Category Archives: Photos

IMG_0120

Matchday Photo of the Month: what’s in an euonym?

by Jonathan Blaustein

I’ve got a cousin named Jonathan Blaustein. I use the word “cousin” in the loosest sense of the term. I’ve never been able to understand the rules, with respect to cousin-hood.

What’s the difference between a cousin-once-or-twice-removed, and a second or third cousin? Really, I have no idea. To me, they each mean people that are related to you tangentially, rather than meaningfully.

I’m really close with my first cousins on my mother’s side. I’ve smoked more reefer, drank more booze, and done more stupid shit with them than with almost anyone else. (Ages ago, of course. Now, I’m a respectable Dad.) As for the younger ones, I view them as if I were an affable uncle: offering advice and support, and discouraging bad behavior.

On my Dad’s side, though, it’s a different story. My first cousin Jeff is a good guy, but we don’t have much in common. His sister, Michelle, is a complete stranger to me. We shared food during Passover Seders, growing up, but that’s about it. Haven’t spoken to her in a decade.

C’est la vie.

Jonathan Blaustein, though, is now a High School student in Mahwah, New Jersey. His Dad was my father’s first cousin’s son, so what does that make him to me? Again, I haven’t a clue. Jonathan’s Dad died of a drug overdose a few years back, and I was genuinely sad to hear it. He was a good guy, taken down by his demons.

Names are funny things. We take them so personally, our names, but they’re just meant to designate one human from another. If we were all named Numbers 1-7 Billion, it wouldn’t make a spit of difference. The purpose would be the same.

(Hey, number 6,323,654, your farts smell like rotting tofu. Might be time to take one of those juice cleanses, and start drinking a little Kefir, OK?)

Where is this all coming from, this rant of mine? You came here to read about football, and a bad comedy routine broke out? Shame on me. Is there a point? As my regular readers at A Photo Editor can assure you: always. (It just might not be a good one.)

This is now my seventh column writing for 7amkickoff, my favorite Arsenal blog. (Sorry Arseblog. You’re a solid second.) I feel like things are starting to come together, as evidenced by the strange co-incidences brewing in this month’s submissions. Not to mention, the volume and quality this round was particularly high. (And I’m not, at the moment. Clean blood, I assure you.)

Our winner, the Matchday Photo of the Month, was submitted by Andrew Luck. What? The super-star quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts is an avid reader? And Arsenal fan? Holy Shit! How cool is that?

What? Did I look carefully at the submission? (Pause.) Oh. Wait. He lives in London, this Andrew Luck. So I guess he’s just a regular dude. Not “The Andrew Luck.”

No matter. The photo he sent in is badass. Not only that, it’s an homage to a classic, old school image made at Highbury. And Andrew was nice enough to point out that Highbury is the stadium where Arsenal used to play. You know, because I’m an admitted new fan. (He wanted to make sure I wasn’t a complete moron, but still, I applaud the consideration.)

IMG_0120

He took this photo to counter claims that Emirates Stadium lacked charm. So not only is it a cool photo, that references a classic bit of Arsenal history, but it’s also an FU to the haters out there. Andrew Luck, I wish you the best in the 2015-16 NFL season. I hope you have better “luck” against the Patriots next time around.

The runners up are really solid as well. This little triptych was sent in by Wojciech, who visited the stadium during the Stoke match. You know, the one where we beat the pants off those goons from up North. I’m really hoping that since I’m mocking the meatheads, some Stoke fan will write in the comments with typical use of horrifying-English-grammar-studded-with-spelling errors. Come on trolls, what have you got?

triptych

Oh yeah, and Wojciech? Is our now-second-string-keeper secretly reading the blog, and trying to get his pictures published on the Internet? I guess we’ll never know…

Next, we have a solid offering from Steve, who took this one outside the stadium on Aston Villa matchday. Really gives you the flavor of the neighborhood, I’d say. Steve, are you lucky? That Villa game was the best we’ve played. Not to mention the total score of 8-0, home and away. We might have to consider you our new good-luck-charm. (Sorry Andrew, couldn’t resist.)

