Sweetheart Written by Chelsea Cain

Gretchen Lowell is a real conniver that can get in someone’s mind and stay there, as she has with Detective Archie Sheridan. Susan Ward, a reporter with the Oregon Herald, also seems to have allowed Gretchen to get in her mind too. Archie’s reliance on drugs to keep his physical pain away was getting worse. The farther the case went the worse his addiction was, even though he tried to hide it but those close to him knew and worked hard with him to get Gretchen out of his mind and life. This Archie couldn’t do. Mass murderer Gretchen was so beautiful that Archie dreamed that he was making love to Gretchen while physically doing this with his ex-wife who he still dearly loved deep inside.

Gretchen Lowell worked her way into the prison infirmary by either attacking a guard or being attacked by the same or both! She was good-so good. Archie and his partner, Henry, went to investigate the prison attack by first visiting Gretchen, as she lay bound up in shackles and appearing very beat up. Of course she would not tell Archie exactly how she got in this condition. He had to guess as Gretchen sweet-talked him. Shortly afterward, a guard was found dead and Gretchen had escaped, sore and beat as she was, that did not deter her escape from prison. Now that Gretchen Lowell was on the loose, Archie knew she would resume her killing and he could do nothing to stop her nor could he visit her as he did when she was in prison where she used each of Archie’s weekly visits as a bribe to disclose another of her many victims from years past.

The sudden death of a reporter and a politician in a car that went over a bridge appeared to be a suicide. This brought the authorities and news media out of their «Gretchen Lowell» shell and realize there was other crime occurring. Susan had previously uncovered a political bombshell about this politician and thought that the reporter might have been working on the same story. The reporter, Parker, was a tutor and close friend of Susan’s. Susan had tried extremely hard to get the newspaper to print the corrupt politicians story but no one would commit, not wanting to hurt the guy.

Meanwhile more bodies were being found, some old and some newer but most smelled of Gretchen Lowell all over the way they had been killed and where found. The authorities did all they could to protect Archie and his family knowing that they were in extreme danger with Gretchen Lowell on the loose. All the protection in the world could not stop her from contacting Archie and sweet-talking him once again. Susan Ward was constantly on this case and she and her mother were also in danger as Gretchen knew her and felt Archie could be near Susan.

Chelsea Cain, you have spun a follow-up story to Heartsick that is every bit as suspenseful or possibly more intriguing. The ending of this book makes me wishing I had a follow up book following Archie in his adventures. I truly hope you are working on this Chelsea. I would suggest that the reader start with Heartsick and then read Sweetheart. Both stories are fast moving and full of suspense and adventure that are nothing short of sensational.

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Why On Earth Should I Moan – Still Nothing To Complain About in ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

YEAH YEAH YEAH to coin a phrase – I know, I know, another appraisal of The Beatles film ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

Nearly fifty four years old and the subject of countless critiques does the world really need one more? Well after watching it on television for the umpteenth time over Christmas I decided another set of observations could do no harm – after all what is wrong in celebrating eighty seven minutes of such joy one more time?

Having watched ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ at least once every eighteen months for the roughly the past forty years I thought there was nothing new for me to see but like the brilliant rock album and great film (which it most certainly is) there is often something new to discover. Much of the back story I discovered in the two-set DVD edition that I received as a birthday present about five years ago and while ‘the making of,’ documentary of is both fascinating and informative it also served to shatter one of my lasting illusions of the film. Down the years when walking along the platform of Liverpool Lime Street station I always conjured the image of the Fab Four being chased down the same walkway in the opening scene, only to discover it was not shot there but at Marylebone Station and the train journey they take in the first twenty minutes of the film is not from Liverpool to London, but back and forth from Marylebone to Minehead – leaving me with mixed feelings whether it was information I really needed to be aware of.

But no matter how many times I see it (and on this latest viewing I did spot a couple of errors in continuity that had never come to my attention before) I am always enthralled by the sheer exuberance of how The Beatles perform as actors. To clarify ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ completely breaks with the tradition laid down in the films made by the likes of Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard up to that point, as rather than play singing characters The Beatles are themselves which gives ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ its documentary feel and in a story that sees them travelling to London for a television appearance also provides an insight into the lives they were living at the time. The film, cleverly directed by Richard Lester, depicts each member with a distinctly individual personality that from this point onward they would retain until virtually the day they split up – John (rebel), Paul (romantic), George (thinker), Ringo (jester) – but in 1964, before a dark side to ‘Beatlemania’ had developed, their camaraderie is joyful and a far, far cry from the tetchy, squabbling individuals they became when breaking up in front of cameras for ‘Let It Be,’ just five years later.

