MOC's WRE

Another great weekend after POM. Maybe too physically demanding for me right now. On the long distance I made some mistakes but was satisfied for the flow in some parts of the course. I think that the 12th control was strange with many athletes complaining about it. On the middle distance, 2 big mistakes and weaker legs.
(right click on the maps and "open in new window" has better quality)


Next weekend, training camp in Viseu with the Swedish national team (if I survive tomorrow's 12h emergency room).

27/02/2012 às 16:20 - União dos Palmares Com ajuda de biológo palmarino, cientistas descobrem uma nova espécie de lagarto da Mata Atlântica alagoana

George Sena é diretor de escola em União dos Palmares
Foi publicado hoje 23/02, na revista científica internacional Zootaxa (edição online), o artigo de descrição de uma nova espécie de lagarto da Mata Atlântica alagoana. Com o nome científico de Coleodactylus elizae, este réptil representa como a biodiversidade nos escassos e restritos remanescentes de florestas em Alagoas pode revelar-se magnificamente em meio a toda a devastação à qual vem sendo submetida.

As espécies do gênero Coleodactylus (Família Sphaerodactylidae) são representadas por lagartixas de hábitos diurnos, com menos de 6 cm de comprimento total, que se distribuem na América do Sul, inclusive na Cordilheira dos Andes. Com essa nova descoberta, o gênero possui agora seis espécies, sendo duas amazônicas (C. amazonicus e C. septentrionalis), uma do Cerrado (C. brachystoma) e três da Mata Atlântica (C. meridionalis, C. natalensis e C. elizae).

O registro dessa descoberta foi feito em agosto de 2004, durante uma das expedições de biólogos e estudantes do curso de Ciências Biológicas da UFAL. A área de estudo foi um remanescente de mata, conhecido como Serra da Saudinha, localizado no distrito de Ipioca, zona rural do município de Maceió. Toda a região é cercada por canaviais da Usina Cachoeira do Meirim, que fornecia apoio logístico e acompanhamento durante as expedições. Alguns estudantes e pesquisadores foram importantes para a execução dessas excursões: Ubiratan Gonçalves, Selma Torquato, George Sena, Filipe Augusto, Gabriel Skuk, Katyuscia Vieira, Edinaldo Nascimento, Everson Santos, Gabriela Quintela, dentre outros.

Os três espécimes coletados de C. elizae foram analisados e tombados na coleção herpetológica (de anfíbios e répteis) do Setor de Zoologia do Museu de História Natural da UFAL (MHUFAL). Localizado na Rua Aristheu de Andrade, Farol (próximo à sede da Tv Gazeta), o MHUFAL vem desenvolvendo várias linhas de pesquisas com plantas, animais invertebrados, peixes, aves, mamíferos, anfíbios e répteis, dentre outros, durante as últimas décadas. Dessas pesquisas já renderam vários trabalhos de conclusão de cursos de graduação, monografias de especialização, dissertações de mestrado e teses de doutorado, além de publicações em congressos nacionais e internacionais, em revistas e periódicos científicos.

O nome da nova espécie foi escolhido em homenagem à Dra. Eliza Mª Xavier Freire, herpetóloga, professora e pesquisadora da UFRN, que nas décadas de 1980 e 90 desenvolveu vários trabalhos no MHUFAL, contribuindo consideravelmente para o desenvolvimento das pesquisas científicas em Alagoas. A sugestão partiu do coautor desse artigo, Dr. Gabriel Omar Skuk Sugliano (in memoriam), que também era herpetólogo, professor e pesquisador da UFAL.

Vale ressaltar que este trabalho, mesmo isoladamente, representa um pouco da dimensão da biodiversidade de nossos remanescentes florestais. Mesmo com uma área atual que se limita a cerca de 10% da cobertura original, a Mata Atlântica alagoana precisa ser mais bem preservada, visto que a conservação dos padrões naturais é importante para a obtenção de um equilíbrio ecológico. A carência e a limitação nos investimentos com pesquisas científicas remete à manutenção do ocultismo em relação à real importância a ser direcionada para as causas ambientais. Achados e revelações de novas espécies podem ajudam a encaminhar olhares mais críticos e sérios em relação à dimensão da biodiversidade, que mesmo tão afetada negativamente, “insiste” em revelar sua imponência e magnitude.



