Monday, July 23, 2007

Future perfect?

Argentina's under-20 team win the football u-20 world cup. They beat Czech Republic 2-1. They have now won 5 out of last 7 under-20 world cups. The future looks promising, isn't it?

Argentina current national team of very talented players often start favorites (ahead of Brazil) at every championship they play. But after living up to their billing at the beginning, they seem to run out of steam against tough teams in the later stage. In WC 2006, they lost to Germany when everyone was expecting them to defeat the Germans comprehensively. In Copa America 2007, they lost to a Brazil side sans Ronaldinho and Kaka in the final, beaten fairly easily. All this after dominating previous matches. It must be heart-breaking for Argentinian fans. They seem to have all the talent, but can't seem to win when it matters. Seen in this context, their under-20 team's world cup win is something to savor. Hope this team of future superstars will dominate the world stage in the future.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Stray dogs shot dead - yet again!!

Read a news item in the Hindu today - it said around a dozen stray dogs were shot dead by 'Narikuravas' in a multiplex in ECR.

These Narikuravas were employed by the management of the multiplex. From the article, I am assuming the 'multiplex in ECR' they are talking about is Mayajaal. Why can't they just say Mayajaal instead of saying 'a multiplex along East Coast Road'? But thats not the point here.

Is there no other way to curb the stray dog menace other than killing those poor animals? They could have thrown stones and scared them away or something of that sort. But why kill them? Really shocking! Man's best friend is killed by man himself.

Update: Around a dozen animal rights activists protest in front of Mayajaal. This news item was seen in Hindu couple of days ago.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Monday, July 09, 2007

Argentina blank Peru

Great stuff from Argentina. They defeat Peru 4-0; enter Copa America semis.

Watch all the action

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Wah Taj - TAJ Mahal makes it to the list

All those campaigns for getting people to vote for Taj Mahal has paid off. The Taj has made it to the list of 7 new wonders of the world, announced by the new7wonders foundation. Though some people have dismissed this online poll as a marketing gimmick and UNESCO has distanced itself from this campaign, this does not take away anything from the victory.

AR Rahman fans will also be happy about this victory for Taj Mahal. Thats because ARR also had a part to play in this campaign. He came up with a specially composed Taj Anthem and that really gave Taj the much needed impetus to win this online poll.

I can think of some immediate benefits for Taj as a result of this victory. For one, it will attract more media attention worldwide, which in turn will attract more tourists to it. Thats good in one way. But the Indian government and local authorities of Agra should also be prepared to take in more visitors if they are to convert this influx of visitors to revenue. They should properly maintain the serenity and splendor of the Taj as well. No doubt, it will be a huge challenge for them. Secondly, more money will be pumped in to spruce up the Taj and it will help with lots of repair and maintenance work. I just hope this money is spend wisely and does not fall into the wrong hands.

How far will this victory help the Taj (and India) in the longer run? Only time can tell. For the moment though, we can all say 'Wah Taj'!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Indian Players at Wimbledon

Wimbledon is the world's most prestigious tennis tournament with a long history dating back to 1887. Yet through all these years, no Indian (or Asian) has ever won the singles title!!

The best Indian performance so far at Wimbledon is by Ramanathan Krishnan. He reached the semifinals 2 consecutive times in the 1960s, losing out to eventual winners on both occasions. His son Ramesh Krishnan reached Wimbledon quarterfinals in 1986. Vijay Amritraj also reached quarterfinals 2 times in the 70s. After that, there is nothing much to say about Indian players in Wimbledon singles. Of course, in doubles we have had some good performances over the years by Anand/Vijay Amritraj and later on by LeanderPaes and Mahesh Bhupathi. But singles is a different matter altogether.

I have always thought why a nation of 2 billion people is not able to produce a single tennis champion? It cannot be the money factor. Even poorer countries like Serbia are producing very good players like Ana Ivanovic. Anyway there are lots of Indians who can afford tennis training now.

Just wondering, wouldn't it be great if India can produce players who can actually dominate world tennis? Our latest tennis hope is Sania Mirza. But she seems to be mostly inconsistent, often going out in the 2nd or 3rd rounds of big tournaments.

What are your views ? When do you think an Indian will win Wimbledon singles title?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Taj Mahal - A R Rahman video

Remember the vote for Taj Mahal campaign for which AR Rahman lend a helping hand by composing a special anthem? Now here is the music video for that song. must watch for ARR fans!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton the most recent sci-fi novel i've read. Very good stuff from Michael, one of my favorite authors.

Its amazing to know this book was published in 1968 and was one of the bestsellers of that time. Some of the concepts mentioned in this book are just out of this world, and they stand relevant even to this day. Many similar themes have been shown in later sci-fi movies.

I also heard that a movie by the same name was made in 1971. It would be interesting to watch that one.

This is my third Michael Crichton novel. I've also read Jurassic Park and Sphere. After reading 3 sci-fi books from Michael Crichton, I can almost see a common pattern through his novels.

