31 May 2009

Biggest Upset, Ever!

I saw the score this morning, but I didn't want to jinx, so I decided not to watch.

I've been jinxing stuff all season. Every time I turn on the TV, LeBron James loses and Kobe Bryant wins.

Every time I try ESPN360, Roger Federer loses and Rafael Nadal wins.

So I saw the score this morning and noticed that Rafa was down to Robin Soderling. However, I know Soderling's type: he's one of those maddeningly uber-talented kids who always seems to come close, but somehow comes up short. To help his chances I decided not to watch.

And then I got this cryptic email from my pal Doney Joseph: "Federer Wins French."

And I knew what it was, but since I didn't want to get my hopes up too high, I played coy with him...and then he confirmed it, and I checked it out...

Rafa lost!

What a monumental upset!

Not only does this preserve Bjorn Borg's record at Roland Garros, it opens the door for Roger.

"Opens the door"? Yup, unlike Doney, I will not allow my hopes to get up too high. There's that bum Andy Murray still lurking in the shadows like the proverbial boogeyman, and let's face it, Roger has not looked that great in his matches.

But I will allow myself a little hope and admit that this does, indeed, open the door, however slightly.

Keep hope alive!


30 May 2009

Marat Safin In A Nutshell

Actually, this is Marat Safin in a nutshell (from CBS Sports):

"Marat Safin angered the French Open crowd with his antics, made them ooh and aah with his shot-making, and finally coaxed them into warm applause when he walked off center court at Roland Garros for the last time of his tumultuous career."

29 May 2009

This Summer's Theme Song

The Better Half turned me on to Little Joy a while back, but I was a bit skeptical (wasn't someone from The Strokes involved somehow? And everyone knows The Strokes were so 2001).

As usual, TBH was right.

Check out their awesome song "Next Time Around" from their self-titled album. The video was shot on a vintage Bolex...a Super-8 Bolex.

Man, this really is the song of the summer. This is what I'm gonna be humming as I walk around my little beach town.

Click below to play the video.


Who Needs Hollywood?

Dude, this is a fan-made trailer for the Green Lantern.

A movie project is in the works with Bradley Cooper. But some civilian named Jarson Pitts put together his own trailer, all by himself, with Nathan Fillion "as" Hal Jordan/Green Lantern.

I'm not sure about Fillion (I'm sorry I haven't seen Firefly...or Serenity...or Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog...or Waitress...or Castle...), but he will be a better choice then Cooper.

But this guy Pitts is amazing. Warner Bros. should just use his trailer for whatever they end up with...in fact, they should have him do the whole movie.

Click below to watch the amazing trailer.


28 May 2009

Au Revoir Marat

Sigh, Marat Safin is out of the French Open...forever!

Well, he claims this is his last French Open, and I guess when you've made so much money at such a young age, then if the desire is gone...it's gone.

Still, he actually fought for this one...losing a heart-breaker of a fifth set 8-10 to little-known Frenchman Josselin Ouanna.

In fact look at the line of the match: 6-7 (2-7), 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-3, 8-10. He came from two sets down (and they were two very close sets) to fight all the way to the end. To paraphrase Darren Cahill on ESPN2, if only he had shown this kind of fight during his career.

And that, in a nutshell, is the great Marat Safin for you: "If only..."

27 May 2009

Thank You Mr. President

Check it, President Obama let me know personally about his choice of Sonia Sotomayor to be a Supreme Court Justice.

Thank you Mr. President, that was very nice of you.


NY Times: Sonia Sotomayor Profile

26 May 2009

Me And Bobby B...

Look who showed up to talk about his new book today!

Bob Barker, in the flesh.

Me with Bob Barker

Me and BB

He was great! He was funny, personable, warm, and connected with each and every member of the audience.

My colleagues Bartley, Mira, BB and myself

I mostly went because I know The Better Half is a huge fan and Bob is as symbolic of Americana as the oft-mentioned Mom and Apple Pie. But I came away a huge fan! Now I wish I had grown up watching him.

