30 June 2006

Bush pig and more

No... it's not what you think

morbid thought of the day

We will never have peace in the world. Never. Ever. Unless each of us has a whole planet to ourselves. Even then we'll make spaceships to try to take over our neighbours' planets. The reason is that our desires will always be greater than the world's capability to supply them. There will always be somebody else who wants the same thing and will break laws, conventions to get it. Religion, laws, constitutions try to curb our potential to act to fulfill our desires in exchange for having them fulfilled after the end of our lives. Although it should be decency and not laws and fear of punishment or hope of reward that curbs our actions. At the end of the day all we can hope for is that the gun does not point in our direction, or even if it does, we are superman and the bullets will bounce off. Personally I prefer that we be Neo and dodge the bullets or make like the X-man Nightcrawler and teleport to another location.
What set this off? This article (but only click on it if you have a strong constitution - graphic images, description of mind-bending torture et al. for no other reason than being on the wrong side of the gun).

25 June 2006

Drogba's handball

Well that's one way to handle the ball in the world cup without getting a card.

India beats Portugal and Netherlands

As Portugal face off against the Netherlands tomorrow in the world cup I remembered that both these countries have the dubious distinction of being militarily defeated by India. Portugal were completely silly... the British had left in 1947 but Portugal still held on to a little city on the west coast of India called Goa. India asked them nicely for a few years to get out and when they didn't, decided to invade Goa in 1961 and eject those Portuguese who wanted to stay Portuguese. So that's basically what happened, with the Portuguese setting the dubious record of being the only European power this century to be defeated by an Asian country. There's more about the whole story here.

portugal,india,netherlands flags

The Dutch also created a record of sorts, being the first European country to be defeated militarily by an Asian power at the Battle of Colachel in 1741. Now this is more personal for me because the Indian King involved, Marthanda Varma, would have been the King of my ancestors as far as I can tell. (India was divided into small kingdoms at the time and this dude was the ruler of the area that my family comes from). I know for sure that he spoke my language so there is some connection there... my ancestors' tax money paid for the war! The commander of the Dutch was taken prisoner and asked to be given a job (he would have been killed if he had gone back home due to his failure) and raise a modern army for the kingdom of Travancore. Here's a good article about King Marthanda Varma's current descendents and here are more details about the Battle of Colachel.

So good luck to both these countries tomorrow and hope they never have to go to war with us again, unless it's at the world cup :)

20 June 2006

Egypt vs. Israel on Thursday

So... Ghana plays USA on Thursday. For those of us unfortunate enough to be following the US commentators, we are reminded of this at least every 5 minutes by the commentators themselves and also by a box on the corner of the screen that has no respect for where the players / football are/is.

Egypt, as an African nation, was supporting the Ghanaian progress towards the finals of the world cup (well at least the second round)... until John Paintsil of Ghana pulled out an Israeli flag and started waving it about to celebrate his goal. To the Egyptians this act seemed a political one, with Ghana taking the side of Israel vs. the Palestinians. John P. was just supporting his club's fans from Tel Aviv who had come to watch him play. So Egypt as a nation has withdrawn their support for Ghana and I'm sure that they will be wishing for the USA to beat Ghana on Thursday. The Israelis on the other hand, even non-Tel Avivians, have promised to support Ghana whole-heartedly.

Well, I guess it's better that Egypt and Israel sort out their differences on the football field rather than on the battlefield... but I never thought it would be through proxies :) Although with the amount that USA pays Egypt to stay out of Israel, Egyptians should be thanking them every day.

18 June 2006

US commentators don't know football reprise

The USA commentary of the world cup is atrocious. Small faults I can overlook, but the major problem is that they are just reporting the game... they are saying exactly what the viewers can see. We need the commentators to tell us what we can't see. We need them to tell us what the game plan is, who is free and making a run... we also need some excitement for good football, regardless of who is playing. As it is, the commentators have turned it into a backside braii (or barbecue) where some guys are sitting around talking about the game and their team's chances. I have my own friends for that, don't need these guys (they're not supplying any Mosi :))

I think that the commentating and also team USA's game looks contrived. Football is a game that you feel... the game comes from the gut, from instincts... USA just does not have them. The other teams, their game comes from their spirit and their souls. The US team seems like the game is something that is imposed on them. They're very fit, technically they're good but they play without soul. The commentators are commenting without soul too.

