Friday, February 29, 2008

Heroes, All

Reports of Prince Harry killing 30 Taliban fighters are supposed to make us all feel proud, safe and happy. Awww...the brave little boy who could. And did.

Well, just in case you enjoy wanking off to pictures of war heroes, here's a fantastic gallery for you (some pics are NSFW).

(Via Metafilter, Wired and this presentation from TED 2008.)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Keith Richards Does A PSA

"Richards was also asked what message he would want to send to his younger self, to which he responded: "I'd have said 'Lay off the dope.' That's my advice now to all younger members who are into this sort of thing -- oh, give it up, it ain't really worth it. "I know the fascination, but it ain't worth it, pal."
In the same interview, he calls Mick a "power freak" and congratulates Led Zeppelin on their recent reunion in a most sentimental manner: "fuck off".

Oh Keef!

("Lay off the dope"? A reversion of morals among rock stars? What's going on here?)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Umm..I Never Finished "Ulysses" Either But Told Everyone I Loved It

"Maxim magazine has apologized for publishing a negative review of the Black Crowes' new album by a writer who hadn't listened to the whole CD."
Hey now.

Though I think this statement on the band's website is more interesting than the incident or the review itself:
...“Maxim's actions seem to completely lack journalistic integrity and intentionally mislead their readership.
Oh how could a magazine filled with air-brushed pictures of women in underwear mislead its readership? How? How?

(I wish the Black Crowes had asked Steely Dan for some help in diffusing this situation. Remember when they wrote that letter to actor Luke Wilson?)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Biofuel. Snicker, Snicker

The first flight by a commercial airline to be powered partly by biofuel has taken place. A Virgin Atlantic jumbo jet has flown between London's Heathrow and Amsterdam using fuel derived from a mixture of Brazilian babassu nuts and coconuts.
(BBC, via Drudge)

When asked what it was doing to reduce fuel consumption and its carbon footprint, Air India responded: "We are way ahead of the industry in this regard. We've been serving re-heated chole and oily puris since 1968."

Totally gratuitous post update: Lekhni asks: "Btw, if the pantry runs out of snacks, do they raid the fuel tank?". Har har. What can I say, flying over long distances is a real gas.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Free Binayak Sen

Just read about this on Falstaff's blog. Scary stuff.

(Why is that I didn't read about this even once in the newspapers or saw any coverage of this story on TV when I was in India in December? Don't answer that - I know.)

Via Falstaff (link to, Via Space bar (link to

Aid India's online petition

Another website (presumably based in UK) that is also seeking the release of Dr. Sen.

Tehelka has a "list of charges and evidence against Dr. Binayak Sen"

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lion Hugs Woman

If there is only one nauseatingly cute, sickeningly anthropomorphic video you can watch today, make it this one. (via Reddit)

Note to OTP: Get a lion instead. Bigger pet food bills sure, but just think of the hugs every morning!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Psst....before these things get taken off the web (and they will), go listen to John Bonham's solo drum tracks from the band's last sessions here. Goddamn awesome stuff.

If the above link doesn't work, click here and save 'em. (RAR files. You will need some unzipping utility. I want to thank the kind soul at MeFi who put up the Rapidshare link.)

Listening to Bonham play on track 23 (the drum track for "Fool in the rain") caused some major goose-pimplature. Simply brilliant.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hammer Of The Fabs

Hey look! It's the Beatles singing "Stairway to Heaven". ('Tubery, naturally.)

What a brilliant arrangement. I don't think I can ever listen to IWHYH or STH the same way again. The lovely guitar fills over "And when I touch you..." sound EXACTLY right over the other song's verse. I also loved the way they (i.e. The Beatnix) have used some Beatles' trademark chord changes, especially at the very end.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"The Invention of Hugo Cabret"

You know that any book that features an automaton, a picture of Harold Lloyd, steam engines and film pioneer Georges Méliès as a character is going to be more than just all right. It's a kids' book, but I had to borrow it from the library for all the reasons I stated above. I loved the book - especially its dark and moody illustrations. The book's narrative device, particularly in the opening chapters, is equally interesting. It almost reads like a cross between a screenplay, a comic book and a novel. (And look who's going to be directing the film.)

If I had to point out the one (minor) problem I had with the book, it's with the idea of "life's purpose" and the way it has been employed in the story. The story's lead character, Hugo Cabret, wonders if his life has a purpose and naturally, he has an epiphany about his life's mission by the end of the story.

Come on. Should a children's book talk explicitly about one's life's purpose? I don't think so. That stuff belongs in self-help books. Children's books should be about wild and crazy adventures. Like hiding in a railway station in Paris or sneaking into a theater and watching silent classics or fixing a broken automaton.

But that irritant aside, "Hugo Cabret" is a lot of fun. There can't be a more entertaining way to introduce children to the mysterious world of clocks, robots, trains and classic black-and-white cinema. (Though I think what will blow any child's mind is when he or she learns that the book's central plot is a true story.)

NYT recently ran a profile on author-illustrator Brian Selznick.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Margarita

Someone on my blogroll had recommended Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita" to me. To that nameless blogger*, all I can say is: "thank you". It was a trip reading that brilliant book. But since my mind's just completely blown, I am going to have to read it again.

BTW, I read the most depressing piece of news about this book: Andrew Lloyd Webber plans to turn this masterpiece into a musical or an opera. Why, Lord, why?

