Interventions by Noam Chomsky (4/5) — This is a compilation of op-eds by Noam Chomsky written for The New York Times Syndicate. And here’s the irony — supposedly the views in these op-eds are such that US papers (including NYTimes itself) have declined to publish them. However, they’ve been published widely in Guardian and other non-US newspapers. The 44 op-eds in the book run from 2002 through 2006. Reading them I couldn’t even figure out why they weren’t printed in the US. They didn’t seem offending or much different from his usual writing.

The main topics of the op-eds are:
* Iraq – US supported Saddam against Iran. He and the country becomes enemy when oil becomes important.
* Israel/Palestine – US+Israel have been pushing down all possible resolutions to the never ending conflict. In the UN, US+Israel alone have been voting against policies which could help while the entire rest of the world have voted for it.
* South America – US screwed the nations here destroying validly elected democracies and putting up puppet presidents and dictatorships. The nations here have been moving left-center in recent years with independent leaders who are increasingly defiant to US.
* Democracy – US bringing democracy to the world is such a farce. They’ll support dictatorships, pull down governments, run elections, and of course force democracy — basically do anything required to maintain control.
* Power – The only way to keep US off your country is to develop/acquire nukes. See how they can destroy Iraq while they can’t touch N Korea.
* Policy – Chomsky and Sainath say the same with regards to this issue. Public opinion no longer matters. Public opinion doesn’t influence public policy even a bit. Special interests, lobbies and big business run all the nation’s policies.
* Iran – It’s all about the control over oil honey.

Since these are op-eds written about current affairs, there is a lot of repetition of ideas while you read them. Since the op-eds are all byte-sized, the book is perfect to read over short breaks/commutes. Good read.


Tristan + Isolde

Tristan + Isolde (3/5) is a romantic tragedy. The time is after Romans, provinces of England are divided and regularly looted by Ireland. In one of the Irish attacks, Tristan is wounded, presumed dead and set afloat on a funeral boat. Isolde, daughter of the Ireland king finds him washed up, tends to him and they fall in love. Tristan returns back, only to come back to Ireland to fight for Isolde in a competition. He wins, but sadly Isolde has to marry his king Marke. Their love continues secretly, but is revealed to the world by the Ireland king which tears apart the united English kings. Tristan dies in battle.

The story is good, the filming is good. The length and pace of the movie works against it, making it boring.

Chak De! India

Chak De! India (4/5) — This movie makes you wonder what took Bollywood so long to cash in on the sports movie genre. Directed by Shimit Amin, this is a perfect sports movie, with a fallen hero and how he coaches and inspires the Indian women hockey team back to victory. Though there is absolutely nothing original, the story is tight and well made. SRK gets his trademark jittery-shaking-crying scenes. The girls are refreshing though. For the first time (?) we get to see some normal looking females doing non-romantic or villainous roles in Hindi cinema. The movie is a good effort and good fun to watch.