Mais fotos:
Espécie rara de lagarto revolucionou ciência
Espécie rara de lagarto revolucionou

Tubarão de 2 metros e 180 quilos é encontrado no litoral Sul de Sergipe

A descoberta foi feita na Praia do Abaís, em Estância (SE).
O animal da espécie tigre estava preso a uma rede de pesca.

Denise Gomes Do G1 SE
 
Tibarão-tigre foi encontrado por pescadores na Praia do Abaís em Estância (SE) (Foto: Divulgação)Tubarão-tigre foi encontrado por pescadores na Praia do Abaís em Estância (SE) (Foto: Divulgação)
Um tubarão da espécie tigre com 2 metros de comprimento e 180 quilos foi encontrado na manhã desta terça-feira (28) na Praia do Abaís, litoral Sul de Sergipe, no município de Estância, a 68 km de Aracaju.
Segundo moradores, dois pescadores que estavam no mar, foram surpreendidos quando puxaram a rede e encontraram o animal preso e muito agitado.
Equipes do Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e Recursos Naturais Renováveis (IBAMA) e Projeto Tamar foram acionadas e estiveram no local. No entanto, o animal já estava morto.
Banhista atesta as dimensões do tubarão-tigre capturado no litoral Sul de Sergipe (Foto: Divulgação)Banhista atesta as dimensões do tubarão-tigre capturado no litoral Sul de Sergipe (Foto: Divulgação)

ANIVERSARIANTES DO DIA

GABRIELE DE DARLAN
CHAGAS DOS TRÊS RIACHOS
FRANCISCA NOGUEIRA
HÉLIO NO SÍTIO OLHO D,ÁGUA

Villas Boas: "I don't like their standards of football"

Before this week started I thought latest Chelsea Manager Andre Villas Boas was a bit of a pleb, but after his most recent outburst regarding several matters, I know he is.

In fact he well and truly belongs in Plebville, or better still, the insanity wing of Plebville State Penitentiary where Sheriff Rodney Marsh and deputy Francis Lee can keep a close eye on him.

Boas spoke about a few things in his interview for Portuguese radio station TSF, but lets just focus on the part that is to do with City.

"I refuse to build a team like City, I don't like the standards of their football. City is a very organised, efficient, well-balanced team. All they want right now is to be champions. There's an exact formula to be successful in Premier League, and that's what City is doing right now: attacking efficiency above all.

"They are an Italian team, they follow the Italian standards. If I saw them playing in Italy, I would say that's where they actually belong."

Is this guy for real, or is he just trying to make as many waves as possible before being tossed over the side of the ailing ship Chelsea FC by Abramovich, making himself look even more ridiculous in the process?

I think I'd be hard pressed to even find a United fan who thinks City haven't played good football this season.

But what standards are being referred to here? Boas mentioned being organised, efficient and being having the exact formula for success.

Now call me crazy but how is being organised, efficient and having the perfect formula for success a negative thing? Well, Andre clearly feels that's the case, as we can see from his team's performances this season. This may come as a bit of a surprise too, as he was once one of Jose Mourinho's coaches whilst at Chelsea. The 'Special One' isn't exactly known for his exciting and expansive football. His teams have always been based on a solid structure and organisation.

Of all the managers Chelsea have had whilst Abramovic has been there, Villas Boas undoubtedly has the worst record at this moment in time having only won 49% of his games.  Compare that to Hiddink (71%) who was also there for a short period of time and, you can see the difference in class.

If this was an attempt at diverting some attention from his own performance as manager at Chelsea, it hasn't worked. In fact, it's entirely the wrong team and manager to attack. Trying to belittle the team that's top of the league having scored more and conceded fewer goals than any other team, with a 100% home record probably wasn't the best move.

But one thing that hasn't been mentioned in the media is how this interview has also highlighted his poor man management skills.

When Balotelli ran over to hug Mancini in the technical area after scoring a goal, it was because of his affection for his manager. Then we hear reports of Chelsea players being ordered to celebrate with the manager if they score a goal to show how unified they all are.

You can't force that kind of celebration, you can't force someone to like you, it has to be earned. Mancini has earned it from both the players (well most of them) and the fans.

The situation Boas finds himself in isn't too dissimilar to the one Mancini faced when he first took over at City. A large squad, full of players on high wages, with some that didn't fit into the system that he wanted to play for whatever reason.

