May 30, 2002

And now it's Rushdie...
Does it involve India and Pakistan? and Kashmir too? Couldn't expect Salman Rushdie to keep away.And this is what he had to say. Excerpt:
Is it really likely, however, that Pakistan would, so to speak, strap a nuclear weapon to its belly, walk into the crowded bazaar that is India and turn itself into the biggest suicide bomber in history?

May 28, 2002

Soccer and Brazil are synonymous, right? May not be anymore, going by the widespread discontent among Brazilians where a lot of indifference is the result of corruption, poor results and the rest. For more, read this. Interestingly, this may be the way to go for Indian cricket fans. All of the above happened here, but we continue to pursue cricket fanatically, and so the Board doesn't need to do much. Time for a similar kick on the backside?

May 26, 2002

Occupational Hazards Just looking at the list of participants for this year's Mastermind, and their various occupations, was surprised to see one person list it as "Unemployed graduate". And so in a twist of Whose-Line-Is-It-Anyway meets Mastermind, I was thinking of the different occupations that could guarantee non-selections. (Without any malice:) Like:
  • Witch doctor
  • Bajrang Dal activist
  • Kleptomaniac
  • Hindi/Tamil language chauvinist
  • Mongolian warlord
...And more on Mastermind A word that the series for 2001 was won by Archana Garodia Gupta who blazed to one of the most impressive victories ever: a full 41 points (23+18), joining Dayita Dutta, Ajoy Banerjee and Priyamvada to lift the sphere they hand out as the trophy.
Linux & GUI GUIs on Linux are getting really good and sleek, so much so that it has been rumoured that the Times of India will feature snapshots each day on all their pages :). Actually, I made a move to RH 7.2 recently and was impressed by the stuff that KDE had on display. And the good thing is the amount of choice: imagine around 10 themes, including Windows & Mac displays. Should go a long way in convincing the critics of the Linux usability model that there's now an attractive face in front of an impressive backend.
Rahmania A little on my fav. composer, A.R.Rahman. Just been listening to some of his offerings from Rhythm, Sangamam, Duet, Puthiya Mugam etc. and cannot still figure out why some of the pundits frown down upon him for his lack of melody, over-percussioning (Note that my musical illiteracy prevents me using the right terms) etc. There are some amazing songs in his oeuvre, and the variety is too good to overlook. Will continue puzzle me. More on this on another occasion.
Power outages continue to plague Maharashtra, though it hasn't reached the epic proportions it could. On a hedonistic note, one ought to be lucky to live near one's cable operator, unlike me. It is a tad irritating after you suffer 3 hours of a cut, switching on the telly tells you that the cable operator's area will go under the shadow for the next 3 hours, leaving you to fiddle with the radio. And despite what some people and the complete Times of India news machinery tells you, Radio Mirchi isn't hot unless you like to hear the same new songs (most are screechy at best). Yes, they do have shows featuring old Music, both desi and videsi, but that's 10% of the programming. And the RJs still have a lot to learn. We need some shows with alternate programming ideas, not an MTV on radio (that too sans Cyrus!)
Being John Malkovich is one of the maddest movies I've seen. The movie, about a porthole into the head of John Malkovich that's lets one be him, did answer my question: what happens when John M. enters the porthole to his own head?

