Sunday, July 31, 2005
The woman glances through the open window at a cat litter box lying on a table by the window sill. The litterbox contains a darkish solid which, if it werent so darned rectangular, could have been presumed to be a cat turd. The woman, for the time being, appears to have forgotten that she is hanging from a pipe some 3 floors above the ground, and seems to be transfixed by the litterbox. Then, the presence of a second box beside the litterbox with the words "Scoop Away cat litter" appears to clinch the deal. She reaches in through the window, removes the darkish turd thing from the litter box using a scoop and throws it into a bin. Not withstanding the fact that she is in all likelihood about to fall and get killed, she momentarily revels in the extraordinary ease of removing the turd from the litterbox with a single hand, which she in all likelihood, attributes to the branded excellence of "Scoop Away" litter.
Then, the pipe breaks away, and Scoop Away, in all probability, lose a very loyal customer to idiocy. On her way to terra firma, the crazed female passes a man, presumably her husband, sitting in a first floor window, who seems remarkably unfazed at his wife's face appearing outside his window as she is on her way to her eventual demise.
Mario Vorhemes, a 20-year-old Vienna resident was nonchalant. "What's the big deal?" he asked. "We're born naked into this world. Why can't we walk around in it without clothes from time to time?" Mario's rhetorical question was answered by God who responded "So Mario, would you also like to periodically suckle on your mother's teats and later shit your pants?"
Elina Ranta, a museum patron and tourist from Finland commented "In English, my name means 'beach. That's pretty funny under these circumstances, isn't it?"
The answer, reportedly, was "Not really".
Friday, July 29, 2005
The first step in my endeavour involved getting 4 passport sized photos. The Indian Consulate, in it's infinite wisdom, has decided to stand apart from the rest of the world and maintain it's unique identity by specifying a photo size of 3.5 cm X 3.5 cm (the regular passport photo size is 2 inch X 2 inch). The minute I came to know about this, I knew it spelt trouble. And, my apprehensions were confirmed. In the photo shop, my conversation with the teenaged girl behind the counter went like this :
Me : Hi, I need a passport sized photo, 3.5 cm X 3.5 cm.
Girl : Umm... we only do US passport size. You will have to cut it out yourself.
Me : Ok then.
The girl then snapped my photo, got it printed and I asked her if I could measure it to see if it was big enough for me to cut off a 3.5 X 3.5 section from it. She brought a ruler scale.
Girl : Wait .. this is a millimeter scale. Let me see if we have one with centimeters on it.
Me : Wait, we can use this one.
Girl : No, see, it says millimeter on it. Let me get another one.
Me ("serenity now, serenity now") : No, wait, we can use this one, one centimeter is equal to 10 millimeters right?
Girl (confused) : What?
Me (trying to point out the millimeter bars using my fingernails) : See, this is ten millimeters, that is equal to one centimeter.....
Girl (warily) : Ookay....
Me : ...... so 3.5 centimeters would be equal to this. (I show her on the scale with my fingers).
Girl (still not convinced) : Umm.
Me (Brain ready to spontaneously combust) : One centimeter is equal to 10 millimeters, so if I measure 35 millimeters, that would equal 3.5 centimeters.
Girl (expression saying "Whatever. Just go already") : Ok.
Me (Fuck the metric system)
Ok, I know, thats the only system we learnt in India but goddamn its hard to communicate with Americans in the metric system.
My next stop was the bank, to get a money order. Have you noticed lately that the only qualification required for being a bank cashier seems to be the ability to hold a pen the right side up? I enter the Bank of America office.
Me : Hi, I need a certified check
Amy: We don't do those anymore.
Me : How about a money order?
Amy: Ok, Bill will take care of you.
Me : Hi Bill. I need a money order for 55 dollars.
Bill: Amy, how do I do a money order?
Amy (talking to a different customer)
Bill : Ok, let's see. (asks me a lot of information, most of it useless)
Bill (done with asking useless information) : Amy
Amy (still with a customer)
Bill (staring into space) : I need to ask her. Sorry about that. Please fill out this withdrawal form in the meantime.
Me : No problem. (yes problem)
I fill out the withdrawal form.
Amy : There's a bank charge for a money order.
Me (for some reason I'm still directing my questions at the clueless Bill) : How much?
Bill : Amy?
Amy : 4 to 5 dollars
Bill : So is it 4 dollars or 5 dollars?
Amy : Let me check.
Amy checks, shows Bill what to do next and leaves. I think to myself "Amy, sitcho ass down and help me out here".
Bill prints out the check, gives it to me.
Me : Er... this check does not have any amount written on it.
Bill : Well, you have to write it yourself.
Write it myself? Now, I'm no banking expert but isn't a money order basically a check written by the bank? WTF Bill? Do I need to tell you how to do your job?
Me : Are you sure?
Bill : Amy, he has to write the amount himself right?
Amy : No, we need to print it out, otherwise he could write any amount he wants to.
Uh-oh .. did I just miss becoming a millionaire? I now regret asking Bill about the amount.
Bill : Here you go. (no you don't, I ain't done with you yet)
Me (Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel) : Am I all set?
Bill : Amy is he all set?
Amy : Bill, you did not enter this (unidentified thing) on the check.
The light turns into a freight train.
Amy stands with her hands on her hips looking frustrated.
Bill (still clueless) : Can we enter it by hand?
Amy : I don't know I will check. (goes inside, presumably to kill a puppy)
After 10 minutes of waiting, Amy comes out and tells me I am all set to go.
Bill : Thank you and have a good day.
Me (Fuck you Bill and fuck your day)
Next stop, the post office. Here, thankfully it wasn't that bad. Apart from the fellow mistakenly attaching the Express mail sticker to the wrong side of the envelope, all went well. Praise the Lord.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Well, I am not one to be prudish, I myself once gave the President the finger, although to be truthful, I don't know if he saw me. The presidential motorcade went by my office building right past me. I was sitting in my car with my hand stretched outside the window, middle finger raised in salute. I pretty much sat there this way till all the SUVs had passed by since I didn't know which one he was in. Cops keeping the traffic away didn't really mind me, they probably shared my sentiment.
But hey, I ain't the leader of the free world.
Update : It actually is a true video, not a doctored one, here is someone who actually saw it live on MSNBC. Personally, I think the reason he performs such randomly infantile acts on camera is because he still has a hard time believing he's the president of the US.
Another Update : Here's another video of monkeyboy flipping off the camera from his gubernatorial days. Old habits die hard, I guess.
The Eastern Express highway at Sion.
Panvel under water.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
The Bush administration is retooling its slogan for the fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, pushing the idea that the long-term struggle is as much an ideological battle as a military mission.
So now all we have to do is invent a time machine, go back and push this idea before we actually invade Iraq.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the nation's senior military officer have spoken of "a global struggle against violent extremism" rather than "the global war on terror," which had been the catch phrase of choice.
So our next move should be to inform those pesky terrorists of our change of catchphrase and that should make them stop killing us in the name of a holy war. 'Cause, you know, we are not fighting a war anymore. That would make it cheating. And cheaters go to hell.
Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the National Press Club on Monday that he had "objected to the use of the term 'war on terrorism' before, because if you call it a war, then you think of people in uniform as being the solution."
Look look, isn't that a war? It's got people in uniform fighting n stuff. Nope my mistake, it's just a global struggle against violent extremism.
Well General, if you already knew it was a mistake, why are you then coming forward with your opinion only now? Is it because the Bush cabal WANTED to call it a War against Terror just long enough so that the American public would mentally equate the war in Iraq with the "War against Terror"? God that was a brilliant psychological move.
The solution is "more diplomatic, more economic, more political than it is military," he concluded.
Barn door. Horse. Fled.
The revamped campaign reflects the evolution in Mr. Bush's own thinking nearly four years after the Sept. 11 attacks.
I thought the dude didn't believe in evolution. So has his thinking evolved to a near-human state now? Anyways, welcome to Earth Mr. President. Tell me, are Martian women really three-boobed?
The shifting language is one of the most public changes in the administration's strategy to battle Al Qaeda and its affiliates.
Words : America's best friends in the war against terror. Unless, of course, they are "crusade", "prison abuse", "torture", "civilian casualties", in which case, they are America's worst enemies.
Lawrence Di Rita, Mr. Rumsfeld's spokesman, said the shift in language "is not a shift in thinking, but a continuation of the immediate post-9/11 approach."
Sure, we are still sailing down the same river, just facing the correct direction now. See? There's really no difference.
"The key to "ultimately winning the war," said Douglas J. Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy, "is addressing the ideological part of the war that deals with how the terrorists recruit and indoctrinate new terrorists."
Aww, that sounds suspiciously like offering therapy and understanding to the terrorists. Damn treasonous liberals. Wait, who was it who said that again?
What not to do:
For starters, how about not pulling over? That's a big no-no. Even if those lights are inside the car and not on top, it is a safe bet to assume that it is actually a police car, and not just someone who likes psychedelic lights inside his vehicle. Understand that the average American has a different concept of driving ambience than an Indian auto-rickshaw driver.
Once you realize it is indeed a cop car that is chasing you, it is advisable not to continue driving while you try and come up with an excuse for why you were speeding. It is best if you pull over right away, and manufacture your plea while the cop is running your license plate number through his computer. If the cop car has to overtake you and force you off the road, all bets are off and it would be safe to assume that any excuse you now offer will encounter a cold reception regardless of it's credibility.
Once you are forced off the road by the cop and have parked your vehicle behind his, if he asks you to get out of your car, make sure you engage the hand brake first. If your car lurches ahead the moment you disembark, and crashes into his car, that might cause some distress to the officer and further harm any possibility of friendly discourse.
Now that you have had a lot of time to think up an alibi, it is now up to you to convince the cop of your innocence. But, if after spending all that available time, the best you could come up with was that it was necessary for you to speed in order not to miss the green light at the intersection, it reflects badly on you and your resourcefulness. While you are trying to sell your version of the story to the cop, if your friend in the back seat gives you a look that says "Stop talking. Stop talking now.", it means that your excuse is not finding a sympathetic audience with the officer and it is now time to cut your losses and withdraw. There will always be the court appearance where you can defend yourself with more preparation under your belt.
What to do :
Always keep your Indian license with you (if you have one), preferably, in tatters. This could help you in some rural parts of the country where the cop, out of sheer ignorance of the etiquette in such matters, will prefer to let you go instead of dabbling in vague and shadowy sections of the law dealing with foreign licenses.
The second method one can use is called the "Puzzled Foreigner Approach".
I was in Milwaukee on a business trip, and after having dumped all my stuff in my motel room, I took off in my rental car to explore the city. I was driving along the northern lakeshore suburbs, admiring the residences of the city bourgeoise. Since it was a residential area the speed limit probably was 35 or so. I had my eye off the road and so apparently I started to speed up a bit and suddenly, saw flashing lights behind me. "Goddamnit", I thought, "What is it about rental cars that attracts cops?" The officer pulled up behind me, walked over to my window and God Almighty, it was a female. After completing the license and registration formalities, she asked me why I had been speeding in a residential neighbourhood. I dont know whether it was the realization of my life-long dream to be pulled over by a female cop, but my brain suddenly went into overdrive. I saw the reams of maps my company assistant had printed for me, and my face automatically turned on the glassy-eyed confused stare. I started babbling about how I was not from this city, and that I was looking for my motel (which was on the other side of the city actually), even showing her the maps lying on the front seat as proof. I also told her I had been following this road for the past half an hour (which was actually the truth), and that the road just kept going on and on and on. She must have been convinced by my incoherent rambling story, because after giving me full directions to my motel, she let me go without so much as a warning.
(disclaimer : This method has not been tested on male cops)
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Everyday the turnpike tries to come up with new ways to kill me, maim me or put me into therapy. One day the truck in front of me started ejecting plastic grocery carts out onto the road. One day there were haystacks, yes, entire hay stacks lying on the road, while the other day I swear, with all the individual car parts lying on the road at regular intervals, I could have built myself a new Ford. One day the trucker in front of me decided he was tired of tagging behind his extremely slow colleague in front of him, so he just ran his truck into the other guys back, spilling oil all over the road and smoke from his engine.
Then again, there are those over-enthusiastically suicidal drivers who in their zest for ending their own life, also sometimes attempt to snatch away the lives of others who might be in their immediate vicinity. There was one such life-weary zealot ahead of me in my lane, who suddenly began moving to the right into the center lane. Apparently his decision to do so was not tempered in any way by the presence of an 18 wheeler already occupying the space he wished to take over. As I sat there, moving along at 80 mph, watching this imbecile try to defy the laws of nature, I was wondering what course of action I should take once this guy succeeded in his objective, if I should go ahead and collide with the amalgamated mass of truck and imbecile or just drive myself into the concrete divider. Which would be less painful? As the imbecile continued on his suicidal mission, bits of his car, started to come off and hit my windshield... namely the mirror. Then, as if the guy suddenly remembered that he had won the lottery yesterday and suicide would be a stupid idea, decided to live and let me live, and started correcting his course.
I was alive...for the moment. But I don't think the turnpike will give up.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Khan, taking up cudgels on behalf of the global Hindu community, protested America's lack of acknowledgement for Hindu-sponsored terrorism in Sri-Lanka by the LTTE. In an article in The Daily Times, Imran Khan wrote that the West believed that the Muslims were the major suicide bombers, but they don’t recognise the fact that before 9/11, 70 percent of suicide bombings in the world were “committed by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, who were Hindus”. "Hindus are not getting the attention they deserve", Khan lamented, "and this is contributing to their isolation from the global mainstream".
The Shiv Sena , fundamentalist Hindu political party and one-stop shop for Hinduism apparel and accessories, on being asked to comment on Khan's activism, replied "We do not need the Imran Khans of this world to further our case with the US. We can promote our own terrorist activities."
The White House responded to Imran Khan's impassioned advocacy of the Hindu community by stating "The Republican party does not believe in affirmative action. Guantanamo Bay is not an equal opportunity institute. Terrorists will gain admission into Gitmo based on their resume and not on their race or religion. Also, America, from past experience, will henceforth, refuse to entertain any requests from individuals named Khan"
Editor's note : Imran Khan is a douchebag.
The weekend saw me venturing into rural south-eastern Pennsylvania to bike the Conewago Trail. This is deep inside the heart of Bush country. I made preparations accordingly. In Bush country, if you are stopped by the Law, a bible carries more weight than your driver's license. Attaching a Jesus Fish to your car helps. More on the Jesus Fish in another post. Trying to look as less Indian as you possibly can is a good idea. The best way to do this is to shave your head. You might be able to pass yourself off as a skinhead. So, having made all these preparations and after inserting the Reverend Marilyn Manson (religion outside, devil inside) into my cd changer, I was ready for battle.
Your first impression of redneck country would be "Goddamn it is beautiful". And yes, to the untrained eye, this place would appear to be heaven on earth, with its gently sloping hills, rolling farmland with high stalks of corn, cows grazing contentedly on vast expanses of green pastureland, picturesque farmhouses with tall grain silos. And those strange little villages with even stranger names : Bird-In-Hand, Paradise, Lititz and Intercourse (yes, really). But, look closer and you will see what the casual observer fails to detect. That this is a land of strong conservatism, seething religion and consequently, hardcore Republicans.
If one had passed through this area during the election months, one would have observed outside every house the crudely drawn sign "Bush Country". Although now the signs have disappeared, it is still easy to make out the religious and political affiliation of the denizens of this land.
There is mention of Jesus everywhere. Not just on churches, which are in abundance (probably one church per person on an average), but even outside schools, on grocery stores and on random roadside signs that encourage one to surrender one's body and soul to Jesus. Just as an example, when I was biking on the D&R trail in satanic New Jersey, the signs on the side of the trail gave the biker advice like "Make sure you hydrate properly" and "Observe the speed limit". On the other hand, in Jesus-loving rural Pennsylvania, a sign on the Conewago trail had this perplexing message for bikers:
"Jesus said : Come to me, all whose work is hard, whose load is heavy; and I will give you relief. Bend your necks to my yoke, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble-hearted; and your souls will find relief. For my yoke is good to bear, my load is light (Matthew 11:28-30)."
Mmmkay .. thanks for the advice .. I guess?
For the first 30 minutes of my journey I tagged behind an SUV carrying two bumper stickers that said : "I believe in Angels", which made some sense if you really tried hard, and "Never drive faster than Angels can fly", which might have made sense if you were really really stoned. I was hoping to find a third bumper sticker which might inform me as to how fast angels actually fly, but there was none. "He is the angel with the scabbed wings, hard-drug face wanna powder his nose", crooned the blasphemous Reverend in my ear.
Various strange places of business passed me by. A store specializing in selling baskets called "Basketville", the "Oh! Shaw Motel", a number of mobile home emporiums and an inordinate number of places selling gazebos. As I was approaching Lancaster, a sign proclaimed that Billy Ray Cyrus, the washed up country music star (remember "Achy Breaky Heart" on Pranoy Roy's "The World this Week" like 10 years ago? No? Oh well) was going to perform at the American Music Theater tonight.
I was fascinated by the gas stations. All of them were offering gas at a price 30 cents lower than where I live. Bush voters .. lower gas prices .. a conspiracy? I wouldn't be surprised. Various law enforcement vehicles passed me by. One tailed me for a while. I could see him in my rear-view mirror, running my license plates through his computer at a traffic light, just for kicks I guess. Finding me to be clean, he stopped following me.
Finally, I reached my destination at the Conewago Recreational Park and dismounted. After inspecting my car for any signs of musket fire or embedded arrowheads, I removed my bicycle from the rack and set off on the trail, confident in my ability to conquer the challenges of the wilderness after having safely managed to make it through perilous Bush country.
Friday, July 22, 2005
And, so I had practically given up actually saying my name. Even to me, as to most of America, I had become a bunch of letters. And what is most frustrating is that my name is not even that hard to spell. I can only imagine what a "Chandrashekhar" or a "Hrishikesh" or a "Deviprasad" might be going through. But not my name. Anyone with enough intelligence to tie his own shoelaces should be able to convert my phonetic name into a bunch of letters on his own. But no, Americans, I guess strive for perfection. They need to know that they are spelling my name exactly as it should be, it doesn't matter even if I don't give a rats ass if they muck it up as long as they don't ask me to spell it out each and every goddamned time.
So, today, after spelling it out for the ninety millionth time for the ninety millionth teenaged girl standing behind the cash register, I finally had it. I asked my American colleague, who was right beside me what my new name should be. His immediate reply was "Joe". Yeah, I thought Joe should be simple enough. No ambiguities and containing only a single syllable. America should be able to handle that right? But, a couple of thoughts later, I realized that Joe was too Americanized. An Indian answering to the name "Joe" would not be very convincing. It would be like admitting to America that Joe was not really my name and that America had succeeded in defeating me, breaking me down mentally, forcing me to take a new identity. No, Joe wouldn't do. My pride wouldn't allow me to. But then I had a brainstorm. How about Jay? Jay was as easy, also contained only a single syllable and Jay was Indian sounding too. Jay contained the best of both worlds. And there seemed to be that certain undefinable something that gave "Jay" a high-flying maverick aura. Yes, it had to be Jay.
