That’s right, Nickle-ass, I’m calling you out! You talk a good game, claiming you deserve to be in the starting line-up every match, but lately your play is convincing some Gooners that Bendtner is Danish for FRIGGIN’ GODAWFUL FIRST TOUCH!

How many absolute sitters have you missed recently? How many times has a brilliant pass been undone, by you booting the ball in such a clumsy fashion, that a sure goal opportunity evaporates?

Mind you, Nicky ol’ boy, these are rhetorical questions.

Last night’s Champions League match against Roma was no different. Are you aware the Guardian called you “hapless”? To be fair, they were referring to EbouĂ© as well.

That’s right, hide your face!

You alone are not responsible for Arsenal’s lack of goals. Plenty of your first team compatriots share your inability to find the back of the net recently. But let’s stay focused on you for right now.

Now, there is a method to my madness. Remember, it was not all that long ago, I was deriding William “Big Willy” Gallas and telling anyone who would listen, he should be off. And what happened? He’s been pretty rock-solid in the back four every since. Steady run of play, nary a peep to the press, no outbursts on the pitch.

Of course, I’m unwilling to take all the credit for this turnaround. But should you prove me wrong and start scoring some goals, I’ll know I’m on to something. Until then, cock your ear towards San Francisco, where you will hear the exasperated shouts of BENDTNER! emanating from Maggie McGarrys Irish Pub.

And now for your listening pleasure, AC/DC!

Going to see the elephant for a hug

I’m not as big on hugs as some people. While I don’t mind hugging friends, family, and supermodels (only kidding, missus), I tend to shy away from hugging strangers.

Maybe it’s a byproduct of my upbringing. After all, my father, who is a world-renown therapist, never missed an opportunity to hug anyone who walked through the door of our home. Whatever the reason, I’m not exactly a candidate for the free hugs movement.

So when my wife told me the lululemon athletica store on Union Street was giving out free hugs, I wasn’t exactly planning on rushing over. That is, until she mentioned that some of the hugs were being dispensed by a furry elephant, I had to go see for myself. I’m certainly not a plushophile, but there’s an inherent joy in seeing mascots interacting with kids, the giant paper-mache heads in the Chinese New Year’s parade,

or the sausage races that take place before every sixth inning of every Milwaukee Brewer’s home game.

Now I wasn’t expecting it to be as transformative as the free massages that the lululemon store on Grant Street provided in conjunction with Posoas Massage + Bodywork recently, but free hugs from a woman wearing an elephant costume? Count me in!

We were not disappointed. There were two very nice humans giving hugs as well, but the great fun was watching the kids of all ages cautiously approach and hug the elephant. And of course, hugging the elephant ourselves.

The bad relationship nexus outside our window

I’m not sure what it is about our block in San Francisco, but we are regularly awakened by couples in the throes of a relationship meltdown. This phenomena has manifolded in recent years. Maybe the advent of reality television has given more people the confidence to act out their ill-fated dramas in public, though I suspect from the things we’ve heard, these unions were on shaky ground from their inception.

Last night for example, I was awakened by the plaintive wail of a woman responding to the rage of her partner, as he attempted to shout her into submission. From across the street, I could not make out the words, but the gist seemed clear enough. Then moments later, another couple passed under our window, she wanted to linger for a moment, perhaps to be sure the other woman was not in danger. Unfortunately, her male companion was not at all like-minded, telling her, This is one of these stupid things you do that drives me f–king crazy.

And so it goes on our street. Other gems of tenderness that have roused me from a good night’s sleep have included a man telling a tearful woman, Between your neurosis and your insecurities, you are making me crazy, a diminutive woman poking the man towering over her repeated, yelling, Stupid, you’re stupid. These things always happen because you’re stupid. I looked at this timid fellow, standing there and taking it, thinking, maybe she has a point.

Then there was the young lady running down the street, as her admirer plodded after her shouting, I love you, I love you, why are you running?, I love you. I’ve lost track of the number of times we’ve failed to sleep through the night because of two people, who by every indication, are not meant to be together.

When discussing this, my missus and I alway wonder, what has become of boundaries, both private and public. Not only would we never speak to each other in such a fashion, but any conflict that does arrive, is played out sans audience, as anything else, would not only show a complete lack of decorum, and be just plain embarrassing.

Actually, dear reader, the truth is, I’d be in BIG trouble.