Thursday, January 31, 2008

Test Match Cricket for Palm Review

I found a cricket game for my Palm Pilot last year during the Cricket World Cup and wanted to write up a review for it. I want to be clear and say this is NOT one of those "pay for posts" type reviews that have become popular lately. This is just one users opinions and views on the game. I have not and will not receive any type of renumeration for writing this review. I was one of the early users who purchased the game, and my name does appear on the credits page as someone who submitted feedback to the programmer.

I will start with that, feedback to the programmer. The brains behind the game is a fellow named Alan Simpson. Customer Service is top notch with him. Quick replies to emails, and always helpful to answer questions and resolve any issues with the game. Good to know someone is standing behind the product and available to help out .

Now the game is Test Match Cricket. You act as selector and captain of a team in, well, a Test match. Once you have selected you team, you select the players you want to use in the Test and you play the match against the Palm unit, that is controlling the other team. Right now, there is no way to play against another person, perhaps that feature may come in the future, although Alan has not mentioned it at all. You can also set up the unit to play the match against itself. You can select the country, the grounds, and even initial condition of the pitch. In regards to game play, you can control the order the batsmen, and the type of attack, from 1-5, 5 being most aggressive. On the bowling side, more or less the same operation, you select the bowler for the over, and his aggression level. Game play is pretty simple and straight forward. The game factors in weather, condition of the pitch, and fitness of the players which changes as the match goes on. Bowlers can get tired, injuries can occur. You control every aspect of the team (well, you don't control field positioning, AI handles that), so you can decide to declare, force a follow on, protect the wicket or slog away. If your bowlers are struggling you can bring in a fielder to bowl an over or two. Injuries can also play a factor. The game will also track several records including all time partnerships, fastest 50, fastest 100, individual score, and best bowling figures.

Now part of the "fun" of the game is the teams included:
Australia 1876, 1932, 1958, 1965, 1973, 1981, 1995, 2006
Bangladesh 2006
1876, 1932, 1958, 1965, 1973, 1981, 1995, 2006
1965, 1973, 1984, 1995, 2006
New Zealand 1984, 2006
Pakistan 1965, 1973, 1984, 1995, 2006
South Africa 1995, 2006
Sri Lanka 1984, 1995, 2006
West Indies 1965, 1973, 1984, 1995, 2006
Zimbabwe 2006

You can replay classic Tests, or create a fantasy match, say Australia 1876 versus West Indies 1965.

You can also download "All Time Teams" for the teams mentioned above, the 2007 teams, several other nations (2007) and county teams. There is a "fantasy" selection of teams of famous historical and fictional characters: Kings, Dr. Who characters, Dickens characters, Famous Aussies, etc. This is available with a fun little option that allows you to customize and edit teams. For example, I made up a team of characters from "The Simpsons" (Apu took 7 wickets once over two overs and Ralph Wiggum has a record 305no) and a team called "Jazz Cats" of famous jazz musicians (Miles Davis is a spinner and Thelonious Monk is one mean wicket keeper!!). You could enter stats for your weekend team and watch them face off against the greats. The players are rated for batting and bowling. For bowlers, you can select "Fast", "Medium" or "Spinner".

The last two updates added a series option, where you can select two teams to play a series of 2, 3, 4, or 5 matches, and a league option, where you can select up to 6 teams and play a league format, where points are awarded accordingly for victories, draws, and losses (negative points).

The game also tracks stats for the players, and you can look up any player and see how he is performing. These stats are for the games the unit has played. There is also a historical library for the "real" players, based on their real life performance. The library is updated frequently, usually after a series has been played (the next update is planned shortly, now that the Australia-India series has finished).

I really can't say enough of how well this game is put together and how fun it is. I even feel I am forgetting little things here or there that make the game enjoyable. There is a trial version, so you can download it and test it out. If you are a cricket fan I am pretty sure you will enjoy it enough to purchase the full version. I think it is a bargain at under US$10.00. Give it a look and I hope you enjoy it as well.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Will Money Lead T20 To Edge Out Tests?

Patrick Compton writes an article asking if the money involved in T20 will push out or replace Tests. Now, there are too many traditionalists for this to happen. However, if he was to argue T20 pushing out ODI, perhaps. I could also see T20 becoming the type of "cricket" (there are those who even refuse to call ODI cricket) embraced by the US. There is a lot of money involved in T20, no doubt, and its quick format seems tailor made for todays fast paced world, and it is very TV friendly. But Tests are Tests, there is no need to fear the demise of the format.

