The film Public Enemies opens across the UK this weekend and it should be a good movie. It’s directed by Michael Mann (Manhunter, Heat and Collateral) and is based on Bryan Burrough’s non-fiction book Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI.
Basically it involves FBI agent Melvin Purvis (played by Christian Bale) setting his sights on gangsters John Dillinger (played by Johnny Depp) and Pretty Boy Tatum (played by Channing Tatum). Throughout the film we see this titanic struggle lay the foundations for what we know today as the FBI.
My problem with the film is in how they’ve chosen to advertise it. They’ve got online banner ads that expand as you move your mouse over the ad. The animated portion then puts machine gun ‘holes’ across your screen. Which, on the face of it, seems fine. It’s just when a plane goes down and it looks like being the cause of fairly large loss of life that the ad starts to look stupid. You can see a screen grab of the ad below.

Hitting the wrong targets?

Hitting the wrong targets?

The film industry have a habit of doing this sort of thing. Click here to see what they managed to do with the poster to advertise the Robert De Niro film, Righteous Kill.

It’s 30 years since we were first able to get onto a bus and annoy everyone else on it.
I’ve just read a great article on the BBC website where they gave a 13-year old boy an original tape Walkman and asked him to see what he thought of it.

Music on the go

Music on the go

Looking back now at the Walkman it seems so large and cumbersome. There were a great many problems that we just saw as a challenge. The battery that seemed to last for very little time. No shuffle function. If you wanted to listen to another tune you had to fast forward (the initial Walkmans didn’t have a rewind function). And that really killed your battery. So we’d all use a Bic biro and spin the cassette until we got the spool rewound/forward to the song we wanted. Even auto reverse (where the tape flipped to the other side by itself) was an optional extra for quite a while. And then there was the issue of taking more than one tape with you.
Nowadays iPods mean that we can take a month’s worth of music with us in our pockets.
See how today’s 13-year old coped with what seems like ancient history to him by clicking here.

He had a fair go at understanding just what a Walkman offers. Unfortunately there were a couple of minor issues. Like the fact he thought the ‘Metal/Normal’ switch was a genre-specific equaliser. Oops. And it took him 3 days to realise that there was a second side of music if he turned the tape over.
However the best thing about Walkmans was that they made everyone into an early DJ. Remember getting mix tapes from your mates?

The old-school way to show you know your tunes

The old-school way to show you know your tunes

I know that nowadays people can share music very quickly and easily. I preferred it when a little more effort went into the music. Even on scorching hot days where the tape itself would start to warp, adding an extra dimension to your mix. Get your hands on a Walkman if you can. Retro – it’s the way forward.

Whether you love him or hate him, you’ll certainly miss Ronaldo at Manchester United next season.
His skill is beyond doubt and he’s a true entertainer.

He decided that red wasn't really his colour.

He decided that red wasn't really his colour.

Unfortunately he has the other side to his game that means he wants to win at any cost. And that led to him getting a reputation for diving and trying to win free kicks and penalties.
His free kick style was terrifying, if it worked. He has the same sort of technique as Juninho, in that they both place the valve of the ball towards them and strike through the valve. This technique has been compared to the chaos theory as it relies on several things occurring before it works. If you contrast it with Beckham’s style there’s a huge gulf. But both styles seem to lead to goals, and that’s what it’s all about.
See some of his spectacular contributions to last season’s Manchester United trophy haul here.

And then there’s how the world’s press announced his departure. Most media outlets announced it as the biggest news in the world. Ever.
Or alternatively there’s the way the Los Angeles Times decided to announce it.

The true cost of Ronaldo leaving United

The true cost of Ronaldo leaving United

I can’t wait to see who’ll turn up to fill his boots.

The LA Lakers won their 15th NBA Championship last week, and their first title since 2002.
They beat the Orlando Magic 4-1 in the best of seven series to clinch the title.
It was Kobe Bryant’s fourth Championship ring, and he also won the MVP award for his impressive display throughout the Finals. Sure he maybe dipped a little in the middle games, but when it came down to it he’s still the man to hit the impossible shots and create the spaces for his team mates to score.

Kobe dishes out some pain to the basket.

Kobe dishes out some pain to the basket.

