Monday, September 11, 2006

How artful can Roger get?

I am starting to feel sorry for Roddick and all those hapless tennis players Federer beat on the way to winning the Australian, Wimbledon and the US Open ... at some point, folks have got to get exasperated and frustrated - we need more competition. In Formula 1, when Schumacher won so many in a row, they changed rules again and again till they ensured that competition got up to speed (literally) with him. But there is no such hope for the other players in tennis. They will have to figure out their own way to beat Federer. The blueprint is really quite straightforward really - hope for a miracle :) ... unfortunately, that happens only once a year (at the French Open, and only if you are named Nadal). Anyone else can take their place on the loser's list, there is no shame in that ... he is just that good. After a great third set, that was pretty close through the first 11 games, Federer figured he had had enough - pushed into overdrive and just like that , Federer had another slam to his belt. Federer is cocky, almost to the point of being arrogant:
[On the twelfth game of the third set] ...“He had a terrible game; I took advantage,” Federer said. “From then on, I didn’t look back. I started to feel better, play more freely, and in the end, I played unbelievable.”

... “It’s a feeling that you start to know where he’s going to serve,” Federer said. “You start to know you’re not going to miss the forehand winner, to know that he can’t attack you. It’s more those things that go on inside your head, and you know exactly what shot to hit when you serve. Those are very rare moments in sport, and I’m lucky to have them once in a while.”
It sounds incredibly pompous, but if you saw those last 8 games, you cannot help but nod your head ... its the facts, nothing else. It was a pleasure to see tennis like that ... enjoy it while it lasts. A generation from now, folks might will find it hard to believe that someone actually played like that on a tennis court. Its been a pleasure Roger ... but somehow my sympathy for Roddick has been climbing for a while now, and perhaps I may actually pull for him next time these two meet in a Grand Slam (mmm ... probably not!!).

Eras end very quickly - even Martina Navratilova finally retired for good (talk about going out on top). Agassi had a tearful farewell. Leander Paes won the Mens' Doubles with Martin Damm .. but he will fade soon ... and unfortunately, there is no Indian player in the wings who will come even close. But this is the era of the artful Roger - enjoy it while it lasts ...

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sell at your own peril ...

Interesting point from a Motley Fool column earlier today:

Consider this approach instead: Sell your stocks when you want to buy a house, furniture, or other major purchase. Sell when you have too much in stocks and you want to buy some bonds, gold, or collectibles. Sell when you have too much in any one stock. But sell a stock, or a dicey market like this one, on valuation alone, at your own peril.

Basically, what he says is buy and HOLD HOLD HOLD ... and if you do sell, make sure you really have a very very very very darn good reason to sell apart from just getting off the table ... easier said than done i'd say ... but then guys like Buffet have had so much success, there must be something to it !!

Monday, August 28, 2006

More stuff from Yahoo

After Yahoo Mail Beta, its the turn of Yahoo Finance to show something really cool. Check out the Yahoo Charts Beta - it seems to be built on the same engine as Yahoo Mail Beta, looks just as sleek, and seems very useful. seems designed for guys who do a lot of TA ...

but very polished ... more after checking it out further ....

Monday, August 07, 2006


Steve Jobs will showcase the new Mac OS X 5 (Leopard) at the Apple developers' conference later today. Maybe even give a sneak peak at the new products pipeline - perhaps Apple's long talked about Ipod phone.

Hopefully, his product demo will be better than the one by Microsoft - a live one featuring voice recognition software in Vista. Its a dream come true situation for all the Microsoft bashers, check it out (hopefully, Jobs's presentation will be glitch-free - if not, then Apple will be truly ready to run Windows on its Macs!)

Friday, July 14, 2006

Yahoo Mail Beta ...

Yahoo has introduced a the new version of Yahoo! Mail - it looks and feels just like a regular email client like Thunderbird, except that it is still web-based. I thought the implementation of this one is pretty darn cool ... I love the way you can manage your email.

Check it out here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mumbai bomb blasts

In regard to the bomb blasts in Mumbai earlier today, anyone looking for help can check on Mumbai Help

Its an excellent resource especially if you are in the US and need help trying to check on your friends and family in Mumbai ...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Boneheaded ...

