Friday, July 2, 2010

Steve's Crap Car Of The Day

FERRARI 400 1976-1979

Proof that even Ferrari have made some clunkers... and further proof of the existence of that mysterious group, “The Mirror Image School of Design”. Another car that looks pretty much the same from the front as it does from the back.

For some weird reason someone at Ferrari stood up at the annual board members' picnic and, while nibbling on a toasted bruschetta (the ones drizzled in olive oil and rubbed with roasted garlic), bravely suggested they build an expensive two-door coupe that handles like coal barge and accelerates only marginally faster. Oh... and it should be designed by Luigi over there who’s been studying origami.

And for some even weirder reason they all said “Si!”. Those bruschettas were really delicious.

You’d think a 4.8-litre V12 would make a car fairly quick. You’d think. But muffled by a truly terrible auto gearbox and suspension geometry a 50s Cadillac would’ve been proud of, the 400 was painfully slow given its pedigree. "Slow and nice looking" most people can live with. "Slow and one degree removed from a Nissan Skyline"… erm. Nope.

The Art Of The Sports Psyche

Know this… whatever sports stars and their coaches/managers say at press conferences, it is never what they mean. What may seem like an honest assessment of the game or a little hint of their strategy always has another agenda.

Let me give a couple of recent examples….

Schweinsteiger on Veron
German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger singles out Juan Sebastian Veron for praise ahead of the big game tomorrow: “He has played very strongly here, I have been impressed.”

Bollocks. If the Germans were genuinely impressed with Veron, they would never say so. Schweinsteiger is really doing two things here: one, he’s slipping the Argies a little misinformation trying to get them to think they’ll be focusing their attention on Veron. They won’t. It’ll be Messi that they’ll mark into the middle of next week. And two, he’s psyching out Veron. Nothing like your opponent telling you how well you’re playing to put you off your game.

“Schweinsteiger” by the way, does not mean pig shagger as we all thought, but pig inspector. Which, arguably, is the same thing.

Gyan on soaking up pressure
Ghanaian sriker Asamoah Gyan had this to say before their quarterfinal against Uruguay tonight: “We know how to soak up pressure. I believe in my friends, the Black Stars.”

Ja, whatever. If your team couldn’t soak up pressure they wouldn’t be at the world cup. Neither is this a signal of Ghana’s intention to sit back and bravely grit their way through the Uruguayan onslaught. No team would give away it’s tactics that easily.

What Ghana are going to do is kick the living crap out of the Uruguayans in an attempt to intimidate and out muscle them. It’s their only chance to disrupt Uruguay’s well-oiled machine. Gyan’s comment is part of a pre-game strategy to make it look like their robust tactics would be a result of their “gritty and brave defence” rather than the more pro-active “kick ‘em until they cry” tactic it’s more likely to be.