Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The friendly inquisition, and after-party

Anyone watch Barkha being 'interrogated' by her friends yesterday? On NDTV. Couldn't tell who was the funniest - the moderator, the other editors, or BD herself'.

They were all doing this with a straight face. BD did some amazing pained/indignant/I'm clean/petulant facial expressions though.

The discussion was to the effect of:

Editors: 'BD, as a reputed journalist, does all this make you AnGGrry!?' (only sentence they were allowed to complete)

Sonia Singh/moderator: 'Calm down, Bark'

BD: 'I trusted Rad. Dang. But hey, I'm highly reputed. I made a judgment of error. (Didn't realize the phone was tapped)'

'Riina Nadia' on the phone: 'Hey, y'all, where's the after-party? TGIF at 9?'

Everyone: 'Idiot! This line is tapped as well (but we're on).' *secret gesture*

NDTV:'This show is unedited (but not live)' 
Watch here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The two-handed shake theory

Do you think devious/insincere people shake hands or greet others often with both hands?

This two handed shake goes for many politicians when they congratulate rivals, people that fawn over superiors, and most anyone that harbors crafty intentions for the hand they hold. This action usually comes with a slight bow and a fully toothed smile - another pointer toward insincerity.

Watch how Tom takes Jerry's outstretched paw, even as he plans to trap him yet again. It's always two-pawed.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kimiko Date - the active, winning grande dame of tennis

Amidst all the talk about the longevity of some sportspersons - fifty-year old golfers, cricketers that play on for four decades, and first round and doubles specialists in tennis - here's a real achiever at the highest level. And in a sport where being past 23 is considered 'old' for singles competition.

Kimiko Date turned 40 yesterday and continues to amaze the world of tennis. She turned professional in March 1989. A little Japanese giant conqueror among (giant) young tennis pros.

She came back after a 12 year layoff ('96) in 2008, and has since beaten the best in tennis, won several ITF titles, and a WTA Tour title. This year she's won against Dinara Safina (twice), Nadia Petrova, Maria Sharapova, and Daniela Hantuchova (second time since '09) - all highly ranked players, and younger by more than a decade.


Take that, teen prodigies! (And where are any these days, btw).

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Iron Maiden: Keeping the metal lamp burning

The Final Frontier (This hopefully isn't also their final record, as widely speculated!)

Maiden's latest 'epic' album - out earlier this month - is likely their best since 2000's Brave New World . As it tops charts in several countries, TFF seems to have given metal a second wind at the end of the 1st decade of the century.

I actually saw something about Maiden edging out Eminem at the top of the UK charts (now how often have those two shown up in the same sentence!)

TFF tells the story of some kind of space explorer that's going out to the dark beyond. It has just ten tracks, and yet is Maiden's longest album ever. Most numbers are over six minutes each.

Never mind the strange start with that bizarre first half of Satellite 15/The Final Frontier - everything is made alright right after. Look especially for the 2nd part of the title track, The Man Who Would Be King, and the final (11 min) track When the Wild Wind Blows. 

For a band made up of six fifty-plus year olds, they're still coming up with excellent work. I now don't regret not being around for Maiden at their 'peak in the 80s' as much as before.

The Final Frontier, like most Maiden albums will take a few listens before you like all of it. Recommend that you play it in the car over and over for a while.

Like the new Eddie?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

à la mode

  1. 'I'm into classic rock'
  2. 'I'm not on Facebook'
  3. 'I don't know my native language'
  4. 'I don't have/watch tv'
  5. 'Who/what's SRK?'
  6. 'I hate SRK'
  7. 'I'm a big-time ManU fan'
  8. 'I'm a Brazil fan forever'
  9. 'I can't wait for the next season of 24/HIMYM' (outside the US)
  10. 'I was at this party where I didn't know the host'


(yes, you've seen some of these elsewhere)

Monday, June 07, 2010

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Engrish on the 2010 Asian Games web site

Sports as presented on the Asian Games Guangzhou 2010 portal:

'The modern game of hockey started from England in 1800s. Players on the field must hold their stick and not use it in a dangerous way.'


'It is commonly accepted that cricket originated from a very old leisure activity indulged by shepherds in British. The shepherds used crook and other farm equipments to hit a ball which used to be made up of wool or stone.'

<== Don't miss the umpire either - this was the best picture of a cricket game they could find.

