Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Most Valuable XI – Moneyball Redux

( My article posted on the Gab Bar)

After following the IPL and all the mediocrity that accompanies it for 5 years, I find that the performance tables are increasingly identical to what Billy Beane had to say of Baseball when he took over the Manager’s job with the Oakland Atheletics, as depicted in Moneyball – “There are the rich teams. There are the poor teams. And then there is 50 feet of crap.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Battered Hymn of the Democracy

(This was written to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic)

Mine eyes have seen the folly called election of the president,
Which is usually a post that involves only giving your consent,
But the parties behaved as if its more for future than present,
And they all kept muttering on,

Sorry! Sorry! PA Sangma,
You'll be going back home to mama,
'Cause Raisana prepares for a drama,
As Pranab da marches on,

It should rightfully be Kalam, that's what the public really said,
But this was a news that filled the ears of UPA with dread,
With Kalam in the picture they were simply losing their heads,
So the presidential race was on,

Sorry! Sorry! Dear A - P - J,
We wanted to see you have a field day,
"I Wont Race", you said, and you had it your way,
As Pranab da marches on,

So congrats Pranab dada, you've found your way to win,
Even though Mamata didi almost made your margin thin,
Now practice your signature even before your term begins,
As reality will soon dawn,

Glory! Glory! President in waiting,
You'll deal with stuff that's more irritating,
After 5 years, you may find it suffocating,
As Indian politics blunders on.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sun Signs Gone Wrong - Part 2

PS: After pissing off nearly half of his friends, family and 9 readers of this blog (which also includes aforementioned family and friends) with his first post on the subject, the author thinks it's only fair to write off...err about the rest who missed out on the attention. So here goes:

You'd love to believe you are artistic. The ones around you are likely to believe you are just eccentric. You simply love newer trends and you'll follow it till death ( the trend's death that is). And everything from blogging to metrosexuality to Manchester United to books on horny vampires probably owe their popularity to you. But one thing that makes you stand out completely is your affinity to fairness and justice. So you'll never pick on one person in a group. You'll simply insult the whole group and their grandmothers.

You are intense and your pursuit of power doesn't make you very popular. You were the last Kho Kho captain in your school, after which your fellow students gave up on the great game. Which made you the school's longest serving team captain.You are also very possessive of objects dear to you. Which is why you still cling on to your pet rat, along with the rat trap it was caught in. What you love best is listening to what people have to say about you. Which is why 68% Linda Goodman's readers are Scorpios.

You are clearly the most adventurous of the lot. You can carry off a T Shirt saying Jesus Shaves while attending the Sunday mass. And you have no inhibitions either. So not only do you consume all the shots at the bar blindfolded, you then choose to step into the dance floor on all fours. But then we have to admit, you are the life of the party. Who else would come pissed drunk and act perfectly drunk at the Sunday Brunch organised by the Alchoholics Anonymous.  

PS: The author just got knocked out by a passionate Boxer who claimed to be a Gemini, just like the author. The Boxer supposedly thought the amateurish writing lacked the punch! More to follow...

(PS: This will take a while. The author attempts to write this one while writhing in pain.)

Your conservative mindset makes you a hard worker and a safe player. You'd like to believe you are young at heart. Take away the euphemistic adjective and what you really are is stuck in a time warp. Your idea of bringing out your inner child is joining a bunch of kids and teaching them how to play Tic Tac Toe. To you, moving with times is installing a CD player in your 1984 model Premier Padmini. But then, you are definitely the most reliable of the 12 sun signs. We can always count on you to send us a forward from your Hotmail account every New Years. 

You are most inventive and progressive. That doesn't always make you an Einstien however. That's because you usually invent some theories, and forget about what you've cooked up the last time. You are more likely to feign an interest in Astronomy, because you are usually spaced out. You are a sucker for philosophy and a conversation with you ranges from how Professor Dumbledore was a Maoist wizard to how frogs understand more about evolution than any other species. And you intentionally fail lie detector tests out of the sheer curiosity.(Which by the way is another lie)

You have the most vivid of imagination, and as a result you dwell in a realm that's far away from reality. You are likely to remember a dress you pictured Sunny Leone in than your current address. You've travelled around the world collecting frequent-flyer points with your out-of-body experiences. And ever since you've read Narnia, you seem to forget the way out of your closet. By all appearances, you seem to be aloof. But what nobody understands is you are a popular figure among your friends, many of whom may be imaginary.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Portia's Speech from the Merchant of Venice

There is possibly no other book I'd read as many times as I read Merchant of Venice (9 times). The reasons though were purely academic. But some good does come of it. How else could I have remembered these brilliant lines while reading the news today? The truth in these lines is as relevant today as it was at the time of its writing (1598 AD). Bill Shakespeare, what a writer!

