Sunday, March 30, 2008

Yes, But What About Our Bhelpuri Supplies?

This is super scary.
In 1979, at the height of the Green Revolution euphoria, per capita availability of cereals and pulses had gone up to 476.5 grams per day. The corresponding figure in 2006 was 444.5 grams per day, according to provisional government statistics.

In 2005, it was still lower at 422 grams. In the case of pulses, per capita net availability today is almost half of what it was five decades ago - 32.5 grams per day in 2006 compared with 60.7 grams per day in 1951.
Full story here. (Link to ToI)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Weatherman Caught Cachinnating

A very short clip that's all over the Web today. I don't know why it's funny but it's funny.

Yes, "cachinnating" is a real word. Look it up.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Starving Heartland

AID's newsletter mentions this rather alarming fact:
Chhattisgarh, known as the rice bowl of India, is home to more than 22,000 varieties of indigeous rice, nurtured by generations of farmers. And yet, today Chhattisgarh is among the most food insecure states of the country. Median Body weight and Body Mass Index figures seen in rural Chhattisgarh are worse than Sub-Saharan Africa.
(Emphasis mine.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Weighs 8 Tons And Takes Great Pictures

What a cool hack:
"He fixed webcams to four elephants. One carried a "trunk-cam" - a device resembling a huge log concealing a camera which could be held in its trunk and dangled close to the ground.

Another had a "tusk-cam" hooked over its tusk. The elephants moved so steadily that the images are pin-sharp. Other log-cams were left on the forest floor.

The high-definition cameras were created by inventor Geoff Bell for a documentary in the remote Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh in the heart of India."
The BBC, which is producing this 3-part series (narrated by, who else, Sir David Attenborough) has the story.

Producer/director John Downer has more information (and video) on his production company's website. (via MeFi)

Speaking of photo hacks, India's Ullas Karanth used the "camera-trap" technique to great success. I found a terrific blog dedicated to "camera-traps" and it has a very good profile of Mr. Karanth. Browse through the blog for examples of camera-trap photography.

Link to Pench National Park (why oh why can't Indian national parks have their own websites?)

Link to Pench's Tiger Reserve website.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

"Who's Gonna Save My Soul Now"

The new Gnarls Barkley single, titled "Who's gonna save my soul now" (supposedly written by the duo when James Brown died), is just *brilliant*. It sounds new and it sounds "classic".

The Onion AV Club, in a short review of the new album describes the album as "exhilarating" and the band as a "vital, enduring partnership".

This site has a video featuring The Roots' ?uestlove, who it seems was so moved by the band's new album that he "begged and begged and begged" to be the first one to leak the song on the Net :) YT has an unofficial video.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Revealing My Crush #1573903268

I'd be lying if I said I love Robert Bresson's "Pickpocket" for its Dostoyevskian theme or for all those things for which people worship Bresson. I watch "Pickpocket" for Marika Green and I am not ashamed of it :) The crush may not be jeannemoreauesque in proportions, but still. (Yes, I noted the irony. "Jeanne", Jeanne.)

(images from this terrific site. The guys running that site also "curate" four sites devoted to Bresson, Ozu, Tarkovsky and Dreyer. On the Bresson site is this page full of posters. Go forth and drool.)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Quizzin' Python

Courtesy Mental Floss, a cool little Monty Python quiz.

I am ashamed to say I got two questions wrong (and it's not a particularly difficult quiz). That's epic FAIL, as they say these days.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What Works Better Than Steam Inhaler But Can Break Your Heart?

There's a song on Elvis's Sun Sessions called "When it rains, it really pours". The song is not that memorable but one line from it really stands out:
You know what you did to make me love you
You really opened up my nose.
You got what you wanted, now you left me.
That's the way the story goes.
The rest of the song, sadly, does not mention any miracle cures for other blocked orifices.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

I've Kissed You, Now Shut Up

We've all seen this scene before. The lovesick hero is finally alone with the girl but he is too scared to "do" anything. He stutters and blabbers on, trying hard to conceal his nervousness. Finally the girl, tired of the man's milquetoastish ways, takes the initiative and whispers (some variation of) these magic words: "shut up and kiss me". They lock lips while the rest of us roll our eyes at the cliche.

I've lost count of how many sitcoms and romcoms have employed that situation. But which film first featured this routine? I think I have found the answer to that question.

It is Ernst Lubitsch's masterpiece comedy, "Trouble in Paradise", a film he and the great Samson Raphaelson wrote in 1932. I've included the hero and the heroine's conversation below, but you simply *have* to watch the film on screen to truly understand the phrase "Lubitsch touch".

