Mark van Bommel, the footballer, retires. Finally.

From ESPNFC:

Peculiarly, Van Bommel played for all three – Barca, Bayern and Milan. The Dutchman, however, never featured when those clubs were showcasing spectacular, era-defining football. He was instead the awkward alternative they reluctantly turned to during more desperate, cynical moments. He’s the antithesis of proactive football.

Excellent article on van Bommel and what he brought to the sport; a must read.

I for one am not sorry to see him go. I usually don’t follow club football, but do regularly follow the big tournaments. Among all the stars that I remember from the last few tournaments, van Bommel is the only one I remember for all the wrong reasons.

Dutch football can be very beautiful, but not when van Bommel is on the field. He made football in general, and Dutch football in particular, dirty and cheap.

Whatever other talent he brought to the field was overshadowed by this facet, and I think football is more elegant without him.

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No cell phones, jeans for girls, says Rajya Sabha member

This guy is a Rajya Sabha member:

Sharma’s gave vent to his thoughts while addressing a meeting of Brahmins in Ratlam district on Sunday. He termed cellphone usage by students, particularly young girls, as a big menace and the genesis of other evils. The BJP leader lambasted girls wearing jeans, saying it was the attire of American cowboys and in no way gelled with the Indian culture.

Time for the powers that be to realize that he’s languishing in a different age altogether, no? What is such a person doing trying to shape public policy?

Denesh Ramdin’s breach of Spirit of the Game

From CricInfo:

West Indies wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin has been charged with breaching the ICC Code of Conduct for claiming a catch off Misbah-ul-Haq during the Champions Trophy match against Pakistan at The Oval. Ramdin has pleaded not guilty and will attend a hearing on Monday.

Ramdin was charged with breaching article 2.2.11 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to "conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game".

Ramdin’s final sentence should be doubled simply for pleading not guilty. He went up in appeal for a catch that he had dropped, and which he then proceeded to collect again, hoping the cameras wouldn’t catch it. (It wasn’t a case of just not taking the catch cleanly and not realizing it.)

Terrible sporting spirit.

15 Andhra Pradesh MLAs disqualified

The Hindu reports:

Fifteen rebel MLAs belonging to Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Congress and main opposition Telugu Desam Party were on Saturday disqualified for voting in favour of a no-confidence motion moved by TRS against the Kiran Kumar Reddy government in March this year.

Two things:

  • What were these guys disqualified from? For how long? The article doesn’t say.

  • It’s actually illegal to vote against party lines?! Then what’s the idea behind having a number of MLAs, if their thoughts simply don’t matter? Have an election, then send everyone home and let the party top brass run the Assembly!

Apple v. Justice Department

The Department of Justice is suing Apple on charges of ‘collusion’, to do with ebook publishing deals before the iPad launch in 2010.

The Verge reports:

Turvey, Google’s director of strategic partnerships, was in federal court in Manhattan as a government witness. […]

Turvey told the court that in early 2010, representatives of the five accused publishers, all of which have settled with the government, told him directly that they were switching to the agency model because contracts they entered into with Apple required it. […]

By the end of the interview Turvey had gone from saying the publishers had told him directly, to saying they had merely told people on his team, to finally saying the publishers had "likely" told someone on his team.

Sounds pretty bad, right? But:

Much of what they [DOJ] were trying to prove with Turvey’s testimony, they had already established with Apple’s own emails, testimony from the likes of Penguin Books CEO David Shanks, and three separate Amazon executives.

If they already have testimony, why do they feel the need to field someone like this? What does Google have anything to do with it, except being a business rival to the defendants?

This case is completely weird, and continues to be so.

Kim Jong-Il’s Sushi Chef

This is unbelievable stuff:

North Korea is a mythically strange land, an Absurdistan, where almost nothing is known about the people or, more important, their missile-launching leaders. There is, however, one man—a humble sushi chef from Japan—who infiltrated the inner sanctum, becoming the Dear Leader’s cook, confidant, and court jester. What is life like serving Kim Jong-il and his heir? A strange and dangerous gig where the food and drink never stop, the girls are all virgins, and you’re never really safe. We sent Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Adam Johnson to meet the man who survived all the craziness.

This is brilliant!

The chef’s name, an alias, is Kenji Fujimoto, and for eleven years he was Kim Jong-il’s personal chef, court jester, and sidekick. He had seen the palaces, ridden the white stallions, smoked the Cuban cigars, and watched as, one by one, the people around him disappeared. It was part of Fujimoto’s job to fly North Korean jets around the world to procure dinner-party ingredients—to Iran for caviar, Tokyo for fish, or Denmark for beer. It was Fujimoto who flew to France to supply the Dear Leader’s yearly $700,000 cognac habit. And when the Dear Leader craved McDonald’s, it was Fujimoto who was dispatched to Beijing for an order of Big Macs to go.

Amazing story; go read. 🙂

–via Kottke.org

How many zeros in…?

How many zeros are in Rs. 90,000 crore? (A crore equals 10 million.)

I only ask because that’s how much a certain Mr. Hassan Ali Khan owes the Indian government in tax arrears. Which apparently isn’t possible to recover:

[…] the recovery is not possible though all known immovable and move-able assets belonging to the group have been attached,” the Finance Ministry said […]

Further, it informed, the attached assets are inadequate to recover the entire dues.

Amazing.

But wait, it gets better. The total arrears are of the order of Rs. 2.48 lakh crore, most of which pertains to money laundering.

I guess the positive is that at least they caught this guy? How many others like him who haven’t been caught?

What Apple is working on

This is perfect, from the always excellent Dr. Drang.

What Apple is working on:

How do I know all this? Well, as someone who bought his first Mac in 1985, I’m “a source familiar with Apple.” But what’s more important: wouldn’t they be stupid not to be working on all of these?

Seriously, all the Mac rumour sites out there–Why is it always news that Apple is working on something? When something more concrete–read actually on the road to being shipped–comes about, and evidence for such a thing has unearthed, then perhaps its news, no?

On India’s cricket captaincy

The captain needs to be someone who absolutely, disgustingly, hates to lose. Who has a thin enough skin to be bruised by ineptitude. Who seeks the best from his team, no matter what.

Dhoni was all of this and more. “If my boys give everything on the field and then lose, I can’t complain”, said he a long time ago, when he began as ODI captain. We couldn’t complain either. It’s a game, meant to be won and lost. It’s the fire in the belly that counts.

But that captain has long lost himself somewhere, among his plethora of excuses. The difference between Ganguly’s lowest and Dhoni’s is that Ganguly still cared and hurt, pushed his boys as much as he could, and blamed his own boys when they lost. Dhoni doesn’t, any more. He’s too happy to find external reasons for his losses, and that attitude has sunk in, hasn’t it? How many times under previous captains did we hear players–the same players–make silly excuses for their ineptitude?

“We played poorly; we need to improve; we need to find solutions.” That’s missing, and that’s a problem.

I wonder if Virat Kohli hates losing as much as he loves winning.

Women don’t need cell phones, says Indian Member of Parliament

From IBN-Live:

“There is no need to give phones to women and children. It distracts them and is useless. Why do women need phones? My mother, wife and sister never had mobile phones. They survived without one,” said Saini.

Yes, and the country needs be no different now than in the days of your mother, wife and sister. Right, Mr. MP?

In every country, however modern, there’s always a group of people who make us question our ‘modernity’ and ‘development’. Indeed, until every one of us has shifted their thought process, we’re not modern or developed, are we?

For the moment, I guess the least we can do is make sure such individuals cannot dictate public policy, and thus other peoples’ lives.

This man is a Member of the Indian Parliament. Shame.