Several stories of discontent have emerged from more than one of Chelsea's old guard, just like the stories from the likes of Adebayor emanated from City because he was being left out.

Mancini had to make those tough decisions and weather a lot of criticism for it, but not once has it truly affected the performances on the pitch. City have continued to grow and improve due to Mancini's strength of character and ability to have players still perform well on the pitch. That constant improvement now sees them top of the Premier Leauge with 12 games to go.

What we have seen at Chelsea is a definite and drastic change in standards on the pitch and there is only one person who is to blame, Villas Boas. I've heard all the usual stuff about players under performing due to them not agreeing with the manager and that they have to take responsibility,  and I do agree with that to a certain extent, but who has created that situation? Villas Boas. Who is failing to successfully manage that situation? Villa Boas.

Mancini managed that situation and despite several players not being happy, the team continued to move forward due to his man management ability and the 'standards of football' he has implemented.

City fans have witnessed several decades of a certain type of excitement, never knowing how the team was going to perform in each game, whether we'd get a decent cup run or just avoid relegation. Villas Boas can have that if he wants, and in a small way, he's got it. I, on the other hand, quite like this more organised and stable version of excitement at the top of the league.




Twitter: @MikeWalshMCFC or @mcfcDSLeftFoot
Facebook: David Silva's Left Foot

ANIVERSARIANTES DO DIA

PEDRO HENRIQUE
KEKY ROSBERG
PEQUENA
LÍLIAN DE DEFONSO
MANUELA DE FLÁVIA DE MARDÔNIO
PRETINHA DE NÊGA
GRACINHA DE AVANIR

Polícia prende suspeitos de extração ilegal em MT e trator é apreendido

Três foram presos em flagrante após furtar madeira ilegal em Nova Maringá.
Além do trator, polícia apreendeu motosserra e cinco litros de gasolina.

Do G1 MT
 
 
Extração ilegal de madeira ocorreu em Nova Maringá (Foto: Assessoria/Polícia Civil)Extração ilegal de madeira ocorreu em Nova Maringá
(Foto: Assessoria/Polícia Civil)
Três homens foram presos em flagrante suspeitos de furtar e extrair madeira ilegal em uma fazenda localizada no município de Nova Maringá, a 392 quilômetros de Cuiabá. Os suspeitos, sendo um jovem de 19 anos e dois de 31 anos, foram presos de domingo (26) e vão responder por crimes de furto qualificado, extração ilegal de madeira e formação de quadrilha.
No meio da mata fechada, os policiais apreenderam ainda um trator com lâmina e guincho, uma motosserra e um tambor de cinco litros com gasolina. Conforme informações do delegado, Romildo Grota, a prisão ocorreu a tempo de impedir a devastação da fazenda com mais de dois mil hectares, já que os suspeitos tinham tirado apenas três toras de madeira.
As prisões foram feitas em cumprimento a ordem de serviço do inquérito policial em andamento desde setembro de 2011. A partir de investigações, a Polícia Civil detectou que toras de madeira vinham sendo furtadas desde o final do ano passado.
No dia 15 de fevereiro, quatro suspeitos foram presos pelo mesmo crime em São José do Rio Claro, a 325 quilômetros da capital. A última prisão foi na madrugada do dia 21 de fevereiro, quando os investigadores encontraram três suspeitos transportando 20 toras de madeira de uma fazenda de Nova Maringá.

Urso é resgatado após ser usado para treinar cães de caça na Ucrânia

'Potac' foi retirado do dono por autoridades do país.
Animal era mantido pelo dono em cativeiro de 4 m².

Do Globo Natureza, com informações da Reuters
 
Um urso-pardo conhecido como 'Potac' era mantido em cativeiro e usado para treinar cães de caça em Luhansk, na Ucrânia. Autoridades locais e organização de proteção animal agiram para confiscar o animal, que deverá ser devolvido à natureza em breve.
O Ministério de Ecologia e Recursos Naturais da Ucrânia anunciou nesta segunda-feira (27) a proibição do cativeiro em condições precárias de ursos-pardos.
Potac, um urso de 3 anos de idade, morde a jaula de usa grade em Luhansk, na Ucrânia. Uma organização de direitos dos animais e autoridades do país descobriram que o animal era usado pelo dono para treinar cães de caça. O urso foi apreendido e será solto. (Foto: Reuters/Mihai Vasile/Vier Pfoten)Potac, de 3 anos de idade, morde a grade da jaula na Ucrânia. (Foto: Reuters/Mihai Vasile/Vier Pfoten)

