Tuesday, June 21, 2005

'Sport' Weekend

What a weekend of Sports, it turned out to be? If i was into betting, i would have lost everything including the $138 billion of the GoI forex reserves. It didn't seem too bad to start with, I went up to the British Council Library and forked some good greenbacks for a membership and spent the next 1 hour, a little disappointed with the book collection. As I checked the library, i noticed that most of the good books were out for a long stroll.

Saturday evening & i tuned in to watch the Ban Vs Aus match. I joined late & watched the Bangla reply begin & was quite surprised to see Aussies score only 249. I was stunned & thought it was a good batting pitch & when i tuned in, a batsman lost temper and Bangla were reduced to 49/2. I thought, there go the minnows and when i returned after a 'healthy' after dinner snack (subject of another blog), there was a match on hand (70+ required of 60+). I enjoyed the chase & it was incredible to see the Aussies lose. The same was the way, they lost 3 quickies in the England Australia match. One minute, it was a good song & Aussie were 57/0 and when the song ended (Shaun's Tanha Dil), it was 58/3 and it was soon followed by a blinder from Collingwood. That sealed the fate of the Aussies and did not tune in for the rest of the match

I was focused on the US F1 GrandPrix and it numbed me that there were only 6 cars that came on the track. Shame on the F1 management! My notes on the US Grand Prix Fiasco-

  • Culprit 1: Michelin Tyres - Your business, as contracted is to build tyres, not reengg circuits. I mean, how can you not bring in reliable tyres for the GrandPrix & you certainly have no right to speak on what others contributed to the confusion
  • Culprit 2: F1 Owners - How can you suggest that a chichane be added in the 11th hour. Anyways, what is the logic on veto voting. I guess, a 7/10 is sufficient to implement any decision taken
  • Culprit 3: Bernie & Max - Please come down from the ivory towers & mingle with the fee paying crowd. If you knew about the tyres earlier in the weekend, it was your responsibility to fix the issue and not blame everyone but you.
  • Culprit 4: Jordan - Proved that a few points in the bag are more important than agreement with others. Suits fine with me. But consider this, if you did not take to the race, Minardi would not have & that would have left Ferrari all alone on the track. Wouldn't that force Ferrari's hands?
  • Culprit 5: Ferrari - While i do understand Ferrari's stance. It is like everyone in class asking the one student who is prepared, to agree to alter the format of the exam because they were not well prepared. However, Ferrari have won no friends and lost any, with their attitude. Please remember, there is something called following the spirit of the rule

If i was there, i would have given the choice of changing the tyres during the race (suspend the rule of the year) as well as impose a 4 places/ change drop in the qualifying of next race. That would mean that Bridgestone tyres can go around without change in tyres while Michelin fellows would change tyres (lose time in the current race as well as lose place in next race)

Another thing, while the crowd were justified in feeling bad, it still gives them no excuse to throw objects on the field. What if the tyre burst on impact and caused harm to the driver. Remember the Concorde accident was caused by debris on the runway puncturing a tyre. A punctured tyre has a potential to lead to catastrophic results on a race circuit.

A few thoughts on the race & such:

  • What was MS doing, putting RB on the grass. It was downright bad & could have led to a retirement if RB did not yield. Some good luck used MS & you don't pull tricks like these on teammates
  • As per my last blog, F1 Gods are out to see a 8th title from Schumi. Why else the Michelin fiasco happened?
  • Ferrari are the only winners of the US grand prix and it would be such a disaster for other teams, if Ferrari go on to win the constructor's championship. If Ferrari can do in such a bad year, nightmare of 2004 domination will resurface again in forthcoming seasons.
  • Any titles to MS, Ferrari in this season & the focus would be on the points gained in US GP. That will not add to the glamour of the game
  • The big losers are Alonso & Kimi. MS has caught up with you folks & he looms larger than where he was 2 races ago
  • This championship is turning out to be the best since i started following the game in 1997.

With F1 turning to farce, Cricket pummeled by Aussie bad performance, i was looking to football for some action & lo, behold - Mexico defeated Brazil

What a sporting weekend!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Buttoned Up

Michael Schumacher had the Canadian F1 'Buttoned Up' for him - literally and figuraratively. The F1 gods (not all the gods; A nice article on why Gods don't influence Games - It is a long article and you need to go deep to find the above mentioned topic) wanted to reward Michael - for what? My guess, for being a nice kid who did not crib when his luck was down.

From the beginning of the race; Fischicella & Alonso jumped MS & Button and Montayo & Kimi saw this opportunity and slung past these cars. For 30 laps, status quo and the F1 gods grimaced and thought that some action needs to taken. Nope, the thunder and lightning bolt would have been used if MS was 20th and last. For this occasion, this was what happened:
  • There was the retirement of Fischicella with a failed what, I don't know and at the momemt, apart from my apologies - it could be the engine fell down!
  • Alonso is Alonso, not Karthikeyan. How could you hit the wall of all things? That's reserved for a rookie, not the future F1 champ
  • Button. Same dialogue for you, but you could be excused for coming under the pressure of MS as well as helping MS come 2nd & Barrichelo 3rd. They should send a crate of champagne to your camp!
  • Why are you such a hothead, Montayo. It is a Level 1 F1 trivia that you cannot overtake under a safety car. Yeah, Yeah - I know that you were black flag-ed for using the pit lane on the red light, but you would anyway had been a non-factor for MS as there was a drive thru if not for the black flag

