Monday, May 21, 2012

On Chelsea scaling their Everest - Ramblings

  • My 1st memory of a penalty shoot-out is the 82 semi between W Germany & France. Sort of remember being impressed by the German precision in slotting into the far extremes of the net. Can't recall the Germans ever losing out on a penalty. On the other hand, have seen many English players doing a Ramos, including Terry & Beckham. So didn't think Chelsea stood a chance at the end. Was amazed to see Cech guess the correct direction every time. The Lineker axiom stands disproved.
  • Chelsea has one of the most expensively assembled teams. Cost way more than Bayern or Barcelona. Surprised to see them always treated as underdogs. Or to not even make an attempt to play ball. They effectively neutralized Bayern's home advantage by refusing to keep possession.
  • Feels odd that some English football fans will have fond memories of Munich.
  • Torres had about 30 minutes to make his case for a place in Spain's Euro squad. IMO not enough.
  • Everyone interviewed post match seemed non-committal on Di Matteo's continuation as coach. None of the players said they would like to see him as coach. All went on about how great a job he has done in terms of results. Stress on results. Seems a decision has already been made. Probably he losing the job is best for his reputation at this stage. Chelsea are very unlikely to repeat their success next year. They'll have to off-load quite a lot of players, and rebuild.
  • Chelsea can use their CL success to boost their international fan base, especially with the London Olympics around the corner.
  • Was nice that players weren't going to the ground all the time. One of the negative Spanish league traits.
  • Avram Grant takes them to the finals for the 1st time. Di Matteo becomes 1st coach to win a Champions League with Chelsea. Just look at the list of those who couldn't. Maybe Roman Abramovich should permanently hire a caretaker coach.
  • Feeling sorry for Spurs, but not too much. Entry to Champions League by placing 3rd or 4th in the domestic league is a sort of bonus, not a right. If you want to play the CL, win your home league.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Indian colonization of English

Once upon a long ago, the English colonized India. With our frequent hartals, strikes & fasts-to-death, they finally got fed up and left.

But we weren't done with them yet. We have been working surreptitiously to take-over their language. With assistance from many other fellow ex-colonies. While the Americans set about ruining the spellings, the Indians worked on new meanings and extensions. And we're not satisfied with just adding new words such as Hartal, Satyagraha, Padayatra etc. We want to twist around original words as well. Hopefully the rest of the world will soon join us.

Some eg:

Revert: Not established yet inspite of frequent use, but will in the near future mean 'To respond or reply to.'
Prepone: Clearly a more logical antonym than 'advance'.
Thrice: If you can have twice, then why say 'three times'?
And Triple is more cogent than 'treble'. You already have triplets and triple jump anyway. And it's easier to 'triplicate' something than reproducing threefold. Soon we'll start working on Fourple. The 'e' at the end to be pronounced as 'ay'. Quadruple is too difficult to spell.

In the pipeline, some other terms we plan to introduce to the RotW.
Wheatish complexion for the Northies, and Ricish (Brown variety) for the Southies.
Victims of Eve teasing still face a lot of tension in their efforts to get some redressal of the same.
Passing out would not require the services of an allopath.
Even Tolkien uses sister-sons, so why not cousin brothers?
BHK will be a standard in all accomodation classifieds.

Now, am off to read some non-veg jokes that a batchmate forwarded. Meanwhile entertain yourself referring to these dictionaries. Or this blog

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Where're you off to?

In most of the Anglo Saxon regions the standard exchange when passing an acquaintance on the street (or elsewhere) is to wish the person a Good [time of the day]. With greater familiarity, this might be followed by "How are you?". Keeping in mind that this is a greeting, and not a question, the expected response is along the lines of "Fine. How are you?". Past this you can safely pass, and get on with your lives.

In the Gelf, the greeting goes, Good {time of day} (or alternatively, Peace on You), followed immediately by "How are You?". And without waiting for response or catching breath, continue with "How's your family? How're your children? How're your wives? How're your goats?......"
Response would be something like, "Bright {time of the day}, I am fine, praise the lord. The kids are fine, praise the lord. The wives are fine, praise the lord. The goats are well fed, praise the lord...." And then you shoot the same set of questions back.
This could easily take a few minutes. This protocol is followed for phone conversations as well, before entering the purpose of call. And the telcos have made a killing out of this, with the mean talk time per call about 5 minutes longer than the international average.

