Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Time constraints

There was a time in the initial stages of the birth of the internet when I did not have one, I used to watch at least 2 movies each day and it is quite the opposite. I have rarely have time to even watch once a week. This is how time constraints I have become and I believe many more people like have too. Marriage, kids, internet, work and all the other distractions make it very hard to do anything entertaining. But I believe that the biggest culprit that have regarding time constraints is the Internet which is so addictive that it takes a big chunk of my time. Even when I am done with it, I have to go back after a while since there is sometimes nothing on television.

But apart from the Internet, there are many other distractions that make me feel like I had more than 24 hours in the day and I can sleep less to concentrate on my things but by the end of the day, I am too tired to do anything meaningful. I don’t know about you but the routine sometimes gets to me. From Monday to Friday evening, the only thing you do is wake up, go to work, come back, spend some time with your family (if you are lucky enough to leave your office by 5 P.M.) and eat dinner and then go to sleep. I don’t know about you but it does not seem to me as very productive. During the weekends, you have ample time to do some stuff, but then you are also tired from your work to relax a little bit and then the whole routine starts again. These time constraints don’t let you develop your full potential and you get relegated to a common person without contributing anything extra to your life.

The changing landscape of retail

There was a time that many retail spaces dotted the streets of New York. I remember there was Alexander and Woolworth and in some areas Bradlees but all of them are gone now replaced by cell phone companies or computer stores. Much of these stores were the victim of recession, bad business decisions or just plain short sightedness to see what is store in the future. But it has been happening all over the place. One time Broadway on Times Square was a place where decent people tried to avoid because of all the illegal activities going on. But now it is the place to be dotted by stage shows, movie houses, restaurants and other stores friendly to families.

Same has happened with mom and pop stores replaced by big box retailers who occupy the space of two or three mom and pop stores and can have sometimes but not always lower prices but provide one stop convenient shopping. There was no star bucks back in the 80s and now you see one everywhere which provides stable income to their landlords since we the Americans are addicted to Coffee even if it is expensive. Cutthroat competition has given way to new stores who are cost efficient in their operations. Even the book stores which were considered essential are migrating to the internet and closing their expensive stores where they can only survive with discounting and not the full price, since very few people now days pay full price for the books. And so in the coming years, we will see more upheaval in the retail world.

The post of the IMF chief

Ever since the scandal broke out regarding the Sexual activities of the former IMF chief, there has been a clamor of replacing the former one with the one which reflect the realities of the world economies. On the one side the IMF chief has historically been European and especially now because of the financial crisis in Europe, the Europeans want to have one of their own. But on the other hand, the emerging markets are saying that since the new economic situation in the world is gradually shifting towards India, China, Brazil and other huge developing countries, they should field a candidate of one of their own choosing.

But here is the problem; the emerging markets are not unanimous in their decision of one candidate. The Indians don’t want to support a Chinese and vice versa. There is a huge suspicious among the different emerging markets regarding each other candidates. At least in this front, the Europeans are united to field one candidate and then they can work their way to garner support from other developing and developed countries. Although I truly believe that the post of the IMF chief should reflect new realities but unless the developing countries field a unanimous candidate to the liking of all (especially the U.S. having the biggest number of votes), they will continue to lose out having one of their own in the position.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The end of the world is here!

Lately I have been seeing warning signs on bill board that the end of the world will be here on May 21, 2011. It is weird watching that sing since if you want to announce the end of the world, it should be some very future date so that people have some faith and the person announcing it should have some face saving. But here in this case, the person is alive and well and he has quite a few followers who have left all their belongings and loved ones behind and have joined this crowed. My question is how did they come up with this specific date and what would happen if things does not come out the way it is supposed to be.

I remember one time back in the nineties when there was one guy holding a placard near world trade center stating that the world be end on October 22, 1992 (or something like that) but after that date passed and everything was good, I never saw that person again. Maybe some thing again will happen like that this time around. I don’t know what their tactics are, but spreading false information like that will not garner them much attention. But since they are not harming anybody and this is a free country so they can practice the message as a form of free speech and nothing more than that.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Great Mississippi River Floods of 2011

I have been following off and on the flood that is devastating the several towns and cities and also states that lay in the path of Mississippi River and it is truly heart breaking to know that there is no end to the solution except hard choices to destroy one part of the state in order to save another. These people whose houses, land and farms have been destroyed by the flood are not the richest folks in America or in their states. They are just ordinary folks living their average middle class lives whose whole lives have now been upended by this flood. They have nowhere to go except shelters where they are lodged in with whatever belongings they can carry with them.