(*I am guessing it was Alok. If so, thanks, Alok!)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Turkish Newspaper Solves The Mystery Of The Fat Epidemic

Why are Turks growing fat?

From the article:

-Delicious Turkish cuisine
-Favorite three: Slippers, pajamas and TV
-Eating too much homemade dessert
-Honey, grape molasses, bee milk
-Eating walnuts and hazelnuts early in the morning
-Eating pasta just before going to bed
-Consuming pastry in excess
-Consuming dry fruit in the evening

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"90 Day Jane"

Just how did we get from singing hamsters and pictures of kittens to a blog about suicide? From the "About Me":
"I am going to kill myself in 90 days. What else should i say? This blog is not a cry for help or even to get attention. It's simply a public record of my last 90 days in existence."
Expectedly, the blog is generating a lot of comments. (Thus providing an answer to every noobie blogger's fear-filled question during his or her early days of blogging: "do I have to kill myself to get a few comments on my blog?" Don't hate me for that joke, please.)

I don't know the motivation behind the blog nor do I care. If it is a ploy to get some attention - and what blogger isn't seeking attention - it is a brilliant one. If it a serious attempt to observe her final days, it could be of some value. Though one wonders, how long before it inspires someone to "adapt" the blog for a video performance on YouTube?

But could her blog - and I hate this phrase - set a bad example? Could someone equate the flood of comments with sympathy (or attention) and in turn be "inspired" to try something similar? And if the traffic doesn't materialize, what would that do to the blogger's self-esteem?

This mix of "the only serious philosophical problem" and the Internet's only currency - traffic - has the potential to separate blogging from twentieth century media like books, TV and film. Follow that blog for updates.

(Link via)

I Had A Joke About Alicia Keys' Dress But Then I Decided To Go Hippie On All Of You

Update - Best joke all evening: Country singer Vince Gill, on accepting his award from Ringo Starr: "Receiving an award from a Beatle..." Long pause. "Have you had that moment, Kanye"?

Just caught the tribute to the Beatles on Grammy ("they changed the history of the PLANET!", said Tom Hanks, who also did the "namaste" thrice to Robbie Robertson after announcing a Lifetime Grammy for The Band. Ha. A Grammy for The Band.)

The Cirque Du Soleil performance was "interesting", but the little boy's singing on "Let It Be" was very moving. His simple, unaffected vocal performance stood out in perfect contrast to the more "showy" female vocalist singing with him. Beautiful.

The Grammys actually showed some balls. Splashed across the video screens behind the choir were images of war (from Julie Taymor's film, I am guessing), peace symbols and the words "Let It Be".

Regardless of what Mr. Young has to say (link to Rahul's blog), only music can stop us from going totally nuts. Put an end to this fucking war already.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Professor turned down $11 million in royalties. (There are some more interesting details in the AFP story .)

What a man! The world needs more deviants like him.



The yogi was 91.

It is easy for us to laugh at the man and his teachings (levitation? come on), but without him (and those four lightning conductors), the two worlds - East and West - would not have come closer to one another. One could say that America's present-day interest in Yoga, meditation, Eastern religions and alternative systems of medicine would not have happened without the Maharishi.

I will argue that without him, "White Album" wouldn't have happened. And Paul wouldn't have flown back early to London. And George and John wouldn't have stayed back in India. And the Beatles wouldn't have broken up. And David Lynch wouldn't have made his films. And I should stop now.

Whether or not he "made a fool of everyone", the man from Jabalpur leaves behind quite a legacy.

If you want to see some really cool pictures of the Beatles in Rishikesh, you will want to check out this site: The Beatles in Rishikesh (the photo galleries are on the top left-hand corner of the page)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

There Once Was A Post About Limericks

...but then I decided to just let you all drink straight from the hose.

The site is the work of the man who brings us XKCD. Need I say more? Oh you know I need to. The Top 150 limericks are outstanding and the bottom of the pile are quite bad, with the exception of maybe #226. (Also from the "Bottom" section: a limerick with a footnote sounds like a bad idea, but I thought #224 was funny in a goofy way.)

Monday, February 04, 2008

And Toothpaste Won't Cure That Earache Either

Overall, the analysis concluded that there’s no evidence that prescribing antidepressants to treat back pain relieves pain or improves function. The researchers also found that in patients with low back pain, antidepressant treatment didn’t curb depression, either.
(emphasis mine; source: NYT)

This is what they call a scientific system of medicine? Nearly 25% of primary care physicians in the country are prescribing antidepressants to cure back pain and no one bats a fucking eyelid!

Friday, February 01, 2008

NASA Beams A Song; Aliens Complain: " We Already Had This One Downloaded From Napster Back in 1999!"

"The song, written by McCartney and John Lennon, may have a ticket to ride and will be flying at the speed of light. But it will take 431 years along a long and winding road to reach its final destination. That's because Polaris is 2.5 quadrillion miles away."
Very cool. (But could that press release throw in a any more references to Beatles' song titles?)

And WTF? "The song, written by McCartney and..."?

PSA: Now Throw That Shampoo Away

Filmmaker-blogger GhostofTomJoad (not his real name, natch; also, too bad that GoTJ is no longer blogging.) sent me a link to this 30-second PSA that he made about the use of animals in cosmetic products' testing. I loved the concept and the execution of the film. Just in case the film prompted you to google around for more information on the subject, here's a good link.

If you liked the PSA (or even if you just care for animals), feel free to link to it on your blog or email it to your friends. (The link: