Friday, December 14, 2007

MLB's Rogue's Gallery. A little extra for extra performance

'Seven MVPs and 31 All-Stars' is how this news report began. So all the murmurs are now true?

From Mike Celizic, MSNBC
'...for those who have been paying attention to the game for the past 15 or 20 years, it’s not a surprise, it’s a confirmation. If the best hitters were juicing up, the excellent logic went, the best pitchers had to be doing the same thing.'

Roger Clemens*.

Forget the rest - the other major names - in that list. I saw Clemens in there.

Clemens, the greatest living pitcher. Clemens, of the Yankee dynasty. Clemens, of the comebacks. Clemens, re-signed to the Yankees. Clemens, the guaranteed Hall of Famer.

Clemens, the Bonds of pitching?

And immediately, his Wikipedia entry has this other list at the end - right below the more honorable ones.

It's been a late night.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My manner of speaking

I've realized, for the most part, I use quotes from TV shows, the movies, and comics to communicate. A lot of what I say refers to cinema, Mad magazine satire, and scenes from shows like Seinfeld, Friends, and Yes - Prime Minister among others.

Think it's true for many others. Everyday, I find myself using material from here to illustrate a point, or to narrate anything.

Or - people around me will attest to this - I often repeat some irrelevant lines for no reason.

'New Fazoola!' - (MAD's take on a Mazola oil ad. Been doing this one for many years now, when I see any new product ad )

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Writing as I watch.... Game 4/ World Series. (Oh, and it's all over)

Was about to write on my thoughts at the bottom of the 9th with Boston 4-3 up on Colorado. And the Sox just won. S-w-e-e-e-p.

A complete show of dominance in the series, just like in '04, and with several new players in the team. Their II title in 4 years.

I'll admit, I'm not a Red Sox fan from childhood, but there's something about having lived in the Boston area. BoSox talk is pervasive, it's the local religion, and it's more than any other following in any part of the country.

For 86 years until 2004, it was about collective suffering and hopelessness. Now they delight in being part of a winning tradition, along with other resurgent New England clubs (The Pats are now 8-0, having demolished the Redskins 52-7). And they want more.

Newcomers learned fast. Right from when locals could spot an outsider in Boston, regardless of color, or accent - how? If they cluelessly wore a Yankees' hat. So true.

Tonight, with millions of other fans (including the recently converted), I too celebrate.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

English - unique to India

I wrote up this list after I came across something similar on Wikipedia. I read and added to this article - most of it rings so true.

Especially this section on commonly used phrases. These were my contributions:

I got a firing/I was fired by him - 'I got yelled at by him', not 'I was terminated'
Give me a missed call - 'I won't pick up the phone, but I'll know you're here by the caller ID.' Much cheaper, eh? Unique to India since the mobile phone revolution.
Sharma sir is not here - same as Sharma-ji is not here, respectfully. No knighthood suffix.
I will make a move now - means 'I'm leaving', not 'making a move on someone', or anything related to chess.
Where are you put up? means 'Where do you live'?. Heard often in S.India.
Where do you stay? is the same as 'Where do you live?' or 'Where's your house?'
It is cheap and best - It's good quality at a low price - a great deal
I don't take meat/milk/whatever - 'I don't eat meat/ drink milk' etc
It is worst - 'It is really bad or of very poor quality'.
Looking for my life partner - 'Looking to get married'
Wheatish complexion - Seen in matrimonial ads. Means 'not dark skinned, tending toward light'
Too good! - Excellent, awesome.
The father of Anshul is not here - 'My husband isn't here'.

Now observe. =)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fire, Wind, and Pestilence...

No locusts yet.

The wildfires in So Cal make me wonder what it'd be like if one's house burned down. Made homeless by a firestorm? A wildfire in a city?

Unbelievable. What does it feel like - like the Terminator movies?

Imagine walls of fire ringing your neighborhood, and having to evacuate. I watched the pictures again and again. God-awful.

And some of these fires were actually started by people.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Reading a hi-tech thriller from 9 years ago

I read Digital Fortress this week - nine years after it was first published. So it felt outdated. ;)

Why? The technology in it didn't sound hi-tech. Also, Dan Brown had included what sounded like a lot of needless mumbo-jumbo. Much like in Angels and Demons.

