Friday, January 31, 2003
MTV ridicules Gandhi using `clone'
Yesterday, Maxim magazine was reported to be Gandhi-bashing. Is nothing sacred?
Thursday, January 30, 2003
Loose lips sink ships
I have uncovered GPS co-ordinates & plied known elements with alcohol to help identify one of the targets for near-future incursions.
OK, all the Hindu Links are fixed.
Help me understand...
India's Hindu worship the cow, so how does the country export US$2 BILLION worth of leather every year. Here in Chennai, leather is big (and reasonably priced): there's the Central Leather Institute, 30-odd shop listings in the phone book, & an international fashion show on 01 FEB.
Damn, I just noticed that The Hindu ("India's National Newspaper") only keeps their Links active for a day. While they look uniquely date-encoded, they archive them with a totally different nomenclature. So, I'm left with choices, all laborious:
1. Credit, copy & paste. Don't bother Linking.
2. Use their mediocre search engine on their archives & report a day late.
3. Find a better newspaper ;^)
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
School watchman hoists Republic Day flag after absence of teachers
Education Chief transfers Headmistress & docks all 45 teachers a day's pay after last Sunday's snafu.
India Prime Minister: "...war in the Persian Gulf would disturb the balance..."
With respect to A.B. Vajpayee (leftmost in pic), that might be the idea.
On a positive note, the PM & several Chief Ministers dedicated the first phase of a new express highway system that will help reduce Gulf oil dependency (currently Rs.90,000 crore/US$18B per year). It's impressive engineering (and mathematics) when creating roads will reduce consumption by 9% for each quadrant completed. I would ask the U.S. to reduce their dependency by 36%
Tuesday, January 28, 2003
No shit, Sherlock
David Strayer, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Utah, explaining why cell phones "blind" people who use them while driving.
Show me the light, my brother from the Mormon state, lead us to the promised highway!
Hacktivists: new breed protestors
They often refer to themselves as hackers for a cause or ethical hackers. India's Ankit Fadia, 17 & security wonderkid, recently noted anti-India hacktivists operating under the banner of Al Qaeda Muslim. Fadia believes the leader of these script kiddies to be Pakistani with others from around the world. Fadia goes on to cite that these particular hacktivists seek to disrupt & bring down India's Internet resources.
Uncle Sam: psy-ops or spammer?
(via Fortune WebLog)
Monday, January 27, 2003
4:30AM IST & Super Bowl is on ESPN India
The game is such a blow-out, I'm bored to the point of mentioning that there are NO Super Bowl commercials, only ads for India Chalo (cricket songs) & Spanish football (soccer).
HBO India Restrictions, ver. 2.0
The continued list of "Not Available in the Middle East" (and my suppositions) include:
The Godfather (trilogy)...don't want the Arabs, etc. to learn about REAL violence
What Women Want...can't be in touch with our feminine side, let alone cross-dress ;^O
Scandinavian version of "Polish Joke"?
I received an email from Sweden today that had the following tag line:
Random quote follows ... "Did you hear about the Finnish man who loved his wife so much that he almost told her?"
So now, how do the Finns feel about the Swedes?
A Night at the Roxbury
Shame on all of you for not warning me! The trailers are it. One doesn't need to see the movie, it's too painful. Tempus fugit et nihil revenium.
Friday, January 24, 2003
'Record size' tumour removed from chest cavity
Surgeons at Chennai, India, Government General Hospital operated on the benign growth, weighing 5 kg and measuring 13 inches in diameter. The removal of the giant tumour was completed in a brilliant six minutes.
To paraphrase ex-U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz (and mix the metaphors), "Happiness is a warm pussy", but in the case of Kay at page st., make that a puppy. My best wishes to her bounced, so this forum will have to convey my rabid message: I hope your joy is infectious!