O fotógrafo Klaus Jost adora mergulhar na companhia de ferozes tubarões

Klaus Jost – BBC Brasil
O fotógrafo e engenheiro marítimo Klaus Jost mergulha há anos ao lado de tubarões, em várias partes do mundo, e vê os temidos animais como companheiros de trabalho.
"Ao todo, passei milhares de horas debaixo d'água. Sempre houve tubarões, mas nunca tive problemas com eles. Esses temidos habitantes dos oceanos não têm nada de comedores de homens e monstros agressivos. Na verdade, poucos dos 460 tipos de tubarão descobertos até agora representam uma ameaça para humanos", diz ele.
Desde 2001, Jost passou a se dedicar às fotografias de natureza e submarina. Seu objetivo é documentar espécies de tubarão ameaçadas de extinção e chamar atenção contra a caça dos animais.

Photos from Team Training Session

Photographer Laurie Fix sent us a link to her online gallery of photos from last week's US Eventing Team training session at Ilene Boorman's Bridle Creek Farm in Aiken.

Please follow this link to see the photos. You can contact Laurie at Laurieannfix@gmail.com if you are interested in purchasing prints.

ANIVERSARIANTES DO DIA

FÁTIMA DO AMPARO
LENA DO SÍTIO ANGICOS
OTÁVIO EMANUEL
ZEQUINHA DE ZÉ BATORÉ
MARINHEIRO
CHICA E EDIMUNDO
NENEN DE LURDES
ALANE DE VALDEMAR MACACO
DONA GERALDA
MARIA DE NITO
DODA DOS PICOLÉS
JOSÉ EDSON DE NEIDE

Lowcountry Dressage Part II

We had a good last day at Lowcountry Dressage:
  • Kymmy and Markie did their first Developing Horse test and won the class with 65%.
  • I showed Rembrandt in his first fourth level and he did great. We finished second on 66.5%.
  • Duvent was a real star today. I was so happy with him. He dud a great test in fourth level test 3 and we won with 73.4%!!!
Silva

Ode to Kisapmata Prints For Sale!


Ode to Kisapmata (2012)
Watercolor and digital
11 X 17 inches

Now available in prints. (Photo paper or Giclee)
Php 1,500.00 for 11 x 17 inches giclee print on archival paper
Please email contact@cjdesilva.com for the price and orders! Thank you!

***
This is my artwork for UP Cineastes’ Haute Auteur. They asked us to do an artwork with the theme Cinema/Philippine Cinema. I’ve been waiting for something like this because I’ve always loved film. (Indescribable passion, I guess. I may never be a film maker but I sure can appreciate good films.) And I found this as a great opportunity to share to everyone my ultimate, favorite film of all time - Mike De Leon’s Kisapmata. Para sa akin, pinanis ng Kisapmata ang film experience ko sa mga hollywood masterpieces, o miski pa ng French New Wave. ;) Personal na opinion ko lang naman. :) 


Lowcountry Dressage

We had great results at the first day of the Lowcountry Dressage show on Johns Island, SC. I rode Rosa , Duvent, and Rembrandt yesterday. Duvent did a nice test in fourth level test 2 and we finished second with 66.4%. Rembrandt did his best test so far!! We did 3rd level test 3 and he was fabulous and we won with 70.7%! Rosa Cha moved up to fourth level and was wonderful as usual and she kept her record clean. We won with 70%. So far Rosa has won every class she has showed in in 2012!

Today I am showing Duvent in fourth level again and Rembrandt in his very first fourth level!

-Silva

Congratulations Cynthia Pordon

Hidden Promise Sold!
Congratulations to Cynthia Pordon on her new and
wonderful horse Promise!
We wish her all the best and we are thrilled that
Promise will have such a great new home!

Manchester City v Blackburn Rovers: Post-match thoughts

Have you ever witnessed a more one sided game in all your life? I don't think I have in my reasonably short 27 years of it. For around 70 minutes of the game, City had about 86% of possession. It ended with 78% possession, 28 attempts on goal.