1. The main characters are always scientists, or a group of scientists.
2. The way the plot develops is very similar. An out-of-the-world incident/accident happens somewhere in some remote corner of the world, for which there is no explanation. But most of the time, some secret government agency will be aware of it or will be tracking such happenings. And they will send a group of scientists to investigate. This group will be typically 4-5 member group and might or might not include a woman.
3. The group members might not agree among themselves at all points during the investigation. There will definitely be some kind of mistrust and/or betrayal between them.
4. The antagonists are mostly: aliens from outer space/extraterrestrial organisms/man-made organisms. They will have unimaginable strength and man can only fight them with his brain.
5. At the end of the story, all the group members might not survive.
6. Most of his novels seem to feature wonderful technology gone awfully wrong and seem to have some sort of hidden message to mankind. For instance, Jurassic Park had a wonderful message - "Do not fiddle with mother nature. Dinosaurs are extinct creatures because nature wanted them to be extinct. Bringing them back to life means you are going against nature".

I really like the way he uses technology in his novels. He explains them so very well that any one will be able to understand and appreciate it. I'm now looking forward to read some of his more recent works like Timeline or Prey.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Rocky IV on Sony PIX channel

Happened to watch Rocky IV last night on Sony PIX. Very good movie, even though its 22 years now since its release. Good realistic potrayal of fights when compared to the superhuman stuff our Tamil movies are showing nowadays. Agreed it does not have a great storyline and some of the stuff shown are unbelievable (the stronger Russian boxer is shown losing to Rocky at the end), but it is still worth viewing once at least.

Apparently this movie was not a favorite with critics when it released in 1985, but it still made enough money all over the world to become the most successfull one of the Rocky series.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Vote for Taj Mahal

The new7wonders website is running a contest to select the new 7 archaeological wonders of the world. In fact, the contest has been running for quite some time now and the list has been filtered down to 21 entries now. The lone Indian entry in the final 21 is Taj Mahal. Other names include Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Acropolis, etc.

The website is running a 'India Unites for Taj' campaign exhorting all Indians to vote for Taj Mahal. If you like to see Taj Mahal in the top 7, then you should probably cast your vote here. I just did. The results will be announced in Lisbon, Portugal on July 7, 2007.

Meanwhile, IMCL has roped in music maestro AR Rahman to create more awareness among Indians about this campaign, and to get them to vote for Taj. ARR has composed a special song for Taj Mahal. You can listen to a preview here. The interesting thing about this song is ARR has co-written the lyrics, which is a first for him.

I read somewhere that Taj Mahal is currently lagging way behind in terms of number of votes. So it will be great if ARR's name being associated with the campaign helps increase the number of votes and takes Taj into the top 7. Lets wait and see.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A website for cat lovers

If you are a feline lover like me, you'll love this site; looks great.

Robert Scoble says this site has great traffic.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Amazing animation

Came across this excellent marketing material from Mercedes Benz.

Great animation and creativity. This is a must watch.

Now even I got interested in a Mercedes after watching this!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Flying the road

vcube points to TheVentureOne, a unique concept car.

Looks very impressive. It is said to combine the functionalities of a car and a bike. Sounds like a great concept to me.

Wonder if I'll ever get a chance to see these cars for real!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

After-lunch sleep reduces risk of heart disease

All through my life it was ingrained in my mind that an afternoon nap is bad for health. Now a recent study in Greece challenges that.

Good news for me anyway. Cos sometimes, I do take a mid-day nap and now I am more than encouraged to do it!

Indian squad for WC 2007

The Indian squad for the 2007 cricket world cup in the West Indies has been selected. Almost every player I mentioned in my earlier blog post has been selected.

The only exception is Kaif. He is not in the team. Munaf Patel takes his place.

Is this team good enough to win the world cup? Only time will tell!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Who will make the 15 on the 12th?

Feb 12, 2007 will be the day when the wise men of Indian cricket (read selectors) meet up, sit around a table, discuss, and then announce the name of 15 men who will represent India in the coming cricket world cup in West Indies. While most of the players automatically pick themselves, there might be few surprises as well.

Now if I were a selector, I will pick these players

  1. Tendulkar - a legend who can walk into any team.
  2. Dravid - the wall's presence is a definite must if you are to win matches abroad.
  3. Ganguly - the prince of calcutta is back to form now
  4. Zaheer - because is in good bowling form of late.
  5. Kumble - because lot of batsmen fail to read him and get out.
  6. Dhoni - for his explosive batting and good wicket keeping
  7. Harbhajan - for his knack of picking up wickets at crucial times.
  8. Sreesanth - for his ability to pick up wickets even though he might go for a few runs early on.
  9. Yuvraj - solid batsman in the middle order.
  10. Sehwag - can be a devastating batsman when on song. useful slow bowler at the death.
  11. Agarkar - an experienced bowling allrounder, good bowler at the death.
  12. Dinesh karthik - good batsman who can double up as wicket keeper if needed. good team man.
  13. Pathan - if he rediscovers his bowling form during the world cup, he can be very effective.
  14. Kaif - just his fielding is enough to demoralize the opponents.
  15. Uthappa - hard-hitting batsman. may be effective on WI wickets.
Who do you think will make it to the list of 15 on Feb 12? If you were a selector, whom will you choose?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The shining and the genius of Stanley Kubrick

I had heard a lot about Stanley Kubrick's movies before. I had read about his movies in magazines and other articles on the internet. He is regarded as one of 'THE' best directors of the 20th century. Unfortunately, I had not actually seen any of his movies! Partly because most of his movies were made before I was even born, and partly because I had not seen much Hollywood fare from the 1970s and 1980s. I really started following Hollywood movies only from the 1990s.