His memoirs are called Precious Memories.

Something tells me the audiobook version will be great! Though we did solemnly swear to actually read the book...


Access Hollywood: Bob Barker Interview
LA Times: Bob Barker Homecoming
Amazon: Precious Memories
Wikipedia: Bob Barker

Wait, This For Real?

From my small town's local calendar:

So, there really is a thing called Parks and Recreation?! It's not just a poorly-executed spin-off show that perfectly embodies a once-proud broadcast network's sad, sad desperation?


NBC: Parks and Recreation

24 May 2009

The Taj Mahal Through The Mist

Okay, it's probably smog, but you can just about make out the outline of the mythical Taj Mahal.
Posted by Picasa

From Zeroes To Heroes

The Deccan Chargers pulled off an unlikely win in IPL 2 over the Bangalore Royal Challengers.

Amazing because they finished dead last in IPL 1!

I'm happy for Andrew Symonds. He played a crucial role in the Deccan (i.e. Hyderabad) victory, even as he was being left off the Ashes squad.

I'm sad for Anil Kumble who came this close to captaining Bangalore (a squad that included my favorite Rahul Dravid, who had earlier catapaulted his team into the finals) to victory, after having so gracefully led India in his earlier incarnation.

Great stuff all around. Net let's see if they can somehow find a way to play the Indian Premier League in, oh I don't know, India!


22 May 2009

Vote For Pedro

Pedro Almodovar, that is, and vote for him to win an Oscar.

Cannes 2009 is in full swing, and according to my favorite film columnist Jeffrey Wells (love that guy, but he is an acquired taste, so be warned) PA's Broken Embraces is the one to watch.

He says that it is "easily the most fully realized, thematically satisfying, self-assured and purely entertaining film of the festival so far...Way in front of anything I've seen so far."

And all this for a film that is, in Jeff's own words, not-quite great.

I might be coming around on this Penelope Cruz woman after all.

Click on the link below to read the full review, directly from Cannes.


NIne Lovely Ladies

I have to admit, I'm totally loving the teaser for Nine.

Nine, of course, is the Daniel Day-Lewis musical directed by Rob Marshall. I'm not sure if this a straight up remake of Federico Fellini's 8 1/2, or an "inspired by" kinda deal.

I'm not a huge Marshall guy, but after the one-two punch of Bill the Butcher and Daniel Plainview, I'm a huge DD-L guy!

This looks like the old Miramax-style Oscar-baiting extravaganza Harvey Weinstein used to specialize back in the mid-to-late nineties (early nineties were actually small-scale movies, as hard as it may be to imagine). After The Reader and Inglorious Basterds, this could really start to make things happen for The Weinstein Company.

And, not to forget, this might be Ryan Kavanaugh's coronation too (Relativity Media put up some major coin for the honor of really legitimizing the brash young wannabe Hollywood mogul).

And, um, did I mention the all-star female cast? Holy crap!

Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson, Kate Hudson (why?!), the great Judi Dench, and the great, great, Sophia Loren.


Click below to watch the teaser.


YouTube: Nine Teaser Trailer

21 May 2009

My Friend's Wife's Movie!

My friend Roopak "Rupi Sallu" Saluja is married to famous Bollywood actress Tara Sharma.

Tara is pregnant and funny thing is she has a movie coming out in which, wait for it, she plays a pregnant woman.

It's a sweet, low-budget comedy called Suno Na... and needs all the word-of-mouth help it can get. So go check it out and tell your friends.


NowRunning.com: Suno Na Preview

20 May 2009

The Indian Elections: Harsh Rohatgi's Brilliant Analysis

My other old pal Harsh Krishna Rohatgi also did his own brilliant analysis of the recently-concluded Indian Elections.

PS. Sorry, no Sarah Michelle Gellar photo for Harsh :-( Though, on the other hand, he is running NDTV!

