All P.O.W. presentations by Ariel Mazzarelli.

[-] P.O.W. meant as a flame
[+] P.O.W. meant as a compliment

Feb 28, 1998    [+] Best Cheating Acts Ever (Marco Paserman)
Apr 25, 1998	    [Example of the "B." rule]
May 4,  1998	[+] A cure for Benny! (Stig Oppedal)

Subject: RSS Post of the Week
Date: 28 Feb 1998 08:08:00 -0700
From: (Ariel Mazzarelli)

Normally, the P.O.W. is not given to the first article in a thread, because
one of the functions of the award is that it will bring to the reader's
attention an article that might have been skipped. To compensate for this
redundancy, we include here something that would usually be put as a followup
to the article.

During the twilight of his career with River, the legendary Amadeo Carrizo
was playing against Boca in the penultimate round of that year's tournament.
River, characteristically, was in second place. Boca was in first place, 
and could win the championship by taking a point on that afternoon.

Late in the game, River is desperately seeking a goal to win when on a long
pass all of River's defense is passed up. Boca's Madurga runs all out
and reaches the ball well ahead of everybody. In front of him there is only
green grass, the goal, and Carrizo.

As Madurga approaches the area, Carrizo goes out to meet him at a leisurely
pace. As he strolls out of his goal, he takes off his cap, puts it underneath 
one arm, raises the other arm, waves to the linesman, then lowers the arm with 
a gesture that requests the ball from Madurga.

Enraged, Madurga lobs a gentle parabola over Carrizo and turns to blaspheme 
at the referee. As he does so he sees most of the players running towards 
him as fast as they can, the referee among them, his whistle in his
hand but not his mouth. He turns to face Carrizo again, and sees the cap on
the ground and the back of the goalkeeper's jersey as he runs back furiously
to catch Madurga's "shot".

This little story might not quite fit in the category delineated by this
week's winner, either because of its innefectiveness--River did not find the
goal they needed--or because the legality of the play was unquestioned since
Carrizo did not make a sound while asking for the ball. But the spirit is the
same, and by choice of examples the following post has documented this 
essential component of futbol well enough to earn the

RSS Post of the Week

From: (Marco Paserman)
Subject: Best Cheating Acts Ever
Date: 20 Feb 1998 15:59:09 GMT
Organization: Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

With all thetalk about cheating, fouling, and diving, I think
it's about time that somebody construct a ranking of the great
acts of cheating in the history of football. So, in no particular
order, here's my list:

1) Diego Maradona, Argentina-England 2-1, Mexico City, 1986
World Cup Quarter Final - "The Hand of God"

Need I say more? The skill, the beauty, the elegance of 
Diego's handball. How he leaped higher than Shilton,
and with his fist just inches away from his head 
(undetectable even by the TV replays, according to some)
punched the ball past old Peter, and fooled everybody!
And then commenting on the incident, "it was the Hand of God"!

2) Silvio Piola, Italy-England  2-2,  Milan, 1939
Friendly -  "The Mother of All Handballs" 

Maradona maybe had the hand of God, but Piola
had the hand of the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit. Italy is losing once again to the "Perfida
Albione" (a curse that would be broken only in 1973), with little
time left in the game.
A cross comes from the left. It's behind Piola.
He attempts a bycicle kick, but can't reach the ball.
So, in perfect coordination, he punches the ball
perfectly past the bewildered English goalie.    
The trycicle kick!

3) Juergen Klinsmann, Germany-Argentina 1-0, Rome, 1990
World Cup Final -  "The Dive"

The game is stuck at 0-0. Germany attacks, but can't beat
the impenetrable Argentinian defense. Argentina, for its
pasrt, is trying to become the first team ever to win a 
World Cup without ever attempting a shot at goal since the
second round. Klinsmann gets a ball on the right flank,
he beats Monzon (Simon?). The Argentinian defender barely
 touches his ankle. Klinsi jumps. He screams in agony. Triple
somersault in the air. He tumbles to the ground. He rolls
over in agony. Aaaah, the pain! Will you please watch the
rest of the game from the sideline, Mr. Monzon (Simon?),
you brutish thug!
(An honorable mention to Rudi Voeller too, for the dive
that got Germany the decisive penalty in that game)

4) Zbigniew Boniek,   Juventus-Liverpool 1-0,  Bruxelles 1985
European Cup Final  -  "It was in the area, ref!"