Indian firm accused of helping Iraqi weapons programme:
NEC Engineering Private Ltd, with offices in Delhi, Mumbai & Chennai, used phoney customs declarations, as well as front companies in three countries, to export 10 consignments of raw materials and equipment that President Saddam Hussein's regime could use to produce chemical weapons and propellants for long-range missiles, says Los Angeles Times, quoting Indian court records.
Iraq did not identify the Indian company as a supplier in the 12,000-page weapons declaration it handed to the Security Council last month.
Thursday, January 23, 2003
A squat in the right direction: Chennai, India (city) Corporation has fined 80 public defecators in the past week at 10 rupees/US$0.20 each. Today's Hindu newspaper also reports that commercial establishments dumping garbage in the streets will be fined Rs.10 to 100 or a max of US$2.
On a similar note, Greenpeace visited our company the last two days to build our awareness.
"BEAUTY TREATMENTS & HAIR STYLING"?
No, this rampaging tusker & its mahout (handler) are a tragedy in the making as reported today by the New Indian Press, byline Kochi, SW state of Kerela, India.
For savvy readers looking at timely entry into the Iraq market, I offer the keys words: well control or snubbing. If Russian sources are accurate about a late February invasion of Iraq, who will extinguish the oil well fires if PyroBoy (Saddam) repeats the torching? Following the 1991 Gulf War & conflagration, Red Adair sold his company in 1993. Today, at age 87, he's consulting, endorsing & investing.
The next generation?
Global Industries, Ltd. bought Red Adair Company, is somewhat diversified & near a 52-week-low
Boots & Coots split off from Red Adair, employs key ex-Adair personnel, & faces financial difficulty
BTW, this constitutes neither buy nor sell advice, financial loans are not available, and no, you can't have my Bud Light.
Wednesday, January 22, 2003
Today from The New Indian Express, page 1, by-line New Delhi:
The cold spell continues in north, central & eastern India. An additional 40 deaths are attributed to exposure, bringing the total to 693. The central state of Uttar Pradesh (southwest of Delhi) is particularly hard hit with 476 fatalities, followed by Bihar (to the east) with 100. Temperatures have been hovering in the mid 30s Fahrenheit, putting many street dwellers at risk.
The weather here in Chennai has been extremely pleasant: 72F. at dawn, mid 80s during the day. When I enquired from a co-worker about the cold weather tragedy up north, I was told it hadn't been this severe in five years. I had an American friend ask why don't the unfortunate Indians do as their American counterparts: get themselves arrested & thrown in jail for the housing, warmth & food. I responded that those Indians probably don't consider themselves unfortunate and the jails here don't work that way.
Health notices posted at our building cafeteria here in Chennai, India:
Hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than AIDS. Hepatitis B kills more people in a day than AIDS in a year. India has 400-600 lakh (40-60 million) Hepatitis B carriers, the 2nd largest number in the world.
That was just the incentive I needed to get my boosters yesterday. They were due in November past, but I had stupidly used the excuses "too busy" & "transportation is difficult". I now have the rest of my life to look forward to (where's the St. Johns Wort?). As a side note, I should mention that once again, the hospital did not have the Hepatitis A vaccine. Like before, the doctor suggested I try to find the vaccine at a pharmacy. After winding thru the gridlocked streets of Chennai, I was successful after checking just two pharmacies & the clerk generously offered a syringe besides. I've often commented that drugs in India are a fraction of the U.S. cost, yet this vaccine set me back Rs.1500/US$30. That would be 60 dinners in our building cafeteria, but come to think of it, that's less than a couple of beers & Jack Daniels at a local 5-star hotel ;^)
Tuesday, January 21, 2003
A few days ago, there were bits of news suggesting that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had the war-negating option of going into exile. Several "neutral" countries were suggested as his possible destination: Algeria, Mauritania, North Korea, & China.
First, I'd like to ask: what the hell is neutral about these places? If they're not already on some Axis of Evil list, they will be with Saddam's arrival. And to save less informed readers a little time, let me give you the short poop on Mauritania from the CIA World Factbook: Islamic Republic with Shari'a (Islamic law).
