Friday, December 31, 2010


It just feels wrong to close out a year without a post on the last day.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Matter Of Fact, It's All Dark

Easy for us humans to get excited about the total lunar eclipse tonight. But won't someone think of the werewolves?

There you are, all excited about the transformation. You let out a full-throated howl or two and feel the wolf spirit surging through your veins. You start growing fur and maybe half-decent claws when you find yourself stuck in that awkward stage in which you are 98% man, 2% wolf. At this stage, you're not evil at all. You're just a man with bad breath and very poor grooming habits.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

WWJD? Induce Epileptic Seizures In Self

Someone set up Christmas lights synchronized with, of all songs, "Raining Blood" by Slayer.

Play it extra loud and pulverize your brain.

For those unfamiliar with the song, please stick around till the 3:00 mark on the video when the guitar solo begins. That's when everything goes to hell.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Suit Punk

(Pic, story here.)

The only way to top this would be to make a third Tron movie with music by Daft Punk and Kraftwerk.

In 1981, computers were still this strange, alien thing and Tron literally took people inside that world. Not many people watched that film. But in 2010, we have The Social Network and almost everyone has watched it. That's some change, don't you think?

Friday, December 17, 2010

In Case You Weren't Paying Attention

Christmas is only a week away and the year-end - THE END OF THE YEAR - is just two weeks away.

How did this happen? Where did the time go? Can we be absolutely, positively certain we didn't enter one of those worm-holes - like in "Time Bandits" - in January and come out at this end? (And if so, who's got the map?)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dry Your Eyes

Irony is snarking on Neil Diamond's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after a post titled "Cherry Cherry". But the truth is, much as we all detest, loathe, execrate, hate, despise, abhor "Sweet Caroline", he was invited to perform with the Band on Last Waltz**, wasn't he?

** That and "Hot August Night". It is a very good live album. Sure, it's not the freaking "Dark Side of the Moon" - nothing is - but the album has its moments.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cherry Cherry

I don't know about life but that box of dark chocolate-covered cherries sure was transitory. And as empty, meaningless transitory experiences go, it was one of the best.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

In Soviet Russia...

...the Buddha doesn't become one with everything. Everything becomes one with the Buddha.

Wait. What?

Saturday, December 04, 2010

\m/ \m/

If you recognize bands like "Sunn O))))" or "Mournful Congregation", you will enjoy this interactive Map of Metal. Click on the icons next to each genre on the map to launch the playlist associated with the genre.

Now playing one of my personal favorites from "Traditional Doom Metal", Black Sabbath's classic "Into the Void".

Drop tunings and slow tempos rule!

(Via MeFi)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Andy Kaufman Must Be ROFLing In Heaven

This is hilarious. Or not. I'm not sure:
“We acknowledge that last night’s event with Steve Martin did not meet the standard of excellence that you have come to expect from 92nd St. Y,” he wrote in an e-mail to ticket holders. “We planned for a more comprehensive discussion and we, too, were disappointed with the evening. We will be mailing you a $50 certificate for each ticket you purchased to last night’s event. The gift certificate can be used toward future 92Y events, pending availability.”
TL;DR: Actor-comedian-musician-writer-Oscar host Steve Martin talked too much about art and literature and did not give the masses enough jokes or stories about hosting the Oscars.

While Steve Martin disappointed his audience with literary conversation without setting out to do so, Andy Kaufman was far more deliberate with his Great Gatsby prank.

Of course, these same people who are receiving a refund would probably spend a hundred dollars to see Andy Kaufman perform that act again.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The URL Gets Political

Have you seen the Wikileaks' donation page URL?

Tell me that's not the greatest URL you've ever seen.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Electric Fury

"We’ll hold hands and then we’ll watch the sunrise
From the bottom of the sea"

"Be water, my friend"

One sang about a room full of mirrors. The other one fought in a room full of mirrors. They were both born on November 27. Pretty cool, right?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

What should have been a gentle, relaxing (if hungover) Post-Thanksgiving Friday turned dark and depressing: I watched "L'Age D'Or" followed by "Waltz with Bashir". Both are great films, but today was clearly the wrong day to subject the aching brain to ruminations on morality, politics, wars, massacres and that rather strange lesson on scorpions.

The other films sitting in the queue wouldn't have worked either: Bresson's "Au hasard Balthazar", Fincher's "Zodiac" and Samuel Fuller's "Shock Corridor". Though "a helpless donkey, a serial killer and a patient in a psychiatry ward" is just crying to be spun into a joke or an epic poem or something.

What happened to watching cartoons on weekends?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

From The Ministry of Insults

"Perhaps it’s just a matter of economy, but it’s jarring when the screen says, “You idiot,” and the actress says, in English, “You sexy son of a bitch!”
(From a NYT review of a Bollywood movie)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Deep Greens And Blues Are The Colors I Choose"

"If patients are disinclined to take a tablet they consider bitter or sour or because they simply do not like the color, then a change of aesthetics might be needed."
There's a reason the "little yellow pill" (Mother's little helper) is yellow in color and not, say, blue or brown: colors affect the efficacy of the drug.

My lack of faith in cherry-red cough syrup now makes sense.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It Does, Occasionally

I finally got to watching "It Might Get Loud". (A.O. Scott's review)

While I was not blown away by it as I was expecting, some scenes certainly elevated the rest of the documentary: Jimmy Page plugging in his Les Paul, hammering out the intro riff to "Whole lotta love" as U2's The Edge* (twenty four years later, I'm still not sure if it is "The Edge" or "the Edge"?) and Jack White look on with an expression conveying glee, envy and holy-shit-is-this-real. Apparently, you could be a big rock star with a billion dollars in your bank account but all that is reduced to nothing in front of Jimmy Page's riff. (I've always wondered if Beethoven walks around heaven giving all other musicians a terrible complex?)

But interestingly, in the second scene that caught my attention, Page picks out a record** - Link Wray's "Rumble" - and this time we see him dissolve into smiles and air guitar (even James Patrick Page plays air guitar!) listening to Link Wray and goes crazy over that killer vibrato.

Even the Gods have their Gods.

* The Edge's question to Jimmy Page about his work as a sessions musician in the mid-1960s could be spun into an entire film. In a most matter-of-fact tone, Page answered the question saying he did play for the Kinks. Too bad The Edge didn't follow up with "did you also play on The Who's "I can't explain"?