An unforgettable dive on a night we would all wish to forget.
A ghost game. Nobody even understands if it's for real.
Early in the second half, Platini unleashes Boniek with
one of his trademark 50 meter passes. Boniek runs towards
the goal but is tripped some 5 meters outside the penalty area.
But, with incredible athleticism, the Pole manages to throw himself
forward, and falls inside the box. On his knees, he 
signals to the ref "It was inside!". Platini converts 
the penalty, and Juve gains its first sad European Cup.
"Polish cheekiness"

5) Tulio,      Brazil-Argentina 2-2,  Uruguay 1995
Copa America Quarter Final  -  "The Hand of Some Minor Angel"
or "The Silicone Man"

Not an incredibly skillful act of cheating, but deserves to
be on the list for its poetic justice. The Argies had been 
claiming for years that cheating is fair, as long as you're not 
caught. And here come some mediocre brasuca striker, and blatantly
handles the ball in the process of giving Brazil the decisive 
equalizer (Brazil would then win on penalties). This wasn't subtle,
and was caught by every TV replay from any angle. It left the
poor arghies complaining that "at least Diego was more skillful,
even in cheating". Tulio would later comment that he controlled
the ball with his chest. Yeah, sure. Not even Pamela Anderson Lee...
"Brazilian cheekiness"

6) English Players,  England-Germany 4-2,  Wembley 1966
World Cup Final  -  "Did the ball cross the line?"

Maybe this doesn't really count as cheating, but I had to put
it in because: 
a) Otherwise the English would get offended that they're not
anywhere on the list (except as victims, of course)
b) Otherwise the English would start thinking that they
are only ones guilty of "fair play" 
c) Come on, do you really believe that Roger Hunt thought
the ball was over the line?

Any more suggestions (especially with respect to dives)
are very welcome.


[Example of the "B." rule] 
Subject: Re: Strength of European teams
Date: 25 Apr 1998 17:19:01 -0700
From: (Ariel Mazzarelli)

Chris Raistrick ( dixit:
>Ariel Mazzarelli wrote:
>>4 * 1 = 4.
>Eh?  What are you trying to say?

That four is a multiple of four.

I wish you had not snipped your original remark, because if you had reread it
you might have seen the point. Here, let me do it for ya:

Chris Raistrick dixit:
>Alex Mizuki wrote:
>>And for the past 30 years, how many sides outside of
>>Germany/Argentina/Brasil/Holland/Italy have made the
>>finals?  Given South America's representation (2/5)
>>in this select group, I would say we are doing just
>>fine, thank you.
>At least make it a multiple of 4.
>That would, of course add England into it.

So if we just restrict it to 4, which as I pointed out is a multiple of 4,
then clearly (it is clear, isn't it?) England is not added into it.

>>2+2 < 4 ?
>That at least I can try to understand.  If you are talking about the
>share between Europe and SA, then seeing as I was saying that 2=2, it
>still doesn't make sense.

ARGH! Please stop snipping out your original remarks!

Chris Raistrick dixit:
>Alex Mizuki wrote:

>>The point is that the Europeans can make arbitrary criteria
>>(semi-finals/quarter-finals/finals) in comparing which
>>region has done better, but it's a simple fact that Europe's
>>larger representation gives any of these criteria an
>>European bias.
>Of course, the final game, regardless of how far you look back, is
>such a tiny proportion of the games played that it cannot be the sole
>deciding factor.   It is of course the biggest but over the years,
>Europe and SA have more or less shared the honour.  In the case of SA
>teams, the title has been won more by one team than the others put

See, Uruguay won it twice, and Argentina won it twice, and Brasil won it
four times, so you are trying to say that 2+2 < 4.

>If you are talking about the share between Brazil and the rest of SA,
>you were referring to final games, which four final games have been
>won by SA teams other than Brazil (Clue there aren't 4 and 195 is not
>one of them).

Ahem. I was not referring to anything other than what you wrote.

>OK That's just a trivia question but 2+2=4 would be equally relevant
>to my point that SA football is top heavy.

Ah, but it is far more relevant to my point that a good understanding of
order relations and arithmetic properties of small integers is an essential
skill! Inspired by the good Samaritan, I could not let your post pass by
without providing you with the opportunity to reflect upon the importance
of changing

2+2 < 4


2+2 = 4.

