Pānis et Circēnsēs

<rant>

If you are a soccer fan, you have heard about the European Super League. If you are a sports fan, you also have heard about the European Super League. Hell, even if you don’t care about neither soccer, nor sports you most likely have heard about the European Super League.

And yes, I consider myself a soccer fan. Not big one. Armchair fan. But fan, nevertheless. And the whole kerfuffle around ESL was something that entertained me at the time it was announced. And it entertains me even now. Hence the post 🙂

The story, if you listen to the media, or read the social networks, or hear it from those vocal fans that expressed their views quite clear, is that the bad rich owners of 12 European soccer clubs, decided to steal (or kill, depending on who you ask) the game from its rightful owners, and use it to become richer, and bad-er. And then richer, and richer. And all that at the expense of the “real” game, and the “real” fans who would be used as cash cows and just used and abused… And the common people rose against the bad riches, and won, bringing the game back to where it belongs. Back to the people.

Or if you listen to UEFA, the story evolves around 12 treacherous snakes who stabbed the great stewards of the game (that UEFA are) in the back, and went to be richer and bad-er snakes.

Or if you listen to the local countries’ story, it was all about 12 evil money grabbers who wanted to syphon to goods of the local leagues without leaving anything back. Basically to become richer and bad-er.

The story of the clubs is similar, but with a different twist – yes, they wanted more money for sure, but it is only because they are facing extinction and the money they make today are not enough for their survival in the long run. So for them, it is about the money indeed, but money for survival.

And the third point of view is about the soccer liberators – the fans. They saved this beautiful game from the perils and indignation of greed. They saved the “Cold wet windy night at Stoke City” (google it, if you don’t know what it means) and didn’t let soccer become just another game ruled by money… oh, wait…

I mean, seriously?

If there is a sport that is ruled by money, it IS soccer. Just look at the games’ calendar – matches are only added to it, not removed. Do you think it is because the players really, I mean really, want to play Wednesday-Saturday cycle? Does those liberators of the “real game” know what is it for a professional athlete to recover from such grueling schedule? Of course they will recover, they receive millions, and millions. It is scientifically known for years that the more money you make, the faster your body recovers from the stress of professional sports. Or not. Just for the last 4 years, we have seen the “National League” being created (as if there aren’t enough of those boring games), and now the UCL adds more games to its schedule. On top of the domestic leagues and cups. On top of the so-called Clubs World Cup. And hey, why not stage a World Club in the least hospitable place in the world for outdoor activities, and then just kill all club soccer schedules just because we realized that it actually is better if games are not played at 40 degrees Celsius (or more)? And we are doing this all for the sake of the beautiful game, the true football. For nothing else.

The “real football”, if it every existed, died the day the Champions League was created. No longer those pesky Eastern European (mainly) teams would be allowed to get in the mix with the royalty of the great soccer teams of the elite. Who needs to watch them, right?

Please, someone from those protesting fans explain to me, how the Champions League is different from the Super League in terms of making the rich – richer and poor – poorer. It alludes me.

But Kosta, the money from the Champions League are spread across the teams that participate, even at the lower rounds, I will hear you say. And guess what it creates? It creates local monsters that dominate local leagues, only to go 1-2 rounds in the UCL to receive more money to dominate the local league again.

Not to mention the money UCL generates for UEFA, which then go to domestic federations creating exactly the organizations that can never be reformed because it will stop the flow of the money.

But Kosta, you will say, the _small_ teams still have a shot at the UCL, in the Super League there wouldn’t have been no “small” teams. And for that, I would encourage you to visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UEFA_Champions_League (and the linked pages from there) and see for yourself which are the teams that reach the quarterfinals and up, year after year since 1992. And check the same before 1992. Check if Steaua ever beat Barca in a final after 1992. Check if Crvena Zvezda ever won it after 1992.

Money. Follow the money… It is always about the money. The earlier fans admit that to themselves, the quicker they will understand how the modern world of soccer works. And they might finally see how they were used as pawns in UEFA’s fight for relevancy and survival against the powers of normalcy. Cause that’s exactly that, the “true football” is no more.

And before I continue, let me address the “world” part of soccer. Cause soccer doesn’t only exist only in Europe. And I am not knowledge enough to say for sure, but _it seems to me_ that it is with the introduction of UCL that the South American soccer bleed into Europe became incontrollable. It is with UCL that African soccer’s bleeding into Europe exacerbated. I don’t know, it just seems to me.

I, for once, wanted to see _some_ change in the way soccer is governed. _Some_ change (decrease) of the number of games throughout an year. _Some_ change in the way a sugar daddy can buy a club, pour money into it and win everything (FFP was supposed to addressed that and failed miserably). And the Super League offered this particular change – it would take power off UEFA. It would take power off the sugar daddies in the European soccer. It had the chance to set a _more level_ playing fields for the teams participating in it, which would have inevitably lead to the same in the teams that are not part of it. It had the chance to create a sustainable business model for soccer clubs so they are not one step from bankruptcy (or seek a sugar daddy) if they want to be successful.

And to everyone who protests for the “clean” game, and for 50%+1 ownership of fans, let me say the ugly truth in no uncertain terms – there is no fan out there who desires anything but success for their club, and the way every single on of them sees success being achieved is by pouring money (oh, that word again) into a club, with expecting nothing in return. And that’s what sugar daddy club owners do.

Look at Newcastle fans and their “love” for the club’s owner, despite the man pouring millions of pounds into it. As if the said club would have even been a viable member of the Premier League without him.
Look at Arsenal fans protesting their club’s ownership and Wenger (back at the time) – while missing the point that their clubs is one of the most well organized and the only reason they are not having “success” is because they are playing against teams not following normal business rules. So the fans protest, and want owners that do not follow normal business rules. Oh, the irony.
You haven’t seen Chelsea fans protesting against their owner did you? Yeah, sure, they staged their “protests” against the Super League participation, but against the owner who actually signed them up for it? No, sir, no way. He might take his toys and leave.
You haven’t seen Man City fans protesting, did you?

It is the ultimate irony that the biggest protesters are fans of clubs who are well ran businesses who will endure and somewhat endure against the clubs that are simply money throwing pits. And whomever thinks (or insists) that clubs are “soccer institutions” and not “businesses”, I would tell them to talk with the fans of the bankrupted “soccer institutions” to see what their opinion would be to have proper businessmen as owners…

This one became disjointed and incoherent text, just like a proper rant would be 🙂 Long time ago, romans gave everyone bread and circuses so the rulership endures and the people are content. Today, we have bread but we long for entertainment. And everyone who vies for public’s attention is ready to give us as much entertainment as they can. The whole story of ESL is the sad and unfulfilled drama that could have lasted years, and years of court battles, disaster PR and protests. And yet, it ended with a whimper. And the only thing that remains for me is to just write this rant, and forget about it. On to the next circus 🙂

</rant>

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Weird (Song of the day: Arch Enemy: Eagle Fly Free)

I find it weird, that I still associate my thinking with lyrics like in this song, yet I am (sort of) high ranking manager i.e. part of system… And yeah, the song (and lyrics) are cheesy, I know 😀

When I was born the seed was sown
I will not obey, my life is my own
Battle rules, which do enslave me
Exposed lies that enrage me

I don’t believe in heaven
I don’t believe in hell
Never joined the herd, could not adjust well
Slave, master, it’s not for me
I chose my own path, set my self free

I, I go my own way
I swim against the stream
Forever I will fight the powers that be

I, I go my own way
I swim against the stream
Forever I will fight the powers that be
The eagle flies alone

Reject the system
That dictates the norm
This world is full of lies and deceit

I ask my own betrayal
Cut so deep, suffered defeat
Only to rise again

I, I go my own way
I swim against the stream
Forever I will fight the powers that be

I, I go my own way
I swim against the stream
Forever I will fight the powers that be
The eagle flies alone

ALONE!

