Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A year anywhere

I finished a year at my workplace yesterday. I had joined formally on Mar 1st and had come in for couple of half days before that so yesterday made a year..How quickly time passes.

The only reason I remembered this was because of Holi. Last Holi at office was crazy. We had colour on us and it was insane images of all the boys from office with colour on them. Even the VP had colour on him :D

Remembered that and went down memory path! :)

Fucking TOEFL is killing me and I am even blogging in correct English! Hate it :(
This Sat that torture ends and hallelujah to that! :D

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Joys of Kissing

Sheece passed this to me and thought it was too good to be true

what drove me crazy was her kisses
(& lord 'ave mercy, she could kiss!)
she had the kind of kisses
that made blind men attend 3d movies
the kind of kisses that made
priests kick out stained glass windows
her kiss was a bassline
vibrating near a g spot

& i want her kisses
to fill this empty space that once held a heart
my lips offer no condolences, (they are very uncool,)
several times this week they have left my face to hunt for her

this is not progressive, i know
but i want to colonize her lips
i want to plant a flag on her tongue
i want to set up nominally independent homelands
that will surround her lips
i want segregation laws that will keep all other
lips away from hers
i want to force artists to write propaganda in support of her lips

but i must get hip about her lips
(a hip blues line here please)
i want to hold jazz festivals on her lips
where dueling tongues replace trumpet players
i want her lips all over me like coltrane's
fingers dancing wildly over them keys
i want to go to a dangerous after-hours joint with her lips

i can get reverent too, like
i want to erect a temple on her lips
& make hadj to her kiss
where i will become holy & wise & kissed
& write scripture that says, "& she kissed the sky,
& yea, the sky did drool for forty days & forty nights"
deliver me oh lord unto...her kiss

yeah it was her kiss that drove me here,
all crazy like this
& good lord, i hope her kiss,
drives me back.

An Oscar For His Second Act

Very good article from the Washington Post

Now, somebody ought to make a movie about Al Gore. I would call it "An Uncomplaining Life."

The movie would be about a man who did not quit, who came off the canvas after a painfully close election -- he won the popular vote, after all -- who accepted defeat graciously and tried to unite the nation, who returned to the consuming passion of his earlier days, the environment, and spoke endlessly on the topic, almost always for free, who starred in a documentary based on his speech and who Sunday night, before a billion or so people, won an Academy Award for his effort. This may or may not be a stepping stone to the presidency, but Gore gives us all a lesson on how to live one's life.

It's a joke, isn't it? I mean, it was Gore who was universally seen as the flawed man, uncomfortable in his own skin and, therefore, in this TV age, incapable of uniting the nation. He was caricatured by some of my colleagues as a serial exaggerator, a fibber, a pretender -- the guy who invented the Internet, who was the model for the novel (and movie) "Love Story," who applied one too many coats of passion to that kiss he delivered to his wife, Tipper, at the Democratic National Convention in 2000. There were so many reasons not to vote for him -- none, in retrospect, much good.

Now it is his jaunty, frat-boy opponent who cannot unite the country. Now it is the towel-snapper, the rancher who does not ride horses, the decider who decides wrongly and whose approval ratings are like the temperature of a dead man. Now it is George W. Bush that the nation does not trust or believe -- and this has and will cost us plenty. What if Bush is right about Iran? What if the Iranians are really helping to kill Americans in Iraq? Whatever you may think of the Iraq war, it is impermissible for anyone to kill Americans and yet it may be happening and may continue because the president is widely disbelieved. Gore could not have gotten us into this.

Gore would not have taken the United States to war in Iraq. He would have finished the job in Afghanistan -- it was al-Qaeda and its Taliban enablers who were responsible for the attacks on us on Sept. 11, 2001, not Saddam Hussein, no matter how vile he might have been. Gore would not have dealt with the Iranians and the North Koreans in such a juvenile fashion -- axis of evil, after all -- and all over the world, wherever you and I went, we would not detect such anger toward America.

The last time I saw Gore was at a screening of his now-acclaimed movie, "An Inconvenient Truth." I wrote at the time that, on paper at least, he was the near-perfect Democratic presidential candidate -- right on the war, above all. This observation, hardly original with me, is being echoed elsewhere, and it would be impossible for Gore to ignore it. Jimmy Carter said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that he thought Gore ought to run and had told Gore so insistently. "He almost told me the last time I called, 'Don't call me anymore,' " Carter said. What Gore told me was something similar: "I think there are other ways to serve."

