October 27, 2008

Horse 929 - Keep the Blue Flag Flying High?

Speaking to the BBC after the game, Scolari admitted he wasn’t too disappointed with his side’s performance and bemoaned Liverpool’s good fortune in front of goal.

“I think we played a normal game against Liverpool. It’s a derby and we created three or four good opportunities,” said the Chelsea boss, “They had more luck than us and they make a goal.”

Somehow I don't agree with Scolari. Notwithstanding the fact that Chelsea v Liverpool is not a derby, I question his theory that Liverpool had more "luck".

Victory for Liverpool was fully deserved, as is their place at the top of the table. Whatever Chelsea make of the outcome, the visitors gave another indication that they may become champions of England for the first time since 1990. This piece of evidence clicks into place beside the comeback against Manchester United at Anfield last month.

This game made fewer demands. The margin of victory might have been wider, Rafael Benítez's side almost doubling their lead in the 62nd minute when Xabi Alonso's free-kick cannoned off a post.

The Gaurdian (sic) conceeds that Liverpool deserved its victory. Perhaps Scolari was looking at the match facts:
Shots (on Goal)
Chelsea - 17(2) Liverpool - 11(3)
Chelsea - 4 Liverpool - 1
Time in Possession
Chelsea - 60% Liverpool - 40%
Chelsea - 2 Liverpool - 2
However, the match facts don't entirely tell all of the story.

What this shows is that Chelsea held the ball for longer, sprayed it around more often and made more forays into offside territory. Perhaps almost ironically it shows that they spent more time paddling the ball around their back 4 than Liverpool did. This was the real story of this fixture.

With two sides both unbeaten and on 20 points heading into the fixture, what should have been a definate display to attack and take 3 points, turned into something that could have easily been a snore draw. In fact even Alonso's 9th minute strike only went in because it took a wicked deflection off of Jose Bosingwa.

It also shows the power of mastering conditions at home. Chelsea were unbeaten at Stamford Bridge in their previous 86 matches - the last team to do so was Arsenal on February 21st, 2004 during their season unbeaten.

From there the match more or less lost its spark. Chelsea although made the odd thrust into Liverpool territory found that a Benitez managed side still is very good at the counter, and rather than press on at the 18th yard box, they were content to sit at about 35 yards away and we all know that hitting from out there is optomistic at best, unless you pull something brilliant out.

How Ironic do these two articles now look?


Either way, I have one eye and it's red and Chelsea are feeling blue. Liverpool top o'the league and 23 points is their best ever start to a season... ever.

October 24, 2008

Horse 928 - Numb3rs

I have a strange fascination with kit numbers on footbal shirts. Whilst cricket, american football, baseball, the AFL and ice hockey seemingly let their players get away with big numbers on their shirts, the football kit until only very used to take the stance that the first XI was something important. I guess all of this is changing.

The current AC Milan squad has the following

76 Andriy Shevchenko
77 Luca Antonini
80 Ronaldinho
84 Mathieu Flamini

Bear in mind that Ronaldinho also made his debut for AC Milan in the 99 kit. The only reason I can think of is that this must be some sort of marketing thing.

99 Vitor Baia
The Portuguese keeper donned the number 99 shirt for the first time for Porto's European Cup victory in 2004.

88 Gianluigi Buffon
Buffon was accused of being a fascist after requesting the number 88 while at Parma. His critics claimed this was number code for HH or Heil Hitler. The keeper himself claimed the gesture was his numeric tribute to an Italian saying about strong men having four balls.

55 Dominik Werling
There are 17 vacant squad numbers between Barnsley defender Werling and the highest numbered reserve player at Oakwell. And he was wearing a different number on his shorts (19) against West Brom when he took the field that day.

69 Bixente Lizarazu
Although most people assumed the French full-back was a cheeky chappy, he always maintained that he picked his squad number because he was born in 1969, he is 169cm tall and weighs 69kg.

66 Alain Sutter
The Swiss international allegedly let US culture go to his head when he signed for Dallas Burn and picked his shirt number in honour of Route 66.

1 Ossie Ardiles
The Argentine midfielder wore the number 1 shirt at the 1982 World Cup after the squad numbers were allocated by alphabetical order.

1+8 Ivan Zamorano
The Chilean international was forced to give up his number 9 shirt when Ronaldo joined Inter Milan as part of the bouncing Brazilian's sponsorship deal with Nike. Zamorano took the number 18 shirt and insisted on having a plus sign inserted between the two digits.