Here's the other thing about the sequence. All the crappy romantic films made in the last seventy six years have not diminished one bit the tenderness and the sheer startlingness present in the "shut up, now kiss me" situation. That's an example of just how great Lubitsch and Raphaelson are. Fucking Cinema Gods!

And now for the dialog:
Mme. Colet: Monsieur LaValle, I have a confession to make to you. You like me. In fact, you're crazy about me. Otherwise, you wouldn't think about my reputation. Isn't that so? But incidently, I don't like you. I don't like you at all! And I wouldn't hesitate one instant to ruin your reputation - (She snaps her fingers) - like that! (As they talk about their reputations, their mouths are only inches apart)

Gaston/LaValle: You wouldn't?

Mme. Colet: No, I wouldn't!

Gaston/LaValle: (snapping his fingers) Like that?

Mme. Colet: (snapping her fingers again) Like that!

Gaston/LaValle: I know all your tricks.

Mme. Colet: And you're going to fall for them.

Gaston/LaValle: So you think you can get me?

Mme. Colet: Any minute I want.

Gaston/LaValle: You're conceited.

Mme. Colet: But attractive.

Gaston/LaValle: Now let me tell you...

Mme. Colet: Shut up - kiss me! (They kiss) Wasting all this marvelous time with arguments...(They kiss again)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ten Years Old And Dead

What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground, how can you run when you know? ("")

They killed her. It was an accident, they say.

We don't even learn her name from the news reports.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

1000 [____] to [_______] before you die

Someone kill the bastard who first came up with the "1000 [____] to [_______] before you die" thing. It's now staler than "[_____] from hell".

(Re this list of The Guardian's "1000 albums to hear before you die".)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cinema Verite, Serial Killers, Grave Robbers

Errol and Werner have a little chat.

The conversation is riveting. You know that fantasy dinner party guest list game? My list would just be these two guys.

And speaking of Herzog, you simply *must* read this parody of Werner Herzog, hosting, of all things, a VH1 show (link to McSweeneys).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

They Marched.

Oh yes they did.
“If stopped, we are going to practice non-violence,” one of the coordinators of the campaign, Lobsang Yeshi, told Reuters. “If arrested we will try to resist.”
More power to these brave Tibetans.

The Chinese government is said to have detained several Tibetan monks. Pictures and report here. (And Tibetan monks and protesters are not the only ones upsetting the Chinese. Singer Björk has got them worked up too.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Everywhere I Hear The Sound Of...Wait, There Are No Marching, Charging Feet In Dharamsala

India has decided to nix the Tibetans' protest march.

Why is the Indian government suddenly worried about a protest march consisting of a mere hundred protesters? India has (so graciously) welcomed Tibetans into its borders. They have also allowed Tibetans to hold peaceful demonstrations.

So why now deny them this vital opportunity to publicize the Tibetans' frustration with China's policies?

Please visit this blog for the context and timing of this protest march. (link via Zigzackly.)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Last Train To Coverville

"Coverville is a podcast, produced three times a week, that focuses on cover songs - a new rendition of a previously recorded song."
Next time you want to listen to a whole bunch of Velvet Underground covers or perhaps some a capella covers of Sting songs (snicker, snicker), head over to Coverville. It is simply an amazing website.

I couldn't get the site's "search" function to work but if you go to the "Archives" and do a CTRL-F (or, as I recently discovered, simply press the "/" key) to search by band.

(Holy moly: I just located a bluegrass tribute to Van Halen and an entire show dedicated to covers of well-known songs performed in other languages - "Rock El Casbah"!)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

"Well My Mind Is Goin' Through Them Changes"

"Band of Gypsys" was my first purchase. Some obscure music shop in Pune, one memorable school trip. My parents had instructed me: "Don't blow up all your money on books". I blew it all up on buying tapes. I returned home a few weeks later and learned I had flunked Math in the "half-yearlies". I was so ashamed of my failure I couldn't face my father. So I locked myself up in my room and played "Band of Gypsys" all afternoon. Best winter ever.

Buddy Miles died last week. I just read about it in Times' obit section. Jon Pareles describes his playing as "brisk, assertive, deeply funky attack". Indeed.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Got Pain?

Dropped a can of milk on my right foot. A bare, naked foot, of course. And it was organic whole milk.

Creamy, wholesome, delicious and just oh so heavy.