Secondly, in the name of preventing war & senseless killing, let's re-open the exile dialog. I'm not sure why it's off the radar other than Saddam's 11th hour ego refusing the option. On the chance that Saddam is confused about which of the four countries is the best choice, helpful readers may want to make suggestions via the BackFill/Comment feature of this post. Think of it as a poll:
and why you're suggesting one particular place. Thanks for contributing & making the world a better place ;^)
chaiwalla: Indian, street-side tea vendor. And there's not just tea, as I've seen everything from instant coffee to medicinals to cigarettes (one, two, or a pack). The show of making the tea over a kerosene-fired burner is worth the 2.5 rupees/US$0.05: sugar is thrown into a glass which is then half filled with steaming milk. A "fishnet" of tea leaves is whisked from a steeping pot & the liquor is allowed to drip into the glass. The walla then uses a small, metal tumbler where the tea is poured back & forth to mix the sugar. These pours are long & drawn to fanciful heights without wasting a drop. For an extra 50 paise/0.5 rupee, the tea is served masala with a dash of ginger & elachi (cardamon). Such a vendor sets his cart up daily across from my flat. He has a woman accomplice in a fine sari, but he does most of the walla-ing (yeah, we grovel). Her main role might be quality.
This Link on Indian wallas is worth a read as it colors their amazing skill & appearance. Ironically, I just now heard the ground nut roaster clanging his old iron pot as he wheels his cart down the street ;^)
Monday, January 20, 2003
auto rickshaw, aka, rick: motorized, 3-wheel taxi. Here in Chennai, India, one hails the driver & bargins for a price (the amount starts high for an outsider whether foreigner or Northern Indian...try halving it). The meter can be flipped on if the driver passes a watchful policeman, but the agreed upon rate remains. These vehicles are often yellow colored by standardization, not ownership. The engine is a noisy, little 2-stroker & sounds like a lawn mower with a bad muffler. The ride can be a little bumpy & windy (rain tarps can be pulled down the sides during monsoon). All-in-all, these kamikazees get the job done by courageously darting about larger vehicles in this city of gridlock.
I'm not sure what's happening with Dan Padua's BlogChalking, but this is the umpteenth time he's been down for an extended period. Dan was last seen on the Turkish domain BlogChalking.tk which forwarded to Brazil's DanPadua.kit.net. I had previously told myself: "Self, store the image on your own space". I've now found the German version of the site, saved an even cooler .gif and have linked appropriately. Good luck, Dan, wherever you are ;^)
Sunday, January 19, 2003
Finally got my Archives fixed thanks to Phil Ringnalda's Unofficial Blogger FAQs. The man has a heap-o-tools there & in his personal Blog!
I got another great Indian haircut yesterday. Sure, I seem impressed with the simple things in life, but my haircut involves at least a head massage & your haircut probably doesn't (*sing song* nah nah, na nah nah). In fact, I get the deluxe Rs. 140/US$3 dealie that includes hot Navaratna scalp oil, face/shoulder/arm/hand massage, some vibrator action, finished off with a little spine crack. Oh yeahhhhh! And sure, I also get excited when I sleep thru the whole night without having to get up & pee ;^)
Friday, January 17, 2003
My brother Andy, knowing that I graduated from college in 1972, forwarded me a list beginning with ...
1972: Long hair
2002: Longing for hair
Rather than share the remaining & immediate humor (attracting the Plog police), I'll make you work thru the unattributed Links:
http://cartalk.cars.com/Mail/Haus/2002/03.16.html (the name "Ben Moses" is at the bottom)
http://www.cccofnaiw.com/humor.htm ("sumitted by Barbara North")
my fingers are tired
Thursday, January 16, 2003
Today marks 11 months I've been in India and I must say that the South Indian veg diet has been good for me. I arrived in Chennai at 240lbs/109kg. This New Year, I weighed in at 204/93 or down 15%. Amazingly, this percentage corresponds almost exactly with a key number from yesterday's NEJM study of the reduced likelihood of surgical instruments being left inside me during a procedure. That's right, lose weight & the doc won't forget those sponges under your fat, old cirrhotic liver. Exercise that gut & the tummy-tuck surgeon is less likely to leave the retractors under the gelatinous masses of adipose tissue ;^)
Time for breakfast (pongal, sugarless South Indian coffee & Lipitor).