O Baixhino and the Animal

Edmundo and Romario are together again at Vasco. A stormy relationship that produces results. This time around though, Romario is player coach, and both players are at the end of their careers. Romario is 42, Edmundo 36, so this very well could be the last time they pair up. Both players are "idolos", idols, fan favorites of the Vasco faithful.

Carnival float to have Holocaust theme

Jewish groups in Brazil have expressed disgust over a controversial float to appear in Brazil's upcoming carnival parade that depicts dead victims of the Nazi Holocaust.

Carnival is getting ready to go full swing. I have to say, after watching the past few years, the floats, the costumes, the whole show makes the Rose Bowl parade seem like some mid-America high school marching band revue. The whole production is impressive. First, a quick explanation of how it works: There are various "schools" are part of a club, usually by neighborhood or areas of the city. Many times a certain school is from a club that also has a football/ soccer team, or there is a close connection between them. It varies from place to place in Brazil. They get graded on various aspects of the float, and it is extremely competitive. The floats usually have some sort of message or theme, they will tell a story, or depict a historical event, or series of events. Last year there was one depicting the "burning girl" (I know I can look up her name but I am pressed right now) from the Viet Nam era picture. They had her dressed in a skin colored suit, and dancers depicting the flames, really impressive. Well this year it seems there will be one depicting the Holocaust. Despite the "festive" atmosphere surrounding the event, I have usually found the most "critical" of floats to be done in a tasteful manner. Here is the crux of the argument:

'Tragedy in their skin'

Sergio Niskier, the president of the Israelite Federation of Rio de Janerio, said it was "inappropriate" to punctuate the festival atmosphere of carnival with a scene symbolising the systematic murder of 6 million people in Nazi concentration camps between 1938 and 1945.

"Really, it makes no sense to highlight this issue with drums and dancing girls when there are still survivors of that horror and many of their descendants who carry the mark of that tragedy in their skin," he told reporters.

Barros, however, said he informed the Jewish group of his plans months ago.

"They were anxious about putting this float in a carnival atmosphere," he admitted.

But, he predicted: "When the float goes by, people will feel respect."

A counterpart at the rival Grande Rio samba school, Roberto Szaniecki - himself of Polish Jew descent - disagreed.

"It's insensitive. The parade is going to be broadcast in Europe. I don't have grandparents because of the Holocaust," he told the newspaper O Dia.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Oh, but for Salgueiro

Once again, Salgueiro. Is there any way we can beat this team? 4 games, 4 losses. And it is not like they dominate the game, they are for the most part even contests, where we do well, then they do well, back and forth. With the exception of the game last Sunday, we just can't seem to put the ball in the net against them. We have lost three games 1-0. We lost last Sunday 3-2 after having a 2-0 lead. Those points are costly, and we need to win today, against Central of Caruaru. The first game we tied 1-1, but we now have most of our starters who were not available for the first game. The flip side is they do to. Two teams, both in need of the three points for the victory, and hopefully it ends with us on top. Game day is a busy day, so I will try to post the results at the end of the day, if not, early tomorrow. Have a great Sunday!!

Australia vs India, 4th Test

Wow. Wow. Wow. I mean, WOW. This is what everyone had been hoping for all along. First, india goes 526 ao. Australia responds with 563. Fine individual performances, Sachin Tendulkar gets a ton, Anil Kumble bats for 87, Ricky Ponting goes mad for 140, two other Aussies (Clarke and Hayden) get centuries, wickets being spread around amongst the bowlers. Which makes me and every other fan out there, pleased, and pissed at the same time. Why couldn't we have seen more of this and less of the whining and accusations?


Sorry about the light blogging. Caught some sort of virus that had me sleeping through most of the day. The worst seems to be over so I am back, for now....

Thursday, January 24, 2008

4th Test, Austrailia v India, Day One

At stumps, Sachin Tendulkar is at 124 no, and India is at 309/5. This is the kind of performance most everyone had been hoping for. Nice play all around, from batsmen and bowlers alike. Scorecard is here. Now, while this is a nice welcome change, it leaves everyone asking, why weren't we treated to this since the start, instead of the soap opera we got?

