Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Player and an Umpire

Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan was born on 21st April 1945 at Madras. He was commonly known in the Indian cricket team as `Venkat’. The English media found it very difficult to pronounce his full name. Instead, they started calling him `Rent-a-Wagon’. Before he played professional cricket, he was a mechanical engineer. Srinivas Venkataraghavan was a right hand bat and a right arm off spinner. He made his test debut on 27th February 1965 against New Zealand. He came into the tests at the age of twenty and was selected to play against the touring New Zealand side. He made his mark as a world class spinner by taking twelve wickets in the Delhi test in 1965, leading India to victory. He played his last test on 24th September 1983 against Pakistan. He made his one day matches debut on 13th July 1974 against England at Headingley. He played his last one day match on 7th April 1983 against the West Indies. He played first class cricket between 1963 and 1985. Srinivas Venkataraghavan played 57 tests, scoring 748 runs and picking up 156 wickets with a best of 8/72. He played 15 one day matches and picked up 5 wickets. He played 412 first class matches and picked up 1,454 wickets. He played for Madras in the Ranji Trophy. He played for Derbyshire between 1973 and 1975. He has umpired in 73 test matches and 52 one day matches. He was honoured by the International Cricket Council in 2004 for his contribution to the game of cricket as he remains the only person in cricket to have played and officiated as an umpire in over fifty test matches. His test career was one of the longest of any Indian players along with Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar. Srinivas Venkataraghavan belonged to the famous Indian spin quartet. The spin quartet among themselves picked up more than nine hundred test wickets in the nineteen sixties and the seventies. He was a good close-in fielder and a useful bat in the lower order. He was the Vice Captain under Ajit Wadekar when India toured West Indies and England in that historic year of 1971. He played an important role in both the series where India was victorious beating the mighty West Indies and England on their home soil. He took five wickets in the Trinidad test and picked up thirteen wickets in the three test series in England. He led India in both the one day World Cup tournaments in 1975 and 1979 in which India could manage only one win against East Africa. Srinivas Venkataraghavan is remembered for his idiosyncratic manner of declaring a batsman out as an umpire with his right arm held out to his side and elbow almost bent to a ninety degree angle and his index finger raised hesitantly along with a gentle nod of his head. As an administrator, he participated widely by being the manager of the Indian team, a match referee and an umpire. He was known to be short tempered. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2003.

What I saw in Room 237?