** Assuming it was a shot of his house in the film, the man has a mean collection of 45s and LPs.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Act You've Known For All These Years...

...will soon on be iTunes.

I'm going to play my age card here: so does this mean a whole generation of kids will listen to songs from, say, "With the Beatles" without holding that classic b-w picture in their hands? Don't they lose something important in the bargain?

Would you want to listen to Side-B of Abbey Road out of sequence? Is it even possible to explore White Album without downloading "Wild Honey Pie" or "Revolution 9"?

Next week, I'm going to talk about how telegraphy and Morse code are corrupting our youngsters.

UPDATE: A great bit of insight via a post in Techcrunch about why this news matters:

"So why do we care? Because this is one of the last times you’re going to see the recording industry in a position of power. It’s like seeing a majestic Dodo in action for one last time. The obstinacy that has led to doing things the same way since the 50s (there are likely LPs that have been in print that long, being sold the same way, like produce) at last is running out of steam."

I like that phrase, "majestic Dodo". It gives this news item a proper place in a narrative that started some 50 years ago.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

21 Years

(Ah, the ego. News of her release got me thinking about my own life and how I've aged 21 years since she went to prison.)

Image from the BBC's website.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Failchemist

"I am not saying that W.Allen,Bergman,Antonioni,Goddard are bad directors. I am saying that they make #boringmovies" - a tweet by writer Paulo Coelho.

That opinion is coming from a very distinguished author and philosopher and therefore must be true.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Macaron, Woody, Bagel

Macaron or cupcakes? Godard or Woody? Baguette or bagel?

Paris Vs NYC is a blog that compares, graphically, some of the best-known features of the two great cities. The concept and artwork are simply delightful.

(Via MeFi)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

In This Corner...

I am sure you have figured out who would win the "Batman Vs. Bruce Lee" fight.

But how about "Sarkastodon Vs. Black Rhinoceros" or "Columbian Mammoth Vs. Spinosaurus" or "Gorgonops Vs. Short-faced Hyena"? A message-board dedicated to "Interspecific Conflict" tackles such face-offs. (The main site covers carnivores in general. I ended up on that site while looking up "Dhole", the Indian wild dog, but as you can imagine, that search got hijacked by the conflict board...)

(What is an interspecific conflict, you ask?)

Monday, October 25, 2010

And A Good Boo! To You, Sir

"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make." (Dracula, 1931)

Hair, back of the neck, etc.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Batteries Not Included

Sony will no longer manufacture the Walkman.

Here's to that portable, shiny, anodized-metal battery-devouring monster and to the summer of 1983; a summer spent hiding from adults instructing me not to play it "so loud". (Pretty sure that a bigger part of the summer was spent begging for money or stealing loose change lying around the house to buy batteries and cassettes. Can music save my mortal soul?)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Daily Bread

October 21, 2010

7:30PM: Ate two slices of moldy bread. Waiting for X-ray vision or some such super power to kick in.

7:45PM: Walls continue to be stubbornly opaque. Damn.

Doodle Bop

Did trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie get the BEST Google logo ever?

(Though, according to Google Trends, his "hotness" is still "mild". Uh huh.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Suspicious Man Was Whistling In The Street"

Twitter in all it's time-wastey goodness.

The Greater Manchester Police has four - count 'em, gmp24_0, gmp24_1, gmp24_2, gmp24_3 - twitter feeds in which they post incidents round the clock.

A few random tweets (and they're all good, trust me):

"Call 2841 A suspicious man was whistling in the street last night in Chorlton"

"Call 2840 Youths causing annoyance, kicking a football against the wall in Stockport."

"Call 2761 Hoax 999 to police and fire - three fire engines and four police vehicles turn up. Caller taken to hospital" (WTF? Someone made a hoax call and got admitted to a hospital??)

"Call 2737 Man refuses to leave the gym in Hazel Grove - patrol attends and leaves on request"

"Call 2701 Abandoned call in Kearsley - mobile activated in owner's pocket - apology received"

Lather, rinse, refresh. This is a treasure trove.

(Via Metafilter)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Underground Music

"Noting that the 12th rescued miner, Edison Peña, was the Presley fan, the anchor announced, “Edison Peña, this is for you!” and proceeded to play “Jailhouse Rock.”
Woah, CNN, epic fail once again.

The most appropriate Elvis song for the occasion would have been - wait for it - Way Down. (Playing Elvis's "Mine" would have been *too* on the nose).

Friday, October 08, 2010

Got You Covered

Bastard. Ozzy made me cry with his cover of John Lennon's "How". If the old waterworks need a good workout, there's also Johnny Cash, covering "In my life".

A little change in tempo, maybe?

Here's a grooovy cover of "Tomorrow never knows" by Sheila Chandra (and Monsoon). 801, a Seventies supergroup also covered TNK and it just rocks, which is only to be expected given the level of talent in the band.

Speaking of fusion, why oh why didn't Ananda Shankar, a man whose uncle had direct connections to the Beatles, try interpreting a Beatles' song? He did such a beautiful job taking on the Doors and the Stones. Can you imagine Ananda Shankar interpreting "Because"? Just thinking of the possibilities gives me the chills.

Spinner published a list of 20 "best Beatles covers". It's a good list. What you want to listen to on that list is Elliot Smith's cover of Because.

Finally, Peter Sellers, playing Richard III, singing performing "A hard day's night". If I had a time machine, I would definitely go back to a time when Peter Sellers and the Beatles occupied the same stage, thankyouverymuch.

The Dream Weaver

"You were the one who made it so clear, all those years ago"

Yes sir, he did.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Tears On His Cheeks Are From Laughter

The Swiss finance minister explains customs tariff on spiced meat. Or tries to, anyway.

Ever noticed politicians don't have laughing fits?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Bound Pair

Slate has been running a series on "creative collaborations" and in that series is a 3-parter about Lennon and McCartney. I am not entirely convinced the subject of artistic collaboration lends itself very well to pop analysis (or even serious analysis) but that does not mean such explorations are not fun and Slate's writer does make a couple of very interesting points:
"It's supremely odd how history would play the collaboration between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The result of one of the most intertwined partnerships in music history, their work would consistently be reduced to static roles. It's almost as if, faced with the bound pair, a culture obsessed with individualism found a way to cleave them in two."
Individualism maybe, but figuring out who wrote what is also a fun musical parlor-game when you are fifteen or sixteen and first listen to "Nowhere Man" and "Yesterday" (or "Revolution" and "Michelle"). But many times, those guesses are plain wrong. For example, most of us think of John's music as being more edgy, but "Sgt. Pepper" was Paul's project - for the most part. Though many would argue that the edginess of that album came equally from the two Georges. Without George Martin's expert arrangements, production and editing, "Sgt. Pepper" would be a bunch of good songs and nothing more. (And this is why analyzing artistic collaboration sometimes strikes me as an exercise in futility. How can we ever know how these things really work?)

