sticking in their throats, and to be trying to get it out. After groping here and there among the low doors to no purpose, Mr. Testator at length came to a door with a rusty padlock which his key fitted. Getting the door open with much trouble, and looking in, he found no coals, but a confused pile of furniture. Alarmed by this intrusion on another man's property, he locked the door again, found his own cellar, filled his scuttle, and returned up-stairs. But the furniture he had seen ran on castors across and across Mr. Testator's mind incessantly, when, in the chill hour of five in the morning, he got to bed. He particu- larly wanted a table to write at, an a table expressly made to be written at had been the piece of furniture in the foreground of the heap. When his laundress emerg- ed from her burrow in the morning to make his kettle boil, he artfully led up to the subject of cellars and furniture, but the two ideas had evidently no connec- tion in her mind. When she left him, and he sat at his breakfast, thinking about he furniture, he recalled the rusty state of the padlock, and inferred that the furni- ture must have been stored in the cellars for a long time, ——was perhaps forgotten——owner dead, perhaps? After thinking it over a few days, in the course of which he could pump nothing out of Lyons Inn about the furni- ture, he became desperate, and resolved to borrow that table. He did so that night. He had not the table long, when he determined to borrow an easy-chair; he had not had that long, when he made up his mind to borrow a book-case; then a couch; then a carpet and rug. By that time, he felt he was "in furniture stepped in so far" as that it could be no worse to borrow it all. Con- sequently he borrowed it all, and locked up the cellar for good. He had always locked it after every visit. He had carried up every separate article in the dead of the night, and, at the best, had felt as wicked as a Resur- rection Man. Every article was blue and furry when brought into his rooms; and he had had, in a murder- ous and guilty sort of way, to polish it up while London slept. Mr. Testator lived in his furnished chambers two or three years or more, and gradually lulled himself into the opinion that the furniture was his own. This was his convenient state of mind when, late one night, a step came up the stairs, and a hand passed over his door feeling for his knocker, and then one deep and solemn rap was rapped that might have been a spring in Mr. Testator's easy-chair to shoot him out of it; so promptly was it attended with that effect. With a candle in his hand, Mr. Testator went to the door, and found there a very pale and very tall man; a man who stooped; a man with very high shoulders, a very narrow chest, and a very red nose; a shabby-gen- teel man. He was wrapped in a long, threadbare, black coat, fastened up the front with more pins than buttons, and under his arm he squeezed an umbrella without a handle, as if he were playing bagpipes. He said, "I ask your pardon, but can you tell me——" and stopped; his eyes resting on some objects within the chambers. "Can I tell you what?" asked Mr. Testator, noting the stoppage with quick alarm. "I ask your pardon," said the stranger, "but——this is not the inquiry I was going to make——do I see in there any small articles of property belonging to me?" Mr. Testator was beginning to stammer that he was not aware——when the visitor slipped past him into the chambers. There in a goblin way which froze Mr. Tes- tator to the marrow, he examined, first, the writing- table, and said, "Mine"; then the easy-chair, and said, "Mine"; then the bookcase, and said, "Mine"; then turned up a corner of the carpet, and said, "Mine"; in a word, inspected every item of furniture from the cel- lar, in succession, and said, "Mine!" Towards the end of the investigation Mr. Testator perceived that he was sodden with liquor, and that the liquor was gin. He was not unsteady with gin, either in his speech or carri- age; but he was stiff with gin in both particulars. Mr. Testator was in a dreadful state, for (according to his making out of the story) the possible consequences of what he had done in recklessness and hardihood flashed upon him in their fulness for the first time. When they had stood gazing at one another for a little while, he tremulously began:—— "Sir, I am conscious that the fullest explanation, compensation, and restitution are your due. They shall be yours. Allow me to entreat that, without temper, without even natural irritation on your part, we may have a little——" "Drop of something to drink," interposed the stranger. "I am agreeable." Mr. Testator had intended to say, "a little quiet con- versation," but with great relief of mind adopted the amendment. He produced a decanter of gin, and was bustling about for hot water and sugar, when he found that his visitor had already drunk half of the decanter's contents. With hot water and sugar the visitor drank the remainder before he had been an hour in the cham- bers by the chimes of the church of St. Mary in the Strand; and during the process he frequently whispered to himself, "Mine!" The gin gone, and Mr. Testator wondering what was to follow