Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The best form of flattery

If imitation is the best form of flattery, where does that put someone who imitates and plagiarizes himself?!

Aaron Sorkin is one of the more sought-after screenplay writers for political TV shows and movies.  Here's a mash-up of the many times he "repeats" himself.  While you may have never seen any of the shows, the self-plagiarism is oddly hypnotic.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Beauty and the beasts

If you wonder whether the Earth is still worth fighting for when the (inevitable) destruction is at hand, here's a reminder of all the wonderful things we may lose when we do so:

A sound of thunder

What can one write about a person who wrote stories for a living and did so well that when he dies, it feels like something monumental has just happened?  What can you say about someone that many others better equipped to do so have surely already done so?

Well, you can start by mentioning his name.  Ray Bradbury is no longer with us, but his presence will be felt for a long time to come.

You can talk about strange, quirky facts that are not well known about the person.  For example,  you find out from his Wikipedia page that he never ever had a driver's license.  Who does that any more?

But, in the end, it would only be fair to talk about what the man's work has meant to you.

Bradbury is most famous for his seminal work - Fahrenheit 451 - but the ones I like even more are A Sound of Thunder and Dandelion Wine.  If asked to pick one among them, I'd settle for the former, a story that spawned the phrase "butterfly effect".  It is as close to the perfect sci-fi/horror/ominous portent story as there is.  I read it when I was barely in my teens and remember it as if I read it a few months ago.

In a career spanning over 7 decades, he produced 27 novels and over 600 short stories, many of them unread by me.  And I am grateful for that as it gives me plenty of things to read of his before I get to properly rue his demise.  Actually, let me rephrase that.  I will not rue his demise since I did not know him personally, but when the time comes I will rue the fact that I will have no more stories to read.

Not many people leave a mark for posterity in their lifetimes.  Bradbury did that and much more.  If you do one thing for me this year, do this: read a Bradbury story.  You will see exactly what I mean.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Pop Quiz #4: Who am I?

(Note: Every so often I shall have a pop quiz on my blog with questions about people, places, things, events, and any other thing that comes to mind. Please take the quiz without peeking at the answers, which will be included at the end, and let me know how you did. Previous quizzes can be seen by clicking here.)

Today's quiz is about sports personalities.

1)  In a Test match in 2007, I was involved in a 408 run partnership for the first wicket. I was the first wicket to fall at a personal score of just 129 runs.  At that time my partner was batting on 49.  Yes, you read that right, he had scored 49 runs and I had scored 129.  Who am I?  Actually, more importantly, how was this 408 run partnership possible, especially considering that the opposition had give up just 10 extras?

2)  I am the only batsman to have been involved in two partnerships of over 400 runs for the first wicket.  Both times, the partnership ended within one scoring stroke of setting the world record. Yet, I have scored more runs (than anyone else in Test history, in fact) at a different position - #3. 

3)  On my Test debut I opened the bowling for India along with my fellow debutant Tinu Yohanan.  My solitary wicket was of Graham Thorpe.  In the second inning I even made the winning runs.  In fact, I scored 100% of the runs made by India in that second inning.  I am one of the few genuinely fast bowlers who have opened the batting and bowling in their debut Test.  Unfortunately, I never played another Test match for India.

4)  I am the only player in the history of tennis to have won at least 10 tournament on every surface that the sport is played on - clay, grass, hard court, and indoor.

5) The Sportsmanship award in tennis is voted on by the players.  I won it so many times that, after I retired, the award was renamed in my honor!  I am the only man to have won all four Grand Slams tournaments in the same year, as a junior.  I would have completed a career Slam on the senior circuit if a 17 year-old had not caught fire and won his only major after I was leading him 2 sets to one and was even up a break in the 5th set.

Answers after the jump: