Silly Point

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thank you for "Thank you for Smoking"

It is not often that you come across movies such as these. "Thank you for Smoking" is simply great. The cast is wonderful and the acting is great. The dialogue is sharp and witty and the writing is unlike I have seen ever before. This movie is worth seeing just for its entertainment value alone. This comedy had me laughing through out the movie. And unlike the modern comedies of questionable taste (such as dodgeball) this movie makes us laugh because of it's wit.

The movie, although about a tobacco lobbyist, has a more broader reaching message about lobbies in general. Before anyone is mistaken, this movie is not at all about whether smoking is good or bad. Tobacco is just used as a familiar front for all lobbies in general. There are in fact three other lobbies portrayed where the lobbyists internally refer themselves as the MOD Squad standing for "Merchants of Death". Highlighting how everything we see in the media has a certain spin on it, the movies main message is, people should be smart enough to decide for themselves. It also argues the moral issues with such an act, especially how the main character tries to explain to his son what he does. He proves to be an excellent role model for his son.

The movie raises some interesting points, the main one being, as long as you can back up what you say, you are not wrong. Also, people should learn to see through the deception advertising and lobbies portray over issues. There are always two sides to a story. These important issues are presented in a very entertaining fashion.

I must recommend this movie to everyone. I loved its message, but what I loved more about the movie was its general entertainment value. Its hard to find good comedies these days. A really funny comedy with a great cast and a good message? That's even rarer.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My Niece

I became an uncle yesterday. My sister Maria gave birth to a cute little daughter. She has been named Abir. Here are some photos. (As always, click the image for a larger version)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Most Influential Day

Today, on the 5th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, I sat down thinking about the most influential days in the history of mankind. Having lived through 9/11, I was able to determine a few factors that makes days like these so influential. First thing I noticed, is that the people living through that day have a feeling that what they are witnessing is something exceptional in history. The day has a different feel to it. And when you go to sleep that night, you know that this day will be remembered in history for a long long time. Such days are few to find. Looking back in history, there are many influential times but very few single days that come to mind. I have shortlisted a few of them here, and as can be expected from the most influential event in our history, 4 of the 5 days come from World War II.

#5 - July 20, 1969 - Man on the Moon
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
This day marked the pinnacle of Human achievement. Since the dawn of mankind, we had looked up at the moon at night and wondered what it was. After millenias, mankind had advanced enough to leave its home planet and journey into the heavens and setting foot on the moon. The whole world sat that day, in front of their TVs and Wireless sets, as they witnessed this collective achievement. Neil Armstrong put it best in the above words.

#4 - December 7th, 1942 - Pearl Harbor
"... a date which will live in infamy"
The original attacks on America, this event pushed the country into World War II. It made the far off trouble in the rest of the world come right in to your own back yard. An event as analogous to 9/11 as you can find, the repercussions were far more influential, driving the country into a war unlike any other in human history. America's entry, turned the course of the war, and changed the prospects of the US into becoming the biggest superpower in the world.

#3 - August 6th, 1945 - Hiroshima
The greatest destruction ever to be witnessed in a single day, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and on Nagasaki unleashed a whole new class of horror for mankind. The day marked the greatest extent of wrath unleashed by humans. An estimated 214,000 people died in both events, marking it to be the most destructive, and darkest, day in human history.

#2 - May 8th, 1945 - VE Day
The greatest celebration in human history, after 6 long years of war, the day signaled the end of the war in Europe. Victory in Europe day, was celebrated by all allies after the surrender of Germany and after witnessing the horrors of World War II, the day brought euphoria to all people. Millions of people gathered in Trafalgar square in London and Times Square in New York to see the rewards of their hardship and suffering and hope had finally paid dividends. Although the war would end 3 months later in Japan, people knew, that victory was in hand. For a war that engulfed nearly every nation in every continent of the world, the day the war ended will remain one of the most influential days in world history.

#1 - June 6th, 1944 - D-Day

Fewer days carry so much weight on their shoulders. The events of this day changed the course of the war, and all history that were to follow. In a single all out invasion, the largest ever in human history, the Allied army attempted to set foot on mainland Europe. The outcome of the war, and the future of the free world, depended on the success of this day. Had it not been a success, Europe would still be under Nazi rule, as well as major portions of the rest of the world. The importance of the day can be felt in the Supreme Allied Commander, Dwight D Eisenhower's address to the soldiers on this day:

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

SIGNED: Dwight D. Eisenhower

Friday, September 08, 2006

As American as Cricket?

If you are a stranger and don't know me, then you must be unaware that I am a die hard cricket fan. Now cricket is a very interesting sport. Those who are alien to the sport, see it as being more complicated than rocket science. Many consider it as being foreign and distinct from American culture. But those people are mistaken. Cricket is as much American as American Pie!

Cricket is interwoven in this nation's history. During the 17th Century, when the first immigrants came to this land, they brought cricket with them. The English gentleman who were part of the British Army in the Colonies, occupied themselves with this sport. Even Many of the founding fathers were avid cricketers. One of them, our second president, John Adams, stated in the US Congress in the 1780s that "if leaders of cricket clubs could be called 'presidents', there was no reason why the leader of the new nation could not be called the same!"[Source]

USA and Canada had a strong cricketing history, participating in an annual Cricket match since the 1840s, making it the oldest international sporting event, predating the Olympics by more than 50 years. The USA is among the pioneers of cricket! "By 1860 an estimated 10,000 Americans were playing the game. Presidents turned out to watch. When Chicago hosted Milwaukee in 1859, Abraham Lincoln was among the spectators."[Source]

After the civil war, America changed. The elite class had declined, the cricket grounds had been devastated, and there was an upsurge in the urban working class population. These factory workers, mostly in New York City and Boston, adopted a new game for their leisure. They took an English girls' game which had derived from cricket and started playing that. Some advantages of the game was that it could be played in a square city block, and it took a shorter amount of time, fitting perfectly in the factory worker's long hours. This game, known as rounders, is still played by girls in England, today.[How Baseball REALLY developed from Cricket]

Had things been a little different, there would still be cricket played in the US, and baseball would never have existed. And now when you see FOBs play cricket, don't accuse them of bringing something foreign into the lands. They are simply reviving an old American tradition.