The third act in the Beatles' narrative is usually about the band's breakup and how John and Paul just stopped writing together; "White Album" being the key evidence. But is that really true?
"But even in the hardest times, it's hardly true that John and Paul stopped working together. In what was, ostensibly, the nadir of their partnership in January 1969, their concert on the Apple rooftop shows the two men in profound sympathy. At one point, John forgot a verse to "Don't Let Me Down." He and Paul proceeded in perfect sync as John sang nonsense lyrics, then returned to the top of the verse as if nothing had happened. You can see on the film how John shoots Paul a look of pure boyish glee. Several months later, when John wrote "The Ballad of John and Yoko," he rushed to Paul's doorstep. With George and Ringo out of town, he insisted they go straight to the studio. They cut the song in one long day, John taking the guitars and lead vocal, Paul on bass, drums, piano, maracas—and coming in with breathtaking harmonies."
That, perhaps, is one way to explain their post-breakup output. It is not as if their musical chops were in decline. They just weren't in "profound sympathy" with a collaborator.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Piper's Calling You To Join Him

"What initially looks like a classic ‘Overcoming the Monster’ plot turns into a nightmarish tale of disproportionate revenge. The Piper’s retribution oversteps the boundaries, suggesting society’s ultim­ate taboo: child murder."
What happened in Hamelin on June 26, 1284? It's a fun read if you enjoy reading about death, plague and lost children. (And who doesn't?)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dug? Dock?

The Internet, it makes you see familiar things differently.

(I'm pretty sure I saw this first on Reddit last week. But if ever there was an idea crying - no, quacking - for a website, it is this.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Cave Of Forgotten Dreams"

A couple of years ago, an essay in the New Yorker got me completely hooked to the subject of cave art. In my opinion, there are few topics as mesmerizing and as mysterious as cave art. The subject raises endlessly engaging questions: what were the impulses behind those paintings? Why didn't all early communities produce cave art? How did the concept of art travel from continent to continent? Does the existence of cave art prove that art is just as essential as food, air and water? And just how the hell did cavemen stand for hours and hours in dark, dank dangerous places and paint without proper tools and equipment?

So while I was hungrily scouring the library for books and articles on cave art, I came across this fantastically produced book by Mr. Cave Art himself, Jean Clottes. I found it much, much better than your typical coffee-table art fare. The book covers not just cave art in France and Europe but also in other parts of the world, including India. (That last link is to the Bradshaw Foundation's website, an excellent source of information if you are interested in the subject. (BTW, anyone know of a well-produced book exclusively about Indian cave art?)

All of the above is just an excuse to say Werner Herzog has a new film out on this very subject. Even if Herzog did nothing more than focus his camera on a little dark spot on a dirty cave wall and just spoke about art, caves, early man and civilization for 90 minutes, I would still be there to watch it. (Herzog's buddy loved the film. Cinematical describes the film as "nothing short of mind-boggling".)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


"Bokeh" irritates me. I don't know why.

YMMV, but it also seems that this word does not bow down to semantic satiation. (Or maybe I didn't say it for long enough?)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sacred Harpist

Bill Marx has a website about his father, that beloved "plug-hatted ragamuffin", Harpo. Thank you, Bill Marx.

Isn't it funny that while Harpo was the silent one, it is his presence in a scene that just completely shatters even that tiniest bit of sense and order? Harpo walks in and suddenly all bets are off. The character he played was, as his son rightly puts it, "a lunatic...a wild man capable of the craziest things imaginable".

Take the immortal lemonade stand scene. No dangerous undercurrents in that one - the currents are all up on the surface. Harpo's rebelliousness, the childlike pleasure he seems to take in destroying things of value (dipping one's feet into a vat of lemonade is just genius) and the funny, absurd, systematic take-down of a man who has done nothing to deserve that troubles that befall him. In other words, the purest comedy: someone else's troubles, viewed from a safe, comfortable distance.

Subversion through comedy is a wonderful thing to watch and who can believe that there once lived a comedian who achieved subversion through silence, scissors, candles and all these other things?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Never Metabisulfite I Liked

Coconut water containing Sodium Metabisulfite: Fail. Epic Fail.

I need something pure and natural.

Rum and Coke, maybe.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

90 Days

A short and powerful PSA video about AIDS treatment. Stick around for the ending. It *will* get you, I promise.

(Related: The Topsy Foundation)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wailing Banshees

From MeFi: a voice teacher analyzes five metal vocalists.

A fun little read if, like me, you admire the howlings of Dickinson, Osbourne, Halford et al. I only wish they had included AC/DC's Brian Johnson and Deep Purple's Ian Gillian in the list.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hari Prasad -Update

"For most of you concerned about the plight of Hari Prasad, let me give you the good news. He is doing fine."
An update from Indian EVM website.

Meanwhile, India's Election Commission has denied involvement in Hari Prasad's arrest. Yeah, right.

In related news, security researchers in the US successfully hacked a voting machine and modified it to run a piece of software that can ROCK democracies everywhere: Pac-Man.

The hack seems ridiculously simple. So why do governments expect citizens to trust this technology?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hari Prasad

Hari Prasad was arrested by Indian police on August 21 on charges of stealing an electronic voting machine. (Last link goes to an interview with Mr. Prasad.)

Here's an audio-only interview with him as he was being driven by the police from Hyderabad to Mumbai.

Now that the "sleuths" have solved the Mystery of The Missing Electronic Voting Machine, Indians can breathe easy.


"Crowded Sidewalk"

In 1959, a man, now regarded by Americans as one of their greatest cultural icons, was ordered by a policeman to move from a crowded sidewalk.

We immigrants owe more to the Civil Rights movement than we understand.

