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Category: Life stories


Olympics in London

200

200 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Olympics are in full swing. The Chinese are leading with the biggest medals haul for now.It looks like its going to be a straight fight between China and the USA for the most medals. London 2012 seems to have overcome the cynics’ predictitions. Its running smoothly. Team GB has not disappointed either. Team GB is currently fifth, and with athletes like Andy Murray, Rebecca Adlinton, Jessica Ennis,Dai Green, Ben Ainslie and Victoria Pendleton to compete today (to mention a few); there is a good chance there will be a few medals added this weekend. We can not talk about the Olympics without mentioning the ‘great’ Michael Phelps. He is in the 100 butterfly. Michael has won 2 Golds and 2 silvers at London 2012 so far. Astonishing! He has also accumulated more than 19 Olympics medals. He is the most decorated Olympian and his feats surely inspire other athletes across the globe.

The Olympics were originally meant to be the tournament for amateur sport. It is disconcerting at times watching professional sportsmen (USA Basketball team, Team GB football, professional tennis players, etc) playing against the amateur sportsmen. However, the amateur status was compromised a long time ago with state-sponsored athletes from the Communist bloc. Commercial organisations and other states have since joined in. That is one reason China does so well at the Olympics; with athletes groomed from a very early age. Though it is not a really level playing field, all competitors have a bite at the cherry, and its great to see athletes from little-known countries like Vanuatu, Micronesia, Nauru, Timor-Leste and even Palestine. Just to mention a few. All the athletes deserve their 15 minutes of fame and we should all applaud our countries’ athletes at the Games.

MEDALS:

Country                                      Gold     Silver     Bronze            Total

1 China                                        18           11              5                34

2 United States                           18            9              10                37

3 S Korea                                     7             2               5                 14

4 France                                      6             4                6                16

5 United Kingdom                       5              6               4                15

Controversy

Every Olympics games gets its fair share of controversy, and London 2012 is no exception. There has been some considerable murmurings following the exploits of the  Chinese 16-year old record-breaking Swimmer Ye  Shewin. Lord Coe even went on to urge everyone to cut her some slack imploring “My instinct is to always give benefit of the doubt to the competitor until proven otherwise. My instinct is to celebrate an extraordinary performance.” Her feats were truly extraordinary, achieving a faster time than some male competitors. Record-breaking feats have always left a sour state-When Ben Johnson won the 100m in record time, we all applauded only later to be left deflated after revelations that he used performance-enhancing drugs. It also happened with athletes associated to the Balco scandal. Some of these broke records at the Olympics and we all joined in the adulation,and only to be left dumbfounded when the true nature of their deeds were revealed. A few athletes have all ready been thrown out for using performance-enhancing drugs. That is why some people find it hard to celebrate when some extraordinary athletes win the Yellow jersey at the Tour de France. Many a time we have discovered that these sportsmen tend to use performance enhancing substances and this leaves spectators quite cynical.

A truly spectacular gaffe involved the raising of flags. Yes. South Korea’s flag was raised when the North Korea women’s football team was just about to play at Old Trafford. A spectacular own goal. However, these things happen. As a result the Koreans refused to play until the right flag had been. However, the flag issue aside, is it right for a country that’s known to be arbitrarily abusing its to be invited to the Olympics? Syria is at the Olympics-Aleppo is awash with the blood of hundreds if not thousands of innocent children and people being massacred everyday.  Thousands of Syrians are being murdered by the state everyday and yet the country is allowed to be at the Olympics. It beggars belief. Zimbabwe’s regime atrociously abuses the human rights of its citizens, Tibetans are not allowed to be free yet China is not reprimanded. There is strife in Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, just to name a few. It seems as if the Olympics exist on another planet where only sports matters. Nothing else is important, as long as the athletes grapple for the medals. The only thing that matters is the Athletes Oath! Well, talking of the oath, Badminton has created its little storm in a tea-cup. China, yes China again, Indonesia and South Korea women badminton players have been disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct. Their crime was and “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport” by not making any attempt to win the matches. Erik Thohir the Head of Indonesia’s Olympic team later controversially claimed to AP that “China has been doing this so many times and they never get sanctioned by the BWF”

Saw this video at http://www.guardian.co.uk and felt I should share it. Some may baulk at the temerity. Others may sympathise with the protester. One thing I will never understand though is: Does taking of clothes when protesting make a bolder statement?

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/ccL_11x04sI&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

London 2012 has proved to be a success so far. It has not been a failure as some people wanted the world to believe. Team GB is doing remarkably well thanks to these athletes who have worked so hard to compete at the highest stage of all. We should all applaud all our representatives at the Games and enjoy these Olympics. After all they only come once every 4 years.

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I am a prisoner. Locked up in my own cell. The world is the warden.
I can not drink
I want a drink
You drink too much, they say
Your liver is gonna go.