I see I have succeeded. Rejoice!

>Of course, if you are going to go that far back, then the ratio of SA
>teams to European ones gets higher so you would need better results to
>make your point.  So let's just stick to recent history.  (Since major
>countries agreed to enter would be a start.)

You have totally lost me at this point, so please feel free to snip this
out on your reply.

>>1 < 1 ?
>That's why I highlighted the fact that it was one each.  So no, 1!<1.
>But 1=1


Chris Raistrick dixit:
>It happens that at any level in the WC94 final stages, the presence of
>European teams was better than that of SA teams.
>The Final (1 each, of course), the semis, the quarters.

See, when you said "better", you implied "greater than" (it is wonderful,
isn't it, how a qualitative judgement is automatically translated into a
property of the integers? Rejoice in the beauty of small integers!).

Also, I see that you have now changed

1 < 1


1 = 1.


>>Unfortunately, I doubt that they offer refresher courses on "<,> <> =".
>Do they do refresher courses on reading?  If you are going to be
>arsey, do it with some justification.

Math can be so hard sometimes. I feel your pain.

>>>As I said, 7 european teams and 1 SA team in the last 8.  Even
>>>proportionally, that is better than the ratio of qualifiers.
>>It's only been 3 microseconds since we did a 200-post thread on this?!
>Does it having been debated before make it less valid?

I am sorry. My emphasis on the primacy of understanding the difference
between "<", "=", and ">" has steered you into a conceptual context where
the only valuable questions seem to be

Is it ">"?,


Is it "="?,


Is it "<"?

When I, brusquely and unilaterally, switched into a context of

Is it "timely"?

your conceptual framework lacked the flexibility to carry out this
transition. I should have foreseen this possibility and built up more
gently for the switch by using several paragraphs of transitional prose.
Please accept my apologies.

>Have you already covered the fact that the ratio of SA slots per team
>is 1 1/3 times greater than in Europe.  I suppose so.  That'll make it
>untrue then.

Please have a seat.

Take a deep breath.

We are now going to rotate our conceptual framework.

Until now, we were asking ourselves

Is it "timely"?

but now we are going to ask ourselves

Is it "historically accurate"?

Take a deep breath.

Are you comfortable?

Good. Let us proceed then.

You have suggested that

>the ratio of SA slots per team
>is 1 1/3 times greater than in Europe.

As you know, there has recently been a proliferation of new teams in
Europe (and a single contraction in the case of Germany). I do not have
the numbers in front of me at this time, so may I propose a homework
exercise for you? In the period up until and including the 1990 world cup,
what was that ratio to which you refer? If my sense of historical accuracy
has failed me and the process of European fragmentation had already been in
place in time for the 1990 world cup cycle, then please do not include
the 1990 figures; however, I think that for that cup, there was still only
one "Yugoslavia" where we now have several FIFA entrants, and there was
only one "CIS" or "CCCP" or whatever were we now have several FIFA entrants.

>>>3 to 1 in the semis is still better.
>>3/1 > 13/4 ?
>No, OK I stand corrected, the European success at that point was only
>23% compared to a massive 25% for South America.  Rounding again.

Take a deep breath.

We are now going to rotate our conceptual framework.

Until now, we were asking ourselves

Is it "historically accurate"?

but now we are going to ask ourselves

Is it "<", "=", or ">"?

Take a deep breath.

Are you comfortable?

Good. Let us proceed then.

So not only have we gone from

3/1 > 13/4


3/1 < 13/4

but furthermore, we have added the parallel comparative tool of "%" s.t.

(1/4 = 25%) > (3/13 = 23%)

>>>1 to 1 in the final.  Sounds like rounding to me.
>>1/1 > 13/4 ?
>No but I was referring to the fact that there are only two teams in
>the final match.  

Take a deep breath.

We are now going to rotate our conceptual framework.

Until now, we were asking ourselves

Is it "<", "=", or ">"?

but now we are going to ask ourselves

What is its "etymology"?

Take a deep breath.

Are you comfortable?

Good. Let us proceed then.

After many, many competitive tournaments involving more than two competitors,
people began to observe that when the two remaining competitors met to
decide the champion, then the game that these two competitors played was
the last game in the tournament. Ever since then, people have referred to
that game as "the final", and thus it has come to pass that in all final
games ever since, there are only two teams (assuming, of course, that we
are not playing a game where there are more than two teams playing

Ok, would you like to try the conceptual-rotation relaxation technique on
your own, without my prompting? Let's try it and see how it works out, ok?

