Thursday, February 28, 2008

Adios Stage6

A one stop for most of us, if not all to find a high quality video. Be it the movies or the TV shows, Stage6 has always been there. As expected, it was a shocker when news broke out that these folks are closing it down due to lack of funds. The detailed letter has been put over here,  and sadly it wasn't supposed to be a prank. :( Now that stage6 would be closing down today, I hope it gets reincarnated in some form. Damn, so many movies have been made on this formula, I'd love to see it come true at least once!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mission: Destroy Earth

Space science has always been one of my favorite pastimes, to an extent that I dreamt of becoming an astrophysicist till a few years back! Well, an eternal optimist that I am, I won't really rule out that possibility, but the probability of that happening are as good as the you being able to destroy earth using any of the ways described here. Its as insane as it can get, but a terrific read. This is probably thinking along the fourth dimension. :D


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Brett Lee-ing all the way..

I don't know why he's nick named Bing; he doesn't resemble his namesake Chandler Bing even an inch. Not by his features and definitely not by his antics. But Brett "the threat" Lee's definitely a show stealer, much akin to the popular soap Friends character.

Though this year's Allan Border medal had quite a few phenomenal candidates as always, but perhaps no one deserved it more than Lee, who's taken the mantle of leading Australia's attack with utmost ease from his ever so glorious predecessors. McGrath and Warne formed the lynchpin of this champion side but once they left, there were question marks all over the place over who's going to carry them forward. Brett Lee's been there for almost a decade now, but what we've seen from him in the last couple of seasons has been nothing short of exemplary. Ask Ricky Ponting, and he'll let you know that the first name that comes into his mind whenever they need wickets is just one. The most brilliant part is that he delivers.. and does so invariably.

70 wickets in the last year, he's not given an inch whether it comes to the longer or the shorter format of the game. He has perhaps never been so consistent and he knows it. There have been times when others have been pretty ordinary and there's a tendency obrettlee_wideweb__470x336,0f the senior pro to be reduced to a workhorse. Rest assured, when it comes to BL, all you can expect is 90 odd miles an hour boomerangs being delivered and some twitchy nerves among the guys facing him. Talk about being right on the money.

When he first emerged onto the scene in the Boxing Day Test against the Indians in 1999, there was this guy who had some serious pace, but with a doubtable action and nervy temper. Though he bagged a fiver in his first match, but troubles with his action and fitness never really let him take off the way he would have liked. But champions never really 'say die' and his second transformation has been an absolute revelation. He uses his artillery much more wisely and is not just about throttling half trackers at the tail enders. Pit him against a Sachin Tendulkar and you won't probably find a bowler who can bowl better.

He wasn't known to be shy of hurtling beamers on the batsmen when things weren't going well, but in the past few years, he's perhaps gained the honor of being the most well behaved Aussie on the field. Perhaps both the sides need to take a cue from their mate, who knows exactly how to mix aggression and the game without creating a lump. Temper's fittingly taken the backseat and now we see a player who thoroughly enjoys the game even when the chips are down.

Admirable, Athletic, Super Fit and Exciting.. This package has definitely all the ingredients to be amongst the best.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wishy Wacky..

At times one needs bust the stress and there are a few movies that at times manage t402px-Crank_finalo land up in that category. Quality might not be the epitome of such a movie, but who cares. Sometime back I had written about Clive Owen's Shoot 'Em Up, which was one of the most outrageous movies I had seen in the recent past. A couple of days back I saw Jason Statham's Crank, and must say that it matches up to its title - it had eccentricity written all over it. A wacky plot and insane build up, but as I said who cares - Statham's exploits in Snatch and Lock Stock.. made me watch this, and though critics might have absolutely debunked this flick, it made for some pretty good entertainment. :) C'mon how many movies are based on the premise that a certain Chinese poison would kill you once your heart rate drops below a certain level. As again, one of those flicks where you need to keep your brains on the table to enjoy it. Bucket_list_poster

If Crank was whacky,  then The Bucket List was wishy. A pretty intriguing premise again, where a couple of terminally ill chaps escape from the ward and head off to complete off a list of To-Do's before they die. Anyways, plots carry little meaning when you have the stellar combination of Jack 'the eccentric' Nicholson and Morgan 'the unamused' Freeman. Its a nice and easy watch flick, though a rating of 7.8 on IMDB is probably a little high for it.  

Monday, February 18, 2008

Micro-hoo! An interesting Perspective

Computer Science at Grad school at times can really beat the hell out of you at times. A similar thing happened last semester and I grew increasingly inconsistent in my blogging life. The tech facet has already been almost non existent here, since I hate talking tech all the time. Grad life already takes care of that! :) But sometimes it gets really interesting as well, such as this article by New York Times on the Micro-hoo! episode. Well, its not the usual 'whether-or-not' thing, but gives an interesting perspective of 'what-if'..

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Few Wise Men..

Watching live games on the ground is a helluva experience for a few, but for the unfortunate rest, the only savior is the television stacked in the corner of the room. But for them, blessing comes in disguise as they are not just able to view the happenings in the middle, but also listen to the thoughts of some of the best people who have been involved with the game. I didn't use the phrase who have played the game at the highest level, since there are some brilliant exceptions. I've been thinking on posting this since quite a while and it was long due. So here's my list of whom I really love listening to, the guys who can turn even some of the most boring games into pretty entertainers.. here are a few wise men -


1. Mark Nicholas - "By Heaven" doesn't sound even close to being blasphemous when he says that. For me, he's just the best in the business whether it comes to expressing elation or regret. The fact that he's the only commentator in the Channel 9 team who's not played international cricket pays a testimony to the respect he gathers in that pretty exclusive group. Watching Lee bowl to Sach with MN behind the mic is an absolute treat. Sorry for you fellas who see the game live at the grounds..

2. Richie Benaud - Well, I'm sure most of you would put him on the top spot, but for me he comes at a close second, just a little behind Mark Nicholas. The absolute pundit of the game, who ones famously said, "Captaincy is ninety per cent luck and ten per cent skill, but don't try it without that ten per cent". Without a doubt, the most respected cricket commentator, few would argue his credibility on passing any judgement. He's been one of the best Aussie skippers and been there, seen all..

3. Tony Cozier - No one probably knows Caribbean cricket better than him. I still believe he could have been the best of 'em all had he been involved with say, the Australian cricket. The decline in West Indian cricket, both in quality and interest probably attributes more than anything else in him dropping to the third place. I loved his comment, "Even God would have found it difficult to play that", when Malinga nailed Vettori with an absolute toe crusher.

4. Tony Greig - Needless to say, one of the most animated commentators around, he can even inject excitement into a Aussies-Kenya encounter! Not many would forget him during the Sach twin blows in Sharjah against the Aussies. It was at times difficult to comprehend whether TG himself was hitting them all over the park. The one who was was offered the 'job for life' by Kerry Packer as a commentator for Nine's cricket coverage, he's really carved a place for himself as one of the best ever.

5. Michael Holding - A quite man with an extremely good insight into the game, he's more different than anyone else in the above lot. Doesn't crack too many jokes and with the least of animations, its just a pleasure listening to him, since you know that he just won't make any blunders behind the mic. To the point and often accurate, he still stays true to his 'quite stealthy' run-up before delivering the knockout punch.

6. Geoffrey Boycott - Controversy's the name of this man, and some of the stuff that he says might seem outrageous to a few and humorous to the rest. Yorkshire's accent has never been this famous before. His 'momma' still takes most of the catches and hits most of the runs and we often see a 'poof' of dust when she's playing. Some characters are made for this game. He might have been one of the dullest around with the bat in his hand, but he's an absolute rock star with the microphone now.

7.  Ian Chappell - If Michael Hussey's the Mr. Cricket on the field, he's the same off the field. As his twin, he craves for perfection, but balances it just about perfectly with humor. Probably one of those people who know the game as good as anyone else, he doesn't shy away from hitting the nail on the head when it comes to passing his comments. I've never found him going over the top and he really forms one of the core pillars of the Channel 9 club.