This was supposed to be Zidane's moment of glory - a World Cup triumph to cap off a great career. Then came the boneheaded play of the game in the 110th minutes - the headbutt that got him thrown out of the game, bringing a shameful ending instead of a fairytale one. What exactly transpired is not quite clear - but it seems that he may have been taunted, racial slurs perhaps. But whatever the Italian player might have said to provoke him - the headbutt was simply the stupidest thing to do, and the red card was certainly well deserved. This will go down in the annals of soccer as one of the most bizarre events in World Cup finals history - one that might have cost France their World Cup.

Here is a compilation of Zidane at his best - some unbelievable moves - the ones that made him a star! no boneheaded plays here .... all class!

Only one thought comes to mind - if only he had resisted the rush of blood, perhaps the World Cup final might have had a different outcome

On a totally different note, it was interesting to note the difference between the Wimbledon presentation ceremony earlier in the day, and the World Cup ceremony. Literally seemed as far apart as a quiet black tie dinner and a rowdy party at a dance club. Wimbledon (and tennis presentations in general) are a lot like those in cricket - the losing finalist is well taken care of - quite a civilized affair overall ... a far cry from the ceremonies in the US (NBA/NFL etc.) where the loser is literally banished from the site to brood over his loss while the celebrations begin.
"The winner takes it all, the loser standing small " -
not quite true IMHO ... the loser certainly desrves better.

Artful Roger ...

It certainly lived up to the hype ... Federer overcame his nerves, his own demons and a resilient Rafael Nadal to win his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title ...

Indeed the FedExpress has delivered again on grass, but Nadal certainly didn't get blown away by Federer's reputation, streaks and the skidding grass courts. The US Open folks are probably glad that Federer won - the last Grand Slam of the year just became the center of increased attention as the tennis season moves to the hard courts. And much as I would like Federer to win, I am inclined to pick Nadal on the hard courts of Flushing Meadows. Fed's backhand will get pounded again and again and the topspin balls will rise to shoulder height - increasing the chances of mishits from Federer.

But till he is dethroned - Federer continues to be the king of tennis!!
p.s. Amelie Mauresmo and Justine Henin-Hardenne produced a great women's final - some superb strokes, angles and great points - way better than the 'dhobi ghat' stuff from Serena/Venus/Sharapova etc. it was great to see Mauresmo overcome her demons to win the title - no one will ever call her a choker again ...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Federal Expresses ...

Its the week of the Feds - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Roger Federer (or the Fed as Brad Gilbert likes to call him) will be in the spotlight this week ... the markets anxiously await the outcome of the big Fed meeting this week - and over in England, Roger Federer steps on center court seeking a fourth consecutive Wimbledon (facing a tough drawm, and coming off that disappointing loss to Nadal in the French - this one should be exciting!).

Ofcourse, everyone's hoping the Fed can give a lift to Wall Street just like FedEx did last week with their earnings report. And seeing the Fed win at Wimbledon will mean getting to watch two more weeks of Roger on grass ... lets hope both Feds can deliver as well as FedEx!! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 22, 2006

It was the hand of God, wasnt it?

The summer solstice has come and gone - the days start to get shorter and shorter from here on. But the World Cup is certainly heating up ... and two hotly contested groups will get decided soon ...

[USA, Ghana, Italy and the Czech Republic] -> Italy and Ghana (cinderella story of the worldcup so far!)
[France South Korea Switzerland Togo] -> France is still winless - must win!!

While the 2006 World Cup is picking up steam, today is 20 years to the day that Maradona showed his brilliance, became infamous, and dropped a quote that is still just as prominently remembered as the day he said it. I had a post on it exactly a year ago ... its interesting to look at again methinks! Here is the actual quote from Maradona (oft misquoted or mistranslated) - "un poco con la cabeza de Maradona y otro poco con la mano de Dios" - translated as "a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God)"!! (source: Reuters)

From "The Hand of God - June 22, 1986"

Amul had a superb topical when Diego Maradona was taking the world by storm.

