Sunday, April 13, 2008

Believing is seeing

A lot has been written about Tiger Woods and, before he is all done and dusted, a lot more will be written. As he begins a charge at the Masters today, here's a guarded look inside the psyche of the man in an interview for ESPN. The total confidence in his abilities and the things that drive him towards higher goals are clearly demonstrated. Pay close attention to the rapid-fire question-answer session at the very end of the video.

Failure, to him, is not an option.

Hubris or greed?

The IPL, once considered to be simply a branch of the BCCI, is fast taking over the reins of the cricketing world. A corny, overrated line from the Spider-man movies resonates here - With great power comes great responsibility.

The IPL is trying to dictate to the other cricketing bodies, and succeeding to a certain extent because the other Boards cannot match the money that is being flaunted at the players. Rather than lose the players completely, Boards have been willing to compromise. But the IPL is beginning to push the envelope and, in doing so, is sowing the seeds for discontent and rebellion.

Already the ECB is making noises about starting its own Twenty20 league and has taken into its fold the overseas County players still contracted to the ICL. As long as the IPL was dictating to the Boards it was on safe ground. But now in a move designed to alienate an increasing number of folks, it has unwisely decided to dictate to the media. In an age when the media is a willing accomplice, the IPL has made the mistake of assuming that its pull exceeds it reach.

Hubris or greed? You decide. Providing an excellent synopsis of the entire issue is Prem Panicker's take on the issue.

When the issue was first raised, I assumed that the threat of a media boycott would be enough for the head honchos at the IPL, specifically Lalit Modi, to rethink their stance. However, after the first round of negotiations, it is clear that the IPL is not interested in anything if it does not totally benefit them. Panicker provides a succinct account of the "negotiations" between the media and the IPL.

With all that the IPL is doing and the way in which they are operating, especially with the way they are undermining the future of Test match cricket, I find it extremely difficult to get interested in it. I am not going to follow that league. Test cricket is my favorite form and I shall continue to invest my interest in it.

I have no time for the IPL. The IPL, most certainly, has no time for the common fan, except when it comes to their money. Goodbye IPL, I know you wont miss me, but at least I shall be content that I definitely don't care for you.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Leap of faith

Check out the first photograph: a truck driver (driving right to left in the photograph) lost control, skidded on the right edge of the road, over-corrected and smashed through the guardrail (where the people are standing), bounced on the culvert and came to a stop on the other side, facing the way he came.

And before you say, so what?! Check out the second photo to see how close a shave he had!
You know me; I cannot rest till I figure out how true this is. Thanks to the intrepid folks at the Urban Legends website, it is true and it really happened!

By the way, I love the Urban Legends website and go there quite often to see whether the latest emails being sent around have any basis in reality. Here is their take on the veracity of some of the recent emails, involving photos or videos, that have done the rounds. Check it out to see if any of them have made their way into your Inbox.

Risking the reward

The second Test match between India and South Africa is going to start in a few hours and the make up of the Indian squad is still in doubt. After the run-fest, at least for the South Africans and one Indian - Sehwag, that was the first Test, the focus shifts to Ahmedabad.

Sachin Tendulkar is not in the team and here is a chance to go for glory. I will be happy if India goes in with 5 batsman and 5 bowlers. I would like to see Irfan Pathan included in Tendulkar's spot. However, I fear that the half-fit Yuvraj Singh will be given another lifeline and we will miss out on a chance to win a Test match.

If a batting line-up that reads Sehwag, Jaffer, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman, and Dhoni cannot get the job done, what will Yuvraj be able to do? I'd rather roll the dice with Pathan and see where it takes us.

By the way, if Yuvraj Singh is honestly fully fit, I shall willingly eat my laptop. Without ketchup.

Playing with fire

Aamir Khan is an actor I have admired for a long time. I have not seen all of his movies, but some of his good ones are among the most memorable Hindi movies of the past two decades.

Recently he started blogging, and while he is quite sporadic in his posting, when he does write, you can detect the respect and genuine affection he has for his fans. He desists from providing trite soundbytes and is not afraid to speak his mind. A couple of the controversies that he has been "involved" in in the recent past, notably the one where he disagreed with Bhansali and Bachchan on their opinion of "Black", were first put forth on his blog. I will let you sift through his posts and find the relevant blog posting for that one.

His latest post (Olympic torch relay) clearly elucidates my point about his thoughtfulness and his adamant stance on issues that he feels strongly about. In an age where political correctness substitutes for conversation, it is refreshing to hear someones undiluted opinion on a controversial topic. Read the whole post and you will know what I mean. Whether you agree or disagree with his views, I am sure you can at least admire the man for making it clear exactly how he feels, without mincing words.

Now that you mention it...

Here is an attempt to demystify some of the simpler mysteries that surround us on an everyday basis.

(Link obtained while perusing Prem Panicker's blog).

Prankly speaking

If it is April 1st, it must be time to play some pranks. Here are some of the more notable ones that were littered on the web.

1) Some pranks that self-proclaimed geeks like to pull off. A few of them could cause some serious distress actually, so I don't know if they qualify as simple pranks.

2)In this is the age of lists, what would we do if we did not have a list of the 100 greatest April Fool's Day hoaxes?

3) In case you wanted to know what each famous web portal did to target unsuspecting folks, here's a collection of the tricks played by various websites.

4) My favourite one, first brought to my attention by DSC, is the one that was the brainchild of the ingenious folks at Google and Virgin Atlantic Airlines. Don't forget to test your pioneering potential!!

5) Finally, the folks at Google also came up with their version of time travel, in their prank on the Gmail forum.

The straight-forward maverick

Adding onto my previous post on Virender Sehwag, here is one of my favourite writers, Sambit Bal, giving us his take on what makes Sehwag so unique.

I wonder what Bradman would have thought of Sehwag's uncluttered batting technique...