it, the visitor rose and said, with increased stiffness, "At what hour of morning, sir, will it be convenient?" Mr. Testator hazarded, "At ten?" "Sir," said the visitor, "at ten to the moment I shall be here." He then contemplated Mr. Testator somewhat at leisure, and said, "God bless you! How is your wife?" Mr. Testator (who never had a wife) replied, with much feeling, "Deeply anxious, poor soul! but otherwise well." The visitor thereupon turned and went away, and fell twice in going down-stairs. From that hour he was never heard of. Whether he was a ghost, or a spectral illusion of conscience, or a drunken man who had no business there, or the drunken rightful owner of the furniture, with a transitory gleam of memory; whether he got safe home, or had no home to get to; whether he died of liquor on the way, or lived in liquor ever afterwards,——he never was heard of more. This was the story, received with the furniture, and held to be as substantial, by its second possessor in an upper set of chambers in grim Lyons Inn. It is to be remarked of chambers in general, that they must have been built for chambers, to have the right kind of loneliness. You may make a great dwelling- house very lonely, by isolating suites of rooms, and call- ing them chambers, but you cannot make the true kind of loneliness. In dwelling-houses there have been fam- ily festivals; children have grown in them, girls have bloomed into women in them, courtships and marriages have taken place in them. True chambers never were young, childish, maidenly; never had dolls in them, or rocking-horses, or christenings, or betrothals, or little coffins. Let Gray's Inn identify the child who first touched hands and hearts with Robinson Crusoe in any one of its many "sets," and that child's little statue, in white marble with a golden inscription, shall be at its service, at my cost and charge, as a drinking-fountain for the spirit, to freshen its thirsty square. Let Lin- coln's produce from all its houses a twentieth of the procession derivable from any dwelling-house, one twen- tieth of its age, of fair young brides who married for love and hope, not settlements, and all the Vice-Chan- cellors shall thenceforward be kept in nosegays for nothing, on application to the writer hereof. It is not denied that on the terrace of the Adelphi, or in any of the streets of that subterranean-stable-haunted spot, or about Bedford Row, or James Street of that ilk (a grew- some place), or anywhere among the neighbourhoods that have done flowering and have run to seed, you may find Chambers replete with the accommodations of Soli- tude, Closeness, and Darkness, where you may be as low-spirited as the genuine article, and might be as easily murdered, with the placid reputation of having merely gone down to the seaside. But the many waters of life did run musical in those dry channels once;—— among the Inns, never. The only popular legend known in relation to any one of the dull family of Inns is a dark Old Bailey whisper concerning Clement's and im- porting how the black creature who holds the sundial there was a negro who slew his master, and built the dismal pile out of the contents of his strong box,——for which architectural offence alone he ought to have been condemned to live in it. But what populace would waste fancy upon such a place, or on New Inn, Staple Inn, Barnard's Inn, or any of the shabby crew? The genuine laundress, too, is an institution not to be had in its entirety out of and away from the genuine Chambers. Again, it is not denied that you may be robbed elsewhere. Elsewhere you may have——for money ——dishonesty, drunkenness, dirt, laziness, and profound incapacity. But the veritable shining-red-faced, shame- less laundress,——the true Mrs. Sweeney, in figure, colour, texture, and smell like the old damp family umbrella, ——the tip-top complicated abomination of stockings, spirits, bonnet, limpness, looseness, and larceny,——is only to be drawn at the fountain-head. Mrs. Sweeney is beyond the reach of individual art. It requires the united efforts of several men to insure that great result, and it is only developed in perfection under an Honour- able Society and in an Inn of Court.
from Collier's Unabridged Edition: The Works of Charles Dickens, Volume VI. P.F. Collier, Publisher, New York, old as heck. p. 618 - 622 https://old.reddit.com/thesee[♘][♰][☮]雨 I.His General Line of Business.II.The Shipwreck.III.Wapping Workhouse.IV.Two Views of a Cheap Theatre.V.Poor Mercantile Jack.VI.Refreshments for Travellers.VII.Travelling Abroad.VIII.The Great Tasmania's CargoIX.City of London Churches.X.Shy Neighbourhoods.XI.Tramps.XII.Dullborough Town.XIII.Night Walks.XIV.Chambers.XV.Nurse's Stories.XVI.Arcadian London.XVII.The Calais Night-mail.XVIII.Some Recollections of Mortality.XIX.Birthday Celebrations.XX.Bound for the Great Salt Lake.XXI.The City of the Absent.XXII.An Old Stage-Coaching Horse.XXIII.The Boiled Beef of New England.XXIV.Chatham Dock-Yard.XXV.In the French-Flemish Country.XXVI.Medicine-Men of Civilization.XXVII.Titbull's Almshouses.XXVIII.The Italian Prisoner. engvall p. o. box 128 williamstown, ma 01267
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