‘I Looked at Him Like a Friend’

Jay Bothroyd puts good times with playboy Saadi Gaddafi, son of dead Libya tyrant Colonel Gaddafi, behind him – Telegraph: “People who don’t know him might say he’s like this or like that or like his dad, but I’ve never seen that. I looked at him like a friend.”

In what may be the best unintentionally funny sportswriting of the year, The Telegraph has a long interview with striker Jay Bothroyd — who scored his first goal of the year in Sunday’s loss — in which Bothroyd innocently brushes aside the drinking and carousing he did with Saadi al-Qaddafi, the profligate and mostly estranged (for his bad behavior) son of the deposed and now-dead Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi.

Bothroyd said Saadi invited him to Grand Prix races, flew him to Italy for parties and, in a standout gesture no doubt funded by the still-aggrieved Libyan people, paid for Bothroyd’s honeymoon in Los Angeles and Hawaii.

“His dad is obviously a tyrant and he dictated over his countrymen through fear but Saadi was never like that,” Bothroyd said, apparently without irony. “He was always friendly and polite.”

Saadi al-Qaddafi is the second-oldest Qaddafi son and stood out from some of his siblings because of his vanity soccer career — he appeared in two Serie A games in four seasons — and because of his flamboyant, ambiguously sexual, seems-like-Trey-Parker-and-Matt-Stone-made-it-up lifestyle. His behavior was not as bad as his brother Hannibal, whose violent attack on two servants in Switzerland led to his arrest and his father’s cartoonish suggestion that the Swiss be abolished, but it still deserves censure and perhaps a healthy dose of forensic accounting.

Saadi was in Libya for most of the recent civil war, was in direct command of military units and is widely believed to have been behind the strategy of engaging rebel forces on a small-unit scale to avoid NATO airstrikes, though it is unlikely the Libyan military possessed any other capability. He has since decamped to Niger, where he awaits an uncertain future and the potential execution of an Interpol warrant for his arrest — if not a real execution by baseball-cap-wearing, disgruntled Libyans.

Bothroyd is forgiving, however.

“It’s all politics and I don’t really know about it,” Bothroyd said. “I just know that innocent people should never get hurt.”

Tottenham 3, Q.P.R. 1

Last week’s boisterous victory against Chelsea may have been a sign, but it is most likely one of an early season stagnation for the Blues and not an arrival by Rangers. Tottenham, behind two goals by Gareth Bale, muted any lingering good feelings in a 3-1 victory at White Hart Lane.

The A.P. was gracious, though, saying that Q.P.R. “pressed hard for an equalizer” after Jay Bothroyd scored in the second half, and that “Rangers could easily have forced at least a draw.”

Tottenham is on something of a hot streak, without a loss in 11 games, so the result was not exactly a surprise. Disappointing, maybe. But Rangers have 12 points from 10 games, which is ahead of schedule by anyone’s reckoning.

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 QPR | Premier League match report | Football | The Guardian: “After the week that they have had, it might have felt like a relief for Queens Park Rangers to have 90 minutes of Premier League football to divert them. The saga of Anton Ferdinand’s race row confrontation with Chelsea’s John Terry has been testing and frustrating. Solace, though, came only during the 20-minute period after the interval, when Neil Warnock’s team suddenly threatened to take something out of this derby. If Tottenham Hotspur had been lulled into a sense of security, it was understandable as they had dominated. Rangers’ last away fixture had brought the 6-0 thumping at Fulham and at half-time, they looked to be headed for a re-run.”
Bale’s double helps Spurs see off QPR: “With QPR struggling to have any impact, boss Neil Warnock opted for two changes at half-time, sending on Jamie Mackie and Bothroyd in place of Shaun Derry and the disappointing Adel Taarabt. And those changes had the desired impact on 61 minutes when Heidar Helguson’s header from a corner was turned in by Bothroyd for his first Rangers goal. With Rangers now in the ascendancy, Bale took matters into his own hands on 71 minutes with a stunning strike to give Spurs back their two-goal cushion.”
Match Report | Tottenham v QPR – 30th October 2011 | Sky Sports | Football News: “Tottenham produced a stylish performance to beat Queens Park Rangers 3-1 at White Hart Lane and extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League to seven games. Gareth Bale broke the deadlock on 20 minutes with a powerful strike past Paddy Kenny from Aaron Lennon’s pass, before Rafael van der Vaart’s cool finish doubled the lead 13 minutes later. While the first half was one-way traffic, QPR responded admirably after the interval and pulled a goal back when substitute Jay Bothroyd nodded home from close range on 62 minutes.”
BBC Sport – Tottenham 3-1 QPR: “Gareth Bale scored twice to extend Tottenham’s unbeaten run to seven games with victory over Queens Park Rangers. In a first half dominated by Spurs, the Welshman swept in from 18 yards after Aaron Lennon’s clever run and pass. Rafael van der Vaart then stayed onside to slot past Paddy Kenny when he collected Ledley King’s mis-hit shot.”
Two-goal Bale leads Spurs to 3-1 victory over QPR | Football | Reuters: “Spurs, who have won six of their last seven league matches, led 2-0 at halftime with goals from Bale and Van der Vaart, who scored for the fifth league game in a row to equal a club record shared by Teddy Sheringham and Robbie Keane in the Premier League era. QPR, totally outclassed in the first half, came back strongly after the break and cut the arrears when Jay Bothroyd headed in from close range after 62 minutes, but Bale made the game safe with a stunning strike from the edge of the box after 72 minutes.”
Brilliant Bale sparks Spurs victory – mirror.co.uk: “Tottenham stretched their unbeaten run to seven matches and moved level on points with fourth-place Newcastle thanks to a routine 3-1 win over QPR at White Hart Lane. Gareth Bale opened the scoring with a sweet drive past Paddy Kenny in the 20th minute before Rafael van der Vaart added a second soon after to equal the club’s record of scoring in five successive Barclays Premier League games. Substitute Jay Bothroyd pulled one back for QPR in the second half, but Bale calmed the home fans’ nerves 20 minutes from time with a wonderful curling shot after a neat exchange with Aaron Lennon on the edge of the box.”

