Wednesday, December 16, 2009

At the movies - the Avatar preview

Attended the 'paid preview' today.
I'm not getting tired of telling anyone that will listen - Avatar is a remake of a Bollywood movie of the same name from years ago. Here's the email I sent out (*wink*wink*):

'Avatar: Watched the Hindi original in 3D? Wow.
James Cameron picks up from Rajesh Khanna - how about that?
original Avtaar (1983) was a classic that starred Kaka, Shabana Azmi and AK Hangal as the alien who's always been old. As you can see, James Cameron has slightly
altered the screenplay for a worldwide audience. He doffs his hat to the first film in style.

I thought it was well adapted; Hangal and Golshen Grover are the only actors from the original in the 2009 version. Watch for them as Na'vi elders.

However, some people didn't get it. Jeez.

Anyway, Avatar (2009) was a visual treat just like the reviews said. The 3D wasn't about gimmicks - aiming projectiles toward the audience et al. It kind of felt like I was in the movie, in mostly dark settings. There are several Matrix-like scenes. Past a point, I didn't care about the story, and just watched the action. The ending was all figured out - very obvious.

If 3D is available to watch, why bother with the 2D version?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Is this a Volkswagen ad? What were they thinking?

Chanced upon the VW ad campaign in India on TV. The ads (print included) are unusually poorly done - did Wolfsburg really approve this brand embarrassment?

In a long and amateurish sequence, here's how the TV spot goes:
  1. Kid shows up in a showroom. Inquires about 'booking a car for his 18th birthday' in a horrendous vernacular accent (premium segment, anyone?). Hear that first line again. Who at DDB and VW thought the delivery sounded about right?
  2. Ingratiating dealership salesman calls the kid 'sir', and proceeds to fawn over him.
  3. Kid goes on to talk about VW models for when he's 24, a CEO... a longwinded sequence while the salesman agrees for each choice earnestly.
  4. This goes on for about a minute, and feels much longer.

And this was the best way DDB and VW thought to present themselves to India: a brand known worldwide for creative, innovative, and most importantly - memorable advertising. Perhaps they wanted to oversimplify things for the Indian consumer, and came up with this.

As a former VW owner, and as a fan of their campaigns in the United States, I am appalled at such substandard communication from the brand.

To think VW India and the agency are actually pleased with their work. Since Porsche and VW are together now - did they copy an older Porsche ad and do this version for India?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

How's this for chutzpah? Gatecrash a White House state dinner

Hear about the couple that went in uninvited to the state dinner for the prime minister of India? This revelation made me laugh out loud, especially the picture of her with prize goof Joe Biden.

MSNBC:'Once inside the dinner tent, they got pictures that appeared to show them with ABC’s Robin Roberts, Bollywood composer AR Rahman, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, Obama Chief of Staff Emanuel (identified as “Ron” in the couple’s Facebook photo caption) and two with a grinning vice president.'

He had to be part of this, if not anyone else - the veep. I thought his pose here was very appropriate for their caper.

Per MSNBC - 'While the White House offered no official explanation, it appears to be the first time in modern history that anyone has crashed a White House state dinner.'

I wonder about the kind of thought and prep that went into this endeavor. And now it's all over the news; for more, look up Conan and Letterman next week.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

St.Nick gifts himself - can you believe Nicholas Cage?

'Nicholas Cage' is going to be the catch-phrase for excess leading to ruin.

'MJ did a Nicholas Cage and went into bankruptcy.'

Excerpts from this article - the shopping list included:
  • Two castles - England and Germany
  • 15 palatial homes across the world
  • A flotilla of yachts across coasts and,
  • A fleet of Rolls Royces
St.Nick delivered unto himself a giant sack of goodies. Time to sue his accountant, cos of no fault of his - yes? And he did.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Falling Classic - that sinking feeling

Even as the Phillies make it 2-3 to go back to New York, methinks it's all over. The Yankees will take care of the rest at home, and I'll check back only for Game 7 should there be one. It would be great to have a repeat of 2001, and that series too went into November like this year.