Rivers are nice to look at, have picnic and maybe a house but when the same river gets more than enough rain, it can be a raging monster, uncontrollable and unpredictable. The same thing has happened in New Jersey earlier this year, where peoples’ houses have been destroyed when flood water hit the Passaic River. Although no amount of contingency can be enough if you are suddenly caught up in river tide, but common sense demands that people should have a backup plan in case when such thing ever occurs. And the habit of us Americans to live near the water, buy expensive houses should be made with floods in mind, because only one flood can destroy your dream house in a day what you have spent your entire lives building your memories in it.

Junk mail

If you are like most Americans, you may have received Junk mail on a regular basis. I really hate that kind of junk mail since on the computer that you can just hit the delete button or it filters unsolicited mail to your junk box, but there is no way to do that when you get physical mail. You have to sort all the mail to find out which is junk and which is important. Now there is another trick that the junk mailers use which states that important mail or time sensitive mail and you feel like it is really important, just to open it and find out it is not. Then you have to make sure that important information is discarded properly before you through away the junk mail.

One of the things that is also common is they say on the address so and so name or current resident to make sure their mail is reached properly. Another tactic is by credit card companies is to send us unwanted solicitation. I don’t really understand this because if I have declined one invitation to apply for a credit card, the solicitation should stop forever, since if I need one, I will apply myself, no need to approach me in this regard. Right now my procedure is to rip apart the junk mail and just throw it away in the garbage. There is nothing more I can do except to call each one individually and request them to stop their junk mail but it would be too time consuming and I fear that if you stop one kind of junk mail, you will another kind, so you are on the losing end of this battle.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Greece crisis that would not go away

A few months ago, I wrote about the European debt crisis and how Greece was faring at that time. When the first loan guarantees were given to Greece, it was an event with much fan fare, but then of course, the Irish and the Portuguese crisis evolved. Well all is quite on the Irish and Portuguese front (for now at least) and we are back to square one with the Greek tragedy. With more than a hundred billion Euros in aid, the debt crisis was supposed to go with the austerity measures in place. But it was not meant to be as the budget deficit is much larger than expected and hence the Greeks need more than 60 billion in euro to fend off their default time.

But as been pointed out repeatedly that the Greeks would not be able to get out of this debt mess without get even more aid with their generous social benefits in place still. Unless reality and sanity prevails, the Greeks would be better off exit the door out of Euro since with all this aid, they would not be able to keep their house in order and pay off all the loans with a credible export sector and more sacrifices from their people who are not use to it. The rich countries which are trying to shore up the Greek economy with guarantees of loans are demanding more cuts in expenditure and more taxes. How long will the Greek people take these unusual steps to fix their economy is anybody’s guess. But it is going to a long road ahead and maybe it is time to exit the Euro and come back to the old drachma currency.

The world of piracy and counterfeiting-2

The same goes with handbags, who would in their right mind, would want to buy a 2000 dollar bag just to brag about it among their friends. Even people rich enough to afford 10-15 thousand dollars bag would not want to show it off in this economy at least. But again these bags does not cost that much to start with. I believe that hardly these bags cost a couple of hundred bags if much less but due to the name of the label sell for thousands of dollars giving their owners or label holders hundreds if not thousand percent margin on each bag. Other thing is that would paying off taxes to the city make the bags or any other counterfeit product legitimate, I highly doubt it because no amount of money would make it a legitimate product.

In the name of exclusivity and uniqueness, the product deemed to be part of an exclusive club sells for thousands of dollars and with limited supply. This same exclusivity is sold for the same price or a little lesser price in developing countries where people demanding luxury at an affordable price gives an opportunity to criminals (or entrepreneurs) to manufacture those goods, put the luxury label on them and sell them at a price affordable to their fellow citizens. If the prices are reasonable to start with, then there would be no need to chase after counterfeit items and the amount of fighting counterfeit goods would be compensated by increased sales of legitimate goods only at a lower profit margin. Which makes me come to high margin for these luxury goods? If the profits could be reduced to the extent that people can be happy to pay that price, counterfeit goods and pirated software can be reduced if not eliminated which it can’t be in any way.