And so, today I go home, shed my tired, old, Indian name and lay it down to rest. It has worked hard for me, served me well and now it is time for it to retire and pass on the torch. It will still work for me part-time, when I'm filling out applications, or when they are beating it out of me during interrogation. But to America, now, I will no longer be known as a bunch of letters. I will be Jay. I will once again be complete.
The gushing faucet is an expensive exhibition that could waste about 3.9 million gallons of water. Mark McGowan calls it fighting water with water.
Other protest art exhibits in the gallery include chopping down a tree everyday on the gallery campus to protest deforestation, public defecation by gallery employees on the gallery steps to protest littering and gassing of gallery patrons at the end of every working day to protest the Holocaust.
Now, I am extremely pro-homosexuality. Heck, I am pro-any-kind-of-sexuality. Apart from believing in the birthright of every human being to sleep with whomever he / she wants to (see my post here), I also think it reduces the competition among eligible males in search of a mate, thus leading to less bloodshed and bar fights.
However, be that as it may, I cannot seem to grasp the need for having gay games. Having "Gay Games", where only gay people can compete is kind of like having "Blonde Games" or "Games for Marlon Brando look-alikes". It just does not make sense to me. Is it that gay people are being kept away from regular sporting events like the Olympics and such, either as contestants and / or spectators? I don't think so, otherwise it would have raised a ruckus by now. Is it that gay men want to compete in events that ordinarily only women would be allowed to compete in? Like Women's synchronized swimming or Women's Tennis? And by having these "Gay Games", aren't gay people voluntarily segregating themselves from heterosexuals?
I just don't get it. Maybe someone can enlighten me on this.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
No, you know what, fuck the Flypaper strategy instead. Who was the goddamned idiot who came up with this bunch of bullcrap?
I guess Iraq is no longer the central front in the war on terror. What say you Mr President? Still think America and the world are safer?
So, I guess I kind of have an understanding of the underlying reasons behind what happened the other day at my local Indian grocery store. I was doing my shopping, buying everything the average misplaced Indian needs to keep him from buying the next available plane ticket and flying back to India in a fit of homesickness. Coriander - check, Green chillies - check, Pickles - check, Frozen parathas - check, Rice - check, Parle G biscuits - check, yeah I had everything. As I moved towards the counter to pay, I got a call on my cellphone.
After ending the call and slipping my cellphone back into my pocket, I approached the Indian cashier. I placed the green chillies, the coriander, the pickles, the parathas, the rice, the Parle G biscuits on the counter and waited for her to tab me up. I observed that she was giving me a strange look. If it were possible to combine suspicion, loathing and disgust in a single facial expression, she had managed to achieve it. She snapped "What about the vegetables in your pocket?" I froze. I could feel the accusing eyes of numerous fellow Desis on me and suddenly for one instant, my mind raced back to my childhood days, when, as a little kid, along with my friends, I had gotten caught for stealing those wonderfully sour raw mangoes from a plantation near my home, and had to empty out my pockets, bulging with the fruit, which we had naively believed would not be that apparent to a casual bystander. Oh yeah, we got a sound thrashing from the owner of the plantation. It was probably the first time in my life that I was slapped hard right across the face. After the thrashing was over and we were allowed to go home, I still kept looking out of the window apprehensively for an entire week to see if the owner was going to pay a visit to our parents and inform them about our juvenile delinquency as he had promised us he would. Luckily for us he did not.
"The vegetables in your pocket, please", from the cashier brought me back to the present. Had I unwittingly put something into my pocket by mistake? How goddamn humiliating. Suddenly, I saw daylight. I reached into my pocket, brought out my cellphone and replied "This vegetable? But I didn't buy it here." The look of chagrin on the woman's face said it all. I, not wanting to humiliate her, did not pursue the conversation.
Because, as an Indian out of water, I could empathize. She was just a feral beast trying to survive in an unfamiliar land.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Elsewhere, ex-President George H.W Bush was overheard praising his son, George "President" Bush's war on terror. "George was a whiny little bitch as a kid, but he sure has blossomed into a great president. And, like a great leader, he will carry out his mission of bringing democracy to the middle east to it's logical conclusion, no matter how many other people's children he has to sacrifice." "And I think it's admirable", continued Bush, "I would be prepared to sacrifice my own son to the cause of democracy, and by God, sometimes I feel like doing it too, when I look at his squinty little face and smug self-righteous smirk and all I can think of is how the fuck could such an asstool have sprung from the depths of my loins, but getting back to the point", said the ex-President, wiping his brow, unclenching his fists and emptying the bunches of his freshly pulled out hair, "It's just that George has always been a bit squeamish, he can't stand the sight of blood." On being asked how he would respond to Democratic Party leaders, as well as leaders of his own party who oppose the Iraq war, he replied "Well, they are providing succour and relief to the terrorists of course, and should be tried for treason."
George H.W Bush and Mohamed El-Amir are currently in the process of planning a get-together, hoping to find comfort and solace in each other's arms as fathers of misunderstood and underappreciated sons.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
The Hindustan Times reported on Monday that police stopped the screening of a pornographic movie at a cinema in Balasore district in the eastern state of Orissa and made audience members perform 10 sit-ups each at a public square, watched by onlookers.
The onlookers were later forced by the police to perform 10 push-ups in public for gawking at the spectacle.
However, Harry Potter's immense popularity among the children of the planet has raised a controversy with the church, as well as with individual fundamentalist lunatics who claim Harry Potter glorifies witchcraft which, as we all know in the developed world, is the work of Satan. According to this particular lunatic, reading Harry Potter books or watching movies is likely to instill unclean thoughts in children, whereby they become obsessed with flying on brooms, casting spells, killing evil wizards and other forms of magical dementia. "Harry Potter stories are making the children of this world act like ....ummm children", commented this devout Christian.
The "evil" magic and witchcraft practiced in the Harry Potter stories are in stark contrast to the stories in the Bible which celebrate "good magic" like the parting of the Red Sea, walking on water, cursing a fig tree to make it wither, turning people into pillars of salt, a variety of assorted plagues and pestilences raining down on an unwitting populace (blood, frogs, boils, death of firstborn children) and the magical resurrection of Jesus, our Lord and Savior from his dead body.
The artist formerly known as Cardinal Ratzinger and now called "Pope Benedict XVI" (for tax purposes) has also expressed his disapproval to the subtle seduction underlying the Harry Potter stories. When asked to elaborate, the cardinal replied in a funny sounding German accent, "You know I did not actually read it. It's 700 pages long and I am already 80 years old".
