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Covert Racism

8 Nov


Over to you, Kent

10 Nov


The Worst Rule in Football

20 Feb

Ugh! The glare from those floodlights! Let me just shield my eyes with this.

Arsenal Football Club has had to endure some painful red cards in its day, with Robin van Persie’s red against Barcelona surely ranking as one of the most appalling refereeing decisions in the history of the sport.

This week, both Manchester City and Arsenal lost 0-2 at home in the Champion’s League because of ‘last-man’ red cards. The last-man red card is the worst rule in football.

The rule means that if you foul a player who has a clear goal-scoring opportunity, and if you are the last line of defence, you earn yourself a red card (and a suspension) as well as whatever free-kick or penalty the foul incurred. Because you have denied the opposition a clear goal-scoring opportunity, the penalty kick compensates the wronged team with another one, and because you cheated, the red card punishes you. It supposedly also acts as a deterrent in future, because it makes it too risky for players to strategically foul opposition strikers.

Of all the punitive measures they could have chosen, killing the entire football match is the one they came up with? Genius. Each red card this week happened about half way through the game with scores at 0-0. If at this point in the game the ref had said, “Right, I saw that you clipped the striker’s heels there, making him fall theatrically to the ground; we’re abandoning the game here and awarding the opposition a 2-0 victory,” would anyone not say that this was ridiculous overkill? And yet that is effectively what took place.

As Arsene Wenger pointed out, an early injury claimed his one substitution, and having his goalkeeper sent off forced him to use his second, and this in turn made it impossible to use his third one tactically, because he needed to keep it in case of another injury (which would leave him with only 9 men on the field). His hands were tied for the remainder of the game. So the team lost its keeper and its key strategist because of one foul. When you’re playing Bayern or Barcelona, that’s game over.

As with the death penalty, it is questionable whether killing the game ever truly acts as a deterrent. Defenders still have to defend; small errors of judgment are going to happen no matter what the rule.

What are the alternatives to killing a game? Here’s an easy one: award a penalty goal. Not a penalty kick, a penalty goal. The wronged player who had a chance to score gets given the goal he was denied. He is more than compensated. The fact that a possible goal is made into a certain goal acts as the punitive measure, making it a pointless strategic move to foul attackers. And the game continues as a contest.

Sex(ism) Sells

10 Jan

1. Only one?

This silly ad has been plaguing the right side of my email window for the last week:


Now, firstly, although that dress is quite distracting, I would still expect the copywriter, art director, forex-company guy, or someone, anyone, who saw this before publication to have noticed that ‘woman’ is in the singular. Is it just her who loves successful men (and is she bad with noun-verb agreement)? Do I have to be successful and track her down?

But secondly, are there not women who like to throw their money away on the finance markets? Must women also aspire to become successful men who are loved by woman?

2. 1st for really facile women

Maybe the dumbest cliche men have about women is that they are all really nuts about shoes and phones and chocolates. So when making an ad just for women, there’s no way an advertiser would just roll out that tired, lame generalisation. I mean, that would just be insul…

1st for women 1

3. Oh, and hair and shopping

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe the dumbest generalisation is that all women love shopping and having their hair done. I  could picture the guys in ‘Mad Men’ spitting this one out when they’re actively trying to insult their repressed, domesticated wives.


[Excuse the rubbish pic quality. The copy roughly translates as: ‘Until they make a doll-yourself-up trolley, you can rely on Go! Woman to get you through a rough day’].

4. Honourary mention: other kinds of women

Here’s another retarded ad from my email provider, targeted to my specifically male needs:

Casual club other kinds of women

I’m a man, so obviously I’d like to have all sorts of women on the side, and when I do, Casual Club will hook me up with, um, let’s see: married women, engaged women, single women and, uh… that’s all the marital statuses but I have this other block to fill… uh, women women? Slightly bored women, judging by the picture? Bored of being neither single nor married nor engaged women, perhaps? Maybe reading-a-book women?

Update: 2nd Bite at the Apple

The good people at gamble-on-forex have tried again with a reformat of their ad, and once again failed to notice any problems:


The new version also reveals that their model’s hair really does go on for ages. That must be quite a burden.

South Africa Always Had Problems With Division

1 Nov

To be fair, to claim — as some have — that this mathematical error is ironically indicative of the state of South African education is uncharitable. We know this because 21 divided by 7 is correctly solved as 3 directly below the incorrect one, so it was probably one of the students who made the error, which the teacher then corrected. You can also tell that this is what happened because the student still has the chalk dust on her back from where the teacher beat her with the duster for getting the answer wrong. Now that’s a bit more like South African education.