Dude, this is a great thing. I didn't think they would be able to get close to a majority with the bunch of allies they had.

BUT, now that we all have the benefit of hindsight, I'd like to put down a few factors leading to their victory. Some of these were of his doing, and some of others:

- Focus on the rural economy with 2 major initiatives: the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (Google it to learn more about this; quite a remarkable piece of legislation, though with enough scope for corruption, etc.) and the loan waiver for farmers. After a few decades, the terms of trade have started to shift towards the rural economy, so even while there is a fair bit of stress in the urban economy, and some sectors which are necessarily dependent on the urban economy (real estate, cars and commercial vehicles to a large extent and the print and TV news media), what I have seen in my business is that the consumer goods companies are recording great growth rates in sales. Essentially, chunks of the rural economy have started to play catch-up, though still a long way to go - which also means, there is much headroom in terms of growth and opportunities.

- Growth of regional parties that ate into the BJP/NDA's vote-share: two examples are Raj Thakeray's MNS in Maharashtra and Chiranjeevi's party in Andhra Pradesh. Both hurt the BJP and its allies, and ended up helping the Congress

- Urban areas have appreciated the development of basic necessities and infrastructure: note the Congress clean-sweep in both Delhi and Bombay (though the MNS did hurt the Shiv Sena/BJP in Bombay)

- National Security is an electoral non-issue: most of India is too busy trying to survive on a daily basis to worry about the nuclear bomb, Pakistan, Taliban, Al Qaeda, etc. What matters to them is the basics, and who they believe can deliver them to them in the short-term. The BJP made a big issue of national security and it did nothing for them. Most voters in India are actually pretty immune to current affairs as they are media-dark as far as current affairs and news go. Within that, half the population is women, who really don't give a toss. If they are not being told who to vote for by their menfolk, they would probably base their vote on empathy (notice how Lalu Prasad and Indira Gandhi and now, to a lesser extent Sonia, kept getting the votes) or who they believe will provide them with basic services that affect their daily lives: running drinking water, roads, electricity, primary health, schools, etc.

- Allying with the US: again, another non-issue. Most people don't know and don't care.

- Nationalisation of government-owned companies, increasing sectoral caps on foreign-investment: These are the issues of the Left parties in India. Organised labour in India comprises 30 million out of a total work-force of 500 million. So far, the organised labour managed to create a strong political space amongst themselves, and therefore propped the Left (not the complete story as to how they've lasted so long in Bengal, but certainly a part of it). For the common man, these are again non-issues, though it can become an emotive one at particular points in time. The Left parties seem to disconnected with what people want, that they really screwed themselves over. Good thing too...

At a macro-level, India is a federation of many different peoples. In order for any political party to manage to get a positive verdict from so many different aspirations, levels of development, etc., it is imperative that any such pan-India political formation tread the centrist path. At best, a bit left-of-centre. The BJP managed to form a government by actually moving close to the centre. The reason why the BJP screwed itself up this time around was possibly because they moved too far to the right. And the Commies moved too far to the left, possibly believing that their inordinately good electoral performance was a nod for them to move further to the left. I think they got that the last time around because the Congress possibly was not the usual left-of-centre. I'm sure there is better political analysis available out there as to why this happened.

The lesson that the politicos have to get from this is that people want basic bread-and-butter issues to be addressed. Most other issues are too far removed and out of most peoples' abilities to comprehend. I hope the new Congress government bears that in mind. The way I see it, they should continue to invest in the rural areas, and also create better conditions for private investment in the urban-economy. That would be doing India a big favour.

The guy who probably understood all of this and got it right was Rahul Gandhi. I think he figured what the electoral issues were - either in peoples' minds or latent, but waiting to come out. He tapped into it more effectively than all the others and it paid off for him. Good on him. Seems an honest and earnest fellow. If he decides to remain outside the government and working to revive the Congress, he will really go up in my estimation. Let's see...