WP_20150201_12_43_43_Pro

Finally, yes finally, we have a new photograph from Karl Jende. Do you guys remember Karl? He’s the Gooner from Minnesota, who wrote back to agree he’s got the Absolute Perfect Name for a Minnesotan. You go, Karl. I hope you get yourself a nice, Scandanavian-American hottie one of these days.

IMG_8431

In the meantime, Karl spent the horrid NLD matchday snowcat skiing just up the road from me in Keystone, CO. He sent us another shot, this time of his mates enjoying a group photo. If anything could wash the sour taste out of a Gooner’s mouth, after a crap match like that, it’s some champagne powder on a crisp winter day.

Keep ‘em coming, Karl. And if any of you want a pic featured next month, don’t be afraid to email me. I swear, I won’t bite. As for the other Jonathan Blausteins out there, I make no such promises.

Submit your photos to matchdayphotoofthemonth@gmail.com and let Jonathan Blaustein take a bite out of crime.

With Inez

Matchday photo of the month: the Asian connection

By Jonathan Blaustein

Kids. They grow so fast. Everyone says so.

That said, you’re never really prepared when it happens to you. My son is not-quite-7-and-a-half, and he’s leaving home for the first time today. Off to Mexico for a week with his grandparents.

They’ll take good care of him, sure, and he’ll be back on Sunday. It’s not like he’s headed off to college, or one of those British Boarding Schools. Can you imagine shipping your young child off to some pretentious institution at that age?

No thank you.

Normally, I’d need something to distract me from my creeping anxiety. Sports (or sport) is a great way to transport your mind elsewhere, but it doesn’t exactly offer a respite from stress. Unless you’re playing Villa at home, that is.

No, this weekend I got all fired up for the North London Derby, and hoped it would refocus my mental energy away from feeling like my little boy was all grown up. Come on, fellas. Put those shitty Spurs in their place, and give Daddy a reason not to cry.

That was the hope, at least. And we all know what happened next.

It was as much fun as watching Clive Owen operate on some schlub while jacked up on piles of legal cocaine. All that fake blood oozing out of inner organs, while Soderbergh’s camera zooms in on the viscera. (In “The Knick,” not in real life.) I’d rather have my eyes forced open with toothpicks and be made to stare at the manufactured gore than re-watch that horrible football match.

But I’m not the type to over-react, right? I’m the self-proclaimed “Voice of Reason.” It’s just one game. There will be others, including Leicester tomorrow. I’m sure Arsenal will kick the snot out of those punks, and re-establish their Masters of the Universe Mojo.

At least I hope so.

With respect to the NLD, I’m not sure there’s much I can add. But it was pretty clear to me that Alexis and Ox would have made a huge difference, if fit. Aside from the occasional Welbeck foray, we sorely lacked an aggressive dribbler, tearing off towards the defense like a flash flood.

Once again, derailed by injuries, even when most of the squad is fit. I’m willing to give Santi a pass for his sub-par performance, because homeboy has been a genuine genius. As to Aaron Ramsey, I was happy to slag him off in the early part of the season, and thought he was playing rather well lately. But boy, was he poor.

Boy. There’s that word again. Reminding me that my son will be out in the world, in a foreign country, where I can’t protect him. I thought that stuff would happen later in life, but it’s right up in my grill today, and I don’t like it.

I remember when he was just born. I had no clue how to change a diaper. How do they hand you a little human and expect you to know what to do? And yet, most of us figure it out.

When he was a baby, I hadn’t even heard of Arsenal. I was satisfied with American Football and NBA Basketball. Little did I know the BPL was more physically addicting than high-grade-reefer. (Which we all know only hooks you psychologically…)

I might not be a life-long fan, and neither is my boy. But Ethan sure is.

Who’s Ethan, you ask?

Ethan is a tiny Indonesian dude whose Dad, Marvin, is a massive Gooner. So massive, in fact, that Marvin’s boss bought Ethan a full kit on a recent trip to London. A kit that Marvin just HAD to pull out for the “official professional photo shoot,” Jakarta style.

