Arsenal Transfer Rumours 16-Jan-2021

Mesut Ozil s set to finally leave Arsenal after reportedly agreeing a deal to terminate his contract. Should everything be tied up with the Gunners, that would allow him to join Fenerbahce as a free agent. Ozil hasn’t played a first team football match since March last year but he will be thrown into the deep end once his move to Fenerbahce is complete. The Yellow Canaries finished a dismal seventh place last season but are in the thick of a tense title race this time around. Fenerbahce are in second, behind Besiktas on goal difference alone and just two points ahead of other fierce rivals Galatasaray.

Arsenal goalkeeper target Neto has handed in a transfer request at Barcelona, according to Sport. Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is keen to reinforce the goalkeeping position, with doubts over summer signing Alex Runarsson’s long-term suitability. Neto, 31, joined Barca from Valencia in 2019, with Netherlands keeper Jasper Cillessen heading in the other direction. The Brazilian is hoping for more game time at his next club, after finding himself as Marc-Andre Ter Stegen’s understudy at the Camp Nou.

Arsenal are scouting Brentford striker Ivan Toney ahead of a possible summer move, according to the Express. West Ham are also interested in Toney, who joined the Bees from Peterborough in the summer for ÂŁ10m and is now the Championship’s joint top-scorer with 16 goals this season. However, the report claims the Gunners won’t be making an offer for the 24-year-old this month, and will instead be keeping an eye on him until the end of the season. Brentford are also unwilling to part ways with Toney, as they bid to earn promotion to the Premier League after last season’s play-off heartbreak.

Arsenal 0 Crystal Palace 0

Arsenal’s recent resurgence was checked by a stubborn Crystal Palace, who claimed a hard-fought point from a forgettable encounter at Emirates Stadium. Tagged as relegation candidates as little as three weeks ago, the Gunners came into the game off the back of four straight wins in all competitions, but were unable to find their way past the well-drilled and disciplined visitors. For a side in such good form, Arsenal were a disappointment going forward, their best effort at goal a shot on the turn from Alexandre Lacazette into the side-netting.

Their only other clear-cut chance was an angled shot from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang that Vicente Guaita palmed away. There was more goalmouth action at the other end, with James Tomkins heading an Eberechi Eze free-kick against the bar and Christian Benteke drawing a fine save from Bernd Leno with a nodded effort of his own. The point leaves Arsenal 11th on 24 points and Palace two points and a league place worse off, but comfortably clear of any relegation worries. It was only three weeks ago that West Brom boss Sam Allardyce said Arsenal were in the middle of a battle against the drop.

To be fair to Allardyce, he had a point at the time. But that prediction has been made to look somewhat foolish by the Gunners’ subsequent three straight league wins, which included hammering the flailing Baggies. In light of their upturn in form this result has to count as a minor blip, but it underlines the fact that Arteta’s side remain a work in progress. Young players like Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe have added some much-needed zip and creative flair in recent games, but they were stifled here, flickering into life all too rarely against a dogged opponent. Lacazette had scored in each of the last three league games but was marshalled well by Palace and spurned his only real chance, while Aubameyang remains frustratingly ineffective in his role on the left. Arsenal also felt the absence of the injured Kieran Tierney and his driving forward runs from full-back.

Chain Event

Write about the bleakest thing you’ve done to make money.

In the grand scheme of things I don’t think this was the worst thing that anyone has ever had to do. No way! People have had to far worse and bleaker things but in my case the only thing that I can think of is selling off my gold chain.

This gold chain was a gift from my dad and mom on my 14th birthday if I remember correctly. I used to get lockets that I liked and wear them on my chain. During the rest of my teenage years and my early 20s I would wear it on a daily basis and never take it off. Money became tight by the time I was 22-23 and my family suffered. In 2002 I applied for an interview in a startup company in Calicut and I had very little money for myself. Thinking about the next couple of month’s rent I made a decision to sell my chain.

I went to a store that buys gold ornaments and items and sold it to them. The money that I had would feed me for 3 months and pay my rent for 3 months as well. I didn’t regret it at the time but I do regret it now. I wish I could have found another way to get the money instead of selling it off.

Prompt from Cheryl Strayed’s writing prompts

Conspiracy Theories : The Reptilian Elite

Ok so I think I should say that most people outside of the US, Canada and the UK are only mildly aware of these conspiracy theories if at all that. If were to ask people in Asia, Africa, Europe, Australasia & South America I wonder what percentage would be aware of this crazy stupid theory.