The world of piracy and counterfeiting

A recent report stated that the piracy and counterfeiting of software and goods amounts of billions of dollars in lost revenue to legitimate business owners. If I were in the shoes of the losing business, I would have been very upset too. But to think from the perspective of the people doing it, they believe that they are not stealing but providing a legitimate service to their country folk who would otherwise be unable to afford the stuff. Look at this way, for example, a single copy of MS office 2010 costs more than 400 dollars in the U.S. If you are going to charge the same amount of money, you would not sell a single item in the poor and developing countries. Even in Europe I believe that it would be hard to buy such expensive. Even if you sell it for 100 dollars (75 percent off the actual retail cost in the U.S.), it won’t sell in developing countries.

I still not get this point that if the companies have recuperated their investment in the U.S. or other developed countries, why do they keep on insisting to sell the same stuff at a higher price. Pricing those goods in the currencies where they are to be sold should be the better idea keeping in view how much is the per capita income is of the citizens of that country. Even in china you can buy a DVD movie for a buck when the actual cost of the original ones is much higher and the original companies instead of lowering the cost and make them more affordable so that less piracy is done, insist on cracking down on violators which is always a losing proposition.

The spotlight on Pakistan-3

Despite all the evidence on the contrary and the reportedly admitted failure of Pakistan’s security apparatus to detect OBL amongst their midst and their inability to defend their territorial borders, Pakistan Parliament has condemned the intrusion of the U.S. forces infringement upon their borders and killing of OBL without informing them ahead. There is no mention why the most wanted person was in Pakistan as an illegal immigrant and why was he hiding in Pakistan in the first place, who was providing him support and why the security apparatus was asleep in their work. If you see Pakistan’s newspapers, it is full of OBL praise and giving him the title of Martyr and giving prayers in this name, meanwhile ignoring the fact that his ideology killed thousands of people of his own religion.

Pakistani government along with its people are still crying over violation of their border controls while at the same time being quite about how many of the militants from different countries have in their country fighting them and destroying whatever credibility the Pakistanis have left remaining in the world. I have no idea how long will the Pakistanis remain in the state of denial and how long will they tolerate militant groups to operate from their country. Unless the world gets together including Pakistan’s close friends to give some tough love and dose of reality to the Pakistanis, I fear that the most perilous of all the nuclear powers would continue in its path to ruin.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The spotlight on Pakistan-2

Now this is the main problem, no one except the U.S. would give Pakistan so much money in the first place. The U.S. gives it for its own specific purpose and to make sure the country does not fall apart. The Saudis and the Chinese much less care if it does or not, otherwise the way the Pakistanis try to triumph their relationships with those two countries would have made them go to them in the first place. But again, the problems come down to what the elected representatives want. They are maybe elected but all thrive on the Anti American agenda without trying to find out what their foreign and security policy is .Everybody tries to pass the buck to the Military to take the initiative.

The more aid we give them, the more hard decisions regarding their economy is pushed to the back of the priorities they should be tackling. Blaming everything on America while avoiding the real problems confronting that country is the favorite hobby of the overwhelming majority of the Pakistanis. Even when faced with the enemy within nurtured by their own security apparatus, they keep on going on their self destructive part. I just wish for once the whole world should leave Pakistan alone and see from a distance how they confront their problems. Pakistan has never grown up to face the problem of a nation and it is now time to face the music and start tackling their own problems for once on their own.

The spotlight on Pakistan

The first of the revenge bombings for OBL went off yesterday in Northwest Pakistan killing at least 80 paramilitary recruits just finished training. Further information is that the Taliban has said that more bombings will occur targeting the Pakistani and American interests. It is really sad that the Taliban are killing their own in order to avenge a person who has been killing people for a long time. News is that the Pakistan Army is not willing to take up the American request to take on their nurtured Taliban in the tribal areas. It says that the generals have become more Anti-American in their stance after the OBL raid and don’t want to toe the American line any longer.

There is so much anti-Americanism in Pakistan that even destroying their own country just to prove a point is becoming increasingly an option. Most of the politicians think that if America left Afghanistan and Pakistan, they will be fine and everything will become peaceful. But what about the Taliban, would they stop their bombing campaign, of killing other Muslims just because they do not adhere to their own brand of fanaticism. How will the Pakistanis replace the billions given by the U.S. Would the Chinese and the Saudi replace the three billion dollars given annually to Pakistan. I don’t really understand what is the purpose of giving billions of dollars when it is being used to stir up Anti-Americanism.

