Can you describe bacon in one word?

. But could there be a language that Bacon is translated into the word Santa, or vice-versa? If thats the case (I can’t imagine it being a possibility at all).

This is going to be a stretch. And should be submitted for inclusion in The AB Moderating Guide available for purchase soon at the AB Store, along with the AB T-shirts. It may have qualified as a wrong category flag (I can’t imagine it being a possibility there either). This is a classic example of moderating gone wrong

Red Hat Announces General Availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 7

(NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 7, featuring a new deployment and management tool that simplifies installation, eases day-to-day management tasks, and establishes the underpinnings for orchestrated live system updates and upgrades for subsequent releases. Customers are dramatically simplifying and accelerating their OpenStack deployments using Cisco UCS and UCS Service Profiles and experiencing time-to-delivery of new cloud services and applications much faster.

Trusted Integration and Ecosystem

Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform is backed by one of the largest OpenStack ecosystems, with more than 350 certified partners for OpenStack compute, storage, networking, and independent software vendor (ISV) applications and services. In addition, version 7 expands the high availability for Neutron routers and improves the monitoring and reporting of the router to help network operators maintain uptime. Version 7 includes several new features aimed at accelerating the adoption of OpenStack including:

Simplified deployment and management – Cloud operators now have a simpler means of day-to-day operation management and resource provisioning, using the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform director. It offers a simplified and automated cloud installation tool with system-wide health checking for a proper deployment. Version 7 introduces this via the Neutron modular layer 2 (ML2) and Open vSwitch (OVS) port security mechanisms included in the community Kilo release. Traditional workloads requiring high availability on OpenStack – Making it easier to migrate traditional, business-critical applications that require high availability to OpenStack, Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 7 introduces compute host node high availability through integrated, automated monitoring and failover services from Red Hat Enterprise Linux. With added support for NFS and POSIX file system types, this significantly reduces the amount of storage and time required, by backing up only the incremental changes since the last full state backup. Linux is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company’s views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.

Jim McHugh, vice president of products and solutions marketing for Cisco Unified Computing System and Data Center, Cisco

Its been nearly a year since the announcement of Unified Computing System Integrated Infrastructure for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform (UCSO).

Red Hat, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the Shadowman logo are trademarks of Red Hat, Inc., registered in the U.S.

Based on the OpenStack community Kilo release, Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform is a co-engineered solution that starts with the proven and trusted foundation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and integrates with Red Hats OpenStack technology to form a production-ready cloud platform. Working together with Red Hat on the “On-Ramp to Enterprise OpenStack” program has helped Intel build a solid base of co-engineered, OpenStack deployments for broad adoption by enterprises. As a testament to our strong collaboration in engineering and development, the new functionality in Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 7 announced today will also be immediately available on Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure. This new capability monitors host nodes and includes the ability to automatically evacuate virtual machines from hosts, restarting workloads on alternate, available hosts. Additionally it eases daily operational management and resource provisioning for cloud operators, including an automated ready-state provisioning of bare-metal resources to simplify the deployment and repurposing of hardware resources on an on-demand basis. In addition to these factors, actual future performance, outcomes, and results may differ materially because of more general factors including (without limitation) general industry and market conditions and growth rates, economic and political conditions, governmental and public policy changes and the impact of natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. Incremental Backup – Storage administrators can now benefit from faster block storage backups and reduced capacity needs with support for snapshot-based backups. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this press release may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. With increased adoption of OpenStack, we are excited about addressing the need for reduced time to solution with a truly open approach that enables automated deployment and lifecycle management of the infrastructure.”

Jim Ganthier, vice president and general manager of Engineered Solutions and Cloud, Dell