Blood-drinking, flesh-eating, shape-shifting extraterrestrial reptilian humanoids with only one objective in their cold-blooded little heads: to enslave the human race. They are our leaders, our corporate executives, our beloved Oscar-winning actors and Grammy-winning singers, and they’re responsible for the Holocaust, the Oklahoma City bombings and the 9/11 attacks … at least according to former BBC sports reporter David Icke, who became the poster human for the theory in 1998 after publishing his first book, The Biggest Secret, which contained interviews with two Brits who claimed members of the royal family are nothing more than reptiles with crowns. (Picture Dracula meets Swamp Thing).

The conspiracy theorist and New Age philosopher, who wore only turquoise for a time and insisted on being called Son of God-Head, says these “Annunaki” (the reptiles) have controlled humankind since ancient times; they count among their number Queen Elizabeth, George W. Bush, Henry Kissinger, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Bob Hope. Encroaching on other conspiracy theorists’ territory, Icke even claims that the lizards are behind secret societies like the Freemasons and the Illuminati.

The Love Of The Burrito

Growing up, one of the elusive fast food items that I had seen in many a Hollywood movie or American tv show was the burrito. Not during the 11 years growing up in Kuwait or til very recently did I ever see burritos around me. A little over till 3 years ago I had heard of a Mexican themed restuarant in Kakkanad but I never got the chance to go there. However a few weeks after that I was in Cafe 17 in Kaloor and I saw that they had a minced beef burrito as well as a veggie one. Ofcourse I was gonna try it!

A burrito is a dish in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine consisting of a flour tortilla wrapped into a sealed cylindrical shape around various ingredients. The tortilla is sometimes lightly grilled or steamed to soften it, make it more pliable, and allow it to adhere to itself when wrapped. Burritos can also be served “wet”, that is to say covered in a savory and spicy sauce, where they would be eaten with a fork and knife rather than the convential hand held meal it usually is.

Burritos are filled with a savory filling, most often a meat such as chicken, beef, or pork, and often include a large array of other ingredients such as rice, cooked beans (either whole or refried), vegetables such as lettuce and tomatoes, cheese, and condiments such as salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, or crema. Cafe 17’s burritos was devoid of salsa and quacamole but it has the rest. And then in late 2018 (just before Christmas) Taco Bell launched in my city. I have enjoyed a couple of burritos from there and even a taco but I really prefer the burrito. They are fun, versatile (for any meal of the day and uses all sorts of ingredients), and also happen to be extremely tasty! A single burrito would make up a whole meal, as they are quite filling.

Weird Laws In Africa

1. Kenya: In Kenya, you can be arrested for walking around with no money in your pocket because it is illegal

2. Sudan: In Sudan, it is illegal for men and women to sit together without a guide. Otherwise, they can be fined or jailed

3. Guinea: The name, Monica, is very illegal in Guinea. You can be arrested for giving the name to your child

4. Ghana: In Ghana, an actor can be jailed for acting too many movies

5. Equatorial Guinea: In Equatorial Guinea, it is illegal to read foreign books, magazines or literature

6. Eritrea: It is illegal to practice a religion without first registering your decision with the government

7. Mauritania: It is illegal to renounce Islamic religion. If you refuse to repent within 3 days, you’ll be sentenced to death

8. Nigeria: It is illegal to import fruits, drinks, wine. In this age of global trade, this law is considered a little too strange

9. South Africa: In South Africa, it is illegal to purchase a TV without a license from the government

10. Chad: In Chad, it is illegal to take photographs in the country without obtaining a permit beforehand

11. Madagascar : It is illegal for pregnant women to wear hats in Madagascar

Be Kind To Yourself

When I’m in pain — physical or emotional — the kindest thing I can do for myself is…

Physical pain – since I have have them a few times, I know what is the kindest thing I can do for myself. It would be to get complete rest and relaxation. Not do anything to strenuous or taxing and just relax as much as I can. In 2019 August I had a toe fracture on my right foot and I also strained the ankle of the left foot. I took 10 days off from work on advice of the doctor. I watched movies and tv shows, binged watched a comedy show on Netflix.

I did very little reading and no work at all. I slept long hours and I shaved only once or twice during those 10 days. I took my medicines and listened to some music and even surfed the net everyday but mostly it was off my feet and watching tv from my bed. That did me a world of good. I felt recharged as well once the week was over. It also helped that no one from work troubled me for those 10 days and all I had to do was send screenshots of my x-ray and doctor’s note.

