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And They’re Back! ‘Those’ Clippers

July 3rd, 2015 · No Comments · Basketball, Clippers, NBA

Well, this is embarrassing. Not that the Los Angeles Clippers are strangers to embarrassment.

The best team the Clippers have had, the team that fell one victory short of the Western Conference finals, just saw their third-best player, 7-foot center DeAndre Jordan, leave for the Dallas Mavericks.

–For $20 million less than the Clippers presumably offered.

–Apparently because the coach and personnel chief, Doc Rivers, and the team couldn’t be bothered to make maybe the third-best center in the game, feel loved.

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Back in SoCal

July 2nd, 2015 · No Comments · Long Beach, Travel

Day 1 in the Southern California visit and it seems like it always did, except more so. More people, more cars, more money needed to go grocery shopping.

Looking at four lanes of traffic at a standstill on the southbound 5, and it’s not even noon, and it is hard to imagine I dealt with that sort of thing a couple of times every week for most of three decades.

How is it I didn’t spontaneously combust or ram my car into someone else’s in an inevitable fit of road rage?

We probably need a few more days to make certain this is the case, but greater Los Angeles looks less livable than ever.

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31 Hours, Door to Door

July 1st, 2015 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Newspapers, tourism, Travel, UAE

We have conceded on this site that accounts of long, draining travel are nearly always boring. Meaningless to all but those who survived them.

And yet, we keep talking about them. Because they are so intense.

Like our 31-hour door-to-door trip from Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles or, to be exact, to San Clemente, south of L.A.

We did that today. It began at 12:30 a.m. July 1, and ended half a world away at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific Coast time) on the same interminable day.

A few noteworthy bits:

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Brazil in Eclipse

June 30th, 2015 · No Comments · Arabian Gulf League, Dubai, Fifa, Football, soccer, The National, World Cup

Everton Ribeiro.

I know the player Everton Ribeiro. Left-footed midfielder. During the 2014/15 season he played for the Dubai club Al Ahli.

He arrived with a reputation for being one of Brazil’s best players; in recent years he twice had been designated the best player in Brazil’s domestic top flight.

Turns out, he wasn’t the best player in the Arabian Gulf League. He wasn’t even the best player at Ahli.

And that may begin to explain why Brazil’s national team ain’t what it used to be.

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Murderer of American Woman in Abu Dhabi Sentenced to Death

June 29th, 2015 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, The National, UAE

This has been one of the most closely followed stories of the past several months, certainly among expatriates and as measured by The National’s website:

The murder of an American woman in the toilet of a mall on Reem Island, here in Abu Dhabi, on December 1.

Today, the Emirati woman who carried out the carefully planned attack (of someone she didn’t know) was sentenced to death.

What horrifies and compels Western expats, in particular, to follow this story is the specific yet random nature of the killing — the murderer said in court she “wanted to create fear, especially for American, British and French expatriates”. So she went out to kill.

Anyone who watched the creepy videos of Alaa Al Hashemi entering the mall and exiting after stabbing to death a woman named Ibolya Ryan … felt their skin crawl.

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Serena Improving with Age

June 28th, 2015 · No Comments · Tennis, The National

Ahmed Rizvi is the tennis guy of The National staff, and in doing a meaty story on Serena Williams ahead of the start of Wimbledon tomorrow he illuminated some trends I had not noticed.

She goes to the All England Club having won the past three major championships, the U.S. Open, the Australian Open and the French Open, but I did not know any of the following:

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Another Silly Expensive Bit of Dubai Real Estate

June 27th, 2015 · No Comments · Dubai

If you have 56 million dirhams ($15.3 million) burning a hole in your pocket, this “villa” on the Palm Jumeirah may be for you.

The photo gallery in The National begins under the title: Wake up to this view

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The Nightmare Mascot

June 26th, 2015 · No Comments · Football, soccer

kingsley_3349680b

You have either failed horribly — or succeeded sensationally — when your new mascot is described as the physical embodiment of nightmares.

Granted, it’s the slow time of year in sports, particularly in Europe/Britain/Scotland, which could explain why what seems rather like an amateurish, slapdash effort at mascotry spawned a dozen think pieces throughout Britain.

But that’s what “Kingsley” (above) managed to do for a particularly obscure Scottish Premier League side named Partick Thistle.

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Three Weddings in 22 Days

June 25th, 2015 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, The National

You know how, sometimes, you don’t make obvious connections? And then it hits you and you slap yourself on the forehead and say, “Well, of course!”

I was sitting in a pew in the chapel at St. Andrew’s Church in Abu Dhabi, moments before a wedding, when the light bulb went on.

“Hey, this is my second wedding in six days!”

Not my weddings, of course. The first of three weddings I will attend over a 22-day period.

It’s like I’m 25 or something.

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Another Way You Know You’re Old

June 24th, 2015 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, tourism, Travel

* Besides looking at the DOB stats on your driver’s license.

You rise shortly after dawn, drag your suitcases (thank God wheels are now attached) down to the docks, take a heaving two-hour ferry ride, followed by a one-hour taxi ride through ugly traffic to the airport, followed by three hours waiting in the lounge, followed by 4.5 hours in the air, followed by an hour to get off the plane and get out of the airport, followed by a half-hour cab ride — and you are exhausted. Destroyed. “Shattered”, as the Brits would say.

That’s one way you know you are old.

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