(Via Reddit)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Herzog Will Take Questions

David Lynch tweets:
"Twitter Friends, here's a chance to ask the great Werner Herzog any question. Tweet your question to @1stlookstudios by Mon morning Aug 23!"
Could you ever, in your craziest, wildest dreams, have imagined DAVID LYNCH telling you to ask WERNER HERZOG "any question"?

Next time you feel jaded about technology and the Net, remember this: right now, you can ask Werner Herzog any question. And you heard it from David Lynch.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Roger That, Roger

Ebert on Hitchens.

"I was asked at lunch today who or what I worshipped. The question was asked sincerely, and in the same spirit I responded that I worshipped whatever there might be outside knowledge. I worship the void. The mystery. And the ability of our human minds to perceive an unanswerable mystery."
(Uh, a little playlist synchronicity here: Flaming Lips' "Do you realize" just came on. "Everyone you know someday will die". Delightful way to start a sunny Saturday afternoon.)

More than any argument, that little cartoon in Ebert's post sums up my feeling about this will-he-or-won't-he-turn-to-God business: believe or don't believe, does it eventually matter?

A few years ago, a cancer-stricken Warren Zevon famously said this to David Letterman: "enjoy every sandwich".

And really, what more is there to know?

Friday, August 13, 2010


In just about every high school, every year, one ultra-serious kid discovers Ayn Rand and decides it is much too important to keep that "philosophy" to himself. And so he proceeds to share it with the rest of the class.

I can bet this man must have been one of those kids:
"One man drove 12,238 miles and across 30 states in the U.S. to scrawl a message that could only be viewed using Google Earth. His big shoutout: "Read Ayn Rand."
(From Gizmodo)

Assuming a mileage of about 30 mpg, he spent more than a thousand dollars (~$3/gallon) to tell the world to read Ayn Rand?

I'm sure the idea of donating a thousand dollars to a library in need would have appeared totally incompatible with his favorite writer's philosophy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

There Are Processes I'll Remember All My Life

"Sufficient, perhaps, just to stop and think how strange it is that the inner core, imperviously locked away since the creation of the world, may yet be added to the long list of other solid-looking things, such as the Himalayas and the Atlantic Ocean and the planet itself, that are in some ways better understood not as places, but as processes."
The Economist's commentary on a paper that was recently published in Nature, the title of which sounds like a Syd-era Pink Floyd song: "Melting-induced stratification above the Earth’s inner core due to convective translation".

I'm going to get me a cold beer and decide, one sip at a time, if that story makes me depressed or elated or both or neither. Alvy Singer *was* right - the universe *is* expanding and I am not doing my homework.


Friday, August 06, 2010


My introduction to Bobby Hebb's classic song was not through jazz (Pat Martino, tearing it up), Motown or R&B but bad old disco (out-of-sync audio/video; oh the lulz).

Bobby Hebb died earlier this week.

I am not too familiar with his music but I will say this: "Sunny" ruined my tape recorder's head and made eighth grade tolerable.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Mortimer Brewster: The name Brewster is code for Roosevelt.

Teddy Brewster: Code for Roosevelt?

Mortimer Brewster: Yes. Don't you see? Take the name Brewster, take away the B, and what have you got?

Teddy Brewster: Rooster!

Mortimer Brewster: Uh-huh. And what does a rooster do?

Teddy Brewster: Crows.

Mortimer Brewster: It crows. And where do you hunt in Africa?

Teddy Brewster: On the veldt!

Mortimer Brewster: There you are: crows - veldt!

Teddy Brewster: Ingenious! My compliments to the boys in the code department.
One of the many funny scenes from Capra's "Arsenic and Old Lace".

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Husbands And Wives

From the "tragedy in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot" department:
"On one occasion, he mixed hair-removal cream in her hair conditioner so that she would go bald. On another, he added dish-washing powder to atta, and forced her to eat rotis made from the dough. And on yet another, he simply poured water on the bed while she was sleeping."
Mr. Nice Guy (link to ToI; hell yeah.)

Why does that newspaper reporter sound almost disappointed when she notes that such "elaborate schemes" are "often seen in children's cartoons but rarely in real life"?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Soundtrack of Our Drives

I was driving past this man's home earlier this afternoon when the Department of Cosmic Coincidences conspired with my CD player to play Pink Floyd's Time.

"The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older".

All right then. I can dig that. But had this classic disco album magically appeared in my CD player just then, it would have been a little too on the nose.

Shortly afterward, "Money" came on but Ben Bernanke was nowhere in sight.

Sunday, July 04, 2010


What better time to discuss identity than during the Fourth of July weekend?

The bus driver at the airport asks me if I am Indian or Pakistani. I think about the question for a second and tell him I'm from India. "I am Baghdadi", he says and I can see ripples of pride, caution and sheepishness sweep across his face. He then asks me if I am Hindu. Again, I think about it for a second and tell him, yes, I am one. What can I say, airport parking lots are hardly the best place to launch into a "just what is *your* definition of a Hindu?" debate.

"That's very good", he says, sounding relieved. I ask him how my religion mattered. He says he doesn't like how *some* religions force people to think and act in a certain way and that Hinduism was not one of those religions.

That brief exchange made me a little sad - here he was, an old Iraqi man, living in heartland of America, sounding a bit eager to disassociate himself from an identity he was born into and probably doing his best to pass himself off as someone who is comfortable making a living in a country that has, well, shall we say, re-arranged his native land beyond recognition.

There's a price we all pay for leaving home and coming home.


The other day while at lunch with some co-workers, I referred to Fourth of July as "my country's Independence Day". That phrase, coming from someone who's obviously not "originally from here", makes some people uneasy. Makes for some great trolling. Try it sometime.

Sure enough, my words rattled at least one person in the group who lost no time in pointing out that my citizenship was merely the end result of filling out an application form. I was tempted to remind him that his Indian citizenship was merely the end result of nine months of gestation, a biological process in which he had no choice. But just then a burger materialized on my end of the table, so I pushed aside all thoughts about identity and like the good Hindu I am, bit into some of that medium-rare magic.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Damn You, Lao Tzu

It's the single step which leads to a journey of a thousand miles. And what do we get at the end of the thousand miles? Exhaustion, listlessness and frequent-flyer miles. Also, unread books, unplayed music, unwatched films, unvisited blogs and unfinished thoughts.

So do everything you can to resist that single step. Or there will be that journey of thousand miles.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Now They Know How Many Autographed Manuscripts It Takes To Fill The Albert Hall

I read the news today, oh boy.