Okay dude, trust that was enough!

Quiero Que Me Quieras

Okay, so I really liked Rudo y Cursi more than I should have, but it was a fun little movie regardless.

Diego Luna was very, very good.

One of the highlights was Gael Garcia Bernal (love that guy) doing a hilarious, in-character cover of Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me."

Click below to watch Tato a.k.a. Cursi performing "Quiero Que Me Quieras"!


YouTube:Gael Garcia Bernal - Quiero Que Me Quieras

The Indian Elections: Shubho Ghosh's Brilliant Analysis

My old pal, Shubho Ghosh just did a brilliant analysis of the recently concluded Indian Elections. Enjoy!

PS. And yes, that is Shubho with Sarah Michelle Geller!

My take on Indian Parliamentary elections is below:

1) The CPM is routed in its home base of West Bengal and Kerala: and will not play spoiler/drag in the next government.

2) Clear mandate for 'national' parties: Indian democracy is maturing to a 2 party system like the US, with a right-wing, 'pro-business' (ala BJP --> Republican) party and a Centre-left (Congress --> Democrat). This is a simplistic comparison of course and more intricate differences exist. Like the Democrats in the US and their ACLU affiliations, the Congress party's electoral strength typically comes from the working class and labor; see point 2 below.

3) Congress's Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Loan Waivers to Farmers was an inducement too good to resist for those affected. Effective populism, focused on India's masses, that paid off. In perspective the issues that won the election were nuanced, India-centric economic issues. Issues such as religion, the situation in Pakistan, plight of Sri Lankan Tamils, World Economic woes interestingly played a lesser role. The sentiment this time round was "what have you done for me lately" and "what are you going to do again tomorrow?"

4) Rahul Gandhi's UP and Bihar Strategy also pays off big-time: by foregoing the lazy option of aligning with regional parties instead of going it alone. The Congress gains in UP along with point 1 above (gain in CPM dominated Kerala) sealed the deal this election. Regional satraps like Lalu Yadav in Bihar, Mayawati in UP were punished by the electorate for being too opportunistic. Also Rahul Gandhi's strategy to field new younger candidates pays off by drawing large swathes of first-time voters.

5) The numbers: Congress-led UPA alliance 236 + leading in 23 for a total of 259, a net gain of 79 seats from last elections. 272 needed for a simple majority so expect some smaller parties to gravitate to the UPA. The gains come from the Left, which had a net loss of 31; the 'fourth front' - a potpourri of smaller parties waiting for the 'incentive' to join the winning coalition, with a net loss of 35; and the main rival BJP party (and its NDA alliance) with a net loss of 15.

6) What happens next? More of the same, i.e. a Congress government with Manmohan Singh, with less of a drag from coalition partners that are no longer needed (i.e. the left, Lalu Prasad Yadav and his histrionics). Some smaller parties will gravitate towards the Congress which will get to the 272 mark and beyond.

7) Five Doscos got elected as MPs: Jyotiraditya Scindia (Congress), Rahul Gandhi (Congress), Jatin Prasad (Congress), Kalikesh Deo (BJD), Dushyant Singh (BJP). Saurabh Singh (Congress) unfortunately lost this time...but continues to remain an MLA (State-level legislature).

19 May 2009

You'd Be Happy Too...

...If you were Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi and had just bucked all the odds to come out on top in the recently-concluded Indian Elections.


NYT: India's Governing Coalition Scores Decisive Victory in Parliamentary Races

Another Earthquake

All right, so we could barely feel it at work.

But then, according to USGS, it was a 4.1 earthquake in Hawthorne, CA - pretty close to where we live, and very close to where it happened a couple of days ago!


18 May 2009

Leave Tendulkar Alone!

Okay, so I'm not the biggest Sachin Tendulkar fan (I've always been a Rahul Dravid man myself), but I have to admit that this all-or-nothing approach the Media takes with him is a bit much. It's feast or famine with him, literally.