I'm not sure I like to be ahead of the author - figuring out who the bad guy is, who would get killed, what was a red herring etc.

Toward the end, even I was solving 'codes' within messages ahead of the chief protagonist. She and the others took six pages to figure out the final pass code.

*Wink*wink*. Small victories.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What a waste of advertising. Recall anything?

Most advertising on television, if not all, is a waste. I don't recall the product nearly all the time. Recall the music, the visuals played ever so often. The product? What was it?

1-2 minute commercials lose the point in trying to be funny, tell a story, make a connection, be very clever - and lose whatever was being sold.

This is the same for print - who the heck recalls those watch ads for instance? Rolex, Omega, Cartier - they all look the same.

Back in the advertising program at the Newhouse school/SU, I recalled a discussion about clutter. God-awful clutter. We counted the number of ads we were exposed to from the time we woke up - FM radio alarm, breakfast tv, newspaper, drive-time radio, hoardings, in school placements - to when we got to class.

They numbered over 200 for me. Two hundred in 90 mins on a weekday morning.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Among the great finals. Amazing. Simply amazing.

As the mixed doubles final at Wimbledon gets underway, all ye tennis fans-
  • Give thanks - we just witnessed greatness - an amazing Gentlemen's Championships final.
  • Give thanks also that we are able to see a top-class rivalry being played out in men's tennis, so soon after another.
  • Give thanks to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for making tennis enjoyable to watch again.
What do they call such finals - Epic, Classic, Memorable, Historic?

It was all that, and what a game it was - with crucial twists, in the second, fourth, and fifth sets. Top flight tennis. Honest, what did Nadal mean when he said, 'I'm not good on grass, no?' last week? How many more such finals? Many, I hope....

What a treat it was to watch McEnroe and Connors walking around the club with Bjorn Borg discussing Federer potentially equalling Borg's five in a row. Also, Federer talking to Borg in the clubhouse after winning.

Twenty years ago, as a kid, I watched the Cash - Lendl final, and Lendl lost ((No Czech, only Cash') - much to my dismay. Since then I've managed to root for the winner on several occasions - Edberg, Krajicek, Ivanisevic, and Federer.

Ok, let's go - Bjorkman in the mixed. For sheer longevity and long time consistency, you too deserve our appreciation.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mats Wilander is candid

It's not just about the recent clay court, and the current grass court season. I seem to have started to follow tennis again, the way I did many years ago. I actually know who the top ten players are - again.

Speaking of players from years ago, I came across this candid interview with Mats Wilander in the Guardian Unlimited, 6/22/07. Here's an excerpt:

Are there any good young Swedes coming through we should watch out for?
'No, we have absolutely nothing.'

It's a funny interview. Read it here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

What happened to Mary Pierce?

Wasn't Mary Pierce looking really haggard at the French Open? Saw her in the women's final presentation ceremony, and in the stand. Wonder why...

Dead ringer for the wicked witch of the west.

Then she made up for it the next day.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A B-Movie stole from me

When the temperature rose for weeks during summers past, I'd often wonder what it'd be like if:
  • An ice cold polar water current showed up from under the ocean by the coastlines, to drop temperatures suddenly for hot regions.
  • The ice ages returned, only much faster.
  • The earth rolled over so the tropics went where the poles are.
Then I watched this film on TV a couple days ago. Wait a minute, a B-movie stole my third thought, and presented it so badly? And I thought this had occurred to me first, before anyone else! ;) Of course, I didn't have the science to explain it.

Absolute Zero depicted the earth's polar shift so clumsily, that it turned into a comedy. Mad and inaccurate science too. I was embarrassed for my idea.

Bad. Steal, but execute well. ;)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

VT - Déjà vu

Post shooting, we have: 'Profile of a typical shooter', 'he was one of those', ' we expected he'd snap', 'the signs were there'. All this comes in afterward. Everytime.

Watching, and reading as events at Virginia Tech unfolded since Monday - there's such a feeling of déjà vu. I recall a series of such tragedies from 1996, especially the string of school shootings between 1997-99. The profiles, the anger, the reactions, and the coverage.