In early 1964, however, the hand of manager Brian Epstein is still on the tiller, evident in their clean shaven, collar and tie appearance – with hard drugs, political pronouncements and mysticism still someway off. The music too has yet to undergo the transformation that happened once Bob Dylan and psychedelics replaced Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran as the principal song writing influences of Lennon and McCartney – nevertheless the soundtrack of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ is still a marvel. ‘If I Fell,’ ‘Tell Me Why,’ and ‘And I Love Her,’ all have gorgeous melodies and straightaway as songwriters they are way ahead of the field, while in the latter song the stunning classical guitar arrangement shows The Beatles were quite capable of eclecticism in their own right.

One oddity of the film given it is their movie, is the name of the group is never mentioned – ‘The Beatles’ appears on Ringo’s drum kit and on the helicopter in the closing scene – but everywhere else the superb script, written by playwright Alun Owen, contains comical references to their fame and throws in several in-jokes for good measure, the most obvious being frequent remarks made to Paul’s grandfather, who is travelling with them, about him being ‘a clean old man.’ Played by Wilfrid Brambell, this is a reference to the character Brambell was currently making famous in the television comedy ‘Steptoe and Son’ where he is often labelled ‘a dirty old man.’ After spending time with The Beatles, Owen manages to give his script strong authenticity, picking up on expressions the group were using such as ‘grotty’ and ‘mocker’ that had never been used before. What did come as a surprise when recently watching the film was a scene on a backstage staircase where there road manager (played by Norman Rossington) says to John Lennon as a chorus line passes: ‘put those girls down Lennon or I’ll tell your Mother.’

It seems a strangely insensitive line particularly as Lennon had lost his Mother in a tragic car accident six years before and in view of the tortured songs he wrote about her (‘Mother’, My Mummy’s Dead,’) most notably on his breath taking solo album ‘Plastic Ono Band’ in 1970.

But let us not leave ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ on a sombre note – it is much too upbeat and infectious for that.

If you have seen the film then see it again and dare yourself not to smile. If somehow you have never seen it what a treat awaits – a wonderful opportunity to witness many of the reasons people remain enthralled by The Beatles to this day.

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FC Barcelona's Arch-Rival – The History of Real Madrid

Real Madrid – FIFA 'Team of the Century'; 31 League titles; 9 European Cups; a couple of UEFA Cups and World Club Champions titles.

Also, bizarrely, it is a club that has in recent years nurtured the custom of sacking successful managers. Jupp Heynckes went four weeks after winning a Champions League title, Fabio Capello and Bernd Schuster won the league title before one was basically sacked for being too defensive and the other for being too reckless. The prize, though, for what it's worth, goes to Vicente Del Bosque, current manager of the national squad, who was dismissed the day after winning the league in a room at the hotel in which his players were having their celebratory dinner!

Real Madrid originated in 1897 when a number of students and lecturers at the Institucíon Libre de Enseñanza began playing friendly matches on Sunday mornings. From these humble beginnings, Madrid Football Club emerged in 1902 – gaining its royal patronage and club name in 1920 from King Alfonso XIII. The club became founder members of the Spanish League in 1929 – when Barca won the inaugural title and El Clásico, as the fixture between the two clubs is known in Spain – began in earnest.

From the beginning, the rivalry was intense but it developed significantly during the years after the Civil War. There are, of course, many stories of the way Franco's government promoted the interests of Real Madrid in order to develop his, and Spain's, international prestige. Also, the manner in which Barcelona attempted to maintain a Catalan identity at a time when the language and flag were banned is well recounted. Barça became 'More than a Club' and the phrase Así gana el Madrid – that's how Madrid win – became part of Spanish sporting lore.

There are two of these stories, however, that perhaps shed most light on the situation in those difficult times.

In 1942, Barcelona had won the Spanish Cup – now known as the Cope del Rey but then renamed as the Copa del Generalísimo. The following season they were pitted against Real in a two-legged semi-final and won the first match convincingly, by three goals to nil, despite having their star player, Escolá, stretchered off. The second leg, though, was rather a different matter – finishing an astonishing 11 – 1 to Madrid. Not only was the Head of State Security known to have visited the Barça dressing room before the match to tell some of the players that their right to remain in Spain was being reviewed, but also the sending off of a player in the first few minutes made sure that the rest of the team got the right message!

The other classic example of the manner in which Barcelona feel they suffered during the Franco years concerns perhaps the most famous player ever to wear a Real Madrid shirt – Alfredo di Stéfano, who remains an iconic figure in the Madrid hierarchy even today. In 1953, the Argentinian center forward, described by Bobby Charlton as the most intelligent player he had seen, was signed by Barcelona from his Columbian club, Millonarios. After di Stéfano had appeared in a couple of friendly matches, and after an involved and underhand series of 'negotiations', the Spanish FA declared that the transfer was invalid and the player was triumphantly unveiled by Madrid. Two weeks later, he made his debut in a 5 – 0 victory over Barcelona in the Bernabéu – scoring four goals and starting his journey towards legendary status.