City barely had to get out of second gear as Blackburn came with the sole intention of limiting the number of goals City scored. Yakubu cut a lonely figure as the ball was often hoofed in his direction with either Kompany or Lescott waiting to take it back from him.

If there is one negative to take away from the game, it's that despite having 28 shots on goal, only 9 were actually on target. Mancini will no doubt be unhappy with this despite the overall performance. In tougher games, less than a 30% hit rate could cost  City.

The shots that City did have on target (apart from the goals) generally brought pretty good saves out of Paul Robinson, who is said to be reconsidering his international retirement. I'm not entirely sure why though, as he still wont be playing ahead of Joe Hart.

Robinson had to make a fine save very early in the game with barely a minute gone. Silva put through Johnson making a run on the wing who then whipped in a low cross which found. Balotelli. Mario's first time shot towards the bottom corner was parried away though.

Silva was causing all sorts of problems on the edge of the box, keeping the ball close to him, waiting for a teammate to make a run, and almost always finding them.

Zabaleta and Kolarov were chosen as the full-backs for this game and they both played admirably, with Aleks getting man of the match. Both provided the width that was required to get behind the Blackburn defence out wide and each put in a number of good crosses.

It was once again Silva who played the ball into space for one of the full-backs in the 30th minute, this time Kolarov. The cross was driven into low into the box and once again found Balotelli who had drifted into space between defenders. Mario struck the ball across the keeper who could only watch it fly past him into the back of the net.

Balotelli unveiled another message on his under armour, declaring his love for his girlfriend, Raffaella Fico. He had learnt his lesson though and only lifted the shirt high enough to see the message instead of pulling it over his head, avoiding an unnecessary booking.

Kompany nearly made it 2-0 6 minutes later when a corner came towards the near post. Vinnie peeled away from his marker, and in a move not dissimilar to Mancini's famous back-heeled goal during his playing days, clipped the ball towards goal. Once again, Robinson was equal to it and Yaya put the rebound wide of the goal.

City came close again seconds before half time. Balotelli hit a 40 yard pass with the outside of his right boot which Aguero had to chase. And despite having 2 defenders around him and receiving a push in the back, Aguero's tenacity got him to the ball before either of them. It was unlucky that his shot across goal went wide of the target.

Sergio made it 2-0 just 6 minutes into the 2nd half after another City corner. Robinson parried away the initial ball into the box, but it fell right in front of Aguero who fired it into the net.

Dzeko came on for Balotelli on 79 minutes and managed to get himself on the score sheet after only 2 minutes on the pitch. Kolarov again the provider after collecting the ball from substitute Pizarro, crossed the ball into the box and into the path of an oncoming Dzeko. His header powered low to the ground and beat Robinson with ease.

Joe Hart was required just the once in time added on. Yakubu hit a tame shot from outside the 18 yard box to mark Blackburn's only shot on target in 94 minutes of football. Hart easily collected it down at his left.

It has to be mentioned that Yaya was magnificent. With Blackburn rarely attacking, Yaya was able to pass the ball almost at will, completing 101 of his 103 passes. He hit several long range passes that found the target with pin-point accuracy, one of his outstanding qualities as a player. And when he did stride forward, Blackburn simply didn't know what to do. It is hoped that the injury that saw him limp off the pitch 5 minutes from the end isn't serious.

Balotelli also has a great game, showing fantastic attitude throughout. Pizarro looks like he's been with City for years, such is his quality of passing and ability to read the game as though he's looking at it from above. I'm certainly wanting to see more of him before the season ends as he looks a quality signing.

With Tevez returning to training, many fans will no doubt be pleased that Aguero, Balotelli and Dzeko are all back in scoring form and looking likely to keep Tevez out of contention of even an appearance on the bench. It wouldn't surprise me if after all that has happened Mancini isn't happy for the same reasons, if only behind closed doors.


Twitter: @MikeWalshMCFC or @mcfcDSLeftFoot
Facebook: David Silva's Left Foot

A Visit from Devoucoux


We were very honored that Jean-Michelle Devoucoux made the trip from France to visit us here in Aiken. Jean-Michelle is the founder and owner of the Devoucoux saddle company from Biarritz, France and is the backbone of the company that provide the world's finest saddles. Jean-Michelle not only is the manufacturer of Devoucoux saddles, but used to be a top event rider in France back in his day so he a special passion deep down inside for eventing.

