Spot the Difference

This image was created well before the present furore over Henry’s handball which sent the Irish out of the World Cup qualifiers last week. But see any differences in the marketing strategy?

On the left is the image in France. Both Federer and Woods have their weapons of choice while Henry stands there nonchalently with anything to play with. The image on the right is in England, Spain and Germany.

It seems in France hand and ball just don’t have that essence of je ne cheat quoi.

German General Quits Over Airstrike

Interesting story this. The head of the German Army General Wolfgang Schneiderhan resigned along with the then-Minister of Defence Franz Josef Jung after a cover-up over the bombing in North Afghanistan of two stolen tankers killing up to 142 civilians. The tankers were stolen by the Taliban and then got stuck in the sand. Civilians came along to siphon off the oil while the Germans marked the target and an F-15 arrived to bomb the site. The resignations only happened after Bild, the German daily released of the video showing the bombing this week.

Seems to make sense doesn’t it? But then you ask how that video was leaked. The US military is hardly known for losing incriminating evidence about itself. The Germans spent 6 months denying the story and mumbling the truth. So you can guess the US military finally leaked the video to rightly implicate the German Army and the two resignations followed soon after. All part of the usual European politics.

The European states are having huge problems in Afghanistan committed themselves to the mission. The Italians have been revealed to be famously paying off the Taliban to not shoot at them so they go home in a blaze of glory, the German troops have rarely left Kabul and/or are too stoned too and the rest are tucked away in the nicer parts of the country biding their time until home time. The Brits, Danes, Estonians, Americans and Canadians are meanwhile fighting into the wind like Sisyphus. Add the muddled consensus over the European President and High Representative of Foreign Affairs, two jobs that will involve more negotiating to a muddled decision and you can see the mess the EU has when it tries to act as a union.

Happy Thanksgiving!

ONE thing Americans should be thankful for this Thanksgiving is that they have not put on as much weight as the average turkey. Between 1960 and 2008, turkeys bulked up by around 11lb (5kg) to 29lb, an increase of 64%, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Coincidentally, in that same period the average American man gained 28lb, almost the equivalent of a turkey, according to data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, another government agency, and a Gallup poll of 2008. This year an estimated 250m turkeys will be raised, 8% fewer than a year ago, but still almost enough for one bird each for America’s 308m people.

Explaining the deficit

Been having some epic economics debates with my mate Dan who lives in Korea right now and has recently discovered the Austrian School of Economics and is intent on debating its value with me. All cool and I have enjoyed waking up in the morning, opening my email at work and seeing another thesis to be read and replied to. His pet project is the US economy and it’s deficit. I understand and agree with a lot of the economics but also point out that politics backed up in no small measure by the demands of the voters undermines any theoretical economic experiment.

Click the title for an excellent overview from the Economist.

Eric the Right

Cantona also criticised the attitude of Thierry Henry, whose handball set up France’s winning goal in their 2-1 aggregate play-off victory over the Republic of Ireland.

“What shocked me most wasn’t the handball, honestly,” said Cantona. “What shocked me most was that at the end of the match, in front of the television cameras, this player (Henry) went and sat down next to an Irish player to console him, even though he’d screwed them three minutes earlier.

“If I’d been Irish, he wouldn’t have lasted three seconds.”

Credit to Elgig.

England 6 – 19 New Zealand

Far better performance. We looked…dare I say it… dynamic at times.

The backrow looked aggressive and scrambled well. Shaw brings a lot of power and nous. Does the hard yeards around the fringes too. Considering the front row is missing maybe 4 guys, the pack is looking up.

Hodgson looked game. Cipriani is an England Saxon for a while. Wilkinson not only controls the game well but makes his presence felt defensively positionally and in the tackle. The centres are waiting for Flutey’s guile to come back. Really not convinced by Gerathy. He makes bad distribution decisions, looks lightweight and constantly runs into brick walls. His job is to take the pressure off Wilkinson but right now he almost always puts the team under pressure. Cueto should always have been full back in present circumstances. Neither winger convinces me.
And the guys from the bench were important too. Fairly deep there considering the injuries.

It’s not a win and wins, no matter how, are all that matter. But it’s progress.