Monday, June 26, 2006

GOD was Aussie; but referee was an Italian

The world cup Round two match between Italy Vs Australia; from the 40th Minute Italy was only 10 men. But the Aussies couldn't capitalize this one-man-extra advantage as the match entered into it's dying seconds and was sure to go extra time. Till then The ref was ok, regardless of not calling offsides, the ball crossed the sideline, yet the play continued. But the biggest blunder of the ref cost Aussies the match;
Only 12 seconds remaining in normal playing time. Italy attacked through the left wing and the Australian Defender slided infront to block the ball. The stricker, clearly and visibly intented to jump over him, tripped over the defender. The ref pointing to the penalty spot, and my heart was beating in my throat!! What a blunder!! Totti netted the penalty and there was no time to retaliate. The match was over!!
Sorry Socceroos! You deserved to win! God was with you! But the referee was an Italian! Next world cup mate!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

FIFA World Cup - Statistics & Trivia

The first round of FIFA world cup is over. Half of the teams made it to the second – Knock Out – round while the other half is preparing to go back. So far there wasn’t any major upsets in this world cup. There wasn’t any spectacular individual performance. The big guns, touted as the main attractions, so far failed to fire while smaller teams with less known faces made some progress. Here is the pick of this world cup.
Ghana – The UN general secretary Kofi Annan’s natives gave a stellar performance that put more famed teams to shame. They are into the second ground. Will Pele’s prediction of an African team winning the word cup come true this time?
Ecuador - No one gave an outside chance to them. Being in a group of powerhouses like Germany & Poland, they were extremely resolute and played total football. Once again proved that Big names are just that. Big names.
Only a handful of teams produced good scoring matches. The rest were so content in defending and not letting score! As a result, the average goal per match is a measly 1.2! This is despite all the efforts from FIFA, from rule changing to new design of ball, to make way for more goals. Even the top teams played defensively. And the inability of stars to score compound the problems. The lesser known teams were adopting a more defensive strategy and marking the leading players very hardly. Look at Ronaldo, Owen, Rooney just to name a few. All struggled to break free from the strangle hold of the defenders.
Team, Goals Scored & goals conceded, in that order
Germany 8 2
Poland 2 4
Costa Rica 3 9
Ecuador 5 3
England 5 2
T & T 0 4
Sweden 3 2
Paraguay 2 2
Argentina 8 1
Holland 3 1
Ivory Coast 5 6
Serb & Mont 2 10
Mexico 4 3
Angola 1 2
Portugal 5 1
Iran 2 6
USA 2 6
Italy 5 1
Czech 3 4
Ghana 4 3
Australia 5 5
Brazil 7 1
Japan 2 7
Coratia 2 3
S. Korea 3 4
France 3 1
Togo 1 6
Switzerland 4 0
Spain 8 1
Tunisia 3 6
Ukrain 5 4
KSA 2 7

Most goals scored is 8, by three teams, Germany, Argentina & Spain.
Serbia & Montenegro has the dubvious distinctions of letting in the most number of goals, 10. Costa Rica is just behind with 9 goals.

Three groups scored the most number of goals in a group, A, C & H. 18 goals
The least goals is in Group B, 10.
None of the asian teams made it to the second round, Iran, KSA, S. Korea & Japan were ousted in the first round itself.
One African team made it, GHANA
There was one bloody moment when Italy’s De Rossi elbowed American Brian McBride and the latter had to receive treatment for a bleeding wound.

There was this robot fortune-teller invented by an Indian software company, who was accurate in predicting everything. So a few people went to him as asked him the following query.
A Brazilian;
"Robot, When will Brazil win World Cup?"
Robot (In a machine-like voice)
"Brazil will win every alternate world cup"
An argentina Fan;
"Robot, When will my team win the world cup?"
Next Edition"
so on..
So this Sardar went to him an asked thus;
"Robot Mahasay, Will India ever hold the world cup?"
The Robot said "Possible"
Excited he asked robot "great! But when?"
"can't say! An Indian have to steal it!!"