The Unwarranted Dignity of It All

‘Anonymous,’ by Roland Emmerich – Review – NYTimes.com: “The film’s premise is that the plays and poems commonly attributed to William Shakespeare are actually the work of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. This notion, sometimes granted the unwarranted dignity of being called a theory, is hardly new. It represents a hoary form of literary birtherism that has persisted for a century or so, in happy defiance of reason and evidence. The arrival of ‘Anonymous’ has roused Shakespeareans more learned than I to the weary task of re-debunking…”


There is a movie poster for “Anonymous,” right, that is especially galling. (Really?)

To be fair, there is a class of faux-historical pop culture that seems harmless. The fulsome fatuity laid down by writers like Dan Brown, for instance, can be given credit because its roots are wound around such esoteric earth that even if the premise (i.e., that there is a cult of self-flagellating, puzzle-obsessed freaks protecting the direct descendants of Jesus of Nazareth) was accepted as fact, few ordinary people would be equipped to even understand it. But with “Anonymous,” the observer needs know nothing about literature or theater to be persuaded that serious people believe Shakespeare was a fraud. (They don’t.)

It is a little like being in a group of indecisive people who are discussing where to go for dinner and one of their number, distracted at first by their cellphone or a shiny penny, chimes in with a cheery and inevitable, “Let’s have noodles,” when everyone has already dismissed noodles as too much of a pain in the ass.

‘You Should Try My Salsa’

[10:29 PM] Me: You’re awesome.


[10:30 PM] Bob : You should try my salsa…bigget munchur


[10:30 PM] Me: Bigget munchur?


[10:31 PM] Me: I say again, You’re awesome.


[10:32 PM] Bob : Yes bigget mubnchur…of or being of minor munchurs …as bigget


[10:33 PM] Me: You should trade that phone in for a tablet. Your fingers are too fat.


[10:35 PM] Bob : Keys to small…


[10:35 PM] Bob : Well its not so much the awesome part but the shear number of categories for which it applies to me and my awesomeness


[10:36 PM] Me: Too true, but I felt that went without saying. As all timeless truths do.


[10:38 PM] Bob : If they are known…otherwise there has to be a saying so the truth be known…as my awesomeness is known…to be


[1:43 PM] Me: You’re an enigma.


[5:46 PM] Me: A rather portly enigma.


[6:00 PM] Bob : Portly….really


[6:12 PM] Me: Stout?


[6:20 PM] Me: Full-bodied? Well-armored? A scoche past plump?


[6:53 PM] Me: Jolly?


[7:25 PM] Me: For sure, my money would be on you to survive a sinking in the North Atlantic.


[7:26 PM] Bob : Blubber is bouncy


[7:27 PM] Me: After a certain height, though, it’s more splattery.


[7:29 PM] Bob : Blubber…splattery…only from a great height….with a sudden stop


[7:35 PM] Me: Right, concrete poisoning, as they say.


[7:37 PM] Bob : Concrete? poison?


[7:40 PM] Me: Yeah. Can be deadly if applied too quickly.

