Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson

Just heard Michael Jackson died of a cardiac arrest at the UCLA hospital. Stunned and shocked.

As a very small young boy, he started as the lead singer for Jackson 5. He had astronomical success as a solo artist in the 1980s. He certainly earned his title as the King of Pop.

His album “Thriller” still remains the best selling album of all time. It sold more than 50 million copies.

In 1983, his “moonwalk” stunned his audiences. Even today, it is one of pop culture’s famous dance moves.

In 1984, “Weird Al” Yancovic released a single “Eat It”, a parody of Michael Jackson song, “Beat It”. This music video, “Eat it” became very popular. "Weird Al" got a Grammy for that single. Before producing this album, he asked Michael Jackson’s permission. Parody means making fun of the original. Michael Jackson was a mega star. Still, he was not only magnanimous enough to give permission but also helped "Weird Al" with the production of "Eat It".

Of course, he had eccentric behaviour and changed his physical appearance many times.

During the last few years, he had financial problems. He was preparing for a big comeback. He had scheduled for 50 shows in London beginning July.13.

King of Pop is no more.

London, Venice, and Oh yes the T20 World Cup (Part 2)

Visits to Madame Tussads Wax Museum and Stonehenge:

On June 14, we visited the famous Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. We stood in line for 2 hours before reaching the ticket counter. This place had a HUGE line and only 3 people handling the ticket counters. Inside the museum they had Hollywood and Bollywood stars, sports personalities, top intellectuals, world leaders, and politicians. The mannequins look so real and lifelike. All of the Indians, including us, wanted to pose for picture with Sachin Tendulkar. But we were all disappointed. Sachin Tendulkar was taken out for maintenance.

Mahatma Gandhi at Madame Tussads Was Museum

On June 15, we had originally planned to visit Kensington Palace. However we changed our plans and decided to go to Stonehenge instead. It is a 2 hour drive from London. Stonehenge is a megalithic rock monument of 150 enormous stones set in a purposeful circular pattern. The rock formation happened around 3000 BC. It is Britain’s national icon. It symbolizes mystery, power, and endurance. There are various theories (version) regarding the purpose of these rocks. Some call it an astronomical observatory for marking events in the prehistoric calendar. Some say this was a sacred burial ground. Some describe this as a temple of worship. It is in the list of United Nation’s world heritage sites and narrowly missed being included as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. A must visit, in our opinion.


(Still to come—Stay tuned)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

London, Venice, and Oh yes the T20 World Cup too (Part 1)

We were planning to go on vacation somewhere this year. Ever since we went on a Gondola ride at the Venetian (casino) in Las Vegas, we wanted to go to Venice, Italy. Then I saw an article that the T20 Cricket World Cup will be held in June 2009 in London. I have not seen a live cricket match in a long time. Therefore, for nostalgic reasons we decided to go to London and see a cricket match as well as other British attractions, and then visit Venice.

We invited our grown kids to come along with us. Our daughter declined due to prior commitments but our son accepted to come with us to London. Regarding the game of Cricket - He has no knowledge of the sport. I had to explain the game to him. He still does not understand what an LBW is and how an umpire could decide whether there was an LBW or not. He does however know the names of 2 cricket players - Gary Sobers and S. Venkatragavan. Remember my previous blog about frozen memories transferred from one generation to the next!

We wanted tickets for June 12 when India was most likely going to play. However, we got tickets for the June 13 Super 8 double-header. The likely teams on that day were Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan, and England. My son was disappointed because he could not take his huge Indian flag with him.

So, we landed in London on June 11. It was just our luck that the London Underground Tube employees were on strike. Therefore, we had to catch a different mode of transportation to reach our hotel. The Tube from Heathrow Airport to our hotel is about 4 pounds but our different mode of transportation ended up costing us 21 pounds each to get to the hotel.

That evening we went to Piccadilly Circus. There was a famous TV show in the USA called Cheers. In this show, the name of the bar is “Cheers” and is located in Boston. They had opened a bar and restaurant called “Cheers” in London with the same sign and similar layout. When we reached the place where “Cheers” was supposed to be, we were told that the bar/pub had shut down.

The next day (Friday June 12) we did the touristy stuff. We went to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guards then we also saw Big Ben and the Parliament House.
Next to the Parliament House, we went to see Westminster Abbey, built in 960 AD. This is a Gothic monastery church that is traditional place for coronation and burial site for English monarchs. There is a Poet’s Corner where they have honored famous poets and playwrights. This is a must see for its beautiful architectural designs. Millions of people visit this place each year. This is the place Princess Diana got married and also had her funeral services.
One thing I noticed is that anywhere you go...Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, Parliament House, Big Ben....half the crowd were Indians. However in Westminster Abbey, we did not see a single Indian on that day.


We went to Oval on June 13 to watch the Cricket games. It was a doubleheader - South Africa played against the West Indies and South Africa won the match. In the second game Pakistan easily won the match over New Zealand.

During the game and definitely after the game Pakistanis celebrated in excess. It was just one match at the Super 8. But they celebrated, after the game in the streets, as if they won the World Cup. (Latest Update: Pakistan won the T20 World Cup) New Zealand supporters were also equally crazy. Pakistanis kept shouting as loud as they can in unison: “Pakistan Zindabad.” “Pakistan Zindabad.”
New Zealanders then replied: “Pakistan blah blah blah.” “Pakistan blah blah blah.”
Pakistanis continued to shout: “Pakistan Zindabad.” “Pakistan Zindabad.”
New Zealanders then responded with: “Pakistan Build a Bomb.” “Pakistan Build a Bomb.”

(Still to come—Stay tuned)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Funny Names

Recently I came across some names that sounded funny. I thought I would share with you those names.

One of the pitchers for Philadelphia Phillies (Baseball Team in USA) is named Antonio Bastardo.

Then there was the famous German mathematician, Rudolph Lipschitz. The Lipschitz Continuity Condition is named after him.

In England, a family’s last name is Hore. Think of the redicule the women in that family have gone through. Very sad.

I saw this name in the facebook. Adam Baum.

Dr. & Dr. Doctor. In the web I noticed 2 couples with the last name Doctor. All of them are real doctors. Dr. Judith Klein Doctor and her husband Dr. Leslie C. Doctor practice in Connecticut. Dr. Dipika D. Doctor and her husband Dr. Dilip S. Doctor practice in the State of New York.

There is an actress-model in USA. Her name is Paige Turner.

If you have come across any funny name, please let me know. Thanks.

I will be off on vacation and back on June 20th.

Take care.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Another Achievement for an Indian in USA

Horse Racing in USA is a very popular sport. There are 3 famous races every year. Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes.

Kentucky Derby race is held every year in Louisville, Kentucky, on the first Saturday in May. Preakness race is held every year in Baltimore, Maryland, on the third Saturday in May. Belmont stakes race is held every year in Elmont, New York, on the first or second Saturday in June.

Last Saturday Belmont Stakes race was held in Elmont New York. The winning horse is Summer Bird, (Horse No. 4). The odds were 12 to 1. The owners of this winning horse are Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman. Move over IT professionals. Bring on race horse owners.