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2018 World Cup update

So the field is finally set for the World Cup as Peru beat New Zealand and Australia beat Honduras in the intra-confederation playoffs. This year there are two teams that are appearing for the first time like Iceland and Panama as well as other that haven’t been in a while Egypt hasn’t made it since 1990 and Peru will be going for the first time in 36 years. It is the first time three Nordic countries (Iceland, Sweden and Denmark) and four Arab nations (Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco) have qualified  for the World Cup. Best of luck to all these teams as they make their way to Russia this upcoming summer.

Now on the other side we have a bunch of teams who failed to qualify. Over on Sports Illustrated and Deadspin there is a report about the US working on creating some sort of World Cup type event for themselves to participate in next summer as they will not be going to the real World Cup in Russia. There are a bunch of team that aren’t taking the trip to Russia as well like Italy, the Netherlands, Ghana, and even Chile. So there would be other teams that might want to come play but, it seems unlikely that this would last very long as hopefully these team will make it in 2022 and if that doesn’t happen in 2026 the World Cup expands from 32 teams to 48 teams so the likelihood of these nations missing will drop in a few years with all regions getting a boost in how many slots they will have I mean the Oceania Football Confederation will get a spot for themselves instead of the .5 slot they currently have. There will also be a six team playoff to decide the final two slots for the World Cup of the all the Confederations not Europe and an extra team from the confederation of the Host nation. This expansion sounds great and it will only be a few years away but it will be one of the most important things that happens to the world of football/soccer

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Are You Afraid of the Dark? movie

This has to be one of the coolest news about an upcoming movie that I’ve read in a while. Now growing up I watched a fair share of this show it originally aired in the 90s on Nickelodeon and YTV in Canada. It was a part of SNICK and I really enjoyed the show, and some of the episodes still hold up after two decades. Now according to The Hollywood Reporter the writer of It, Gary Dauberman, will be tackling this. In every episode of the show The Midnight Society, a group of teenaged friends,  met and one of them told a scary story. Some characters appeared in multiple stories like Sardo and Dr. Vink and there were a couple of multi part episodes. It would be wonderful if this films featured Gary and Tucker’s kids running a new Midnight Society, featuring an appearance of Ross Hull and Daniel DeSanto. I hope that this could eventually turn into a several film series with different stories being told, perhaps with different directors and writers tackling each new film

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College Basketball Season begins

Well, this came out of the blue once again it is time for college basketball. Sure most people don’t really care about this until March with that little tournament this year ending in San Antonio, Texas at the Alamodome on April 2, Easter Monday.  As the year begin we are heading into several early season tournaments taking place in many exotic locals. One of the biggest games, so far this season, is tonight as the top two teams Michigan State and Duke will face off in the Champions Classic from Chicago which should have some huge impact in the upcoming rankings. It seems pointless to try to do prediction for all 32 or so different conferences since most would be pulled from thin air. Who follows a school like Stetson, Robert Morris or IUPUI unless you went there or live near the school. On top of this there are over 30 games left in the regular season before any Championships are given out.

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Veterans/Remembrance Day and Martinmas

It is apropos that the feast for one of the Patron Saints for Soldiers falls on 11 November, better know to those as Remembrance Day or as Veterans Day. That saint is Martin of Tours who was a Roman soldier who as the famed story goes cut his cloak in two and gave it to a beggar in the middle of winter, here the story diverges as in one account Martin had a dream that night of Jesus wearing the half cloak and another has the cloak being miraculously restored. After he was a solider Martin became a monk and eventually became the Bishop of Tours. The feast of St. Martin is bigger in Europe than in America. This is also the day that at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month of the year 1918, an armistice was signed which ended the “war to end all wars.” (WWI).  Let us all keep in our mind this week all those who served and all those that have fallen.

We Shall Keep the Faith by Moina Michael

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

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More Star Wars and Disney news

Well it was announced yesterday that Rian Johnson is going to be creating an all-new trilogy not focusing on the Skywalker family, according to the press release “Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.” This sound pretty cool and it seems like these could be how the new films after Episode IX comes out in 2019 and the rumored third solo film arrives in 2020. With a new trilogy perhaps will we be getting more Star War Stories as well. This seems great as was the announcement from Disney CEO Bob Iger that “a live-action “Star Wars” TV series to air on its entertainment streaming service that is expected to launch by the end of 2019.” Could this be the previous attempted television series Underworld set between III and IV with some focus on the Boba Fett from the cancelled video game 1313 or something very different. With Rebels set between III and IV, but not really dealing with the underworld and bounty hunters and a solo film rumored to be focusing on Boba Fett would either of these be great things to explore on television as well. This live action series will be on the Disney streaming service which will be ‘substantially’ less than Netflix and the service will be coming out in the second half of 2019. Now if we could also get some word on what Dave Filoni and Lucasfilm Animation is working on after Rebels end.