We'll see. After all, Gore -- the son of a senator himself -- was raised for the presidency. But for the moment at least, he is showing all the irritating signs of a man at peace with himself. He abandoned Washington for Nashville. He has made a bundle in his investments, and he has set out to show that there is life after a failed candidacy, a purposeful life in which a man can do some good. His movie and his speeches are -- to paraphrase what Clausewitz said about war -- a continuation of politics by other means. He cannot make war but he can still make a difference.

I know -- and so does Gore -- that all this will change if he enters the race. Maybe that ol' devil of uncertainty will come creeping out of his skin, and maybe he will become shrill, and maybe he will somehow throw his voice so that it seems to be coming from outside his body. But the woman I love tells me that life is a series of little lives, and no one has proved the truth of this better than Gore. With an Oscar in his fist and triumph on his face, Al Gore is a man you can tell your kid about. That, maybe, is even better than being president.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The real long ball game

The Royal Shrovetide Football match takes place every year on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday and its origins date back to the 12th century. It is one of the world’s oldest, largest, longest and craziest football games with over a thousand players doing battle over up to 8 hours of play.

The two teams that play the game are known as the Up'Ards and the Down'Ards. The Up'Ards comprise townsfolk born north of Henmore Brook, which runs through the town, and Down'Ards are those born south of the river. There are two goal posts 3 miles apart, one at Sturston Mill (where the Up'Ards attempt to score), the other at Clifton Mill (where the Down'Ards score).

Despite the game being called football, the Shrovetide ball is rarely passed. Although participants are allowed to kick, carry or throw it the ball, it generally moves through the town in a series of hugs – think of rugby scrum made up of hundreds of people.

And while the game may resemble a free-for-all, there are some stringent rules in place. The ball may not be hidden under clothes or carried by a motorised vehicle. While tramping through residents’ gardens is allowed, Ashbourne’s cemeteries and churchyards are out of bounds. Oh, and committing murder or manslaughter is strictly prohibited! It’s believed this rule dates back to more lawless times when a severed head was used instead of a ball.

As the town’s players continue their efforts to “goal“ the Shrovetide football, it seems the event is about to receive some much deserved recognition. Last year’s match was filmed by American director Peter Baxter and his documentary of the event, entitled Wild in the Streets, is due for release later this year.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Maybe We Deserve to Be Ripped Off By Bush's Billionaires

"Now, after she shaved her head in a bizarre episode that culminates a months-long saga of controversial behavior, it's the question being asked by her fans, her foes and the general public: What was she thinking?"-- Bald and Broken: Inside Britney's Shaved Head, Sheila Marikar,, Feb. 19

What was she thinking? How about nothing? How about who gives a shit? How's that for an answer, Sheila Marikar of ABC news, you pinhead?

I'm not one of those curmudgeons who freaks out every time that Bradgelina moves the war off the front page of the Post, or Katie Couric decides to usher in a whole new era of network news with photos of the imbecile demon-spawn of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. I understand that we live in a demand-based economy and that there is far more demand for brainless celebrity bullshit than there is, say, for the fine print of the Health and Human Services budget.

But that was before this week. I awoke this morning in New York City to find Britney Spears plastered all over the cover of two gigantic daily newspapers, simply because she cut her hair off over the weekend. To me, this crosses a line. My definition of a news story involves something happening. If nothing happens, then you can't have "news," because nothing has changed since the day before. Britney Spears was an idiot last Thursday, an idiot on Friday, and an idiot on both Saturday and Sunday. She was, shockingly, also an idiot on Monday. It will be news when she stops being an idiot, and we'll know when that happens, because she'll have shot herself for the good of the planet. Britney Spears cutting her hair off is the least-worthy front page news story in the history of humanity.

Apparently, from now on, every time a jackass sticks a pencil in his own eye, we'll have to wait an extra ten minutes to hear what happened on the battlefield or in Congress or any other place that actually matters.

On the same day that Britney was shaving her head, a guy I know who works in the office of Senator Bernie Sanders sent me an email. He was trying very hard to get news organizations interested in some research his office had done about George Bush's proposed 2008 budget, which was unveiled two weeks ago and received relatively little press, mainly because of the controversy over the Iraq war resolution. All the same, the Bush budget is an amazing document. It would be hard to imagine a document that more clearly articulates the priorities of our current political elite.