Even the transfer of Luis Figo in 2000 pales into insignificance compared to the machinations involved in the di Stéfano move.

With such a fierce, and continuing, rivalry between these two giant clubs, this puts the events of Barcelona's 3-0 away victory in 2000 into an even more dramatic perspective; that was the night that the Madrid supporters rose to their feet and applauded Ronaldinho after perhaps his best performance in the club's colors.

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The Mystery of Mascherano and Tevez

West Ham’s capture of Argentinean duo Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez in August stunned the footballing world. The Hammers had pulled of a massive coup to land two of the games most prized assets, but their arrival came under a cloud of mystery.

Corinthians had a partnership deal with Media Sports Investment (MSI) who invested in the club and it is alleged that the company actually owned the rights to all of the clubs players (due to Corinthians being unable to afford the contracts). The partnership between Corinthians and MSI is thought to have gone sour and MSI are believed to haved wanted to ship-out their most prized assets in order to protect their investments.

Both players arrived from Brazilian club Corinthians within 48 hours after being sounded out about a move to West Ham and arrived for undisclosed fees. Speculation mounted as to who actually paid the transfer fees (if any were paid at all) and to who actually owned the contracts.

It is believed that even though the players are registered with West Ham, MSI still own the players contracts and are only using the London club as a shop window to maximise their investment. Before West Ham were offered the players, reports suggested that MSI approached Manchester United and Chelsea with a similar deal, both clubs are believed to have rejected their offer as they were not keen on the idea of not owning the players outright.

English newspaper The Guardian reported that should any club offer £35m for either player West Ham would be forced to sell them, but it is unclear who would pocket the transfer fee.

Since their arrival at Upton Park both players have failed to make any impact on the Premiership and have admitted that they have not fully adapted to life in England. Neither player is a first team regular in the Hammers starting XI and their arrival has coincided in the clubs slump in form. This is linked to reports that there is a rift in the dressing room and this has clearly had an impact on results as West Ham are flirting with relegation.

Newspapper reports suggest that both players will be sold in the January transfer and a host of top European clubs are thought to be showing interest. It is believed that Mascherano was set to join Juventus during the summer but their relegation to Serie B cut-short any potential transfer. The Turin club are still interested in the holding midfielder and are considering sounding out a potential move in the winter transfer window. Barcelona have also been heavily linked with Tevez as they currently have an injury crisis upfront. Carlos Tevez has insisted that he does not want to leave West Ham and has denied rumours of a rift within the Upton Park dressing room and has stated that he is determined to forge a career with The Hammers.

With mystery over who actually owns the players and their contracts, it will be out of Mascherano’s and Tevez’s hands where they end up in the near future.

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Manchester United Under Malcolm Glazer

Manchester United is a term which is known to football fans all over the world. It is a football club, an English football club to be precise. It is based on Old Tafford, United Kingdom. They are also known as the «Red Devils» of England. It is one of the most famous and popular football club with more than 300 million supporters all over the world. 300 million can be roughly estimated as 5% of the total population! They are the most successful and influential club and ever since the 1990s they are rumored to be the richest clubs in existence. The club had a humble beginning during the initial stages and was even closed down on number of occasions due to mounting debts.

Being initially called the Newton Health Y&R, it was said to be sponsored by a health club. Five European trophies have been credited to them ever since the club came into existence. This included one international cup, one European super cup, two European champion’s cup, one cup winner cup. They were bestowed with 12 domestic cups and 16 premier league cups too. They were also relevant in finding and establishing Europe’s G-14 football club. Malcolm Glazer who was an American businessman had invested on Manchester United in 2005. He had paid a staggering $1.47 billion just for a 28.7% share on the team. It was after a year long battle in the courts that he could ultimately get his hands on the team.

He had faced difficulties in claiming the club, due to the facts the takeover had made the club poorer by $850 million. Also he being a businessman, fans did not like the idea of a business man holding the reins of one of the most successful football clubs of the world. They had hoped for someone who had adequate knowledge about the sport to invest on the club. Escalating prices of the tickets also angered the fans as the club often received hefty sums from advertisements and sponsorship dealings. A vast majority of the fans even went to the extent of not renewing their season tickets for the forth coming matches of the Manchester United. Songs disrespecting Glazer and his sons can still be heard on many matches played by Manchester United.

Fans worldwide have been largely discontent by the takeover of the club by Malcolm Glazer. He had played significantly no role in the upcoming of the football club. His children were the ones who enjoyed director posts of the club for sometime. Despite these shortcomings, the club has surged forward under his guidance. He had spent quite large sums of money on the club and even more in roping the world’s best football players into the club. The club had won two major cups in 2008 itself, the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League. It is to be noted that the Glazer group does not interfere with the daily business dealings of Manchester united and have left such activities to David Gill, the chief executive of Manchester united. Steep increase in the prices of the tickets had prompted many faithful followers to stay away from the club matches.

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