Friday, September 30, 2005

Blog plug of the week

My friend S, from this post called me up this weekend. And I found out from him, that he has a blog too. And he found out from me that I have a blog. We exchanged urls and since then, he has allegedly spent 2 hours on my blog, and I on his. Well, not 2 hours. 'Cause he doesn't have as much material on his. He is probably one of the funniest people I know. And fuck, he writes well too, which I didn't know. But boy oh boy what fun times we had back in the day. Anyways, check out this post of his about how poor Indian graduate students get screwed when they need a haircut. And this one, which is an ode to Amitabh Bacchan. And this one where I didn't really understand what the fuck he is on about. I can only assume he was high.

Anyways, I hope he starts to blog regularly now and we meet up some day soon.

He lives 1.5 hours away. I really need to get out more often.

Oh, and my name isn't Popatlal. He just calls me that. He has his reasons, I guess.

Fun with television

Here's something funny. Hurricane Rita was dominating the news, CNN had a reporter in the field, Aaron Brown of Newsnight was talking to him. The reporter said something to the effect that, "Compared to Hurricane Andrew and Hurricane Dennis, that made landfall here, Hurricane ..... this hurricane ....blah blah blah." It was obvious that the reporter had forgotten the name of the hurricane he was supposed to be covering. Long live journalism!

Speaking of Godcrazy religious nutsacks, Pat Robertson of the 700 Club (see here and here) , was speaking about the need for conservative judges on the US Supreme court. He said, "See these .. these judges, they are just pulling these decisions out of their ..... um... out of thin air." You know, Pat, we know you are human. You can say "ass". I don't think it's any worse than calling for someone's assassination on the air. Assassination, by the way, contains two asses.

And what the fuck is with Toyota's new marketing slogan "Choose any direction as long as it's moving you forward". That does not mean anything. That statement is entirely devoid of any meaning whatsoever. It's like saying "Shit anywhere as long as you are sitting on the toilet bowl." It's just a bunch of words strung together to sound cool. Fuck you Toyota, we are not idiots.

And then there are these damn freaky outright creepy commercials. Cingular Wireless has this ad, where a dad goes around yelling at his family, the members of which are engaged in a bunch of shady things, who get freaked out when dad starts yelling at them. But soon they realize he is merely yelling at them for spending too many wireless minutes, and not to express disapproval at the particular psychotic activity they are engaging in. So this dad goes into his son's bedroom, where he is wearing a woman's dress and painting his lips, looking a lot like the deranged killer in "Silence of the Lambs". The son is vastly relieved when he realizes his dad's just mad at him for talking too much on the cellphone, and not at his cross dressing. We, on the other hand, are terrified and are shitting our collective pants.

Fedex or UPS or something, one of those courier services has another creepy ad. A bunch of chimney sweepers are shooting the breeze, and oddly enough, everytime either of them says anything, black soot is expelled from his mouth. We can only imagine the black tarry state these guys' lungs would be in. Watching this ad made my chest feel heavy and made me regret every single cigarette I have smoked in my entire life. In fact, before the product is mentioned, it would be quite easy to mistake this ad to be one encouraging people to quit smoking.

And fuck it Coors Light beer, how many times do I have to tell you that just because you transport your beer in refrigerated trucks, that does not mean it tastes colder than other beers? It seems like beer manufacturers have a seriously low opinion of their customers' IQ. Take for instance, Bud Light. A couple is house-hunting. The house they are currently looking at is so crappy that they can't wait to get the hell out of there. But their agent tells them they haven't seen the best part about the house yet, and he takes them into the backyard. Lo and behold, a beer tree bearing Bud Light fruit. The husband wets his pants in a paroxysm of ecstasy and buys the house right away. But my question is this. Isn't it obvious to anyone but an absolute idiot that the Bud Light tree is just a scam? 'Cause for a tree to bear beer fruit it's pretty obvious you would have to beer it instead of watering it. What is the fucking point of the tree then?

And finally, Snickers commercials. Man oh man, these pieces of art are just plumbing the increasingly abysmal depths of retardedness. An apartment is on fire, the resident panics, breaks the glass panel that says "Break in case of Fire". Inside is a Snickers bar, which he picks up and throws at the flames. Then, correctly observing that the chocolate bar does nothing to alleviate the flames, runs out screaming. Voiceover : "It is only satisfying when you eat it". You know what, I find it hard to believe such a retard could be resourceful enough to break the glass panel in the first place.