Not only does it make many of Bush's tax cuts permanent, but it envisions a complete repeal of the Estate Tax, which mainly affects only those who are in the top two-tenths of the top one percent of the richest people in this country. The proposed savings from the cuts over the next decade are about $442 billion, or just slightly less than the amount of the annual defense budget (minus Iraq war expenses). But what's interesting about these cuts are how Bush plans to pay for them.

Sanders's office came up with some interesting numbers here. If the Estate Tax were to be repealed completely, the estimated savings to just one family -- the Walton family, the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune -- would be about $32.7 billion dollars over the next ten years.

The proposed reductions to Medicaid over the same time frame? $28 billion.

Or how about this: if the Estate Tax goes, the heirs to the Mars candy corporation -- some of the world's evilest scumbags, incidentally, routinely ripped by human rights organizations for trafficking in child labor to work cocoa farms in places like Cote D'Ivoire -- if the estate tax goes, those assholes will receive about $11.7 billion in tax breaks. That's more than three times the amount Bush wants to cut from the VA budget ($3.4 billion) over the same time period.

Some other notable estimate estate tax breaks, versus corresponding cuts:

  • Cox family (Cox cable TV) receives $9.7 billion tax break while education would get $1.5 billion in cuts

  • Nordstrom family (Nordstrom dept. stores) receives $826.5 million tax break while Community Service Block Grants would be eliminated, a $630 million cut

  • Ernest Gallo family (shitty wines) receives a $468.4 million cut while LIHEAP (heating oil to poor) would get a $420 million cut

And so on and so on. Sanders additionally pointed out that the family of former Exxon/Mobil CEO Lee Raymond, who received a $400 million retirement package, would receive about $164 million in tax breaks.

Compare that to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which Bush proposes be completely eliminated, at a savings of $108 million over ten years. The program sent one bag of groceries per month to 480,000 seniors, mothers and newborn children.

Somehow, to me, that's the worst one on the list. Here you have the former CEO of a company that scored record profits even as it gouged consumers, with gas prices rising more than 70 percent since January of 2001. There is a direct correlation between the avarice of oil company executives and the increased demand for federal aid for heating oil programs like LIHEAP, and yet the federal government wants to reward these same executives for raising prices on the backs of consumers.

Even if you're a traditional, Barry Goldwater conservative, the kinds of budgets that Bush has sent to the hill not only this year but this whole century are the worst-case scenario; they increase spending generally while cutting taxes and social programming. They commit taxpayers to giant subsidies of already Croseus-rich energy corporations, pharmaceutical companies and defense manufacturers while simultaneously cutting taxes on those who most directly benefit from those subsidies. Thus you're not cutting spending -- you're just cutting spending on people who actually need the money. (According to the Washington Times, which in a supremely ironic twist of fate did one of the better analyses of the budget, spending will be 1.6 percent of GDP higher in the 2008 budget than in was in 2000, while revenues will be 2.6 percent of GDP lower). This is something different from traditional conservatism and something different from big-government liberalism; this is a new kind of politics that transforms the state into a huge, ever-expanding instrument for converting private savings into corporate profit.

That's not only bad government, it's bad capitalism. It makes legalized bribery and political connections more important factors than performance and competition in the corporate marketplace. Beyond that, it's just plain fucking offensive to ordinary people. It's one thing to complain about paying taxes when those taxes are buying a bag of groceries once a month for some struggling single mom in eastern Kentucky. But when your taxes are buying a yacht for some asshole who hires African eight year-olds to pick cocoa beans for two cents an hour ... I sure don't remember reading an excuse for that anywhere in the Federalist Papers.

I also don't remember reading much about this year's budget. It was a story for about half a minute when it came out two weeks ago. It barely made TV newscasts, and even when it did, only the broad strokes made it on air. There was some fuss about the Alternative Minimum Tax and a mild uproar over the fact that the 2008 budget failed to account for estimates of the costs for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But overall, the budget was a non-starter as a news story. As it does every year, it takes a back seat to hot-button issues like gay marriage, the latest election scandal, etc. Already, the 2008 election presidential campaign has gotten far more ink than the 2008 budget. As entertainment, bullshit politics always triumphs over real politics.