On my way to work at 7AM, I asked my driver to stop so I could shoot some pix of kolam (spiritual drawing made by sprinkling rice flour on the sidewalk). Here in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, these are usually drawn every morning by house maids, but the images are particularly colorful during the annual Pongal celebration in progress. In the North, they're called rangoli in Hindii.
Wednesday, January 15, 2003
To the left, I've added a BlogRoll link to Japan's Mainichi Daily News column know as WaiWai. Here, the MDN collects scandelous titbits from the nation's weeklies. Anything goes with these rags. They're outside the bureaucratic confines of Japan's notorious press club system & this supports the age old axiom: "the penis mightier than the sword". Enjoy as you would anime. And yes, I'm aware of my typing ;^)
Yesterday, at the last minute, someone at work declared that New-Hire-Trainers get today off for Surya, the pongal-making day of Pongal. I called the Program Manager to verify, but he had his mobile switched off at 7PM last night. So here I am today, Blogging from bed where my life is blissfully uneventful. No fires or smoke. No kids screaming at my bedroom window. No pongal for breakfast as I slept in late :-(
Writing of fires, I had these burning questions yesterday that I actually jotted down in NotePad (old-timers disease?):
1. Do all manly Indian police inspectors wear a huge, bushy moustache? It can't help an undercover op.
2. Do any Indian women step to the back of an elevator in a building that's always crowded?
3. Why bother painting the lane lines on Chennai roads?
Tuesday, January 14, 2003
I leapt out of bed after 3 hours sleep this morning with a coughing spasm, burning eyes, & an apartment full of smoke. Worry not, it was just the beginning of an Indian celebration: Pongal, the Harvest Festival. It's a time when Indians thank God, earth and their cattle for the crops (as opposed to genetic engineers, hydroponics & air-conditioned/GPS-guided John Deere combines). Day One (of four) is known as Bhogi, in honor of the Rain God, and starts with a clean up. From around the house, unwanted rubbish, old clothes, etc. are ceremoniously consigned to a bonfire. In the case of my neighbor, said smouldering conflagration occurred upwind of my bedroom window & hopefully didn't consist of too many toxic synthetics.
I'll keep you posted on Day Two, Surya Pongal, dedicated to the Sun God. Traditionally, an auspicious time is chosen for letting a pot of pongal (rice pudding) boil over. Pongal served with spicy chutney happens to be my regular breakfast, but on this occasion, the mixture will be sweetened with jaggery (palm sap or raw cane sugar) & raisins fried in ghee (clarified butter).
Sunday, January 12, 2003
Admit that you're often wondering who that other Blogger is, where their head is at, man. Thanks to the folks at GeoURL, the where is no longer a mystery. Birds of a feather sometimes flock together & now that comraderie is brought a little closer. My India-centric Link to the left is minimal for the moment, but I checked out some would-be Rochester, NY neighbors & this tool is cool. Note the popularity: the map on GeoURL's Homepage has Linkable Member URLs, but is becoming denser & less useable by the hour. For those of you seeking your latitude/longitude, I'd suggest inviting me & my GPS receiver over for a Becks beer or as a distant alternative, Acme.com Mapper.
I did a lot of reading over the holidays, so it's time to update the Current Books. While I just enjoyed Empire of Darkness (Egyptology) by Christian Jacq, I was surprised at the number of misspellings. In See No Evil, author Robert Baer's first CIA assignment was here in Chennai, India. BTW, I picked up the Ludlum book (First Edition, hardcover) locally for Rs.267 or about US$5.60
Much to the sadness of the would-be Slurpee Slinger, the Pittsburg Steelers of the National Football League have bowed out of this year's playoffs. The questions remain: what team will the Raj of 7-11 be cheering at Clan Lally's later today & will he bring pork to BBQ?
I had way to many mosquitoes last night...inside my flat. I don't know from where they come as I keep my flat closed tighter than a nunnery (other than an open bathroom exhaust, thanks to my do-nothing landlord, S. Selvaraj of Thiruvanmiyur/Chennai). I don't like skeeters. I have bad memories of infected bites from when I was a kid in coastal South Carolina. Here in India, you know people with malaria, but nobody seems to acknowlege filaria, also transmitted by one particular species of mosquito. Which readers knew that filaria is a precursor to elephantiasis? (the Link has an additional Link to pix)
Saturday, January 11, 2003
OK, racial stereotyping is not Politically Correct, but didn't the neighborhood residents of the Buffalo Six have a clue about Faysal Galab who just admitted to training with al-Qaida? I'm from Western New York & maybe I'm clueless about the number of Yemeni-Americans running around: I don't recall sitting at Buffalo's Anchor Bar, the originator of chicken wings, and sharing a beer with any Sahim. The last time I went to a Buffalo Sabres hockey game, I sat next to a guy who introduced himself as Mike, not Mukhtar al-Bakhri. Buffalo radio station WBFO may play the old Rolling Stones "Get Yer Ya-Yas Out!", but they don't have a DJ named Yahya Goba.
If the "cousins" of these gentlemen move into your neighborhood, welcome them, but get to know them as you would anyone else.
Friday, January 10, 2003
eBay has reached new heights with the auction of a personal strap-on.
The winner must promise not to use the device ;^)
The commuter plane that crashed this week in Charlotte, NC, was within 100 pounds of its maximum baggage limit. The US Air/Mesa Air pilot, Katie Leslie, over-ruled weight concerns voiced by ramp workers. In addition to the checked & weighed baggage, I'm reminded of the scores of times I've flown & seldom seen the airlines enforce the simple, carry-on luggage, sizing frame. Readers who fly should recall the occasions they've seen overhead baggage racks closed with great difficulty & yet the flight attendants only come along to force the latch. We should remember the times we've not had space above our own seat because of morons permitting morons to carry more than their fair share. And what about those children under the age of two flying for free because they supposedly aren't occupying a seat? BS: they're screaming in the seat next to you or me, requiring the most service, & I'd like to know if their weight has been calculated. Speak up on your next flight, people, or die.
Thursday, January 09, 2003
Memo to self: no bicycling
The local New Indian Express credits my following summary to Martin Miller of the LA Times-Washington Post (when did they merge?):
Two studies published in NOV & DEC indicate bicycling can be hazardous to a man's..."reproductive health". While lowering sperm count doesn't concern my nil state, impotency does (on rare & joyous occasion). The NOV study shows that even less strenuous bicycling can cause genital numbness & erectile disfunction. A prominent urologist asserted five years ago that bicycling has caused 100,000 men to become impotent. Bicyclists are four times as likely to exhibit scrotum abnormalities, cysts, calcifications & Dog forbid, vericose veins. This brings up two additional problems: 1) I don't want anyone noticing my scrotal veins & 2) I'm uneasy with the corrective laser treatment on these same private parts ;^)
Wednesday, January 08, 2003
I've flip-flopped again & my internal clock is VERY confused. I got to sleep around 6AM, but had wake-ups at 7:30AM, 9:30AM, Noon, and now the Royal Garden screaming children at 6:30PM. I'm in a daze; good thing I already did some shopping, cleaning & laundry. And from the "May Seem Trivial" Department: after several weeks, I now have safe, clean, bottled water at my flat. Would-be conquerors of Mexico (or India) wouldn't like what comes out of my household water faucets (but I could package it as a weight loss product).
Tuesday, January 07, 2003
With apologies to Waldo, "Where's el Guapo"?