So this post by Roger Von Oech was just the trigger I needed to start watching Stanley Kubrick movies. I went to a local DVD rental store and took home 'The Shining' last weekend. The movie starring Jack Nicholson is a real epic horror movie. It is one of the best horror movies I've ever seen. The movie has some great performances from Jack Nicholson and the kid who plays his son, haunting background musical scores, great cinematography, and overall great production values. Its really amazing to know that this movie was made in 1980.

The impact of the movie was so much that I couldn't think anything else for the next 2-3 days. Wow! I really liked the way tension was built up throughout the movie. There was this sense of 'anything can happen now' sort of feeling throughout the movie.

Favorite scenes from this movie:

1. The typing scene where Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson's character) warns his wife about interrupting him.
2. The scene where Wendy finds out that all along Jack has been typing "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"
3. The famous 'Heeere's Johny" scene.
4. Whenever the girl twins are shown.
5. When Delbert Grady says 'corrected' - the cold manner in which he says corrected is enough to send down shivers down your spine.
6. The Helicopter shots at the start were wonderful. The accompanying music was great too.
7. When Danny sits on the lap of his father and the cold manner in which Jack says that he loves him and will do anything for him. The conversation is so slow and cold here that it actually has the desired effect.
8. The maze scene where Wendy and Danny playing.

Favorite quotes:

1. When the two girls say" Come and play with us Danny, foreever and ever ...."
2. Two scenes later Jack says to Danny ' I love you and will not hurt you. I will do anything to protect you forever and ever...'

The Shining has introduced me to the genius of Stanley Kubrick and I have decided to try and watch all of his movies. So the next movie on my watchlist is 'Eyes Wide Shut'

Friday, February 02, 2007

List of definitions - funny!

I was searching for the definition of a word in google/wikipedia. I didn't find it, but i got this - a list of funny definitions from Stacy Mineart's blog. Couldn't resist a smile.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ronaldo - The last Galactico

After 4 largely unhappy years, Ronaldo is all set to move out of Real Madrid to join AC Milan. He was the last Galactico standing after Luis Figo moved to Inter Milan in 2005, Zinedine Zidane retired from football in 2006, and David Beckham announced that he will be leaving for Los Angeles Galaxy after this season.

Once upon a time, Real Madrid had a great team with plenty of world-class players - Ronaldo, Zidane, Figo, Beckham, Raul, Roberto Carlos, etc. They were expected to win every competition they played, but couldn't win much much to the chagrin of their fans. One after the other the Galacticos have quit Real Madrid and now its Ronaldo's turn.

Ronaldo, wish you best of luck with Ac Milan!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Don't take difficulty in swallowing lightly

Last week, my close friend's father was diagnosed to have cancer of the esophagus. This made me want to know more about this particular disease. So I did a google search on esophageal cancer and found 3-4 websites that had some basic information about esophageal cancer.

Almost all the websites I read seem to agree with one thing.

"It is very hard to detect esophageal cancer early"

The most common symptom of esophageal cancer is difficulty in eating/swallowing. Because most people mistake it for some digestion problem or acid reflux, they generally don't consult a doctor. They take some over-the-counter medicines hoping that it will go away. Some people think their eating style is what is causing the problem, so they try to change their eating style. They eat slowly and the problem might seem to disappear. This way the cancer lies undetected. The swallowing problem will reappear from time to time, only to go away when you change your eating habits. Finally the tumor grows so large that the patient might find it difficult even to drink water. It is only at this stage that most people think of consulting a doctor/gastroenterologist. By this time, the situation might be life threatening as the cancer might have spread to other body parts such as lungs or liver.

Early detection will result in faster cure - As with any cancer, early detection and treatment will result in faster cure and prevent any serious damage. Esophageal cancer usually occurs in men/women above 55-60 years of age. So if any elderly person known to you complains of difficulty/painful swallowing of food, ask them to consult a doctor immediately.

This site seems to have some basic info on esophageal cancer.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Abdul Kalam on 'waves'

Waves are my inspiration. Not because they rise and fall, but because each time they fall, they rise again.

Vivek pls take note..

Shilpa Shetty in Big Brother - the story so far

Last month Shilpa Shetty made news headlines in India when it was announced that she will participate in Big Brother, the reality show on Channel 4 in UK. I dint think it was a big deal back then.

Over the last couple of days, a lot has been heard on Shilpa Shetty-Big Brother-Racism. I don't care much about it either. Then why I am blogging this?

Because BBC news has a wonderful article on it. So if you were wondering what the big fuss was all about, read this and you'll know why.