'Baseball derived from England cricket. |The catcher need to wear not only helmet and shin guards, but also the knee pads and equipped for throat protection. | If draws, then the match continue until one team wins.'

'Tennis acted as a medal sport in 1958 the 3rd Tokyo Asian Games. Except in some men's singles, all the other matches are played three sets (the one wins two sets wins the match), while some men's singles played five sets (the one wins three sets win the match); A player/team needs to win two consecutive points immediately after "Deuce" to win the "Game". During a tie-break game, points are scored "Zero","1", "2", "3", etc'

And ...'Billiard Sports have a family of games that is played on a table, with a cue stick.'
GZ 2010 games chief web content editor in charge of putting China's best foot forward: 'Yep, that sounds about right. Go live.'

Who cares, I guess, when China's going to be a hundred medals ahead of every one else, like every time...

Monday, May 31, 2010

'I'm from Q and I can't speak Q'ian'

A lot of people will say they do not know their native language, and feign disappointment at this fact.

'Oh, yknow I can't speak a word of Indian (sic), and it's supposed to be my ... language. I wish I could, it's kinda sad that I can't' (when I'm so cool saying this)

This is different than saying they're not from a particular place (when they really are). Here they probably don't like being associated with their hometown/region.

Like 'I'm from NYC' is better than saying 'I'm from Jersey City'. Or in India where so many quickly proclaim 'I'm from Bombay', when they're actually native back of beyonders.

 Also, they can't say they regret not being from Jersey City.

Monday, April 26, 2010

IPL III's Happy Ending

In the end MI fizzled, and badly. For the rest of India it probably felt great, likely felt very satisfying. Many were fed up of the hoopla around just one team.

The past six weeks:
For the entire duration of IPL-III it seemed like everything was about MI and SRT. The fawning coverage of MI, the applause for their 'feats', the SRT (‘captain that led from the front’) inspiration was excessive and inordinate. Commentators like SMG, RS, and HB went overboard in their praise for MI and as usual for SRT. They talked like it was a foregone conclusion that MI would win the IPL this year.

MI always was behind other teams on # of games played in the league stage, so they had one to catch up on points with if needed. Not only that, MI got a couple extra games at home in addition to the semifinal (shifted in a trice from BLR) and the final. So we had that much more of that irritating siren sound when they played at home. (How was this allowed in the final and semifinal?)

LM seemed to schmooze more with the Ambanis than with anyone else. MI fans were interviewed on the street all the time. Clueless Bombay celebrities, and housewives branded themselves MI fans, and were asked about the club's strategy, and tough game outcome questions ('who do you think will win today?')

The past week:
With so much hype on the MI story, other teams were made into fringe outfits. In the run-up to the final, the weekend talk shows were all about MI's exploits and SRT's greatness. (It almost felt like the final and assured win was timed with his birthday celebration week).The opponent in the final was hardly mentioned in these discussions. Funny how it was SMG, HB, and Manjrekar on IBN's (repeatedly shown) 'Who will win the IPL' show. Very neutral, folks.


And so we had a final where MI were routed, thrashed, hammered like it was payback for all of this.

To summarize, it was a game where:
• MI were hit around the park for 100 runs in the last 8 overs.
• they just could not handle it - literally - by dropping major catches.

• they were 1-1 after a maiden over start, and where the MI captain did not walk when he was clearly caught behind. Different rules? The opposition actually smiled as if they knew.(SMG, RS, and co kept verrry silent, just like they did when RD was 'caught' in the semis by the same captain)
• an (overrated and arrogant) offspinner was sent in to bat ahead of MI's proven big hitter. For what?
• an MI batsman who was actually scoring runs was made to sacrifice his wicket by the (newly arrogant)big hitter mentioned above (who got out right after)
• the stadium went silent and near empty by the last over. So much for a sporting attitude - you'd think MI was playing Pak. For a local audience that could not imagine or handle any other result than an MI win - this was just too much.
• the rest of us rejoiced; it was good to see this team eat pie.

--Note: consistent with the coverage,  no other team's name is mentioned here--

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Leno and Letterman together - last week's Superbowl ad

A little late getting around to writing about it, but -
This was fantastic; this was a great promotional coup for CBS! It was good for everyone. I think Leno benefited greatly from this - good job he agreed to show up with Dave.

Coming right after all the mud last month with NBC's Conan O'Brien fiasco, and the history between Letterman and Leno,  these fifteen seconds were an amazing surprise.