Case in point, a recent recap of the Mumbai Indians narrow loss to the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL titled: The Brittle Master.

The columnist takes Sachin to task for lowering himself and Sanath Jayasuriya into the middle order because the Indians had collapsed every time they had failed to fire in their previous matches. Umm, that sounds reasonable to me. The columnists then questions Sachin's decision to hold back a little bit while building a foundation and then cutting loose. Again, seems reasonable to me.

And then, after the Indians lost coming this close to pulling the match out (being outfoxed by Shane Warne, who apparently really should have been the Australian Captain all along), the columnist ends with this: "India collapsed then, Mumbai choked now. The Tendulkar shadow refuses to leave Mumbai."

India collapsed then? And now his shadow refuses to leave Bombay?

Come on man, come on!


CricInfo: The Brittle Master

California Cannot Be Governated

A very interesting analysis by The Economist looking into the many issues bedeviling California.

Apparently, it mostly has to do with the redistricting that sends nutjobs from the Right and Left into the State Legislature where they spend all their time arguing and not enough time doing anything.

Of course, if we only we had a tough, no-nonsense, East European hard-a** to partner up with a laid-back rebellious cop and clean stuff up...

Click below to read the article.


The Economist: The Ungovernable State

Kolkata Finds New Ways To Lose

The Kolkata Knight Riders have found a few novel ways to lose during IPL 2.

I think there was a tie that they lost in the Super Over, I think they were on the receiving end of the fastest century in IPL history, and now they have lost on the last ball.

The last ball!

Calcutta gave up 26 runs off the last over to the Deccan Chargers! 26 runs!

Good to know that the CPM was faring just as well in the Elections back in Cal.


CricInfo: Rohit Breaks Kolkata Hearts

17 May 2009

Earthquake - Update

Quick update, according to Google Maps and Earthquake.USGS.Gov the first earthquake was centered very close to us:

The aftershock was even closer:

Earthquake! But We're Okay

Wow, that was probably the biggest earthquake we've felt for a while.

Dori ran and hid under the bed. Stuff fell all around us.

Our artwork was all askew, we lost some glasses and other stuff, but the main thing is that TBH, Dori and I are all okay, just a bit frazzled (it felt big).

I'm probably mad that the one of the few wine glasses we lost was the one we got from the charming Moulin a Vent vineyard in Beaujolais. We had such a great time there; Marc Combier knew the owner and Mesho, Mashi, Rohini, Siddhartha, Ma, Baba, TBH, and I were all wined and dined to within an inch of our lives.

Oh well, I guess I'll always have the memories!

The Reports Of The King's Death Have Been Somewhat Exaggerated

My old pal Doney Joseph gave me the greatest news this morning: Roger Federer (finally) beat Rafael Nadal.

And he beat him on Clay (ending Nadal's incredible 33-match winning streak).

And he beat him in the Finals.

And he beat him to win a Masters tournament (the Madrid Masters).

And he beat him in front of his countrymen.

Okay, before I start doing cartwheels, you have to realize that Rafa was involved in an epic, epic, semi-final confrontation with Novak Djokovic...

...wherein he saved three match points, survived the longest best-of-three-sets match in Open history (4 hours 3 minutes...four hours!!), saved three match points (three!), and finally persevered 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (11-9).

You have to realize that Rafa is much more like Tiger Woods than Rog is. He's going to remember this, and thrash Rog when they meet again in the French Open final.

But for today, for the briefest of moments, Rog is back, and I'm going to be happy about it!


The Times: Roger Federer claims emotional victory
Tennis-X: Nadal Turns Away Djokovic in Magical 3-Set Epic

14 May 2009

Archiving Articles...The Old Fashioned Way

Per The New Yorker:

The Better Half
is not amused.

Bad Andy Music Newsletter 15 May 2009

Great music recommendations from my colleague "Bad" Andy Abdelmalek.

The boy knows his music!

Hi All,
Almost Summer....