Here's the thing about the system of news coverage we have today. If the Walton family, or Lee Raymond, or the heirs to the Mars fortune actually needed the news media to work better than it does now, believe me, it would work better. But they have no such need, because the system is working just fine for them as is. The people it's failing are the rest of us, and most of the rest of us, apparently, would rather sniff Anna Nicole Smith's corpse or watch Britney Spears hump a fire hydrant than find out what our tax dollars are actually paying for.

Shit, when you think about it that way, why not steal from us? People that dumb don't deserve to have money.

Good article and illustrates our obsession with celebs!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Electricity in English

lecky - Yes that is what it used to be called by old Scousers biddies when they called into my British Gas call centre in Manchester.

Noun. Electricity. Also 'lecko'. E.g. "I'm afraid we can't invite you back, we've had the lecky cut off."

Scousers are Liverpudlians btw :D

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I like Sarin's attitude

Clearly, this was not a social call for Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin. On his first visit to India since buying out Hutchison’s 52% stake in Hutch Essar, Sarin was at his aggressive, no-nonsense best when meeting select editors on Wednesday morning at the Longchamp in Delhi’s Taj Mahal Hotel.

Vodafone had set itself a one-year deadline if Essar tied up the company in courts, Sarin told FE on the sidelines. If legal squabbles extended beyond that, Vodafone would walk out of the deal. “Any transaction of this nature always has time-ups. No transaction is for an indefinite period,” Sarin explained.

True to the spirit of the session, Sarin lost little time in announcing, “We intend to be No.1 here.”“I’m sure if Sunil Mittal were here, he would say he will remain No.1. My answer to that is: let’s see,” Sarin said, throwing a challenge at market leader Bharti Airtel.

Always in charge, he cut short Hutchison Essar managing director Asim Ghosh’s suggestion to re-arrange the seating so that he could be seated along one of the flanks of the 20-ft long table. Sarin preferred to sit at the head, instead. “It’s easier to see all the faces from here,” he reasoned.

His announcement that Ghosh was his choice to head Vodafone-owned Hutchison Essar had a significant caveat: “Provided Asim promises he would make Vodafone India’s largest mobile operator.” Sarin’s goal for Ghosh? Grow Vodafone’s subscriber base in India from 24.41 million to 35 million within a year and to 100 million thereafter. That would make India the largest market for Vodafone, ahead of Germany’s 30 million.

Vodafone would invest $2 billion over two years to expand the Hutch Essar network to rural areas. In comparison, largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel and second largest Reliance Communications have both announced a capex of $2.5 billion each in 2007-08 alone.

On Essar’s threat to sue Vodafone, Sarin said, “We have only announced our intent. It’s an MoU with Bharti to share infrastructure. It’ll occur over the coming months. After the transaction, we’ll have an agreement. It will take months and will be fully vetted by the management and the board.”

He said the ‘tag along’ rights for Essar to sell its 33% stake to Vodafone were based on flexible timing and could extend by roughly a month. Yet, he ruled out paying a higher price for Essar’s stake.

He also clarified that though the Hutch brand would replaced, Vodafone had extended rights to use the brand as per its agreement with Hutchison.

Now it’s time for Act 2 in Mumbai, where Sarin meets the Ruias of Essar on Thursday.

‘I’m sending roses to Essar’

Refusing to accept that announcing the sharing of Hutch Essar’s infrastructure with Bharti without consulting 33% partner Essar was a tactical mistake, Sarin said, “Today is Valentine’s day. I’m sending roses to Essar. I’ll send olive branches. I’m going to visit them (the Ruias). Suggest anything else I could do. We’re fully consultative. Give us 24 hours to develop a relationship that will last a lifetime.”

On Tuesday, Essar had threatened legal action against Vodafone for entering into a memorandum of understanding with Bharti Airtel to share Hutchison Essar’s infrastructure without being consulted.

If anyone thought sending roses to the Ruias signalled a mellowed stance, they were mistaken. Sarin reiterated that Essar had no first right of refusal over HTIL’s 52% stake in Hutch Essar. “Our lawyers’ view is that with respect to Vodafone, Essar has no right of first refusal,” he responded.

