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Thursday, April 26, 2018

ANZAC: A Salute to Soldiers

Yesterday was the centennial of the first ANZAC day, or actually, the event that ANZAC day commemorates.  

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served"

Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during World War I, the 25 April being the day they entered the battle. Anzac Day is also observed in the Cook Islands, Niue, Pitcairn Islands, and Tonga, and previously was a national holiday in Papua New Guinea and Samoa.

Cristian Toro

Eric Belanger

Iraklis Kozas  Ηρακλης Κοζας

Kevin Selby

Nick Jonas and the Rock
The opportunity affords us a chance to commemorate all

those who sacrifice their lives in service.  

Hamming it UP

Gregor Schlierenzauer,
Guigo Kiera
Humbert Clotet
Iago Botelho
James Guardino,
James Joseph
James Rothschild
 Jamie Roche
Jan Matura
Jason Morgan

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The NFL Draft: Water Cooler Edition

Draft Day, the mediocre 2014 film starring Jennifer Garner and Kevin Costner, opened the world of the American NFL draft to the masses.  The 2018 National Football League Draft, held tomorrow through Saturday (April 26 to 28) will be the 83rd annual meeting of National Football League (NFL) franchises to select newly eligible players for the 2018 NFL season. Coverage is provided on Thursday and Friday evenings, and Saturday morning.  

For most of those 83 years, the NFL Draft was held in New York City, from the 1960s, when the NFL began to "be" something, until 2015.  The 2016 draft was held in downtown Chicago, and the 2017 version returned to the place of the first NFL draft in 1936, Philadelphia.  The 2018 draft will be held, for the first time, in a Football stadium, the A T & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This is the normal home of the Dallas Cowboys, and of the Cotton Bowl.   

Such a site will definitely add to the public spectacle of the event, while possibly diminishing the comfort of the participants, and definitely curtailing some of the behind the scenes wheeling and dealing.  Gamesmanship and trading is much easier when centered around luxury hotels in major downtown centers, not so easy in a stadium, where almost every "chance encounter" will be documented by the news media and seen by everyone else.   

The winless Cleveland Browns, who went 0 and 16 in last year's season, pick number one in the first round of the draft.  Because of past wheeling and dealing, they also pick fourth in the first round.  It is expected that they might be able to choose players to turn their team around in the coming season.  The New York Giants pick second, and the New York Jets pick third in the first round, with the Denver Broncos picking fifth.  In all, there are seven rounds comprising 256 picks, with the last man picked earning the dubious distinction of being "Mr. Irrelevant."  

There are 32 picks in each of the first two rounds.  Theoretically, each team would receive seven or eight picks, but because of trading, this year Green Bay is eligible for 12 picks, and five teams will receive only 6 a piece.  Three teams have no first round picks, the Houston Texans, the Chiefs and the Rams. 

Several hundred players will be seeking a playing position in the NFL.  In order to be eligible to enter the draft, players must have graduated from high school at least three years before. Almost all of the players are drafted out of an American college, although sometimes players are drafted from other leagues like the Arena Football League, the Canadian or German Leagues, or occasionally an Aussie kicker.   

The trick is not to show too much interest in a  particular player, so as not have to use an earlier pick to prevent that player from being picked up by another team.   Top names this draft should we known to readers of this space.  They  include Saquon Barkley, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, and Bradley Chubb.  This should be an exciting couple of days. 


Francesco della Vedova
Gaz Beadle
Elbio Bonsaglio
Felix Loch
Gregor Traber
Nick Willis
Bruno Pacheco
Benjamin Poirier