Sunday, June 29, 2008

Congrats to Spain... Champions of Euro 2008

The pick of my heart - Spain - defeated my head's choice - Germany - 1-0 to win Euro 2008.
This is great news which was further augmented by the fact that the deciding goal was scored by a favourite of mine, Liverpool's Fernando Torres.

A few opinions on the tournament:
Overall Quality of Football: 8/10 (slightly better than Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006 - not as great as World Cup 98).

Player of the tournament: Marcos Senna
Best Striker: David Villa
Best Attacking Midfielder: Michael Ballack
Most exciting teams: Spain and the Netherlands
Worst teams: France and Greece (the winners of Euro 2000 and 2004 respectively)
Best Single Performance: Netherlands 4 France 1, Russia 3 Netherlands 1 (Tie)
Best Goalkeeper: Iker Castillas
Biggest choke: Croatia (against Turkey)
Hardest working team: Turkey
Biggest disappointment: Thierry Henry
Most frustrated forward: Luca Toni
Most painful team to watch: Italy
Most unpredictable: Russia
Unluckiest team: Poland
Teams in urgent need of a rebuild: Czech Republic and France
Looking good for 2010: Germany, Spain, Netherlands and Russia.
Two players with immense future prospects: Wesley Sneijder and Segio Ramos
Best Manager: Luis Aragones

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Movie Reviews of Late

The Incredible Hulk

I am an Ed Norton fan so I have somewhat of a bias as far as the acting is concerned. The movie itself was entertaining but nothing special. Although the special effects, around the Hulk character in particular were commendable Rating: 6/10

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Seemed like a mixture of Tintin and the X-Files. Harrison Ford was top notch in his portayal of the main character but the story was overly redictable. Nevertheless from a Nostalgia point of view there was much to take away from the action scenes (especially the car chases). Rating: 6.5/10

Don't Mess with the Zohan

This comedy jived with my particular sense of humour and was hilarious in its depiction of Middle Eastern Stereo types. I am normally lukewarm about Adam Sandler but as the Zohan he was fantastic. This was well worth seeing.
Rating: 7.5/10

Monday, June 23, 2008

Overrated Intellectuals/'Thinkers' and Personalities

The following is a list of so-called intellectuals who are of significantly more hype than genuine substance (Not in any order)

1. Noam Chomsky
2. Edward Said
3. Frantz Fanon
4. Naomi Klein
5. Norman Finkelstein
6. Mark Levine
7. Linda McQuaig
8. Scott McConnell
9. Richard Dawkins
10. Paolo Freire
11. Paul Krugman
12. Anthony Lewis
13. Peter McLaren
14. Howard Zinn
15. Lew Rockwell
16. Ann Coulter
17. Taki Theodoracopolus
18. Michael Moore
19. Ayn Rand
20. Michael Neumann
21. John Mearsheimer
22. Stephen Walt
23. David Suzuki
24. Alexander Cockburn
25. Robert Fisk
26. Tony Judt
27. Michel Foucault
28. Jacques Derrida
29. Ward Churchill
30. Richard Lynn

A musing....

I rejoice in the lightning of a connection that moment of realization when the essence of love passes through time to celebrate a fusion. It is at that moment that one prays for stasis and a deep freeze into a genuine peace.

20 Underrated Phenomena

1. Spending Quality time with your family
2. Acquiring new knowledge
3. One's health
4. Spiritual growth
5. Connecting with someone
6. Running Water
7. Watching your child learn
8. The Standard of Living in the West
9. Our Freedom of Speech
10. The Defeat of Totalitarianism (Absolute Monarchy, Fascism and Communism)
11. The Right to an Education
12. Euclidean Geometry in Early Mathematics Training
13. Conception-Gestation-Birth
14. Our Nervous System
15. Electricity
16. Sight
17. Logic
18. Politeness
19. The Polio Vaccine
20. Free Will