Friday canal blogging

Suddenly it's goddamn chilly here in the North-East.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

US Congress declares Americans an endangered species

The US Congress is getting ready to overhaul the "Endangered Species Act", which was passed in the 1970s to halt or reverse the degradation of the environment. The act was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction due to "the consequences of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation."

Today Congress, correctly determining that Americans, also known as the species Homo Americanus, are facing almost certain extinction from terrorism, floods, disease and other natural threats, has concluded that they need to be placed under special protection. Under this new Act, Americans will enjoy numerous privileges not afforded to other unprotected species of wildlife.

The new updated Act requires that Americans be granted "critical habitats" within the ecosystem , also known as "strip malls" and "housing development projects", which encompass all areas necessary for the recovery of the species. This law will be especially valuable in conserving human habitats in places like Florida, which are under attack from wild orchids, alligators and other natural encroachers.

Richard Pombo, a conservative California rancher, who proposed the overhaul of the Act, commented, "Americans have lately been under a vicious attack from the environment, a trend if it continues, could wipe the race off the face of the planet in the near future. It is time we did something to save this species from extinction in order to preserve the beautiful biodiversity contained within the earth's ecosystem."

Pombo's plan has been met with stiff resistance from Democrats and environmentalists who claim it will be detrimental to other members of the animal kingdom like the bald eagle, the California sea otter and the Florida Manatee. Pombo has retorted saying "The bald eagle, the otter and the manatee are not under attack from Osama Bin Laden. They can take care of themselves."

In other news, God, having tried to drown mankind and failing miserably, is now trying a different technique.

The benefit of having a vacuous mind

I'm on my cellphone, talking to my wife, trying to ascertain the degree of tardiness of her train. I'm bored of waiting and I need to know whether it might be well worth my time to go home and return back to the train station armed with some reading material, pillows and a blanket. The wife says that won't be necessary, she is just about 5 minutes away. However, she continues, she is in a mood for some South Indian food and it would make her day if her desire for the same were to be fulfilled.

Bah, I grumble. I begin to do some mental time calculations, trying to determine if there is enough time for me to work out, go home, get liquored up in time for monday night football and yet fit South Indian food in between somewhere.

My wife senses my hesitation and uses her favorite technique for breaking my will. She embarks on a delightful narration of the gustatory adventure involving idlis, sambar and coconut chutney that she anticipates indulging in tonight. Lovingly, she describes the acute and overwhelming pleasure she would experience with her first bite of a steaming idli, how the spoonful of hot spicy sambar would mingle with the idli flour, closely followed thereafter by coconut chutney. She then describes to me how idli, sambar and coconut chutney would then mingle with each other, intertwined in a passionate ménage à trois of flavor and texture, which would then culminate in a final taste explosion never seen nor heard of in all eternity.

Enough, I say. I give up. Place an order for take out. Happily, my wife agrees.

As we drive to the South Indian eating joint, I see my wife rummage through her purse. My thoughts begin to wander aimlessly.

I wonder if purses serve any purpose whatsoever? Why do they need a purse if there's also a wallet inside the purse?

I wonder how much time women spend in a single lifetime just rummaging through their purses.

What is she looking for anyways?

Her credit card, maybe. She needs to pay for the food.

Didn't she tell me last time the owner refused to accept her credit card and asked for cash?

I wonder if she has cash on her. Probably not. She never does.

I wonder if she realized I flicked the 20 dollar bill she left on the dresser thursday night.

She will probably ask me for cash if she is out.

Do I have cash? What if I don't?

I don't think I do. I always spend all my cash on the weekend.

No, but didn't I get cashback at the grocery yesterday? Yeah, I did.

I distinctly remember asking for cashback, even putting it on my credit card.

Wait a minute, I'm pretty sure the grocery store clerk never gave me back my cash. And I was so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff I bought that I never realized that.

The grocery store owes me 20 bucks. Fuck.

And just like that, my meandering hazy musings led me to cash, riches and happiness. I then went to the grocery store, got my 20 bucks and lived happily ever after.

The End.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Halliburton awarded no-bid contracts to probe no-bid contracts awarded to Halliburton

In light of recent reports that government funds earmarked for reconstruction of areas devastated by hurricane Katrina were being improperly awarded via no-bid contracts to Halliburton, the federal government today hired consultants to investigate these allegations.