In other news, December 25th, or as it's called colloquially, "Christmas", will be celebrated this year as usual, signifying the magical birth of a baby to a woman who never had sex.
India has promised to return the favor by assuring the US that henceforth,all its call-center personnel, particularly the telemarketeering division would refrain from calling America on it's cellphone during the weekend, or when America is in the bathroom, taking a whiz.
This has been the first give and take of favors between the two superpowers since the 1960s when Indian prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru responded to President John F Kennedy's gesture of increasing aid to underdeveloped countries by issuing an edict to lower the spiciness of lamb vindaloo in the "Taj Mahal", the only Indian restaurant serving Washington DC.
Pakistan, on hearing about the alliance, has gone up to it's bedroom, slamming the door, saying it hates America and the world and is never going to speak to it again.
Monday, July 18, 2005
July 2003 : Unknown traitorous scumbag in the White house discloses and outs undercover CIA agent's name as revenge for her husband pooh-bahing the president's fake yellowcake uranium claim about Iraq.
October 2003 : Karl Rove, presidential advisor and resident forktail, denies involvement.
June 2004 : President George Bush says "Anyone found to have leaked classified information would be fired"
July 2005 : Karl Rove found to have actually been the one who leaked the CIA agent's name to the press. However, it is still in doubt whether the leak actually constituted a "crime" in legal terms, although it certainly did endanger the CIA agent, her mission and anyone associated with her.
July 2005 : President George Bush says "If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."
er....wtf George? That's not what you said the first time. You are not gonna go back on your word now are you?
Books are a different ballgame. I am very particular about books. Books give me the freedom to invent my own virtual reality, and books being a long-term investment timewise and me being a lazy bastard, I expect the book to do most of my work for me. Now I enjoy a nice story of magic and enchantment as much as the next guy, God how I loved those Enid Blyton books about the enchanted wood with the magic faraway tree, celebrating homosexuality with the saucepan man, accurately depicting class conflict with the chronically germophobic upper-class woman living on the top branches of the tree, emptying buckets of laundry wastewater on the unsuspecting lowlife below (That just reminded me of a trip to my grandmother's place in Bombay, where some kid living on the floor above me threw his unfinished dinner out his window which landed on me, sleeping obliviously in the balcony). Then, there was the strange and vindictive wishing chair with those tiny wings attached to it's legs that flew to distant lands before electrocuting the people on board. Also, how about them pixies, the fairies, the elves, the leprechauns, the goblins, the gnomes, the brownies and best of all, those tiny trains that steamed around busily transporting the little people to their strange destinations. I remember when I was young, I spent many a day scanning every inch of my garden back home trying to spot one of these elusive trains which Enid Blyton had written so authoritatively and descriptively about.
Now I love bandwagons. I am constantly on the lookout for newer and more interesting and more hip bandwagons to jump on. Hell, I am to bandwagons what Mother Teresa was to suffering. But, the Harry Potter bandwagon I cannot seem to jump on. I initiated my foray into Potter territory this weekend, with the 4th book of the series "The Goblet of Fire", (incidentally, one I bought at the Book Mill some 6 months ago) and try as I might, it just wasn't doing anything to me. It wasn't giving me that familiar feeling in my loins I used to get after reading a good old Enid Blyton. I just couldn't get into it. All the talk about Quidditch and cats running after giggling gnomes and tables fighting each other in mid-air, it just left me cold. Granted, I have only finished about a 113 pages, but I am guessing the rest of the book is probably gonna be more of the same. I found especially odd, anachronistic and vaguely tasteless, the reference, in the very beginning of the story, to a Sony Playstation, which I found strangely out of place in a book that redefined ordinary humans as "muggles", and yet didn't bother to call a Playstation something else that would have sounded less mundane.
Apart from the Playstation goof-up, I don't have a clue as to why I am not getting it. As I said, I loved Enid Blyton. Is it because I'm getting too old for this magic shit? Am I getting dissipated in a "been there done that" kind of way because of all the high technology that has already infilitrated every sphere of my entertainment world in movies, video games, television and the like, thus removing the "magic" from Magic? I don't know. And why do I care if I don't get it? Am I just scared because I fear I am losing the inner child within me and becoming a blase sophisticated adult who has lost the ability to be excited by the Unknown?
Who knows. But I sure hope that is not the case.
Also, it is monday and I feel lethargic.
You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop and you see three people waiting for the bus:
1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
2. An old friend who once saved your life.
3. The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.
Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car?
Think before you continue reading.
This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application.
You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first.
Or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back.
However, you may never be able to find your perfect mate again.
The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer. He simply answered: "I would give the car keys to my old friend and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the partner of my dreams."
Sometimes, we gain more if we are able to give up our stubborn thought limitations. Never forget to "Think Outside of the Box."
HOWEVER...., The correct answer is to run the old lady over and put her out of her misery, have sex with the perfect partner on the hood of the car, then drive off with the old friend for a few beers. .God, I just love happy endings
Friday, July 15, 2005
Dear Mr Grocery Store Clerk, I know you have orders from above to make me feel like a member of the Genuardi's family, but when you stand petrified at the cash register, gaping dumbly at my credit card receipt trying to pronounce my name, rest assured you are not eliciting any familial bonding from me. You are just stealing from me the time I could be spending with my REAL family. If the urge to address me by my last name is too irresistible for you to overcome, please feel free to choose any English word you are comfortable with and pretend that is my new name. For example, "Thank you Mr Apple and have a good day." I promise I will treat you to a display of third world gratitude you have never seen before.
Dear US Postal Service, starting tomorrow, please deliver all my mail, including grocery store coupons, credit card applications, JC Penney catalogs and Victoria's secret catalogs (yes, Victoria's secret catalogs too, that should let you know how sick and tired I am of all the dead trees you send my way) , directly to the paper recycling bin at the dumpster. In return, I promise not to yell obscenities at every post box that I pass everyday on my way to work and the person using it .
Dear Coors Light Beer, I have a question for you: What the fuck do you mean when you say your beer is the coldest tasting beer in the world? Are you saying if I drink two equally warm beers, yours will still taste colder? That just doesn't make any fucking sense. Please pull your head out of your ass, Coors Light Beer, and get a new marketing slogan or I might just pull all my hair out in a fit of insanity.