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Movie Opinions

5 Greatest Woody Allen Movies

1. Annie Hall
2. Love and Death
3. What’s New, Pussycat?
4. Hannah and Her Sisters
5. Getting Even

5 Greatest Francis Ford Coppola movies

1. The Godfather
2. Apocalypse Now
3. Godfather Part II
4. Godfather Part III
5. Cotton Club

5 Greatest Milos Forman Films

1. Amadeus
2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
3. Ragtime
4. The People vs Larry Flynt
5. Hair

5 Greatest Elia Kazan Films

1. On the Waterfront
2. East of Eden
3. A Streetcar Named Desire
4. America, America
5. Gentleman’s Agreement

Five Greatest Stanley Kubrick Movies

1. Spartacus
2. Clockwork Orange
3. Dr. Strangelove and how I learnt to love the bomb
4. 2001: A Space Odyessy
5. The Shining

5 Greatest Robert Redford directed movies

1. Ordinary People
2. A River Runs Through it
3. Horse Whisperer
4. Downhill Racer
5. Milagro Bean Field Wars

5 Greatest Martin Scorcese Movies

1. Goodfellas
2. Taxi Driver
3. Raging Bull
4. The Last Temptation of Christ
5. Age of Innocence

5 Greatest Steven Spielberg movies

1. Schindler’s List
2. ET
3. Jaws
4. Raiders of the Lost Ark
5. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

3 Sequels that were better than the originals

1. Superman II
2. Terminator II
3. Toy Story II

10 Movies that had too many sequels

1. Friday the 13th
2. Back to the Future
3. Superman
4. Police Academy
5. Batman
6. Lethal Weapon
7. Jaws
8. Scream
9. Die Hard
10. Rocky

3 Best Boxing Movies of All-Time

1. Rocky
2. Raging Bull
3. The Champ

Three Best Baseball Movies of All-Time

1. Bull Durham
2. Field of Dreams
3. The Natural

Three Worst Baseball Movies

1. Brewster’s Millions
2. Angels in the Outfield
3. Major League II

The Ten best Sci-Fi (or rather Space soap) movies of All Time

1. Star Wars - A New Hope
2. Blade Runner
3. 2001: A Space Odyessy
4. Total Recall
5. Logan’s Run
6. The Matrix (Keanu Reeve’s only decent movie)
7. The Empire Strikes Back
8. Highlander
9. Aliens
10. The Fly

The Five best Paranormal Flicks of All-Time

1. The Exorcist
2. Angel Heart
3. Sixth Sense
4. Jacob’s Ladder
5. The Shining

The Five Best Thrillers of All Time

1. Silence of the Lambs
2. Psycho (The Original)
3. Cape Fear (The Original)
4. Rear Window
5. The Birds

Five Best Peter Seller’s movies

1. The Party
2. The Pink Panther
3. Dr. Strangelove and how I learnt to love the bomb
4. Return of the Pink Panther
5. Being There

Three Best Monty Python Movies of All Time

1. Life of Brian
2. Meaning of Life
3. Holy Grail

Five Best Vietnam War movies of All Time

1. Apocalypse Now
2. Platoon
3. Full Metal Jacket
4. Green Berets
5. Hamburger Hill

The Fifteen Best Second World War movies of All Time

1. Schindler’s List
2. Patton
3. The Great Escape
4. Bridge on the River Kwai
5. The Longest Day
6. Saving Private Ryan
7. Das Boot
8. Battle of the Bulge
9. Stalingrad
10. The Dirty Dozen
11. Where Eagles Dare
12. Escape from Sobibor
13. Dambusters
14. The Eagle has Landed
15. The Battle of Britain

Top Twenty Films of the 1990s (not including Alternative Movies)

1. Schindler's List
2. Silence of the Lambs
3. Goodfellas
4. Pulp Fiction
5. Trainspotting
6. Shawshank Redemption
7. Saving Private Ryan
8. Sixth Sense
9. The Shine
10. Seven
11. Monkeys
12. Forrest Gump
13. The Rivers Runs Through it
14. Dolores Claiborne
15. Lorenzo's Oil
16. The Red Violin
17. Total Recall
18. Casino
19. Scent of a Women
20. Usual Suspects

