Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Really Cool (And Totally Pointless) iPod Hack

Ever pick up your guitar and go "Wish I could sound like {insert your favorite guitarist's name here}"? Fret not. (Ha ha). A kid on youtube shows you how, using an iPod. (As always, YT commenters are there to provide their invaluable opinion on the video.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

AC/DC: "Black Ice"

AC/DC release their new album on October 18.

Start working on your air-guitar skills NOW.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Vote For The Doctors' Project

"American Express is holding its second annual "Members Project" to donate up to $1.5 million towards a project nominated by their card members. Please help us by voting for Doctors Without Borders’ project “Saving the Lives of Malnourished Children” and spreading the word about this initiative."
You can go to the Members' Project page and nominate MSF's project. (Registration required.)

Sunday, August 24, 2008


"We ordered calamari and two glasses of pinot noir, and I asked the waiter to get something for the butterfly."
A Red Admiral butterfly takes a shine to a journalist. The full article and the one-page print version. (Links to Washington Post, via Digg.)

Speaking of butterflies, I googled for Indian butterflies and landed on this great-looking site. (And there she is, the Common Emigrant. Countless happy hours were spent chasing them, the Joker and the Sailor.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"War Over Shoes And Toilets"

"This is the day my mother has chosen to die, and the toilets need to be spotless."
Hardly your typical weekend fare, but it's essential reading.

How does a household cope with a (terminally ill) family member's decision to be euthanized? (Via Digg)

I can't even begin to imagine what such a decision would mean to family and friends. Would it feel like murder? Would you feel weak for not having been able to convince the person to live? And assuming you were able to convince that person, would you be able to watch the person deal with the physical and mental pain of the terminal illness?

Would you be filled with love and kindness for a person just because you knew he or she was dying? And aren't we all dying? If so, why isn't there love and kindness in our hearts all the time? Do you look at every human you meet and think "you are dying and so am I, so let's just be kind and loving with each other"?

Just why on earth are we squabbling over shoes and toilets?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Untitled, For A Very Good Reason

For more than three weeks now, I've been hearing people say "summer's almost gone". Nonsense. The fireflies disappeared more than six weeks ago. So I know that summer has been gone for at least that long. In fact, I am not even sure summer was ever here.

I received my rakhi by mail yesterday. But what does it mean when I tie that piece of string on to my wrist myself? That I am my own sister? That I will always protect myself? That I can just give myself a little gift?

Feeling a little confused, I turned my attention to a real raksha bandhan ceremony as my wife tied a rakhi on her younger brother's wrist. (Amazing how the ceremony makes even a six-footer seem like a little baby). As a joke, I fired up YouTube and played that song from "Hare Rama Hare Krishna" and predictably, got distracted by the comments to the video. Go on and read some of the comments and tell me if you didn't feel a little tug inside your heart.

Space Bar has a new blog and she wants to know "what makes you depressed". Boring, cheap breakfast cereal should have been my answer.

Peter Griffin (the blogger, not the man in the green pants) emailed about a "flash fiction" contest. So if you are a flasher and you can, that doesn't sound quite right.

The Cole Porter bio-pic, "De-lovely" is a bad movie. Please don't watch it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"A Bad, Bad, Brother"

RIP, Isaac Hayes.

Here he is, performing his classic, at WattStax 1972. (WattStax is sometimes known as the "Black Woodstock".)

It's one of the coolest movie theme-songs and possibly one of the funkiest wah-wah guitar intros.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

"I Met The Walrus"

A beautifully animated short featuring a teenager's interview with John Lennon in 1969. The animation is reminiscent of visuals from "Yellow Submarine" and Monty Python's animated gags. And it's such a pleasure listening to Lennon talk about peace, revolutions and the answer being "there".

The full story of the interview here. (courtesy Metafilter)

Some kids actually enjoyed listening to the Bee Gees in 1969? Granted that the Bee Gees in 1969 were much better than their disco incarnation, but there was so much more going on, musically, in 1969. Just look at this list of some great albums from 1969. Tell me, what 14-year old would spend his time and money on the Bee Gees? A most unfortunate flashback to my 14th year....I emerge from a record shop with a copy of Wham's "Make It Big". But that same year, I also discovered Queen, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan. So now that my Coolness Quotient has been re-established, we now resume our normal programming.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Talking Book: Literacy Bridge

This could be big. And let's hope it is.
"As an affordable literacy tool, the Talking Book device offers children and adults a versatile and interactive tool designed for use with locally-recorded readings of existing and newly created reading books."
Literacy Bridge wants to bridge the literacy gap by offering a low-cost audio device that plays back educational content. (Read details of their solution here.)

The idea is fantastic and from what I've read, so is the implementation (inexpensive, battery-powered, open source software) and this addresses a critical problem to some extent: the paucity of teachers in villages.

I learned about this company from Slashdot, which will carry an interview with the founder of Literacy Bridge soon. (If you have a question for the founder, you can post it there.)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Maharaja Plays The Cole Porter Songbook

If you are happy and you know it, play an Oscar Peterson album.

Feeling inspired by TR's "happy" post, I went looking for a "happy" jazz album and ended up with "Oscar Peterson Plays The Cole Porter Songbook".

Sure, Ella singing that great songbook will always be on my desert island album list, but this delightful little album by the "Maharaja" is very, very close to breaking into the list.

Free Napster has other Peterson albums, but you can look at the complete track list on Amazon and listen to samples.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Just Your Typical "To A Bollywood Actress, Everything Looks Like A Nail" Kind Of A Story

“My friends advised me to carry a hammer in my bag and I did that every day.”

Hammers are scary, serial killer-y things. (Joan agrees. Posthumously.) But maybe Bipasha just wanted to hammer in the evening, in the morning and all over the land?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

"Crush This Cripple Crow Into Mashed Bananas": Finally, The Ramayana Meets Psych-Folk

A wild, weird, wonderful video by singer Devendra Banhart for a song called "Carmensita". (Indians and Bollywood fans, please note the "Central Board of Film Certification" certificate at the start of the video and let your chest cavities be filled with much love, joy and pride). Via Boing Boing.

Too bad Banhart is not well-known enough to reap the benefits of some "Hindu pride" backlash ;)

Nandalal Bose Retrospective In Philadelphia

Not sure why I did not hear about this sooner, but the works of Nandalal Bose, one of the central figures of modern Indian art, are on display at the Philly Museum till September 1.