Dear Budweiser Beer, is it really necessary to lay claim to every adjective in the English language while describing your beer? You know, the more you hide behind your adjectives, the less I trust you. So, for fuck's sake, just quit the "Fresh", "Smooth", Pure", "True" and what not.
Dear Neighbourhood Indian Uncle, is it really necessary to give me a scathing glare of disapproval everytime you see me unloading a crate of beer from my car on friday evening? Granted, you might have been brought up in a strictly teetotalist household by parents who believed coconut milk is the devil's drink, but I wasn't. And if you are under the impression that alcoholism is my worst sin, then it is probably best for us that our acquaintance is but passing.
Dear Fat Lady Who Sits Cross Legged On Her Patio In Short Shorts Reading A Book, please dont.
Miami ex-mayor Joe Carollo expressed support for Mr Thompson's activism, declaring "It is time these budding criminals with their X-Box consoles and joysticks stopped their rampant violence on imaginary villains in the safety of their homes and entered the rough neighbourhoods of the city to see how its done in real life."
Walmart, the US superstore chain, which, if it were legally allowed to, would not hesitate in opening a discount whorehouse and stocking it with third world prostitutes in order to offer bargain prices to its American customers, has announced it's intention of removing violent video games from it's shelves, thus freeing shelfspace for a bigger gun and ammunition department.
In other news, violence in Iraq continues to escalate, thus influencing citizens of numerous countries to inflict violence on the western world.
Hurricane Dennis, on the other hand, having expended a lot of his energy on Florida, is now a shadow of his former self and barely a sprinkle in Indiana. "You could say Dennis ran out of fuel.", said John Kwiatkowski, the National Weather Service science officer in Indianapolis. "But right now, the consensus is, Emily is the goods. Boy she's a wild one."
Dennis, on being asked for a comment replied "Hey, gimme a break, look at all the shit I tore up in Florida, you think a woman's gonna be able do that? Goddamn feminists. It wasn't like this in the good old days".
Emily, on her way to Jamaica, is expected to take a short detour to Miami, where she expressed a desire to get a massage and a facial before continuing on her journey of death and destruction.
In other news, the male "Aka" pygmies of Africa, who were recently crowned the best dads in the world for allowing their kids to suckle on their manboobs while the moms were out shopping and having a good time, have lately begun to demand that their wives start spending more time at home and that they did not get married just to stay at home, nurse babies and cook and clean.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
41% still believe the president to be a honest, straightforward person. A majority of these however, were unavailable for comment,some refusing to relax their fireplace vigil since last Christmas, hoping Santa Claus might still show up, others hot on the trail of the Easter bunny.
The remaining undocumented 14% have reportedly been carted off to Vice President Dick "Prick" Cheney's castle in the wastelands of Wyoming to slake his thirst for virgin blood.
In unrelated news, The American Institute of Common Sense (AICS) has commenced work on a research project entitled "What the fuck is wrong with 41% of the country".
After the body was observed on the highway, calls to 911 sent emergency personnel racing to the spot of the incident. Paramedic crews spent 6 hours trying to resuscitate the body.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Yes, the aggregation of copulative acts mankind has been indulging in, collectively and colloquially known as "banging", with their variegated sub-classes like homosexuality and adultery have authoritatively been stated to be the cause of terrorism, as well as every other ill that has befallen mankind in recent times. In the words of these spiritual leaders, God is very fussy about sex. God wants you to practice sex sparingly, and only in case of emergencies. Since sex is and always has been a widely consummated (as we now know, satanic) ritual among (as we now know, misguided) humans, it might be informative to actually verify whether God really does care about the sexual habits of his children. Namely, us.
The core question, which I would like to phrase poetically as "Does God care who you bang?" actually consists of two separate questions, namely 1.> Is there a God? and 2.> Does He care who you fornicate with. For one to reach the conclusion "Yes, society having indiscriminate sex has contributed to it's downfall", both these questions need to have an affirmative answer. Even a single one of those questions, if negative, would entirely refute the above conclusion.
Now, for the purpose of argument, in the spirit of scientific inquiry, let us convert this problem from a multiparameter to a uniparameter problem by assuming there is a God. Let us assume that all of existence is a direct result of Divine intervention, either God having directly created everything, or having bought it for really great savings at Walmart. So now the only question we need apply ourselves to is whether He cares.
There are billions of galaxies in the universe. Every galaxy has billions of stars. Out of these, possibly millions of stars might have the ability to sustain life. Contrary to the popular perception, sustaining life is not as difficult as it might seem. There exist microbes and various unicellular organisms that live at extremely low temperatures and hibernate at extremely high temperatures even on earth. So, it is quite possible that unicellular, bacterial, and hence, evolving from that, intelligent life might be existing on other planets, which, even though might not have climates suitable for humans, would still sustain life in some form. Hence, now, we have possibly a large number of planets in the universe that might be capable of sustaining life. And, we have this single entity God, who is responsible for overseeing and keeping a watchful eye on all these universal living organisms I will henceforth call "people".
Now watching over all these people, making a list of their activities and tabulating their good and evil deeds separately must be a monumental task. I am guessing God won't be carrying out this task himself, but probably through some kind of v-chip (yet to be discovered), residing in our brains which transmits a log of our thoughts and actions either telepathically or through some kind of electro-cerebro-magnetic pulses onto a Divine register. But even if that were so, it would require a lot of Godpower to go through this list and appropriately tab up good and evil for every person, assigning good-evil weightage points to each organismic deed depending on the relative evilness or goodness of the deed on the Divine scale. Then again, for every religious sect, the grading curve would have to be different. For Born-again Christians, care would have to be taken to erase all their past sins and re-tabulate everything from scratch beginning from the day of their acceptance of the Lord Jesus as their personal savior. Buddhists would have to be given extra "God Points" for their vegetarianism, Mormons would have to relinquish some God Points for being able to have multiple wives, which would immediately be restored back to them from the "Sympathy Point Reserve" for the same reason.
One cannot begin to imagine the enormity of this task. To get a better idea of how God would handle this, one would have to put oneself in God's shoes (assuming He does not walk barefoot), after having given oneself the very desirable powers of invisibility, flight and the power to disrobe with a single blink of one's eye, one would come to the conclusion that all this horsecrap with all the tabulating and grading and writing a gazillion letters of recommendation to the ultimate destinations of all these souls would leave one with no time left to enjoy one's Divine powers. The bigger problem is, this job would last an eternity with no respite. Heck, people keep performing good deeds and sinning and dying every goddamned second. It's not like one would be able to take a break or something, because backlogs would keep piling up. Gazillions of people would keep dying and have to wait in line to be assigned to heaven, hell or New Jersey. The lines of people waiting for service would stretch for millions of miles, and people would, in general, not be too happy with their Creator.
