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Sheer class

May 11, 2008

With a new record for goals scored by a foreign player in a debut Premier League campaign, thirty-three goals in all competitions and twenty-four in the league, something tells me Liverpool made a wise decision to splash the cash on the boy from Spain.

So as the season came to a close today with yet another Torres gem, here’s a tribute to the Liverpool No.9

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Oh No! Not Barbie….

April 30, 2008

Guess drug smuggling, illegal immigration, arms trafficking and all the other things that most countries worry about crossing their boarders pale in comparison when you consider the possible problems caused by Barbie and friends.

No, I have not gone crazy, but simply can’t believe that Iran’s top prosecutor could get his knickers in a twist over a bunch of harmless toys. Granted, there are cultural sensitivities to be considered, but calling Barbie, Batman, Spiderman and co a “social danger” that is “culturally destructive” seems a little hard-line to me.

Funny thing is, I wrote a while back about the UN getting Spiderman on board to help improve its reputation. At the time I mocked it, but I guess this makes the decision even more laughable.

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Brand = $$$$$$

April 22, 2008

It goes without saying that a strong brand is worth a bob or two, but which brand is the most valuable? Disney perhaps, maybe Coca-Cola or even Marlboro. Afraid not, instead it’s a certain Google weighing in with a total brand value of $86 billion, yes, I said billion.

According to the “Farther of Advertising” it “takes genius, faith and perseverance to create a brand,” but I would have thought time would also be important. Not only is Google the most valuable brand in the world by some way, but it is also considerably younger than all the other companies in the top 10 and probably the top 100, if I took the time to check. Talk about new kid on the block.

The WSJ noted another interesting point – the sheer number of tech companies in the top 100. Not only did they dominate the top 10, but there are 28 technology companies in the top 100. As I work in tech PR, this is interesting, but maybe you are just thinking who cares about tech companies and their so-called brand value.  

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Day 198

April 19, 2008
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Happiness, trees and sardines

April 17, 2008

So this was going to be three separate posts, but hey, they seemed to go so well together that it ended up as one.

Before you get worried, I am not going to start rambling on any philosophical points of eternal happiness, will leave that for all the shrinks who make a pretty penny from it. Instead, an article from the Economist on one of the last hidden kingdoms coming into view caught my eye. The article is all about Bhutan’s King Wangchuk stepping aside to make way for democracy.

Now the King’s record wasn’t too shabby. Through his focus on happiness ahead of economic growth, aptly named “Gross National Happiness”, he has grown the economy by an average annual rate of 7 percent over the last 25 years, doubled life expectancy through huge investment in public health and increased school enrollment by over a quarter. Stacks up quite well and not surprised the Bhutanese are not exactly embracing democracy with open arms.

Talking of arms, or in this case perhaps branches; one of my friends sent me a rather disturbing picture of the “Tree Man”. The poor lil’ fellar cut his leg on a tree when he was 15 and over the last 20 years, his body has been progressively been covered by bark. I thought this was bad enough, until I read that an extremely unlucky woman in San Francisco was killed this week by a random branch falling from a Redwood while parking her car. Talk about bad luck and perhaps someone should let Sting know that our leafy friends aren’t all oxygen and greenness after all.

To save the trees, we are often told that public transport is the future. This video clip shows that the Japanese are taking it a little too seriously; talk about making every last bit of space count. Anyone for sardines?  

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It’s all in the delivery

April 6, 2008

Not sure if this is a worrying sign, or the comedy factor merited me remembering it, but had to mention a world record that was broken last month by an Indian chap called Radhakant Bajpai.

Through unwavering dedicated, Radhakant has managed to grow the world’s longest ear hair. His 25cm tuffs beat the previous record holder by over 10cm, and according to a slightly disillusioned Radhakant, should receive government appreciation.

The BBC covered the news briefly, but I found an even better piece with interviews and also details of another Indian guy who is looking to set a record for cutting the most hair with his teeth. This is some of the most comical reporting I have seen in ages and the deadpan tone of the correspondent is hilarious. 

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Wake up and smell the roses

April 6, 2008

As one of my friends would say, if it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck and walks like a duck, it’s a duck. So while the US may not want to use the “R” word, one of the world’s largest investment banks falling to its knees begging for mercy has to count as a clue.

The sad thing is, people seem to be caught up on semantics. Investors in Bear Stearns, people visiting Hawaii or any of the 80,000 people that lost their jobs in March alone (the highest monthly fall in the US for 5 years) must surely be amazed that there are still question marks over whether the US is in a recession.

I wouldn’t like to even start to consider the number of hours that Fox, CNN and others have spent debating this point, or for that matter, what it will take for it to be finally recognized for what it is. A recession isn’t the end of the world and may actually shake the US out of its daydream, but for that to happen, the focus has to shift from labeling the problems to solving them.