The Five Best Prison Movies of All-time

1. Midnight Express
2. Shawshank Redemption
3. Papillon
4. Hurricane
5. Escape from Alcatraz

10 Best ‘Historical’ Movies of All-Time (non-World War II)

1. Doctor Zhivago
2. Spartacus
3. Lawrence of Arabia
4. All Quiet on the Western Front
5. Apocalypse Now
6. Ten Commandments
7. Richard III
8. Deer Hunter
9. Breaker Morant
10. Mississippi Burning

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rock Music

10 Greatest Individual Rock Stars of the 50s

Elvis Presley
Chuck Berry
Buddy Holly
Jerry Lee Lewis
Little Richard
Bo Diddley
Frankie Valley
Richie Velez
Bill Halley
Big Bopper

10 Greatest Rock Groups of the 60s

Simon and Garfunkel
Rolling Stones
Beach Boys
The Who
Mamas and the Papas
Gerry and the Pacemakers
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
The Supremes

10 Greatest Rock Groups of the 70s

Pink Floyd
Led Zeppelin
Fleetwood Mac
The Who
The Eagles

10 Greatest Rock Groups of the 80s (from a personal perspective)

Dire Straits
The Clash
The Cure
Depeche Mode
UB 40

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Thoughts on the Big Bang

From nothing beget something….a singularity born explodes from an infinitesimal releasing the forces of interaction. The strong nuclear flocks to its bidding, binding together the quark-interface of proton and neutron. Matter is built and interspersed. An outward thrust resists gravity as a radioactive meshwork unfolds succumbing to the decay of the large bodies. In the chaos of birth is claimed yet another force that harmonizes the yin-yang of positive-negative karma…and so it is spoken that time can be counted….for now it has a beginning from which to advance

Some Mind Churnings

I came up with these definitions some time ago (in the spirit of Ambrose Bierce).

Career politician - an individual who has a lifetime to discover several levels of incompetence.
Defense Attorney - Someone who believes that crime is of the essence.
Erection - The pride before the fall.
Free Trade - Lenin said that the capitalist buys the rope to hang himself with. With free trade the rope is imported from Mexico.
General Practioner - The Traffic re-director of the medical profession.
Human knowledge - The sum of all our mistakes.
Insurance - a form of betting in which one backs the longest shot in the race while hoping that it does not win.
Marketing Group - A mental asylum minus the organization.
Relativist - Somebody who has not found their absolute yet.
Survival of the Fittest - A theory that remains unsubstantiated in the workplace.
Viruses - Crafty organisms whose function is to cause misdiagnosis.

Euro 2008

With England, and for that matter none of the Home Unions, being represented in Euro 2008, its tough to be excited about the competition.
Nevertheless as an avid Football fan who can't (in reality) detach himself from the hullaballoo of the tournament I will throw my hat in the ring in cheering for Spain.

Its not that I have much affinity for the Iberian nation (although its history is intriguing) but I am curious to see how Liverpool's own Fernando Torres will perform on the international stage.
My head however argues differently from my heart in believing that the Germans, who narrowly missed out on World Cup glory two years ago, will in all likelihood emerge victorious for the tournament as a whole (Ballack is overdue for something).

I will as custom dictates cheer against the Azzurri , France and Portugal, although in the case of the latter the presence of one Christiano Ronaldo (and the toxic image of him winning another trophy) goes a long way in motivating such a stance.
As for the Dutch, I can see them causing their usual stirr but a leaky defence and a questionable big game mindset will probably prove their undoing for the umpteenth time.

On another note - Expect Big Phil Scolari to be Chelsea's new manager. My earlier pick was Gus Hiddink, but the Dutchman appears to be loyal to his Russian bosses.