In many parts of India, apparently the method of greeting a passing neighbour or colleague is to say, "Where are you going?". Note: Say, not ask. You're not expected to precisely answer this. Unless the questioner is you aunt, in which case, she probably wants to know. The expected response is to vaguely wave your hand in the direction you are moving, and say "Just, there." And smile, and move on.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thoughts on Framing a Quiz Question

A good quiz question should meet a large number of the following characteristics

  • Long enough to provide sufficient details / clues. And short enough to enable a quick grasp of what's being asked.
  • High probability that the participants can work out or guess the answer, based on the data available and other facts that they are likely to know. Once revealed, the subject of the answer should be known to many.
  • Relevance. Provide new information that is interesting. Questions should provoke thought. It should not be merely a test of instant recall for answers. Though, audience should be able to recall Q&A after the event.
  • On revealing the answer, the reaction of the crowd should be - 'That's nice to know', or 'Oh! Interesting, I didn't know that', or 'I should have guessed that'. It should not lead one to think - 'Who's / What's that?', or 'Ok, So what?', or 'Who cares'
  • Should bring out the erudition / intelligence of the quizzers, rather than the QM's. Of course no harm in the question setter showing off knowledge or creativity, but it should not be through throwing multiple bouncers at the teams.
  • Clarity. Should not lead to multiple possible answers. At times, in order to not give away the answer, the setter may have to keep it a bit vague. However on the answer being revealed, it should be immediately acceptable as the only possible answer that meets all criteria set in the question.
  • Difficulty. Answerable by at least 10% of the crowd. Not known to > 80% of the participants.
  • Veracity. No cooked up facts to make it interesting.
  • Its ok to an extent, and perhaps unavoidable, to repeat / copy some questions from other quizzes. Especially if the participants are relative newcomers to quizzing, and are not likely to have seen the questions before. But with Kopimism having a large number of adherents among quizzers, its unlikely that no one has seen the same question before. So even if a question is being repeated, try and frame it differently. Or bring out some other aspect of the topic. Or build on previously asked questions on the theme.

A good 'set of questions' would fulfil a number of the foll:
  • Wide & Diverse range of topics. Though sticking within the theme of the quiz. e.g. A sports quiz would have all questions on sports. But it should not end up with half of them on cricket.
  • High on originality of questions. i.e, Keep repeated / copied questions to a minimum
  • Taken from multiple sources. Especially if questions are being lifted L,S & B. A team should not be able to ace the quiz, merely because they've gone through the year's KQA Mahaquizzer. Or because they subscribe to the Time magazine. Or have read the last week's newspapers.
  • Does not lead to a fastest finger competition. Especially if buzzers are involved.
  • Should be difficult to 'prepare' for. Be unpredictable
  • At the end of the quiz, all participants should feel that they have learnt some new stuff.
  • 75-90% of questions answered by participants.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Bird Watching

Seems the majority of the traffic to this blog is from those searching for 'quiz questions'. So will oblige and put up a few. This is from a round I’d asked at an informal gathering at Muscat, sometime back. Round title is ‘Bird Watching’.

1. Which Omani company’s name translates to “Seagull”?

2. Who was given a Guard of Honour by both the teams, India (led by Azhar) and England (led by Nasser Hussain) at his 66th and last test match at Lords in 1996?

3. Which famous name is the author of the book, 'Birds of the West Indies'? The cover also has the following text, "A field guide to all the birds of the Carribean Islands, with 94 color illustrations by Don R Ecklebury and 186 line drawings by Earl R Poole".

4. Darby Shaw, a Tulane University Law student wrote an essay speculating on the motives behind the assassination of two supreme court judges. And then got into all sorts of trouble for it. What was her write-up called?

5. Which NBA star of the 80s was also called the “Great White Hope”?

6. The National Anxiety Center is a sceptical organization whose purpose is to debunk scare stories promoted by environmental and consumer organizations such as 'global warming' and ozone depletion. It announces an annual ____ ____ award. The trophy is a rubber ______. Named after which fable character? (Hint: Char shared a fear with Vitalstatistix)

7. This Omani conglomerate’s name translates to “Peacock”. Which?

8. The Mad Hatter asks Alice this riddle, which is never answered in the story. Many answers were suggested much later. The most popular answer is, “Poe wrote on both." What’s the question?

9. Complete this nursery rhyme. "Vintery, mintery, cutery, corn, Apple seed and apple thorn; Wire, briar, limber lock Three geese in a flock. One flew east, And one flew west, ____________________________________"

10. Complete this famous line from a more famous book. "I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it's a sin _________________.”

Notes: Questions 3, 9 & 10 are chestnuts. 1 & 7 provide the local flavour. While all are easy, 5 should be a sitter for anyone who follows sports. WRT framing, am particularly happy with the way #4 turned out. Also #8. Will put the answers in the comments, in a couple of days.