Talk about audacity. All we needed was an appearance by CoCo, but that would have been looking for too much. =)

Monday, February 08, 2010

Well done, Saints!

Good going, and a great comeback from a ten point deficit. Even better that it came against the Colts and Manning.Nice! ;)

Happy for Drew Brees, and especially happy for New Orleans. I was just thinking back, like many, about Katrina, the damaged Superdome, and the damaged city 4 years ago. This was a comeback for the team and the city in the end.

If only it were the Patriots. =)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Paranormal Activity: Step in 70 min after the show begins

Finally watched this over the weekend after meaning to since last Oct. Yes, there's been a lot of hype for Paranormal Activity, and that brought me in too. The movie is best watched in a theater, at night, and with an audience that knows to shut up.

And then - go home to try and resist imagining the same things happening in your house. Oh, yes - you will imagine it all - just about the time you turn off the lights before trying to sleep.

And then you'll turn them on again. It's very, very difficult to shake off PA when home.

That said, I recommend this, to save prospective viewers a lot of
  1. Step into the theater an hour and ten minutes after the show begins. Until then, pretty much nothing happens(Now that everyone kinda knows about the story,the couple and the presence in their house -getting up to speed is no problem)
  2. Take a few minutes to get a feel for the situation on screen, and then...
  3. Focus from the time Katie wakes up, goes over to his side of the bed, and stares at him for a couple hours. This is about 3 minutes before the film ends.
That's all there is to this movie. The last 2.5 minutes of PA will have the impact that everyone's raving about. Save the first hour for anything else you had planned, outside the theater.

Trust me. :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ten years ago: At the dawn of 2000

The start of 2010 made me think back to what I was doing ten years ago, at the 'dawn of the millennium'. A decade already.

(Like now, everyone was going on about the new mil/century/decade, but here goes anyway: 2010 is still in the first decade, like 2000 was part of the 20th century)

NYE'00 - Nothing

On New Year's Eve for 2000, I was at no grand party, no huge celebration. It was at this nondescript pub in the equally nondescript town of North Adams, MA. There were several middle aged couples swaying to 'YMCA' and similar numbers, and the whole atmosphere was a total let down. And there was a lot of ice and snow on the ground outside. The only spot of cheer was we got to take home a free bottle of champagne.

To this day, I've failed to understand how I ended up there of all places, despite all the excitement in the run-up - months of it - to that night. What'd happened to all those grand plans?

That morning thro' February
The previous day, we'd watched other time zones ring in the new year on TV. Pacific island cultures that had no concept of the Gregorian calendar were doing artificial celebratory dances to welcome the rising sun. A friend stood up to announce it was the year 2100-something in some southeast Asian calendar, and if they didn't care about the year 2000, neither did he.

The world didn't seem any different in the morning. The ATMs and gas stations worked fine on January 1. There was some wonderment at finally being in the Year 2000.

Then it quickly all wore off. Suddenly it was like any another year. The same old work schedule, weekly Wed drives to Boston headquarters starting at 6am, Friday dance lessons - normalcy struck back very very quickly. Or so I thought...

Spring Onward: Rapid Change | All Smiles
However, 2000 turned out to be exciting overall for me - not for many millennial reason, but the pace of change in my life. That March, I was moved from Williamstown to the Boston area because of the nature of my work, and was compensated well for it. Like I needed an incentive to move to Beantown. I got to live in, and discover Boston that spring onward. (Pah-tay!) I discovered the bounty of stock options that vested early, and actually had value - major value. For a recent graduate that didn't care about stock options - because of the excitement of finishing school at SU and landing a dream job - I was suddenly holding the biggest check ever in my life.

I traveled around the country - Seattle, DC, VA, NC, took road trips to wildernesses in Vermont and NH, walked on frozen lakes in the moonlight, attended MLB games, went again to Britain and India. Toward the end of the year, I made a down payment on a brand new BMW, figuring if not now using the stock option bonanza -then when? It was customized and delivered five weeks later.

2000, from a slow start, was an exciting year at the turn of the century (let's also not forget the presidential election:'Gore wins Florida!', recants, recounts, Kathleen Harris, the Supreme Court). Here's wishing for myself - the same for this year, and onward.

(Images: 1. Cat from the year 2000. My apartment, 22 Arnold St, Williamstown, MA.
2. 325xi, day of delivery, Norwood, MA)