Another old saying and some Arctic Monkeys news

Men are like wine. You work on them for years before you can take them out for dinner - Anticaps over dinner last night. Loved it :D

The Arctic Monkeys won at the Brits. Am ecstatic over that piece of information. I half expected them to win a Grammy for Best New act but that didn't happen. :(

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen

This thing called love I just cant handle it
This thing called love I must get round to it
I aint ready
Crazy little thing called love
This (this thing) called love
(called love)
It cries (like a baby)
In a cradle all night
It swings (woo woo)
It jives (woo woo)
It shakes all over like a jelly fish,
I kinda like it
Crazy little thing called love

There goes my baby
She knows how to rock n roll
She drives me crazy
She gives me hot and cold fever
Then she leaves me in a cool cool sweat

I gotta be cool relax, get hip
Get on my tracks
Take a back seat, hitch-hike
And take a long ride on my motor bike
Until Im ready
Crazy little thing called love

I gotta be cool relax, get hip
Get on my tracks
Take a back seat, hitch-hike
And take a long ride on my motor bike
Until Im ready (ready freddie)
Crazy little thing called love

This thing called love I just cant handle it
This thing called love I must get round to it
I aint ready
Crazy little thing called love

Die Walküre

Mother made me listen to 'Ride the Valkyries' - an original composition by Wagner. Click on link in title and read more - so interesting Norse mythology is. I would love to see this opera. Man, imagine sitting in some hall in Vienna and seeing and hearing this. Would be fucking divine! :)

The Valkyrie's Vigil, by a Pre-Raphaelite painter. Following the romantic reinterpretation of the old myths by Wagner, Edward Robert Hughes depicts the dreadful Norse war goddess in an ethereal fairy painting: barefoot, clad in a sheer off-the-shoulder gown, and softly lit from above. Her martial aspects are de-emphasized: she tucks her helmet into the crook of her arm and holds her sword by the ricasso (the blunt section just beyond the crossguard). Of the chooser of the warrior slain in battle, of the scavenging wolf and raven, there is no trace.

Some old jungle sayings

I have borrowed Shantaram from a friend. Just started reading it this morning. Opened the book and my friend has written something there. I am unsure if this is from Shantaram itself or something Srini came up with. He has written, " The life we live is about the choice we make".

I was speaking to Sheece man about TOEFL. He said, " To correct the world is man's basic right, hence we have exams."

My mood today

Isn't that an unsual picture for my mood..the colour though captures my mood. The cycle signifies a journey that I am on and am currently resting. Fuck man, am I good at bullshitting or what!! :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

An ode to boredom

The Butt Song by Sheece man

The sun has risen from BEHIND today
Close ur eyes else u might go blind today
Do no iffs do not butts
Coz this is the butt song

If u sing it right, it will be wrong
If it will be wrong, it will be too long,
So if u see me singing just sing along
Today there is a shine on his

Do not let it fade, just let it shine on
Maybe for dinner he ate some krypton
Enlightenment is not around the corner
Its around the curve,
If you were foolish, u would swerve,
But u know that this song would lack all verve
If it was not the butt song....

How drunks affect people

Last night, I was travelling back home in the bus. I made the man who was sitting in the ladies seat get up (of course!) There was a drunk Tamil guy sitting on the other side with his family. He was talking very loudly which of course had the effect of people in the bus looking at him. He abused in Hindi and pretended to raise his hand on his wife. I could understand what he was saying. His kids were sitting in the seat behind him and his wife.

The wife cried the whole way from the time I got in and they got off at the same stop as me. 3 kids, 2 of whom looked to be between 7-8 years and the other looked older, maybe 10-12 years. The kids were too quiet. He kept asking his wife why she was crying.

I was almost tempted to ask him to shut up and refrain. I realised the pointlessness of it because if I reacted, inevitably it would be the wife and children who would have to bear the brunt of it. I am not sure how traumatised she was but she looked it. Why is it her lot to be in that situation? I wonder whether her parents realised what they were going to put their daughter through when they gave her away to him? I wish I could have done something to help but what could I have done?

I almost touched the woman on her hand and said, "Hope you are going to be ok." Then realised the inappropriateness of doing that and restrained myself. Life shall one day turn full circle is what I pray for her and her family. I wondered about the kids as well - would the sons become like him, how would the daughter grow up?

Questions that I have no answers to.

Friday, February 09, 2007

EPL and more....

As a child growing up in Racine, Wisconsin, George Gillett Jr had, by his own admission, never heard of Liverpool FC. Likewise, Texan tycoon Tom Hicks, would, until recently, have known equally little about Bill Shankly or the goalscoring exploits of Ian Rush. However, following the announcement that their £174.1 million takeover bid for the Reds had been unanimously accepted by the club’s board, the American duo will now formally oversee the future direction of the club provided the deal is sanctioned by shareholders.