The Lakers are coached by Phil Jackson who won his tenth title. I’ll just repeat that. He has been in charge ten times of teams that have won the NBA Finals. This feat is unmatched and is almost impossible to explain how difficult this is to achieve. He won six titles with the all conquering Chicago Bulls team of the 90s that included Scottie Pippin, Dennis Rodman and the imperious Michael Jordan. He’s now won four with the Lakers.
It was great to watch Kobe Bryant and his team mates running riot on the court. Pau Gasol was huge for the Lakers. He was king of the rebounds and kept the Orlando offence nice and quiet. And the veteran Derek Fisher hit some huge three pointers at crucial times for the Lakers.
Game 1: Orlando 75 Lakers 100 Watch the highlight here.
Game 2: Orlando 96 Lakers 101 Watch the highlights here.
Game 3: Lakers 104 Orlando 108 Watch the highlights here.
Game 4: Lakers 99 Orlando 91 Watch the highlights here.
Game 5: Lakers 99 Orlando 86 Watch the highlights here.

All in all it was a hugely entertaining Finals. And one in which Kobe finally came of age and emerged from Shaq’s shadow.
Watch Kobe in his element here. It’s easy to see why people compare him to the legendary MJ. Congratulations Kobe and the Lakers.

I’m sure that there are many good and decent Americans out there.
This gentleman is, however, not one of them. Mr. Richard W. Fields has come up with a new wheeze of an investment opportunity. He offers you the chance to invest in lawsuits.
That’s right, you can invest in the cost of a lawsuit and then benefit from the payout when the case is settled. Read more of his grabbit and run approach here.
I’m not sure where to start with how wrong this is.

Even Bilko would be ashamed of this scheme.

Even Bilko would be ashamed of this scheme.

I hate the litigious nature of the US of A. It encourages nothing good to happen. In fact, quite the contrary, I think that the vast majority of litigation is wrong and harms the very fabric of society. So many things are banned at schools now as the authorities are scared of parents suing them.
The lawyers, however, see nothing wrong with this. They state: “On the portfolio as a whole, our returns are well in excess of 20 percent per year.” He added, “We’re certainly beating the market.”
All the way through the article we read of how clever this is, and how it offers a service to companies who may otherwise not be able to indulge in litigation.
It’s only when we get to the end of the article that we start to see the other side of the moral dilemma. It’s only in the second from last paragraph that we read of the comflict of interests that could occur. They then ask: “The larger question, though, is whether the mere existence of outside investors makes possible lawsuits that might not be pursued otherwise.”
There’s also the question of undue influence. And the moral issue of encouraging some one to sue another.
I know we shouldn’t be surprised that this sort of thing happens. But it’s still depressing to think that these muppets are getting rich off the back of such a morally corrupt scheme.

There has been a case reported recently where a New Zealand couple applied for a bank overdraft for NZ$10,000. The bank, in their wisdom, mistakenly gave the couple NZ$10 million. Read the whole story here.
Imagine if your bank put a huge amount of money into your account by mistake. What would you do?

How generous is your bank?

How generous is your bank?

I think it’s almost impossible to say until you’ve actually found yourself in the situation.
I’m sure we all think we know what we’d do.
Some people will argue that you must give it back. Morally, you are obliged to.
Others will take the view that it’s the bank’s own stupid fault. Especially at the moment.
I’m sure more people now would at least think of keeping it. Well who’s got any sympathy for the banks these days?
In the New Zealand case, the banking ombudsman siad “it is generally considered a criminal offence for people to spend money accidentally deposited into a bank account if they are aware that the cash is not theirs.”
Another commentator stated that they thought that it would be difficult for the couple to argue that they thought that the money was actually theirs (and not deposited by mistake).
I’d like to offer a third alternative as to what you could do with the cash: withdraw every penny and donate it to charity.
Or, even better, charities. Keep not a penny for yourself. Give the whole lot away to those who do good and need the cash to carry on doing good.
And then see the huge moral dilema faced by these faceless corporate whores.
Imagine if you gave £10 million to five charities: £2 million each.
The banks would face huge negative PR if they clawed it back. They’d be forced into a position where they would almost certainly have to give something substantial to the charities.
You’d probably still find yourself charged with theft, but you’d have huge public support so any sentence would probably be pretty lenient. You could offer the defence that you never actually benefitted from the money, and that the banks have a duty of care to look after money in their possession.
You could then sell the rights to your story and get a film made about it. So you would, eventually, make some money. And you’d have the satisfaction of making the banks look like idiots (without them doing it for themselves for a change).
Then you’ve got another big dilemma: who should play you? Brad Pitt or Gene Hackman?