Friday, June 23, 2006

Passing the buck

Once again, the prices of essential goods are shooting up. The UPA government, who came to power on an anti-NDA wave due to the failure of that government to check the increase of price of essential commodities, repeats the same mistake. Though late, PM has chipped in with some suggestion to reduce the burden on the people, how much effect it will have on this jacked up market is yet to be seen.
It all started with the hike in petrol prices early this month. The government’s well thought out strategy was, increase it ridiculously, then when the protests erupt, bring it down to originally planned level. Well, it worked very well. As usual, behind-the-scene arrangements made sure that the LEFT staged a mockery of a protest, NDA went on with their protests and at the end, the prices are still going up.
The total increment in essential commodities is up to 40% in some cases. Consider tomato. It has gone up by 40%! The increase is partially due to the hike in petrol but the other reason is lack of supply since this is off-season for this crop. But an interesting phrase was ringing everywhere. It’s so much clichéd these days.
“The cost of production/Distribution/marketing has increased since the hike in petrol price. So we have to pass on the burden to consumers”
Well, right from the top notch FMCG manufactures to the friendly vegetable vendor. Everyone was repeating the same. Water bill, Electricity Bill, real estate, everything has gone up. Does the income of this poor consumer increases proportionately? No. But everyone keeps passing on the BURDEN to him. The government stated that Public Utility companies like, Indian Oil, can’t afford to take the huge losses it incurred due to the low price of petrol in India. Unless they are not increased, they will go bankrupt.
The vegetable guy say, since the petrol price has gone up, his overhead expenses like transporting, also increased. Every one has to pass it on to consumer.
But where we, the consumer, will pass it on? Could we cut down the amount of milk our children consume, because it comes dearer by 2 rs per litre? Or should we stop buying medicines for our parents? Or may be we just stop eating. I don’t know.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Logic "DYFI"ing Tactics!!!

The art of Black-flagging

Black always evoke memories of death and grieve. Black is the color of devil, it is believed. It is a worldwide practice to wear a black ribbon when some major figure in a country dies. Witchcraft is called Black Magic. So black is the representation of black, Black itself is scared of black.

Kerala politicians developed an art form called Black-Flagging. Patented by Left youth wing, DYFI, pronounced “difi”, a close relative of “defy”, since their nature is to defy everything. Law, logic and commonsense. This dark art is practiced only in Kerala, that too at an interval of Five years. They perform it for five years continuously and the next five is spend in researching. The patentees believe only they can perform it. But when someone from the other community performs it, another dark art, in which DIFY is so brilliant, is performed. It has close resemblance to the tribal martial art, popularly known as “Kootayadi”. But there is a major difference in this form. Wherein Kootayadi, both teams have almost equal number of participants, this one is few against many.

For the past five years, the inhabitants of Kerala were lucky to see this ever flourishing art, Black Flagging, at regular intervals. A MLA, who goes by the name of M. V. Raghavan, was the chief beneficiary of this. Wherever he goes, DYFI enacted this art in front of him. The MLA has become a scholar in this art. So much so that he plans to write a book about it, sources revealed.

But things took a turn yesterday. An attempt is made to break the shackles of this untouchable status. The offenders were the youth wing of Congress. When a LDF minister was inaugurating something at someplace, a motley group from this party, hitherto considered inferior to their opponents in both these dark arts, tried to perform it for the minister. So infuriated were the protectors of the art, the group was subjected to the other dark art, modified form of Kootayadi. Though, it’s been around for a while, it is yet unnamed. So unprepared were the youths, they meekly surrendered. Few broken rib cages, some lost teeth, and bleeding mouths was all they got as a souvenirs. The Left leaders endorsed the right of DYFI to perform these arts vociferously.

The YC camp equated their attempt at Black Flagging to that of “Sepoy Mutiny” & “Kshetra Praveshana Vilambarom”. They vowed to fight the injustice and want the right to perform Black Flagging. The argument is no single section of society can claim the patent to a popular art form. They quote noted legal bigwigs as this is “total violation of right of expression and right to perform” and hence can get a verdict favoring them.

Both way, the resident Keralite is in for a surprise. They could enjoy this darker art at regular intervals even after DYFI (read their seniors) is in power. They were ruing the fact that since DYFI can’t black flag their own Ministers, this art may lose steam. Now they are heaving a sigh of relief that someone is coming forward and keeping the tradition going. The less fortunate NRKs (Non-resident Keralites) can watch it live on TV and highlights of it after prime time. News papers are also eager to promote this with vivid pictures and detailed reports.