After watching the documentary, I thought to myself that barring three or four fascinating theories and studies, it was a major attempt by Rodney Ascher to sensationalize Kubrick’s leitmotifs. People have started loving conspiracy theories ever since Dan Brown took a big lead in Da Vinci Code. Before I tell you what I saw in Room 237, I will take you to the backyard of the Overlook and search the source in its creator. I saw Stephen King first. This book takes us back to the mid nineteen seventies; the time that I turned my back on college and vowed never to study further. I was sick of the rat race and the worship of materialism. Back to Stephen King! The book tells us about events taking place at an isolated off-season time in a hotel, the Overlook, in the Colorado Rockies. It is about a young child gifted with psychic powers as he battles against evil forces that are threatening to drive his father beyond the edge. By the way, Stephen King has announced that he is working on a sequel to the book which he is going to call, `Doctor Sleep.’ The sequel will follow the tale of Danny Torrance, the young child of the `Shining’ who survived the events at the Overlook. I used to approach all Kubrick films with enthusiasm ever since I saw Spartacus and the magnificent `2001: A Space Odyssey’ which I hail as the greatest science fiction film ever made and a film that each student of cinema must take up as a case study. I saw `Shining’ in 1981 in Bombay. It was a censored and botched up print. Yet, I saw a similarity between the Overlook and the floating chamber scenes in the final moments in `A Space Odyssey’ that take place on Mars. The films always got cut under the imbecile guidance of the censor board of India. I was fortunate enough to pick an uncut DVD in 1989 which I still have. I finally saw the full one hundred and forty six minutes including the Director’s Commentary. That itself is enough. I don’t need a Room 237 to make me open my eyes any wider. I would like to keep my Eyes Wide Shut on most of the explanations in 237. I will not call the events in the Shining as horrific. I would call them disturbing. Nor will I think about the film when it is over as to what it was about. Stephen King was not so impressed by Kubrick’s adaptation or Nicholson’s performance as Jack Torrance. He wanted Jon Voight to play that role but Kubrick declined. I agree with Kubrick despite King being the original creator. Kubrick has the full right to cast. Who could deny Nicholson the role of Jack Torrance after watching him in ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’? When I watched the Shining, I was also reminded of a masterpiece made by Roman Polanski called the Tenant. It had brilliant performances by Polanski himself and Isabelle Adjani. Another film I was reminded of was Polanski’s Chinatown. Let us go inside Room 237 now. What do I see? I see careful compilation of leitmotifs. Some of them have fascinated me; others I rubbished. Let me single out the ones I considered important and relevant. 1. The blood gushing out of the elevators. You just cannot forget this scene from the film. This scene was done in three takes but it took almost three months to get the shot prepared because every time the doors opened and the blood gushed out, Kubrick would complain that it did not look like blood. 2. REDRUM embedded on the door. It stays with you for many months. 3. Gut wrenching music of Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind-Tourre. The music achieved the desired effect as Kubrick wanted. Kubrick always wanted the Ligeti type of overtones in the score as he had used in the `Space Odyssey’ with the `Atmospheres’. Both Wendy and Rachel achieved that sense of alienation with the brilliant sound created by the strings and the synthesizers. 4. The Calumet can. This is a fascinating theory and it could be true. 5. The Red Indian undertones. This is also very much possible. 6. Wendy backing up the stairs as she is swinging with the baseball bat. Perhaps, people are not aware that this has entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the scene with the most takes. It was done one hundred and twenty seven times. 7. The Adler typewriter and the link to the holocaust in Germany. Yes; this does have an allegorical link to the extermination of Jews in 1942. 8. Launching Pad of Apollo 11 as hinted by the patterns on the carpet. Yes. The biggest conspiracy theory going behind Kubrick was that he confessed one day and regretted that he should not have complied with NASA’s call to fake the moon landings. I truly believe down to the lower most recesses of my gut that Kubrick was talking the truth here and the whole landing on the moon was a Warner Bros. shot with Neil Armstrong taking that `giant leap for mankind’ in the 21st Century Studios. This is all that I can endorse and authenticate. Rest is bullshit. I do not believe that Kubrick was killed by the Illuminati or the Freemasons. I happen to be a Freemason myself and I do not think that Kubrick was obsessed with the All Seeing Eye of the Providence or the Divine Architect of the Universe. Yes! There are hints to the Craft of Freemasonry in `A Space Odyssey’ with the obelisks, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange and Eyes Wide Shut. No conspiratorial group caused his coronary to explode. He died of a heart attack in 1999 and so be it. There are fascinating things talked about in Room 237 and I have picked them here. It could have been encapsulated in just about thirty minutes. Yet, who am I to judge Ascher? He has the full right to speak his mind on the allegorical links and the leitmotifs in the `Shining’.

Sibelius Oma Maa (My Own Land)

Cantata for mixed chorus and orchestra. This was undertaken by Sibelius during a difficult phase in Finland’s history. A civil war had broken out shortly after the declaration of independence in 1917. The intrinsic character of the work is one of optimism towards a more peaceful future. Lahti Symphony Osmo Vanska

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sibelius: Breaking of the Ice on the Oulu River

This a work for male choir and orchestra with a narrator in the background. It was written along with the Press Celebration Music that gave birth to Finlandia. The work was inspired by a patriotic fervour that came about because of the restrictions placed on the press by means of censorship. This was done by the Russian Governor General of Finland. The work was premiered in October 1899 in Helsinki. It is Op. 30. The words have been written by Zacharias Topelius. Another piece that was written around the same time by Sibelius was the Song of the Athenians. This Song was also with an anti-Russian feeling. The dramatic chords for the brass are reminders of Finlandia. The part for the narrator and the brass fortissimo notes bring about an interesting rhythm. Lahti Symphony Osmo Vanska