So, if I were God, in order to make my task lighter in order to leave myself some time for recreation (hey whats the use of being God if you can't have some fun) I would probably simplify my task. Create a basic list of sins, you know the really really bad ones like say murder, genocide, rape, pillage, doing the Macarena, pedophilia, vampirism, voting for Bush, you know that kind of thing. I would probably ignore anything to do with consensual sex. 'Cause the only thing people engage in more frequently than killing others or getting killed is getting it on. There's just no reasonable way an average God could keep tabs on all this sexual activity. So, it follows that I would pretty much let people do whatever they want in this area. Homosexuality, extramarital sex (always a favorite), intramarital sex (a rarity), bestiality (used to be rare but increasing in George Bush's America), heck even if people feel like pleasuring themselves, Godspeed to them, I would say.
Because being God is a lot of hard work and there is just no time for God to care who you bang.
Some excerpts from RawStory:
QUESTION: Scott, can I ask you this: Did Karl Rove commit a crime?
MCCLELLAN: blah blah blah ..... We're going to continue not to comment on it while it's ongoing.
QUESTION: Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003, when you were asked specifically about Karl and Elliot Abrams and Scooter Libby, and you said, "I've gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me they are not involved in this"?
QUESTION: Do you stand by that statement?
MCCLELLAN:blah blah blah ..., we're not going to get into commenting on it. ...blah blah blah.
You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke about Joseph Wilson's wife. So don't you owe the American public a fuller explanation. Was he involved or was he not? Because contrary to what you told the American people, he did indeed talk about his wife, didn't he?
MCCLELLAN: There will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.
QUESTION: So you're now saying that after you cleared Rove and the others from that podium, then the prosecutors asked you not to speak anymore and since then you haven't.
MCCLELLAN: blah blah blah ...... I'm just not going to respond to them.
When did the president learn that Karl Rove had had a conversation with a news reporter about the involvement of Joseph Wilson's wife in the decision to send him to Africa?
MCCLELLAN: I've responded to the questions.
QUESTION: When did the president learn that Karl Rove had been...
MCCLELLAN: I've responded to your questions.
Ahhh you can actually smell the santorum.
A few comments in the debate that arose from this post were against governmental involvement in any kind of endeavour to spotlight these innovators, because of corruption and inefficiency. I am guessing this point of view comes from a capitalist / free market view of India.
The basic premise of a purely capitalist nation state and a free market economy is that it allows a person with no money and no resources to start from scratch and move up the societal ladder on the back of his own hard work, intelligence and creativity. But, what most people forget is that this is only possible given everyone has an equal opportunity to do this. Maybe this model works in a cash-rich, well knit society like the western world, but when we talk about India, this model would not work so well for the following reasons, one, there is not much free cash floating around, hence individual people and / or privately funded enterprises are not willing to take risks with it, and secondly, the country is not that well knit, which means, people in remote areas have a lot less access to whatever limited cash and resources that exist. Equal opportunity, therefore, does not exist for every citizen. This is why the government needs to step in and without using the term "level the playing field" (since this implies you are lowering others' playing field and infuriates libertarians), should at least raise the playing field for people at the bottom of the economic and social strata. The government, with it’s potentially vast network and grassroots involvement can help these people who otherwise would have no chance of success. Sure, there’s corruption and inefficiency in any government endeavour, but for now this is the best bet India has. Maybe when everyone in India actually does have an equal opportunity and the myth of equal opportunity is a myth no more, it might be possible to eliminate government from the equation entirely. Till then, blindly going around beating the drum of capitalism is just plain wishful thinking.
But now, it seems they were all wrong. They were .. kinda ... what's the word .. exaggerating. Now, the Pentagon, in a kind-hearted change of attitude, has determined that a number of these Gitmo dregs are not "posing much threat anymore", and hence, are to be released. And, more will be following suit. (again via the Rude one). Well, isn't that just dandy? I guess we should now be expecting some thank you notes from these grateful scum eh?
The American public has been a silent and willing accomplice in this. Even if they don't care about this third world tattered debris, firstly, being so far-removed from the Gitmo front lines, and secondly, being as it were, brainwashed and ordered by the government to dehumanize in order to survive, at least they should think ahead to the day when they themselves might be held without trial in one of these torture chambers with nothing but a bed of faeces to sleep in. Because, the difference between being a terrorist and a patriot, in the America of today, it seems, is just a smidgeon of suspicion, no proof required.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Karl Rove, the man with his hands inside the ventriloquist's dummy that is our president George "My smirk launches a thousand battleships" Bush, recently has been discovered to have outed the name of Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA agent, as revenge for her husband, Joe Wilson, not agreeing to parrot the president's line regarding Iraq having purchased yellowcake uranium from Niger. This is a treasonous offence.
Now, Rove is saying he did not mention Valerie Plame by name, just as Joe Wilson's wife. And hence, he is squeaky clean and not guilty of the charge. Now is it me or is it just a case of semantics? You know, the kind Bill Clinton was taken to task for? And the kind the Republicans got an erection over while impeaching him for it?
First of all, I think liberals, when they adopt this stance, would be prone to accusations of hypocrisy. You cannot condemn the invasion of one country and encourage the invasion of another at the same time. I think one objective liberals have in taking this stance is to point out the Bush administration's hypocrisy in this. But they need to take care not to push the administration too much, which might actually consider these war cries from liberals as a free pass for the next military backpacking adventure, be it Pakistan, Iran or Syria.
The second, more important reason is this : The reason Pakistan should not be invaded is the same reason Iraq should not have been invaded in the first place : Even though both are / were being ruled by undemocratic dictators, both are / were instrumental in keeping the islamic fanatics in their respective countries in control. Remove Musharraf and be prepared for permanent instability in the region, akin to the chaos reigning in Iraq, except it could be exacerbated into a nuclear holocaust if Pakistan's nuclear weapons were to fall into the hands of these fanatics. And as we all know, when the US invades a country, rounding up and controlling WMDs / conventional weapons stockpiles are not the first thing on it's mind, as compared to, say, whats the word I am looking for, .... oil. India and every country in the subcontinent should strongly oppose any such inclinations by the US. Hopefully, the US won't make the same mistake it made when it went into Iraq and try to willy-nilly remove dictators it deems to be undemocratic.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
My problem is simple and yet so complex. I own a watch. It beeps every hour. But that is fine with me, I realize a watch has but one purpose in life and that is to make its master cognizant of the time of the day, and if its duty compels it to emit a beep every hour, then so be it. However, the problem is this : I do not know the location of the watch. Somewhere in the deep dark recesses of my office workspace it resides, of that I am sure, however more precise knowledge of it's whereabouts I do not possess.