Jean-Michelle spent the day specially fitting a couple of saddles to some of the four-star horses, including Neville Bardos. Neville's back muscles have changed with all the dressage work he has been doing, and Jean-Michelle made a few minor adjustments to make sure that Neville is able to jump and move with freedom and comfort.
Jean-Michelle also gave us all a demonstration on how to correctly fit a Devoucoux five point breastplate. Even though there are a lot of imitations on the market, Jean-Michelle was the inventor of the five point breastplate, which in my opinion is the only product out there that can keep saddles from slipping and sliding without cranking up the girth super tight.
Anyone in the Aiken or Ocala area who is interested in any of the Devoucoux saddles or tack should get in touch with Devoucoux's champion sales rep, Eric Leyssalle, 571-233-6606.

Anyone outside this region, get in touch with the US manager, David Attal, 201-522-5586.

To check out the entire range of Devoucoux products, visit www.us.devoucoux.com.

The Friday Clive




Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a fire?




POM 2012: no omelets without eggs

It was a great event and I consider the WRE map, one of my favourites in Portugal. I did some big mistakes but, most of all, I felt physically weak. My 2 weeks of training after the surgery weren't enough to do a decent performance but I enjoyed a lot my time in Viseu.

I hope that Daniel Hubmann doesn't mind my courses overlaying his tratrac's. It's great when top athletes show their performances to the general public, so we, weaker athletes, are able to learn with them (my course in red).

(In this newer blogger version, you're only able to check the maps if you download them.)





(photo by Gildo Silva)

The Hardest Thing To Do




Eager for Father Theodore's morning lesson, Conradus took his place in the circle with the others, and peace settled upon him. Conradus did not know that when Theodore had passed through the novitiate the novices had sat in rows facing their master at the front. He did not consider Theodore's reasoning in arranging the stools in a circle; even so, he was not insensible to the atmosphere of community in this room. Here was a place where people learned together, and everyone felt included.

The young monks and their novice master, all now gathered, sat without speakng in the circle - another innovation of Theodore's. Invariably late to almost everyting as a novice himself, his memories were of lessons begun and half missed: he used to miss the start because he was late, miss the next bit because he was overcome with bitter humiliation and self-rebuke, and miss most of the rest because he couldn't quite make sense of it, trying to imagine what the bits he had missed might have been.

So he initiated the practice of starting the time together in silence.

"In silence we enter the room, brothers. In silence we take a place in the circle - any place, not my place or your place, not the same place always, for place is nothing to be possessive about. We sit quietly then and take in where we are. Sit with your eyes open or shut, it matters not; but be aware. Know that being a monk is not about withdrawal but about community, and feel the community here. We listen to our brothers...see them...smell them...(that usually brought a laugh) and we stay open to what else we can notice. Restlessness? Weariness? Friendship? Peace? Every day is different in community, and we are made more sensitive to the differences because every day is the same."

1º Dia de Aula - 2012

É com alegria e satisfação que iniciamos mais um Ano Letivo. A Equipe Gestora deu as boas vindas aos Professores, Funcionários e Alunos frizando a importância da participação e apoio de todos para o bom funcionamento da Escola, formando assim a grande família Costa e Silva.
Sejam todos bem vindos!!







It's Lent

This morning John, Claire and I stumbled out the door and arrived at church for the 6:30 Ash Wednesday service.  I love the prayers of repentance, the ashes on my forehead.  I loved having the eucharist on a Wednesday morning. 


Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth:  Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, that we may remember that it is only by your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Amen.

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall remain.




My Lenten reading:




Simplifying The Soul, a lovely blend of practical ideas and meditations, found thanks to my dear friend Laura.
The Hardest Thing To Do, the next in the Hawk and the Dove series by Penelope Wilcock.  I was THRILLED to learn of this from Semicolon, but what I did not expect was that each chapter is a new day of Lent.  Perfectly timed.
The First Fruits of Prayer, by Frederica Mathewes-Green. From amazon.com: 

First Fruits of Prayer will bring readers of all denominational backgrounds into the prayer experience of first millennium Christianity through immersion in this fascinating text, a poetic hymn written in the eighth century. This extraordinarily beautiful work, still chanted by Eastern Christians every Lent, weaves together Old and New Testament scriptures with prayers of hope and repentance. It offers ancient ways of seeing Christ that will nevertheless feel new to most readers today.