I am a prisoner in my own prison
I can not face them
Demons control me, they say
You are a bad influence, some say
I know not what they know

I am a prisoner in a world I once belonged
I can not walk
I can not get out of the house
You don’t belong here they say
A waste of skin

I am a prisoner gaoled within my mortal coil
I am my own warden
Voices tell me I am useless
They tell me they hate me,
A waste of space

I am a prisoner for all to see,
The world is the warden
I am scared of my own shadow
I am going to burn in hell,
The man with the white collar says

I am a prisoner no one wants
Forgotten by my friends
Unwanted by kith and kin
Banished to the prison that is within me
Loneliness is my companion

I am prisoner,
My conscience is the warden
You can’t say that, I hear it say
You can not do that, the voice says
I know I am no good

I am a Prisoner, no one can save
The dark walls surround me
An abyss I slowly sink into

Prisoner (TV series)

Prisoner (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Locked away in darkness
No one to save me

I am a prisoner, marooned, abandoned
Unseen walls around me
I know not what freedom is’
Float like a butterfly, fight, man fight
There is no fight left in me

A silver medal with the olympic rings inside

A silver medal with the olympic rings inside (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally they have arrived. The whole world witnessed one magnificent spectacle last night when the Olympics were officially kicked off.

More than 11000 athletes are competing. Well, watching the archery today I thought, umm maybe the word athlete is abused here. Whenever ‘athlete’ is mentioned, I for one expect a specimen of physical fitness, evidence of hard work at the gym, running swimming or whatever. The Olympics motto is ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ and I am sure the Olympic family embraces all those who take part.  But looking at the archers,well! It doesn’t matter anyway. The Queen apparently parachuted herself into the Olympic Park! Who would have ever thought or imagined that possible. Whether it was the Queen or not is secondary. David Cameron was in attendance too. What he made of it I will always wonder. The best bit for me was watching the athletes walking into the stadium. They are the performers, without them there will be nothing to watch.

Mark Cavendish (cyclist) did not win the gold medal as everyone expected. He didn’t get any medal at all. After Bradley Wiggins‘s victory in France last week, we all expected Cavendish to triumph on home soil as well. He is a very, very good cyclist.It wasnt meant to be. Michael Phelps could not get a look in as well. He came fourth in the 400m Individual Medley. Ryan Lochte,had the cheek to beat him. The American part of the Olympic Village must be a fun place to be tonight. Team GB ladies football team is doing well and I hope that will be replicated by the male team.

Football/soccer

Just been watching English teams playing or showcasing the ‘beautiful game’, in the USA and Canada. They prefer calling it soccer in those parts. Liverpool just played a 0-0 draw with Spurs,and that got me wondering whether the Americans enjoyed it at all. Or how much they are enjoying it. Of course there is a significant proportion of fans who have always watched ‘our football’ or migrated from the hotbeds of football and they will of course enjoy watching the teams from England and Europe. Liverpool have a massive fan base across the globe too. The English teams have every right to invade those ‘virgin’ territories to develop more marketing opportunities. How is the market responding?  The MLS seems to be getting stronger and more competitive too. It’s a good thing the MLS never thought they would name their competitions a ‘world Series’ like the MLB does. Is soccer proving to be a major competitor to MLB, NBA, NFL, NASCAR etc? As a football lover, I really hope soccer becomes big in America. The other side of the same coin though, is that I would also love to watch say the Boston Red Sox playing the White Sox or the Dodgers in the UK. The NFL have a game annually at Wembley. Surely MLB could also have something similar, at Lords or the Oval! After all even NBA has exhibition ,matches, plus, there is the Harlem Globetrotters!

Darts.

It is indeed a very good weekend for sport. We have got darts tonight as well. We have got the World Matchplay at Blackpool. Here is to Hoping Phil ‘the Power’ Taylor is victorious. Whats in a name anyways? All these sports like to call their tournaments ‘world’ this and that. Americans do that for competitions involving not more than 2 countries. Yes Uncle Sam that’s true. Darts now have also got onto the act and proclaim to have a ‘World Matchplay’. Possibly involving more than 5 countries. The mind boggles. But does that give these sports the right to add ‘world cup’ to their competitions? At least with football (or soccer we know every country in the world gets a look in. Why is darts not an Olympic sport,any road? Surely it is a sport and you are very unlikely to find anyone taking performance enhancing drugs in this sport. Moreover, there would have been a guaranteed Gold Medal for Team GB – Phil Taylor would have won it. It time the IOC reviewed the games on offer. Talking of performance enhancing drugs, Hysen Pulaku from Albania has all ready been thrown out of the Olympics for using anabolic steroids. At least two other athletes from Morocco and Hungary have been precluded from taking art in the Olympics because of the use/abuse of these illegal substances.