Image from Amul

Maradona spearheaded Argentina to victory in the 1986 Soccer World Cup in Mexico. A key step in that journey to that title was The Hand of God - Maradona's goal against England in the quarter finals, exactly 19 years ago on this day. Clearly, Maradona had stuck out his forearm and pushed the ball into the goal. The pictures say all the story:

Image taken from Yahoo's 2002 FIFA World Cup website

Much to the dismay of the English fans and players, the goal was allowed and a second brilliant goal (and i mean spectacular, no wonder it was voted Goal of the Century!) sealed England's fate. Maradona at that time did not admit it - he said that the goal was scored "a little bit by the Hand of God, another bit by the head of Maradona". He did admit using his hand in his autobiography published in 2002. When England beat Argentina in the 2002 World Cup, there came out tshirts reading Look no hands!

No denying Maradona's greatness as a soccer player, but the Hand of God certainly tarnished his image forever - for having 'cheated' on the greatest stage in the world. After all, everything is fair in love, war and the greatest prize in soccer, the Jules Rimet trophy.

Monday, June 19, 2006


The US Government seems to have an exchange program going on with Goldman Sachs - after GS Chairman Henry Paulson left to become Treasury Secretary, the Deputy Secy of State, Robert Zoellick quit the State Dept to join Goldman ... !!

Apparently, Zoellick wanted to become Treasury Secretary! Since that one did not work, perhaps going to Goldman will give him a better shot at eventually becoming Treasury Secretary :)

goat of the day ....

Phil Mickelson seemed to have just permanently shrugged off the "America's favorite underachiever" tag after winning his second Masters earlier this year at Augusta. But just when you thought he was ready to be a 'great', he screwed up on the final hole at the US Open last weekend ...

He went into the final hole leading the field by 1 stroke, and needed par on the 4-par final hole. It seemed like a perfect story for his career - achieving his ultimate goal of winning the US Open! But all the hard work and preparation leading up to that got flushed down the toilet in a New York minute as Mickelson ended up with a double bogey and handing Geoff Ogilvy his first major win ... Ogilvy wont be remembered much - it will be Mickelson's Open - the one where he choked - and choked BIG! I think he will be America's ultimate underachiever for some time to come.

and for the record - Indians Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa did not make the cut and finished 59th and 82nd respectively.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Soccer Stars v/s US Pro Athletes

A key aspect highlighted during the ongoing FIFA World Cup - players from Brazil, France, Germany, Italy etc. are all superstar players in the club leagues, with multimillion dollar salaries. They play different leagues, in different countries - but when it comes to the World Cup, everyone seems to take that extra effort to come play for their national side - I don't think they get paid much for doing so ... not to mention the fact that getting injured in the World Cup could jeopardize their multimillion dollar salaries. Yet, that does not dissuade them from wanting to play in the World Cup - its the biggest stage, and its national pride after all. I presume that for these superstar athletes, wearing your country's colors and getting a win matters more than any club game they play.

On the other hand - look at US athletes (specifically from the NBA and MLB) - their participation in big time international championships is pathetic at best. All the big superstars find their own excuses for not playing on their national squads - no surprise therefore that inspite of boasting the most incredible talent pool of all countries, the US basketball team barely won a medal in the last Olympics, and didnt even make the fnals in the World Baseball Classic (the national pastime!!).

Hopefully, this trend will change in the future ...

In the light of all this - one player who impresses me a lot is Andy Roddick - make no mistake, i aint no Roddick fan - but his commitment to playing Davis Cup and carrying the country's colors is really admirable.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Intelligent life ....

Calvin at his philosophical best ... one of my favorite C&H strips!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Photo published

Photo published
Originally uploaded by Thermodynamix.

A photo that I had clicked of the Barnes and Noble store (Power Plant) in Inner Harbor, Baltimore was published this month in the Schmap Baltimore city guide. The photo appears as part of the review of the Power Plant district.

Here is a link to the original photo.

More than 100% chance?

After the consumer price index (CPI) data came out higher than expected today, there was a jump in the probability of the Fed increasing interest rates later this month. But what does "more than 100% probability" mean? Sounds incredibly dumb ... here is the actual quote from the Reuters story:

"Interest rate futures were pricing in a more than 100 percent chance the Federal Reserve would lift rates later this month. On Tuesday, the chances were pegged at 86 percent."

Can someone explain what the heck does "more than 100 percent chance" mean?

