Wednesday, January 30, 2008

4/5. Happy?

"The rules of the tag are : Post 5 links to 5 of your previously written posts. The posts have to relate to the 5 key words given (family, friend, yourself, your love, anything you like)." Alright, Lekhni (and Black Mamba), here goes:

The family always comes first. Sad, that joke.

I haven't really blogged much about music and have usually just "quick-linked" to websites and/or the occasional song. I don't know, pretentious, sloppy writing about music (which, I assure you, is definitely my style) is like bad sex: feigned, forced and full of fake grunts. But when I do link to a song or some obscure music-related website and someone enjoys the link, it makes me very, very happy. Music is my obsession.

A post about "friends"? I don't have one. A post, I mean. Hmm.

"Anything you like"? I like this young man's resourcefulness and courage.

Oh, and three of my winningest virtues are on display here. How's that for a post "about yourself"?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Blues For Neguse

From this Japanese site I occasionally visit for its "word-of-the-day" feature comes a word we all need every once in a while, particularly on the Parachute Coconut Hair Oil Day:
"ne guse: morning hair that is, hair that sticks up due to sleeping"
There's also the helpful suggested usage:
"shimatta. mata neguse!
Oh no. Morning hair again!"
The masterly use of the exclamation mark at the end of that sentence sealed the deal for me. Who here has not looked at the mirror and mused over the beauty and mystery of morning hair (but always after silently exclaiming: "AGAIN!")?

Today's word of the day is a particularly good one:
"u chuu jin: alien, space man"
and comes with an even more interesting usage:
"watashi wa amerika jin desu kedo, imouto wa uchuu jin na no desu: I am an American, but my little sister is an alien. [This example comes in quite handy for checking to see if your listener is listening. if your listener shows no reaction, there is a good chance he's not listening.]"
Brilliant. Though I gotta be honest. I have occasionally suspected my sister to be an alien. How else could she have kicked my butt so hard between the ages of 6 and 10?

Anyway, family secrets aside, here's The Japanese Page and here's how you wow 'em. Now go learn something useful for a change.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Method To The Madness

"My images of Akbar and Jodhaa are from the Amar Chitra Katha and like those portrayals - Hrithik is physically very strong and has princely looks, while Aishwarya is the quintessential princess."
Umm, ok.

All that background research must have taken about two seconds. (If that. All "noble kings" in ACK looked the same, as did all "quintessential princesses".)

Someone in Bollywood should commission a Hindi version of "War and Peace". They won't even need to speed-read the book. After all, we have it from reliable sources that the book is about Russia.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Photos of the Mutiny

Thanks to a lovely post on MeFi, I found this terrific archive of photographs: The George Eastman House Collection. If you click on this link and scroll down the page, you will notice that there is a collection of pictures titled "INDIA".

In that collection are very rare photos from the Indian Mutiny years, all taken by a British photographer named Felice Beato. Explore the index for more photographs by him. (Oh, and just in case you want to get a grisly view of a Mutiny battle, look at this photo by Beato; courtesy: Wikipedia)

While googling for Beato, I found this interesting little tidbit about the man:
During his partnership with his brother-in-law, James Robertson, the pair photographed the Indian Mutiny. The pictures taken during this time during the 1850’s are thought to be the first to contain actual human corpses on the battlefield.
(Emphasis mine; source:

Lots of other pictures of interest in that collection, many shot by unknown photographers. Like this portrait called "Darjeeling Thief" or a portrait of a Tibetan doctor titled "Lama Doctor from Thibet (sic) - with human thigh bone trumpet, skull cup, and drum made of human scalps". You know you want to own a picture of a man carrying a drum made of human scalps.

One last thing. I was quite surprised by this photo of the Taj Mahal. What on earth happened to all those trees? (Space Bar, easy now.)

(Note: A Flickr user also has posted many of Beato's images. You may want to check them out on Flickr instead.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ringo Shows Balls; Paul Still Dead

Former Beatle Ringo Starr stormed off the set of the morning show "Live with Regis and Kelly" on Tuesday after producers attempted to cut short his musical set.
Very cool, considering that the man needs neither the money nor the attention. And if that's not rock and roll, what is?

Speaking of rock stars on television, here are two of the greatest fuck-you moments on TV:

Elvis Costello's infamous appearance on SNL. (No videos, sadly.)

Then there's Sinead tearing up the Pope's photo, again on SNL, on live TV. (The video.)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Put Down That Rattle And Tell Me About Van Der Waals Force, Son

Everywhere I go I am told - usually by young parents - that "today's generation of kids is so much brighter and smarter". This claim is followed by evidence that involves their precious and his or her precocious mastery over some electronic gadget, almost always the TV remote. Exhibit A is then followed by vigorous head-nodding by everyone at the dinner table. The topic is deemed to have been satisfactorily concluded when one of the diners makes this profound observation: "when we were at that age, we were *so* clueless".