Emotionally speaking the same thing works. I usually will welcome friends and relatives who have well meaning but I usually do like it when I am left alone and can surround myself with things that matter the most. Star Trek & other scifi shows, rock music, watching movies and rest and relaxation.

Prompt from 30 Journaling Prompts for Self-Reflection and Self-Discovery

RIP Julie Strain

Julie Strain who was an American actress and model who was Penthouse Pet of the Month in June 1991 and later chosen as the magazine’s Pet of the Year in 1993, has died on January 10th.  Nearly one year after a false report, it was reported that she died from dementia; she was 58 years old.

in her nineteen years of acting she racked up over 130 credits, including an appearance in the Exorcist spoof Repossessed, Steven Seagal’s Out for Justice, the Jean-Claude Van Damme film Double Impact, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, Beverly Hills Cop III, and the horror films Witchcraft IV: The Virgin Heart, Psycho Cop Returns, The Devil’s Pet, Sorceress, Sorceress II: The Temptress, the Bare Wench franchise, How to Make a Monster, Thirteen Erotic Ghosts, and Blood Gnome, among others.

Her most well-known roles came in Heavy Metal 2000 and the Andy Sidaris films Fit to Kill, Day of the Warrior, and L.E.T.H.A.L. Ladies: Return to Savage Beach, as well as Christian Drew Sidaris’s Enemy Gold and The Dallas Connection. Her half-sister Lizzy Strain followed her into acting, and the sisters both appeared in the films Bleed, Delta Delta Die!, Birth Rite, Bloodsucking Strippers, No Pain No Gain, Tales from the Crapper, Evil Ever After, Azira: Blood from the Sand, Chantal, The Devil’s Muse, and Magus.

It was revealed in 2018 that Strain was suffering from degenerative dementia, an affliction that was tied to head trauma she received from a horse riding accident when she was in her twenties. That accident also gave her retrograde amnesia, which wiped much of her youth from her memories.

Strain was married to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman for over a decade, and together they had a son named Shane. Her longtime companion Dave had been taking care of her during her final years, and he was holding her hand when she passed away early Sunday morning.

Happy (Belated) 14th Blogaversary

Happy 14th birthday to my blog Awake & Dreaming & a happy 14th Blogaversary to me! I can’t believe that it’s been 14 years already. This entry is 11 days late as I completely forgot.

It was on the 1st of January that I setup this blog in a day with the help of my cousin (over the phone), who guided me through the process and by night I had the thing setup. Then I installed WordPress and started blogging. I then spent many days trying out various themes; I think this one here is the 30th or so theme that I have tried out.

This isn’t my first blog though; I first started blogging in 2002, through blogger.com, when I lived in Calicut and continued with it when I moved back to Cochin. I was an inconsistent blogger, nothing having an internet connection at home & from 2003 till 2006, not having a computer at home. By 2005 I started getting more & more into blogging and I created a new one in blogger.com and called it Count Roshculla : Awake & Dreaming. I started spending more time in internet cafes and hence could blog a lot more consistently. But I always wanted my very own website & domain and I wanted to install WordPress. That was achieved on January 1st, 2007.

I have made quite a bit of money with this blog. Especially since November of 2018. I’ve since been able to get myself off to a little holiday in a nice hotel, bought a heck ton of dvds and boxsets that I have craved for so long and even been able to take a date to nice meals. I am so proud of what I have done, especially in the last couple of years. This blog is a big part of me and I want to continue through for several more years to come.

Holding Signs Long-term Contract

Arsenal defender Rob Holding signs new, long-term contract at the Emirates after battling his way back into Mikel Arteta’s plans following serious knee injury. Sportsmail revealed on January 1 that Holding was set to avoid Mikel Arteta’s squad cull after forcing his way back into the Spaniard’s plans this season. The defender almost joined Newcastle United on loan in August but the move was blocked by Arteta. Holding has since made 18 appearances in all competitions and has started the last 11 Premier League games.

The 25-year-old, who joined Arsenal from Bolton in 2016, has had to battle back from a serious knee injury which he picked up in 2018. The defender ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and spent nine months on the sidelines. Holding was a regular starter during Project Restart last season and helped the Gunners lift their 14th FA Cup. His deal was set to expire in 2023 and the summer arrivals of Gabriel and Pablo Mari threatened to push the centre back down the pecking order. A loan move to the Magpies was close to being completed before Arteta stepped in. The Spaniard wants to trim his bloated squad but sees Holding as a key part of his long-term plans, even rewarding him with the captain’s armband for the game against Everton in December.

