Monthly Archives: May 2011

Where Redemption Happens…

In true fairytale fashion, the NBA Finals will pit two teams who last arrived in this same position 5 years ago, when they also met – who else, but each other. In 2006, Dallas took a 2-0 lead and was heading for victory in Game 3 when the epic collapse happened. Dirk and Co. never recovered and the Mavericks wilted in the next 4 games to give the Championship to Wade’s Heat.

Fast-forward to the present, Wade has recruited two other superstars in LeBron James and Chris Bosh to help them cement themselves as a legacy for years to come. Dallas only features two stalwarts from their 2006 ‘epic fail’ in Dirk and Jason Terry. Since then, they have built their team around a host of veterans in Kidd, Stojakovic and Marion who have all come close but have never won the coveted ring. They even brought onboard a coach in Rick Carlise who has also been to the Finals twice but again fell at the final hurdle.

In the Eastern conference Finals, the Heat’s big trio proved too much for league MVP Derrick Rose to handle, and proved too dominant in manhandling the Bulls 4-1. Bosh was the surprise star for at least two of the 5 games, and it remains to be seen if Chandler can handle his hot form in the Finals.

It was the familiar story in the West when Dallas once again relied to Dirk Nowitzki to carry them into the finals. After exploding for 48 points in Game 1 where he only took 15 shots and made 12 (talk about efficiency), Dirk continued to relish in the Mr Clutch tag by scoring in double digits in the 4Q of all 5 games! The series clincher perhaps was the “5 minute miracle” in Game 4 when Dallas rallied back from 15 points in the final 5 minutes to beat OKC and take a 3-1 lead back home.

Whilst Dallas has an impressive record against Miami overall, this matchup would simply be intense based on the fact that both teams are the hottest heading into the Finals. Both teams have posted a near-excellent 12-3 post season records and both teams have managed to transfer their league leading road form into the playoffs. With Games 1 & 2 to be played in Miami, Dallas would have to steal one of these to stand any chance. In the history of NBA Finals, the team hosting Games 3-5 have never held home court before, and with Miami’s impressive road form, the Mavs would more than likely to drop one here, which means they would have to clinch the Championship on Miami soil – either in Game 6 or 7.

I’m boldly predicting this one to be a classic. LeBron and Dirk would typically cancel each other out. So I figured the key to the series would be how deep the bench is if the series is going to be a long one. Kidd and Barea may own the matchup at point guard but it is in the positions of shooting guard that the Heat have Wade. Miami can clinch it with a short series, but Dallas will have a chance if they can wear down Miami’s all-star trio with their ever-reliable bench. With that, I see the Mavericks redeeming themselves from the ghosts of 2006 with a tense 4-3 victory. Game 1 starts TODAY (US time). Woo Hoo!

Playoff Prediction Record:

Playoff Prediction Stats for Conference Finals: 2/2 (100%); Dead-on: 1/2 (50%)

Overall: 11/14 (79%); Dead-on: 3/14 (21%)

 

The Mathematics of the Champions League Final 2011

3 > 1

Barcelona = 3, Man United = 1

Therefore….Barcelona = Champions

Spain = World Champions

Barcelona = Spain

Therefore….Barcelona = World Champions

Messi = World’s Best Player

So, Barcelona + Messi = World Champions + World’s Best Player

= Little Hope for Man U…

If Offensive Efficiency can be calculated using the formula:

{[(No. of freekicks in final 1/3) X (No. of corner kicks) X (No. of shots on target)/(No. of shots at goal) X (No. of offsides X 0.5) X (Number of saves by opposing keeper X 0.3)]/OE of winning side} X 100%

Then the Offensive Efficiency for Man United in the Final would be 0, because they had no corner kicks at all….

Definitions:

Trouble = Abidal (defender) having more complete passes than Man U’s Michael Carrick (central midfield)

Joke = Iniesta having the same number of shots at goal (possibly more pon target too) than the entire Man U team

Passing = What Barcelona players do best, even in their sleep

Toy = What Man U defence must have felt like

Valdes = Most underused player on the field

Humbled = Man United (see also Bruised, Battered, Embarassed, Shooting target, etc.)

Dominant = Barcelona (see also Messi, Spectacular, Special, Out-of-this-World, etc.)

Alrighty! Now, time for the Copa America!

Image Credits

Congrats Barcelona! Thank you for showing the world how to play football and leaving a benchmark for a level of football of what future champions of Europe need to be at. Hopefully, Man U can take this (second) lesson and come back stronger next year!