[UPDATE - the reuters link has been replaced with a new story - too bad i dont have a permalink to the original story - but trust me the words were there - quoting verbatim from the original Reuters page!!]

back ....

after another extended hiatus, I'm back and hopefully motivated to continue posting here ... !!

in the meantime, the FIFA world cup is underway ... Ben Rothlisburger is in hospital after a motorcycle accident (hopefully he will recover soon - but really a dumb thing to drive a bike without a helmet!!) ... and India are desperately trying to grab a test win against the West Indies (will they pull it off or shall it be another brilliant save by Lara?) ... and oh I almost forgot to add - Nadal simply overpowered Federer in the French Open final!! hopefully that will not put a dent in his title defense at Wimbledon ...

expect more business and investing related posts. sports related posts will obviously continue ...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Corps of Discovery ....

Back on the blogging trail after what seems like years. Been busy with other interests, this one took a back seat. But have been plannign a comeback for a few days now ... hopefully this momentum will stay.

Last weekend, I watched the PBS documentary Lewis and Clark: Journey of the Corps of Discovery - thanks to the superb DVD collection at the local public library. Its the fascinating story of the land exploration of the continent aimed at exploring the United States (1804-1806) to the Pacific coast and back, - the expedition led by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark, of the US Army. In 1803, then President Thomas Jefferson completed the Louisiana Purchase from the French, more than doubling the size of the USA. Approximately 529,911,681 acres (827,987 mi² or 2,144,476 km²) of land traded hands at a cost of about $15M - barely 3 cents per acre - approximately equivalent of $390 billion in 2003!
A few weeks after the purchase, United States President Thomas Jefferson, an advocate of western expansion, had the U.S. Congress appropriate $2500, "to send intelligent officers with ten or twelve men, to explore even to the western ocean". They were to study the Indian tribes, botany, geology, Western Terrain and wildlife in the region, as well as evaluate the potential interference of British and French-Canadian hunters and trappers who were already well established in the area. [Source: Wikipedia]
The documentary details the route taken by the expedition, the Indian tribes they encountered, the route they took - and brings it to life with some stunning visual imagery of the great plains, the Rockies and the Pacific Northwest. The move through the plains and their interaction with the Indian tribes - the Sioux, the Shoshones, the Hidatsas, the Blackfeet and a host of others (some extremely helpful and accepting of the white man's arrival at their lands) brings to mind Dances with Wolves - Kevin Costner's superb epic about a US Cavalry officer's interaction with the Lakota Indians. American economic expansion into the west was positively the begining of the end for the Indians, and was heralded in by the Lewis and Clark expedition. And yet the mapping of the continent while rowing up the Missouri and trekking over the continental divide was certainly one of the greatest human endeavors of all time. The Shoshone woman Sacagawea who joined Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery has her face on the new US 1$ coin - to replace the old Susan B. Anthony dollar. Her reunion with her brother during negotiations with the Shoshone tribe seems to be right out of a Hollywood or Bollywood movie, but it seems like the Lewis and Clark expedition was certainly blessed with some great luck.

The way the Corps of Discovery explored the continent and named the terrain (rivers, creeks, waterfalls, their camp locations etc.) reminds me of the Swiss Family Robinson. I also think the expedition's journey bores a close resemblance to the Fellowship of the Ring from Tolkien's book. The journey that starts out through known terrain and meeting friendly people, soon goes awry and off-track as they head through the pass of Carathras (i.e. the Rocky Mountains in case of Lewis and Clark). The long arduous journey to their destination, but relatively swift and easy journey on the way back certainly has its parallels. I would not be surprised if Tolkien was not inspired by the story of Lewis and Clark when he wrote his magnficient book. The PBS documentary is an excellent way of seeing history unfold. One thought that kept coming back to my mind was a regret to have not seen Indian history in the same way. The Indian freedom struggle would be great to see as a documentary series like the PBS collections. Unfortunately, the only most vivid images of the story of Indian independence were frmo Attenborough's award winingin movie Gandhi. Sure there have been movies made about various episodes (including the recent lousy one on Mangal Pandey). But they have been generally tainted by the need to make a commercially successful film. Public television in India is generally absent, and apart from Doordarshan's Bharat Ek Khoj - i do not recall anything that came even remotely close. Perhaps one day, if I have enough time and money - I will try such an endeavor myself.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Investing - India vs China