My war against the US commentators starts from a long time ago, back when they were learning how to comment on football by imposing themselves on the Africa Cup in 94. We had to watch with the sound turned off because they did not know anything about football and about African football. Then, I had to endure the same commentators in '94 during the world cup. Then '98 wasn't bad because I was in Zambia and got some decent commentary... 2002 was atrocious... I was in the US and we had to watch the spanish channel to get any decent commentary. The good thing about the spanish channel was that they were half a second ahead of the US channels so we got the news before our neighbours :) Now 2006 I don't get the spanish channel so have to suffer through the commentary... wish there was a voice filter on the TV.

Finally I get to have my say against the US commentators... thank you Blogger.

17 June 2006

US commentators don't know football

This is my conclusion from having endured their comments for those world cup matches that I've had the good fortune to watch. They just do not know what they are doing. Every match so far they mention 5 times how nice it is that teams stop play when someone is injured. Other comments include Iran vs. USA politics, advertisements, but they just do not know the football. Who cares where the players come from and which high school they came from? They're actually saying the US did not play well instead of recognising that the US doesn't have the talent... don't get me wrong they're a very fit side and can beat up on a lot of teams but they are not good to watch on the field. If the other team tires out before the US then they have a chance. The whole Ghana win thingi reenergised the commentators and they say if Ghana can do it the US can also do it. What!!!! Did they even watch the matches? I've heard of wishful thinking but this is ridiculous. Now I would love for the US to win... as that would make it easy for Ghana to go... let's get Ghana and US to go and leave Czech and Italy behind :) got no love for italians because of their falling down all over the place for no reason. got no love for the argentinians for precisely the same reason. The only way Italy can lose this match is if the screw up (like scoring an own goal or getting players sent off or something... both of which just happened so... :))

The commentators invited an ex-Italy player to comment on the US / Italy team... I'm sure he's in Guantanamo by now because he said that US would go down 3-0 and have no chance. He was even surprised that the commentators thought that they had a chance. Those guys didn't like that at all... if you are not with us you are against us principle. I think these commentators have grown up hearing from their teachers and the TV that USA is the greatest nation in the world and good at everything and just can't handle the truth even when it is very obvious. Well at least they couldn't call the Italian guy a traitor but if it had been a US citizen saying that they would have gotten their name smeared as a traitor all over the place :)

Well the game looks good... 1-1 and 10 players each... hope the US wins

Lab song...

Yes... this is our lab song!

...oh those Russians...
ok i can't get enough of these guys... here's another one...

16 June 2006

How to get India to like football

India... 1.1 billion people... a sixth of the world by most accounts... ranked 117th in the world in football. This is because most Indians don't play football... don't like it as much as cricket or say, chess. So, to attract this huge population of people to football, I'm proposing some changes in the way the game is played.

1. A game of football will last 5 days from now on, with breaks for lunch and tea and sleeping.
2. A designated player will shoot the ball at the goalkeeper. The other players have to stand around and watch.
3. If the ball deflects off the goalkeeper the other players can get in the game.
a. depending on how far the ball goes it's either 1-6 points
b. if someone catches the ball without it bouncing a new member from the team becomes the goalkeeper
4. If the ball goes into the goal another member of the team comes in
5. when all members of the team have been goalkeeper, the teams switch
6. whoever scores the most goals wins.

This is a true test of endurance, skills and football... maybe it should get a new name - how about the s-word... soccer?

A white elephant turns pink

Awesome article at Good news India about the Indian Railways...