Portia(Addressed to Shylock):
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven,
Upon the place beneath.
It is twice blessed.
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
It is mightiest in the mightiest,
It becomes the throned monarch better than his crown.
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
An attribute to awe and majesty.
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself.
And earthly power dost the become likest God's,
Where mercy seasons justice.
Therefore Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice we all must see salvation,
We all do pray for mercy
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy.
I have spoke thus much to mittgate the justice of thy plea,
Which if thou dost follow,
This strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence gainst the merchant there.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sun Signs Gone Wrong - Part One

I once noticed this massive tome written about the subject by Linda Goodman. My own narcissistic urges got the better of me and I turned to read the page on Geminis. Now I couldn't help but agree with most of the adjectives used to describe me: quick-witted, restless, inventive. And I was also amazed at some of the things I didn't know about me: popular, social charmer and blah! A pinch of salt perhaps. I quickly turned to read about some sign I was hardly related to, like Pisces. Again I seemed to nod in agreement with most of the superlatives: sensitive, imaginative, sympathetic. Ditto with Leo: generous, honest, sociable. Clearly, this is a conspiracy.

There is only so much good in this world. And surely, the best of qualities spread across the sun signs. What that means is books on astrology is as much about the personality types as IPL is about Cricket. So Ladies and Gentlemen, we took it upon ourselves to read between the lines, and we must say the real stuff was much like the potent component of a homeopathy pill, carefully concealed within the 99% sugar coating. Here are the findings:

You are bold, rebellious, and always eager to buck the trend while being loyal to your old ways. Which is possibly why in an arms race, you'd skip the Magnums, the Uzis, the Nuclear Warheads and settle for a good old Cat o' Nine Tails, with which you'd want to whip the rest of the race into submission! You'd be the first to dismiss off this post with a "Hey! I know what I am, Okay!". Your idea of a argument is the one with only one voice - yours. Your ram-like attitude definitely gets people's goat.

You are persistent, practical and painstakingly patient. If you were Noah, you'd double check on all the intricate details on the ship-building blue print, find the ideal location to build the ark where it's closest to the turtles while being farthest from the cheetah, make every possible arrangement for the rainy day, and then curse the weather for not keeping up with its commitment of raining as heavily as it was agreed upon.And that's when you raise your best quality- your bull-headedness. Having done something so diligently, you'd simply refuse to start it all over again. 

You are restless and quick-witted, and highly indulgent in your so called passions. You'd possibly buy a second refrigerator only to show off your fridge magnet collection. You probably start cooking with great interest, and lose it as quickly when it comes to cleaning up the mess you've created. At that instant, you realise it's a lot easier to cook up stories instead. And yes, when it comes to dealing with you, the pun is always intended. So when people call you a two-faced bastard, you picture yourself in the latest spandex gear, fighting Two Face one dark night.

More to follow..

(PS: Being a true Gemini, the author just lost interest in this piece. He thinks catching up with his Libran date at the library may prove to be more interesting.) 

Three Hours Later...
(PS: The Author resumes, for the lack of anything better to do)


You are emotional, nostalgic and home-loving. You attach yourself to the most insignificant of objects that have been a part of your life. Which explains how your room is a mess, but not lacking in memories. Among your souvenirs are the blackened shoe lace of your first ever pair of Converse; an 8-year old apple(the fruit that is) kept at the study table to remind you of how your Physics lecturer taught you the chapter of Gravity, and the your first pair of Levis, turned three-fourths, turned mopping cloth that lies on the top of your clothes pile. And you wouldn't want to trade these for all the gems in the world.


The born leader, you are characterised by your love for your ways of life, your daily activity and most importantly, the mirror. You are always the first speak in a group, the first to have a photo taken of yourself and love referring to yourself in third person, only to say, "Wait, that was me!". You love taking pictures of yourself. And love a picture of you taking a picture of yourself more than anything else. Which is possibly why you love every product that Apple launches in the market. Because everything from Apple begins with an "I".

You are prim and proper. You only see the world in two shades - clean and not so. Which is why you sweep people off their feet, quite literally. You'd easily be the best homie any one can have, unless we are talking about a personage of Cancerous attachments. You brush your teeth twice -  before and after every meal. You rush to the shower every time you shake a hand. You sterilize a tissue paper before you use one. Even your garbage can would be colour coordinated. And if it's left to you, you'd clean up every detergent available in the market before it is sold.     

More to follow..

(PS: If you've read this far, you know why the author's stopped again) 



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Toast to Sports

Football is quite a brutal sport. Tennis, quite the contrary. Cricket, hardly a gentleman’s game. F1, hardly a game. But the result on living room audiences is just the same. People just cannot shut up, but keep taking a jibe at the fans of the other side. Sadly, neither party can be red-carded or fined of their earnings (in this case, calories) from the match. Sure, living room audiences can be forgiven if they were simply imitating Ballitolli’s elbowing Ramos, or Gambhir mouthing off the Sledging-Steyn. But even these paragons of gentlemanliness pale in comparison to what happens in living rooms and sports bars every week.

Since your shots and the remote go hand in hand, we thought it would only be fair to name your drinks after your sports stars. We haven’t figured out what those drinks contain, but we have a fair idea of what those drinks can do to you. Here’s a list:

Roger Federer: The drink that turns boys into men, and men into sobbing little girls.

Michael Schumacher: It’s fine when it’s your first drink, but turns you into a ruthless machine when it’s a chaser. Especially if you’re drinking it after a 5-year hiatus.

Rahul Dravid: It takes 5-days to get you high, that too after intense concentration. But the best drink after you are already one-down.

Tiger Woods: You’ll never stay loyal to any one drink after sipping this one.

Fernando Torres: Pretty useless mostly, but highly effective if served in the last minute.

Andy Murray: Never the first-choice drink. Always a chaser.

Usain Bolt: Fastest Shot in the bar. And the fastest double shot too.

Anna Kournikova: You’ll only get what you see…a tall glass of hot White Russian.

Mario Balltoli: Having this will make you do really crazy things, but you’ll pass out long before the game ends.

Andriy Shevchenko: You’ll pay a hell of a lot for this drink, but it simply fails to even show up when you desperately need it.

Sunny Gavaskar, Pele, Borg: Only ordered by your dad, who thinks these are the best drinks ever.

VVS Laxman: Was once a really popular drink, especially in Australia. Now, it’s free.

Steffi Graf: The one drink you’ve desired, ever since you were 5.

Xavi: It’s the drink that gets passed around the most. With Iniesta and Pirlo coming close enough.

Dale Steyn: Will go straight for your head.

David Backham: It’s an old one, served with ridiculous toppings, but still has a powerful kick.

Sachin Tendulkar: Gives you a record high that simply refuses to go.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Snow White by Roald Dahl

Just stumbled upon this beauty from the Book of Songs and Verses by Roald Dahl. The man could certainly write.

When little Snow-White’s mother died
The King, her father, up and cried
“Oh, what a nuisance! What a life!
Now I must find another wife.”
(It’s never easy for a King
To find himself that sort of thing.)
He wrote to every magazine
And said, “I’m looking for a Queen.”
At least ten thousand girls replied
And begged to be the royal bride
The king said with a shifty smile
“I’d like to give each one a trial.”
However, in the end he chose
A lady called Miss Maclahose
Who brought along a curious toy
That seemed to give her endless joy.
This was a mirror framed in brass
Ask it something day or night
It always got the answer right
For instance, if you were to say
“Oh Mirror, what’s for lunch today?”
The thing would answer in a trice
“Today it’s scrambled eggs and rice.”
Now every day, week in week out
The spoiled and stupid Queen would shout
“Oh Mirror Mirror on the wall
Who is the fairest of them all?”
The Mirror answered every time
“Oh Madam, you’re the Queen sublime
You are the only one to charm us
Queen, you are the cat’s pyjamas.”