The defender has stood out in recent victories over Chelsea, Brighton and West Brom, with Arsenal conceding just one goal across the last three games. The Gunners are now just six points off fourth place and booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday with an extra-time victory over Newcastle.

The Innkeepers (2011)

The Innkeepers is a 2011 American supernatural horror film written, directed and edited by Ti West, starring Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, and Kelly McGillis. Its plot follows two employees at the Yankee Pedlar Inn who, during its last weekend of operations, attempt to document the alleged supernatural activity in the building.

The Artist In Me

When I was a kid I used to draw quite a lot. Now, I am not saying that I was very good at it but good enough that several people in my family wanted me to pursue it by enrolling in art classes and see if I could find a career in it. I remember drawing most figures like super hero comic characters and even a few deities from what I saw in Amar Chitra Katha. Good times!

As I turned 10-11 years old I kinda stopped drawing as I just read a lot instead. Also music became a big part of my life and I devoted a lot of my time listening to rock bands. However from time to time I would doodle a bit or try and draw a person’s pose from a photo or another drawing. One of my favourite drawings which I did safe for a few years was when I was about 15 years old. That would be 1991 and I had my first relationship with a girl. Her name was Michelle and I drew her portrait….with one single tear falling down her cheek.

Why, because I was influenced by a talk we had on the phone and I put on some music and just drew. I tore the paper outta the large book I had and put the drawing in a photo frame and it sat on my desk at home for a few years. The relationship only lasted a little while but I still have fond memories of that time and the drawing. I can’t find it and think I tossed it back in 2006 when we moved homes.

Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0

Extra-time goals from Emile Smith Rowe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ensured holders Arsenal beat a stubborn Newcastle in the FA Cup third round. In-form Smith Rowe had an eventful evening after arriving as a second-half substitute, seeing a red card rightly rescinded before opening the scoring. Aubameyang tapped in the second after a slick move cut Newcastle open. Andy Carroll missed two golden chances in normal time, which could have sent Arsenal to a rare third-round exit.

The Gunners, who have won the FA Cup on a record 14 occasions, go into the fourth-round draw having being knocked out in the third round just once in the past 25 years. But it could have been different had 32-year-old striker Carroll been able to convert his opportunities, particularly the second, which came in the final minute of normal time. Arsenal would have had little time to recover from that and they had keeper Bernd Leno to thank as he reacted quickly to spread himself to smother Carroll’s shot. That chance came after former England striker Carroll had been unable to take another opportunity early in the second half, staying onside but sidefooting wide.

Instead, it was a player at the other end of his career who took the plaudits. Smith Rowe, with his energy and willingness to carry the ball, has added another dimension to Arsenal’s attacking play in recent weeks. After an insipid first half, the England youth international was brought on as a 56th-minute substitute by Gunners boss Mikel Arteta and quickly became the game’s central character. In the dying moments of normal time, he was shown a straight red card by referee Chris Kavanagh for a challenge on Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff, only for the official to overturn the decision after watching the incident again on the pitchside monitor.

Refusing Same-Sex Couple Service

Is It O.K. to Refuse to Serve Same-Sex Couples Based on Religious Beliefs?

Hmmm let’s look at this at all possible angles. Let’s say you are running a bakery or cafe that bakes cakes. If the ingredients or something in the cake is against their personal belief or beliefs or the design of the cake represents something that is considered taboo in their beliefs, then I suppose I would understand that. Like say a Satanic symbol for a Christian run bakery or something like that. Maybe a lewd suggestive wording of a sexual nature or something along the likes.

Otherwise I do not see why or how it should be OK for any business to refuse to serve same-sex couples. If they are asking for a cake that doesn’t have lewd remarks in icing or any odd shapes or something like that, then what is the problem? If you do not like homosexual relationships, do not have a homosexual relationship. Why should you have a problem with some folks who are in one? The religious angle is always a tricky one because people get so sensitive and authorities as well are reluctant to touch it.

But basically what you are is ignorant, bigoted and homophobic if you refuse to serve them. Using some ancient text book to justify your hatefulness and overall assholeness (is that a word? It is now). And if you do choose to refuse them service, be prepared to get a backlash from people. That can affect your business and Karma is a cold hearted bitch.

Prompt from 401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing at The New York Times