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sibelius Snofrid

The Viking Soul.Op. 29. Snöfrid. This is an improvisation for narrator, mixed choir and orchestra. Words are written by Viktor Rydberg. It was completed in 1900. The premiere was given in Helsinki on 20th October 1900. Snöfrid is somewhat of a turning point in Sibelius's compositions. Snöfrid appeared frequently in concert programmes until the 1920s, after which it slowly began to fade into oblivion. The work begins tempestuously with the first bars of the choir followed by surging figures in the orchestral accompaniment.The figure of Snöfrid resists temptations to free himself from the shackles of the Wood Nymph. Lahti Symphony Osmo Vanska

The Definitive Titan

2011 Moscow visit of Musicale Maggio Fiorentino under Zubin Mehta Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 1 in D major - The Titan

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Guns for San Sebastian Ennio Morricone

1968 Anthony Quinn Charles Bronson

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

3 Credit Bureaus

There are 3 major credit bureaus that are relied upon to make up the credit reports for people. They also make up their financial scores. These bureaus are the places where banks or other financial companies get the financial information about the credit history of an individual seeking credit. Credit bureau reports come from an industry that involves establishments which are mainly occupied in providing consumer credit reporting services. These credit reporting services are the main source of credit information for consumer markets. There are several credit reporting bureaus operating all over the world but the industry is led by 3 credit bureaus of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The 3 Credit Bureaus Scores The 3 credit bureaus provide credit scores through a credit report which is a single report that is made up of credit information from each of the three major credit history reporting agencies of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The personal information which is stored in these 3 credit bureaus will be assessed and then given a credit score. The score received from any of the 3 credit bureaus will inform a lender if a person is a new borrower. It will also inform on the kind of credit standing that he or she has. The 3 credit bureaus compile data from public records and creditors to create the reports for millions of people. All the 3 credit bureaus maintain a contract with an independent company which is known as Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO). It assimilates the public record data into a credit score. The credit scores range from 350 to 800 points with a good score being considered as 620 or above. About six years back, VantageScore was launched to compete with FICO’s score. The VantageScore scale ranges from 501 to 990 with a good score being considered as 700 or above. 3 Credit Bureaus carry information on your financial history The 3 credit bureaus contain personal data like your name, address, date of birth and your social security number. They also contain historical information like your previous address, current employer information and public records such as bankruptcies, judgments and liens. The 3 credit bureaus include history of credit card, loan and mortgage payments. There are times when people with good repayment habits and decent loan schedules have carried a poor financial credit score. This happens most often because of incorrect information that shows up on an individual’s report. When a corrective action is taken, all these 3 credit bureaus will address such issues immediately and revise the financial information that they have stored with them. These bureaus generate more than a half billion reports each year with information on consumer trade activities. 3 Credit Bureaus track borrowing behavior Most of the money lenders form their decision on the credit information from all 3 credit bureaus. The 3 credit bureaus report can be signed up for at the websites, and Credit grantors like to see the 3 credit bureaus report for major credit decisions like the approval of a mortgage home loan. The 3 credit bureaus will also keep records on who you still owe money to and how much you do owe. They gather this information from companies and public records that have a relationship with you as a consumer. The 3 credit bureaus keep records of how you have previously dealt when repaying loans and whether you have paid them back on time.

Which Cars do Men and Women want?

`’ is a car research company which has completed a latest survey that has focused on the differences in the genders in their preferences when buying cars. It has reported that men like big sports cars while women go for practical and flexible cars. It narrowed down its study to five most preferred cars that men and women opt for. The summary is that men want a spectacular ride while women want practicality. Women buyers showed their inclination towards small and fuel efficient cars. Men buyers wanted a fast sports car with an impressive curb look or they looked out for a 4WD SUV. The study involved information on gender preferences, taking into account eight million vehicle purchases made during the last year. The five preferred cars for women are: • Volvo S40 – About fifty eight per cent of the purchases by women last year were for Volvo S40. It is a high end sedan. It is a spacious and safe car for commuting. • Nissan Rogue – It has good safety and visibility features. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given the car good marks after testing it for overall crash protection. It is a crossover car and women like it because of its versatility and it does not look like a minivan which works in its favor with women. It looks spacious and at the same time resembles a sports model. • Volkswagen EOS – it has a good fuel economy and gives thirty miles per gallon on the highway. It is a convertible hardtop with sufficient legroom. It is also known as a coupe convertible with sunroof. It offers four airbags. • Volkswagen Beetle – About a couple of decades back, it was the most sought after car by women and it still holds its place in the top five. Now, men have also started buying it more after its modifications with its sloping roof. • Hyundai Tucson – It is a crossover car which gives good mileage for its big size with twenty seven miles per gallon on the highway. It has got a good panoramic sunroof and luggage space to keep strollers for kids. The top five cars that men prefer are: • Porsche 911 – Male car buying is dominated by cars like this. It has the highest buying ratio among men. • GMC Sierra – When the attention of men shifts from sleek race cars, it goes to the big brawny cars like GMC Sierra. It is a half-ton pickup car. It projects a complete macho image. It does not give very good mileage (21 mpg) but is ideal to tow boats or motor bikes. • The F Series of Ford Motor – They are popular in the full size pickup range. Men like them for their luxurious rides and off-road adventures. • Chevrolet Corvette- This is an iconic sports model. It is General Motor’s most powerful output. It is named after a small warship and has been there since the past sixty years. • Chevrolet Silverado – It will also carry whatever weight men will load on to it. It is excellent when you are looking for a pickup truck or going out on a camping trip for the weekend.