The complexities of Pakistan-7

During the last 63 years of Pakistan, it has only progressed in the field of nuclear technology and nothing else. But have a nuclear bomb has not ensured its people that their welfare will be lifted. On the contrary, the poverty line has gone down more, there is more shortage of everything, law and order situation has deteriorated, economy has collapsed the world image of Pakistan as a progressive and modern nation capable of handling its economy and its destiny has vanished. The Pakistanis have not been able to create a single world class brand to compete in the world markets. Every time the name of Pakistan comes, it is in the context of some bomb exploding there or some terrorists plot around the world.

Hence we come to the part where OBL was found, I still cannot believe (nor do the rest of the world) that the military and its myriad intelligence agencies were not able to find OBL who was living a mile away from the Military academy in a heavily militarized city. Whatever the Pakistanis now say that they did not know about OBL whereabouts or the Al-Qaeda people are not on its soil would be taken with a grain of salt. A few years ago, I wrote an article for a college paper that the drone attacks were a violation of Pakistan sovereignty, but after checking the facts, I have come to the conclusion that the area where these attacks occur are not actually under very nominal government control and the laws of the government are not applicable there. So there is where my point is, if the government of Pakistan is not able to apply its laws on the tribal areas, what kind of sovereignty it is talking about. If the government is unable to battle militants on its own (although acknowledging the sacrifices of the soldiers and people who have died due to terrorists attack inside their country), somebody would do it for them as witnessed by the OBL takeout.

The complexities of Pakistan-6

The military and by its extension, the people of Pakistan are overly obsessed with India and this obsession has overtaken every other issue they have. The Kashmir region divided between India and Pakistan since 1947 has been the pivotal point of conflict between the two nuclear armed nations. While India may or may not gain much by the breakup of Pakistan but I believe that India has much higher aspirations as a global power to wish Pakistan into several pieces rather than one entity. The people of Pakistan have been suffering since their independence with chronic shortages of energy and water and a huge population explosion in an area less than the size of the state of Alaska.

Then the people there have another grievance of not being able to trust anybody including the U.S. although the U.S. has been spending billions of dollars each year but the people there still hate the Americans and wish us to go away. I think that we should not walk away from that region but spending billions of dollars without showing anything in the improvement in the lives of the people is a waste of money and effort. Despite spending billions, the hatred of America has grown not lowered and this may be due to various so called Islamic parties and the bureaucracy. This hatred has hindered the progress of Pakistan and they have become a bunch of paranoid people thinking that every nation is after them for the nuclear assets and their geography.

The complexities of Pakistan-5

And that is the crux of the problem- The military which has ruled for almost 30 years and have been involved in every major security and foreign policy matters ever since Pakistan became independent in 1947. There are very few people who question the military budget and even the politicians try to get the Military’s approval in matters relating to security or foreign policy. Since all the institutions that matter have been destroyed by corruption, nepotism, the military remains the best financed and merit based institution in the country. But due to the long rule of the military rule, corruption has also seeped into the military but not on the scale of the overall society.

It is this blind faith that the military can do no wrong and they know the best about the country that has led to major disasters in the country. Although the military is well organized and have the resources but to giving it immunity to do anything and believing they are more patriotic than civilians have led it the current situation. Then the constant obsession with India has led the country to ruin and the economy has never grown as compared to other countries with similar population. Everything that is done in Pakistan relates to India and this unhealthy obsession has made the economy hostage to the wimps of the military.

The complexities of Pakistan-4

The main thing that is holding Pakistan together is the Military and somewhat the religion, which has been used by so many rulers-civilian and military to justify their rule that the meaning of it has gotten lost. The tolerance of other people’s faith and believes have gone down the drain and the society as a whole has become more radicalized and paranoid about everybody alien. On top of this, the unhealthy phobia of India, their next door neighbor has clouded the mindset of its people and military. They have been obsessed with India in all things possible. This is a nuclear armed nation which has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world but it is also the fact that the nation as a whole has lost its meaning.

Even the official name of “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” does not hold true as the name of Islam has been distorted and used for their own political gains by different politicians and the Military. It is a nation of four or five different nationalities who have nothing in common except the religion. The people in that nation think that everybody is out to destroy them and take hold of their nuclear assets. But on saner thought (which is increasingly rare there), it would be really insane to break that nation apart since it is more easier to handle one Pakistan than to divide it into four and five parts and deal with the consequences. We have all see this picture in Iraq. So in one case the holding together of Pakistan as one by the Military in one form or the other is the best scenario right now.