So brace yourself, pack your refrigerator with snacks. A lot of action is coming up.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

New Yahoo! Mail Beta

Have anyone tried the New Yahoo! Mail beta? I just got a chance to test it. I was bowled over. It's such a beautiful interface coupled with new features, it's gonna be a runaway hit and a trendsetter. Now Yahoo mail box look almost like my outlook mailbox and it is as much easy to navigate through the thousands of mails. here are a few highlights

1. The interface. So easy. Click on a mail, the contents show up in the lower pane. Want to see in big window? Double click, and ANOTHER tab pop up. The previous list of mails remain there. No back & forward anymore.
2. Contacts ; They made it into a neat list, instead of an ugly small window. Click as many as you want, and CLICK RIGHT BUTTON!!!! you can send mail (forget CC & BCC), Edit or Delete the contact or add.
3. RIGHT Button Menu; Now just like window applications, you could select different options in your web page!!! Yes it's true. For each pane, the menu list is different.
4. Key board short-cuts; What a relief. Use Keyboard shortcuts like, select a message, press 'r' and the reply tab is opened!!! How easier it could get??
5. It's fast!!! No more agonising wait to open up the message. It's all there when you sign in. Click on the list, it is there.!!!

It could be a tad heavy on resources. I ran the test on Firefox and at a point CPU usage is 95%. And it's frequent. So having more than one tab while this is open may be a little taxing on the resources.
I can't see nothing else...

A fine product from Yahoo!. This is going to change the way we see web-based e-mails. And a sure shot winner!!!

Umpiring Standards & Biases of ICC

The umpiring standards of the current India Vs West Indies matches are something of a benchmark of the slide in the standards that are lately plaguing the game. Billy Doctrove was more than once guilty of lapses. So is Asad Rauf. Let’s see two glaring mistakes they committed during this series.
Where are you buddy? Asad Rauf.
The second One-day International at Sabina Park, Jamaica. 9th over of West Indies Innings. Irfan Pathan bowls to Sarwan. He pushes on to the onside and goes for a quick single. Suresh Raina, who was fielding there collects the ball and throw down the stumps. Everyone turns to the Square Leg umpire to appeal, but, Umpire was not in his position. He was talking to someone on the boundary Line. The other Umpire, Asad Rauf, permitted to play without checking his counterpart is in position.
To decide or not to decide
4th Day of 1st test between India & WI. Indian Keeper MS Dhoni’s swashbuckling stroke play left WI gasping for breath. After hitting three consecutive sixes off Mohammed, he went for another one. The skier went to Ganga who took a catch at the boundary line and Dhoni started walking. But Asad Rauf (Yes Him Again!!) stopped him and consulted the other field umpire, Simon Taufel. They referred it to Third Umpire. The Third Umpire, Billy Doctrov (Yep, it’s him), took some 10 minutes, since the TV replays were inconclusive. The question is whether Ganga touched the rope while taking the catch. In normal circumstances, the benefit of doubt is given the Batsman. But, strangely, Doctrov didn’t make a decision and gave the stick back to field umpires. This resulted in chaos, utter confusion and WI captain, Lara’s childish behavior.
Technology Vs Humans?
So is technology helping the umpires? Or it prevents them from taking a decision? Are these umpires being too indecisive, fearing backlashes in the event of a wrong decision? Remember the days of David Shepherd and Steve Bucknor. Those guys stood in the middle of some hostile crowd, yet they took decision which was not in favor of the home team. Now that is what called umpiring. In this series there are too many mistakes. Wrong Lbws when the ball kissed the bat, genuine outs were not given, no balls not called too many of them to be an occasional lapse. The ICC should look into the quality of the elite panel umpires.
Umpiring is all about taking the right decision, not appeasing the home team. If that’s the case, then how can one explain the decision to let off Brian Lara, who snatched the ball from umpire Asad Rauf, and ordered his players to field, though the umpires haven’t reached a decision? Virender Sehwag fined 20% of his mathc fee for excessive appealing. Jayawardhene of Sri Lanka, fined 20% for knocking off the stumps for getting out off a widish delivery. He was showing dissent to himself. Not to any official. Here, one of the prominent player of Cricket, wagging fingers at umpires, snatches the ball and bringing the game to disrepute, yet escapes without even a warning! Need anymore examples of bias?
A few years back, when Sachin Tendulkar, a god in this part of the world, was cleaning dirt from the seam of a ball and he was fined heavily by the match referee. Now Lara’s antics aren’t a serious charge? When Akhtar bowls 150+ Kmph missiles, it’s chucking. But When Bret Lee is doing it, its fast bowling. When Harbhajan & Muralitharan bowls mystic doosras, their arms are bending more than the permissible limit. But when an Australian or English player does it, they change the Law to admit them. This despite the fact that 80% of the total revenue of ICC is generated from Asia.

