Of the millions of fans around the world now glued to the World Cup, my favorite is an endlessly mischievous 4-year-old in Brooklyn. My godson. He and his equally impish 7-year-old brother have been so excited for the World Cup that a game of full-speed kids vs. grownups soccer (pardon me: football) nearly had me wobbling for days after.
The boys are American soccer nuts with a Colombian dad, a mother with Brazilian relatives and a grandmother who grew up in Messi's hometown in Argentina. So they could be loyal to any of those teams.
But the real object of their devotion is a book of stickers that lists all the players, stadiums and even mascots. They are on a mad dash to collect all the stickers and fill their books. Every morning, almost the first thing that comes out of their mouths is what stickers they need, and whether there's any possibility to get them that day.
"See? I have a lot of Greece," the 7-year-old explains to me. "But I need Nigeria. Don't have a lot of them."
Long pause with studied, plaintive gaze directed at his mother, "When can we get more?"
The Panini sticker book album has become the must-have item for kids (and a LOT of adults) who are following the World Cup. With spots for players, stadiums and mascots, it would take 640 stickers to complete your album… if you magically bought packs of stickers with every player you needed. But of course it never works that way (as my godson with multiple Lionel Messi stickers can attest).
In the U.S., a pack costs $0.99, but of course, you probably need somewhere close to 1,400 packs to get a complete set. Why?
Well, The Economist broke down the amazing "stickernomics" recently, explaining just how nuts people can get about securing the ones they need (a note to that correspondent: I know a child who will trade you a Messi).
There's a rapid sticker trade on the internet, and in stores that sell Panini stickers, too.
Upper 90, a store in Brooklyn devoted to soccer, is sticker central. You can bring in your "extras" – that is, the players you already have – and trade them for the extras they have on hand. My two favorite fans have done it twice, "with great success," reports their mother.
The stickers are such a hot item that the Guardian reported a heist of 300,000 stickers in Brazil.
Mind-boggling, when you think about all the other economic stories around the World Cup.
But I can assure you, that to two small boys I know, a complete set would be absolutely priceless.LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images
A peddler shows Panini's collectible stickers for the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 album, in Bogota, on April 28, 2014.
Following a series of attacks in which the radical Islamist group "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant," seized major cities in Iraq and threatened the country's capital of Baghdad, President Obama aknowledged in an address Friday that the situation demanded U.S. assistance for the Iraqi government.
In light of the situation, we are reminded of our 2013 interview with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who oversaw military operations for the Bush Administration for much of the Iraq War.
Original interview posted May 16, 2013:
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld published his memoir, “Known and Unknown” in 2011. His latest book, “Rumsfeld’s Rules” suggests he still has lessons to share after a lifetime in politics and business.
The book is a collection of advice that he started collecting through a habit taught to him by his schoolteacher mother. He has about 300 or so in the book.
“If I didn’t know a word she’d say, 'Well write it down and look it up,'" he says. "Then I started writing down various other thoughts and rules and anecdotes.”
The anecdotes Rumsfeld recounts are pulled from his time in office with the Bush, Reagan and Nixon administrations.
Here are three of many Rumsfeld Rules you can find in the book, and the stories behind them:
It’s easier to get into something than it is to get out.
“I thought of that when I was President Reagan’s Middle East envoy and we had 241 Marines killed in Beirut, at the airport. And I concluded then that the United States has to be careful about putting ground forces in because we’re such a big target. And I also, over the years, came to the conclusion over the years that the United States really wasn't* organized, trained and equipped to do nation-building.”
Rumsfeld says this was on his mind as the United States entered Afghanistan and Iraq, but there was "mission creep."
“When you do something, then someone wants you to do something else and then something else and over time, the mission, historically, creeps into something else that was initiated at the outset.”
But in the end, “it’s not easy for countries to evolve and grow, but I think that both of those countries are a whale of a lot better off today than they were before.”
“I’ve been mistaken so many times, I don’t even blush for it anymore.” – Napoleon
“You see things that don’t turn out the way you hoped.”
Monitor progress through metrics.
“I think that history over time will probably be a better judge than you or I, but I’ve been struck by the amount of criticism that the Bush administration has received and President Bush personally and the attempts to assign blame to him and I think it’s probably not going to sort out that way.”
He says President Bush’s decision to enter Iraq is “something that over time will be better understood.”
AUDIO EXTRA: Kai Ryssdal asks Donald Rumsfeld about a reputation for not tolerating dissent.
Jubilant soldiers emerged from key government buildings after retaking them from pro-Russian forces, who seized control of the city last month.
We often hear about how money issues in a marriage can be a major catalyst for divorce. Whether it's differences in spending habits, debt loads or credit scores, diverging beliefs and habits can be a huge red flag in a relationship.
A 2009 study by Jeffrey Dew, faculty fellow at the National Marriage Project and an assistant professor of Family, Consumer, and Human Development at Utah State University, found that couples who argue about money once a week were 30 percent more likely to divorce over time than couples who reported disagreeing about finances just a few times per month.
"The best time [to talk about money] is when you're getting along, when you're in the romantic stage, " says relationship expert Andrea Syrtash "[That's] the very time when you should broach it because you'll probably be more open to listening to each other."
Skirting the issues is a big no-no according to Syrtash.
"Put everything on the table because so much of effective relationships is about managing expectations. You need to go in with your eyes wide open," she says. She says, adding that addressing financial differences also means not skimping on the details. "That doesn't just mean learning about your partner's history and partner's finances. It's about exposing your own vulnerabilities around this."
Once you have gone through the exercise of coming clean, you may find that you and your partner think differently about money. But, she says that compromise is key.
"That's what partnership is about. You come in with different perspectives and you find common ground," she says. "And where you don't find common ground, the hope is that you'll have ultimately the same core values."
As far as protecting oneself from financial ruin caused be a future spouse, there's always a prenuptial agreement. Syrtash says that while they're not for everyone, prenups are not reserved for the rich and famous.
"For many people, if you earn wildly different salaries [or] if you come from a broken home and marriage feels a little bit overwhelming, they feel more secure having this practical approach should, god forbid, things not work out," she says.
In the end, as with most things concerning love and money, it all comes down to communication and cooperation.
The most popular global sporting event, the World Cup, kicked off this week in Brazil. But the Barbershop guys are fired up about games closer to home: the NBA finals.
In remembrance of the life of actress and activist Ruby Dee, Tell Me More presents an encore broadcast of Michel Martin's 2007 interview with the legendary actress and activist.
President George H.W. Bush turned 90 this week. A new CNN documentary 41 On 41 speaks to 41 of his closest family and colleagues. Michel Martin learns more from Executive Producer Mary Kate Cary.
Host Michel Martin looks at gun culture in the America and abroad, and asks two experts what the U.S. can learn from how other countries handle firearms.
No one won the $1 billion offered by Warren Buffett and mortgage company Quicken Loans during this year’s March Madness, but that’s not going to stop hopeful American workers from throwing a few bucks into their World Cup office pool.
The tournament is underway and the fate of your bracket is likely sealed, but what are the odds that you actually chose that elusive perfect pick?
It turns out that choosing brackets for the World Cup is a lot more complicated than most other matches.
Josh Levin, the executive editor of Slate and host of their sports podcast Hang Up And Listen, says building a perfect bracket for the World Cup is more challenging than the NCAA for one big reason.
“The bracket transmogrifies based on who wins in the group stage,” he says. “In the NCAA bracket, you know that if Duke wins in the first round, then they're going to play a certain team in the second round. In the World Cup, if Brazil wins first in its group then it’s on the left side of the bracket. If they finish second in the group they'll be on the right side of the bracket.”
Yes, he just used the word transmogrifies in a sentence. “So you kind of need to predict how teams are going to do in space and in time,” Levin says.
The hands down favorite to win the competition, with backing from FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, is the home team of Brazil. Silver’s Soccer Power Index developed for ESPN puts Brazil at a 45 percent chance of winning.
“There is an algorithm based on past performance, he looks at how teams have done in the World Cup on home soil,” says Levin.
“It considers the fact that Brazil has not lost a competitive game at home since 1975, which is something you'd probably want to factor in. And also Brazil just has a really, really strong team.”
So if you, Josh Levin, and the rest of your office pick the Brazilians to sweep the World Cup then your decisions in the earlier rounds are really going to matter.
“It could come down to the person who picked Columbia to get out of Group C as opposed to Ivory Coast or the prescient prognosticator who had Uruguay making it to the semifinals,” says Levin.
“So you've got to pay close attention to those early round picks.”