111 Luisão
The Flamengo player celebrated the club's 111th anniversary in true South American style - by sticking another digit on his shirt!

0 Hicham Zerouali
The Moroccan striker was given permission to wear the number 0 in honour of his nickname (Zero, in case you need that spelling out!) whilst he spent his time at Aberdeen. Thus he is the play to wear the lowest kit number of all time as far as I can make out.

100 Adolfo Bautista
The Mexican striker became the first player to take to the field wearing triple figures while playing for Chivas de Guadalajara.

But the prize surely for the wackiest kit number has to go to...

500 Romario
The crazy Brazilian wore the number 500 shirt while making his 500th appearance for Vasco da Gama, which is really quite silly.

October 21, 2008

Horse 927 - **** **** Beep Beep Beepin' Barina

Gentlemen, Behold!

... or in this case, do not Behold if you can get away with it.

The 2008 Sydney Motor Show saw the debut of the brand new Holden Barina. By brand new they mean that they... facelifted it. Every panel forward of the A-pillar has been made afresh. It's just a pity about the crud that still lurks under the skin.

Holden in all their wisdom decided the replace the 2006 XC Barina which was really the Opel Corsa, with the 2006 TK Barina which was really the Daewoo Kalos. In fact with the model change came a considerable drop in prices from $16,499 to $12,990. As well all know that when it comes to cars and especially in the "budget" end of the market, you get precisely what you pay for. Thus Holden managed what had never been done before... replaced a 4-Star NCAP safety rated car with a 2-Star NCAP safety rated car - oh dear.

What it meant in reality was that Holden had effectively managed to produce a car which on price would compete with it's own second-hand nameplate but because it had a lower spec of kit and a worse safety rating, was actually worse value for money. The thing is that the public knew it. Holden at one stage was actually shifting 400 more second-hand XC Barinas as they came back through the dealers than the new TK Barinas on a per month basis.

I should mention the Kalos. Daewoo under its own badge had a terrible reputation, in fact so bad was this reputation, that GM actually removed it from sale in Europe before relaunching the whole lineup under the nominally American label Chevrolet. Perhaps realising that this would not fly with the Australian public, they snuck in under the radar by slapping the apparantly unsoilable Holden badge on the front in the hope that no-one would notice. On the face of it, Australians aren'that stupid - or at least they're told they aren't by Holden marketing executive Jason Laird.
"safety is not a concern in this segment and sales have proven this, therefore we will not be importing the Opel Barina" - again, oh dear.
I think that it's best to let the actual numbers speak for themselves. The plucky little Mazda 2 has jumped straight to the top of the sheets with a full kit and safety spec that makes the Barina look quite frankly... like a Daewoo.

Back in Europe and in fact Korea, GM are realising that they have a case of duplication. So the 2010 or 2011 small car will probably be based off the GM Gamma platform which the Corsa is currently based and which the next car will be developed.

It follows that the styling of the 2008 TK Barina should look like the Opel Corsa D if they are both going to be replaced by the same car. I do wonder though what this does mean for the Chevrolet badge in Europe. Does this mean to say that both badges will sit side by side, because I very much doubt that Europeans would fall for the same trick Australians did... er, didn't do with the Kalos.

Perhaps Shakespeare said it best when he penned the following in one of Juliet's speeches:
"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;"
In the case of the Barina, the name has changed... but the product still stinks.

October 20, 2008

Horse 926 - The Man Who Sued God... and Failed


In 2001 a film starring Billy Connolly called "The Man Who Sued God" had as it's subject a man who upon having his boat struck by lightning attempts to sue God for damages; since Christian churches and Jewish Synangogues claim to be God's representative, his action is held against them.

In this case of art imitating life, the "the Maverick of Omaha"; Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers, self-appointed "angriest black man in Nebraska," and "defender of the downtrodden" has decided to raise a permanent injunction to prevent the "death, destruction and terrorisation" caused by God.

Judge Polk however threw out the case on the basis that because God has no address, legal papers cannot be served. "Given that this court finds that there can never be service effectuated on the named defendant this action will be dismissed with prejudice," Judge Polk wrote in his ruling.

The court, Mr Chambers said, had acknowledged the existence of God and "a consequence of that acknowledgement is a recognition of God's omniscience"; "Since God knows everything," he reasoned, "God has notice of this lawsuit."