However, it's time for fans such as I to turn our attention to the Pats. There wasn't a game this past weekend, but they're looking great after their recent two outings (59-0, and 35-7). They should be playing way into January. Looking forward to ye olde times....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

TV Shows: 'The patron saint of shark-jumping'

The reasons for a show jumping the shark are categorized as shown above. These come from the original site (now a TV Guide blog).

When I chanced upon JTS years ago, it was hilarious to note this: Ted McGinley is a category by himself! Recall him from 'Revenge of the Nerds' - the leader of the jocks? The patron saint of shark-jumping - apparently, any show experiences a fall in ratings after Ted shows up on it, leading to its eventual cancellation.

Jump the Shark:
'In a television show, to include an over-the-top scene or plot twist that is indicative either of an irreversible decline in
the show's quality or of a desperate bid to stem the show's declining ratings. '

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Phillies back in the World Series - what 'losingest team in sports'?

Last year's champs are back in the finals with a 10-4 Game 5 thrashing of the Dodgers in the 2009 NLCS. Nice if the Yankees make it too, so we (and Boston) know exactly who to root for.

To think this is also the losingest team in sports for being the first professional club to lose 10000 games. 10000 defeats. Until recently that's what Philadephia baseball was known for.

The MLB has had some recent title holders that until recently were perennial losers. An amazing change in the fortunes of:
  • The Boston Red Sox in 2004 (after 1918/86 years) and 2007, with a great record of getting to the playoffs this decade.
  • The Chicago White Sox followed suit in 2005 (previous in 1917)
  • The Phillies in 2008, soon after taking the 'losingest' label.
All that's needed is for the Cubs to join the party. Is that allowed to happen?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy thoughts, instant humor, instant cheer - look these up =)

These work at any time for me:

-Beagle in a Sopwith Camel engaging the Red Baron - like this image at left.

-This fictional list of movies to rent.

- Fox News' coverage of anything, with their priceless (inquiring?/analytical?/concerned?) close-up expressions. (Oddly, as I write, their 'no-bias' reporting is in the news now)

- The Tom and Jerry Mice Follies episode - note Tom's expression at 4:29 as he skates past Jerry and Nibbles.

- Any unintentionally funny Bollywood movie, which means most of them. Watch for absurd factual errors, nonsense based plots like in this one here. A disaster movie or a movie that's a disaster?

- Anyone that discusses or professes any of these - 'color/flower therapy, life coaching, past life regression therapy, pranic dieting, Robin Sharma' - with a straight face.

All smiles already?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama's 1-1 win-loss record in a week

El SeƱor Presidente Obama makes it 1-1 in a week - loses the Olympics bid for Chicago, mais wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

'US President Barack Obama has said he was "surprised and deeply humbled" to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, less than 10 months into his presidency.'

Surprised? I'll say... Nobel prize for the committee's audacity of hope? Come on.

Like someone said, at least Al Gore invented the internet and global warming...jeez.
This should have been considered a few years down; the Nobel prize committee waits years for science nominees' achievements to be validated.

The president may be a beacon of hope, a miracle man that showed up from nowhere, an object of media adulation, someone that's featured on TIME's cover multiple times - but that don't count for a Nobel peace prize, yet.

Add this to the strange choice for peace prize winners list - Arafat won, MK Gandhi did not.

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Curious Case of Bethany Button - meet anyone that knew the secret to eternal youth?

The female Benjamin.
Okay, so how can anyone still be only 2 years older now, than she was at college in '98?

Back in SU, sure, it was common for many new foreign students to feign their ages, like no one one could find out. For what reason, I could not discern. But many did lie away, people (M and F) were 19 for three years in succession.

However, I ran into someone recently that was a couple years ahead of me at Syracuse, and she's still in her early 20s. Time has stood still for a decade. Aging's been arrested. She's now the Curious Case of Bethany Button .