The complexities of Pakistan-3

But Pakistan being Pakistan, I don’t believe that any heads would roll in the wake of the operation to get OBL since there is no tradition or culture of accepting guilt or resignations. The buck is always passed along and then everybody puts their head in the sand and life goes on as if nothing has happened. But maybe this time it won’t happen since Pakis are hurt too much to let this thing go away like that. But again nobody would accept it is their fault since it will be mean again that either they were supporting OBL or just plain incompetent to notice his presence. Since the truth would never be told about that day, conspiracy theories would abound and remain so forever.

The situation in Pakistan is more complex than people can imagine since the government does not even have control over the whole country. Very few people pay taxes, energy and water crisis are always there and law is not applied equally to everybody. On top of this, a low level long running separatist insurgency has been going on in the largest (area wise) province of Baluchistan whose inhabitants have been discriminated against for a long time. In the same situation, the people in Punjab the biggest province (population wise) do not see the Baluchistan situation as been serious enough to pressurize their government to do something about it. To them the situation in Baluchistan is like a distant land. The same is happening in the Northern Part of the Country where a full blown so called Islamic insurgency is going on.

The complexities of Pakistan-2

I really don’t understand how OBL can live for so many years in a highly militarized area near a Military academy with 3 full regiments of troops and some 5,000 to 6,000 soldiers in the area and did not get detected. Also his house was more than 8 times the size of a normal house for the area. Were the inhabitants or neighbors not curious as to what is going on in the house? Whose name were the uliity bills coming to? How come the military with all the denials about OBL living amongst them and not in cave or outside the country accept its mistake? The most important thing by reading the Pakistani newspapers were not the fact that OBL was living among them but how easy was it for the American Navy Seals to come all the way from Afghanistan conduct the operation and leave without being challenged by the Pakistani Armed Forces.

Even though people would remain skeptical about the circumstances surrounding the death of OBL or for that matter even he was alive, they are more insecure about how their Armed Forces were not able to challenge their U.S. Although the government is standing firm behind their military but it is just a charade to assume that people are now skeptical about the ability of their military to secure their borders. An inquiry is now being constituted headed by a three star general to investigate how the U.S. Military came and did the operation and left without being challenged and whether some heads should roll in its awake.

The complexities of Pakistan

I am not writing this article to defend Pakistan as it is now almost useless to do so. But to make realistic assumptions so that the world can know what is going on with Pakistan. Although you can write books upon books of what is wrong with that country but here I am going to write about the new developments which has once again led to a focus on the unfortunate country. Now that the U.S. has found OBL right in the midst of Pakistan’s Military Academy, everybody is trying to find out if Pakistan knew about him or was ignorant about it.

Either way they really look stupid that if they are complicit in protecting him then why one should be hiding the World’s Number One wanted man in their country. And if they are ignorant then they must have the worst security and intelligence apparatus of a leading nuclear powered country. Although to be fair, all intelligence agencies have failed in one manner of another in their mission. But Pakistan being shown as one of the best intelligence agencies of the world, it hardly seems a shining moment in their long unfortunate history. Whether one believes that OBL was found in Pakistan or if he is still alive, the matter of the fact is that, the U.S. forces came all the way from Afghanistan, stayed in the country for approximately forty minutes and then returned to their bases safely without ever in the position of engaging with the Pakistani Armed Forces.

The death of Osama Bin Laden

Despite all the doubts regarding the body and dead picture of Osama Bin Laden (OBL), it has been confirmed by its supporter that he has been killed by the U.S. forces in Pakistan right under the nose of that country’s military academy and Fort. The way it was done is classic Hollywood fare, although it was real. After much searching and speculating about him, he was found not in a cave but in relative comfort in a resort town surrounded by Pakistan Military personnel and quite a few years. His death has been received with jubilation all around the world (except of course in Pakistan) even in a country where he was born, Saudi Arabia and which refused to take his body saying his nationality was revoked and they don’t have anything to do with him or his immediate family.

In Pakistan there has been endless speculation of about how the U.S. forces were able to snuck in without getting detected by Pakistan Military and that is the mystery which is not going to be solved any time soon because that will just destroy the myth of invincibility of Pakistan Military which has built its reputation on the professionalism and courage of its men and women. Any way it is a long discussion about who is the blame for the breach of security in Pakistan and we should not be least concerned about it. But we should congratulate all the Special Forces who took out OBL and now it is time to hunt the remaining leaders of Al-Qaeda one by one regardless of where they are hiding.