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Deceptive 2-0

I have always felt that an early 2-0 lead in soccer is deceptive. It gives a false sense of security. At 1-0, you know it is only one goal, you need to keep alert, on your toes. At 2-0, you feel a bit better, more secure, at let your guard down. A quick goal by the opponent, and suddenly they are back in the game. You are nervous about allowing a tie, and boom, thats what they do. All of a sudden, you are tied in a game where you had a "comfortable" lead. You try to regroup, and suddenly you find yourself losing 3-2. that is exactly what happened to Sete yesterday. We were leading 2-0 early in the second half, let our guard down, and lost 3-2. Salgueiro is a team that seems to have our number. Last season in the second division, we went 12 games with no losses (8 wins, 4 ties), but when we faced them in the final we lost both games 1-0. This season, we had two ties against better teams, but Salgueiro found a way to beat us once again. The season is long, and not all is lost, but hopefully when we face Salgueiro away this Wednesday we can grab a victory and three points and feel better about our chances in the first division.

Outoe of the Day

Luis Garcia of Child of the Revolution has the best quote I have read so far this year:

"Here, if you see someone wearing an American flag, they're probably Cuban. If they wear Che Guevara, they're probably a tourist."

Havana-based blogger Yoani Sánchez, quoted in this feature story published on Sunday by The Observer, in London."

Since I shamelessly copied his post, please be sure to visit his site, and check out his book.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

On The Death Of Bobby Fischer

Quite a lot written on the passing of Bobby Fischer. I am a chess fan, I enjoy the game, play a bit online here. You can see my games in progress here and my rating here. I also have these links on my sidebar. Bobby Fischer was an immensely complex individual, quite eccentric, and haunted by demons some say. This article is among the better that I read.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sete Ties Sport Recife

Well, we tied Wednesday night. Considering we played the State Champions, a team that did not lose a game in the state championship last year, a team we have never beaten, a team that plays in the first division of the national championship, I think we did pretty good. Sport Club Recife is with out a doubt a much better team, better players, better facilities, etc. The score was tied at the half, 0-0. Sport grabbed a quick goal in the second, but our players did not give up, fought back, much like last week, and scored to tie it up. Our next game is Sunday, against Salgueiro, the team we lost the championship to. That, with the fact they pirated two of our players will make for a good rivalry.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Well, the stadium was approved!! Late last year, there was an incident at a stadium in Bahia, part of the structure gave way, and some fans were killed. As is the habit in most places, they locked the barn door after the horses had escaped. Now all the federations and agencies crack down and make sure the stadiums are "up to code". It is not just the structure, but a lot of ticky tacky things, though most of them are for the safety of the fans. You need separate entrances and exits, to avoid trouble, you need separate bathrooms, separate lunch counters. You even need to separate the seating sections. Depending on the size of the stadium you X number of this, X number of that. The field (grass) needs to be a certain quality. Before the season starts, the stadium needs to be approved by a whole host of agencies,: the federation, the fire department, the police department, the health department, the mayor, the mayor's mother, the mayor's mother's neighbor, you get the point. After you get all those approval's, you still need to get a judge to sign off on the ok. And it all needs to get done 48 hours before the start of the game. Well last night at the 11th hours, (actually we did it with about an hour to go) we got our approval and we will host Sport Club Recife tomorrow night. Like I mentioned before, they are the team with the largest fan base, so we should get a nice crowd, part of the reason we had so many requirements for this game. The game is being televised in the state as well. The entire region is looking to us and this game and everyone wants to out out their best effort. Hopefully we will be successful on the field as well!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Twins separated at birth met and married.

Sounds like a headline from Weekly World News, but it's true.

A couple discovered after they had married that they were twins who had been split up at birth and adopted by separate families, according to a member of Britain's House of Lords.

Check it out here.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sete Ties in First Division Debut

Well, we finally made it!! Today was our first game in the first division and we started on the road against Central of Caruaru. Our group is the "Group of Death" in the Pernambucano A1, it has the champion of the A1 last year, Sport Recife, the second place team of A1, Central, the team we played, Salgueiro, the champion of A2, and us (Sete De Setembro Esporte Clube), second place A2. Before we walked on the field we already faced problems, as a good bit of our players were not properly registered with the federation and could not play. We used a few players from "juniores", the youth team (17-19 year olds mostly). (Concurrent with the games of the A1 is the "Juniores", were the teams have their younger players to develop.) The game started poorly, we were down 1-0 in the first two minutes. The team composed themselves, played the way that got them in the first division, and managed a goal before the end of the first half. The second half was tightly contested, with both teams having good chances but not being able to capitalize. Sete played a man up after a red card for about 25 minutes, but the game ended 1-1.

I am pretty happy with a tie. First, we are playing in a harder division. We were playing the runner up last year. We were playing without many of our regular players, most of them getting their first professional game time, and we were playing on the road. Nothing to be ashamed of. If this team can start like this, I feel good about the season.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pakistan: Not To Be Outdone

As if the ICC did not have enough on its hands with the Aussies and Indians, Pakistan is asking the ICC to overturn the 2006 forfeit over the ball tampering incident. I mean come on, can't this wait? Is Pakistan feeling that left out of the cricket headlines that they need to bring this up now? I won't argue they have a claim, but the timing is just beyond me.