Try Some new music ...

During some free time, take a few minutes and try something different, you might find your new favorite band......

please feel free to share this list with anyone


Ladyhawke - try "Magic" (HIGHLY Recommended) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy3t6dDyXHg
Matt & Kim
try "Daylight" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgBeu3FVi60
Big B try "Sinner(feat. Scott Russo from Unwritten Law)" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=borwYU3GEb4
Ballyhoo! - try "Alcohol Looks Beautiful Tonight" (recommended, fun song) http://www.myspace.com/ballyhoo
Silversun Pickups - try "Panic Switch" (the girl in this band went to my high school) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AG8fugqFn9Q
Spoon - try "Rhthm and Soul" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Blnj2kUTrWg
Nickel eye - try "Brandy of the Damned (Mark Ronson Remix feat Wale)" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kOLgi2UVUU

Mellow Alternative:

Ed Harcourt- try "Catepillar" http://www.myspace.com/edharcourt
The Sea and Cake - try "Weekend" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd1-pkdi5BI
Little Joy - try "The Next Time Around" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxEpngNm_Us
Sara Lov - try "New York"(recommended, very pretty song) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2OVAspLrX4
Ida Maria- try "Keep Me Warm" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BixNiSRm6NA
Andrew Bird - try "Fitz and the Dizzyspells" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHWeei9iMTE
The Script - try "Before the Worst" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3diWsUZp_Kk

Electronic/Dance: (all recommended)

Deadmau5 & Kaskade- try "I Remember" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzcXj40PCmY
Friendly Fires - try "Paris (Aeroplane Remix)"(HIGHLY recommended) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISAtum_tDjQ
The Golden Filter
- try "Solid Gold" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcO4DUSUWcA
The Presets - try "Girl and the Sea" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuvXn0IXtkg


Closure in Moscow try "Sweetheart" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJvwIe7pUOE
Sparks the Rescue try "Autumn" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPGydTUAxF8
The Dangerous Summer try "Where I want to be" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZonO6qfJj3M
Say Hi - "November Was White, December was Grey"


Connor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band try "Nikorette" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxNPLSZTJA0
Pete Yorn - try "Don't Wanna Cry" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrfwtGM4BFM

13 May 2009

Analog Facebook

Per The New Yorker:

Cultural Differences Between the US and the UK

Courtesy of somebody called Kevin in my FriendFeed.

Pretty funny, but I'm still not sure how the h*ll FriendFeed works, or what the h*ll it is.

Best Song, Ever!

So, there we were, The Better Half and I, stuck for an hour and forty-five minutes (no joke) in the Coachella parking lot after the Saturday festivities were over.

And then this song came on, un, on TBH's Sirius, Channel 26, the unfortunately re-titled XMU (Left of Center sounded much better, no?): "Death" by White Lies.


Best song, ever!

It's a little bit of Pulp meets stellastarr*, with a just a dash of Joy Division and then that little sprinkling of The Killers.

Add it all up and you get a whole lot of awesome!

Click below to watch the very cool Gus Van Sant meets Steven Spielberg by way of Tamara Jenkins video.


YouTube: White Lies - Death

12 May 2009

Oye Jingul!

My colleague Shaz pointed me in this direction.

It's a little Nick India (a.k.a. Nickelodeon India) promo called Punjabi Jingle Bell.

Two words: hy-larious!

Wonder what the Bengali version would sound like?

Click below to watch the video.


YouTube: Punjabi Jingle Bell

11 May 2009

Kermit Has Competition

I'm still trying to get my head around the LeBron James - Kobe Bryant Muppets commercial that Nike is running.

Now, I'm a Kobe Hater, but putting that aside, I think it would've been much better to have done a LeBron - Dwayne Wade commercial. But D-Wade sponsors Converse, so there you go.

Creepy? Weird? Strange? WTH? All of the above, man, all of the above.

Click below to watch the commercial.