Enterprise customers today are consistently faced with escalating requirements and less resources. Greater security control – Telco customers now have greater granularity and control over network traffic ports at the virtual machine level. Customers are looking for ways to reallocate the time and costs spent on cloud deployment and operations today to strategic, business outcome producing projects tomorrow. We are not affiliated with, endorsed or sponsored by the OpenStack Foundation, or the OpenStack community. The forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company’s views as of the date of this press release and these views could change. and other countries. Network flexibility – New Neutron networking features offer greater flexibility and improved network redundancy. Learn more at Based on the community-driven OpenStack management project TripleO, the new director combines multiple technologies to offer a single powerful tool which also establishes a new framework that can be used for live orchestrated OpenStack and director upgrades for version 7 and subsequent releases. Red Hat Ceph Storage Server subscription entitlements are sold separately from Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform subscriptions. Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 7 introduces expanded integration with certified partners, including support for NetApp Data ONTAP, 7-mode, and E-Series, including initial setup and configuration via the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform director. The release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 7 is the next step in offering enterprise-grade OpenStack cloud solutions that are both easier and faster to deploy and manage. At Dell, we are pleased to continue our work with Red Hat on co-engineered reference architectures, and look forward to jointly offering an even simpler, faster and more cost effective path to an enterprise-ready OpenStack cloud.

RALEIGH, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Red Hat, Inc. and other countries.

. Forward-looking statements provide current expectations of future events based on certain assumptions and include any statement that does not directly relate to any historical or current fact. In addition, Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 7 brings integrated setup and installation of Red Hat Ceph Storage 1.3 server and clients. Network operators can benefit from several IPv6 enhancements, including the ability to support direct network routing between tenants and the external gateway.

Additional Resources

Connect with Red Hat

About Red Hat, Inc.

Mauri Whalen, vice president, Software and Services Group and director of Core System Development, Intel Corporation

The enterprise data center is being redefined by increasing customer demands and advances in technology, coupled with the growth of cloud-based solutions and the move to a software defined infrastructure (SDI). This allows customers to maintain a tightened security level over the greater OpenStack cloud, while allowing virtualized network function (VNF) traffic through each virtual machine, as necessary.

Supporting Quotes

Radhesh Balakrishnan, general manager, OpenStack, Red Hat

“We have raised the standard for production-ready OpenStack with Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 7. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. This partner network offers solutions that complement the broad support and compatibility provided in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux ecosystem. The OpenStack mark is either a registered trademark/service mark or trademark/service mark of the OpenStack Foundation, in the United States and other countries, and is used with the OpenStack Foundation’s permission. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including: risks related to the ability of the Company to compete effectively; the ability to deliver and stimulate demand for new products and technological innovations on a timely basis; delays or reductions in information technology spending; the effects of industry consolidation; the integration of acquisitions and the ability to market successfully acquired technologies and products; uncertainty and adverse results in litigation and related settlements; the inability to adequately protect Company intellectual property and the potential for infringement or breach of license claims of or relating to third party intellectual property; risks related to data and information security vulnerabilities; ineffective management of, and control over, the Company’s growth and international operations; fluctuations in exchange rates; and changes in and a dependence on key personnel, as well as other factors contained in our most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q (copies of which may be accessed through the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website at, including those found therein under the captions “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”. This combination addresses the critical dependencies OpenStack has on Linux and provides a highly scalable, fault-tolerant platform for building private or public clouds.

Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Originally launched in 2013, this new release is Red Hats fifth iteration of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, which has been successfully deployed worldwide by customers in key verticals including public sector, financial, telecommunications, and education. As a connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, and open source communities, Red Hat helps create relevant, innovative technologies that liberate resources for growth and prepare customers for the future of IT

Pentagon Reveals Size of U.S. Nuclear Arsenal; Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Criticizes U.S.

“That’s not surprising Iran will do whatever it can to divert attention away from its own record and to attempt to evade accountability.”

The Iranian president denied in an address to the conference attendees that his country’s nuclear program poses a threat to world security, saying that reports his country is producing nuclear weapons are based on “not a single credible proof.”

He later prompted a walk out by delegations from the U.S., Great Britain and France, saying, “Regrettably the United States has not only used nuclear weapons but also continues to threaten to use such weapons against other countries including my country.”

Last month, President Obama revealed the Nuclear Policy Review which vowed that the U.S. currently has 5,113 nuclear warheads in its stockpile an 84 percent reduction from a peak of 31,255 warheads in 1967.

“For those who doubt that the United States will do its part on disarmament, this is our record, these are our commitments, and they send a clear, unmistakable signal,” said U.S. Lebanon holds the body’s rotating presidency in May, making a vote on sanctions unlikely until June.

U.S. officials say they hope most countries will agree to back strengthening the IAEA so that the nuclear inspections body can then step up its pressure on Iran.