And the Obvious Fairy bites an auctioneer on his ass:
"The outstanding price achieved for these handwritten lyrics is testament to the iconic status of the Beatles, John Lennon and especially this song," said David Redden, Sotheby's Books and Manuscripts Department international chairman.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Clarity Of Writing

"I think the point is that lucid writing is a byproduct of a process of careful thought. The more deeply you think about an issue, the more word choices start to matter, the clearer the purpose of each phrase and each sentence becomes, and the more the sentences themselves fall into a natural order. Clarity of thought produces clarity of writing."
Careful, Falstaff, or soon the Internet will be asking you for a writing manual.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What Happened To Desipundit?

Desipundit is quoting Frost.

What's with the "Thank you for reading"? Lekhni, Patrix, anyone?

Edit: I posted before checking the blogs. Lekhni blogged this yesterday.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Land Scrapes"

From photographer Kalyan Varma's blog, a photo-essay on the Deccan Plateau.

An aerial shot of a village panchayat meeting? How about that.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

CUT TO: Face Of A Buyer Filled With Remorse

A buyer's review (on Amazon) of Bergman's "Wild Strawberries":
"It's in Swedish, with English subtitles. That's fine if you understand Swedish, which I don't. It was a total waste of money for me."
Those strawberries, they can be sour, I tell ya.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

What Do You

Poetry geeks, help me out. Here's a verse from Pearl Jam's "Elderly woman behind the counter in a small town":

"I swear I recognize your breath
Memories like fingerprints are slowly raising
Me, you wouldn't recall, for I'm not my former
It's hard when, you're stuck upon the shelf"

The lyric is not "I'm not my former SELF" but the word "shelf" in the fourth line - and the song's theme - makes me mentally supply the word "self" in the third.

So my question is this - is there a name for this technique of not completing the line and letting the reader/listener fill in the blank?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

White House Album

Some questions to think about:

Would John have played the White House? And if he did, would he have sung "Michelle"? (Oh dear God.)

Why are "Hey Jude" singalongs encouraged? How many na-na-na-nas must be sung before they are forever banned?

Instead of singing "Michelle" (oh dear God), couldn't Sir Paul have played something unexpected, like, "Why don't we do it in the road"?

What happens during a drum solo at a White House gig? Policy discussions? Oil spill debates?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Key Of The Grave

Melancholy womanliness, quaint creature, wild passions: these are descriptions of musical keys, made by an 18th century German poet named Christian Schubart. ("...student of theology" and "he led a dissolute life"? Rock on, Herr Schubart!)

My favorite description is for "F# minor"
"A gloomy key: it tugs at passion as a dog biting a dress. Resentment and discontent are its language."
A lot of blues music is in the key of E Major. So how does Schubart, who lived in an era and culture far removed from the blues, describe that key? Quite accurately, actually:
"Noisy shouts of joy, laughing pleasure and not yet complete, full delight lies in E Major."
It makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Real blues music is not about despair and hopelessness. When you wake up one morning and find your money gone, you may cry for a few hours or even a few days but then, let out "noisy shouts of joy" you must. (Wonder if that's my accountant on the phone?)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Updating Beckett

Do not despair, one of the documents was saved.

Do not presume, the saved document was an older version.


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

That Awkward Hallway Dance

"The uncomfortable phenomenon when two people meet while walking and attempt to pass only to have both persons go in the same direction, thus each continuing to block the path of the other. The occurence is usually brief but unsettling enough to cause grievance and annoyance in one or both parties (or however many are involved)."
Was it droitwich that inspired Bob Dylan to write "Most likely you go your way (and I'll go mine)"?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Book Jacket Designer

"Entirely discarding the clean formality of the British style of jacket design, he was the first Indian artist to have introduced to the book-jackets a style of brushing which was entirely Indian."
The designer in question? Satyajit Ray. (And he designed a jacket for a book of poems called "I've given your name E-flat"?)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Peas Peas Me

Does anyone else see violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter's name and think of Mutter Paneer?

I just had to put down the New York Philharmonic's 2010 season catalog last night to raid the refrigerator. (The best I could do was a bag of frozen peas and an unopened packet of paneer.)

Why, I wonder, does seeing Pavarotti's name in print not lead to cravings for bread? [Pav (in Marathi) = Pão (in Portuguese) = bread and Roti = a type of Indian bread. A good thing his first name isn't Nanni. Opera fans can't live on bread alone.]

Monday, April 26, 2010

In Which ToI Explores Seismology

"Will 47000 cleavages cause a quake?"

But because that pronoun-less headline doesn't directly engage the reader, this:

"Can your cleavage cause an earthquake?"

You can look up Times of India's website and locate these headlines yourself. I'm too busy unleashing tremors with my cleavage.

I hope they will consider funding the "will 22000 butt-cracks set a rain-forest on fire?" study. (No, I do not wish to know what could cause a plague of lice or make a volcano erupt.)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Go Stream 'Em

Hush-hush. An online radio station streams 1001 - that's right, 1001 - classic rock, metal, jazz, soul,rap, New Wave, blues, pop, '90s alt-rock and folk albums.

I know the "snoboscenti" might scoff at seeing (some) familiar fare, but being able to stream Jacques Brel, Metallica, Dylan, Muddy Waters, Bad Brains, Leonard Cohen, N.W.A. and Miles Davis from one radio station is not just cool but actually vital to the well-being of the universe. OK, that is hyperbole.

But let me tell you just how special this stream is - it has a John Prine album. And an album by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with "Allah Hoo" in it. And there's Kinks' Arthur. And there is....sorry, but my musical-ADD just flared up. I went from playing "Speed King" to "Yaad-e-nabi gulshan mehka".

BTW, if you are playing an album and wish to browse other album-pages, the stream stops. But you can resume the song by simply clicking on the gray "volume-level strip" next to the progress bar in the site's media player.)

Radio Romania rocks very very hard.

(Learned about this radio station from a TIL on Reddit. Those guys are something else.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic

"According to reports, the laughter was incapacitating when it struck"
Wiki article

Wouldn't it be fun to call in sick at work with that ailment. ("My doctor has advised immobilization and three days of watching nothing but "According to Jim"...?)

According to the Wiki, the symptoms of the epidemic included farting, attacks of crying and random screaming. What are the odds of those three symptoms ever occurring at once? Who cries while farting? And who farts while screaming?