Thursday Schedule for Bettina Hoy Clinic

Thursday Bettina Clinic

7:30 Jan
8:15 Jan
9:00 Boyd - Nev
9:45 Boyd - Otis
10:30 Alison
11:15 Kevin

12:00 LUNCH

12:45 Boyd - Thomas
1:30 Boyd - Remi
2:15 Emily
3:00 Erin

3:45 FINISH

Bettina Hoy Clinic Schedule for Wed. 2-22-12

Wednesday Bettina Hoy Clinic Schedule:

8:00 Jan
8:45 Jan
9:30 Boyd - Nev
10:15 Boyd - Otis
11:00 Kevin
11:45 Alison

1:30 Boyd - Thomas
2:15 Boyd -Remington
3:00 Sara G
3:45 Erin

Nasri: Flop or Not?

There seems to be a general consensus in media circles and amongst a section of City fans that Nasri has been a bit of a flop this season. There is no denying he hasn't set the world alight, but he was hardly in the running for World player of the year whilst at Arsenal either.

He has been criticised for going missing in games and not living up to the hype surrounding his £24m pound move to City in the summer. But has he really been that bad? We'll take a look at how he stacks up to other creative players from the 'usual' top clubs in the league.

First things first, who am I going to match him up against? I've chosen Silva, Mata, Modric,  Arteta, Kuyt and Nani. These are all creative midfield players who play for the Sky big 4 (Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, United) and the current media darling FC (Spurs). Of course Silva plays for the current league leaders.

I have tried to make sure each player plays a similar role and has played a decent number of games, although there are always going to be differences. Arteta and Modric generally play deeper than the others, while Nani usually used in wide areas. I had difficulty deciding Liverpool's player, Adam plays too deep, Downing is generally poor, so to be kind to Liverpool I chose Kuyt (no, honestly), who is an AM/FW. Nasri has played in at least 4 different positions though, AM/LCR and CM, and all players listed provide creative output for their teams.

One of the first things you will notice is that Nasri has had considerably less game time that the others (barring Kuyt). In fact he is the only one not to have actually appeared in 20 or more league games so far. The media would have you believe this is because he hasn't clicked at City and Mancini doesn't quite trust his ability to perform.


I beg to differ, David Silva was always going to the be the main man in the advanced midfield roles this season. Mancini knows Nasri's qualities having followed him whilst manager of Inter Milan, but he also has James Milner who can play in an advanced position who has different, yet equally important traits depending on the opposition. We have seen one or the other played on several occasions.

Lets not forget that Mancini also likes to tinker with the squad. Only 7 players in the entire squad have started 20 or more games so far in the league (now at the 25 game point). That leaves an average minimum of 4 places per match that are up for change.

Despite his obvious disadvantage in game time, his general stats don't look out of place alongside any of the other players.

All stats shown from here on (apart from reiterating goals and assists) are completed/successful averages per game (not attempted) in the Premier League.

Although defensive qualities aren't what creative players are measured by, even less so for more attacking players but they're part of the overall picture so we will have a look.


Unsurprisingly the players that play in the centre of midfield (Modric and Arteta) make more tackles than the players that play further forward. Silva, Kuyt and Nani are all fairly similar for tackles.

Of the more attacking 5 in general, Nasri is middle of the road overall, same number of tackles per game as Mata, more interceptions than Silva, Mata and Nani, but also the least number of clearances. Reading into the clearances a little more though, City have conceded the fewest number of chances of all teams in the league.

Now on to attacking stats. Over the past 3 seasons with Arsenal, Nasri has scored more than he has created (18 Goals, 8 Assists), with last season scoring an average of a goal every 3 league games. That has dropped to just under a goal every 5 (from appearances only)



If you look at the average goal/minutes over the last 3 years though, he was scoring every 370.8 minutes anyway. Compare that to 417.7 minutes per goal in his first season at City, it isn't particularly concerning. If I'm honest though, he could shoot a little more often when the opportunity presents itself.

One area where Nasri matches up very well is the dispossession and turnover stats. He actually loses the ball fewer times (2.6) per match than Silva (2.9), Mata (3.3), Modric (3.6), and Nani (4.1). It's no secret that his close control, ability to wriggle out of trouble and skip away from challenges has been one of his most prominent qualities throughout his career.

