Analyzing #LFC

It’s been yet another frustrating season as a Liverpool FC fan. You might say that this can be said but just about every season, but unlike in the last two seasons when we played shit and there was no hope, we have actually been playing well this season, and just haven’t been able to convert that into goals. I didn’t watch the loss to Fulham and I agree we ¬†were absolute shit against Spurs, but King Kenny’s statement that we “deserved” to have won every game apart from that Spurs game does have some merit.

I don’t remember the exact stats right now, but two things stand out. LFC has the maximum number of shots that have hit the post or crossbar this season (eighteen, if I’m not wrong). And we also have the lowest ratio in terms of goals to shots on goal. So basically it seems like we’ve been doing pretty well getting the ball into the D, but have been quite wasteful from there. The other notable stat that comes to mind is that we have conceded the least goals this season among all teams (13, I think), and that includes the time when Johnson and Agger were injured, when we had become somewhat porous. Now, with a settled back five, we seem to be doing quite well defensively despite the season-long loss of Lucas Leiva.

Despite the attacking opportunities and number of shots on goal that we’ve got, I’ve felt throughout this season that there has been something missing about this team. There’s something disjointed about the attacking moves. There’s a lack of cohesion. Back when we had Xabi, we had a natural route to switch flanks on the attack – simply pass the ball back to Xabi who will control the game. Unfortunately, good though he is, Adam is not in the same class, and so this route doesn’t seem to be that fluid.

For the first month, I thought the missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle was Gerrard, and though he was good (against Man U, etc.) after seeing him play I realized he was not the answer I was looking for. To be absolutely frank, I don’t think his absence from the team (from a purely sporting perspective, without taking into account leadership and morale) has had that much of an impact.

The win against Aston Villa came quite easy (after the couple of early goals, the game was won on autopilot), but I think the big gain from the game was the performance of Jonjo Shelvey. Of course, he wasn’t involved too much, but the little I saw of him (including that back-heel that set up the first goal) showed immense promise, and hopefully he can be developed into a fine advanced midfielder. Speaking of which…

So, I think, the missing piece in the jigsaw is a clever advanced playmaker. A classic number ten, as they would call him in South America. Someone like Juan Roman Riquelme, or Mesut Ozil, or even Iniesta. Someone who plays high up the pitch, and can distribute intelligently and pass accurately. It seems now that Adam has taken on this role, but he seems a bit too slow at times, and not accurate enough. I think he is suited for a more withdrawn playmaking role, and a good number ten in front of him can do a great job of tying the team together.

It is for this reason that I was sad to see Raul Meireles go, for I thought he was someone who was quite capable of being developed for that role (I quite enjoyed how the Arsenal game transformed after he came on). Gerrard has the drive and ambition and pace and all that, but I don’t think he’s smart enough for that. Shelvey might be developed there but for now he’s too young. I’ve seen Henderson play there but again he seems to play much more like Gerrard and much less like an advanced playmaker.

That leaves two players in the squad who are capable of playing that role, but both are away on loan, and both displayed horrible form when they played for LFC. Hopefully the loan spell will help either or both of Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani to get back to form, and hope that King Kenny and co realize that the advanced playmaker role is the one that they’ve been sorely missing, and are able to keep either or both of these two when it comes to next season.

For now, though, there are other worries, with Suarez having been banned for eight games. I guess the season will continue to frustrate.

Loos in India

Ok so this took a real long time coming. It might have been up to five years since I first thought of this post, but so far have never gotten down to writing it. The normal disgust warnings apply. So if you are either eating or have just eaten or feel remotely like throwing up, I request you to read no further. In this post, I want to talk about the culture of shitting (yeah I’ll use the shit word. Direct and disgusting it is) in India and effects of that on current culture and morality.

Before you read further, I would urge you to read about the Aryan Code of Toilets (1500 BC). Thanks to Amit Varma for the pointer. Quoting:

  • Before going for defecation it was prescribed that the sacred thread should be rolled to a smaller size and be put on the right ear.
  • The head was to be covered with a cloth. In the absence of cloth, the sacred thread was to be brought over the head and was to be hung on the left ear.
  • Then while observing silence and facing north in the day and south in the night one could defecate.
  • So one of my questions is now answered of course. I hope you read the article, it explains a lot more. So from this article it is clear that according to the great Indian tradition, shitting is a ritual no less. And though this document doesn’t mention it, it is generally understood that you shit once, early in the morning after you wake up. Shitting more often or at irregular times is a sign of illness or indiscipline.