The Boy Who Lost His Boat

Whilst doing some light room cleaning-up in my house the other day, I chanced upon some old tracts and one that caught more than just my glance was this tract that had the title ‘The Boy Who Lost His Boat’.

I was greatly inspired by its words illustrating about our love-long relationship with God. it was much lengthier in the tract, but I managed to find a condensed version from the Sermons Illustrations site:

—————————————

The Boy Who Lost His Boat

Tom carried his new boat to the edge of the river. He carefully placed it in the water and slowly let out the string. How smoothly the boat sailed! Tom sat in the warm sunshine, admiring the little boat that he had built. Suddenly a strong current caught the boat. Tom tried to pull it back to shore, but the string broke. The little boat raced downstream.

Tom ran along the sandy shore as fast as he could. But his little boat soon slipped out of sight. All afternoon he searched for the boat. Finally, when it was too dark to look any longer, Tom sadly went home.

A few days later, on the way home from school, Tom spotted a boat just like his in a store window. When he got closer, he could see — sure enough — it was his!

Tom hurried to the store manager: “Sir, that’s my boat in your window! I made it!”

“Sorry, son, but someone else brought it in this morning. If you want it, you’ll have to buy it for one dollar.”

Tom ran home and counted all his money. Exactly one dollar! When he reached the store, he rushed to the counter. “Here’s the money for my boat.” As he left the store, Tom hugged his boat and said, “Now you’re twice mine. First, I made you and now I bought you.”

—————————————-

Have you sailed back to your Creator yet?

 

Papaya in the Papers

OK, time for some papaya updates from our garden…

The other day, we noticed a stem holding one of the papayas had broken off, and lo and behold, the fruit had fallen on the ground…

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Unfortunately, we were not able to save it as worms had already started a party with it…sigh.

So, we quickly took action to wrap up the rest of the hanging bounties with newspapers to protect them and whatever else my wife mentioned. Hmmmm..maybe it’s true men seldom listen..:-P

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Problem is, we may not even know now when the papayas would be ripe! Heh.

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Another fun part to the wrapping papaya activity is seeing what piece of news gets the honour of wrapping the fruit! Here, I found good ol’ Arsene Wenger’s various emotions captured and wrapped around one of our papayas. Haha..:-P

Playground of Horrors: The Sequel

One would have expected playgrounds to be a place where kids can play and have fun in a safe and secure environment…

…not any more! In my playground travels (yes, I’ve been to a few since fatherhood..), I have noticed more often than not the play stuff and contraptions and safety thingys (gosh, I’m really lost for words today) would be spoilt or half-broken or even down-right dangerous to play with, let alone touch!

I highlighted these playground of horrors before in an earlier blog, so today I am bringing back a sequel of sorts of the horrors I saw in another playground.

Makes me wonder how long before authorities act before some serious accident takes place there…

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Disrespect for the board of rules...guess it all starts here!
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this is another reason why children don't play in playgrounds at night...
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Is this some sort of a sick experiment to see if a child would play with exposed circuitry boards?!
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Oh look! a secret doorway to the uber cool power sub station!

Celebrating 19 (Again!)

There was an interesting article that was circulating in Man U fan-verse about a song aptly titled 19 by Paul Harcastle that sat on top of the charts at one time in the 80s and is now making a comeback.

 

Here is an extract from the article I found on Daily Mail:

There’s one number on the mind of Manchester United supporters everywhere at the moment. And they’re not going to let anybody forget it.

When the final whistle was blown at Ewood Park last Saturday, it signalled that United had secured a memorable 19th league title, putting them one clear of their great rivals Liverpool.

And following the memorable success, United supporters have succeeded, partially at least, in a campaign to get the Paul Hardcastle hit 19 riding high in the music charts again.

The song, first released in 1985, spent five weeks at the top of the charts. It highlights the average age of soldiers who fought in the Vietnam war.

And the song re-entered the charts at No 40 last Sunday, following a campaign from United supporters on fans’ forums, and the microblogging site Twitter.

TRIVIA: Hardcastle’sВ famous hit was knocked off the top of the charts in 1985 by The Crowd’s version of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, which has become a terrace anthem of Liverpool over the decades.

Read the full article HERE

And since I’m still in the celebration mood, here is the song and lyrics, 19 by Paul Hardcastle. Enjoy!

19 (Paul Hardcastle)

Perhaps, I should start writing a song titled 20 now…a chance for instant success sometime in May next year? 😀

Metering Jargons

Nissan recently issued a recall for some of its vehicles due to some faulty fuel meter gauge. My car was also affected so I got this letter with its long-winded and tech-filled automotive jargons that was all the more confusing…

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How Nissan explained it:

Upon investigation, it was found that such incidents may have been caused by electrochemical migration on the resistor-card in the fuel gauge being affected by combination of environmental aspects, fuel variation and etc……all labor and replacement parts for this exercise will be free of charge…

How I would have been written it:

Sorry, we screwed up your fuel meter. No worries, we’ll fix it for free.