8. Bill Lawry - I'd include him just for the energy.. just for the its all happening here and bang and Its a ripper.. If excitement's the sole criterion, he'd rank on top of my list with Tony Greig a close second. There are times, when I find him really going over the top, at times pro Aussie, but whatever, Bill still goes for the kill..

9. Barry Richards - No list can be complete with the great Barry Richards. He falls into the same category as Ian Chappell - perfectionist. The best thing about him is that I've never found him biased in his comments about the game. Indian Protean encounters for some reason lack a bit of fizz in the commentary box, but for Barry Richards, who makes you sit up and listen to him.

10. Ravi Shastri - Well, some might argue that Sunny Gavaskar should have been there, but my pick would be RS. The way he's becoming increasingly good at his job as a broadcaster is commendable. The fact that he's so close to the Indian players help him immensely in passing judgements sitting in that air conditioned box and with his accent and control over the language, he's bound to appeal to the english speaking audience sooner than later. Brilliantly humorous, I'm sure he'll rise up the ranks in the years to come.

Sadly, I decided to limit my list to just ten of them. There were a few others who really were very close to being included but then, it had to be just 10. Harsha Bhogle, Mike Haysman, David Lloyd and Mark Taylor were some of them. Bhogle for his sincerity as a broadcaster and his trivia about this game, Haysman for the Bill Lawrish excitement, Lloyd for his humor and Mark Taylor 'tubby' for analysis. Well, this is it.. These gentlemen behind the microphones are as much as a treat to listen to as watching one of those Warnie rippers or Sach's maximums!

Share your list, and in the meanwhile, here's what Bill Lawry's has to say on an absolute ripper of a catch..

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Indian Sports Journalism.. trenched..

“Generally speaking, the best people nowadays go into journalism, the second best into business, the rubbish into politics and the shits into law”

                                                                    - Auberon Waugh

Well, no offence and I don't intend to be disrespectful to any law folks and instead through this post I'll contribute my bit in elevating them at least a step, 'coz I think that some of the sports journalists in India are giving them a tough fight for the last position.

Heroes and Gods one day and Villains the next. Sometimes its hard for me to remember and dig deep into my brain cells to remember when was the T20 World Cup?  Was it really last year? It wasn't too long when the team was being lauded and loaded with all kinds of metaphors for winning the championship. This was in the year when India earlier failed miserably on the South African tour and the big names in the team were being constantly asked some serious questions. A breath of fresh air comes in with the T20 and suddenly the Indian Press found new Gods who "should have been" long back drafted into the team. Insane celebrations followed and instead of putting in some critical happenings around the world on the front page, all that followed were interviews.. not just of the players but also of their families! Cut short to early 2008 now..

The same team arrives in Melbourne and finds themselves out of place after being skittled out for a paltry 74. Agreed it was disappointing, but what followed from the Indian media was just over the top. The news and the websites were flooded with columns degrading the same bunch of players whom they adored just a championship back. All of this is just so insane and uncalled for? They blew it over the top the first time when they won and now they just bury them a million yards deep when they fail. All of this - just to grab attention!

The silliest part of all this is that most of the writers of such columns don't seem to know a damn about the game. The Times of India was considered to be one of the newspapers that defined the new India, but its sports section is unbearable.  The ever increasing number of news channels aren't helping the cause and in fact are sometimes even embarrassing to watch. I just wish that in such a vibrant country where sports is a passion, some sense is restored to these wannabe journalists. I still visit the Sydney Morning Herald or The Australian or for that matter The Times to catch up on the likes of Peter Roebuck, Peter Lalor and Simon Wilde. How I wish, I didn't need to do that! But looks like its still going to take quite sometime before the guys doing the job get their heads straight.

Good 'ol Sportstar has always been my ultra favorite for its articles.. sad I just don't get enough time to read them now.