So you scoff at me and say compadre, yes, this is quite a problem and we sympathize with you but for the love of Jesus, Mary and Joseph we do not quite catch the degree of extreme gravity of it which you have till now put forth with considerable vagueness.
No, but this is merely half the story. There is another side to this predicament. The watch, the unholy misplaced watch of which I speak, does not keep correct time. In fact, it prides itself on being a few steps ahead of the rest of the world. And so, everyday, it announces the coming of the hour a few minutes earlier than it did the preceding day. Now, I have two choices, neither of which appeal to me. The first, to measure how much time the watch gains everyday, subtract this from the time of the beep on the previous day and then, armed with that knowledge, be prepared for the occurrence of the beep the next day. This option I have rejected because of the sheer amount of labor involved. And so, now I have reconciled myself to the second option, every day to start preparing for the inevitable beep about 15 minutes before it actually occurs.
And so, every day I wait with bated breath and a tight grimace, waiting for that certain beep, feeling almost like a convict in the electric chair, waiting for the switch to be turned on and juice to consume my body. And, this is I fear, how I am destined to live for the next few years of my life.
But I am resolute. I will persist. I will conquer the beep and move forward, for it is but a beep and life is so much more than just waiting for a beep.
Friday, July 08, 2005
In related news, a monstrous motherfucker of a hurricane (again via Think Progress) is making its way to Florida, intent on causing death, destruction and a spoilt orange crop (oranges cost money no).
Oh and in other related news, the 2004 hurricane season was the worst ever for the US.
disclaimer : The author has never engaged in the practice of gorging on human flesh and there is no evidence of his harboring any such fantasies.
"The Demons Have Taken Over," Duncan hinted of violence in his past and future. "I am scared, alone and confused, and my reaction is to strike out toward the perceived source of my misery, society," Duncan wrote. "My intent is to harm society as much as I can, then die."
They say his blog entries indicated he was going to commit a sex crime or suicide. They also provide his blog url but I will probably not visit it. The whole thing gives me a very queasy feeling and I think the reason for it is the idea that the innermost deranged thoughts of a sex criminal, a pedophile, jotted down in real time are now just a mouse click away.
So, finally it has happened. It wasnt really unexpected, because till now, all the experts were telling us that it wasnt a question of "if" but a question of "when" it would happen. But regardless of that, all these years after 9/11, there was a gradual relaxation of white knuckles and quivering nerves where people were almost living a normal life without looking over their shoulders all the time. But now this brief moment of respite has come to an end. I am not sure whether Americans have even begun to grasp this but I think they should now resign their selves to another 9/11 in the near future, maybe not one on as grand a scale as the last one, but still one nevertheless. "Not if but when" is not just a cliched phrase to use to say "Hey I dont know but I dont want to say it won't happen".
The reason I am so sickeningly confident that there will be a terror attack here pretty soon is simple. Just because the terrorists make it look so easy. If terrorists can carry out 4 different bombings in London timed to a precision, after security has been tightened so much, it would simply be wishful thinking to believe that it won't occur here in the United States. As for me, I am not scared. Its not like I am brave, its just the fact that I do not live in a terrorism bulls-eye. My neighbourhood would probably be a terrorist's last option. Only a terrorist who has set the bar pretty low for himself would think about bombing the mall right across the street from my apartment, or flying a plane into our community library. But I can only imagine what millions of New Yorkers and residents of other metro areas are going through when they commute to work everyday. I guess believing in destiny or God or whatever universal controlling power one believes in would have been helpful today.
I am taking the advice of Billmon, probably one of the kindest people in the blogosphere and not mentioning the Iraq war in this post, even though I am seething. That moment will come later once lives have been saved and wounds have been healed. Till then, it is time to commiserate, hope, people of faith to pray and the rest of us to prepare for the inevitable.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
"It was the end of a good hard ride and the pavement was slick.", continued the president, impatiently. "And I was thinking about Iraq and Osama Bin Laden and Saddam's ridiculously large.. uhm..you know..heh heh". The president, acutely aware of the absence of a teleprompter, further explained "Bicycling, like fighting a war against terror, is hard work. It is hard work, and freedom is on the march on a bike from which it will never fall."
The last time the president fell off his bike, the blame was jointly assigned to the rain, the slick earth, his biking shorts, ex-President William Jefferson Clinton and God.
Past presidential bumblings include falling off a Segway human transporter, choking and blacking out while eating a pretzel and invading Iraq while actually hunting for Osama Bin Laden.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
South Carolina, winter of 99. A contingent of Indian graduate students from the North-East was making its way to Florida to escape the big chill. I was drowsing in the back seat. For some reason, the conversation in the car kept veering around to the topic of police, and every time the word police was uttered, I would wake up, look around shaken saying "wha? where?", and then go back to sleep after making sure it was just a topic of discussion. So, one such time, I woke up and looked back, and this time, damnit, there were actually lights flashing behind us. How much had we been doing I asked. "95", was the nonchalant reply. I started seeing visions of prison showers and dropped bars of soap. We slowly pulled over, a cop walked over and demanded to see our license. All of us, having newly arrived from the mother country, did not have a single American license amongst us. Not only that, we did not even have an international license. Not to worry, said V, the driver, I have an Indian license. He reached into his pocket and took out a bunch of ragged papers, the remnants of what once might have been an Indian license, now in an advanced stage of decrepitude. He turned those over to the cop, who was a bit nonplussed. The cop inquired, "What is this"? V, with a slight air of superiority, conspicuously unbefitting the occasion replied, "My license, its an Indian license. I am legally allowed to drive here for a year on an Indian license" The cop looked even more bewildered. It was obvious that he had not seen an Indian license before. I could almost read his mind as he struggled with the questions : "Is it legal to drive here with a foreign license?" and "Is this even a license" and "Do they not have a single shaving kit among the six of them? Or a soap?". Finally, he made up his mind, deciding to give us the benefit of doubt rather than venture forth into unknown legalities of foreign license usage. And so off we went. The next person scheduled to drive the next stretch of I-95 from South Carolina to Florida turned out to be me, who neither had an American license nor a foreign license. Needless to say, it was not a comfortable ride.