Formula One

Congrats to Lewis Hamilton getting pole for the Hungarian Grand Prix. The boy is made of sterner stuff. The British tabloids have been relentlessly trying to make his personal life a nightmare of late. If not discussing the ins and outs of his contract with McLaren, they are busy trying to turn a mole hill into a mountain – Apparently Lewis Hamilton had the temerity to hang out with mates (including girls)  when Nicole Scherzinger was away working.Therefore his girlfriend is either (1) going to give him a stern talking to, or (2) Dump him. Well,well, well,I bet the same journalists are allowed to go out for drinks with friends of the opposite sex without asking for explicit permission from their other halves! Ignore the barracking Lewis, and win the Hungarian Grand Prix for all the millions who follow you and McLaren. Admittedly McLaren have had a bad time of late with pit stops, mechanical faults, weather et al. Hopefully they have turned a corner! An interesting fact I just felt I had to throw in: Sebastien Vettel has never won in July. He doesn’t win in July. Therefore the competition for first place tomorrow will just be Alonso, Webber, Schumacher and or Button. Those are my bold predictions. Ladies and gentlemen.

It is quite exciting at the moment.London is doing well. We hope the weather decides to take a back seat and not rain on this parade. Oh and we hope Mitt Romney and his apparatchiks are watching: ‘YES WE CAN.

52nd Post

English: World Athletics Championships 2007 in...

English: World Athletics Championships 2007 in Osaka – Jamaican 200 metres runner Usain Bolt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have done the golden jubilee, half-century or just plain 50.Now racing to the hundred. Actually sprinting, so Usain Bolt better watch out!

I thought to celebrate the grand occasion,I would review one of the best books I have read, and share my views.

KAFKA:  The Trial

The trial is about a man called Joseph K who, on his 30th birthday gets accosted by two ‘police officers’ and gets arrested for a ‘crime’ he never committed. A ‘crime’ he was not to know either. Josef K is a junior manager for a bank and lives by himself. He is of course very enraged and starts to wonder what is really happening around his world. Thus the nightmare begins.

The book is a detailed account of the trials and tribulations Josef K goes through until the day he is ‘judicially murdered’ a year from the day he was first arrested. It is like someone somewhere has been watching Josef K and is reminiscent of Big Brother (1984) in a way. Kafka is subjected to ‘Chinese water torture‘  for the whole year. The saying ‘those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad’ aptly describes the ordeal he had to suffer throughout that period. His life is turned upside down and he becomes a ‘prisoner’ and is told to ‘accept his situation’. The warders and the courts never tell him what his ‘crime’ is.

The bureaucracy and Invisible Law is staggering. He attends court, there are constant court appearances yet he does not know what the charge(s) is/are. The legal system is so crushing and it is hopeless. Maybe he should never have acknowledged that he had committed a ‘crime’. He is made to interminably wait and they simply mess up with his head. The court systems is at best very strange and yet at the same time there is such a bureaucratic mire he has to navigate. The court officials do not seem to have an acute understanding of cases and ‘consequently they could hardly ever quite follow in their further progress… ‘It looks like there is a psychological determination to destroy him.Perhaps its he way the bureaucratic system was perceived in early 1900s when the book was written. Joseph K is offered advise from ‘mentors’ and they all seemed to at times. He also tries to put his trust in females,but no one can help him with his case. He is marooned.  The psychological quagmire he is entrapped is so suffocating. ‘Guilt’ seems to be the overriding theme. Everyone assumes he is ‘guilty’ or else he would not be in that ‘situation’. When he tells court claim that he is ‘innocent’, he is asked in turn ‘innocent of what’? He has no human rights whatsoever and his life is at the mercy of the state apparatus.

It is not difficult to find oneself sympathising with this character. The state has pressed a self-destruct button and although he tries to keep level-headed, going to work and keeping to routines, he can not escape the knowledge that in the eyes of the law he is deemed  guilty. Its said Kafka did not finish the book and the end comes rather unexpectedly. Maybe that is why there seems to be a gap between the Cathedral  scene and his final demise. At the Cathedral he seemed to suggest to the priest he was going to fight to prove that he is not guilty. Yet when the two warders come to collect him and lead him to his death he does not protest. Joseph K ultimately dies at the hands of the state’s executioners. He accepts the inevitability of his death. Is this a final act to escape the nightmare or is it mere submission to authority yet again? At least the nightmare comes to an end.

The book seems to want to highlight the problems with bureaucracy. Even senior officials do not know the rules, they claim to work under. People who work in these bureaucracies might as well be robots. It also portrays the state as an organ that it can willy-nilly disregard the rights of  citizens. It is omnipresent and also destroys people’s lives. Kafka  also cleverly illustrates the human tendency to submit to authority. Even when the authority’s actions are questionable. However, one finds themselves wanting to support him, and or expose the state for what it is, a cold-hearted bully.

lifesocommon

The three mates were having a good time . Chilling out and having fun. They had not been out together for a while and tonight it felt really good. Clare, Amanda and Jason were  best mates and they loved hanging out but most of their hanging out lately had been on the social network site  Facebook. Work and relationship pressures had made it nigh impossible to meet often.
‘Girls lets have some fun. We are gonna party tonite!’, enthused  Jason. Giggling as he brought 3 Flaming sambuccas to the table.
‘Wow Jase. You sure know how to get the party  started!’ trilled Clare.
TGIF!’ Responded Amanda. ‘I so needed this after the week I have had’, she continued.
‘Hear, hear. Girls this is just the appetizer. We are going to have a proper party tonight. Are you up for it?’ Jason enthusiastically enquired.
‘I have…

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