Perhaps if Mr Chambers knows of God's omniscience, maybe he would also know of Jesus' statement in Matthew 4:7 (quoting Deut 6:16)
Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

And "Why?" one might ask? Well obviously since this proves, one doesn't really want to put God to the test because God has a better legal department. Or perhaps to quote Biff Tannen from Back to the Future Part II... "I OWN THE LAW"

October 17, 2008

Horse 925 - Malware, Malappropriate, Malicious

I am typing this post from a Wintel machine currently operating without a GUI. The strange but true thing about this is that if you really wanted to you could in theory run Windows from a bare command line and it would still work.

It all started when Snowy and I stumbled on an ancient door... no seriously, what happened was that AVG, found some sort of malicious threat somewhere and attempted to remove it. What AVG wasn't smart enough to work out though, was that the malware in question had deleted windows.exe and replaced with with either its own version or has corrupted what's there.

You really have to admire the genius of whoever created this though. Here's Windows sitting merrily all by itself and without any prompting, Mr Malware comes along and disguises itself as the GUI and because it did it so effortlessly, AVG hasn't realised that it was Mr Malware, until Sir Windows-Crash-A-Lot told it. Up comes the little red shield in the corner and quicker than you can say Jack Robinson and His Amazing Shark-Infested Custard, bang - Mr Malware has done his dash, and set up a deckchair to watch the machine crash into the digital iceberg of destiny.

It leaves me with the problem now of doing a file recover off of this machine and hopfully saving all of the little hidey instructions that tell it how to talk with ASIC, the ATO, the Law Courts, the Dept of Defence as well as all our other lovely VPN clients.

Malware, Malware, bo-balware
Banana-fana fo-falware

October 16, 2008

Horse 924 - What is the X6 for?

Warren Brown on Top Gear Australia wasn't sure what the X6 was supposed to be and therefore wasn't sure whether he liked it or not. With this small diatribe, I explore this idea and cast my own judgement.

The fact of the matter is that if you see any given car on the road, you can use commonsense and pretty well establish what sort of person is behind the wheel. Commodore drivers are blokes who think that they're blokey or mums with kids. Falcon drivers are tired blokes who think that they're blokey or tired mums with kids. If you see an Audi A4, you immediately think "office affair". Mercedes drivers are usually fat businessmen. Camry and Corolla drivers are people who don't care about the car and have simply bought it as an appliance to go from A to B (but would never think of going to C). BMW drivers have only one word you immediately think of. Go on, you know you want to say it...
... well it's true.

Think about it and think about that word. On the corporate business ladder there is only one road to travel. MINI (being a sub-division of BMW) then BMW itself and finally Mercedes-Benz. Or if you will - wannabe <>, to actual <> and finally fat old <>. Have you worked out what that word is? Good, then we'll move on.

Now think about the type of vehicle it is. It is a well known fact that I personally prejudiced against Four Wheel Drives (and abhor the acronym SUV because they're not sport and not very utilitarian but if you only call them a vehicle, then it tells you nothing).
A 4WD by purpose is a thing for going off road. To this end, really the only things suitable for the job are the following: Land Rover and Range Rover's entire range, because British car makers are used to building cars to drive through bogs. The Toyota Land Cruiser and Prado (if you couldn't afford a Land Cruiser), the Nissan Patrol, the Mitsubishi Pajero. The Ford Territory (because the Falcon was already capable of the job) and every big 4WD ever produced in America that doesn't have those stupid 22" bling tyres on.

By contrast the following car makers are building 4WDs that will never see dirt, and also have a ground clearance lower than my Ford Ka: Audi, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, Volvo, Volkswagen and Porsche. The 4WDs from these firms are even named so that they instantly give away the fact that you can't use them to go on dirt with - Q7, X5, RX430, ML500, CX-7, XC90 - the trend is generally, name them with a bunch of letters and numbers and make people think that they're catalogue numbers from Ikea. Admittedly Volkswagen and Porsche broke this trend but they chose the really mind-twisting names of Cayenne and Touareg, Tiguan.
The people who drive these sorts of cars are almost certainly likely not to actually own them, but the keepers of the vehicle provided by the company they're employed by. Almost by consequence, in general they're more likely to be agressive, arrogant and cause damage to other vehicles on the road; in case you're wondering this isn't speculation but based on the NRMA's actuary reports - if you do a quick scan you'll find that 4WDs are over represented in accident figures.

So then, if you can't define the
BMW X6 by what it is, maybe you can define the car by who is likely to drive it and that is... an arrogant <> who is highly likely to run you off the road; that's an apt description.