 

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Paris Climate Agreement

News has come out that Syria has recently signed on to the Paris Agreement making the US the only nation in the world not a part of this agreement. Sure currently they are a part as they signed on back in 2015 and the Agreement went into effect roughly a year ago in November 2016, but Trump wants out for some reason but ironically the US can’t get out of the agreement until 2020 specifically the day after the Presidential Election on 3 November. 14 states as well as Puerto Rico have joined together in the US Climate Alliance, nine more states and DC have pledged their support to the Paris Agreement  and five other states have greenhouse gas reduction laws on the books that are around what the Paris Agreement limits are. Added up this is a bit more than half of the 50 states that have signed on in some form to the agreement. I’m not sure if this late addition to the agreement which basically means the whole world, except for half of the US, is in agreement that we need to protect our planet.  Will this position change with the support of the rest of the world or whenever his term is over? Since it seems like there is overwhelming support behind the idea that Climate Change is a real thing and something needs to be done about it.

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Ubi Primum

Ubi Primum is an Apostolic Constitution from Pope Leo XIII. Now, Apostolic Constitutions are the highest form of a Papal Decree, the Encyclical is a step down followed by Exhortations and Letters.  We have looked at many an Encyclical here and a couple Constitutions from Vatican II. This one focuses on the Laws, Rights and privileges of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary. Now this is some sixteen paragraphs long.

It begins with a reminder of what the Rosary is and noting that Popes have published many Encyclicals about the Rosary over the year including Diutirni Temporis, published roughly a month ago which said that this Apostolic Constitution would be coming out. This document continues with various rules and regulations of how Confraternities should be formed and what they should do. The basic rules are that members of a confraternity should have their names written in the register of the confraternity and, if possible, go to Confession and Communion and say the Rosary on the day they are enrolled; possess a blessed rosary; pray the Rosary every day or at least once a week; and whenever possible, go to Confession and Communion on the first Sunday of every month and take part in the Rosary processions. This also includes some talk about indulgences on Wikipedia they listed what they are, in which members are granted a plenary indulgence, on the day of enrollment and on various feast days. They also are granted a plenary indulgence when the Rosary is prayed in Church, or in a Public Oratory, in a family (family Rosary), Religious Community, or Pious Association. Otherwise a partial indulgence is granted. This is if you want to get into indulgences which still exist in the Church you just can’t buy them anymore.

If you want to dig deeper into the document why not take some time and read it. Pope John Paul II did add the Luminious mysteries and that is the only real thing that has changed since the constitution was written.

 

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NFL playoff picture and MLS playoffs

With roughly half of the NFL season over it is pretty crazy that most of the league still has a chance to make the playoffs with about 21 of them likely to have upswings in their seasons. This is the results of parity throughout the league for better of worse. Hopefully nothing will be decided until at least December where it could make for some interesting division games to wrap up the season.

Over in Major League Soccer they have shifted to the Conference Finals. These four teams will play a home and home with the aggregate goal total advancing to the MLS Cup. In the East we have a match between the previous two winner of the Eastern Conference in Columbus Crew SC and Toronto FC. So both teams have experience in playing in these gamesIn the West we have the defending Champions in the Seattle Sounders and a team from Houston the Dynamo matching up. Who knows how these games will go we might get to see another team from Houston playing for a Championship or Seattle could be the first to defend a championship since the LA Galaxy back in 2011-2012. It will be an exciting couple of games upcoming.

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World Series 2017

Well, the long wait is over yet again this seems to be the thing recently since we’ve had the Cubs and Royals win the past two years  we add another long drought to the scrap bin of history. This is the Astros’ first World Series win in team history that’s 56 years and who would have though it would have ended like this. It was a up and down series and just about every game could have been won be either team. This s a great thing for the city of Houston as well. Hopefully this trend of long World Series droughts ending will continue over the next couple of years as well.

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MLS Playoffs

Sure Major League Soccer doesn’t get much exposure so it isn’t that big of a sport in America but Professional Soccer has been a thing for over two decades now. Currently they are in the Conference semifinals with a home and home series for all the teams with the aggregate score winner moving on to the Conference Finals. In the East we have both New York teams the Red Bulls and NYCFC along with Toronto FC and the Columbus Crew SC. In the West we have the last two MLS Cup winners in the Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Timbers alongside the Houston Dynamo and the Vancouver Whitecaps. While we might be a rematch of last year MLS Cup, Seattle Sounders FC and Toronto FC, I and many others are hoping for a good story to come out with the Columbus Crew winning it all. They are currently a pawn in another stadium exhortation scheme as ownership of the Crew, Anthony Precourt has threatened to move the team to Austin, Texas if he doesn’t get a new downtown stadium. Columbus does play in a stadium built in 1999 but it’s not like it is a bad location compared to other stadiums it still hosts a great energy, and the US Men’s National Team has had some great success there as well. According to the reports the move is to keep up with all the new teams and new stadiums that have come to the league since 1999 and if they move or build a new stadium it would be several years from now the are in a 25 year lease on the current stadium.
Enough about the Crew, but it would be nice to the see the Eastern Conference win as the West has been dominate since 2000 winning 15 of the titles. Hopefully, this can evolve to closer to parity between the two conferences.