In an article titled India vs. China: Where to Invest?, Jeremy Seigel points out the pros and cons of investing in India v/s China. A key point that caught my eye apart from all the Tiger and Dragon references and the usual democracy issues is the value of the stocks. He says
The price-to-earnings ratio on this index has reached 21, while Chinese stocks on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange are selling for only 15 times earnings. Goldman Sachs Asia Pacific Strategy recently indicated that it thinks valuation has turned the tide toward China.
The rate of growth on the BSE Sensex has made a lot of people quite rich, but also has doomsday predictions looming - referring to an impending to an imminent market crash, one that will hurt investors for a long time to come. Yet, I think that its atleast a year away, considering that the influx of foreign capital is not so much on promise (like the dot-com era in the 1990s), but backed up by solid performances by a lot of the companies. So while I am no economist, it seems like this growth will stay for a little bit - for atleast a year, if not more, as more and more FIIs continue to invest in the Indian markets. But Siegelman's points on risk, and diversification across the globe are certainly well taken.

One statement that particularly caught my attention was about corruption in India:
For India, these social networks and corruption are less of a problem. To be sure, dishonesty still exists in government service, but high level corruption is being vigorously rooted out by a free press that is absent in China.
I am not sure how accurate this statement is - while its not completely inaccurate either, there is a big leap of faith involved in making such a generalization. One Tehelka or Operation Duryodhan the basis of such a statement?

But by and large, an interesting quick read for someone thinking of investing in Indian/Chinese markets. And fairly accurate too, for the most part. Check it out

go steelers ...

its more than a week since the superbowl, but after all the posts i had leading up to it, i had to have atleast one celebrating their win in SuperBowl XL (a waste of a game, but the outcome was good!!) ...

does not matter if this post was a week late ... 'One for the thumb' was more 25 years overdue :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Outstanding contributions

Sunil talks about outstanding research contributions that did not get rewarded with a Nobel Prize. He lists some memorable scientific achievements that were unlucky to miss out on a Nobel - including Einstein's work on relativity, and Pauling's contributions on elucidating the nature of alpha helices in proteins. Considering that only one Nobel prize is awarded per discipline every year, its no surprise that a ton of outstanding contributions got left out of the awards list.

This post reminded me of an article in The Scientist that talked about seven outstanding technological advances that have revolutionized life sciences research. The same issue also gives a popular science description of these technologies, alongwith an excellent chronological listing of major breakthroughs leading to the development and maturation of the technology. These seven big achievements are:

1. The automated DNA sequencer - starting with the first one from Applied Biosystems in 1986 that enabled the success of the Human Genome Project
2. The BLAST algorithm - stands for Basic Local Alignment Search Tool - and remains the workhorse bioinformatics tool for navigating through the immense amount of sequencing data that poured out
3. The DNA microarray - that lead to the formation of Affymetrix, today a $2.5B corporation
4. The yeast two-hybrid assay - for identifying protein-protein interactions.
5. The MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer - to quantify the relative abundance of thousands of proteins in a cell lysate - the foundation for proteomics.
6. The lab-on-a-chip - certainly an area of interest for me these past 3-4 years - microfluidics has allowed the incorporation of analytical methods on microfabricated chips, the resulting miniaturization ushering in a new age of rapid, high throughput analysis of tiny samples.
7. The optical trap – sophisticated optical tweezers to manipulate cells.

These advances in technology have evolved over many years, with key contributions by a number of eminent scientists and engineers, several of whom could have been recipient of Nobel prizes. Yet, in the long run, the legacy of a scientist is not measured by the number of Nobels, but by the impact of his scientific contributions, so I dont think Einstein would have been so upset about not getting the Nobel for his work in relativity .... he would have been satisfied seeing the E=mc2 actually works to generates nuclear energy for this planet

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hail to the Republic ...

We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign socialist secular democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political; .....