The move will see Liverpool become the third Premiership club to come under American ownership, following the Glazer family’s takeover of Manchester United in 2005 and the arrival of Randy Lerner at Villa Park last summer. And with four other clubs - Chelsea, Fulham, Portsmouth and West Ham - also bankrolled by overseas backers, it means that more than a third of the Premiership will soon be under foreign ownership.

Announcing the deal yesterday afternoon, Liverpool’s outgoing chairman David Moores was in no doubt that the takeover will leave the Reds in a significantly stronger position both on and off the pitch. “I believe this is a great step forward for Liverpool, its shareholders and its fans,” he said.

It’s easy to see why Moores agreed so readily to the offer on the table. Gillett and Hicks have agreed to pay off a sizeable part of the club’s outstanding debts. More importantly, they have also committed to bankroll the construction of a new 60,000 stadium in nearby Stanley Park. In addition, the pair have promised manager Rafa Benitez a sizeable transfer kitty with which to challenge once and for all the current domination of English football by Manchester United and Chelsea.

Only last month, Benitez complained that he simply did not have the financial backing to compete with United, who benefit from a slick global marketing campaign and the extra revenue generated from the fact that Old Trafford is currently almost twice the capacity of Anfield, or Chelsea, backed by owner Roman Abramovich’s multi-billion pound fortune. The ability to compete financially with the Premiership’s two richest clubs would therefore be welcomed by the Spaniard.

When the Glazer family arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 2005, many United fans, encouraged by sensationalist media reports, staged mass protests outside Old Trafford, fearing that the brothers would proceed to strip the club’s assets and sell their best players. Some went as far as to form a new football club, FC United, fearing that the takeover would spell the beginning of the end of the club.

These fears have, until now at least, proved unfounded, with the Red Devils currently sitting six points clear at the top of the Premiership and the Glazers showing themselves willing to grant manager Sir Alex Ferguson a generous transfer kitty.

Gillett and Hicks are unlikely to face similar protests when they are unveiled to the Liverpool fans in the coming days. And both have been keen to stress that they are committed to upholding the club’s traditions.

“We fully acknowledge and appreciate the unique heritage and rich history of Liverpool and intend to respect this heritage in the future,” they said in a joint statement issued yesterday. “The Hicks family and the Gillett family are extremely excited about continuing the club's legacy and tradition."

Gillett has overcome the scepticism of fans before, albeit closer to home, when he took control of National Hockey League outfit Montreal Canadiens in 2000. Many Canadiens fans feared that Gillett, who had no previous background in ice hockey ownership, would pay no regard to the team’s traditions, but most have been impressed so far by his low-key approach to sports ownership.

“[The Canadiens are] an iconic team and has built on that,” Jean Gosselin, a sports marketing specialist at National Public Relations, told the press agency the Canadian Press. "But he never tried to transform what the Montreal Canadiens [are]. They’re one of the most significant teams in the world."

Tom Hicks also has a significant sports background, owning another NHL franchise, the Dallas Stars, as well as Major League Baseball team the Texas Rangers. His track record at both suggests that he is also unlikely to rock the boat or upset too many on Merseyside.

Nevertheless, while the takeover is unlikely to arouse the hysteria, much of it motivated by blatant anti-Americanism, that engulfed the Glazers’ arrival at Old Trafford, it is bound to rekindle the debate about the impact of foreign multi-millionaire owners on the Premiership. Somewhat ironically, it is a Frenchman, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who has been most vocal in questioning the impact of foreign investors on the English game.

Speaking after the recent takeover of West Ham by Icelandic biscuit magnet Eggert Magnusson, he warned that rival clubs, including Arsenal, would eventually be unable to compete with those with wealthy foreign benefactors, unless they too courted foreign investment, a situation which could ultimately see a number of clubs struggling to stay afloat.

"What is dangerous for us is once the financial potential of the club goes above their natural resources by far, we will be in trouble because we don't have that. “At the moment [our] income basically [comes from] gate [receipts], television and sponsorship. If it is that plus private gifts then we cannot compete. At the moment we can do it because only one club [Chelsea] has those resources. But once three or four have that, you are dead. The pressure on the salaries will be too big.”