Read this together with Steve Bucknor’s allegations that the Production Crew doctor footage and the third umpire not always get the correct delivery footage. He, from the beginning, was not at all happy with the advent of technology into the jurisdiction of Umpires. This kind of incidents further underlines the need of the maximum use of human brain. Anyway, our brain is more powerful than any other computer, our eyes are more fast (fast lens means more power to gather light) than any sophisticated lens then why should we needlessly depend on technology? Before the advent of Computers, anyone can do a simple math in their mind. Now even for calculating the total of your vegetable purchase, one takes out the calculator. Technology helps, but not always.

Monsoon Chronolgy - Day 9

Nothing to report. A slight drizzle on June 7. That's what it is. So I am putting a temporary stop to this diary. Will write only after the monsoon picks up.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Monsoon Chronology Day 6

Monsoon Diary
June 6th, 2006
LAst 4 days, Saturday, Sunday, Monday & Tuesday witnessed a dry spell. No rain at all.
The gradually increasing mercury and overcast conditions make us sweat.

There is nothing write home about. Rains have done the Vanishing Act and The Leading Dailies are full of Rahul Mahajan stories.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

DNA & Mumbai mirror give link to this

I am proud to say that My article was published by Mumbai Mirror in their Blogger's park section and DNA India gave a link to it in their e-paper on Jun 4th Edition. Two newspapers on the same day!! Isn't it an achievement?

Friday, June 02, 2006

Monsoon Chronology 2006 - Day 2

Monsoon Diary
June 1st, 2006
Heavy rains till noon, and respite for a while till it started to rain again in the night. This was the second day of Monsoon 2006. Trains and traffic returned to normalcy, well almost. There were allegations and accusationsin the power corridors about what went wrong and who is to blame . BMC, MMRDA and Traffic Police all blamed others for the first day debacle.
The searing temperature now gave way to a damp coolness. And umbrella and rain-coat vendors are lining the streets of Fort area. The construction work on the most of the arterial roads are still half-way through and bearing the brunt of this are two-wheeler riders.
Yesterday, most of the offices reported about 20-30% absenteeism. May be last year's deluge is still afresh in people's mind.

Rahul Mahajan is Critical but Stable

Son of Mr. Pramod Mahajan, the late General secretary of BJP, Rahul Mahajan is put on life support system in Appollo Hospital Delhi after suffering a bout of vomiting and serious illness. His condition is said to be critical but stable. "Rahul had low blood pressure, oxygen levels were low and respiratory levels were also low. He barely had any pulse," said Dr Ritu Rawat, Apollo Hospital. It is deja vu . Those were the exact words of the doctors who treated his father. Critical but stable.
Pramod Mahajan's secretary, Vivek Moitra, died due to complications arose from the food poisoning.
According to this news, the cause is food poisoning. The Delhi police is investigating the case and still not divulging the exact cause yet.

Is there more to it than what we are made to believe? What was there to celebrate with champagne, that too with the secretary of his late father? It was barely a month since his father's tragic death, and he already celebrating? Who were those three strangers came to the house according to the above mentioned news channel, and more importantly how did they gain access to a high security zone like Mahajan's residence?
"It looks like a drug overdose", some comments screamed from NDTV'scomments section. Is there any truth in it? The whole things is shrouded in mystery and the police too is still groping in the dark.
Was just reading about Mahajan Jr.'s possible entry into politics last week after he attended the BJP meeting in Delhi. Was this a planned attack, from someone who doesn't want the very name of Mahajan raised again in Indian political front?
Now the silence of Pravin Mahajan, the killer of Pramod, gain more significance. Was he the real culprit? Or is he trying to save someone? Someone who is very close to the family?
A lot of questions, many of them without an answer. Coming days will unfold more of this tragic incidents, and may be, there will be many more arrests.