Scenic Vistas on the Mexican Riviera

Cruises to the Mexican Riviera are probably one of the most affordable in the world. Most of the Mexican Riviera cruises leave from San Diego in California. They are mostly of seven-night duration. These cruises are a popular choice for people as a vacation, particularly for those that live on the western coast of the United States of America. The number of cruises that are available is growing because the cruising season lasts throughout the year. The Mexican Riviera is also called the `Gold Coast’. It is on the western coast of Mexico. The cruise has many attractions. There are plenty of opportunities for shopping and fishing. There are many historic churches in the villages. There is wildlife also in the Mexican Riviera that includes whales, dolphins and sea lions. There is a large variety of tropical fish that can be seen in the vistas here. The cruise lines operating in the Mexican Riviera are the Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Lines, the Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line. They offer their cruises throughout the year. Royal Caribbean offers a seven night cruise on the Mariner of the Seas liner which is the largest cruise ship that is home porting on the west coast of the United States of America. The popular ports of call on the Mexican Riviera cruise are Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. The cruises begin mostly from San Diego in California. It is an ideal location to begin and end your Mexican Riviera cruise vacation. The weather is beautiful throughout the year. San Diego has more than seventy miles of world class beaches. The Big Bay offers many adventure opportunities for the whole family. You can explore San Diego before you take your cruise. All cruises leave from the downtown ship terminal. Some of the cruise lines offer baggage service where the ship personnel will collect your baggage and take it to your cabin for you. The first usual port of call on the Mexican Riviera cruise is Cabo San Lucas. It is a resort place. You will find many famous celebrities on vacation here. The most famous attraction in this region is the Land’s End. It is a series of formations of rocks at a point where the Pacific Ocean meets the Cortez Sea. The landscape is filled with all kinds of cacti. The place is also famous for sports fishing. It is a golf circuit haven with many championship golf courses of international class. Whale watching can be done during January to March season. The official language used is Spanish. The most important structure at `Land’s End’ is El Arco which is a large arch of granite that was formed by waves and wind. The next usual port of call is Acapulco which is another well known resort point of Mexico. You can see cliff diving shows here. It has good beaches and a vibrant nightlife. It is a major sea port in Guerrero State on the Mexican Pacific Coast. The Acapulco Bay is deep blue in color. The places of interest in Acapulco are the San Diego Fort, The Zocalo or the Town Square and Nuestra Senora de la Soledad Church. You can see many dolphins at the Acapulco Magico Mundo Marino. You can watch the professional cliff divers at the La Quebrada. The next usual port of call is Puerto Vallarta which is a historical place. Its town area is full of shops and bars. You can watch the wonderful whales at the Puerto Vallarta Bay and the dolphins at the Banderas Bay. At Puerto Vallarta, you can also take the famous pirate ship tour. The Pirates of the Bay tour is a show that has impressive acrobatics too. Two costumed pirates will welcome the tourists and give them ID bracelets along with color codes for deck seating. While here, you may also visit some tequila factories or try catching the Pacific sailfish while watching the blue marlins. The next usual port of call and the last one is Mazatlan. It is well known for its deep sea fishing and water sports. It is a resort city at the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Many cruise operators are hesitant to stop over here for issues of security concern, much like the St. Croix Island in the Caribbean. The important places to visit, however, in Mazatlan are the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and the Esplanade along the Olas Atlas Beach. If you are looking for reasonable cruise fares to the Mexican Riviera, you should not travel from mid-June to mid-August as the tariff is highest during this period. This is because most families travel when their children have school vacations. The off-season rates are available from January to May. The average temperature in the Mexican Riviera throughout the year is quite high and generally in the eighties (Fahrenheit). It can get quite humid and hot during the summer. The scenic vistas of deserts, beaches, blue surf and big fish are unforgettable along the Mexican Riviera and the southern region of Baja California where there is great weather all the year round. This place has been spiced up and romanticised by the Hollywood stars and writers.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Beethoven : Rondo in B Flat Major Wo0 6