Think about those questions. Then, watch the funniest joke in the world.


"She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight"

"She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket."

- Philip Marlowe (Via Roger Ebert's twitter feed).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I'd Ask My Friends To Come And See

Man goes for a swim in the ocean, starts video-shooting an octopus when suddenly.... you must watch the video for the rest of the story.

(Via MetaFilter)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Guess Who Won A Pulitzer This Year?

Hank Williams. OK, it's "Special Citations" and not a Pulitzer Pulitzer, but still.

He wrote "Move it on over" and deserves at least a couple of Nobel Prizes for that song alone.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Twin Peaks

David Lynch's Twin Peaks turned twenty.

I'm not sure if this is true for you but I can remember my first viewing of anything by David Lynch. It may not make total sense at the time, but I always remember the experience - with that heavy, uneasy feeling of dread in my stomach. Twin Peaks and Fire walk with me are no different. Maybe I will muster up the courage to watch the whole show again one of these days.

Just thinking about some scenes from the show - and that strange "Lynchian" atmosphere - gives me the chills. If you've never seen the show, start with the intro theme. Yikes. Still creepy.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Four Truths, Three Jewels, One Remote

The Buddha airs on PBS on April 7.

Shakyamuni, of course, could not care less if I watched the show. Or didn't.

But I will.

That will show him.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Killing Trees

Around this time every year, an organization near my town puts together an outstanding book sale. I have been a loyal attendee for at least eight years now and look forward to it so much that when I missed the opening day and the second day this year, I actually woke up at 4AM on Friday worried that I would miss the rest of the sale.

The last day of the sale is called "box day". Pay ten bucks and take as many books as will fit in a box. You can also pay five bucks for a grocery bagful of books. This year, between "box day" and "half price day", I scored about 40 books. Not that impressive. I saw people - including several illiterate, Facebook-obsessed teenagers - walking out with at least a hundred books each, wearing a proud shit eating grin on their faces.

(Side bar: Just how will the Kindle and the iPad affect this book sale in, say, ten years? I don't want to know.)

So there was this girl of about thirteen or fourteen, clearly a book nerd, walking out with a pile of books large enough to impress the guys at the Library of Congress. As she struggled with the door, in walks this schmuck who takes a look at her stash of books and says loudly "bet you don't get out much, do you?"

I had half a mind to clobber him on his head with my newly-acquired hardcover copy of Translations from the Chinese (thanks, Falstaff - reading those Chinese poems on your blog got me in the mood for more Chinese poetry) but it was at the very bottom of the bag. (The most accessible book was a slim paperback on Linguistics and that would have been no good.)

Upon returning home, wife and I did the obligatory how-do-I-make-the-time-to-read-all-this** and the oh-shit-I-already-own-this-book. Who cares. I plan on not getting out much for the next one hundred and seventeen years. That, and not showering, should give me enough time to read everything in the collection.

**This used to be a practical concern. Now it's turned into a terrifying meditation on mortality. Oh Lord, you gave us such short lives and economically-priced books.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Howlin' Quasi-Wolf

Well, this may not exactly be feral, but it certainly is an unorthodox parenting technique*. (Tabula Rasa: please take note.) After you are done watching that video a bunch of times, watch its shorter sequel.

YouTube People, please put up that video of a sixteen-foot boa constrictor cuddling up with a baby. Thanks!

*By no means am I disapproving of this method. It's just that I am jealous of that baby.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Music's Master Photographer"

R.I.P, Jim Marshall.

Rock's "Golden Age" needed someone with just the right artistic vision and Marshall was that man.

Two of my favorite photographs: The Beatles walking to the stage at Candlestick Park. Then that legendary shot of Jimi Hendrix at Monterey Pop. Damn, they are all great photographs.


Twitter updates from WikiLeaks.

What's up?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The T.A.M.I Show

Go-Go dancers movin' and a groovin' to "Maybelline". Just one reason to watch The T.A.M.I Show.

Often considered one of the greatest rock 'n roll concert films, "The T.A.M.I Show" makes its first (full length) appearance on DVD this Tuesday. (link to NYT) A trailer for the film as well as videos of some performances from the show are available on YT. (The voice-over in that trailer, for some reason, mentions John Lennon's name when introducing Gerry and the Pacemakers. Strange.)

I am most curious about James Brown's performance (which receives hyperbolic praise from fans and music writers) as well as the Stones who were, infamously, booked to perform after James Brown. But there's also Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Beach Boys...and Go-Go dancers.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ronnie Be Good

Ronnie is a street musician from Botswana and trust me, you want to watch this little video. Four strings, open tunings and completely unorthodox fingering: if that's not rock 'n roll, what is?

Note to self: next time the urge to buy more guitar gear pops in your head, remember it's *not* the instrument.

Link via Metafilter.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Still Life

Woman in blue scrubs talking loudly on her cellphone and eating a banana. (I think it's physically impossible to be mad at someone while eating a banana.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Stormy Weather

Two recorded announcements from the police last evening: "All residents in the area are advised to stay indoors...". I was hoping they would say "...because a group of zombies are loose in your town". It would be so much more entertaining to deal with issues like the undead. Instead, the message warned us about how the storm had knocked out several trees and power lines.

We were without power for a whole minute. I have never felt so...powerless. You have not lived through a catastrophe if you haven't looked up at your microwave clock and seen its display go black. Such a stark reminder of mankind's foolish infatuation with LCD. I finally understood what Billie Holiday meant when she sang "life is bare, gloom and misery everywhere".

But with adversity comes strength (or, as in my case, a desire to consume raisins coated with chocolate) and in our darkest hour, we discover new shining facets to ourselves. Yesterday, for example, the wife and I discovered the lost art of conversation in that one moderately dark minute:

"The power's out"
"The power's out?"
"The power's out"

Energized by this interaction, we then walked up to a window and looked at trees and plants staggering under the storm's assault. (They do bend with the rainfall. Never learn botany from a folk duo from New York.) Something about standing at a window during a storm and talking to someone makes me feel like a character in a book. Every word you utter is a symbol, every gesture is loaded with significance and every rain-lashed tree is a metaphor for struggle, loss, love and longing. If only we could add blurbs to the back of our conversations. "Stirring!", "Terrifying", "A minor triumph!" and "We may have found a new Proust!".