>If 4/24 SA teams make it that's 1.  If 13/24
>European teams make it that's 1 as well.  That's why I said it was

First, let us remember your original statement:

>1 to 1 in the final.  Sounds like rounding to me.

I am sorry. I thought you meant "rounding" as in "4.9 is basically 5".
My only excuse is that now that I read your explanation, I am unable to
comprehend your meaning at all. We can leave it at that if you would like.

>Were you expecting an asian team to make it? 

Not really. Were you?

>>>From the claims about Brazil, that would mean that if they were an
>>>Oceanic team, there should be 6 qualifiers from Oceania.   
>>Just for the record, let me state that 6 is NOT a multiple of 4.
>Just for the record, that isn't relevant.  

Oh, I know. I'm sorry, I got a little carried away by the possibility of
inserting an additional observation regarding which small integers are and
which are not a multiple of 4.

>Why would a multiple of 4
>be necessary?  

Shall we ask the cabal?

>OK if 4 is more to your taste, again it doesn't change
>my point that you can't give extra places for Brazil's performance
>regardless of the rest.

I agree. We cannot give additional places to any team from Oceania--not even
Japan--based on Brasil's performance. But I am getting ahead of myself,
please forgive my pedagogical faux pas.

>>>This is not
>>>as absurd as it sounds.  
>>May I make a suggestion? Whilst it is true that one can joyfully essay 
>>forth into the land of comparing varying degrees of absurdity, it is also 
>>true that a single absurdity is as corruptive as a constellation's worth 
>>of them. 
>>When I consider the skill level that you have shown in the 
>>discipline of comparative analysis, however, I feel compelled to suggest 
>>that henceforth, whenever you feel that you have divined upon a single 
>>absurdity, it would be an inefficient application of your cognitive energy 
>>to continue to look for more.
>Might I suggest that you see someone about your inability to be
>contradicted?  If I had begun slagging you of, your attitude would be
>justified.  As it is, you've decided to hide behind arsey one-liners
>to avoid having to debate your points.

Now now. I was just trying to explain the crucial differences between "<",
">", and "=". You now, they are important!

>Blimey, It wasn't even you I was replying to so why you are getting so
>shirty is unreal.

It is because of the good Samaritan. Do you know the story of the good
Samaritan? It is such a good story!

>>>If Australia had become a major football
>>>nation instead of taking up egg punching they could have rivalled
>>>European and SA teams.  
>>If Greenland had become a major futbol nation then Pele would have been
>>a hairy albino. Q: is this is as absurd as it sounds?
>No, just petty.

Dear, dear. We do have a lot of work ahead of us, don't we?

Take a deep breath.

I am going to make an assertion. Now, I must warn you that when you
begin to ponder seriously the ramifications of the following assertion,
you may feel very, very frightened.

That is allright. Many of us--perhaps, all of us--have been frightened at
one time or another when confronted by this assertion.

Are you ready? Good. My assertion is this:

There is no such thing as a petty absurdity; a single absurdity breaks
a logical framework and renders it invalid.

This is why we try to hard to understand the difference between 
"<", "=", and ">". We do not want to go through life carrying a 
broken logical framework.

Take a deep breath.

Are you comfortable?

Good. Let us proceed then.

>>>That would not really reflect on Japan's claim
>>>to a slot, would it?
>>As a crowning landmark on your intellectual tour de force, you
>>insinuate that the whole of Europe would not fit once or twice between 
>>Japan and Australia with plenty of water to spare. 
>I wish you could explain what that as to do with my post.  

Ok. When I read your post, I detected an attempt by you to draw an analogy
such that if Australia played well, then somehow that would suggest something
about Japan much in the same way that a good performance from Brasil would
suggest something about the rest of South America. So I once again felt
compelled--my resistance is so weak in matters such as this!--to point out
that the geographical distance between Japan and Australia was rather large.

>You have a
>big arse.  See, I can make irrelevant statements in an effort to hurl

Please use a little bit more humility the next time you ponder this 
particular point and say "See, I can make irrelevant statements in an 
effort to make a statement".

