Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Entire Tapestry

I cannot put it any more plainly: you haven't lived till you have read Richard Feynman's "The Character of Physical Law".

There are ideas in the book -everything from Law of Gravitation to Symmetry in Physical Law to the relation of Mathematics to Physics in 170 pages - that are so beautifully explained, I wanted to stand up on my plane seat and read those words aloud to my co-passengers. (Then I saw how engrossed they were, watching Shrek or reading Harry Potter and decided against acting out my impulse.)

Take this one particularly soul-stirring passage from a chapter on Entropy and Disorder, titled "The Distinction Between Past And Future":

Which end is nearer to God; if I may use a religious metaphor. Beauty and hope, or the fundamental laws? I think that the right way, of course, is to say that what we have to look at is the whole structural interconnection of the thing; and that is all the sciences, and not just the sciences but all the efforts of intellectual kinds, are an endeavour to see the connections of the hierarchies, to connect beauty to history, to connect history to man's psychology, man's psychology to the working of the brain, the brain to the neural impulse, the neural impulse to the chemistry, and so forth, up and down, both ways. And today we cannot, and it is no use making believe that we can, draw carefully a line all the way from one end of this thing to the other......And I do not think either end is nearer to God. To stand at either end, and to walk off that end of the pier only, hoping that out in that direction is the complete understanding, is a mistake. And to stand with evil and beauty and hope, or to stand with the fundamental laws, hoping that way to get a deep understanding of the whole world, with that aspect alone, is a mistake.
Sadly, these brilliant lectures which were once available on Google and YouTube have now have been removed. If any of you know any other video sites where I can find them, please post links in the commentspace. For that that don't have access to a good public library or a bookstore, just google for the book title and you will find excerpts on Google Books.

Friday, August 24, 2007

25, Single, Enjoys Nature Walks And Flinging Poop

Everything about the story can be deduced from this one paragraph:
"The monkeys grab their breasts, and gesture at us while pointing at their private parts. We are afraid that they will sexually harass us," said Mrs Njeri.
Damned dirty ape refuses to keep stinking paws to himself! (link to BBC)

UPDATE: More wild animals gone, er, wild

I know none of you are refreshing your browsers for updates to this rather important breaking news story, but reader "nat" posted a link in the commentspace to a similar incident involving a camel. Think I now know why they are called one-humped camels.

Question for you all: would these incidents be described as "bestiality" or "humaniality"? Think about it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Duality And Contradiction

A Personal Injury Lawyer's office,
right next to the Zen meditation center.
My head assplodes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

In Which Annie Gives Me Those Ones

I enter the plane and who do I see in front of me? Annie Leibovitz, sitting all by herself, reading the New York Times. Double, triple and quadruple takes (by me, not her.) Yup, that's Annie Leibovitz. No mistaking those glasses. I am hyperventilating. How could I not be? She took all those great photos (like this, this and this.) Oh, and she also shot that very famous picture on the morning of December 8, 1980.

Should I have said hello? Pulled out my cheap plastic pen and asked her for an autograph? Handed over my cellphone (the one with the 0.0002 nanopixel camera) to her and asked her for a portrait?

Sadly, I couldn't bring myself to doing any of those things. I chickened out and ate my overcooked chicken sandwich in regretful silence. But now I have decided that this non-encounter will be my Beatle story and it will always start this way: "I once flew with the photographer who took one of John's best pictures..." (mildly NSFW)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bakin' Love

Did you know there are certain words and phrases that can "make men fall deeper in love" and that stud muffin is one of them?

If "stud muffin" will push a man over the cliff, heels under his head, into the raging sea of love, will calling him "watery oatmeal" keep him from committing to a relationship?

What about women? How do we make them fall deeper in love? "Slutty croissant" or "libidinous pastry"? What about "my kinky knish", "chaste pretzel" or "hot cross bun"?

Is there a "salacious piroshky" in your life?

Do the words "vampish vada" or "amorous samosa" mean anything to you?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Three Most Beautiful Words In The English Language

"Karaoke Bar Meltdown" (Link to Smoking Gun, via Drudge)

She deserves to be honored, not arrested.