‘As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning’


As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An excellent and historic, if ordinary at times, memoir/travelogue tracing a wandering journey through organic and passionate 1930s Spain. Lee was a poet, of course, and so the chapters have a pleasing, verselike structure. It reaches for insight into the civil war that erupted as Lee lingered on the coast, but it is most memorable for the simple, seductive rhythms of his journey. An unexpected arrival in a hot, sleepy village, the warm embrace of peasants, long nights of music and wine and cheese and bread.

To me, maybe the most interesting part of the book are the frequent asides, tucked in loosely composed paragraphs of fragmented memories. Two- or three-sentence bursts of a surreal quality, as if added by a mischievous, Bunuel-esque editor.

For instance, trooping up a staircase late at night in a seedy inn in Valladolid, Lee spots a child carving a doll out of a potato; as he passes, the child bites off the doll’s head. It goes on. A tearful, white-faced matador being carried to a car, a well-dressed man in the back drawing pins through his throat, a clock striking 14. Each one a gem.

As these queer scenes paraded past, I began to notice Lee’s tendency of describing approaching towns as piles of things: London (“like a huge, fat crust”), Zamora (“neatly stacked”), Segovia (“a compact, half-forgotten heap”), Madrid (“lined with buildings like broken teeth”), Castillo (“tumbling… on an outcrop of rock”).

View all my reviews

Q.P.R. 1, Chelsea 0

You could be forgiven for thinking that City’s undressing of United was the most shocking result of the Premier League’s Sunday schedule. (It was.) But Rangers’ 1-0 victory at home against still-tied-for-third-place Chelsea — their first against the Blues in 16 years — had to jangle the senses of any observer. As Manager Neil Warnock told The Associated Press, “To get 3 points against Chelsea is like a dream.”

A closer inspection shines a bright light into weary eyes, and the game is revealed as nothing like a straightforward, if fantastical, upset. Amazingly (preposterously), Chelsea had two players ejected before halftime, which transformed a stirring result into something more theatrical. After the game, as if on cue, Chelsea’s John Terry was forced to deny accusations that he made a racist remark to Q.P.R. defender Anton Ferdinand.

“We had a plan and it worked a treat,” Warnock said.

The game’s only goal was soon and sudden. Heidar Helguson scored in the eighth minute after a penalty, leaving more than 80 minutes to be consumed in a pale melodrama between Chelsea and the referee Chris Foy. Jose Bosingwa was dubiously red-carded in the 33rd minute, for pulling back an on-the-loose Shaun Wright-Phillips, and Didier Drogba was tossed in the 41st for a rough challenge of Adel Taarabt.

The A.P. said Chelsea lost its composure, and Reuters cited poor concentration and a lack of discipline. Chelsea Manager Andre Villas-Boas focused on the referee, too. Chelsea had seven players carded; the Rangers had two.

Villas-Boas told reporters he aggressively confronted the referee after the game: “I don’t care if he’s O.K. or not.”


  • Foy under spotlight as Chelsea end QPR encounter with nine men – Football – Kilburn Times: Chelsea’s Didier Drogba and Jose Bosingwa were both sent off as QPR edged out their bitter rivals in a frantic west London derby at Loftus Road on Sunday afternoon. …And despite desperate late Chelsea pressure, which should have brought an equaliser for Nicholas Anelka, Neil Warnock’s side held on to record the sweetest of victories, only their third of the season and their first in front of their own fans.
  • QPR beat Chelsea in dramatic derby: Nine-man Chelsea were sent tumbling to a dramatic defeat in the west London derby, with Heidar Helguson’s early penalty giving QPR a momentous victory — their first home win since returning to the Premier League. In the first league clash between these neighbours since Rangers were relegated from the top flight in 1996, the home side — massive underdogs to cause an upset — delivered the win their supporters so badly wanted and had waited so long for. …Ultimately, however, Rangers got their reward for managing to unsettle their opponents, who simply paid the price for losing their discipline in the pressure cooker that was a packed Loftus Road.
  • QPR 1-0 Chelsea | Premier League match report | Football | The Guardian: A furious occasion has drained composure from Chelsea’s pursuit at the top. André Villas-Boas’s side lost their discipline as well as a west London derby here and an opportunity to hoist themselves into second place and nearer Manchester City was passed up, not that those who waved the visitors on their way could care less. Queens Park Rangers had waited 16 years to prevail in this fixture and their fans left this corner of the capital in a state of delirium at the end while Chelsea cursed at the perceived injustice of it all. They will incur a fine for the seven yellow and red cards flashed by Chris Foy, who sent off José Bosingwa and Didier Drogba, though the Football Association will surely also consider sanctioning Villas-Boas, normally so calm and calculated in front of the media, over his post-match reaction in the tunnel and public assessment of the referee.
  • MATCH REPORT: QUEENS PARK RANGERS 1 CHELSEA 0 | Latest Chelsea News | Team & Transfer News | Chelsea FC | Chelsea: It was a rare afternoon to forget in west London as two red cards and a penalty cost us in our first league visit to Loftus Road since 1996. In a gripping encounter that also saw nine yellow cards, it was the home side who came out victorious after being awarded a dubious first-half penalty, with David Luiz adjudged to have bundled Heidar Helguson to the floor after just nine minutes. Although Petr Cech got a hand to the spot kick he could not prevent it going in.
  • Queens Park Rangers 1 Chelsea 0: match report – Telegraph: Chelsea completely lost their discipline on Sunday as two sending offs, seven yellow cards and a penalty handed Queens Park Rangers a first win over local rivals for 16 years. Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba both saw red in the Premier League clash at Loftus Road, while Ashley Cole also picked up a suspension for his fifth booking of the season. The rot set in when David Luiz needlessly conceded an eighth-minute penalty which Heidar Helguson scored, but the nine men wasted more than one chance to level, most notably when Nicolas Anelka headed straight at Paddy Kenny.