Steroids and NHL

Not wanting to be left behind, the NHL is getting in to the steroids act now. As mentioned in the article, baseball waited till the horse was long gone before locking the barn door. With all the troubles winning back fans that the NHL had, they best address this issue before it snowballs out of control.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Lula To Visit Cuba, Wants To Meet With Fidel

Brazilian President Lula will be visiting Cuba next week and hopes to meet with his good friend Fidel. Fidel and Lula are old friends. It is not mentioned in the articles, but I am pretty sure while Lula was exiled from Brasil he spent time in Cuba. Many in Lula's inner circle surely did. His former Chief of Staff, who resigned in one of the many scandals here, Jose Dirceu, "trained" as a "revolutionary" during the late 60's and early 70's. There is no denying Lula is leftist. But to his credit, he did not take Brasil on a sharp left turn as many expected. Before Morales and Chavez and Bachilet, there was Lula. When he took office many feared the worst. Now, perhaps because of his election, and the fact that he wasn't as bad as many thought, fears eased up a bit and that led to the elections in other countries. The Brasilian economy is strong, stronger than it has been in recent memory anyways, and the business sector has not had its worst fears realized. Lula however, is red as red can be, and his friendship with Fidel is all I need to know about him. A few years back there was even a scandal that Cuba donated dollars to Lula's re-election campaign and his party, the PT, Partido Trabalhadores, the Workers party. (There are hundreds of political parites here, an alphabet soup, all known by initials). Anyways, Lula is visiting Cuba and wants to meet with his old buddy Fidel. Anyones guess if this actually happens. Lula has "bought" into the Fidel myth and doesn't realize Fidel has no friends. There was even a huge split in his party because Lula refused to denounce Human Rights abuses in Cuba. The purpose of the visit is to say goodbye to friend before he dies, I mean make some business deals. More here and here.

Sri Lanka Outlook 2008

Kumar Sangakkara writes an excellent piece in CricInfo on the outlook for Sri Lanka in 2008. He hits the nail on the head with this comment:

The key is not to find someone to replace Murali or be the next Murali, but rather to figure out who the next best spinner is, and see if he can back up Murali or play on his own. We shouldn't judge him alongside Murali because no one will ever be as good as Murali. But we should play the next best spinner and trust him to turn up and take wickets for Sri Lanka. If we have such an approach and have confidence in our spinners, I think we'll go a long way.

Murali may be gone, but they have Malinga da Slinga and Maharoof , who I think will lead the charge for them this year. They looked surprising in the World Cup, and I think they will continue their form in 2008.

Sangakkara is also responsible for what has to be one of the greatest sledges of all time. No obscenity, no family mentions, no racial or ethnic comments, just a pure sledge (if for whatever reason the vid does not work, you can check it out here:

What are you doing here? - man asks wife at brothel

I want to make a comment, but I don't know what to say..
What are you doing here? - man asks wife at brothel

WARSAW (Reuters) - A Polish man got the shock of his life when he visited a brothel and spotted his wife among the establishment's employees. Polish tabloid Super Express said the woman had been making some extra money on the side while telling her husband she worked at a store in a nearby town."I was dumfounded. I thought I was dreaming," the husband told the newspaper Wednesday.

The couple, married for 14 years, are now divorcing, the newspaper reported.

Vermeulen: The Voices In My Head Told Me To Do It

In another of the strange chapters in cricket, Mark Vermeulen admitted torching the Zimbabwe cricket board's headquarters but pleaded not guilty to arson on the grounds he had been suffering psychiatric problems. CricInfo has the story here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Family Addition!!

Sorry Ma, it is not THE addition you were waiting for, but it is an addition nonetheless!! Presenting, PINGA!! See, the doggie is Pingo, so his "sister" will be called Pinga. Now, the word does not mean here the same thing it means to Cubans, so I get a kick out of it. Hey, it's just me being me.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Shades of Bodyline?

Dileep Premachandran of The Doosra, the South Asian cricket blog for the Times Online has written a piece about all the controversy with the latest Test. Now I don't think it is as bad as Bodyline, but I can't think of a Test with as much action away from the playing field. He does raise an interesting point,

Anil Kumble's remark at the end of his press conference on Sunday night - "There was only one team playing in the spirit of the game" - immediately invited comparisons with the events of 75 years ago. "Not since Bill Woodfull in the 1932-33 Bodyline series has a rival captain spoken so strongly against his opponents," said the
Daily Telegraph in Sydney.