    My hypothesis is that it is because of this “custom” or “cultural aspect” that we don’t have good public loos in India. Since shitting at irregular times is looked down upon, it wasn’t considered a good idea to encourage this “indisciplined” practice by providing good public loos. Ok it may not have been on purpose but since shitting at non-regular times (not early in the morning) wasn’t a done thing no one really talked about it and the results (abysmal public toilet infrastructure) are here to stay. It is only in modern offices where indisciplined foreignerrs visit regularly that you have good public loos!

    Then, in India, there was a major lag between urbanization and development of public sewerage system because of which loos had to be placed away from the rest of the house. Soon¬† this became a practice, and this further discouraged people from “going” at irregular times. And the delay in arrival of water closets and public sewerage kept the class of people called “night soil collectors” in business much longer than it needed to and this prolonged the incidence of untouchability (this is supposed to have been beautifully captured in Mulk Raj Anand’s The Untouchable).

    The other impact of shitting being a ritual is that it is not a done thing to go to the loo in other people’s houses. Some people plain get offended if you ask them if you can use their loo, and consequently it is a bit embarrassing for guests here to enquire if they can use the loo. Thankfully there have been no Tycho Brahes in India (wasn’t he the guy that died of a bladder burst because he thought it would be impolite to the queen if he excused himself? ), or if there have been they haven’t been reported thus!

    An unrelated (to the rest of the post) thought – steel and quality cement and elevators are all fine, but don’t you think one of the most important pre-requisites for the building of skyscrapers was the water closet? Just think about it.

  • Before going for defecation it was prescribed that the sacred thread should be rolled to a smaller size and be put on the right ear.
  • The head was to be covered with a cloth. In the absence of cloth, the sacred thread was to be brought over the head and was to be hung on the left ear.
  • Then while observing silence and facing north in the day and south in the night one could defecate.
  • The Theory of Consistent Fuckability and Ladders for Men

    Ok so the popular Ladder Theory states that men have only one ladder. It states that all men want to sleep with all women, and they simply rank every woman on the scale of how badly they want to sleep with her or whatever. Women, on the other hand, have two ladders – the “good” ladder, and the “friends” ladder, which allows them to get close to men without harbouring any romantic/sexual thoughts. Since men are incapable of exhibiting such behaviour, you get the concept of Gay Best Friend.

    However, this absence of dual ladders for men exists only if you look at the short term. If you are a man and you are looking for a long-term relationship with genetic propagation as a part of your plans, I argue that the female twin ladders can be suitably modified in order to separate out “friends” from potential “bladees”. In order to aid this, I present the Theory of Consistent Fuckability.

    From the ladder theory, we know that every man wants to sleep with every woman. For a fruitful, long-term, gene-propagating relationship, however, this is just a necessary but not sufficient condition. As I had argued in another post, given that divorce is usually messy, the biggest cost in getting married to someone is the opportunity cost of getting into long-term relationships with the rest of the population. And if you are involved in gene-propagation, it is ideal if neither of the propagators cheats on the partner – from the point of view of the child’s upbringging and all such jazz.

    So if you are a man and you want to marry someone, you must be reasonably sure that you want to sleep with her on a consistent basis. You should be willing to do her every day. If not, there is a good chance that you might want to cheat on her at a later date, which is not ideal from your genes’ point of view.

    A small digresssion here. You might ask what might happen to “ugly” women (basically women considered unattractive by a large section of men). However, the argument is that the market helps you find your niche. For example, if you want to cheat on a woman, there must be other women who are superior (on your scale) to this woman who want you to do them. Assuming that I am extremely unattractive and the fact that not too many “attractive” women will want to do me, I should be able to set my “consistent fuckability standard” appropriately.

    Returning to the point, when you are evaluating a woman for MARRIAGE (note it doens’t apply to shorter term non-gene-propagating relationships), you will need to decide if you will want to have sex with her on a consistent basis. And based on the answer to this question, you can define the universe of all women into two – those that you want to do consistently and those that don’t. And they form your two ladders.

    Now, reasonably independent (maybe there’s a positive low correlation on one of the ladders) of this consistent fuckability factor, you can evaluate the women on other factors such as emotional compatibility, strengths, weaknesses, culture fit and all that jazz. And rank them on those. And then use this distinction on the consistency factor and you will have your two ladders. So you have the “friends” ladder – which is differnet from the friends’ ladders of women in the sense that you want to sleep with them but not on a consistent basis. And there is the “good” ladder of those who you want to do consistently.

    To summarize, consistent fuckability is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a fruitful, multiplicative, gene-propagating long-term relationship; and because of this, under certain circumstances, men also develop a pair of ladders.

    Currently listening to: When I’m Sixty Four, The Beatles