Last year in Santa Clara, we almost had this happen (3/11)around our workplace, when several cop cruisers swarmed around the parking lot. We joked about it later, but at that time it felt very possible that a shooter was loose.

The victims at VT were people that were alive, with active lives just 36 hrs ago. When you read the profiles - people like so many we'd know, it's like they were so unlucky to be where they were when attacked. I kept wondering what it'd have been like to be in those classrooms, when the shooter came in. Each survivor account made me stop and think.

I watched some Indian TV news channels that went into a tizzy over the VT incident. One show's focus was 'were Indian students at risk in the US?', and 'should they not go to the United States because of this risk?', with a poll thrown in. Having zeroed in on the single (at this time) casualty of Indian origin, they went into a frenzy. Panelists, aspiring students, parents, a US consular officer - they all were interviewed.

What kind of idiot story is this? A one in a million chance, and they make this 'risk' a story? Like the pressing need now is to discuss how Indian students are coping, and how they'll encounter gunfire on campus when they travel to the States. Spread some fear, make news, create a scene.

'I heard some students were shot at an university in the US, and so I'm canceling my plans to get there this fall'.
'Dear Dean, I'm rattled by your potentially gun-crazy campus culture, and can't accept this offer of admission. You can also keep the TAship, stipend, and credits'
'My coursework and graduation be damned. Lest the next shooter peep in my classroom window, I'm outta here immediately.'


Sunday, March 25, 2007

'Click to view video' - #$%^&*#@!

Anyone hate clicking on 'view video' links, especially on news sites? I absolutely do. If I want to click and read, that's all I need. All that's desired. I can't stand to see video only links. They are cumbersome, have awful quality, take a long time to load, buffer, choose between players - even on broadband. Reading through a report is a lot faster and easier, but we're seeing more and more videos. For me, it's annoying to see the video camera icon after a link. Who ever thought this was a good idea? A complete turn off.

If I wanted to view videos only, I'd go to YouTube.

This is likely cos and many news sites are slacking on writing articles. 'Tis far easier to show a video version from TV. The same videos used to be pay-for, until a couple years ago.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Maid'en Heaven - 3/17/07

Landed in BLR Fri for the Iron Maiden show Saturday, Mar 17. Gates opened at 3p.

Magic. Ecstasy. Surreal. Madness. Euphoria. Unreal. Flying. DidItHappen.

There were hundreds like me that traveled to BLR for Maiden. 24 hrs later, my ears still ring. I can't stop rockin', nor can many others. There's nothing else to share or discuss. There's nothing else to play. Can there be now?

Can a bunch of 50 yr + rockers enthrall a 50,000+ audience thus?
Yes. Oui. Ja!

I've attended Iron Maiden shows before - headlined by Queensryche, and Halford no less. Those shows don't compare to what we experienced last night. Last night, it was everything that was likely an out of body experience for most.

Maiden fans on the airplane to to show, on the way from the show, in the streets, at the gates - an unbelievable vast camaraderie. There was nothing else to talk about.

At 5 ft from the stage, this was even better than shows in the past. Dehydration, 6 hrs of waiting and standing be damned. There was happiness, good cheer, delight, forgiveness, tolerance, acceptance all available in plenty on Saturday evening. Yes, we booed the headliner bands - did we need to endure them as we waited for Maiden? Then they were on-stage at 817p, and they blew us away.

Fans on the road. Fans in the airport. Fans in the plane. Fans in the cab. Fans ev'rywhere.
A whole black and blue army. The Maiden Army.

To hell with fixed WC'Cricket games, overhyped teams' shame, and suchlike after the show. Does anyone care about these overrated clowns? Cricket fans do not.

Nothing Else Mattered.

Maiden Magic.
Nothing Else.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo - no wonder Clint spoke Italian at the Oscars!

Clint Eastwood parla Italiano, apparentemente (title of an AP Photo).

Clint Eastwood apparently speaks Italian!

Ye olde composer Ennio Morricone got a Lifetime Academy award for his music, and proceeded to accept in Italian. And guess who helped us all out smoothly by telling us what Morricone said. Clint Eastwood. Who the heck figured he spoke Italian?