A very similar comment was made by Woodfull during the famous series. It is not the first time Andrew Symonds or Harbhajan Singh are involved in similar controversy, and sadly, it will not be the last. From shoddy umpiring to accusations of racism, what could have been a series remembered for stellar play, will now be remembered for controversy.

Hey Ma, I'm Famous!!!

No matter how many times it happens, it is always exciting to see your name, get credited, or hat tipped for a link or tip!! I sent this link about Paul Krugman to Donald Luskin of Poor and Stupid, and he used it today on his site. WOOHOO!!!!

When Athletes Blow a Gasket

Ricky Ponting was none too pleased when the media questioned a catch during the Sydney Test.

When asked during the post-match press-conference about whether he caught the ball cleanly, an incensed Ponting took offence to the question.

"I claimed the catch and there was no way I grounded it (the ball)."

"If you are questioning my integrity, then probably you shouldn't be sitting here," retorted a furious Australian captain.

Now, the interesting thing here is, I just saw an athlete lose his cool on the field yesterday. As I mentioned yesterday, I work for a small club in Brasil. Yesterday we were playing a friendly against some "Washington Generals" type team. We were winning 4-0, and most of the reserves entered the match.

Now, we have a player who left after last season, under rather bad terms. Fate, however, brought him back. He was released by the team he had left us for, was on his way to try to catch on to another team, when he ran in to a member management at a bus station. He was literally waiting on his bus to go to another team and try out. He was apologetic about the way he left the team, and was given a second chance.

So back to the game, 4 nil, and he's got a breakaway, wide open shot, he hits it terribly, right into the goalkeepers hands. At this point the crowd turns on him. Screams at him, calls him a traitor and that type of shot is the reason the other team released him. Typical stuff, nothing offensive at all. The kid (he is 19, btw) lost his head. He rips off his jersey, throws it on the ground, and walks off in tears. Never seen anything like it. I guess it is because sports is so "public" that athletes errors and shortcomings are so visible.

Edmundo is back!!!

Looks like one of my favorite players of all time is set to return to one of my favorite teams, Vasco da Gama (RJ). Edmundo has played for the team at several times through out his career, and is um idolo, an idol, to the torcida, the fans/ supporters groups. The link here is in English. The press in Brasil is reporting this more of a sure thing, but they are notorious here for reporting signings like this before they are a done deal. If one thing in Edmundo's career is a certain, it is that any time he has been left without a team, he finds his way back home to Vasco. Edmundo will always have Vasco, and Vasco will always have Edmundo.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Caste a factor on the Indian team?

This article from the Sydney Morning Herald says the caste system plays a factor on the Indian Cricket Team. This article on CricInfo refutes it. I would love if any of my visitors from that region can give me their opinions and views, cause I swear I never even gave it a second thought till I read those two articles.

Lox and Black Beans

Well I stand corrected. Last week I wrote a post about my mom and the emails she sends. I was wrong, I apologize, and will address it shortly. Right now I would like to thank her for forwarding a link to the following article, about a photo exhibit regarding Cuban Jews called "Lox with Black Beans".

In Lox with Black Beans, some well-known Cuban Jews are featured in striking portraits: Painter Baruj Salinas in his studio; George Feldenkreis, chairman and CEO of Perry Ellis International, at his beach estate; television personality Mauricio Zeilic at work.

Read the whole article here.

Right of Reply

I guess it wouldn't be a blog without controversy. It seems last week I may have been a bit hasty and took a bit too much poetic license when I said my Mom forwarded superfluous emails. She brought it up to me, and upon further review, I would like to retract some of those statements and publicly apologize. So here goes:
Mama, you are right, I was wrong, and I am sorry for making it seem like you forwarded silly spam emails. Sorry Ma, I love you, always have, always will.
Here is the note I got from my Mom:

To set the record straight; As a matter of fact, I'm the one (Danny's MAMA) who does NOT forward ANY Email until I check I NEVER have. That includes Mr. Kangaroo and Mr Green Jeans were war heroes through Obama does not salute the flag, to AOL will send 10 cents foe every Email you forward, to Bill Gates will share his fortune (I'm in math, remember? I know about GEOMETRIC PROGRESSION) to whatever. All my friends ask me if something is true or a hoax and have been doing it for YEARS. The jokes, yes, I admit I used to forward everything. Now I am choosier. You ARE getting old and beginning to forget and/or confuse things. I mean it! I may forgive you, Danny but only because you are my son and I love you.


Spoken like only a mother can do!!
Once again Ma, I love ya!!

R.I.P. Andrew Olmsted

Andrew Olmsted was a blogger and a soldier. Nothing I can write can express the respect and admiration I feel for an individual such as he. He made arrangements for any eventuality, and unfortunately for Andrew and his family, the worst has occurred. His final post has been made. The original post appears on his blog, but I have had trouble accessing it, so I provide the google cache link here.

Sunday friendly match

For those of you that do not know, I work for a small soccer/ futbol club in Brasil. Last year we finished in second place of the second division, and were promoted to the first. Today we are hosting our first home game with a new coach and new team. The season starts for us on the 13th of this month, and our first home game will be on the 16th. For that home game, we will be playing Sport Club Recife, the best, most popular team in the state. I am kinda pressed as we prepare for todays friendly, so I am short on links and explanations, but as the season goes on I will explain more about the team and the job. A great Sunday to all!!!

Friday, January 4, 2008

It's the smugglers, stupid.

See, it's not that I agree, or disagree with Cuban Americans financing the illegal smuggling of their relatives off the island. You could defend it with a stretch of "is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family". And it's not that I want to argue that wet foot/dry foot policy is faulty and rewards illegal immigration. I can defend that with "Was the Underground Railroad morally right?". What gets me is the blame is not put on Cuba, and its policies of oppression. Former local TV journalist Mark Potter, who knows better from the time he spent in South Florida tells the tale here.

Joke E-Mails

When my mom (Mama!! I love ya!!) first got her email and started to use the web, she would forward me every joke, every "help Johnny collect a world record number of business cards before he dies of (insert rare terminal illness here)", every "don't stick your fingers in the change slot of the pay phone, lest you prick your fingers with an AIDS infested pin", you guys get the point. I guess she was excited about having an email, and she only wanted to make me laugh, or be alert and careful, like any Mom. With time, she got better. A lot better. The quality of what she forwarded improved. Now, rather than roll my eyes, I can be sure that whatever she sent will be enjoyable, and most get a good laugh out of me. It may be silly, but this one made me laugh, so thanks Ma!!

The local news station was interviewing an 80-year-old lady because she had just gotten married -- for the fourth time. The interviewer asked her questions about her life, about what it felt like to be marrying again at 80, and then about her new husband's occupation. 'He's a funeral director,' she answered. 'Interesting,' the newsman thought. He then asked her if she wouldn't mind telling him a little about her first three husbands and what they did for a living. She paused for a few moments, needing time to reflect on all those years. After a short time, a smile came to her face and she answered proudly, explaining that she'd first married a banker when she was in her early 20's, then a circus ringmaster when in her 40's, later on a preacher when in her 60's, and now in her 80's, a funeral director. The interviewer looked at her, quite astonished, and asked why she had married four men with such diverse careers. She smiled and explained, 'I married one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go.'

Thursday, January 3, 2008

So how exactly is Cricket played

The people who surf in from a link on a cricket site already know how the game works. But most of the people I know really aren't cricket fans. So if you are one of those, and were wondering how the game works, it's really rather simple. You ready? OK here goes:

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side thats been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. Sometimes, depending on the light and the weather, they send everybody in, whether they are out or not. When both sides have been in and all the men have out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!

I keed, I keed. (Although that really is all there is to the game.) OK seriously, there are some excellent explanations of cricket on the web, geared towards fans of baseball. While there may be some tickytacky objections that all the intricacies of the game are not covered, they do give a great overall explanation.

DM'S EXPLANATION OF CRICKET (from dm's cricblog)

And special thanks to former coworkers David Whiteman and Samir Cherkoui, and Mahmood and Ghazala from the donut shop who calmly and patiently explained the game to me, several times, before it finally set in. Mahmood paid out of his pocket to set up his shop in 1999 with TV's and satellite to transmit the games (he did the same in 03) and explained the smallest detail while running the counter. If it wasn't for them, I would have never discovered this fascinating game. Thanks guys!!