Considering this quality though, he rarely dribbles with the ball, and has the 2nd lowest average of the players compared.

The real bread and butter for any midfield player, whether attacking or not, is the ability to pass the ball effectively. The number of passes a player makes will partly depend on their position and the way the team plays. The more central a player is in midfield, the more touches of the ball they are likely to get and the more passes they are likely to make.


There are no real surprises when you look at the average number of passes per game each player makes. Arteta and Modric are well ahead of the others with them playing a more central role on the pitch. Admittedly, Arteta's 80.8 completed passes per game at a success rate of 90.6% is pretty impressive.

However, Nasri has actually got the highest success rate here with a fantastic 92.5% of his passes finding their intended recipient. Also bare in mind that he makes the same number of through balls as Mata and Modric and only marginally fewer than Silva it really is outstanding.

Nasri's key passes are also only behind Silva and Mata so he is creating a decent number of chances for others to score, and this is comparable with his assists.

Despite having less game time than any other, Nasri is only just behind Mata who has been on the pitch the equivalent of an extra 6 games. You could then argue that 4 of those assists came in City's 5-1 thrashing of Spurs (Nasri's debut), but even if you take those out he still only has 1 fewer than Modric who has had more time on the pitch than anyone else being compared here. Looking back at the key passes, it's not as though he isn't creating the chances for his team either.

At the end of the day, just as a goal is a goal, an assist is an assist and they all count for something, whether it be points or simply goal difference.

When it comes to the City squad, Nasri is 2nd in the assists rankings. Aguero, Milner and Richards are behind him with 5 each.

As I stated at the beginning of the article, Nasri hasn't been a world-beater this season, but looking at the figures I don't think we can really call him a flop. The fact I had to use Dirk Kuyt from Liverpool suggests something in itself about flops in the attacking mid department, not to mention certain people masquerading as strikers in the top half of the table.

A single season isn't long enough to judge whether a player is a flop or not. Even if a player has experience of the league, it doesn't neccessarily mean they will hit the ground running. Take a look at said strikers I hinted at earlier, we all know who they are, and Samir hasn't been any where near as bad as they have been in their positions.

There's still 13 games to play in the league, and who knows what will happen between now and then. If Nasri scores or assists the goal that wins City the league title will anyone really care whether he hasn't been quite as good as Silva? Let's face it, there aren't many who are!

Have something to say on this article? Feel free to leave a comment below or use one of the following links.


Twitter: @MikeWalshMCFC or @mcfcDSLeftFoot
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Longside Moss to Smallden Clough Impromptu walk.

Just a short walk that I decided on at the last second in the Peak District. Not the one originally planned at the West end of Woodhead Pass which became a non-event (okay, I didn't have enough change for the car park at Torside). So I headed back up the A628 to the east end of Woodhead Pass.


Round Hill above Longside Moss.
  



I started at Salter's Brook Bridge (OS SE 136 001), over the stile next to the car park and headed up through Longside Moor. I made a diversion to one of the pillars on the map, which I assume are survey pillars for the Woodhead Tunnel (Can someone clarify?) on Round hill.



One of the pillars.



From the pillar I headed to one of the tunnel air shafts. The terrain up here can be quite boggy in places, but due to the icy weather there was little risk of an early bath. In warmer winter weather it could be a different story. The air shaft I went to is also surrounded by a lot of mixed size abandoned stones on the surrounding slopes so care is needed here.


A tunnel air shaft with standard issue sheep.


From here a headed up Smallden Clough head (a bit of a scramble in places) and met up with the track that heads over Smallden Clough. This then cuts across Bagshaw ridge and meets up with a Bridleway which is actually part of the Barnsley Boundary Walk.




The track on Smallden Clough.

The Bridleway is a pleasant short walk which leads back up to the A628 with some nice views back down the valley.




A view back to Upper Windleden Reservoir.

Once back up to the A628 a quick detour via Lady Cross brought me to the Longdendale Trail and back to Salter's Brook Bridge. While walking I had heard what sounded like a helicopter flying around. When I returned to the bridge I could see two helicopters ferrying stones up on the tops (possibly Bleaklow and the Pennine Way?) for, I assume, the continued path maintenance being carried out. Maybe someone can expand on this?




One helicopter with the other on the horizon.

It's surprising the things you can see on a mornings walk. But you have to be out there to see it!