Republic Day Parade

The Republic of India celebrated the 57th anniversary of its formation today. The celebrations were at its ceremonial best in the annual Republic Day parade along Raj Path in New Delhi, with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia as the guest of honor a day. Yet, the news headlines were full of the heavy security arrangements, the looming threat of terrorist violence, and Maoist attacks in the north-east of the country. An unfortunate fact of life in modern India. And yet, a day of great pride for all Indians, to remember the fallen heroes, to take heart in the future, reflect on the year gone by, and to plan for a glorious one ahead. Hail to the Republic of India ...

Republic Day Parade
Mumbai Police lowering the swords as the National Anthem is played at the parade at the Shivaji Park in Mumbai, Maharashtra (26 January, 2004)

I was in India last year on Republic Day, and thoroughly enjoyed watching the Rajpath parade from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate and on the the Red Fort, during the telecast on TV - I have always been fascinated by it, ever since I was a kid ... the tank columns rumbling down past the President as they lower their guns in salute, the marching columns of the services in their ceremonial pomp and glory, the Presidential bodyguards (राष्ट्रपती अंगरक्षक) offering the 21 gun salute as the band plays the National Anthem ... the decorated landmarks in Delhi at night, the Beating the Retreat ceremony in the evening. From the point of view of a nation like India, it sometimes might seem like a waste of money, a splurge, but I think considering the pride you feel when you see the military might, the cultural sights and the ceremonial bright (well a cheap attempt at ryhyming gone awry there) .... it seems to be al worth it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Shotspot schematic

ESPN uses Shotspot to determine a particular ball landed in or out. For one, i have my reservations about how well they can even predict the trajectory of the ball - accurate enough to make a judgement on the line call? I dont think so.

But all that aside, when a ball lands like this (right of the line being "OUT", they claim that it has actually landed on the line, simply becuase in the top view, it overlaps with the line. Yet, considering that the ball contacts the court only at a tiny area, id say they are wrong and grossly misleading the public about close line calls. I am not a professional, but i have played enough USTA sanctioned tennis games to say that in a game, this ball would most likely be called out simply because you can clearly see daylight between the line and the contact area of the ball with the court (which is really tiny) ... Espn should offer an explanation about their shotspot technology - its really misleading I think!

Shotspot is actually a version of Hawkeye - the one used in cricket, where really the accuracy needed is a lot lesser. maybe some of the cricket gurus can throw light on this one ...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

One for the thumb

One for the thumb

This scene will be seen all over the country if the Steelers win their fifth Superbowl in Detroit in two weeks ...

Monday, January 23, 2006

Steel Curtain drops ...

The Steel Curtain dropped on Jake Plummer - and turned him into Jake the Snake of old ... two interceptions, and two lost fumbles coupled with some clever playcalling (Ken Wisenhunt's stock is on the rise!), and some accurate passing by Big Ben - means that the Pittsburgh Steelers are Super Bowl bound ... and shall meet the Seattle Seahawks who had a stellar game as they beat the Carolina Panthers at home.

I almost got the score prediction right ... i had picked 31-18, while it ended up being 34-17, with Ben passing for two and running for another score. Now, you can go to Pittsburgh, stop by Primanti's on Forbes Ave., and ask for a double quarter pounder Roethlisburger (with a veggie soy patty please, we are desis!) without any shame whatsoever. They will serve it up for you with a biggie sized fries and deliver it in a Bus ... which will probably get decommisioned after Super Bowl Sunday in a couple of weeks ... yeah at least all indications point to Jerome Bettis retiring after the Super Bowl this year, and would be certainly a rather cool way to finish a career (esp. after almost turning the goat on the fumble against Indianapolis!)