May 22, 2002

The Greatness of Sachin Tendulkar... ... or the lack of it, depending on which side of the cricketing divide you stand. I am a big fan, so not much doubt as to where my sentiments lie. I guess it's fair to say that most people would put the man in the category of greats. But it's when it comes to adding the 3 letters "est" that the loyal fan starts fighting off the flak.
A batsman with 8000 Test runs, a glut of tons, multiple records, the best one-day batting record et al has to be one of the greats. But that's part of the problem - when you are in stratospheric heights, the terms of enumeration change. All the minor flaws are subject to microscopic examination. And the loyalists have to fend off accusations that yes, he's good, but not good enough. And tell you what, we are running out of convincing arguments to defend our position and haven't got much to attack with, except weak comparisons. He lost yet another chance to prove his greatness yesterday (or is it that the cricketing gods would not have it yet?). Whatever our positions, we have to grant this - that the place of Sachin Tendulkar among the greatest is not assured. And by the greatest, I mean the Bradmans, Sobers & the Richards of the cricketing worlds, against whom very little criticism can be lobbed. Right now, he'd be alongside the Greg Chappells of history. I think and hope Tendulkar's better than that at least.
I guess this isn't something he must be oblivious to. I hope it's gonna be like the tons he didn't score in the first 4 years of his one-day career. There's still things like scoring a double hundred abroad, winning a test series abroad, a triple ton - but we do ask too much of him? Ravi Shastri remarked that he'd been sent down from the heavens to play cricket. He hasn't fulfilled his destiny if that is true. Most of the greatest players of all time have won the World Cup (except for the English greats). Will he be the greatest of the one-day era not to? Or will India grab the xxx3 charm ('83: World Cup, '93: Hero Cup)?
Whatever. Time's not sticking around for ever.
IMDB's top 250
Just skimming through IMDB's top 250 films (does it ever change? it seems the same since I last saw it) and had the following observations:
* "The Godfather" tops, not Citizen Kane (which comes in at 5) which probably is indicative that this is more a popular vote. Most lists by critics seem to have Citizen Kane up there.
* Amelie is at No. 10 !
* And LOTR is at No. 3. That might surprise a few people.
* And it's a great list to keep (never mind the rankings) to check what films you still need to watch
* And Spiderman is at 107 :)
Still not a bad effort, it's got almost all the big names.
BTW, Being John Malkovich is on air this Friday night on Star Movies.

May 21, 2002

Two (at times, subversive) icons meet this week. Here's a clipping of a partnership between Google and Scott Adams this week:

-------- If you haven't been to Google yet today, come check out our homepage: It's all about Dilbert. Starting today, Scott Adams -- known to cube-dwellers everywhere as Dilbert's creator -- will have his way with our logo for an entire week, submitting our brand to the tender mercies of his crack team of management consultants. Cartoonist, MBA, and certified hypnotist Adams has made his mark mocking bosses, marketing plans, performance reviews, and other workplace afflictions in 2,000 newspapers, 65 countries, and 25 languages. We're sure he'll meet or exceed his goals at Google too. -------

Is that certified hypnotist or certified hypnotist :) ?

May 20, 2002

The weather out here in Pune has been quite good in the last few days, with breezes begging to be called zephyrs floating about. And I have this to say: Get out there and enjoy it! And to think I miss it everyday, with Mr. Sedentary for company from morn to night.

Is a blog just an indulgent projection of oneself? I do all the talking, almost broadcasting in good old SETI fashion, hoping that the Ford Prefects of the cyberworld would alight for a while. But nothing beats self-trumpeting and all I ask of my fellow bloggers is a link back for a link.

Boy Scout deed of the day: Free publicity for Wordsmith. Some of the better things in life start of and remain as hobbies and Anu Garg (that's male, btw :) hosts a great example of it. Unlike other, almost conveyor-belt mailing lists of daily words, the Word a Day from the Wordsmith takes on interesting topics each weeks and sends out words related to them. People could use it! And they do, it seems. Wordsmith claims to be one of the largest (if not the largest) communities in the world with about 500,000 members.

May 19, 2002

For some reason, it has been quite a struggle to board the wagon, what with countless darogas shaped as "Microsoft VB Runtime Errors" not letting me pass. I actually am over-represented in blog-dom-mania thanks to panic clicking. But like a blue, blistering barnacle, will cling on for all its worth. Interestingly, I sneaked under the tent and joined 63 other hopefuls for this year's BBC MasterMind India. I have been asked (from my choices) to take on the "Recipients of the Bharat Ratna". Good, no?

And must drop in a word, if not the entire arsenal, on the new look (cough, splutter) Times of India. If anyone is the Trishanku of Indian newspapers, it is this no-longer-venerable spread. Caught between hoping for the broadsheet respect and the tabloid whistle. Interesting fonts no doubt, but caught trying to overdo the "it's lesser, but that's more" mantra. And the Sunday Review has become: "Men and Women". Actually, it should be: A Man & a half and 2 women from beneath the Ads. Way to go ... STOI ... down