19 Reasons to Celebrate!

Man United had already sewn up the 19th Premiership last weekend but I am still beaming with pride and joy over what they have achieved. And since today is the 19th day of this beautiful month of May, I thought it would be great to list down 19 reasons (in no particular order nor importance) to celebrate Man United’s 19th league title victory…

1. Sole claimant as the BEST team in English football

2. Knocking Liverpool off the perch….finally!

3. Emergence of Javier Hernandez as the best signing of the season promises better things to come!

4. Impressive near-perfect home-form was key in title drive. Home support RULES!

5. Unexpected contribution of 21 goals from Dimitar Berbatov! Shocking!

6. Vintage Gigg’s leadership, performance and role-model to team-mates!

7. Getting the title in a year where there were more threats than just Chelsea and Arsenal, with so many teams being able to beat one another, proves that triumph in the world’s toughest league is most satisfying indeed

8. Van de Sar’s final season with Man United – another solid performance all-year long. I wonder who’s hands can his gloves fit?

9. Consistency at its highest level week in, week out, as our challengers faltered every now and then

10. Spot-on tactics, team changes and strategies as we were fighting on all fronts of the league, FA Cup and Champions League too.

11. Maturing of Chris Smalling as he took on leadership in defence for long periods when Ferdinand and/or Vidic would be missing on injuries

12. Not too many lengthy or critical injuries during the season. And when there were any, available players were able to step up and perform. Eg. Nani, Anderson, Park, etc.

13. Spectacular wins over Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal and City

14. Ever-solid and reliable Vidic holding fort in our defense.

15. Passionate, never-say-die attitude which was evident in numerous matches where we fought back to win or level the score in the final 15 minutes. Simply exemplary!

16. Wayne Rooney’s spectacular overhead winner vs City. Remarkable one-off wonder goal.

17. Fixture changes and revisions and reschedulings due to snow storms and what nots somehow helped us through the usually horrendous New Year congestion. The change of our earlier date with Chelsea looks like a blessing in disguise too!

18. Yay for Michael Owen…who will finally get his winners medal….:-P

19. Sir Alex Ferguson, our magnificent gaffer who has shown time and time again that he’s the best in the business with his intense desire to win, win and win some more. Here’s 19 cheers to you and hoping for many more to come before you retire!

 

Playoff Predictions: Conference Finals

Wow! The Conference finals are already into Game 1s as I write this, so I better pick up gears and post up my predictions.

I was spot on with all of my R2 predictions, but I never predicted the way some of the series went. Most unbelievable was Dallas’ impressive dismantling of two-time champions LA Lakers. That rewarded them with plenty of days rest ahead of their Conference finals, which started this morning. Their opponents – young and dangerous Oklahoma, with superstar Keven Durant at helm, survived a 7-game thriller of a series with Memphis. In the East, I was surprised at how easily Miami picked apart Boston 4-1 whilst Chicago battled through in six games over Atlanta.

Although Chicago holds the league record in the regular season, I predict they will face problems winning 4 games with Miami. The Heat has this knack of playing great one-off games and their away record has been really good this year. В I do not see Chicago sustaining the form during their Game 1 win. Besides, the number of 2nd chance points for the Bulls in that game is seriously ridiculous. I predict Miami to steal at least 2 games in Chicago for the remainder of the series and win it 4-2.

In the West, it’s a simple young vs old (and very hungry). A Dallas roster filled with Championship-starved 30-something veterans vs a Oklahoma team of young and rising stars. Personally, I felt the 9 days of rest after the LA sweep did Dallas some good as their offense clicked into the right gears in Game 1 as they rolled to a 121-112 victory. Dirk performed phenomenally this morning, scoring a В whopping 48 points and going for a NBA playoff record 24-24 from the FT line. He only missed 3 field goal attempts in the game. Incredible. I do have concerns that if this series were to drag on beyond 5 games, the Mavericks would tire out. My pick is for the Mavs to clinch it 4-1.if they don’t, they might run into serious trouble because the speed at which the Thunder play is pretty scary at times.

Conference Finals Predictions:

East:

Miami 4 Chicago 2

West:

Dallas 4 Oklahoma 1

 

Playoff Prediction Stats for R2: 4/4 (100%); Dead-on: 0/4 (0%)

Overall: 9/12 (75%); Dead-on: 2/12 (17%)