“The Review Conference operates by consensus, which makes the adoption of bold, ground-breaking final documents unlikely,” said ISIS’ Shire.

Critical for the conference’s success will be the support of Egypt, which leads the 188-members Non-Aligned Movement. Last month Obama convened an unprecedented gathering of world leaders in Washington to discuss preventing the proliferation of nuclear material.

The U.S. would like to see unanimous support on the United Nations Security Council for tough sanctions to isolate Iran, but Tehran has sought to drive a wedge between them and other countries on the council who are wary of supporting additional sanctions at this time, namely non-veto members Brazil and Turkey. Hopes Release of Stockpile Data Will Advance Arms Control Talks Both Brazil and Turkey have said they believe there is still time to negotiate with Iran. U.S. That proposal was put on the table last October, but has yet to be accepted by Iran.

Brazil’s president will visit Tehran later this month to try to persuade Ahmadinejad to negotiate. Egypt, however, has said it wants to discuss one of the world’s worst-kept secrets: Israel’s undeclared nuclear weapons program.

The Obama administration has made nuclear security a cornerstone of its foreign policy. The United States today for the first time since 1962 disclosed the size of its nuclear arsenal in what officials described as an as an unprecedented unveiling of a state secret and an attempt to encourage other countries to be open about their nuclear capabilities.

The Pentagon announced the U.S. Credible evidence is available in this connection that will be publicized if needed during the forthcoming conference on the global fight against terrorism in Tehran.”

The White House said Ahmadinejad’s speech was full of “wild accusations.”

Ahmadinedjad said every country should be willing to give up its nuclear arms and asked Obama this “humane movement” if he is still “committed to his motive of change.”

Despite Ahmadinejad’s insistence that there is no evidence of Iran working towards a nuclear weapon, U.N. Turkey recently suggested it could help in a proposed deal that would send some of Iran’s nuclear fuel abroad for enrichment before it is returned for the Tehran Research Reactor, thereby denying Iran the opportunity to use it in a bomb. Last year Obama called for a nuclear-free world during a speech in Prague. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before the U.N.’s conference on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Her comments were a direct rebuke to those made earlier today by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said the U.S. as a rogue nation. would not use nuclear weapons to attack any country. had not done enough to make good on a previous pledge to reduce its nuclear arsenal.

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer contributed to this report.

. he is “unable to confirm that all nuclear material is in peaceful activities because Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation.”

“Iran’s nuclear program is clouded, both because there are serious questions about the peaceful nature of that program and because they have not granted the IAEA the transparency necessary for them to address these questions,” said Jacqueline Shire, a senior analyst and nuclear expert at the Institute for Science and International Security.

Ahmadinejad’s visit comes at a sensitive time as the United States and its allies are pushing for another round of tough sanctions on Tehran.

The U.S. During his speech, Ahmadinejad repeatedly depicted the U.S. This year, Obama traveled to the Czech capital again to sign a new nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia. The policy included a caveat that said exceptions will be made for nations — such as Iran — that do not comply with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

A senior Defense official said that with today’s release of what is normally a closely guarded state secret, “the United States will set a standard for declassification of this information.”

Iranian President Lashes Out at U.S. has not met its non-proliferation commitments and uses nuclear weapons to threaten other countries.

“This morning, Iran’s president offered the same tired, false and sometimes wild accusations against the United States and other parties at this conference,” Clinton said. Lebanon, whose government includes members of the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah, is not expected to vote in favor of a sanctions resolution. Brazil has been lobbied heavily by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who traveled there in March to discuss the matter. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Iran earlier in the conference to “clarify the doubts and concerns” that Iran is stockpiling and producing nuclear weapons.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said at the U.N. In a series of shots, some veiled, at the U.S., Admadinejad said:

“Those who carried out the first atomic bombardments are among the most hated individuals in human history.”

“The United States has never respected any of its commitments.”

“It should be borne in mind that in the previous decade, the United States has made — has had most of its wars and conflicts with those who were once its friends.”

“Arming terrorists with nuclear weapons are only conceivable by those states which possess such weapons and have used them and also have a long record of supporting terrorists.”