The myth of paper reduction

You always hear about how the new technology will reduce the amount of paperwork and reduce costs. Although it is true that reduction of paperwork has taken place but still it was and has been a myth that the new technology would replace the need for paperwork. For example, last weekend I was in the hospital getting my daughter discharged after an operation and the amount of paperwork needed to get her discharged made me come to think of the paper reduction myth. This year, the social security administration has said that they would not mail the annual social security statement and thus would reduce the amount of paperwork and further more the social security checks would not be mailed out any longer but will be directly deposited in your account thus reducing the paperwork.

But still we use tremendous amount of paperwork each day and although the technology has reduce some paperwork, the use of paperwork has not been reduced in other areas, since people still feel comfortable receiving paper in the mail just to remind them that they have to pay some bill. But if paper is entirely eliminated, unless you open up your email, how would you know that you would have to pay the bill or the older generation who still rely on paper mail would be at a loss of how to pay their bills. So although paperwork would indeed be reduced but not eliminated entirely anytime soon.

The voices of discouragement

You know that when you start something different than what majority are doing be it in work, education or something else, there has and will be always voices of discouragement. It is not that people are sympathetic to you or are concerned about it. It is just that this is the experience they have got and that is what they want to pass it on to the risk taker. But if you see otherwise, a risk taker would always ignore these voices of discouragement and try their luck to be a little different. I have talked to many people and they really don’t want to take much risk and start some business besides what they are doing. I can understand their reluctance since they have mortgages to pay and families to feed. But that is exactly my point that how can you be sure that your job would be secure the next day?

They already have readymade answers like they don’t know which idea to pursue or whether they would need large sums of money to invest in some project. Other thing is the fact that you can go it alone and when you are a little bit stable then you can make their judgment call wrong. And maybe you don’t even have to show something since some people, despite all the evidence to the contrary would hold on to the voices of discouragement and stay in their own little world and not take any risks.

The environment and infrastructure

A few days ago I was driving my car and starting thinking that all these roads and highways, bridges and tunnels would have a hard time being built now with all the environmental concerns and community activism. I know that everybody would want to have road or a bridge somewhere but when it comes to their communities; they do not want it in their backyard. Plus the environmental costs are always taken into account when the first proposal of a project is presented. If it is not safe for the environment, it would either not be built or the project would have to be changed to accommodate all the environmental concerns.

Similarly, community activists want to make sure that the infrastructure should not be built in their neighborhoods because it will affect the quality of life there. Most of the infrastructure you have seen now built was during the era when there were less environmental concerns. Although I can understand some of the concerns but in order to protect the environment we may be blocking progress. A few decades ago, the impact of environment was not an issue since fewer studies were conducted to study the impact of different chemicals and other man made materials. But now there are so many studies that by the time the impact on environment is done, the cost of building the infrastructure has increase manifold. I don’t know how we can progress like this and how a particular infrastructure can be build when so many interests are involved in scrutinizing a single project. If we are going to build or maintain some infrastructure, we would have to see how the benefits outweigh the costs of the project, otherwise we will never be able to maintain our infrastructure at present levels.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

On the lighter side- Movies- From Paris with Love

Johnathan Rhys Meyers stars as a lowly official in the American Embassy in Paris who doubles as an equally lowly CIA agent who longs for action and gets his wish twice over when he gets teamed up with trigger and Profanity laced John Travolta who is on a mission to stop Pakistani Terrorists of blowing up the U.S. Embassy in Paris where some U.S. delegation is scheduled to attend. Plenty of action and as usual John Travolta is over the top with this hyper acting and action sequences are good. Recommended.

On the Lighter Side- Movies-Unstoppable

Denzel Washington and Chris Pine stars as the engine master and the new internee who takes on a runaway train filled with chemicals and barreling through several towns in Pennsylvania. It is mostly a suspense movie. Although the star power of Denzel Washington is enough to watch this movie, but I was greatly disappointed that the movie did not have enough action or plot and the final just came in like it was completely predictable. It did make money, but if I were you, I would avoid this movie and watch something else. Not Recommended

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On the lighter side- Movies- SALT

Angelina Jolie stars in this action packed confused (at least to me) movie being a Russian rogue spy trying to kill/prevent the assassination of the President of the U.S. The story goes like this as Angelina is working as a CIA spy imprisoned in Korea who is released from the prison there and goes to work again for the CIA but when a Russian defector tells her that she is an agent, she has to fight for her life to get away from Government agents and then decides to eliminate her mentor who is responsible for killing her husband. If you like action, you would enjoy it but it is not that great of a movie to begin with. Recommended with reservations.