Theories aplenty - he had a language prompter, he had cue cards, he had rehearsed a translation....

Come on, of course Clint Eastwood knows I-talian! Think back to
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, even as he said precious little in that movie - but it was an Italian one. ;)

However, he kinda mumbled (in English?) before the presentation. Saved the clarity for his foreign language skills. Impressed, Il Buono!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mad Magazine, anyone?

MAD Magazine, a classic publication - every issue was/is a gem. I own a bunch of old copies, neatly bound for reading and re-reading. We have MAD TV nowadays, but the real thing is priceless. Probably the greatest concentration of creative talent ever, with no ads even (until recently).

Besides the hilarious Don Martin ('One Fine Day in a S.American Dictatorship' etc) strips , Sergio Aragonés marginals , Antonio Prohías' 'Spy vs. Spy', Dave Berg's 'The Lighter Side Of' among several other talented artist/writers - there were the amazing MAD movie satires.

My favorites, as I recall the lines from MAD:

'The Ecchorcist' - (The Exorcist)

Mom:'Come on, hurry! Exorcize the ghost!'
Priest: 'Hup, one two three four! Hup, one two three four!'
Mom:'What are you doing?!'
Priest: 'Oh, Exorcize... thought you meant exercise!'

An Officer Ain't No Gentleman' - (An Officer and a Gentleman)

Fiancee: 'There isn't any baby, it was a gag!'
Officer: 'A gag? Where'd you get it from - the Menachem Begin joke book?!'

'Cry More vs. Cry More' - (Kramer vs. Kramer)

Billy: 'Where's mommy?'
Dad/Ted Kramer (thinks): He's just a kid and so sensitive - he'll be shattered. How do I tell him mommy's left us for her career? I've got it. -> 'Mommy's dead!'

A look at John McEnroe's calendar:

1) Wake up - break bathroom mirror
2) Yell at maid!
3) Smash cutlery
4) Scream at chauffeur!
5)Check why no mail from John McEnroe fan clubs
6)Check why no John McEnroe fan clubs!

What wouldn't I have done to work at MAD Magazine? These are the kind of lines I'd plain love to write. =)

Friday, February 02, 2007

'Do not commit nuisance hear' (sic)

Oh, I love these signs and often take pictures when I travel.

- 'Child Bear available' - (Chilled Beer)
- 'No reflusion' - (Saw this at Chinese customs/Shenzhen) Means what?
- 'Anyone think it is their birthright to cause problem, is ejected' - (Notice to prospective tenants at an apartment)
- 'Stand away from the wall for civilization' - Rest room in China

Do check out, and find out what it's all about. Play these over in your mind for a random chuckle.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Matters of grand national importance - jeezus!

So we have the Indian government formally talking to the Brits about racism on Channel 4's Big Brother.... for what?

Why does a national government have to step in here? This is unbelievable, that too for a 'reality' TV show.

I can't imagine the US Secretary of State calling the Indian govt if Brad Pitt had crowd trouble in India, and exchanged insults there.

This is embarrassing. This is a stupid staged TV show that clearly had this all planned. I'll bet participants were asked to play to stereotypes, and they knew this would be a controversy. Come on, it all happens.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Let it all continue

Allow me my exuberance:

The year was magic, it was good, it was exciting, it was all about positives, and there was ne'er a dull moment. Honest - for me, '06 rocked indeed.

Even as it feels the same for ev'ry year - how fast they pass us by - '06 was a year when I felt every day zip by. And almost each one had an impact on me personally. Every day was lived. It's all a blur? Not.

I don't recall any part of 2006 that wasn't fun filled, fulfilling, or exciting.

A zillion miles travelled worldwide, an amazing road trip back east (NY/MA/PA/NH) during the summer, finally going to So Cal on holiday (not on work), catching up with old friends everywhere, a new career opportunity, all kinds of visitors (incl grandma) at home - it's been all good. =)

C'est bon maintenant. Faites de beaux rêves. (no nonsense show-off gibberish, someone did tell me this years ago at New Year's. Go figure it out.)