YouTube: Nike MVPs Most Valuable Puppets "(Chalk)"

Great Justin Timberlake Does It Again

Grear, just bloody great, Justin Timberlake does it again.

I mean fine, Andy Samberg earned my undying loyalty because of Hot Rod (the greatest undiscovered cult comedy of the last 10 years), but now Justin Timberlake has joined him with yet another amazing Saturday Night Live short.

And just in time for Mother's Day!

Click below to watch the video.


YouTube: Mother Lover

06 May 2009

Stay Classy Prince Of Calcutta

I have to admit, I was thinking of turning into a complete d**k at work, and then I came across this little tidbit in Lawrence Booth's latest The Spin (excellent weekly Cricket round-up, you must subscribe - link below).

Thanks Sourav Ganguly, for once again showing us how not to behave when things don't necessarily go your way.

The older I get, the more realize that taking the high road is always the best way to go!

Not many aspects of Kolkata Knight Riders' IPL experience can be called world-class, but Ganguly's extended grump around the stadiums of South Africa has been in a league of its own. You may recall that Ganguly's sense of injustice began to fester a while ago when John Buchanan unveiled his mad-cap multiple-captains plan, a scheme that was regarded with such warmth that it was dropped on the eve of the tournament. The one true captain's armband was then passed to Brendon McCullum, whose form promptly disintegrated. Kolkata have so far won
one game out of eight.

Now the Spin isn't for a moment suggesting Ganguly is in any way smug about this turn of events. But you couldn't exactly accuse him of providing his captain with unequivocal support either. Last week, the KKR troops appeared for an utterly surreal Q&A at a Durban cinema. McCullum, as ever, answered every irritating question with commendable clarity and attention. When Ganguly responded to one query with the very definition of terseness, the look on McCullum's face said "fair enough, Sourav: a short answer, but I respect you for that".

But when Ganguly - who alone seemed responsible for most of the tension in the room - was asked whether he would have made any decisions differently as captain, he shouldered arms regally at the opportunity to support McCullum. "I don't think I'll be able to answer that question," he dead-panned. This time McCullum looked about as stunned as he politely could. It was once said of Ganguly that his cover-drive was second only to God's. But if the Almighty can sulk better than this, the Spin would love to see it.

Stay classy, my Prince of Calcutta.


The Guardian: The Spin

04 May 2009

A Walk Down An Exoticized Memory Lane

Somini Sengupta must be stopped!

She is the India Bureau Chief for The New York Times and has a long history of completely, and irrevocably, exoticizing India.

She almost exclusively focuses on the negative in her articles, and this one on Calcutta is no different. [Though you would expect a PC publication like The New York Times to use Kolkata more definitively.]

Some choice lines:

"A return home to the chaotic streets...becomes a time-shifting journey between the past and the present."

"[T]he thick velvet curtain the immigrant child draws over memory."

"The only thing more confounding than going to Calcutta was coming home to suburban Southern California."

"Calcutta today is as parochial as it is modern."

"[T]he city has revealed itself to me slowly, opening one sleepy eye at a time."

"[I]t is perfectly acceptable to start up a conversation with strangers, whether about the rain or Shakespeare."

"[A] journey through the grimy layers of time."

"History is inscribed on every lane, like tattoos on an aging diva."

"Now New India pokes its finger into Calcutta’s languid belly."

"Calcutta Deco details tossed away like fish-heads."

"Jackals...like to watch golf."

Thanks NYT, at least this is what I expected. What next, a walk around Ballygunge with Jhumpa Lahiri? Nope that's The New Yorker's job.

Thanks to my friend Doney Joseph for alerting me to this.

Now I'm off to talk to strangers about the rain and Shakespeare to practice for the next time I'm back in Calcutta.

Click below to read the article.


NY Times: A Walk in Calcutta

01 May 2009

The Wrongest Swine Flu Mention Yet!

Courtesy of my colleague Matt Matyas:

Fell free to send the hate mail his way!