These consultants, employed by a company named Halliburton, are expected to look into charges of cronyism and abuse of Katrina funds. Halliburton, a company that was formerly run under Vice President Dick Cheney as CEO, has also been under scrutiny for having misused federal funds that were to have been used for Iraqi reconstruction.

"We believe in the old adage, that it is always better to set a thief in order to catch a thief", said Scott McClellan, the President's spokesman. "And as you can see, Halliburton's record in thievery is unimpeachable. Plus, when you are investigating a firm, it is always good to have someone working from inside the firm, preferably the firm itself."

Borrowing a page from Halliburton's book, FEMA, the emergency management agency that displayed an abysmal failure in responding to hurricane Katrina, announced that it will launch an investigation to identify systemic failures within FEMA that led to thousands of New Orleanians not being rescued immediately following the hurricane. Michael Brown, the disgraced former FEMA director, before resigning from his position, appointed himself head of the committee that will investigate the actions of Michael Brown, the disgraced former FEMA director during the hurricane aftermath.

In other news, Pamela Anderson has filed a motion seeking a restraining order on her breasts, which have threatened to cut loose and wreak havoc on the community.

Donald Trump will have fifth baby, run out of rooms in his mansion

Donald Trump will have his fifth child in the spring of 2006, reports CNN. Trump, who already has 3 children with his first wife, Ivana Trump, whom he fired on his television show "The Apprentice" and one child with his second wife, Marla Maples, will have this latest addition to his family with his third wife (at the time this article went to press), Melanie Knauss.

With his fifth child, the real estate mogul will finally run out of rooms in his mansion to accomodate his growing coterie of wives and children.

"It is quite ironic for a real estate developer to run out of living space", said Roger Stone, Trump's advisor, when asked for a comment. "Call it Karma, or something else that would sound equally exotic. Kind of a "water, water everywhere but none to drink" situation. Oh ok, my lawyer has just informed me that in light of Mr Trump's possible 2008 presidential bid, I should quit making flood-related jokes. Thank you, that will be all."

In related news, a new study shows that the nation's gynaecologists might be the most undersexed in the medical profession.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Conservatives shocked by calls to conserve fuel

President Bush today asked Americans to begin conserving fuel, an announcement that sent conservatives into a stunned state of disbelief. The President, who has always been for increasing consumption of fossil fuels, flip flopped today when he seemed to imply that Americans should start thinking about reducing their consumption of gasoline. This reduction in gasoline consumption would be required because of low supplies, said the President.

When conservative supporters, enraged at being asked to conserve, vociferously aired their repugnance at this request of the President, Bush tried to calm them by saying, "I was speaking to the American Middle Class, not you."

Unappeased, conservatives are asking "What's next .... Voiding the tax breaks for the wealthy just because America is facing a shortage of government funds?"

In other news, the IRA has jumped on the outsourcing bandwagon and issued no-bid contracts to Halliburton for all it's terrorist operations.

Bollywood still clueless about the Oscars

So Bollywood has nominated the film Paheli to the Oscars as India's big-screen candidate. It appears to me that Bollywood is entirely clueless as to what the purpose of the Oscars is. I saw Paheli the other day. It was the only hindi movie I have seen in the past year. It was ok, in that I was not staring at a blank screen, and I had already paid 2 bucks for it, and hence, I felt a moral and monetary obligation to sit through the entire movie. But my God, it was so fucking boring. You really have to ask yourself, is Bollywood merely sending these films like Devdas and Paheli, with their non-existent storylines, colorful costumes and overabundance of songs as Oscar nominees just because they feel the Western world is so wedded to the idea of India being a land of elephants, camels and dudes and dudettes wearing colorful flowing clothing, who are just about to break into song and dance at the earliest available opportunity that anything other than that shown in a Bollywood movie would offend their cultural sensibilities? Would make them go "Huh .. Whaaa? Indians live in .... buildings? Made of concrete? With roofs n stuff? Wearing .... regular clothes? Man, and I thought I knew my India."

Here's a news flash for you, Bollywood. I think America is kind of aware that we wear shirts and trousers, you know. And that we own cars and trucks. And that we only sing and dance when we get liquored up or when other people get married. So how about you dig deeper into your film archives and come up with something better than this crap?