And lo & behold - MS was moved from 6th to 2nd in no time! A place, he was forced to keep by Kimi.While I know that MS did not win (the race ended about 3 mins ago!), but when he was 6th and was about 35 secs, any MS fan would have settled for 2nd to him & 3rd to Reuben. I would not have rejoiced a MS victory had he overtaken Kimi; He was so off the pace, he really did not deserve such a high bump!I am more interested in what he says in the post race conference - for the F1 gods will also listen in interest as they need to judge if he deserves more than what they did to him

While i devoted all time to MS, what about Reuben - He brimmed the tank at the beginning of the race and was lucky that the Button incident happened when he was on a pit stop! That can either be called fate, providence or for the harshest critic - some plain vanilla good-ol' luck!
As an after thought, the race win of Kimi was also decided up there by the F1 gods, for he was not sulking after the last race.

I do know that there are no such things like F1 gods (or are there any?), but for a change, it seemed that the world was rooting for the bad luck guys of the season - MS, Reuben, Kimi. It is the chance of Fischella, Montaya in the next few races.

PS: Wanted to note - the near disaster of the last race. Nope, i am not refering to the tyre & front end loss of Kimi, but the inches miss that Button had from the out of control Kimi hitting him. I wonder, what Button was doing at that particular momemt. If he was watching his mirrors - that would have been a heart stopping sight! The race leader, losing a car and aiming to hit you around the mid-rib. Button, some good luck used!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Bees & Counts

I am sure that there are quite a few people that have heard of the US National Spelling Bee & there are quite a few Indians in that competition. It even has seen its share of American Indian winners in the last few years.
The one that i heard for the first time today was the Mathcount 2005 competition that was conducted in Detroit, WA. I was looking for the F1 Canadian Grand Prix to start when i saw the telecast in ESPN. I logged in late, saw only from the quaterfinals. There was not one American Indian but there was 3 Asian semifinalist and the finals was an all-Asian lineage. This is one competition that the American Indians need to now focus on & provide a higher level of competition.
Also, the format was a written test followed by only 4 one on one competitions to win the championship. I like the format of the Spelling Bee with a time limit that keeps decreasing after every 5 rounds. That would look good on television - a trait that is very important in the United States.
PS: This is one of the questions: A ball bounces 75% of the original height at every bounce. When dropped from 160 ft, what is the height at the end of 3rd bounce. I got this one in 1.2secs about a 0.5 secs after the contestant hit the bell. He was a seventh grader, & boy - was he good!
PPS: Just as i completed the blog, there was a winner - Neal Wu.

Of Mani, Anjali & Amruta!

First things first, I am gonna stop the backdating of blogs as the laziness in me is better & thus it is not that there is a rule to have a blog a day. The last blog day was not a week back, however with the backdating it longs longer than that.

Enough of the rumbling & on to something back to a thought that struck me when i was watching the movie Amruta (a dubbing of the Tamizh movie: Kannathil Muthamithal - She Kissed me on the Cheek). Directed by my favorite director, Mani Ratnam - it's been a long time and a long way from his previous movie with a kid being the center of attention. Anjali (1990) was a phenomenal movie about a disabled kid and how the siblings & the society around has reservations initially, before accepting her and giving her a few warm last days. KM (2003) is about Amrutha adopted by her parents from a Srilankan Tamil militant & the three of them search for the real parents taking them to the battlezone Srilankan Land.

While there is no doubt, of the current generation - Nandita Das (Natural Mother) is the most awesome actress on the subcontinent, Simran (Adopted Mother) matched the intensity of Nandita. Simran hailing from Punjab made hereself a name as a leading glamour actress in the southern land and to see that she could match Nandita speaks a volume about her abiliities and the shortcomings of the regional directors who are pleased as long as simran makes a few dances, a few tears and be a faithful sidekick to the super hero. Surprising that the directions of these 2 ladies are at the opposite end of the career spectrum right now, with Nandita on the high after being on the Cannes 2005 jury and Simran out to have a baby. I can't wait to see Simran come back to do some meanigful roles but not the 'run of the mill' & 'running around trees' roles.

Remember the blog on Helen and how she for a few moments bought the old charm of her 60's dance. When i was watching Amrutha, it occured, in my eyes Mani isn't the same as old. Gone was the equality that he showed to all the kids in 'Anjali' and replacing it was the spotlight on just the kid starin 'KM'. While in all the songs and the sequence in Anjali, the star kids were one of the neighbourhood and the focus was on the overall activities of the group, Amrutha was the ceaseless effort to provide focus to just one kid and all others were to only add more attention to the central character. Something that doesn't happen in real life.

Inspite of this drawback, KM was one of the good movies of the year & Mani Ratnam's position as the premier director of the Tamizh filmdom remains as strong as before.

PS: While i was unable to recall the song in Mohabattein a couple of weeks back, i saw the movie on Sony and promptly recalled the song - the climax of which has us travel in time to see Helen dance. It goes like Aankhen Khuli Ho Ya HoBand (The eyes may be open or shut ...)