March Madness 2013

February 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

I love to watch March Madness — a lot more so than professional basketball. I mean who would not enjoy watching a bunch of talented ballers playing for their schools, passionate fans and pride rather than for some clubs or teams owned by billionaires. This is what sports are ought to be about.

My alma mater does not have a lot of basketball history, but we have improved considerably in recent years. Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams have a decent shot at playing in the Big Dance. I won’t reveal my alma mater, but our mascot is related to North American indigenous peoples.

I know the tournament is still a few weeks away, but I will make my predictions for the four #1 seeds. Based on my (un)expert analysis, the the Big Four are Indiana, Duke, Gonzaga and Louisville. The gap between #1 seeds and #2 seeds is nonexistent this year. It just shows how competitive college basketball has become.

Do you have high college basketball IQ? Take these March Madness trivia questions to test your knowledge. Have fun!

Last minute’s Oscars predictions 2013

February 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

My amateur Oscars picks:

1. Best Picture: Argo.

2. Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis.

3. Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence.

4. Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz.

5. Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway.

6. Best Director: Michael Haneke.

War Lies

February 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Communist Vietnam recently attempted to rewrite history with a “war documentary” series that was riddled with distorted facts. The massacre at Hue by the Viet Cong (guerrilla fighters) during the Tet Offensive was a known event supported by evidence and multiple witnesses. Hue was a city in South Vietnam which allied with United States. In the propaganda documentary, the filmmaker tried to rewrite history by blaming the massacre of thousands of civilians on American and South Vietnamese military. They even claimed they did the dead a favor by burying their bodies in mass graves.

Who are they trying to fool? They expected us to believe that the U.S. military killed thousands of American sympathizers. What benefits to the U.S. would come from that? This lie is disproved by both facts and logic. Let’s not forget the VC also murdered thousands of people during the so called “land reforms”.

I know the Vietnam War was not popular with many people, but I can’t stand American soldiers being blamed for everything. Atrocities happen in wars, but the Massacre at Hue was the VC’s doing and they must own up to it.

Links:

1. http://www.historynet.com/tet-what-really-happened-at-hue.htm

2. http://www.clemson.edu/caah/history/facultypages/EdMoise/hue.html

3. http://www.nytimes.com/1987/09/22/opinion/l-hue-massacre-of-1968-goes-beyond-hearsay-466387.html

2013 Daytona 500

February 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

I usually don’t follow car racing, but I do make an effort to watch the Daytona 500 (or more accurately the last 50 laps of the race.) This is because of the increased stakes. Along with the Indy 500, the Daytona is the biggest auto race in United States. It is every driver’s dream to win this race. Consequently, the final laps of the Daytona 500 are the most exciting in sports (similar to horse racing.) Every crash, miscue, fuel error late in the race could be the difference between career-defining victory and defeat.

This year’s Daytona 500 is scheduled for Sunday February 24. This race is getting a lot of mass attention due to the fact Danica Patrick won the pole position — the first woman to do so. If she does well this Sunday, it could be the most watched Daytona 500 ever. Enjoy the race. Car racing fans can check out my Daytona 500 trivia quiz.

Puppet King

February 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

I recently read a historical novel that recounts the various political intrigues at a royal court. A general overthrew the king and installed a 10-year-old child in his place. This general became the new king’s “protector” who held absolute power. Later on this general was killed by another general who became the new royal protector. This scenario kept on repeating for many years. The king was simply a political puppet (or pawn) in the power game. He was given a palace to live in and that was it. No one respected him or listened to his orders. When his newest protector thought the king had outlived his usefulness, he decided to usurp the throne for himself. The (now former) king and his wife were given poisonous portions. When his wife refused to take it, she was hurdled out of the window to her death. The king was strangled to death.

Reading this novel makes me glad that we live in a democracy where people trade verbal jabs instead of slash and hack.

Purim 2013

February 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

I once asked a Jewish friend why they have so many holidays — Hanukkah, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shavout, Purim just to name a few. He said it is because there is no real separation between religion, history and culture. Nearly every holiday has a religious component to it; even the Jewish New Year is rooted in the Hebrew Bible. Over the years, many of them have gained secular and cultural meanings as well.

The holiday of Purim is an important occasion on the Jewish calendar, when people give food/drink gifts to one another. This year’s observance will be on February 23-24. I have prepared a Purim trivia quiz for my Jewish readers to enjoy. Happy Purim!

Dried Fruit

February 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

I have decided to bring back my “fruit” series. If you have not read my previous posts in this series, you can find samples of it HERE and HERE. Hope you enjoy it.

Located in a remote region of southeast Asia is a village that is literally built on water. To move from one point to another, the villagers would have to swim. While they would have preferred to travel by boats, they are too poor to purchase one. Fishing is their only source of income. Since fish are found in much deeper waters, the fishermen have to swim multiple miles each day to catch them. These people are terrific (endurance) swimmers; they would have easily won Olympic medals if they were given a chance. Still, this low-paying profession is a rather dangerous career. If the fishermen did not return by the end of the day, their families would surely know their fate.

There is no school within proximity of the village and there is a good reason for it. It is unsafe for young children to swim from home to school and back. Also, few teachers (or more correctly no teacher) would want to take a job in this neck of woods. That leaves the children here with an uncertain future. Many of them are likely to follow their parents’ footsteps and become swimming fishers.

There is one good benefit about living in this village. It is remote and somewhat isolated from the outside world, making it a perfect hiding place for wanted criminals. However, the harsh and undesirable living conditions discourage even the most ardent criminal to take the opportunity.

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