With Inez

My first thought was, “Wow. Tim’s really popular in Asia. I wonder why?” My second thought was “So. Damn. Cute.” My third thought was, “I can’t believe my firstborn is all grown up. I want to cry again. Fuck, why am I such a softie?”

This is now the second time that we’re featuring a cute kid as our “Matchday Photo of the Month.” It’s not what I expected, when I began this column, but it’s not entirely inappropriate either. Sports bring families together.

It’s an inherently emotional experience, following a team, building a life-long allegiance to men you’ll never meet. Nothing could be more American, or English, or apparently Indonesian, than watching the match with Dad, giggling while he tries to stifle his potty mouth.

So keep the kiddie photos coming, I say. It’s a great reminder that we do care about things beyond our favorite footballer. And that the games are always more fun when you’ve got a buddy to watch them with.

image1

Our runner up this month comes from Ika Radzran, in Malaysia. (What, you thought I was exaggerating about our Asia-heavy demo?) Not surprisingly, everyone loves Alexis these days. Heal up, Chilean Stallion, because we’re sure as hell gonna need both of your hamstrings through May.

If you would like to see your work featured here send your match day photos to matchdayphotoofthemonth@gmail.com

IMG_1193

Match Day Photo of the Month: Homeboy Arsène Gets a Raw Deal

By Jonathan Blaustein

Poor Barack Obama. That guy doesn’t get any credit. To listen to the media, you’d think he was Wile E. Coyote. Hopeless, hapless, and shit out of luck.

His hair’s gone gray. His daughters will be dating soon. And I’m sure he can’t get laid without a security guard in the room.

:(

I suppose only history will vindicate the man. Were anyone to be even remotely objective, they’d look at the numbers. The stock market is at an all-time high. Unemployment is down. Gas prices have plummeted. The dollar is at its highest level in more than a decade. The economy grew at 5% in the last quarter, and is forecast to top 3% for 2015. (That’s practically Chinese-level-growth, for an established power.)

All while Europe is in the toilet, Russia is in the tank, and the Asian powers have to worry about crazy Kim Jong Un messing up the neighborhood.

People forget the mess Barack Obama inherited. The world was on the precipice of anarchy, for goodness sake. Mad Max was not seen as a good movie to remake, with dashing Tom Hardy, but a realistic future scenario. People were “this” close to hoarding fresh water.

Fast forward to now, and you’d think that our basketball-playing President would be doing victory laps around the gym. Instead, he just lost Congress, and gets about as much respect as a cockroach in a restaurant kitchen.

Like I said, homeboy gets a raw deal.

Sounds a bit like Arsene Wenger’s situation, if you ask me. The man spends money now, brought in a trophy, managed the move to a beautiful stadium he helped design, shepherded the team to a phase of solid commercial deals, and bought Arsenal the most exciting player many of us have seen in years. (Yes, I mean you, Alexis. You handsome, handsome devil.)

I know the haters are plentiful. He doesn’t do tactics. His players keep getting injured more frequently than Russell Brand bangs groupie-sluts. He can’t zipper his jacket. Hell, even Graham Fucking Norton made a joke about him having a small penis on TV the other day.

So why do I still respect the man? Because he will be vindicated by history. And because I haven’t been a fan as long as you have. I’m the good old voice of reason, and I’m here to remind you that the future looks bright.

We’ve got a solid chance of beating Monaco. And if we do, the winner of Porto and Basel awaits. Not exactly frightening. That means we have the potential to go further in the Champions League than we have in years.

With respect to the Premier League, sure, we’re not winning it this year. But the top 4 seems genuinely likely. Which means AW can strengthen in the summer, bringing in Schneiderlin, Wanyama, Gundogan, or someone of that ilk. Maybe he’ll use his entire summer budget on Paul Pogba? You can’t rule it out.

Throw in the CB we’re about to buy this month, and you’re looking at a team that can compete for anything in 2015-16. (And beyond.)

And don’t forget the FA Cup. Did you see the game against Hull on Sunday? Arsenal haven’t looked that self-assured in months. And we’re due back Arteta, Ramsey, Ozil, Giroud, Welbeck, and eventually Wilshere.

Step back, and the future looks bright. AFC might even have a decent chance at another FA Cup run this year. Chelsea’s veil of impenetrability has been punctured, and City choked the bone in that competition 2 years running. So you never know.

Just think back to May. How did it make you feel? When Ramsey scored that late goal? Jubilant? Telepathic? Sexually Aroused?

Just think back to May. The open-topped bus. With all those guys riding through the streets, soaking up your love and adulation. Did you feel like a little kid? I know the players did.

How do I know?

Because this month’s Matchday Photo of the Month is a throwback. It was sent in this December, just after the shit show at Stoke. Our photographer, Ian Wytiam, even referenced “Joel, get out while you still can” in his email.

IMG_1193

In the worst of times, Ian was thinking back to May. He was wistful, hopeful, and a good sport to boot. He was thinking of you guys. He wanted to remind you how recently AW got that big horny gorilla off his back. He wanted you to look ahead, past the Winter blues and blahs.

Just remember, this photo says. Glory awaits. Maybe not this year. But soon. Poor Theo Walcott is watching the road behind him, as he knows he still has 6 months of grueling rehab ahead. Who’d want to look forward to THAT on a day like THIS, his body language implies.

Santi Cazorla, ever the practical one, is wearing a baseball hat to block the sun. Kieran Gibbs is wearing the kind of Ray-Bans that people think are cool, but really aren’t. And there’s no Lukas Podolski in sight. (IMHO, that guy was a goofy one-trick pony. We all love goals, sure, but tracking back is what makes even the idiot-Tony-Gales of the world gush over our lad Alexis.)

Look at those security guards, running next to the bus. They mean business. Because the Premier League is big business, these days. People slag of Arsene everywhere, every day, but he helped make it so. The man gets credit for nothing.

But what do you think about Alexis? Or Calum Chambers? Santi Cazorla? Debuchy? Danny Welbeck? Aaron Ramsey? Mesut Ozil? Olly Giroud, when he’s not losing his mind? Don’t they prove that good old Arsene still knows what he’s doing?

I could be wrong, and lord knows I’m not the expert that many of you are, but from where I’m sitting, at my white kitchen table, looking out at the white snow, covered in rabbit poop, I’m pretty happy with how 2014 turned out. And I believe 2015-7 promises a run that will make us feel special in our cold, dark hearts. (The next few years will make us tingle, like when you pour too much Gold Bond powder on your johnson. Imagine how much Gold Bond poor Shaquille O’Neal must need to cover his monster-sized junk…)


As for the runner’s up, we’ve got three this month.

IMG_8971

First off, Sean Thum sent us a photo of the first IRL meeting of the Malaysian Gunners Facebook fan-club. (Taken right after that meathead Skrtel headed in the equalizer for Liverpool.) I might  write as an American, as does our fearless leader, Tim, but let’s not forget that loving Arsenal is a global affair. And while I’m freezing my ass off, I bet those guys in Selangor are drinking cold beers and walking home in shorts. Bastards.

Gunnersaurus-1

Second, this picture came in from Hamza Ade, who took it at a live-cast at the Emirates, during the aforementioned game in Stoke-on-Trent. He actually told his kid that Arsenal won the game, so as not to upset him. Gotta love a good lie, if it means your boy doesn’t cry all the way home.

pinksky

Finally, I’m throwing in my own abstracted offering, just to inspire you to think outside the box. When I woke up early on a freezing cold morning, getting ready to watch the QPR game on the Ipad, I went outside and looked up at the pink sky. It was so beautiful, I went back for the camera. My nose-hairs practically froze into stalactites, but I persevered, to share a bit of loveliness with you guys.

Happy New Year. Let’s see some pictures after a win next month, fellas. (Or ladies. If you’re out there.)

If you would like to see your work featured here send your match day photos to matchdayphotoofthemonth@gmail.com