Some interesting tidbits about Championship Sunday (though not all about the Championship games necessarily):
* Seattle was ranked #1, and Pittsburgh ranked #6
* Pittsburgh - first #6 team to reach the Super Bowl
* Pittsburgh beat #1 Indy, #2 Denver, and #3 Cincinnati - all on the road to reach the SuperBowl
* Both Seattle and Pittsburgh scored 34 points
* Microsoft's Paul Allen owns the Seahawks ... (and the Portland Trailblazers, why is this relevant - to be revealed in a few moments)
* Lost in the din of the Seahawks win - Seattle Supersonics beat the Phoenix Suns 152-149. If they had infact beaten the Trailblazers, then Paul Allen's Seattle team would have won and his basketball team would have lost to Seattle - both on the same day!
* The collision between Nick Goings and Lofa Tutupu - that left Goings rather woosy and shaken up ... certainly the type that can do some serious brain damage!!
* Another point lost - Kobe scored 81!! RIDICULOUS!
* All 3 unbeatens in college basketball (Pitt, Duke and Florida) lost on the same day (against St. Johns., Georgetown and Tennessee respectively)
* Rahul Dravid hits back to back centuries - if only the butthead Saurav had agreed to open, he might have been the one takking the laurels instead
* Last but not the least, the Orissa Steelers (yeah thats right, there are steel plants in Orissa too, you know!) won the Premier Hockey League (Div I), finishing ahead of the second place Chennai Veerans! Rediff says - "New entrants Orissa showed nerves of steel to come back from 2-1 arrears and brush aside the challenge of Imphal Rangers 3-2 in the last league match on Sunday." - how very true - nerves of steel indeed :)

And last, but not the least are the results of the ESPN SportsNation poll about the Super Bowl:

1) Which team will win Super Bowl XL?
40.4% Steelers will win a close game
28.5% Seahawks will win a close game
23.5% Steelers will win easily
7.5% Seahawks will win easily
Total Votes: 74,008

So, almost 69% think the Steelers will win - sorry Ben, cant play the "nobody thinks we can win" card again - most people think you are talking crap anyway. Yet, its been fun watching them take down the big guns ... I think its time I put some trust in them and take them as my pick ... anyways -Go Steelers-
p.s there have been too many sports dominated posts - maybe i should call it SportsCenter :)

Placid Pitches

how bad are the pitches they have for the india-pakistan test series? the scores should tell:

First Test at Lahore:
Pakistan 679-7 (dec) - with centuries by Younis Khan (199), Md Yousuf (Youhana - 173), Afridi (103), and Akmal (102*).
India responds with 410-1 (Sehwag 254, and Dravid not out at 128)
Ofcourse - match ends in a draw

Second Test at Faisalabad:
Pakistan 588 all out - centuries by Inzamam (119) and Afridi (156)
India 441-5 (at the end of day 3) - Rahul Dravid (103), Laxman (90) and Dhoni (119*)

after all run rampage - with almost no chance of a result, who has interest left in this test except those going for betting records or infamous bowling records :) - yet i'm impressed that the Indians, batting second have managed to play out the placid pitch charade, against a good Pakistani attack ... its not unprecedented for them to collapse on perfectly good batting wickets simply because they didnt focus enough and play it out. after conceding more than 500 in both tests in the first innings, Rahul Dravid's team was virtually out of the reckoning for winning the test ... the only hope was to salvage the draws, and I must say the batting performance has quite adequate ... too bad the arrogant bengali babu was too uptight and a pain in the ass taking orders from the captain - if he had agreed to open in the first test, he could really have resurrected his test career - maybe even been called a 'true team player' or some such thing .... but that was not to be, and dravid now has back to back test centuries instead ......

Friday, January 20, 2006

How about them Steelers ... again ....

I hate to say this, but I told y'all so ... the Pittsburgh Steelers came into Indianapolis, and harassed Manning with a superb pass rush. If it were not for some pathetic officiating from the referee, and a key fumble by Bettis on the Indy goal line, the game would have been another routine upset. But then the refs did play cheats (yeah Joey Porter, you are dead right!), and The Bus did fumble, leading to a bizarre finish ... that included"The Tackle" (or should we called "The Immaculate Tackle"?) by Big Ben that saved the day for the Steelers.

Cocky Payton Manning came up with some boneheaded desperation trying to win the game, and then the 'idiot kicker' missed the field goal so badly, that it seemed like his uprights were actually in some other stadium!! So here the go the Steelers again to the AFC conference championship at Mile High in Denver. An Indian connection (after the Steelers Juggernaut!) has come up again ... in a preview to the championship column about the success of the Steelers and the Panthers, Greg Garber in his column writes:

"We came in from the back door," Steelers linebacker Joey Porter said. "They wrote us off. We weren't supposed to be here, but we like our chances in Denver.
"It's not even the fact that we struggled at home. It's just the way we come in here right now. I think it makes us focus more as a team because they're counting us out. The whole world is counting us out."