Gillett and Hicks are not comparable to Abramovich in that whereas the Chelsea owner sees the club essentially as a plaything and has until now paid little regard to balancing the books – the Blues recently reported a record £140 million loss for the year ending June 2005 – the soon-to-be Liverpool owners will be treating it as an investment and therefore looking to make a return on their outlay.

And despite the fact that Gillett has a mixed business track record, having filed for bankruptcy in 1992, both have subsequently amassed sizeable fortunes through shrewd investments. Consequently, they are unlikely to sanction spending on a similar scale to Chelsea, where Abramovich has, until this season at least, given manager Jose Mourinho carte blanche to spend as much as he wants in his quest to make the Blues the dominant club not only in England but worldwide.

Nevertheless, Liverpool’s increased spending power is likely to further distort the gap between English football’s have and have-nots. And this, in the long run, could prove disastrous.
Bumper TV deals have already created a two-tier Premiership, with the ‘big four’ – Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal – essentially contesting a mini-league of their own for the championship, leaving the rest of the league to fight it out for the consolation prize of a place in the Uefa Cup.

Next season’s champions likely to pocket almost £50 million in Premiership TV revenue alone, not to mention a bumper additional windfall if they progress past the group stages of the Champions League. Therefore, even with the arrival of foreign millionaire owners at clubs such as Portsmouth and Aston Villa, the big four are likely to continue to dominate English football for years to come. The arrival of Gillett and Hicks – and the ensuing transfer funds for Rafa Benitez can only serve to cement the established order.

And if the Premiership were to become even more stultified than it already is, it would almost certainly lose its appeal among both fans and, ultimately, broadcasters and sponsors. So far this season, dozens of games have been played out against the backdrop of empty seats. Average attendances at Manchester City, Bolton, Middlesbrough, Blackburn, Wigan and even Newcastle, home of football’s self-proclaimed “loyallest football supporters”, have all been well down on last season.

Perhaps more worryingly still from the clubs' point of view, the latest figures from the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (Barb) show that TV audiences for Premiership games are also down this season. The average audience for the first 50 televised top-flight games this season was 1.19 million; when the last snapshot was taken in April 2005, the average audience was 1.25 million.

While inflated ticket prices and TV subscription costs are no doubt to blame for fans turning their back on the Premiership, its uncompetitive nature has also almost certainly played a part as well. It is no coincidence that the top four have continued to attract sell-out crowds this season, while those mired in mid-table have seen gates fall.

And if fans stay away and TV audiences continue to decline, the money men at both BSkyB and Setanta, the new player in the Premiership TV market from next season, will have to question the wisdom of continuing to ply vast amounts of money into securing the TV rights. This in turn could lead some of the foreign investors who have rushed to buy into the Premiership questioning their investments. It could also stretch many clubs who had budgeted on ever-increasing TV deals to financial breaking point.

This possible doomsday scenario, however is a long way off. And should Liverpool sign two or three world-class players next summer and reclaim the Premiership crown after an 18-year wait, I doubt if Reds fans will care one jot.

Shilpa Shetty crap

Shilpa Shetty has been inundated with endorsement deals and film offers since winning Celebrity Big Brother. What’s next – her own perfume to rival Jade Goody’s?

It’s hard to believe that just over a month ago, most of us had never heard of Shilpa Shetty. The 31-year-old actress was already a major Bollywood star with £15million in the bank, but for the majority of the UK public, she was a nobody. The solution? Celebrity Big Brother was the leg-up Shilpa needed to ‘go Western’.
And obviously she has, winning over the masses with her dignified response to the bullying she received from CBB housemates Jade Goody, Jo O’Meara and Danielle Lloyd. Despite evidence to the contrary, Shilpa has refused to admit the bullying was racially motivated. In an interview with Sky news, she called Jade “aggressive, obnoxious at times, and yes, mannerless.” But she stopped short of calling the girls racist. “Me pulling them down is very easy. I don't want to do that because it brings down my class.” (Check out the English)

No doubt about it, Shilpa's a shrewd business woman who understands that there's no point harping on about Celebrity Big Brother when she should be concentrating on her next goal – to become a world renown movie star. After all, practically the first thing Shilpa said on leaving the house was "I don't mind moving to England."
Shilpa’s first public appearance since winning CBB was at the premiere of Music And Lyrics, Hugh Grant’s new film. Is it mere coincidence that rumours are linking the actress to Hugh’s next film? And what about the whispers that she will star in a Hollywood movie with Johnny Depp? Ever the diplomat, all Shilpa would say was: “My ideal co-star would be a mixture of Hugh Grant and Johnny Depp.” She did concede that a move to the UK is likely. “With the way it's going, I think I'm going to be spending a lot of time here.”
Shilpa’s first move after winning Celebrity Big Brother was to sign top UK publicist Max Clifford, whose previous clients include the Beatles, Mohamed al-Fayed, and Rebecca Loos at the height of her alleged affair with David Beckham. Clifford says Shilpa has been inundated with offers. “Often it’s just as important what you turn down as to what you agree to do, ” he said. “For Shilpa it’s a very exciting time.” (No fucking shait!)