>I'd rather restate the question.  If Australia had won a world
>cup, would Oceania deserve extra WC slots?  If you can't be bothered
>to answer it, don't bother to post  more abuse, it's pointless.

I will answer it, but first, let me be more direct because I feel that
perhaps this clarification is in order:

Japan is not a part of Oceania.

Now, let us proceed. If Australia was indeed the sort of team that would
win a world cup, then certainly Oceania should get an additional spot,
because it would be fundamentally unfair to tell a team that in order to
win a slot in the world cup, they will have to eliminate a team as good,
as strong, as superlative in skill and achievement as the mighty Australia.

Now, if it turns out that after that additional spot is granted to Oceania,
the Oceanic confederation does a poor job of seeding the participants and
causes the better teams in Oceania to confront the mighty Ozzies while the
lesser squads fight for the remaining spot(s), then the onus is not on
FIFA to remedy that, but on Oceania.

I hope I have cleared up our little misunderstanding on this point.

>>I'm afraid that under the B. rule, your application for the post of the week
>>has been declined.
>Would the B rule be that a new post has beaten it by far?

No, the B. rule, as the period after the "B" suggests, is named after someone 
whom, for reasons of doctor-patient confidentiality, will remain unnamed. 
What the rule basically says is that no post that blatantly advertises its 
own stupidity for the purposes of gaining notoriety--and with no redeemable 
quality of any other kind--shall be chosen as the Post of the Week.

>Either flame someone else or respond with some sense.   Most of your
>one-liners weren't even relevant.  

Well, I tried!

>Her'es a mis-places apostrophe for
>you to get off on.


>There are valid arguments why SA should have a better share of the
>slots, the performance of two teams isn't one of them.

Sez you. I suggest you work on the differences between "<", "=", ">" and
the arithmetic properties of small integers and leave these tricky
geofutbol issues of WC slots for a future occasion. 

>If you don't want to make any of those arguments or respond to mine,
>butt out.

I am only trying to help! 

Subject: RSS Post of the Week
Date: 4 May 1998 00:42:01 -0700
From: (Ariel Mazzarelli)
Organization: RSS Committee on the Treatment of Neurological Disorders

Breath-taking research such as that displayed in this week's winner is rare
indeed. The post stands so very well on its own that I dispense with any
further introduction and hereby present to you the



From: Stig Oppedal (
Subject: A cure for Benny!! (Re: A cure for Benny?)
Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998 11:07:17 +0200
Organization: University of Oslo, CineTher Research Center

Dr. Ikegaki ( wrote:
> [snip disagreement on La "Dolce" Vita and Baz Lyndon]
> > [snip my comments on the therapeutic dangers of A Clockwork Orange,
> >  + reccomendation of Full Metal Jacket]

> As a matter of fact, the patient already stated that A Clockwork Orange bored
> him, and that Full Metal Jacket was one of his favorites.  Considering his
> current condition, it is unlikely that he is aware of the subtle sense of
> violence and anti-violence highlighted in both films.  

I'm sure my esteemed colleagues will forgive me for not having read the
entire "Benny" file; this is nonetheless a profound disappointment. 

> Also, as this fact
> indicates eloquently that he merely has a single eye on the cinema, we must
> clarify the difference between expressionism, surrealism and realism for the sake
> of the patient and start to help him acquire compound eyes on the cinema as
> immediately as we could.


First, I must state that the cinematic therapy I am about to recommend
has an inherent risk: I have not actually seen the movie in question,
nor know how it develops, but the premise sounds so promising that I
urge that it be tried as a last gasp solution. 

What I'm refering to is an Austrian movie from a few years ago, directed
by one Suzanne Dorfmeister (a name I've just made up since I've
forgotten his/her real one). It deals with a 10-year old boy who is
hooked on watching videos - specifically violent ones. Over and over
again, he sits in front of his TV and watches videos, til he is unable
to discern between "real" life and that on the screen, to the extent
that the brutality he views becomes an integral part of his life. This
sounds familiar, does it not? IIRC the movie progresses towards extensive
psychological counseling (with admittedly unknown results).

The therapeutic benefit from this movie is that the patient's mental
barriers will (hopefully) be broken down through not only an indirect,
"spiritual" affinity with the main character, but, through the
meta-aspect of the cure, a _direct_ link: for the name of this movie, 
and I swear I'm not making this up, is none other than "Benny's Video".

---Stig Oppedal, M.D.