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 ...