Beethoven's Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in B Flat Major, WoO 6, was written in 1793 and was meant to be as the final movement for his second piano concerto.It was published in 1829 and the piano part was completed by Carl Czerny.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sibelius Overture in E Major

In the last twenty five years, many unpublished works of Sibelius came to light. They had remained obscure to musicians and the audiences. Thesee works include works by Sibelius.Sibelius composed chamber music of distinction before he wrote his first great orchestral work, Kullervo. Some large-scale works have been preserved from the years 1883-91. The Overture in E Major was written in 1891. It is among the earliest works written by Sibelius for orchestra. It hints at greater symphonic work by the freshness of its youthful fervour. Sibelius' handling of the orchestra is colourful, including oboe and cor anglais solos, a triangle and castanets. The air and fanfares of the exciting Overture heralds a new period in the works of Sibelius. The lively section in the Overture suggests influence of Mendelssohn. Gothenburg Symphony Naeme Jarvi 1989

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Beethoven's Unfinished Sixth Piano Concerto

Reconstructed from fragments in D Major by Nicholas Cook. Piano Concerto No. 6 in D major, Hess 15, is an unfinished piano concerto built on fragmented score. In 1815,Beethoven spent a great deal of time working on a piano concerto in D major, which would,if completed, have been the sixth. He made about seventy pages of sketches for the first movement. He even started writing out a full score which runs almost uninterrupted from the beginning of the movement to the middle of the solo exposition. The scoring becomes patchy as the work goes on and there are signs of dissatisfaction. Beethoven abandoned the work and this partial movement (known as Hess 15)[1] remains one of the most substantial of Beethoven's unrealized compositions. A completion of the first movement was reconstructed by British scholar Nicholas Cook in 1987. This concerto movement contains many ideas and may foreshadow the first movement of the Ninth Symphony in many of its themes. Why did Beethoven abandon it? A number of reasons might be deduced. Perhaps he planned it for the cancelled benefit concert of 1815 or maybe he intended to play the solo part himself and abandoned the project when his deafness made this impractical. The piano part comes across as decorative to a symphonic argument.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Beethoven Violin Concerto in D Major transcribed for Piano as Op. 61A

The piano concerti of Beethoven are among the best known works in the classical repertoire. The Violin Concerto in D major. Op. 61, written in 1806, is also a favourite. Beethoven’s own transcription for the piano,however, of this concerto has been neglected. It was better received than the original violin concerto as it required much more presence of the soloist. Beethoven transcribed a number of his works and he was not the only one to do so. Johann Sebastian Bach and Vivaldi and Telemann have transcribed many of their works. There is a good site which gives details about famous transcriptions. It is The transcription for piano was written a year after the original in 1807 but published in early 1808. It was immediately accepted by the keyboard virtuosi of the time and was championed by pianist and composer Muzio Clementi. The original composition for violin was called “A Symphony for Violin and Orchestra”, a title justified perhaps in light of the virtuosity required by the solo part. The transcription for piano, on the other hand, is much more demanding. Daniel Barenboim playing and conducting the English Chamber Orchestra

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Beethoven E Flat Major Piano Concerto No. 0 Wo04