I don't know about you, but I am getting tired of this talk. For two very good reasons. One, it is so not true and two, because it is utterly false, man.

Our generation (well, technically not my generation. I am from the "between the 8-track and the Cassette" generation) mastered the Sony Walkman whose interface and operation so much more complex than an iPod - another gadget that often pops up as Exhibit A in this discussion. We wrote unmassive single-player non-role playing non-games like "Hello World" on the C64 computer which, if you recall, had no mouse and let me tell you mommy, that's too much for little Einstein. When we wanted entertainment, we had something called a "shortwave radio" which involved - gasp - sitting and listening to a song for a full 45 seconds. Times were hard and our minds sharp.

But I am not here to discuss each generation's gadget-fu or to argue over which generation is more intelligent. My rant here is about the message implicit in the Young Parent's Claim. Because when you extrapolate the thing backwards (or forwards), you arrive at conclusions that go against everything we know about Mankind. Here's why.

I distinctly remember *my* mother making several Young Parent Claims about me to her friends. I fully agree with her, but come on. If every generation were more intelligent than the preceding one, wouldn't that make us all a bunch of idiots compared to the Class of 2058? Ooh, look, little Pappu made a working prototype of the teleportation chamber using mashed potatoes and Similac!

Or, if you take this argument backwards, it just means the Early Man was not very smart. Is that so? Agriculture? Fire? Clubbing neighbor to death with a branch of a tree? Hello!

What I am saying is, we were not that much smarter or dumber tens of thousands of years ago. Nor will we be much smarter or dumber tens of thousands of years from now. We will always be who we are: a bored, distracted, violent species with unwavering belief in its abilities and wisdom.

All right, one last point. when CaveMoms gathered around a fire and chatted (engraved?) about how "little Gwggrr has grown opposable thumbs!" or how their 1-year old daughter knows how to read the sundial, that should have been the first and last time anyone had to endure "the kids these days are so clever!" at a dinner party.

Friday, January 18, 2008

When Party Animals Go Wild...

Three victims of a tiger attack at a city zoo taunted the animal moments before it struck, killing one of the men, court documents have revealed. Full story.

How to taunt a tiger:

1. "Ever heard of the dead cat bounce theory?"
2. "'s the move to the zoo working out?"
3. "Does your neighbor still fling feces at you?"
4. "I think that would make a great rug"

Remember kids, if these don't provoke the tiger, there's always the ever-reliable:

5. "Here, kitty kitty"

Can someone tell me how waving at a tiger could be construed - by the tiger, of course - as "taunting"? Hmm? Being a bit touchy, aren't we, Tatiana?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Astrid Kirchherr - Interview

Terry Gross interviews Astrid Kirchherr on "Fresh Air" today. You can listen to the full interview here. Fun stuff.

Ms. Kirchherr's comments towards the end of the interview come as a bit of a surprise. Apparently, the artist who shot all those now-iconic pictures of the Beatles just gave up photography after the 1960s because she wasn't sure if it was her talent or her subject that made her famous!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Last Night I Had The Lamest Dream

While the average person is happy being chased around by angry, three-legged cans of neon-colored soda or falling up a very deep hole on the side of one's head - in his or her dreams, of course - geniuses make good use of their downtime by working on complex problems.

Like the famous six-sided, ring-like structure of the benzene molecule which may or may not have been conceived in Kekule's dream.

Or those beautifully garbled verses in the Beatles' "Sun King" that John Lennon may or may not have "heard" in a dream.

So what did I dream about last night? A supremely awful joke: "Lassidity (rhymes with "acidity") - severe, painful heartburn caused by drinking too much salt lassi."

Waiter, some tissue please. People are shooting jets of lassi out their noses.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ms. Amonkar, May I Suggest A Better Search Engine?

She's singing a beautiful Todi in vilambit, teen taal. And the composition is titled "Mere mana YAHOO ratey re".

Bad jokes, runny eggs and burnt toast follow.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Drunk Guy Walks Into A Cyber Cafe

Happy 2008, all. Thanks to my very tight drinking schedule in India, I have not been able to respond to some of your comments. Awfully rude, I know, but typing under so much influence is hard even for an accomplished typer-under-influence like me.

Anyway, here's something that will make you smile. Yes sir, 2% of India's GDP will go towards healthcare. That's up from 1%.

The countdown to the flight back home has begun. A few days more, that's all. Mom's in a state of panic and depression already. "Can't you extend your stay?" Must. Not. Make. Eye contact. So I look down at my shoelaces. Those are some *awesome* shoeslaces, man. "Can't you just return?" I run out of the room, pretending to be interested in the test match playing on the TV. Breaks my goddamn heart, that question.

I used to have a well-prepared speech on Why I Can't Return. It was arrogant shit, plain and simple. It required a certain sneer for effective delivery, but it worked. Only now the thing doesn't work anymore. So if you have one that works, I would be very interested in hearing it.