Monday, January 06, 2003
The jury is out on Amsterdam & there's rumors of negative votes due to the Winter weather. Even while wearing proper coat & gloves, it's still just as cold as Rochester, NY (-4C). Granted, there's no snow on the straat (street) of "Europe's Venice", but it's colder than my ex-wife's whatever. Thank the Dutch for delicious hot chocolate & sidewalk vendors with streaming, foot long bratwurst. One of the more interesting sights is an outdoor skating rink with artificial ice: not refrigerated ice, but hi-tech, interlocking blocks of plastic ice. It appears maintenance free except for a possible sweeping.
Saturday, January 04, 2003
MisterMittens (one irritating pussy) is on the shut down. Give it a read & email your support [+/-] to the ol' tom. I think you'll find that everyone loves a little puddie. Personally, I can relate to this sample 20 DEC rant (note to the webb police: the following is a Copy & Paste [accredited to Micro$oft] and is with the author's knowledge if its fur-lined eyeballs grace my Piratic Plog):
***** START COPY *****
When I was a kid adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning uphill both ways through year 'round blizzards carrying their younger siblings on their backs to their one-room schoolhouse where they maintained a straight-A average despite their full-time after-school job at the local textile mill where they worked for 35 cents an hour just to help keep their family from starving to death! And I remember promising myself that when I grew up there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard had it and how easy they've got it!
Now that I've reached the ripe old age of twenty-nine, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so fuckin' easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a goddamned Utopia! And I hate to say it but you kids today you don't know how good you've got it! I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet--we wanted to know something, we had to go to the goddamned library and look it up ourselves! And there was no email! We had to actually write somebody a letter-with a pen! - and then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the fuckin' mailbox and it would take like a week to get there! And there were no MP3s or Napsters! You wanted to steal music, you had to go to the goddamned record store and shoplift it yourself! Or we had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ usually talk over the beginning and fuck it all up! You want to hear about hardship? You couldn't just download porn! You had to bribe some homeless dude to buy you a copy of "Hustler" at the 7-11! It was either that or jack-off to the lingerie section of the JC Penney catalog! Those were your options!
We didn't have fancy shit like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal! And we didn't have fancy Caller ID Boxes either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was it could be your boss, your mom, a collections agent, your drug dealer, you didn't know!!! You just had to pick it up and take your chances, mister! And we didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation videogames with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like "Space Invaders" and "Asteroids" and the graphics sucked ass! Your guy was a little square! You had to use your imagination! And there were no multiple levels or screens; it was just one screen forever! And you could never win, the game just kept getting harder and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!
When you went to the movie theater there no such thing as stadium seating! All the seats were the same height! A tall guy sat in front of you, you were screwed! And sure, we had cable television, but back then that was only like 20 channels and there was no onscreen menu! You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! And there was no Cartoon Network! You could only get cartoons on Saturday morning D'ya hear what the fuck I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK, you spoiled little bastards! That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy! You're spoiled, I swear to God! You guys wouldn't last five minutes back in 1984!
***** END COPY *****
BTW, I want to thank my baby brother Andy (and his wife Leslie) for having the courage, resources, stamina, and alcohol to host our family's just completed Holiday Reunion. Special recognition goes to my father Ollie; aka Big Guy, the Bird, OJ the Second, Coach, etc.; for yet another good-sported string of "When I was a kid...".
For the record: Our family did not have the J.C. Penny catalog. We lived in God's Country, upstate NY, and only Montgomery Ward was available. And Bob Guccionne hadn't yet invented Penthouse with its Vaseline-smeared camera lens.
Sorry for the delay: traveling. I arrived in Amsterdam yesterday afternoon, staying at Hotel Van de Kasteelen, which I discovered last July. I had lunch with a nice couple from Chile (he's here in the Cable Internet security biz). I later went out to my favorite neighborhood restaurant, Cafe Loetje, for great baby calves liver/onion/bacon. The De Koninck dark beer was a plus.
The words for today: "El Guapo". My brother gave me his Boston Red Sox shirt for Xmas & I plan to share the fame locally.