The story of 153 year old Indian Railways has for long been one of a modern technology gone native. It has been an object of veneration and worshipped, but also indulgently forgiven as subject to karma, like you and me. It is rarely expected to be answerable or accountable....(read more)

14 June 2006

Memo to Staff: Get Some Work Done

Fellow India connected Zambia connected US connected blogger and professional cartoon (no just kidding) humourist Melvin Durai has outdone himself with a World Cup post:

Memo to Staff: Get Some Work Done

To: All staff
From: Company president
Subject: Low productivity

It has come to my attention that productivity has dropped drastically since Friday, June 9th...(read more)

Race and the world cup

OK it might be my imagination and I only watched 20 minutes of it but it seemed that whenever an Argentinian took a dive (and they went down often) anyone wearing the Ivory Coast colours who happened to be close by got yellow-carded and a free kick went to the Argentinian. I also saw fouls committed by the Argentinians on the Ivory Coast-ians that went unacknowledged or unpunished. What the hell! I heard similar things about the Italy-Ghana game. Now I'm not accusing anyone of anything, but whatever I watched looked highly suspicious. Maybe it's my jaundiced eyes...

Luckily GreatKalu is on the board that watches each match and decides the player of the match and also what they can do to improve future games and so on and hopefully he'll be able to sort out any such concerns that anyone else has. More about this here.

One Zambia, One Nation

ESPN has an article on AIDS education in Zambia through sport. Do take a look. (Thanks GSL for the link). Here's a funny anecdote about KK.

11 June 2006

We have to be in the world cup!

I don't care what it takes, India has to get into the next world cup. We should just take all those foriegn players in the leagues and give them citizenship if we don't have any talented people in the country. Then those guys can coach the local borns next. If Germany can have a Ghanian-born player, Mexico can have Brazillian and Argentinian born players, then we can have people from any country too! AIFF take note.

Triple suicide at Guantanamo camp

Triple suicide at Guantanamo camp:

Triple suicide at Guantanamo camp

The officials are calling the suicide of three jailed inmates (who have no access to the law) an "act of warfare." I guess anything enemy combatants do is an act of warfare, even though they were in detention. At least they are going "to treat the bodies humanely and with cultural sensitivity," whatever that means.

I was thinking that one of the ways to deter terrorists is to not treat their bodies humanely and cremate them if they're supposed to be buried or turn their bodies into compost or something like that. It's not like they allow their victims humane treatment and cultural sensitivity, and just maybe, if we do something to their bodies that we're not supposed to, maybe they will be scared of not attaining the afterlife that they so strive for.

The flip side of this approach is it does not, to use a cliche, win the hearts and minds of the terrorist-supporting population. A real-world example comes from the Kargil war of 1999. The Pakistani army sent in ill-trained troops and officers dressed as civilians (track suits / shalwar kameez) to occupy disputed Indian territory high in the mountains. India responded (once they figured out who they were up against based on radio intercepts / intelligence) by sending in the Air Force. There were lots of Pakistani dead who were dumped in their villages in the clothes that they died in in the dead of night. I don't think that's humanely treating the dead by any measure. What is more, they refused to take back their dead who wound up with the Indian Army, denying that they were Pakistani army personnel. The Indian Army gave them a burial according to their religious traditions. Due to the power of the information age, the Pakistani villagers who had supplied their kids to the war realised that the 'enemy' was treating their relatives better than the army that they had fought for.

Giving these guys/girls a decent burial despite their intent to destroy our way of life is a plus for us overall. Eventually it will build bridges and humanise us to those who would rather see us as objects only worthy of destruction. Maybe. Or maybe we have to do it to ensure that we don't hate all people related to people who bring war and death and destruction to us.

08 June 2006

If religions were operating systems...

If religions were operating systems...

Hinduism - Linux - lots of flavours, pick and choose what you want or build from scratch.
Sikhism - MacOS (built on linux, followed by 3% of India)
Buddhism - Ubuntu (linux, popular, I like it a lot)

Judaism - DOS
Christianity - Windows 98
Islam - Windows 2000 (multiple users)
Rastafari - Windows ME (not as popular)

Atheism - firmware - what you're born with
Agnosticism - Playstation

OK OK it was funnier in my head but the cow was already taken so I couldn't quite write about that now, could I?

06 June 2006

Sport is important

The world cup is almost here! Unfortunately neither India nor Zambia are in it so my support goes to Angola, followed by the other African teams, followed by Brazil if all of them crash out. My roommate's sister claims that football is stupid but it is a well documented fact that it has prevented several wars over the years. In fact, in Cote d'Ivoire the warring parties agreed to a cease-fire while the world cup goes on. Well that's a bit silly if you ask me, what were they fighting for in the first place? Probably a lack of enough football ha ha ha.