Bon Voyage, And Here's Your Handbasket

The city police have registered a case against controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin, who was recently attacked by workers of Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) here, for allegedly creating ill-feeling among communities.
Say what?

Friday, August 10, 2007


Not to go all spoiler on you, but do yourself a favor and watch "The Bourne Ultimatum" for these two reasons: a car chase sequence and a hand-to-hand fight sequence. (There's a third reason too: a chance to revisit some of the environs of the 1937 French classic, "Pepe Le Moko". Now that is a GREAT genre film.) The rest of "The Bourne Ultimatum" is very enjoyable, and yes, it is a 100% genre workout (but don't let that scare you.)

My only complaint about the film is its screenplay's reliance on awkward exposition. You know how that works in spy movies, right? For half the movie, you will hear every character make references to a secret operation ("Operation MumboJumbo") without providing any more details. Then at some point in the film, one of the characters will start describing Operation MumboJumbo's goals for no reason other than to bring the audience up to speed. I know, I know, every genre has its beats and a good film has to hit those beats.

Censorship, It's A Beautiful Thing

A webcast of Pearl Jam's performance gets "edited" by AT&T and apparently, it was an "error".

Author Taslima Nasrin's appearance in Hyderabad was rudely interrupted by another organization. No word on whether their special appearance was also an error.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Does This Even Need A Title?

In a comment on a most enjoyable post, I alluded to a contraceptive commercial that made headlines in India in the early '90s. (That would be the Nineteen Nineties, thank you.) Naturally, I had to google for that brand right away. Oh, the places our memories take us.

The manufacturer of the contraceptive has a website. And in there is more goodness per cubic inch than there would be in a tubful of Horlicks.

As an example, the site has a message-board titled "TIT TO TOE" with a forum called "Nailed and Polished". I am sure those names tell you what's to, uh, come. Well, you would be wrong. Here's some of what you will actually find on that forum: (the forum is harmless, but the site is not safe for work.)

A girl with bad skin and a veggie fetish. You too would hurl all over your keyboard if I told you I had almond chicken for lunch today.

Then there's the patchy-haired dude, who claims to have no growth of hair "at" his "chick". Maybe should try shaving his other chick?

Madam, you shouldn't be posting on a message-board. You should be making friends with monkeys. (I know, real mature, and also, monkeys don't eat lice.)

And finally, the double-headed monster that will absolutely, completely, totally, positively reduce you to a helpless, quivering, teary-eyed mass of WTF.

Friday, August 03, 2007

It's Alright Ma (I Got Them Discombobulation Blues)

I hear a man's voice inside the elevator. Just one word: "Hello". It's buried under static and "whoosh", like a guitar phaser set to 10.

I jump up - literally - look around the elevator and see no one. Then, just to be sure I didn't miss any of the corners, I look again. There's no one in the elevator (but me, of course.) I am definitely hearing a voice in this elevator with an est. pop. of 1.

My long-harbored fears are coming true. Voices in my head, padded cells, men in white taking me away, days and nights spent polishing those crazy diamonds, my wife standing outside my isolated room...

Seeing my floor is still a few seconds away, I decide to confront the Voice.

I summon a "Hello?". Even to my own ears, I sound half-ashamed and half-frightened.

"Yeah?", says the elevator. It (or he) sounds irritated. The elevator doesn't seem too crazy about small talk.

"Hello?", I say again. More crackle, hiss and pop. The elevator's response is barely audible or comprehensible, which is how it should be. The elevator stops at the requested floor and I walk out.

I look back, half-expecting to see something terrible in the elevator, like the ghost of a decapitated office worker, appearing from nowhere. Then I tell myself, "office elevators transport brainless people, but never headless ones. NEVER!".

Having ruled out the possibility of a Haunted Elevator, I conclude this was simply a Cosmic Joke, a Divine Punk'd or maybe some kind of a Message. But if God wanted to send me a Message, why did He choose an elevator? And if an elevator could deliver a Message, what would it be?

Till I find some answers, I am taking the stairs.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Elton Comes Out

Out of the Idiot Closet, that is.

I especially liked this particular comment from the linked article: "Let’s get out in the streets and march and protest instead of sitting at home and blogging."

What can I say, when I think of great activists and all those brave people who fought for important issues, the very first name that comes to my mind is Elton John.