Straight-faced, she declared to a group of acquaintances, that she needed to pay more for auto insurance on account of her 'yoot' , and of course that she hated getting her ID out for nights out, cos 'twas a nuisance to keep getting carded. (What a bother to have the 21+ proof)

She was about to say she'd just stepped out of school when she saw yours truly. And I was good n' gentlemanly. =)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

2009 US Open - Djokovic vs. McEnroe

Let's take a break from 'Marietta Munchkin' hoopla (no gripe) for a minute:
Over and above his considerable playing talent, Novak Djokovic is an absolute delight with his amazing player imitations. Among others, he does Sharapova and Nadal spot on.

This performance (see below) at the US Open after his fourth round win yesterday was even more entertaining than usual, and it starred John McEnroe. It was just great to see Johnny Mac come down from the commentary box to play a couple points with Djokovic. They even traded imitations. What a sight! I was smiling long afterward. =)

Monday, August 17, 2009

They'll always find an appropriate highlight, won't they?

From the NYT, August 16
Article about a Bollywood actor detained at Newark airport.

'In the India Day parade in Manhattan, Pooja Patel, 15, was carried as part of a troupe advertising an online matrimonial site.' (Pic: Damon Winter/The New York Times)

Courtesy Winnie Hu, readers can assume child marriage is the norm in India, and in the community. Nice.

At least it wasn't Somini Sengupta this time. Winnie beat her to it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Strike 3 - Let's see. Michael Phelps at it again.

Michael Phelps at it again.

The last time we had the bong incident. And we were to look for when he'd say "I'm 27, and...". Looks like Phelps is going to go with "I'm 24, and....".

Reports are he's likely not in trouble this time -

'Olympic gold medal swimming champion Michael Phelps was involved in a traffic accident in Baltimore, Maryland, on Thursday night'

- but I'd wait and watch

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Very Standard No-Nos by me =)

Now, don't be judgmental: ;)

- White socks with black shoes
- Labeling something 'First/best/largest in Asia'
- Shaking hands (there are also people that need to shake hands every time they meet you that day)
- Recalling anyone's birthday (close relatives excused). Tracking people's birthdays is creepy.
- 'See, the thing is 'I'm very frank , I tell it like it is' (Has anyone ever admitted to being otherwise. 'See, I never tell it like it is. I use riddles')
- Black trousers and brown shoes (add white socks here, even worse)
- Idiot friendship day messages (especially when sent by guys)
- 'I'm into classic rock'
- '___ city is different from ten years ago' . (what they said ten yrs ago)
- Being handed the phone to talk to someone you've never met. 'Here, I told my geezer friend about you and he wants to say hi' (I so so hate this, hate hate it)
- 'You're a (zodiac sign here) I can tell'. This is dumb enough from girls, but downright gay from a guy.

Been a late night for no reason, and there are repeats from last year. :)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Red Sox tainted - and look at whodunit

Don't know how I missed this earlier today - apparently Manny and David Ortiz tested positive years ago.

Come to think of it, look at Manny's appearance over the years... , and here take a look at this for Ortiz.

The Boston Globe article says 'Our cheaters were better than their cheaters', referring to Sox fans' glee over the parade of Yankee dopsters - A-Rod, Giambi, Clemens over the years.

Anyway, what big surprise after Roger Clemens - there will be more revelations.

They should start a separate Hall of Fame - a Hall of Fame*.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I don't get Twitter -

Does everyone need to know what you're doing?

Is broadcasting that important, does anyone care?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The end of Michael Jackson - a non fan thinks back....

Michael Jackson is Dead.

And who did not know who he was?

Michael Jackson or 'Cycle' Jackson as I referred to him was likely the greatest music star ever - in terms of popularity and chart success. The global superstar. Kids worldwide grew up in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s with MJ. I choose to remember his good years, not the controversies afterward, and the ignominy of his living away in exile.

To hear today that he was gone brought back several memories like I'm sure for many others. Everyone, everyone knew who MJ was, everyone had heard a MJ number, and everyone wondered what kind of freakshow he was too.

First off, I can't believe Michael Jackson is 50. Was 50. And he died of what....?! Wasn't he supposed to die, by rumor, of some disease some months ago?

I always wondered, aloud sometimes, how someone so immensely talented and popular went this way. Progressively whacko. Whacko Jacko.