This piano concerto sketch was done by Beethoven in 1783 when he was just thirteen. Piano fragments and sketches by Beethoven have been orchestrated by Willy Hess Soloist: Camelia Sima Jena Thuringia Philharmonic David Montgomery The work has three movements: Allegro Moderato/Larghetto/Rondo Allegretto. There is much influence in this piano concerto of Franz Joseph Haydn as he was teaching Beethoven music theory and composition at this time.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Celibidache's New World with Munich

Here is a 1991 Munich performance that beats the New World readings of Toscanini, Karajan, Mehta, Rudolf Kempe and Karel Ancerl but does not beat the readings of Sir Georg Solti, Leonard Bernstein, Istvan Kertesz and Carlo Maria Giulini.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Southern Pacific Voyage

Write up on top southern Pacific cruises. Southern Pacific cruises will offer unparalleled beauty of nature and exotic cultures in the islands. Most preferred destinations in the Southern Pacific Ocean are the Indonesian island of Krakatau, Fiji, Tahiti and Tonga. Mixed passenger and cargo vessels sail to these places. There are other luxury expedition cruise vessels too. Some of the well known cruise operators are Adventure Life, Yatama Tours, Paradise Adventures, Princess Cruises and the Moorings. You can take a cruise to the Krakatau Island which is well known for its ancient volcano. This is one of the seven hundred islands of Indonesia. Anak Krakatau has the most ferocious volcano in the world and it is still active. Visitors are allowed to climb the smaller Child of Krakatau. It takes about an hour to climb. You can enjoy the great panorama while climbing. The sunrise is beautiful at the top of the first level. You can observe black lava stones that have been deposited from several past eruptions of the volcano. Its eruption in 1883 has been recorded as the most violent volcanic event of all times. There was an explosion of about one hundred and fifty megatons of trinitrotoluene when the magma blasted the sea water and turned to steam. Its blast was heard even four thousand kilometers away in India to the west and Australia to the east. The Volcanic Explosive Index of the eruption was a colossal 6 on the scale. You will also be taken to the neighbouring Rakata Island to snorkel and explore the majestic coral reefs. You can visit the Baduy Tribe and witness their daily activities. Taking a cruise holiday in Fiji is an exciting way to experience this exotic region which is still relatively virgin territory in nature as it has not been affected much by the explosion of tourism development. It is simply awesome to take a cruise through these tropical volcanic islands of Fiji with their amazing coral gardens. The gateway to Fiji is the Yasawa Island with its crystal clear waters. The Fiji Archipelago is made up of over three hundred islands. You will get a chance to visit the limestone caves on the Yasawa Island group which itself is made up of around twenty volcanic islands. Some of these islands have mountains that are rising close to six hundred meters in height. The beaches are sandy. These cruises include trips to the villages where you can mix with the locals and take part in their cultural ceremonies and traditions. These villages are not polluted with modern technology. The Southern Pacific Islands of Tahiti are rich in exotic sounds as well as sights. These islands have also given inspiration to great writers like Robert Louis Stevenson. The green forests and high mountain peaks make up the exotic landscape. There is plenty of opportunity to explore the lovely forests. The climate is warm in Tahiti. You will be comfortable with loose-fit clothes. Sarongs and swimsuits are quite suitable to wear onboard during the day. While packing for the voyage, it is important to remember hats, sunglasses and sunscreen lotion. It is better to avoid over-exposure to the sun. Many people have hailed Tahiti as one of the most romantic places on earth. The cruises to Tahiti offer great sights of mountainous peaks and majestic valleys. You will get a chance to explore lagoons in a glass-bottom boat and trek into the hills for a great view of the French Polynesian Sea. There are many options for water activities during the Tahiti cruises. You can do windsurfing, jet skiing, parasailing and snorkelling. You can take a cruise to Tahiti at any time of the year. The cruises are of a fortnight’s duration. Most of them leave from Papeete which is the capital of French Polynesia. The favoured sailing season to the Kingdom of Tonga in the Southern Pacific is between April and November. The weather in this period is warm and tropical. The Vavau Island group in the Tonga Kingdom is a good sailing holiday destination. You can see some of the most beautiful islands in the world while cruising here on luxury yachts. This area is known as the `friendly’ islands region as you get a warm welcome and experience pleasant hospitality from the locals here. You will be able to see many humpback whales from these islands. During your cruise, you can see vast sea life that includes whales, turtles and marlins. You can snorkel inside the caves near the coral reefs and participate in the village feasts where you will be served food on banana leaves. The water at the shores is so clear that you can spot the anchor on the bottom at a depth of even thirty meters. The power catamarans to cruise to Tonga Islands are available from almost anywhere like the Virgin Islands, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Seychelles and Thailand. Read more:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Champion of Champions

Ravishankar Jayadratha Shastri was born on 27th May 1962 at Bombay. His father, Jayadratha Shastri, is a renowned doctor. He studied in Don Bosco School at Matunga. He graduated from R.A. Podar College at Mumbai. Early in his career, Ravi Shastri was mainly a slow left arm orthodox leg break bowler. After Sachin Tendulkar, he was the youngest player to have been selected for Mumbai at 17 years and 292 days. He started playing domestic first class cricket in 1980. He played for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy and even led them to the championship. He has also played for Glamorgan County. Ravi Shastri made his test debut on 21st February 1981 against New Zealand in the first test at Basin Reserve, Wellington. He played his last test against South Africa on 26th December 1992. He played in 80 tests, scoring 3,830 runs with a highest score of 206 and taking 151 wickets and 36 catches with 11 centuries and 12 fifties. He has played 150 one day matches, scoring 3,108 runs and taking 129 wickets and 40 catches with 4 centuries and 18 fifties. He has played 523 first class matches, scoring 19,585 runs with 40 centuries and 104 fifties. He has picked up 763 wickets and has taken 235 catches. He made his one day debut against England at Ahmedabad on 25th November 1981. He played his last one day match against South Africa on 17th December 1992. His statistics prove that he was one of the greatest Indian all rounders. He was a right hand bat and a left arm bowler. His all round cricket abilities with the bat and the ball made him a constant in the Indian cricket team in the nineteen eighties. He started as a bowler and used to bat around the tenth spot. Within a short span of time, he grew in his batting stature so much that he was opening the innings for India. Ravi Shastri was a member of the 1983 winning squad at the World Cup in England but he was not playing in all the matches. He made his mark in the 1985 Benson and Hedges Championship of Cricket in Australia where he picked up the Man of the Series Award for his 182 runs and 8 wickets. He was declared as the `Champion of Champions’ for his consistent performance. Ravi Shastri is also famous after Sir Garfield Sobers for hitting six sixes in an over but in a domestic match while Sobers had done that in a test match. Later, Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa and Yuvraj Singh of India have repeated this feat. Ravi Shastri captained India in one test match which India won, giving him a 100% captaincy record. However, the best captains for India have been Ajit Wadekar, Kapil Dev Nikhanj and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. In his debut test series in New Zealand, Ravi Shastri took three wickets in four balls in his first test in the second innings. He also took seven wickets in the third test to be awarded the man of the match. He took fifteen wickets in his first series which was the highest for both the sides. Ravi Shastri has a record partnership of 235 runs with Syed Kirmani for the seventh wicket against England. His best innings was 107 not out played overseas at West Indies against an attack that included Courtney Walsh, Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose and Ian Bishop. He also has a double hundred to his account, 206 made against Australia in Australia. Ravi Shastri was essentially a defensive batsman with a trademark `chapati’ shot. It was a flick off the pads. He could be aggressive when required. His height of 6’3” gave him a good reach and an upright stance. He retired from first class cricket in September 1994. Since then, he has been a leading commentator for many sports broadcasting television channels. In 2007, he was made the Manager of the Indian side that toured Bangla Desh. He was given the Arjuna Award in 1984.

Zite could be Your Personalized Magazine

Zite is an App that is available on iOS. This App could become your customized magazine. It could be added free on iPad. If you have been keeping an eye out for an online magazine with a content that can be customized to your preferences, Zite is the answer to your search. It is a social feed aggregator and pulls content from your own feeds and popular web based applications. It is quite similar to Flipboard which has been considered as Apple’s App of the year. The user interface of Zite is somewhat like a print publication. The whole design of the magazine is well organized. When you start up, the App will ask you to sync your Twitter and Google Reader feeds. You can then find a page with a whole range of customizing content. If you are a tech buff, you can choose feeds exclusively related to technology. You can even micro manage the feeds by selecting particular brands like Google, Apple or Microsoft and read stories that are related only to those brands. An important feature of Zite is that it displays all the content in its own windows. This gives the App a print publication feel. You can play YouTube videos on the App but the App struggles with HTML 5 based content. Another great feature of Zite is its quick learning capability. If you like a particular article, the App adapts and offers similar content to you.