The power was soon restored and I continued my eternal online quest to find that one website to keep me entertained forever. That's when it struck me. What our earth needs most is a hybrid of laptop batteries and zombies. So we get batteries that never die.

Epiphanies, memorable conversations, creative solutions to our energy crisis...there's so much to be learned from Nature, if only we kept our eyes and ears open.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Werner Herzog Is A Plastic Bag

The character of the plastic bag in "Plastic Bag", a short film by director Ramin Bahrani (of Man Push Cart fame), is voiced by Werner Herzog.

Yeah, trippy.

Mr. Bahrani, would you consider releasing just the audio track to the video?

Dear Morans, Please Consider Getting A Brain

Someone I know emails me a link to an online petition addressed to an Indian book publisher.

The petition urges the publisher to withdraw this "offensive and misleading book on India and Hindu history" from "worldwide bookshops/markets/Universities/libraries" and apologize for having published the book.


Sunday, March 07, 2010

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Mr. Justice?

If your house were to be burned down by a pyromaniac, would it make you buy him a lifetime's supply of blowtorches and gasoline? Probably not.

So what could this possibly mean? What reasons might there be for a victim to marry the rapist?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Boies & Olson

Hands down the most fun one hour on TV last night: Bill Moyers' Journal on PBS.

Lawyers David Boies and Ted Olson were on the show (yes, the same guys who were on opposing sides for the election recount case, representing Gore and Dubya respectively). Except this time, Boies and Olson are on the same side, defending marriage equality. (Followers of technology news know Boies as the lawyer who fought the famous Microsoft antitrust case or as the lawyer who represented Napster against RIAA.)

In one hour, the two men brilliantly articulated their views on why not recognizing same-sex marriage amounted to discrimination. There was not the tiniest bit of exaggeration, FUD or condescension or animosity displayed toward the groups opposed to marriage equality. Just the facts: not allowing same-sex marriage is discrimination and discrimination is wrong.

You can watch the program and read the full transcript on PBS's website.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dog Bites Man

"Tillikum, nicknamed "Tilly," has a controversial past. The large whale was blamed for the drowning of one of his trainers in 1991 while he was performing at Sealand of the Pacific in British Columbia."
A controversial past? What?

You nicknamed a fucking whale "Tilly" and expected it to play nice? (The story in question.)

The Andaman Islands, Circa 2010

Kalyan Varma, one of the best wildlife photographers working in India, writes about Andaman and Nicobar Islands:
"There is very little of original, undisturbed, pristine rainforests left. The Andamans were the timber source for mainland India for many decades. In fact till recently, the largest saw-mill in Asia was operated out of there."
Who knew timber came from those islands? I always assumed it came from some ramshackle saw-mill shop down the road.

Read the full post here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Uncle Sam Loves You More Than You Will Know

"Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols..."
According to this frightening little report in Slate (via Metafilter), the federal alcohol poisoning program killed nearly 10,000 Americans during the Prohibition years.

I am positive the deceased and their families appreciate the government's genuine concern for their well-being.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Long Drawn Out Trip

Cartoonist, animator and artist Gerald Scarfe is known for such works as his animation in Pink Floyd's The Wall and his illustrations for the TV series "Yes Minister". You may have also seen his drawings in the New Yorker.

In 1971, while working with the BBC, Scarfe traveled to Los Angeles to study a new animation system and made a film about his experiences in the US, titled "A Long Drawn Out Trip".

Even though this was Scarfe's first film, there's no mistaking his voice and style. A skeleton pulls out a rib and it turns into a naked woman; flying bombs turn into a giant robotic hand; "Star-spangled Banner" plays (Hendrix's version naturally) while the image on the screen morphs from a jumble of inky squiggles into Nixon and Batman. (And finally, poor Mickey Mouse gets stoned.)

The full film is not available online but someone on YT has been nice enough to post some excerpts of the film, including a "missing scene". So enjoy this footage of Gerald Scarfe's A Long Drawn Out Trip. (Parts of the film are NSFW.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Vatican Approves Of Flashing The Devil Sign During Prayer

No they didn't, but its "semi-official" newspaper has published its own list of top rock albums. The Beatles' "Revolver" topped the list.

Go on, Ratzinger, say it. They were more popular than Jesus. Also, please don't encourage U2.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Next (F9)

This is anarchy: "". (You can google it. It's potentially NSFW.)

The site is the creation of a Russian teenager. (Link to NYT) But it was this piece in the New York magazine that sort of brought ChatRoulette into the mainstream.

Enjoy. Or don't.

I may not have been as creative as that Russian kid but I did figure out how to turn off that sneaky piece of shit software feature called Google Buzz. (It's a tiny link at the very bottom of your Gmail page.) That must easily have been the most evil, the most insidious, the most careless software product introduction ever.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Area Man Bows To The Internet

I came across a strange anime video set to, of all things, Eddie Rabbit's "I love a rainy night". Talk about Country & Eastern. The video is delightfully Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and disturbing and it's....on replay.

A member of YouTube's esteemed commenter community, who appears to be just as confused as I was after watching the video, says on that page, "what does eddie rabit have to do with jappanese cartoon hookers???"

I don't know, man. Why is a raven like a writing desk? Does the Pope shit in the woods? All I know is, genuinely weird mashups are rare (and extremely entertaining) and this video is one very weird mashup.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

You Don't Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows

From a weather forecast for our area: "Chance of snow near 100 percent".

There's a foot out there. A foot of snow, I mean. A human foot in the snow would be disturbing. Unless there were a live human being attached to it, of course. Then it would be normal.

News websites are describing the snowstorm as "historic" and "epic". I am disappointed that I have not yet seen sword-wielding warriors, riding on chariots, singing and crying "Valhalla I am coming!" in the streets. Then again, it's only 9:20AM.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Boat Behind

From the Norwegian duo "Kings of Convenience" (who are often compared to Simon & Garfunkel) comes a lovely little song* called Boat Behind.

Though the vocal styling, especially in the chorus, is Paul Simon-esque, the song's arrangement sounds like it could belong to some old Paul McCartney album.

It's a warm, sunny melody - just perfect for a day when we are expecting at least a foot of snow.

*From their album Declaration of Dependence

Famous Tours

If Ronnie Wood and My Morning Jacket went on tour, it would be called the "My Morning Wood" tour.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Reading a brilliant biography of physicist Paul Dirac. A cool bit of trivia from the book: Paul Dirac and Cary Grant (then Archie Leach) grew up just a few blocks apart in Bristol, UK and even went to the same school.