I, I go my own way

I swim against the stream
Forever I will fight the powers that be

I, I go my own way
I swim against the stream
Forever I will fight the powers that be
The eagle flies alone

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The mandatory start-of-the-year post

So, here I am back from the wilderness, writing to wrap up 2019, and start 2020. Let’s see…

2019 was, again and just like 2018, a good year. Still alive, still relatively healthy, still in love with my wife, and still with great kids (who by now are starting to give me an idea how was I when I was growing up :)). Some bonuses here including my mom and dad, and brother being good and healthy.

Traveled (not as much as in 2018), worked. Played (tennis, but not much), ran. The usual things.

I had some challenging goals for 2019, so let’s see:

Starting with the books. Slowly getting in shape, reading more and more:

Looks good. I also found out that on some occasions, Audible i.e. audio books, work for me too. If the narrator is good, that is. And the best book I “read” this year came in the form of audiobook, narrated by the author, and is simply fantastic. Principles.

The running goals were hard. And yet – nailed them 🙂

  • Run a total of 1200 km by end of 2019 – ran 1300 🙂
  • Run a half-marathon every month during 2019 – did it. That June one was tough
  • Marathon PR at Chicago – check . Closer to what I want, but still a lot of room for improvement

2020 is starting. As I have been reading about OKRs lately, I will set some of those for 2020. I have quite a few things that I need to do – read more, train more, work more (I have quite of knowledge to catch up with), and most importantly find ways to be a better father. Striving to be a better husband is a must too (yes honey, of course honey :)) So, plenty to do. Between the daily grind.

2020, here I come 🙂

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I am above

This song just blows me away. The whole combination of the lyrics, the music, and the clip just makes it into so much explosive cocktail. And I don’t even like In Flames that much these days. To see the kind-of-bad guy from Mr. Robot, his facial expressions, just so much match the song ethos… Just…

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2018, recap

All in all, 2018 was good year. Even if it started terribly. Actually, if I had to do this recap in April/May, I would have said that it was terrible year. And yet here I am, and the year turned out to be one of the better years in my life 😉 As the old saying goes, do not judge the day by the morning… or whatever it says 🙂

I had been conservative in my goal setting for the year so I had only couple hard goals – read 10 books (after 2 years of very low reading numbers), and run 1000 km (after 3 years of being close to this number). Both completed:

As life turned out, I actually (practically, if not formally) achieved a goal I set myself more than 10 years ago that I already gave up achieving (even if I continued with my efforts to it). The little ironies in life.

Finished Berlin marathon. One of my best experiences in life:

Not with the speed I wanted and trained for (maintained it until 25th km), but hey, when your body tells you to slow down, you do that. At the end of the day, the body and I will co-exist for (hopefully) a bit more time, and have the opportunity to finish many more marathons. Which brings us to the next lifetime goal – finish all 6 big marathons. 2019 Chicago marathon is next.

The family I have remains strong, healthy and great. Long may it continue. I lost my grandma. I will miss her. I miss her. and this is how life goes 🙁

And here we are at the end of the year 🙂 Onwards and upwards to 2019…

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Дали

Дали да скоча от балкона,
Дали ще мога да летя?
Дали да плюя на закона
(Нютонов) И да сбъдна таз мечта?

Дали пък няма да се сплескам,
И да взема да умра?
Чашата си пълна да разплискам,
сметката да си платя.

Дали да дръпна спусък,
Да си пусна палавник-куршум?
И кой ще оцелее в този сблъсък,
Желязото или скъпоценният ми ум?

Дали с въже около врата
Да открия красотата да висиш?
Да погледна на света
Отгоре, с весело изцъклени очи.

Дали мечтите да вградя във кула,
Да я изградя насред нощта?
И там под черно-бяло було
Невяста да ми е Смъртта.

Дали от мъка да препия?
Дали Паметта си със забрава да залея?
Дали от мъка самотен да изгния?
Дали от мъка, за по-весело да поживея?!

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Careless, Reckless, Using Excessive Force

And as I am in the mood, let me post something else. Again in English. I type faster in English 🙂 In my favorite topic – soccer.

So yesterday, there was a game between teams that are not so dear to me. One of them, playing in red, being the mortal enemy and all other soccer cliches for my favorite team and the other, having the luck of being managed by the most annoying soccer manager ever. So I didn’t watch the game. Just watched some highlights as I usually do when I don’t care who wins or loses but still think the play itself will be and worth the 5-10 minutes of watching.

And then it started – first it was the so called commentators on the telly, then it was my FB friends and then the English soccer media. All of them with the endless narrative of “this player was shown an unjust red card”. For this challenge:

nani

So I thought. Let’s read the rules of the game. And I did: http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/afdeveloping/refereeing/law_12_fouls_misconduct_en_47379.pdf:

Reckless” means that the player has acted with complete disregard of the danger to, or consequences for, his opponent: a player who plays in a reckless manner shall be cautioned
Using excessive force” means that the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent: a player who uses excessive force shall be sent off

Look at the picture (or just find a video in the net). Read the two lines above. It is that simple.

The problem with the two lines above is not that they are wrong. The problem with the above two lines is that soccer referees are not following them consistently. The rest is media and fan talk. But please – before talking, read the rules. Reading shall set you free.

PS. In the meantime, Nigel De Jong sues Nani for copyright infringement.

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Exclusive: End of the world approaching – Yahoo! employees required to work in the office

It has been a while since I posted here. And here is a post in English 🙂

So there has been great disturbance in the force recently. Or so they say. The sith lord(ess) of Yahoo!, Darth(ess) Marissa issued a decree that hereby orders her subjects that they work from their Yahoo! office and no from the cozy location of their homes. In short, the end of the world is approaching.

I mean, really???

Reading the tech press, FB blog posts, even a random post in Internet that triggered my deeper thinking on the topic and eventual posting here, you would believe that that the current Yahoo! CEO is the devil in disguise who bestows some hellish practices on her noble subjects.

I mean, really???

I guess I am old fashioned. Both in my managerial and regular-life thinking, but I can help but wonder, when did working from home became so important? When did working in the office became evil? But most importantly, when did we, the outsiders, became so self assured and so self important to cast (and shout loudly) our views upon those “in the know”? When?

Conventional wisdom… Entitlement… Self importance… Modern media… Memes…

There we have a CEO of a company in deep turmoil just less than an year ago. A company that has been going down since it heydays, more than 10 years ago. Imagine that. Going down for ~ 10 years. Now imagine that you are hired to turn around the trend. To make a company, still huge, that has been “the loser” for some odd 10 years, join the exclusive winners club. Are you going to do some bold decisions? Do you think bold decisions are needed?

And then this huge outcry for something so small. So logical. So boring should I say. Both – the decision and the outcry 🙂

When you are steadying the ship, you are supposed to start with the sailors, aren’t you? I mean, the ship is just a wood. It goes where sailors take it. So I would just guess. A little guess. That having the sailors around the captain’s deck and ON THE SHIP will actually help. You know, talking to them. Have them talking to each other. Having them knowing each other. Rough them up a bit…

It doesn’t *seem* to have anything with productivity, creativity and any other buzz words one must think of. It *seems* related to the old fashioned steadying the ship… And hell, Yahoo!’s ship surely needs quite steadying.

So here I am writing my first post in my blog for a while on a topic that seems so unimportant that it is pretty funny. But yet fascinating for me. So I thought of writing something 🙂

Anyway, my point – I believe in giving people the chance to do their own mistakes. Marissa Mayer is the one accountable for Yahoo!’s fate and if she thinks that this decision is best for the company – so be it. No one from us, the outsiders, know the details why this decision was made. And the trick is always in the details and the specifics. For any negative of her decision, there can be a positive. But they mean nothing without the details and the context. So let’s just relax and watch the show. Unless we own (I don’t :)) Yahoo! stock. But if this is the case, I guess we already hate Jerry Yang for not selling to Microsoft anyway 🙂

PS. And here is what, according to Quora, Yahoo! employes think about the WFH ban. Not a big deal but still interesting data point.

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Чудя се

Да взема пак да посписвам по някоя друга глупост тука… Ама ме мързиии…

Нищо де – ще пробвам пак. От утре 🙂

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New Year ;)

Soooo, let’s see:

  1. 2010:
    • Stay Alive – check ()
    • Stay (relatively) healthy – check ()
    • Stay sane – check (). That was tough though
    • Love thy wife – check ()
    • Love thy kids – check ()
    • Work – check ()
    • Have fun – check ()
  2. 2011
    • Stay Alive – really, make sure to do that 🙂
    • Stay (relatively) healthy
    • Stay sane – really important. For whatever reason insane people are not well received in the society 🙂
    • Love thy wife – Ani, I love you 🙂
    • Love thy kids – what’s not to love about them 🙂
    • Work – probably also need to join, Workaholics Anonymous
    • Have fun – a must do 🙂

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Kosta Superstar ;)

След като не успях да го източа това филмче мислех, че е загубено. Но нищо в нета не се губи. Кой го ъплоаднал в YouTube нямам и идея, ама какво пък. Ей ме как хубаво говоря:

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Travel тук, travel там

Интересно нещо е житейската ирония. След като се подготвих да пътувам с кола от София до Щутгарт, отпечатах 4 маршута на влака от Виена до Щутгарт, най-накрая като пич си прелетях разстоянието София-Виена-Щутгарт по норматив.
Не мога да се оплача от тоя подарък на съдбата, даже напротив – мога да и кажа едно голямо благодаря.

А иначе, вижда се че няма полети из Европа. В София, летището празно. В Щутгарт също – кьорав човек нямаше, нямаше самолети по пистите. То май и само нашия полет беше кацнал в период от един час. Само във Виена си беше пълно с народ и самолети…

Еееей – това волканите голяма работа 🙂

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Favourite Quotes

The best ever:
——————————-
Ние, можещите, водени от незнаещите,
вършим невъзможното за кефа на неблагодарните.
И сме направили толкова много с толкова малко,
за толкова дълго време,
че вече сме квалифицирани да правим всичко от нищо.

Костантин Иречек
——————————-

The one I stumbled upon 5 minutes ago:
—————
“…one of my favorite psychology papers: ‘How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments’ by Justin Kruger and David Dunning. They noted that people who are incompetent suffer a dual burden: not only are they incompetent, but they may also be too incompetent to assay their own incompetence, because the skills which underlie an ability to make a correct judgment are the same as the skills required to recognize a correct judgment.”

In other words, ignorant and incompetent people are not only unable to recognize true skill in others, they also have an inflated idea of their own ability – because they have no way of knowing that they don’t know better!

From “Tomkins on Torres decision

Adding later: Wow, this is actually serious indeed – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect 🙂
————————

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Честит 3ти Март с малко линкове

Ето няколко линка, които заслужават малко внимание:

No more Theater of Tragedy. Жалко. Хубава група бяха.
България търси нещо, ама никой не знае какво. Що годе местен, справедлив и реалистичен коменар за поредната реалити боза, която няма да гледам, но с удоволствие ще следя като статии в нета. Така де – по-малко време да губя с глупости.
Ако някой все още мисли, че световния футбол се управлява правилно, ето тук можете да прочетете какви глупости “бил” обмислял Блатер. Слагам кавичките, щото статията е в любимия журналистически стил “стринката на лилинчо има една позната, та гаждето на брадовчедка й казал…”. Ама като го знам Блатер що за стока е 🙂
Валери Найденов и ода за зубренето. Уви – прав е човека. Освен това стила на статията rulеz.
Хайде вече стига хейт за Джон Тери призовава Мартин Самуел. Също прав. Аз само не разбирам как този остров на добродетелта наречен Албион може да роди такъв архизлодей като Тери.
И една доста сериозна статия за това как във всяка една организация дреме и расте един малък WTF. който послестава един голям WTF. И как всъщност той е там за наше добро. Да бе. Наистина 🙂

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