“Major terrorist networks are supported by the United States intelligence agencies and the Zionist regime. hopes to avoid the failure of the last NPT review conference in 2005, which fell apart in large part due to concerns from many countries that the U.S. She’ll meet again today with Brazil’s foreign minister.

The United States has modest goals for the NPT review conference, held every five years

Stupid Looking Animals – I Challenge You All to Come Up With Animals More Stupid Looking Than Those I Name Here

We shall see.

The proliferation of stupid looking creatures that never needed to be here in the first place is a concern. Also, it could do with a bra, really. And what is with the lipstick smeared all over it’s face? Not your colour, luvvie. Nothing remotely resembling this has ever walked the earth and if it did, we would kill it for being the most stupid looking and random creature in a long line of stupid looking and random creatures. It must be eating half it’s own body weight, looking at the size of the thing. Also, people should stop saying that we are all made of stardust and the Saki Monkey is basically made up of the same material as we are because this is the most vicious lie anyone has ever told and I will have none of it.

This creature is most likely an escapee from the props set of the first Star Trek. It clearly loves itself (you can tell by it’s posture) but clearly it is just another unsightly random freak of nature. well it doesn’t bear thinking about. What is going on?!

Sorry, but the appearance of the so-called Saki Monkey thing is just taking the piss now. It is wreaking meaningless havoc wherever it goes and is frankly becoming something of a nuisance to Trafford folk everywhere. The randomly useless nature of this species is unprecedented. It is a complete disgrace.

And so we come to the most pointless and implausible of all the earth’s creatures. It wants to tone things down a tad, if you ask me. Either that or she is a prankster and is trying to mess with our heads. You can tell how debauched it is as well, if you look at it’s eyes. I cannot countenance it. This is nothing short of a shambles. I know I have probably omitted a load of creatures that are even more stupid looking than the ones listed here and I would be interested to hear people’s thoughts on the matter. Pictured above is what is commonly known as a Louis Van Gaal. There is no way the creature pictured above is anything but a photoshop.

And now look at this loquacious thing.. I don’t even know if it’s a bear, a dog or an ape. We believe it originates from the European lowlands but now it lives in a swamp in Trafford, which is near Manchester, England. What the hell is the dog/bear/ape thing portrayed above and what does it want? Not to put too fine a point on it, it looks like something you would expect to find in a shop window in Amsterdam. Why would God make a creature like this? For that matter, why would Noah take two of them on the arc with him and how did they even breed anyway? This one looks like my cat’s bed, ffs, and if the cat were to see it … She is always playing nasty tricks like this on us. Please leave your comments if you have a mind to.

And last but not least:-


And now for some more silly-arsed pointlessness in the shape of the Saki Monkey pictured below. I bet it doesn’t know itself or can’t make it’s mind up and is indulging in the animal equivalent of cross dressing between genders. I fear she will be the death of us all. Or if you would prefer, please feel free to post your own nomination for the most ridiculous looking thing on earth. The pointlessness is breathtaking and apart from anything else, the preposterous rodent pictured here isn’t helping itself in that it clearly hasn’t seen the inside of a barber’s shop in some considerable time. Mother nature is a bit of a deranged clown, really, or she could never have dreamt up such a thing as this. It is probably the latter, actually. Some are calling for a cull. We all have a stake in this. I distinctly remember there being an episode where stupid looking fur balls such as this took over the Enterprise and no one knew what to do about it. Someone should give it a mirror and tell it to join a gym. I therefore invite the reader to complete a very quick survey to ascertain which of the creatures pictured above poses the greatest risk to our pleasant looking planet

Allan Rodrigues de Souza: Liverpool FC’s on-loan Brazilian scores stunner in Finland

With nearly 20 players on loan across all corners of Europe, there is bound to be some great bits of skill for Liverpool FC fans to get excited about.

Step forward Brazilian midfielder Allan Rodrigues de Souza.

The 18-year-old, who joined the club from Internacional in a 500,000 deal this summer, moved to top-flight Finnish side Seinajoen Jalkapallokerho – or, to those who appreciate brevity, SJK – on loan.

And the highly-rated teenager took little time to show what he’s capable of, scoring for SJK on his debut in their 1-1 draw with KuPS.

Collecting the ball from out wide, Allan curls a cracker into the far right-hand corner.

SJK are currently top of the Finnish Veikkausliga, level on points with HJK Helsinki, although the side from the capital have a game in hand.

Bring him home, Brendan.

WATCH: Souza bags debut goal

Getting Things Done – InfoBarrel

Every situation is different and what works for one person in the area of getting things done may not work at all for another. You may see the benefits right away but it might take a few weeks for the time savings and peace of mind difference to become noticeable. After a few weeks, additional trips to the grocery store during the week were all but eliminated. When used with reoccuring tasks, batching is a technique where selected tasks are not performed each time the opportunity arises, but rather saved until a predetermined amount or predetermined date/time has occured. This is a techinque called batching. Just ” Getting things done ” seems to take up more and more of our time. There is one personal productivity technique, however, that can be effective for just about everyone. Whites – Every two weeksGrocery Shopping – Once a week, Monday eveningGas – Once a week, after grocery shopping

At Work

Checking Email – 9am, 1pm and 4pmChecking Voicemail – sameFiling – Once a week, Friday afternoonWeekly planning – Friday afternoon for next week with update and review on Monday

In the above examples, for me, therewere some unintended added time savings when these tasks were batched. A simple example would be: Going online 3 times during the week to pay 10 bills is going to take longer than going online once a week to pay all 10 bills. Once you are hooked, start adding more and more reoccuring tasks to what is already on your batch schedule. Same result, less time.Using batchingand putting reoccuring tasks on a schedule will take these tasks off of your mind since they are in a system thatis part of your weekly/daily schedule.You can spend yourtime thinking about other more important things.

Some of the reoccuring tasks that Ihave batched an the intervals in which I perform these tasks.

These are just some of examples of how batching has worked for me. Give it a try and Good Luck !

At Home

Bill paying – Once a week, Sunday eveningDesk Organizing – Once a week, Sunday eveningLaundry – Once a week, Thursday evening. that deal with personal productivity and ways to get things done more quickly and efficiently. At work, Iwas always able to locate items because they have been filed in a timely manner.. There are hundreds of books, seminars, techniques , etc.

Just about everyone these days has too much to do and not enough time to do it. I never was washing and drying clothes late at night or early in the morning before work. There are two main reasons why batching tasks can be such a great thing for people who are trying to stay organized and free up time.

The overall time spent on a specific task decreases. I suggest selecting a few of these tasks and perhaps and few other reoccuring tasks of yours which come to mind and try the batching technique for a couple of months

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Xavi or Iniesta? | Yahoo Answers

but in 2014 what happened when Xavi didn’t play?

we’ve seen that in the first 20-30mins xavi created 2-3 1 on 1 chances for diego costa against the keeper but costa missed them and got a penalty from one of these chances which xabi alonso converted as a goal, but still xavi wasn’t at his peak anymore so the likes of Silva & Iniesta needed to do what xavi did in the past.. (control the game) and be the center of everything which both couldn’t do. .

But Andres Iniesta is the 2nd best player in the history of spain imo

even in the 2012 euro he was amazing and so was iniesta

Xavi, but why?

Xavi is spain’s heart, watch the 2008 euros and the 2010 world cup and you will see the player spain was built around, he passes the most, most touches, most chances created, best accuracy, barely loses the ball

Football: VIEIRA’S ARSENAL RETURN; Kocaelispor 4 Arsenal 1.

All rights reserved.

PATRICK Vieira was back in an Arsenal shirt last night.

He finally played for the Gunners six weeks after vowing he had finished with the club.

Vieira then spent the half-time break in a warm-up routine on the pitch. . Then a similar slip-up by Matthew Upson let Razarov slide home.

Oleg Luzhny’s mistake in the fourth minute allowed Zdravko Razarov to slot a simple shot past Seaman.

Vieira’s appearance marked the end of a dramatic turn-around in the saga which has rocked Highbury all summer long, with Vieira’s appearance finally backing boss Arsene Wenger’s assertion that he will remain at the club in the coming season.

Ray Parlour belted in from close range amid a goalmouth melee to pull one back in the 15th minute.


French midfielder Vieira came on as a second-half substitute in the pre-season friendly against the Turkish club Kocaelispor Istanbul in Austria and was booked 14 minutes later.

ENGLAND coach Sven Goran Eriksson talks with Sol Campbell last night


No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.

Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning

Copa del Rey preview — Real Madrid vs. Barcelona — Graham Hunter

“We just need to exchange a look and we understand what to do,” says his center-back partner Gerard Pique.

First of all, Madrid’s image doesn’t need more of the damage it received last spring. It never happened.

From that moment on, Mourinho has patently learned something. So it’s healthy to report that the buildup to these games has been significantly less provocative, angry and accusatory.

Over to the Special One.

Then there was the matter of defending Real Madrid’s interests, defending its name.

The two strikers are approaching 25 goals between them despite alternating as first choice for months. Although Karim Benzema has scored three times in his past three Clasicos, it’s a mystery to me why Higuain, a leader, a fighter and a scorer, has only “enjoyed” 72 minutes of the past 270 against Barca.

Graham Hunter is a Barcelona-based freelance writer for who specializes in La Liga and the Spanish national team. The essence of Xavi’s thinking was borne out: If you maintain the ball, using it to jab and torment, the opponent will succumb 99 times out of 100. Mourinho needs to screw his courage to the sticking point and stay true to the Real Madrid philosophy — it’s time to attack, use intelligence, to produce secret reserves of mental and physical energy and to test whether the defensive flaws Barcelona showed in its past two matches were a blip or a pattern.

Should Puyol play, Pique, for one, will be delighted. . Things ran out of control.

[+] EnlargePepe

Javier Soriano/Getty ImagesPepe is a beast at the back, but when he’s deployed in midfield he tends to lack self-control in tackling. Can he really afford to ignore the maxim that attack is the best form of defense? Can he really afford another flop against Barcelona? We shall see.

Possession, in that case, is more than nine-tenths of the law.

But Barcelona has to defend old-school-style, too. Carles is an example for young and old alike. It’s the credo he has been taught since before he was a teenager during thousands of training hours in futbol base (youth football) at FC Barcelona — and which, to be fair, is something that has come naturally to him while playing football as a kid in Placa del Progres, Terrassa.

For Barcelona, there have been many times, particularly under Pep Guardiola, when that ethos has soaringly, shiningly proven its efficacy.

What caught my attention was when Xavi addressed the media Sunday in the aftermath of Barca making hard work of beating a bold and inventive Real Betis side 4-2 in one of the best matches of the season. Follow us on Twitter and stay informed. But in April and May, Puyol ushered his team through two draws plus a victory over Real Madrid in the space of 16 days.

Some of the cosseting Puyol has needed this season, being used irregularly, has been the bill to pay for how vital his partnership with Gerard Pique was last spring.

So if Puyol doesn’t take the field alongside Pique on Wednesday night, then either he is injured or Guardiola cares a great deal less about the Copa del Rey than about La Liga or the Champions League. You can reach him on Twitter at That 3-1 win was brutally emphatic despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s two gilt-edged missed chances. used the ball to tire and then toy with Madrid.

After Barca weathered Madrid’s impressive storm that fell just short of being perfect, Lionel Messi & Co. Mourinho’s “Por que, por que, por que” rant, in which he seemed on the verge of blaming everyone from John Wilkes Booth to Mother Theresa for how referees treated his team, was the low point of the 12 Jose-versus-Pep contests we have seen between Barca on one hand and Inter or Real Madrid on the other.

But for many born-and-bred Madrilenos and Madridistas, the unpardonable sin was renouncing attack, verve and ambition in the 0-2 Champions League semifinal defeat at the Bernabeu last season.The concept of defense that day was to deploy as the seek-and-destroy attack dog in midfield, cede possession to Barca and play rope-a-dope until the Spanish champions tired so that they could be picked off by a couple of fresh subs. No, the 1-1 Champions League second-leg match in Barcelona that Madrid could easily have won, plus the 2-2 and 3-2 Spanish Supercup games, are the encounters in which Madrid was bold, pressed and harassed as the players streamed forward with attacking hunger.

In Spanish, they call it “tu a tu.” In English, we’d say “me and you,” or “going toe to toe.”

Each time the margins have been infinitesimally small, Madrid came away having given, in a football sense at least, a tremendous account of itself.