As they say, "Mind = Blown".

Monday, February 01, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Howard Zinn - R.I.P

"I refuse to celebrate them as "the greatest generation" because in doing so we are celebrating courage and sacrifice in the cause of war. And we are miseducating the young to believe that military heroism is the noblest form of heroism, when it should be remembered only as the tragic accompaniment of horrendous policies driven by power and profit. Indeed, the current infatuation with World War II prepares us--innocently on the part of some, deliberately on the part of others--for more war, more military adventures, more attempts to emulate the military heroes of the past."
(From this essay)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Coyest Lingo

My inbox has finally arrived. I received an email the other day from a lady representing these idiots. Something about her helping people live life to their fullest potential. (A bit like what her organization is doing for the people in Haiti?)

The email had her contact information, LinkedIn profile and her website address. I was tempted to share all that data with the enthusiastic, fun-loving kids who hang out on, but then I decided against it. Seemed excessive.

"Coyest lingo", btw, is an anagram of that organization's name.

Friday, January 22, 2010


I've been watching the "Hope for Haiti" fundraiser on TV (and on YouTube).

Have I grown jaded or do musicians don't commit to performance anymore like Freddie Mercury?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm Looking Through You

Courtesy NatGeo, pics of new species of animals found in Ecuador. (A "see-through" frog, a lungless salamander...this is one weird planet, man.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bobby Charles

Call me crazy, but sometimes I feel early rock 'n roll couldn't possibly have been conceived by human beings.

I mean, what kind of genius does it take to write something like "See You Later, Alligator"? A genius like Bobby Charles.

R.I.P, Bobby.

Here's unofficial footage of him playing "Down South in New Orleans" with The Band in the Last Waltz concert. (Bobby Charles does not appear in the film, though.)

Also visit this Bobby Charles fan-site (via the one of the best fan-sites)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cross-Posting From WWH - Collecting Data in Haiti

Just posted this on the World Wide Help blog:
Google's Crisis Response Team has a Haiti Situation Tracking Form (link to; open to everyone).

There is also an online tracking tool called Ushahidi that could be very useful to earthquake victims in Haiti who may not have internet access but still have access to mobile phones.

It's important that word gets out about these tracking tools, so please consider linking to them on your blog, Twitter updates, Facebook profile and website.

(Links via a post on Reddit.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti, Partners In Health, MSF

To the folks at Charity Navigator: Why not feature a 4-star organization like "Partners in Health" (profile on Charity Navigator) that's renowned for its outstanding work in Haiti on your home page today?

NPR's website carried an excerpt from a book, written by author Tracy Kidder, about PIH founder, Dr. Paul Farmer. (Wikipedia too has a profile.)

Other than PIH, my charity of choice remains Doctors Without Borders (also a "4-star organization" on Charity Navigator).

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Here Be Giants

(Redemption Song)


Easily the best of the web: Wildflowerseed's post on where and how to find peyote in Mexico. (Though in my current state, I have to learn how to "arrive without traveling" and "do all without doing".)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

"Two Gentlemen Of Lebowski"

What if Shakespeare wrote The Big Lebowski?

The answer can be found right here.

I was suspicious of the quality of the send-up before clicking on the link. Reading film dialog rendered in faux-Shakespearean English is not my idea of fun. Thankfully, this work is much cleverer (and funnier) than that.

Take these lines:
"Forsooth! This be a place
Of residence, and much a private place.—
O excellent marmot!"
Or these:
“Seest thou what happens, Laurence, when thou firk’st a stranger ‘twixt the buttocks?!”
Good to know the Knave still abideth.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Analyzing New Yorker Fiction

Via the terrific "The Millions" blog, a by-the-numbers analysis of all fiction that has appeared in the New Yorker from 2003 to 2009.

Fun idea, but I wish someone did a TV Tropes' style analysis of these stories' themes, characters etc. (Please tell me you read TV Tropes? I'm sure I've linked to it before. The site's a must-read if you like to analyze stories.)

Me, I'm just going to change my name to Alice Munro. *That* should get me published.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Tourst Visas For Maximum Fun

From the Times:
"The Indian government recently announced that foreigners holding tourist visas, including ones with multiple entries, are now banned from re-entering the country within two months of their departure."
This worries me a bit. Not because the Indian government is banning re-entry outright but because of this:
"Re-entry may also be permitted in special cases, such as a death or illness in the family."
Oh that will end well. Officials at airports will demand proof of "death or illness in the family" and of course, travelers won't have any...

Tell you what, I'm getting my Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card *now*. Not that it will be of much use considering this new requirement:
"Under the new rules, visitors are also required to register within 14 days with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (F.R.R.O.) in India if they return within two months of departure."
What the hell is the F.R.R.O. and has anyone been to one? But naturally, a blogger has been there. Read and weep.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Filthy, Filthy, Filthy Amadeus

You will be delighted to learn that in 1782, Mozart wrote a piece of music titled "Leck Mich Im Arsch". Yes, that's "Lick me in the ass". Pure genius. You can hear it on YT.

But this will probably delight you even more: Mozart composed another piece called "Leck mir den Arsch fein recht schön sauber", which translates, according to Wikipedia, as "Lick me in the ass fine well and clean". The lyrics to that canon, which may or may not have been written by Mozart, are easily filthier than any hip-hop song.

Now I must scour the web for Beethoven's sex-tapes. And you're welcome.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy New Year? My Foot.

Oh isn't *this* turning out to be a happy new year already.

I spent nearly 3 hours in an emergency room on January 1. My left foot was red, bruised and swollen. "You've fractured your fifth metatarsal", the doctor said to me. (Thank goodness it wasn't the third metatarsal, my all-time favorite metatarsal. Clearly, the funny bone's been smashed too, har har.)

The good part about the accident is that I no longer have to worry about going to the gym or showering daily for the next four weeks. Food, beverages and reading material are all magically appearing by my side. The TV remote is mine and mine only. The bad part is getting used to crutches. And getting in and out of the car. And negotiating stairs. And brushing teeth while balancing on one leg. But man, the crutches, they just kill.

Funny, just the other day I complained about 2009 going too fast. Now I can't wait for time to go faster so the fracture can heal and I can walk freely again (or just wiggle my toes.)