Thursday, April 28, 2011

Messi !

First leg of UEFA Champion's League Semifinal between Real Madrid and Barcelona. One of the long standing great rivalries. A completely start studded event. Among them is the brightest star - Lionel Messi who at 23 is already being considered as one of the best soccer players ever. In my mind, he is the greatest, surpassing Maradona and Pele.

Watch him create an attack out of nowhere, beating 4 defenders (among the finest in the world), and then the goalkeeper Casillas (who is also the goal keeper of the Spanish team that won the World Championship), and also a 5th player that tried to catch him in vain.

AMAZING. The speed, the dexterity, the control and the imagination.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Edge Of Darkness

Movie Review : Edge Of Darkness
Director : Martin Campbell
Genre : Thriller
Released : January 2010
Starring : Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston
My Rating : 5 out of 10

"Edge Of Darkness" is one of those forgettable thrillers with top stars that Hollywood mindlessly churns out so often. This one is barely enough to be a popcorn movie. It has some shocking scenes, but is generally devoid of any tension whatsoever. And as is typical of such movies, the viewer has everything figured out long before the characters in the story.

It's a simple story. Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) is a detective in Boston. In the opening few minutes, we see his daughter being shot in front of his house. The rest of the movie has Craven trying to find out the people responsible for this.

It's disappointing. Martin Campbell has Casino Royale and Golden Eye under his belt, so what happened here ? This was remake of a TV series and was crammed into a movie. Maybe that's why. There are so many scenes - where I was just left scratching my head and saying - "What ?", "Why did he say that ?", "Really ?" etc. The character of Ray Winstone was just too mysterious for me, completely unbelievable.

I like Mel Gibson a lot - as an actor/director, NOT as a person, let me be clear on that. So I could sit through this movie. But I would recommend his other revenge flick, Payback, over this one.

Friday, April 15, 2011

There is no inflation

I can keep ranting about the absurdities of  current economic policies in US forever. But videos like this capture the essence perfectly. Only the budget deficit drama theater in Washington is comparable.

Somehow, people - when in very large groups like a nation - are completely incapable of fixing the root cause. Sad. Too much debt, too much money printing, too much entitlements are the root cause of our current economic malaise. Nothing will be fixed until it's too late. Because no policy maker wants to be the tough guy administering a bitter medicine.

This cannot end well.

Monday, April 11, 2011

On The Right Track

Book Review : On The Right Track
Author : Marion Jones
My Rating : 4 out of 5 stars

The complete title for this small book is quite long "On the Right Track: From Olympic Downfall to Finding Forgiveness and the Strength to Overcome and Succeed".

Marion Jones was the superstar of the 2000 Olympics, winning 5 medals. Later she lied under oath when questioned by federal agents about performance enhancing drugs made by the infamous BALCO. After a many months, she came clean on her own. Unfortunately, she received the maximum sentence for this offense and spent 6 months in a jail. Her medals were taken away, she was financially broke, lost her home via foreclosure and well, everything was bleak.

This is her story, in her own words about her struggle to get back to normal life. It's a touching, honest account of her feelings.

There is very little in this book about Marion Jones before she went to prison. This is not an auto-biography. This is a long monologue containing her guilty plea, her difficult journey to get back to normal life, her love for her family and how faith helped her.

Marion Jones is not a very good author. The book lacks coherency - but she makes it up for all that and more, by her truthfulness, maturity and honesty. She owns it up, admits her own mistake, doesn't try to transfer the blame, and stays completely non-controversial. The honesty is refreshing and striking. It's impossible to not be moved by her ordeal and her approach to stay positive. The book overall is inspiring, and your heart goes out to her.

What she did requires tremendous courage, very few people can manage to do it. And I can only salute her for that and thank her for writing this book. God bless her !

This is one more book I decided to read because of watching an interview on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show". Happy that I have read it, I can definitely recommend it.
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