Wolfe to write on immigration, novel set in Miami

Tom Wolfe has not only changed publishing houses, but locale as well. Wolfe is writing a new novel about immigration. According to the release, the novel will look at "class, family, wealth, race, crime, sex, corruption and ambition in Miami, the city where America's future has arrived first." Major characters include a "young nurse of Cuban ancestry," a "second-generation Cuban police officer," and "a woman of Haitian background who passes for Anglo. Wolfe originally researched the Vietnamese community in California before settling on Miami "would make a richer, more complex setting. "As far as I know, it's the only city in the world in which more than half the population is recent immigrants," he said. "They run Miami politically. This is a situation in which there is one collision of racial and ethnic groups after another. You don't have to make up anything. You don't dare. The imagination is scrawny compared to what goes on down there." The WSJ has the details, and they even quote one of my ex bosses, Mitch Kaplan of Books & Books "There will be a lot of interest in how he takes what Miami is and how he spins it," said Mr. Kaplan, who is confident that the book will be a strong seller in his market. "Anybody who reads Tom Wolfe knows it will be his vision. But I don't know that any one person can get to the heart of the reality of south Florida today."
What Tom Wolfe will write about the immigrant community is anyones guess. Hopefully he will approach it fairly, and show all aspects if them, instead of focusing on certain segments

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

D. B. Cooper

Way back when....
We used to have a pay-tv service called On-TV. It was a converter box that you had to set to on, while a certain TV channel was set. In our case it was 51. For whatever my dad
didn't want cable so we got On-TV. I think it had something to do with too many R rated movies on cable, too many channels, too much policing, so it was easier to control one channel. Anyways, the point here is one of the very first movies I remember watching was The Pursuit of D. B. Cooper with Treat Williams and Robert Duvall. At the time I loved the movie, and I remember when DVD's replaced VHS, I found the tape for sale at a rental place. I bought it and upon further review the movie really wasn't all that good (or accurate, for that matter). But the story of D. B. Cooper fascinated me. It remains the only unsolved "skyjacking" as they were called back then, in the history of the F.B.I. The case was never officially closed, and on the 31st of Decemeber they sent out a press release asking for help in closing the case. Here is the text, and their site has the pics. So as public service I will pass it along. And I just think the case is interesting as hell....

Help Us Solve the Enduring Mystery
On a cold November night 36 years ago, in the driving wind and rain, somewhere between southern Washington state and just north of Portland, Oregon, a man calling himself Dan Cooper parachuted out of a plane he’d just hijacked clutching a bag filled with $200,000 in stolen cash.

Who was Cooper? Did he survive the jump? And what happened to the loot, only a small part of which has ever surfaced?

It’s a mystery, frankly. We’ve run down thousands of leads and considered all sorts of scenarios. And amateur sleuths have put forward plenty of their own theories. Yet the case remains unsolved.

Would we still like to get our man? Absolutely. And we have reignited the case—thanks to a Seattle case agent named Larry Carr and new technologies like DNA testing.

You can help. We’re providing here, for the first time, a series of pictures and information on the case. Please look it all over carefully to see if it triggers a memory or if you can provide any useful information.

A few things to keep in mind, according to Special Agent Carr:
  • Cooper was no expert skydiver. “We originally thought Cooper was an experienced jumper, perhaps even a paratrooper,” says Special Agent Carr. “We concluded after a few years this was simply not true. No experienced parachutist would have jumped in the pitch-black night, in the rain, with a 200-mile-an-hour wind in his face, wearing loafers and a trench coat. It was simply too risky. He also missed that his reserve chute was only for training and had been sewn shut—something a skilled skydiver would have checked.”
  • The hijacker had no help on the ground, either. To have utilized an accomplice, Cooper would’ve needed to coordinate closely with the flight crew so he could jump at just the right moment and hit the right drop zone. But Cooper simply said, "Fly to Mexico," and he had no idea where he was when he jumped. There was also no visibility of the ground due to cloud cover at 5,000 feet.
  • We have a solid physical description of Cooper. “The two flight attendants who spent the most time with him on the plane were interviewed separately the same night in separate cities and gave nearly identical descriptions,” says Carr. “They both said he was about 5'10" to 6', 170 to 180 pounds, in his mid-40s, with brown eyes. People on the ground who came into contact with him also gave very similar descriptions.”

And what of some of the names pegged as Cooper? None have panned out. Duane Weber, who claimed to be Cooper on his deathbed, was ruled out by DNA testing (we lifted a DNA sample from Cooper’s tie in 2001). Kenneth Christiansen, named in a recent magazine article, didn’t match the physical description and was a skilled paratrooper. Richard McCoy, who died in 1974, also didn’t match the description and was at home the day after the hijacking having Thanksgiving dinner with his family in Utah, an unlikely scenario unless he had help.

As many agents before him, Carr thinks it highly unlikely that Cooper survived the jump. “Diving into the wilderness without a plan, without the right equipment, in such terrible conditions, he probably never even got his chute open.”

Still, we’d all like to know for sure, and Carr thinks you can help.

“Maybe a hydrologist can use the latest technology to trace the $5,800 in ransom money found in 1980 to where Cooper landed upstream. Or maybe someone just remembers that odd uncle.”

If you have any information: please e-mail our Seattle field office at And for more details on the case, see our story of November 24, 2006.

SHOCKER: Symonds: I was out

The umps got it wrong?!? Nah, it can't be....
Symonds went 137no today, and led the charge for Australia 376/7. At 134/6 the Aussies were struggling, and Steve Bucknor gave Symonds an iffy call when Ishant Sharma seemed to get Symonds at 30. Then on 48, Bruce Oxenford turned down a stumping appeal from Anil Kumble.

"I was very lucky. I was out when I was 30, given not out," said Symonds.

"That's cricket though. I can sit here and tell you about my bad decisions as well, but I won't. That's the game. It's just one of those things."

We start the year with umpire controversy, whodathunkit!?!?

Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back

Major hat tip to Luis Garcia of "Child of the Revolution" for this piece, which I must pass on for my queirda aunt Alina. Luis also has an excellent book by the same name which I recommend. It seems Frank is back, and he's making nightly performances at the Hotel Nacional. In typical Sinatra fashion, he was at the mini bar tossing back a few. Guess the flask of Jack Daniel's he had was dry. No mention if he had his pack of Camel's. (If you believe in rumors, he was buried with pack of Camel's, a Zippo lighter, a roll of dimes, and a flask of Jack Daniel's). According to the report, Jude Law was staying in one of the luxury suites where Sinatra once stayed. Law “sampled lots of the hotel’s rum cocktails to celebrate his birthday so he thought it was just a drunken vision”, according to a "source" at the hotel.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Australia v India, 2nd Test, Sydney

Australia and India face off in the second Test of their series. Australia dominated the first Test. Unless India makes serious changes, we may see the same result. India looked strong in their first innings, but the Australian attack was massive. Their bowlers came out in the second innings and made short work of India. Australia is strong at home, especially in Sydney. Lets face it, they are strong wherever they play. But India has the pieces they need to pull off a win, they just need to put them in the right places. Anil Kumble may still be learning his way around, but I think he's done OK so far. Perhaps one more spinner (I know, I know, who is that spinner?). Sachin Tendulkar was reported to be ill, but should be OK come game time. I think Kumble will put Zaheer Kahn in the line up, but right now it's anyones guess. India is facing a monster opponent, but they have plenty of fight and I think they will not go down as easy this in this Test.

Probable starters:
Australia 1 Phil Jaques, 2 Matthew Hayden, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Hussey, 5 Michael Clarke, 6 Andrew Symonds, 7 Adam Gilchrist (wk), 8 Brad Hogg, 9 Brett Lee, 10 Mitchell Johnson, 11 Stuart Clark.

India 1 Wasim Jaffer, 2 Rahul Dravid, 3 VVS Laxman, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 Sourav Ganguly, 6 Yuvraj Singh, 7 Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), 8 Anil Kumble (capt), 9 Harbhajan Singh, 10 Zaheer Khan/Irfan Pathan, 11 RP Singh.

South Africa v West Indies, 2nd Test, Cape Town

The Windies looked good in the first Test. Shivnarine Chanderpaul grabbed a century and while he is a far cry from Brian Lara, he is filling the void that Lara's retirement left, at least for now. Marlon Samuels was surprising and impressive, and if he continues his current level of play he will give South Africa problems. The Windies have fallen on hard times, and that is putting it nicely. 2007 was horrendous. Their performance at home in the World Cup was disappointing not only to their fans, but fans of cricket in general. So it was a refreshing turn of events when they grabbed their first test win in over a year and a half. Towards the end it looked as if the Windies would fold when South Africa made a strong charge, but a nice performance form the Windies bowlers, especially Fidel Edwards sealed the victory. The West Indies need the same offensive output they had in their first innings of the earlier Test, and their bowling needs to watch themselves, especially as the match draws to a close. South Africa has been able to jam themselves up early in a series, only to come back and take it in the end. The Windies need to keep their composure, not rest on the laurels of their victory if they want to start 2008 with a much needed series victory. A win like that will boost their confidence, and the cricket world can welcome the return of the Windies to top level play.

Probable starters:

South Africa 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Neil McKenzie, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 Ashwell Prince, 6 AB de Villiers, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Shaun Pollock, 9 Paul Harris, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Makhaya Ntini

West Indies 1 Chris Gayle (capt), 2 Daren Ganga, 3 Runako Morton, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Darren Sammy, 9 Jerome Taylor, 10 Daren Powell, 11 Fidel Edwards