Memo to Porter: There are one billion folks in India who have no idea who (or what) the Steelers are.

Not sure where the Indian connection came in from ... but there is certainly no denying that fact - the billion people in India certainly are absolutely clueless (not that they cared a damn about it anyways!) about football - and to whom football actually refers to a game that involves kicking the ball (i.e. soccer!!). but its certainly amusing how sports writers seem to draw up weird connections to random facts.

but coming back to the game, Denver is picked to be a marginal favorite (being the home team and all), and wearing my pragmatic hat on - i am inclined to agree that Denver will win - and comfortably at that, due to the Steelers traditional malaise (turnovers by the QB!) - yeah, Big Ben who saved the day last weekend against the COlts will finally self-destruct (i mean how can there be an AFC Ch'ship game with Bill Cowher coaching where the QB does not bring the team down with interceptions!!). but again I will also put forth my pick for the game, wearing my Steelers hard hat, and waiving the terrible towel:
The Steelers defense shuts down the running game and forces Jake the Snake to scramble around and throw on the run - he does so a few times, but finally shows his true colors by throwing the interception!! Troy Polamalu runs one back and James Farrior picks up a fumble as the Steelers win 31-18 (same score that I predicted the last time around against the Colts), didnt get it right then, but this time I will.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

How about them Steelers ...

Let me talk about them before the inevitable happens this weekend ... much as I would like to believe that they are so good on defense and that the run game can pound anyone into submission, I have no illusions that the Colts will win easily. But then there is still that slight possibility of an upset ... hey, thats why they actually play the game!!

Here is what a certain Dr. Z from CNN Sportsillustrated had to say about the way Pittsburgh runs the football ... a very interesting Indian connection showed up there:

One thing puzzles me. When they load up with two tight ends on one side, and bring fullback Dan Krieder in behind them, and then pull guard Alan Faneca, who is very good at coming around the corner and blocking back to pin his man inside, and put this whole mob in front of, say, a Jerome Bettis, that's about 40,000 pounds coming at whatever is in the way.

And so many times I just see the defense outnumbered. So why doesn't it just move an equal number of guys over, into the path of this juggernaut (which is a word originating in India, by the way), matching Pittsburgh's monsters with the same amount, which would result in something like a huge mass of glue trying to fit through a small opening?

I looked up the word juggernaut in the dictionary, and sure enough it has Indian origins. Here is the explanation:

juggernaut (noun)
1. Something, such as a belief or institution, that elicits blind and destructive devotion or to which people are ruthlessly sacrificed.
2. An overwhelming, advancing force that crushes or seems to crush everything in its path: "It doesn't assume that people need necessarily remain passive when confronted by what appears to be the juggernaut of history" Christopher Lehmann-Haupt.
3. Juggernaut Used as a title for the Hindu deity Krishna.

Ofcourse - the last one is easy to see - the anglicized version of Jagannath ... but the first two come from the fact that worshipers have thrown themselves under the wheels of a huge car or wagon on which the idol of Krishna was drawn in an annual procession at Puri in east-central India !!

and to imagine that all this started from the description of Jerome Bettis pounding the ball behind the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line ... !! which leaves me with the vain hope that Peyton Manning will get intercepted twice in the first half after getting harassed by the Steelers pass rush, and the Colts will not be able to get ahead too much in the first half ... the Steelers running game will pound them in the second half .. and Pittsburgh Steelers will upset the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 (same score as the Bengals game).

Monday, January 02, 2006


Redemption for the Big East following West Virginia's win over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl - a fantastic game with a great finish ... topped by the fake punt by the Mountaineers.

Being from Pitt, I quite dislike the Mountaineers, but for once I was supporting them against the 'so-called' (yeah my opinion has turned a bit after Auburn and Georgia lost) superb defensive teams especially against the run. And after all the flak the Big East has taken about their guarenteed BCS berth, it was certainly redemption for the conference, and it would be a surprise if WVU does not finish the year in the top 5!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

-Alfred, Lord Tennyson [In Memoriam A.H.H. (CVI)]