An Adventure in the Baltic Sea

Baltic Sea is all deep blue and sparkling! On the cruise, you will be experiencing the salty northern winds in the lovely sunlight. The most prominent destinations on the Baltic Cruise are Helsinki, Turku, Aland Islands, Stockholm, Tallinn and Riga. The Major cruise operators are the Tallink Grupp, Silja Lines, Viking Line, Azura Cruises, Lindblad Expeditions and Ocean Princess Cruises. Tallink Grupp is a major shipping company operating in the Baltic Sea. It owns eighteen ships that cruise under the brand names of Tallink and Silja Lines on six separate routes. The Tallink and Silja Lines ships have good cafes and restaurants, bars, duty-free shopping, sauna bath and swimming pools. Baltic Sea cruises run between May and August because the weather is cold during the rest of the year and not comfortable for cruising. Sailing to the Baltic Sea is mostly to and from Helsinki which stretches across many peninsulas and islands. The city is a hub for most of the Baltic Sea cruises. Carl Ludvig Engel’s architecture in the Senate Square is magnificent. The floral markets are full of colors and fragrance. Sailing has become a way of life in Scandinavia. The Baltic Sea has become an important part of the Nordic region. Helsinki is considered as the `daughter’ of the Baltic Sea. It is Finland’s capital and its largest city. The marketplace is close by to the harbor. Another important attraction in Helsinki is the Suomenlinna Fortress, also known as the Gibraltar of the North, which has guarded the entrance to the city for centuries. The Helsinki Cathedral is also symbolic of the city. It was designed and completed in 1852 by the famous architect, Carl Ludvig Engel. A third of the city is made up of green areas and parks. The first port of call on the Baltic adventure is Turku from Helsinki. The archipelago and the Aurajoki River are the main sights at Turku. The world’s largest cruise liner, Oasis of the Seas, was constructed at the shipyard outside Turku. In summer, people get together for a picnic on the Aurajoki River. Along this river, you will come across the Turku Castle which has become a national monument since the fifteenth century. Turku is the oldest city in Finland and is regarded as the official Christmas City in the country. The next stop on the cruise is Mariehamn, the capital of the Aland Islands. The islands belong to Finland. The surprising thing to note is that the spoken language is Swedish and not Finnish. You can do cycling, fishing and kayaking on these islands. Mariehamn is only few hours away from Stockholm which is the next port of call. Stockholm has many palaces to offer. One such famous one is Drottningholm which is the residence of the royal family. Stockholm is also famous for its Blue House where the Nobel Prize functions are held. The city is characterized by cobbled stone streets and rows of boutiques and antique shops. The Stockholm Archipelago stretches for more than sixty kilometers to the east. Stockholm is sometimes referred to as the Venice of the North. It is surrounded by clean and green islands. It has become a very popular cruise destination and each year, there are more than three hundred liners that enter this city. The internal harbours in Stockholm are all adequately equipped for the arrival of cruise ships and their locations in central are responsible in making this city a popular cruise destination. The next port of call is Tallinn which is the largest city and capital of Estonia. Its old town has been listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. It is also ranked as one of the top ten digital cities in the world. Tallinn is regarded as one of the well preserved cities in Northern Europe. It has become an important and a popular cruise stop for ships. Its Pirita Beach has a good view of the Gulf of Finland. The final port of call on this Baltic adventure is Riga. This is also a popular port in the Baltic Sea region. About a hundred cruise ships dock at the port every year. Riga is the largest city and the capital of Latvia. Riga is also the largest city of the Baltic States. There are many buildings in Riga with mediaeval style of architecture. The old town has several cathedrals housing one of the world’s most ancient and historic pipe organs. The Baltic Sea is big and bold and has always drawn many adventurers to it. When you take a cruise to the Baltic Sea and visit the magnificent ports of Northern Europe, you will realize why people keep coming back to this part of the world.