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Fake Plastic Chelseas, Raheem Sterling Makes Europa Squad, and Other Wednesday Notes

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Demon Hicks
There's some Hicks
stuff today, too.

Small towns dot the empty reaches of the western United States, gas stations and motels that seem to have sprouted trailer parks that have in turn given birth to low-slung bungalows and strip malls, any miniscule, pre-existing remnant shunned and abandoned, a relegated block of boarded up old red brick buildings. Perhaps long gone, bulldozed to widen the highway and plant another WalMart, another McDonalds. Passing through, if one is exceptionally lucky, the relative oasis of a Trader Joe's or In-N-Out might pick itself out of the parking lots and concrete, because when it comes to pre-assembled corporate outposts it certainly is nice to have just a touch of focus group approved colour.

Are we here, then? Or are we a thousand miles north or south or east or west of here? And if they changed the names would anybody really notice?

Every now and then enough outlets and storefronts and dealerships sprout from the baking asphalt, or some local quirk of weather or nearby scenery lends a helping hand, or some civil engineer on the far side of the country marks down a new highway route. Then things really take off, the hot flash of sodium giving up its hidden energy or the seven hundred millionth child making a miniature Pompeii out of baking soda and vinegar. All of it, just stamped out again and again and again until four million vaguely terrified people live there, some by choice but at least as many simply because at some point the place hit critical mass, a black hole set of coordinates where you were born or headed to in search of a job and somewhere along the way just plain got stuck in your guarded, gated community with its underground garage for the air conditioned car you drive down an anonymous six lane road lined by deserted sidewalks to another garage and its climate controlled office where you work to pay for your guarded, gated house or condo or apartment. That's Phoenix*. And Phoenix is terrifying**. It also makes me think of Chelsea.

In related news, it really was exceptionally unfortunate that Clint Dempsey missed his penalty kick on Monday night...


* Anyhow, on to Liverpool proper. While normally I wouldn't risk stepping on Ed's toes with the match preview coming up in a little bit, there's some news that directly contradicts the conclusion of my piece on Raheem Sterling yesterday and that many would likely take to talking about in the comments anyhow if I didn't pass it along. So anyhow, yeah, Raheem Sterling will at least make the bench when the Reds visit Prague tomorrow. I'd guess that he won't be starting, and moreover is probably just along for the experience and won't see the pitch at all, but what the hell do I know? And I'm sure Ed can still talk a bit about it if he likes, as I imagine that rambling part of the post sitting above the fold scared away a fair few readers who might otherwise want to hear about this.

* Well then. Let's move on to news that isn't quite so personally embarrassing, namely Andy Carroll's injury situation. When he first signed with the club there were optimistic suggestions he might miss as little as three weeks, then for a time there were less encouraging rumours that he might miss the entire season, but with the player back training with the ball the consensus seems to have narrowed towards thinking he'll most likely be back to match fitness just in time for the game against Manchester United on March 6th. Though how likely he'd be to start that match after a little over two months off, even if technically fully fit, would be a rather different question.

* Elsewhere, with news last week that he was exploring options to facilitate suing the Royal Bank of Scotland for damages in the US court system, there appears to be a bit of a run on Tom Hicks related tidbits of late, and yesterday Unprofessional Foul explored the absolutely bizarre and more than a touch infuriating nature of financial markets where in a matter of days Tom Hicks can still raise himself a blank cheque worth $150M with almost no strings attatched while telling people absolutely nothing aside from that it won't be spent bailing out a sports team he previously had any involvement in.

Scanning the filings, Hicks set this up to have minimum disclosure requirements while also skirting the largest requirement in the law that is supposed to give investors some protection. It’s even spelled out in the filing: “You will not be entitled to protections normally afforded to investors in Rule 419 blank check offerings.”

Yet, he can still go to the capital markets and raise $150,000,000 even if he’s not even sure what he’s going to do with it. Reminds us of a throwaway line John Sterwart once sort of slid in as an aside on the The Daily Show one night: “There is no comeuppance in the world anymore.”

In related news, I'll soon be heading to New York to float a special acquisitions company for the purposes of buying myself a new top of the line notebook. And also to subsidise a five year wander around the globe to help justify having a new top of the line notebook. And maybe to retire to a mansion with a private helicopter parked on the roof and a guy whose only job is to clip my toenails when I finish schlepping around the globe. Hey, if you think that doesn't make sense, Tom Hicks just scratched his ass and somebody threw a few million at him for his troubles.

In the meantime, while you consider that as much as I really do loathe the suburbs the introduction to this post with its wrangled connection to Chelsea and an eye on Liverpool's dreams of fourth was little more than an overblown attempt to make the following video even the slightest bit relevant since I had to find some excuse to include it after Ed's various Twitterspondences earlier in the week***...

*Apologies to anybody who likes Phoenix.

**Also, no, I was neither born nor do I live there.

***And looking back at his Twitter now--and did you know Ed does the Twitter and sometimes even talks about football and you should totally sign up for it?--there's a chance I may have overestimated his involvement in any Arcade Fire related correspondences when I signed in to mention that a new piece had gone up on the blog. But I was in the mood to wander off the reservation and half the post was already written by the time I figured that out, so damned if you lot don't get to read it anyhow. Besides, I'm half convinced a couple of tweets have subsequently disappeared. But we've already established that I don't know what the hell I'm talking about, and it's not as though I can be expected to really understand any medium that sets a cap at 140 characters anyhow.