PS: We all know what <> is... for that reason it's inherently funnier not to say it. Everybody...
Members are <>, clap-clap

October 08, 2008

Horse 923 - Claims of Biblical Invalidity are Invalid

The BBC is having a right old field day with the discovery of more parts of the Codex Sinaiticus. In particular it has to say this:


For those who believe the Bible is the inerrant, unaltered word of God, there will be some very uncomfortable questions to answer. It shows there have been thousands of alterations to today's bible.
The Codex, probably the oldest Bible we have, also has books which are missing from the Authorised Version that most Christians are familiar with today - and it does not have crucial verses relating to the Resurrection.

Great... it totally makes Christianity look stupid... until you do the research.

Firstly the place where this was discovered bothers me. Not so much because it was found at Saint Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai in Egypt which was a Greek Orthodox Monastery, but rather what else had been at the site.
The Monastery has in its possession, a document purportedly signed by Muhammad himself. In the Charter of Privileges, the Prophet Muhammad gave his protection to the monastery. A Fatimid mosque was built within the walls of the monastery, but has never been used since it is not correctly oriented towards Mecca. Now considering that a Mosque was in posession of a Codex, there would be more than a serious possibility that they would want to alter it.

Secondly, the document doesn't appear to be as old as purportedly made out. For a document supposedly made in 350AD it doesn't quite fit. The chap who discovered the Codex, Constantin von Tischendorf noted in 1863 that "the the leaves were in "suspiciously good condition" for something found in the trash." What sort of document is this then? If scholars don't agree that this document itself was genuine, then why hold to up to be genuine within the same breath? Make up your minds please.

At any rate a document produced in 350 falls 150 years after the general adoption of New Testament canon which was fairly well normalised by about 200. Certainly both Origen of Alexandria in 203 and almost certainly by the time of the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the same 27 books we find were pretty well much accepted and debated even though not "officially" adopted until the Synod of Hippo of 393. Virtually all of the bible exists several times over in Papyri which was made between 100 and 200 anyway.

As far as documentary evidence does, the amount of document which exists is quite immense compared to other contemporary documents. Thousands of fragments dating from before the end of the first century were even found at Oxyrhynchus which was a giant 6th century rubbish dump.

My general query with people finding problems with the bible is that for a document that is under so much scrutiny you'd have to ask "why". No-one for instance has a problem with the Histories of Herodotus or the Pliny the Elder. In fact it is really only the Bible itself which sees such scrutiny at all; this is because of the critical claims it makes.

What other religion claims that its principle died and rose again? Although Muhammad* supposedly ascended to heaven, Muslims still believe that he returned... and still died on June 8, 632AD. You still have a dead prophet unable to save himself. Likewise, Gautama Buddha also died but scholars can't even decide when he lived, let alone when he died - either way we're still left with a dead prophet unable to save himself.

The Bible by its very nature presents a difficult problem which is that a man died and rose again. Find me any other religion which claims that.

*If you really want something odd, Islamic tradition holds that Muhammad married a 9 year old girl, which by definition is pedophilia - that's really quick ick.

October 04, 2008

Horse 922 - Odd Things

With the US currently throwing money as lost causes such as the banking system at an alarming rate, two things noted on BBC Radio 4 this afternoon are worth repeating.

The first of which is the Russian Reversal of the Cold War. During the Cold War it was Russia who was socialist and the Capitalist Pig Dogs of America who were making Godzillions of dollars on the back of the automotive miracle.
Now with AIG, GM, Wachovia etc. etc. etc. all suddenly sticking their hands out for vermillions in hand outs because they're all in the red, it's the Capitalist Pig Dogs of Russia who are making the dosh by selling the oil to power the increasingly expensive automotive millstone.

The second of which happens to be Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol. Now presumably Ms Palin wasn't aware of the city of Bristol. It would appear that both Bristol City, and Bristol Rovers fans have bought football strips bearing the name "Palin" across the back. I wound what would have happened if her daughter was called Bowness-on-Solway instead.

October 03, 2008

Horse 921 - The Japanese Banking Crisis

Following the problems in the sub-prime lending market in America and the run on HBOS in the UK, uncertainty has now hit Japan .

In the last 7 hours Origami Bank has folded, Sumo Bank has gone belly up and Bonsai Bank announced plans to cut some of its branches.

Yesterday, it was announced that Karaoke Bank is up for sale and will likely go for a song, while today shares in Kamikaze Bank were suspended after they nose-dived.

Samurai Bank is soldiering on following sharp cutbacks; Ninja Bank is reported to have taken a hit, but they remain in the black.

Furthermore, 500 staff at Karate Bank got the chop and analysts report that there is something fishy going on at Sushi Bank where it is feared that staff may get a raw deal.