‘He Is a Dreamer; Let Us Leave Him’

[10:50 PM] Bob: Ides of March…greek tragedy…little help please
[10:59 PM] Me: Ides of March is a new movie, of course, but to everyone else it is what a soothsayer tells Julius Caesar to beware of in Shakespeare’s play of the same name. Ides means “middle” in this context. And JC is stabbed on March 15 in 44 BC.

The film “Ides of March” is dull, lifeless. It recounts a simple, dry political scandal in banal, predictable fashion, and when it is not doing that it veers into the preposterous. It becomes, after many tedious scenes, an unspooling of the sort of current-events, talk-show nonsense that many go to the movies to forget. The stubble-shaded ruggedness of George Clooney and Ryan Gosling only partly ameliorate matters. I found myself wondering when I had seen a more boring movie; I’m still wondering.

[11:02 PM] Bob: So…not a greek tragedy…did you have to google this or was it from the top of your emensness…
[11:03 PM] Bob: …emenceness…
[11:03 PM] Me: Not Greek. But a tragedy, genrewise. I did not Google. It is one of the most famous plays in the Western Canon.
[11:05 PM] Me: Emenceness? Et tu, Brute?
[11:06 PM] Bob: Shakspeare…Mark Anthony…
[11:07 PM] Me: Look at you! Well done.
[11:09 PM] Me: Any more questions?
[10:06 AM] Bob: not really…movie wasn’t that good and I haven’t read Julius Ceasar….yet…I can make fart noises by cupping a damp hand behind any of my knees and then articulating the corresponding leg in such a manner as to to put pressure on the cupped damp hand…
[11:34 AM] Me: I am guessing you have damp hands a lot

Preoccupied With Wall Street

Why the Current Crop of Twentysomethings Are Going to Be Okay — New York Magazine: “Nearly 14 percent of college graduates from the classes of 2006 through 2010 can’t find full-time work, and overall just 55.3 percent of people ages 16 to 29 have jobs. That’s the lowest percentage since World War II, as you might have heard an Occupy Wall Street protester point out.”

from John
to [all]
date Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 10:33 AM
subject Re: Me and Your Ire

Not to pile on [him], or anything, but while I stand by the point I made
in the original e-mail (i.e., who thinks woodworking is a lucrative
career?/ also, young people irritate me), [she] brings up a
well-articulated point that I think is the most serious result of the
current, uncorrected economy, which few people seem to be emphasizing,
and that, as an unreformed copy editor, I cannot resist elaborating

[She] writes that “there’s just no up to get to,” which to me is
another way of saying that the forces that buoyed the savings (and
emboldened the crotchety, hairy-eye-browed ire) of millions of older
Americans (i.e. the order-of-magnitude increase in the Dow from 1980
to 2000, consistently appreciating real estate values, etc.) have
seemingly evaporated. It burns my rump a little that the “53 percent,”
the shrill, hard-to-believe-they’re-organized blue-collar critics of
the Occupiers, can’t see that. Because it is the plumbers and former
Marines of the world who are going to be plopping into the toilet of
poverty next.

To wit, the model my father followed to retirement, while not exactly
broken, will not work for my niece anything like it did for him. If I were
her, I’d be pissing (squatting?) in a Zuccotti Park shrub, too.

What holds this country together is not a sense of patriotism or the
glow of American exceptionalism or the well-tended interstate-highway
medians, but the promise of personal prosperity, however naive. I
don’t think America is broken, but I think it is telling that in the
always-churning, repeat-customer marketplace of illegal immigration,
incoming traffic has steadily declined (it may be leveling off now)
since 2007. When the Mexicans stop thinking America is the place to
be, it might be time to get out the placards and big magic markers.