Pepe has been offering himself up to play in midfield again this week and I pray, for the sake of the game and for the sake of Real Madrid’s reputation, that (A) Mourinho does not take that regressive step; and (B) if he does, that Pepe attempts to avoid his tendency to show all the self-control of a fox in a chicken coop. Secondly, Pepe and Sergio Ramos are a rapid and effective defensive pairing. But that’s the groove I’m in right now.

The Copa del Rey has paired holder Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona again, this time in the quarterfinals, just as it did for an epic, bruising and ultimately deeply significant final in April.Los Blancos won that night at the Mestalla, and I, for one, was hugely pleased for one of football’s all-time greats, Iker Casillas, after he finally lifted the trophy that had eluded him for so long.

Now we can enjoy two more Clasicos over the next eight days with all the operatic drama they unerringly present. As the little Catalan maestro turned to face yet another Madrid episode in his extraordinary career, he said: “We will go to the Bernabeu and try to be the main protagonists in the match. “He [Puyol] has had a huge influence over me,” Pique says. Join

For Madrid, the best form of defense has to be attack. 25 at Camp Nou.

Although I have never been afraid to admit that some of the ill will between the sides is important to make the dish nice and spicy, there are limits — limits that I believe Jose Mourinho, Pepe and Marcelo ignored last season. In Rome against Manchester United, Barca made good on Sir Alex Ferguson’s prophecy that they can “kill you with their passing” while winning the 2009 Champions League. At the Bernabeu last month, Guardiola’s team used its default style to first blunt and then destroy Real Madrid after falling behind to the fastest goal in Clasico history.

[+] EnlargeCarles Puyol

Javier Soriano/Getty ImagesCarles Puyol helped his side defeat Real Madrid 3-1 in the league in December. Moreover, if that partnership is broken up, the pairings that are left, especially given Alvaro Arbeloa’s absence through suspension, are significantly second-best.

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Don’t miss a moment of the latest soccer coverage from around the world. All that has deepened our defensive partnership to the extent that we just need to exchange a look and we understand what to do. He played sparingly from January onward and suffered a relapse on the eve of the Champions League final.

Graham Hunter is a Barcelona-based freelance writer for who specializes in La Liga and the Spanish national team. The three best games of his reign when playing Barca, strangely, do not include the only time he has won (the Copa del Rey final). Ditto Wembley 2011. We get together for lunch or dinner. Our chemistry has always been good and our friendship goes way beyond the dressing room. “It’s like having my brother in the dressing room. We will try to dominate possession — keeping the ball is the best defense which exists.”

Obviously, Xavi means that sincerely. But the more the snarling attitude led to red cards, and as the opprobrium rained down, the less likely Madrid looked like besting its rival. Let’s not make any bones about that.

Last season, the return of Carles Puyol against Madrid from a long injury that eventually required knee surgery was little short of heroic. Over the past week, both Espanyol (1-1) and Real Betis (4-2) have shown that if you really give Guardiola’s men a chasing, close them down high up the pitch, produce endless energy and play with intelligence, you can both score, and — given Madrid’s quality of footballers — even win.

No doubt, Barcelona almost always raises its game on arrival in the vicinity of the Santiago Bernabeu, and no doubt that a month ago, Madrid ended up looking like a pale and pathetic shadow against the Spanish and European champions. He’s been captain for a long time, which is a pressurized position in a club like this. Gonzalo Higuain was largely unavailable to Mourinho last season because of injury, but he looked effective in the Champions League and had a good goal disallowed. Perhaps it’s time they were united in the team and Madrid showed some daring. The first one is Wednesday at the Santiago Bernabeu, and the return leg is Jan. But that should have no influence this week. It’s in the center-back position where Pepe does his best work.

Just before two teams that have already scored 203 competitive goals between them this season do battle once again, it might seem strange to talk about defense rather than glory in their extravagant attacking power. Not so much now because we’ve been winning for three years, but during the period [when] we weren’t winning, it was very tough to be captain.”

So now on to the thornier subject of how Real Madrid “defends” against Barcelona.

Last season, Mourinho began to look a little like Mickey Mouse in the “Fantasia” version of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” Tired of being beaten by Barcelona (Mourinho had faced the Catalans 16 times with Chelsea, Inter and Madrid, winning only three), he had the bright idea of turning his defensive strategy into something close to unarmed combat