Tuesday, June 23, 2009

20/20 cricket

I have not watched a cricket match in ages but was forced to watch the final of the 20/20 cricket tournament last Sunday.

It made a pretty poor impression on me. For a start, the game is too short for any real buildup of excitement. A 45 or 50 over game is of decent enough size to allow for a certain amount of strategy. The original world cup matches were of 60 overs duration, which in my opinion were perfect for a championship tournament. Twenty overs is just too little. I have seen more excitement in 6 a side cricket than in the 20/20 matches, indeed six overs a side is a decent size (the Hong Kong sixes is packed with excitement)for a quick match; 20 over falls between two stools and is pretty lame.

Second, I did not see one single stroke of grace or beauty in the whole match (I started watching in the 12th or 13th over so not sure if anything decent was played before this). In fact the stroke making was positively ugly, a standard not even seen in beach cricket.

I have liked watching bits of the IPL because they have nice cheerleaders but this tournament lacked even this.

The Sri Lankan cricket team may not have performed very well but they must have earned a decent fee; the team must rank as one of the top performing export industries these days.

On a different note, I wonder how long the IPL will last. Vast sums of money have been expended on the tournament and much of it lost to the sponsors (owners), the only chance a sponsor has of recouping the loss is if the team wins, which means a majority of the sponsors will lose their money.

I think a sponsors will continue to back an expensive sports event as long as it has the requisite glamour and prestige, with the ICC trying to cash in on the craze with an annual 'world cup' (the normal cricket world cup takes place once in four years) I wonder if the attraction of the 20/20 will be diluted, thus killing it off.

Luxury must be sold on the basis of rarity, age and, if possible arcane or exotic rules. There is only one Wimbledon and one Ascot.

Mind game

A really big made guy in a gym once said something to me : lifting weights is a mind game. I never quite understood what he meant until now.

After a lousy routine about three weeks ago went on a light but focused routine two weeks back and concentrated on 'thinking' the weights up.

Last week it paid off 185 x 6 x 3 on the bench, with no support. Not a record by any means, but by my own abysmal standards, not bad. Yesterday, on a different schedule did 175x5x3 with relative ease.

The only issue is I need to keep my mind clear and not get engrossed in conversations or think of anything else. It takes a bit of effort to constantly keep in focus, I think it probably comes naturally to sportsmen after years of practice.

Something else my trainer said made me think: he said the concentration and the focus that one needs to put into competitive sport will increase the capacity to handle stress. That seems to be happening to me, has anyone else experienced this?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I've got a little list

The search is on for the list and it reminded me of these lines:

As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I've got a little list — I've got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!

And apologetic statesmen of a compromising kind,
Such as — What d'ye call him — Thing'em-bob, and likewise — Never-mind,
And 'St— 'st— 'st— and What's-his-name, and also You-know-who —
The task of filling up the blanks I'd rather leave to you.
But it really doesn't matter whom you put upon the list,
For they'd none of 'em be missed — they'd none of 'em be missed!

You may put 'em on the list — you may put 'em on the list;
And they'll none of 'em be missed — they'll none of 'em be missed!

Listen to the song here.

It is rather funny.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Beautifil lips

These pictures are sure worth more than a thousand words each, right?

Who needs Hollywood when we have Bollywood? I find the Bollywood films far better anyway. Hollywood has been reduced to imitating video games whose characters and plots (?) they frequently use.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Kama Sutra

Apparently, Maharishi Vatsyayan has stated in his magnum opus "Kamasutra" that ....Sex is:

"Duty", if done with your Wife;

"Art", if done with your Lover;

"Education", if done with a Virgin;

"Business Transaction", if done with a Prostitute;

"Social Work", if done with a Divorcee;

"Charity", if done with a Widow, and;

"Sacrifice", if done with your own Hand.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Thoughts on Iraq

One of the main reasons George W Bush invaded Iraq was to destroy Saddam Hussein's collection of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). I don't know whether the term was precisely defined but they include chemical, biological, nuclear weapons and the like.

It was all a big mistake and one that could have been easily avoided had GWB listened closely to one of his core support groups: the National Rifle Association(NRA).

Gun crime is a serious problem in America and the NRA has succeeded in blocking legislation to control guns on the argument that "guns don't kill, people do".

All Saddam had to do was contact the NRA and whisper listen, WMD don't kill, people do...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Jester goes to town in Tonga

Now a Court Jester (like myself) needs a Court to perform. There are not many monarchies around but it seems that one of my fellow traveler's found employment in the court of Tonga.

Tonga is a Pacific Island archipelago, which is just the sort of place where crazy things are bound to happen and where I would dearly love to retire. Sunshine, beaches, beautiful women and a happy-go-lucky island culture.

To return to the story, the King of Tonga hired a jester. The jester claimed to be the only one in full time employment jestering (or gesturing or is it gesticulating?) or whatever that jester's do.

The king then puts the jester in charge of a $26m trust fund. Good grief!

Kings are nutty, but why on earth does one hire a jester and put him in charge of a trust fund. Turns out the jester was a retired banker (?? bloody hell this was before the credit crunch. Now I guess it would not be so surprising, but tells you what sort of people bankers really are). I've always had a bit of a low opinion of bankers, to tell you the truth.

The jester's name was Bogdonoff, which is the most suspicious sounding name that I have come across, sounds a hell of a lot like Madoff. Investments were made through the jester's company company Wellness Technologies (!).

Anyway, the King accused the jester of mismanaging the trust, investing unwisely and taking inflated commissions. He also cheated King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV and his government out of the money the country made from selling citizenship to Hong Kong Chinese people ahead of the 1997 handover of the former British colony to Chinese rule.

Its gets even funnier. Some $20m of the fund's money allegedly evaporated after Mr Bogdonoff invested it in life assurance for the terminally ill.

Who in the name of hell sells life insurance to the terminally ill? Why do the insurance companies make you take a battery of tests before selling life insurance? Because they want you to LIVE, not die. They never make money if you die early and will never sell you a policy if you are likely to die soon. The deal with life insurance is that they pay your family money if you die accidentally, otherwise the insurance companies will be broke.

Anyway it all ended happily with the jester settling out of courts for $1m. Presumably he retired rich and happy.

Hmm.. Wonder when the next plane leaves for Tonga?

Full story here.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The end of South Africa

I have been watching, with growing apprehension the events of South Africa. The election of Jacob Zuma, who had charges of fraud and corruption dropped marked the turning point. Mbeki was bad but this man is far worse. Without strong commitment to its institutions, democracy in South Africa will surely wither. This has been the fate of most newly independent nations with very few exceptions. In Africa I can only think of Botswana and South Africa.

The protest against the Leader of the Opposition Helen Zille, by ANC War Veterans is eerily reminiscent of the activities of the War Veteran's in Zimbabwe. Accusing her of "anti-African behaviour" goes against the spirit of democracy and demonising the opposition is the first step on the long march to autocracy.