Below are some rumoured endorsements and offers that Shilpa is considering:
  • A role in The Kumars at No. 42
  • Hosting a cricket show (think ‘Cricket Idol’), which has already been a huge success in India
  • Starring roles in films opposite Johnny Depp and Hugh Grant
  • A Bollywood movie based on her CBB experience
  • Ad campaigns for 15 companies including cosmetics and travel endorsements
  • The release this week of a compilation album, A Bollywood Dream, featuring hits from her movies, despite the fact that she mimes in her films
  • Interest from UK record labels even though Shilpa admits she can’t sing
  • Fronting her own cosmetics range. Surely a perfume to rival Jade’s wouldn’t be far behind?
That’s not including payment for Celebrity Big Brother, reports of £300,000 for interviews with UK media, and negotiations for a further £200,000 for interviews with international press. Surely after all that, Hollywood stardom is a sure thing. And, of course, there’s every star’s trump card, a tell-all biography. Expect Shilpa’s story to hit stores by the summer with the paperback just in time for Christmas.

But still there’s more – Shilpa met Tony Blair and senior ministers at Prime Minister’s question time in the Commons this week, and is set to meet Queen Elizabeth at a reception on Commonwealth Day on March 12. Queen Shilpa, more like! (Accha, last line hai!)

Roger Waters - Perfect Sense, Part I Lyrics

A friend sent this to me and thought it was here goes

The monkey sat on a pile of stones

And he stared at the broken bone in his hand

And the strains Viennese quartet

Rang out across the land

The monkey looked up at the stars

And he thought to himself

Memory is a stranger

History is for fools

And he cleaned his hands

In a pool of holy writing

Turned his back on the garden

And set out for the nearest town

Hold on hold on soldier

When you add it all up

The tears and marrowbone

There's an ounce of gold

And an ounce of pride in each ledger

And the Germans killed the Jews

And the Jews killed the Arabs

And Arabs killed the hostages

And that is the news

And is it any wonder

That the monkey's confused

He said Mama Mama

The President's a fool

Why do I have to keep reading

These technical manuals

And the joint chiefs of staff

And the brokers on Wall Street said

Don't make us laugh

You're smart kid

Time is linear

Memory's a stranger

History's for fools

Man is a tool in the hands

Of the great God Almighty

And they gave him command

Of a nuclear submarine

And sent him back in search of

The Garden of Eden

Anna Nicole Smith and my maudlin self

I got into work like 5 mins back and read the news that Anna Nicole Smith died at 39 leaving behind a 5 month old daughter. Her 20 yr old son, Daniel died of a drug related death. Its quite sadness her life I think. You can read more about it at :

Yesterday I was too maudlin. I got emotional and upset and that completely sucked ass! I hate being in such a state and well things went from bad to worse. Left work at 8.50 pm, completely tired. Got home and Mom made random statement to me which got me really upset. Also earlier in the day was reading something I should not have been which got me thinking about the past. Its amazing how much the past can have an effect on you in the present! How much ever you try to run away from it, it can still haunt you...

I am going to Cutlet's house today to eat pavbhaji...wheeeeee :) Also watch her wedding video and see wedding snaps! Niceness tht is going to be.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Colts won....

It was very good to read about the Colts winning the Super Bowl..They deserved it and have done a great job according to desi friends who are in America. Peyton Manning winning the MVP award is good news too...I generally have followed the NFL this season primarily because I was making a pack on them as part of the work routine..Its been a good experience to know how different sports work.

I was away in Jaipur for a friend's wedding. Just got back yesterday and have so much work pending it is not funny! However, I had a super good time at Jaipur and shall put some snaps at somepoint definitely. It was a memorable trip certainly for me considering it was the first time I went to Rajasthan..Shall write more on the trip soon. (I hope!)