Though I've always been into rock/metal - a dyed-in-the-wool fan, and not pop or anything of the MJ genre - he was always around. I used to snigger at friends that went to MJ shows, listened to MJ numbers, people that imitated MJ moves. But there was no ignoring the showman, the entertainer. He was always around - in posters, on MTV videos, in the news, on radio, everywhere, a constant.

Michael Jackson is dead. Unbelievable. This is going to take some getting used to.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

'Unfortunate Names' =)

The moment I saw this article, I was reminded of several even more unfortunate names. Far more unfortunate.These were of India students back in the day at Syracuse. The expressions of landlords, nurses, university office staff were priceless when these newbies mentioned their names.

'Wait a minute, did you say your name is _____?'

From this piece:
'What do you call some of the most unlucky people in Britain?

Justin Case, Barb Dwyer and Stan Still.

It sounds like a bad joke, but a study has revealed that there really are unfortunate people with those names....'

Oh, they could do a lot worse; don't you think, Deepshita?

Monday, February 02, 2009

A great sporting weekend - Tennis, Football, (and swimming).

And there have been several such before.

  • Fri,a stellar Australian Open semi final: Nadal vs. Verdasco. List this among the all-time great five setters.
  • (Sat, disregard the women's final. Boring. More reason to not watch any of these one siders. Had actually stopped watching a few years.)
  • Sun, an amazing men's final. Too bad FeDex lost again to Rafa, but what else could he do to save the match?
  • Sun, a thrilling Super Bowl. It all happened in the final two minutes for the Steelers, but it was almost the second (or third?) coming of Kurt Warner. Think his performance was enough to qualify.
No wait, there's more -
He said:
"I'm 23 years old, and despite the successes I have had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner that people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public -- it will not happen again."

And last time, he'd said:
"Getting into a car with anything to drink is wrong. It's dangerous and it's unacceptable. I'm 19, but was taught that no matter how old you are, you take responsibility for actions, which I do,"

So we look for when he'll say:
"I'm 27 years old, and...."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Layoffs at my college

Read in the Daily Orange that my school laid off 48 staffers last week. Whenever I hear Syracuse University and finances in the same sentence, I tend to pay attention. People that know me, are familiar with my view of SU.

SU is in dire financial straits? Really?

What happened to all the $ from incessant solicitations, the giant endowment, tuition increases, and selling off square blocks on the quad to any alumni that that wanted their names etched on granite?

Maybe it didn't work out, or they wanted more. I do hope one effect of the situation is an end to scholarships, and funding to students of no merit - SU was lax in researching credentials.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Slumdog - what is the fuss about?

What, I'm wrong? I should have bought in?

I thought Slumdog Millionaire was no fun, had unreal situations, and reinforced god-awful stereotypes. I kept looking for a magical moment, and there weren't any.
Also, where was that great music I kept hearing about?

Must have missed something amidst all the hype. Viral 'you gotta see this'.

And why, why were India people raving about it so much? Reality aside, is this what they'd like to be associated with?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Cell phone tricks - how to spot non-calls. ;)

Ever notice the antics of people using cell phones? No, they're not always having a conversation, or texting. You likely know this.

They're trying to look busy and connected.
They're trying to look not awkward.

  • A lot of people will talk to themselves on their cell phones. They are not talking to anyone else at all. Watch anyone that's sitting at a table in a restaurant, public place alone with a phone.
  • If they have an intense expression and look around once in a while - they're likely talking to themselves. Most such people will sound like they're having an argument. A made-up one.
  • People that eat alone at a restaurant often start a fake phone call. Who the heck wants to be seen alone at a table? Fork and phone in hand looks better.
  • Watch anyone that walks into a gathering of people, and everyone seems to look at them. They'll either come in with a supposed cell phone 'conversation', or will pretend to call or text someone just then. They're self conscious. They want to look busy.
  • There are also the ones that will have a self-conversation about a topic just to gain the attention of those in earshot. Interesting places, clubs, people will be mentioned, and there will be a lot of exclaiming, and fake enthusiasm. Exclamations:'Really?!, No kidding!, Wow!'

    Watch if their phone suddenly starts to ring mid-fake call.