For ten whole years the silly Queen
Repeated this absurd routine
Then suddenly, one awful day
She heard the Magic Mirror say
“From now on Queen, you’re number two
Snow-White is prettier than you.”
The Queen went absolutely wild
She yelled, “I’m going to scrag that child.”
“I’ll cook her flaming goose, I’ll skin her
I’ll have her rotten guts for dinner.”
She called the Huntsman to her study
She shouted at him, “Listen, buddy,
You drag that filthy girl outside
And see you take her for a ride
Thereafter slit her ribs apart
And bring me back her bleeding heart.”
The Huntsman dragged the lovely child
Deep deep into the forest wild
Fearing the worst, poor Snow-White spake
She cried, “Oh please give me a break.”
The knife was poised, the arm was strong
She cried again, “I’ve done no wrong.”
The Huntsman’s heart began to flutter
It melted like a pound of butter.
He murmured, “Okay, beat it, kid.”
And you can bet your life she did
Later, the Huntsman made a stop
Within the local butcher’s shop
And there he bought, for safety’s sake
A bullocks heart and one nice steak
“Oh Majesty! Oh Queen,” he cried
“That rotten little girl has died.
And just to prove I didn’t cheat
I’ve brought along these bits of meat.”
The Queen cried out, “Bravissimo
I trust you killed her nice and slow.”
Then (this is the disgusting part)
The Queen sat down and ate the heart
(I only hope she cooked it well
Boiled heart can be as tough as hell)

While all this was going on
Oh where, oh where had Snow-White gone?
She’d found it easy, being pretty
To hitch a ride into the city
And there she’d got a job, unpaid
As general cook and parlour-maid
With seven funny little men
Each one not more than three foot ten
Ex horse-race jockeys, all of them
These seven dwarfs, though awfully nice
Were guilty of one shocking vice
They squandered all of their resources
At the race-track backing horses
(When they hadn’t backed a winner
None of them got any dinner)
One evening, Snow-White said, “Look here,
I think I’ve got a great idea
Just leave it all to me, okay,
And no more gambling till I say.”
That very night, at eventide
Young Snow-White hitched another ride
And then, when it was very late
She slipped in through the Palace gate
The King was in his counting house
Counting out his money
The Queen was in the parlour
Eating bread and honey
The footmen and the servants slept
So no one saw her as she crept
On tip-toe through the mighty hall
And grabbed THE MIRROR off the wall

As soon as she had got it home
She told the Senior Dwarf (or Gnome)
To ask it what he wished to know
“Go on,” she shouted, “Have a go.”
He said, “Oh Mirror, please don’t joke
Each of us is stony broke
Which horse will win tomorrow’s race,
The Ascot Gold Cup Steeple-chase?”
The Mirror whispered sweet and low
“The horse’s name is Mistletoe.”
The Dwarfs went absolutely daft
They kissed young Snow-White fore and aft
Then rushed away to raise some dough
With which to back old Mistletoe
They pawned their watches, sold the car
They borrowed money near and far
(For much of it they had to thank
The Manager of Barclays Bank)

They went to Ascot and of course
For once they backed the winning horse
Thereafter, every single day
The Mirror made the bookies pay
Each Dwarf and Snow-White got a share
And each was soon a millionaire
Which shows that gambling’s not a sin
Provided that you always win.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I Swear!

I've never been good with languages. Since childhood, I've struggled with many languages - English, Hindi, Sanskrit, Telugu, C++. Having managed to come this far with English, I somehow managed to conceal my linguistic limitations by simply resorting to  gibberish that was usually mistaken to be English. This was alright till I was asked to list down the languages I could converse in, while activating my Facebook account. For the lack of better options, I filled up - English(British), English(Profanity) and English(Chat lingo)

This was all fine till the other day, when Facebook labeled more than half the languages I know as non-existent. Clearly, I found it very limiting, thereafter. After all, how could I survive on English(British) alone? WTF??

So now I was forced to push the barriers of this fishing awesome language of the figging 21st century. Go multiply!

But then I started criking people with my excessive use of frog. I mean, how the fudge am I to express myself if I have to stop and think of a new congressional word every faking time? This is a pain in the assembly, man. How the dang will people take me seriously if a sounded like a bad son of a biscuit. How the duck am I to express dismay? "Oh, foghorn it!"??

How do I fanning complement anyone? "Baby, you look flammulatedly hot!" How would I diss..cuss and settle my differences with anyone? "Stop being an asafoetida, man!"

Vladivostok! This is just not fulcrum fair! Does anyone have any figuline idea as to how one goes about it?? I'm so firkin boom-boomed, man!