Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yes We Can't

(via Boing Boing, original image here, also see this great gallery of poster-parodies)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Reverend Church

Reverend Forrest Church was interviewed on "Fresh Air" and I just had to post the link to the interview. Brilliant stuff.

You don't often get to hear religious leaders say things like "if God caused the tsunami...he is a bastard" :) (The context of that quote is around the 4'40" mark in the clip, when Rev. Church talks about how he does not believe in an interventionist God.)

If you are interested, you can also read this essay by Reverend Church titled "There is no hell" (link to Beliefnet) and a recent article on him in the NYT.

Dogs > Cats. Always. Here's Proof.

A dog was hailed as a hero on Sunday after it risked its life to save a litter of newborn kittens from a house fire, rescuers said.
The dog is named "Leo". Irony noted.

It therefore follows that "Dog People > Cat People" and more importantly, "Beatles fans > Rolling Stones fans". If you don't see the connection between this conclusion and the news story, you must be one of those Cat People. (If you are one of these Cat People, then you are all right. That was a bad-but-still-creepy film, wasn't it?)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dear Ms. Etiquette

Once again, I have started receiving those emails at work. All these messages contain pictures of burning lamps and feature impossibly garish, multi-colored text wishing me a "happy and prosperous Diwali". Who designs these things? Pyromaniacs tripping on mescaline?

Now, I don't mind pictures of burning lamps so much but the eye-blinding text makes me want to...well, that's what I want to know: should I reciprocate with a polite "wish you the same" or pay a visit to these people with a flamethrower and a chainsaw in hand?

P.S.: I know the former's easier to pull off but the latter would be so much more personal (this being the festive season and all).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Woah. Third Moon Post In Three Days.

The lunatics (who, if you recall, have been on the grass since 1973) are on sale for three bucks.

Caught the Moon Launch on the web last night. It was hair-raising good. Upon lift-off, we stood up, applauded and then ate a chocolate truffle to celebrate. The original plan was to eat a chocolate truffle for each phase of separation but I was reminded that not all that goes up comes back down. At least not without spending an hour at the gym every morning for the rest of my life (and possibly the after-life too.)

The live audio feed from ISRO's Control Room was, to me, the best part of the evening. It was not your average unintelligible space-tech jargon. It was unintelligible space-tech jargon delivered in rich, coconut-flavored Mallu accent.

The second-best part of the event was learning that ISRO has a "Deep Space Tracking Station" in a village called Byalalu near Bangalore. I don't know about you, but just saying the words "Deep Space Tracking Station" makes me feel like donning a spacesuit (but the moment I say "Byalalu", I am thinking of garlanded cutouts of Dr. Rajkumar and haggling over autorickshaw fares from Majestic Bus Stand to the Deep Space Tracking Station.)

Now I can't wait for the emergence of India's own "moon-landing was a hoax" cult. Though G. Madhavan Nair seems too nice a man to actually punch one of those idiots.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Liveblogging the Launch

Via Lekhni's blog, a liveblog of ISRO's Chandrayaan-1 launch. Go Johnny go go go!

Update: ISRO is webcasting the launch (Via). No details on whether ISRO plans to bring their website into the 21st century.

Speaking of moons, I recently discovered an outtake of the Doors' classic "Moonlight Drive" (on a gigantic 5-CD compilation called "Forever Changing". It's a superb collection of artists featured on Elektra Records between 1963-73. More on that compilation later.)

If you ask me, the opening verse of the song is probably the closest Jim Morrison ever got to writing good poetry. And Krieger's slide-playing was never more evocative than on this song.

"Let's swim to the moon
let's fly into the tide
penetrate the evening
that the city sleeps to hide
Let's swim out tonight
it's our turn to try
park besides the ocean
on our moonlight drive"

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Late Luncheon And An Early Breakfast"

A funny, charming (and short) video of Keith Moon accepting an industry award on behalf of the Beatles. (No idea why.)

Those public-speaking courses may not tell you this but it is clear after watching the video that the real secret to nailing a speech is doing a somersault after the speech.

Can your presidential candidate do a somersault?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008


Oh how I love the internets.

I heard Bobby Bland singing "Further on up the road" on a college radio station the other day and realized just how much more powerful it was compared to the versions I am familiar with.

Just why isn't Bobby Bland heard on the radio? (Salon asked the same question back in 2000 for its "Brilliant Careers" series on Bobby Bland.)

Anyway, a-googlin' I went and found a fine mp3 blog that had the song "Shoes" on it. Such a classic soul track. (Browse around that blog for more delightful music - including Slim Harpo's "Shake your hips".)

Like I said, oh how I love the internets.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Banksy's Village Petstore And Charcoal Grill

“I wanted to make art that questioned our relationship with animals and the ethics and sustainability of factory farming,” Banksy said in a statement distributed by a publicist, “but it ended up as chicken nuggets singing.”
How can you not love art that features singing chicken nuggets?

Like all his other projects, no one really knows if he is responsible for this exhibition. But I will go check it out. I love his work.

A weird, hypnotic video of one of the exhibits (there are more videos on that page - do check them out, particularly the one titled "Leopard"). You can also read about the exhibition in today's Times.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Umberto D.

It does not seem right to single out one scene from a great film and not talk about the rest of the film but if this post makes even one reader of this blog curious about Vittorio De Sica's Umberto D., my job here is done :)

Allow me to set up the the video that you see below.

Umberto D. Ferrari, the protagonist of this classic Italian film, is an aging pensioner with exactly *zero* prospects in life. You see men like him everywhere. He has no friends or family (except for a little dog named Flike), he is unable to make ends meet and when this scene plays out, he does not even have a place he can call his home.

Out of desperation, Umberto decides to take up begging. But he feels a great deal of shame because he has been a member of the working class. What if someone known to him were to "catch" him begging? (Which is exactly what happens.)

We see the sad old man, stand on a street corner, shyly holding his hand out for alms, opening and closing his fist with embarrassment and wishing he could disappear when a man does stop with some change.

What makes this a great sequence is not the depiction of poverty and desperation. Any melodramatic director with a camera and a sentimental background score can do that. The greatness of the scene lies in how De Sica manages to amplify Umberto's pathos by adding some comedy to the situation. (That part of the sequence is not included in the video. Just know that the comedy bit involves a hat and Flike the dog.) It's made doubly sad because the situation is both funny and absurd.

OK, enough commentary. Now watch the video:

If you really, really want to enjoy the film, please resist the temptation to watch all those YT clips featuring the very last scene.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Uma has a very touching post about the boy who died in the recent bomb explosion in New Delhi.