Amol Palekar, the film's director, says this about Paheli : "Paheli deals with a `woman's right to make a choice". So, Amol Palekar, with this righteous sounding summary of the movie's honorable intentions, would have us believe that the movie is a social commentary, something noble, dedicated to the cause of women. And what is the choice the woman has to make in the movie? She has to choose between fucking her husband who is going to be away for a while, or fucking a ghost that has taken the form of her husband but who is going to be available for fornication. And she chooses the horny ghost, fully aware that she might have vampire children.

So basically, the point Amol Palekar seems to be making in this film is that when a woman is faced with making a choice between staying faithful to an itinerant husband and being celibate for a while, as opposed to being unfaithful and making sweet love to the first maverick stranger that comes along, in this case, one from the otherworld, choosing the latter makes more sense. What kind of noble purpose does this serve anyways?

And you know what, if a ghost can take the form of a human male, have sex with a human female, bring her to a human orgasm and later have his ghostly sperm swim through her reproductive canal, fertilize her human ovum and get her pregnant, it is safe to assume that all that spiel about being a ghost and being able to walk through walls and everything was just an excuse to get the woman into bed, and he is not really a wandering spirit. After all, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, fucks like a duck and can create little ducklings, it has to be a duck right?

And Jesus Christ, enough with the cultural megalomania. It is one thing to showcase Indian culture in a film, and another to sideline the storyline to such an extent that the film is one big melange of Rajput accents, gaudy clothing, landscapes and strange and creepy rural behavior that could pass for cute ethnic idiosyncrasy.

Come on, Bollywood, surely you can't seriously believe that this is real film-making? After all, you are the land of Guru Dutt, Raj Kapoor and David Dhawan. You can do better than this. And you HAVE done better. You've just forgotten what better means.

Here's our hurricane survivor Patrix, with his views.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Being Karl Rove

Drag and drop the President.

via WTF.

Hundreds of war supporters rally in Washington DC motel room

Supporters of the Iraq war today rallied in the hundreds in Washington DC to express their view that the war in Iraq should be continued because their friends and loved ones were serving over there. About 20,000 people were expected for the rally, support for the war being at an all-time high, and so, it was a bit of a let-down when only a few hundred showed up to make their point.

"We had erected huge pavilions and stadiums with hundreds of security personnel in order to accomodate all the people who we were sure would arrive for the rally, said an organizer. "But ultimately, all we needed was just a motel room and a poster of Hillary Clinton to deface, since it turned out to be just a hundred people."

"The group who spoke here the other day did not represent the American ideals of freedom, liberty and spreading that around the world," Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, told the crowd, referring to the anti-war rally that had occurred in Washington DC the previous day. "I can tell you that the few of us here in this motel room who are still in a relative state of sobriety and not watching pay-per-view adult films, are in no way represented by the 150,000 people who gathered here yesterday in a treasonous display of affection for America's enemies."

The US army, currently suffering from a lack of new recruits and encouraged by the turnout at the pro-war rally, has decided to organize a number of pro-war rallies at all it's recruiting offices throughout the country in an attempt to identify prospective recruits.

In other news, President Bush has declared that the scientific community, previously having been repressed under an oligarchic regime, has finally been liberated. "Science has long been under the oppressive rule of a few selected so-called "scientists". We have now planted the seed of democracy in the scientific community which will allow every ordinary American to have a say in it's functioning. This is a major victory for our vision of spreading democracy throughout the world."

Friday, September 23, 2005

That was the sound of Bush falling off the wagon

So it seems that after about 20 years of staying sober, Bush has finally fallen off the wagon (via C&L). As in started drinking again. What else would explain this cryptic remark of his at this press conference?

THE PRESIDENT (speaking about the porous border between Syria and Iraq) : blah blah blah ..... And so it's a long border. One of the things is that we need to continue to train the Iraqis to be better controllers of the border, and that's one of the missions that General Casey briefed us on today. Bianca. Nobody named Bianca? Well, sorry Bianca's not here. I'll be glad to answer her question.

Q : I'll follow up.

THE PRESIDENT: No, that's fine. (Laughter.) Thank you though, appreciate it. Just trying to spread around the joy of asking a question.
Q : Mr. President, could we talk more about --

THE PRESIDENT: Are you Bianca?

Q : No, I'm not. Anita -- Fox News.


Q : Just a quick question --

THE PRESIDENT: Okay. I was looking for Bianca. I'm sorry.

Who the fuck is Bianca? What's he babbling about? Why is he looking for Bianca? And more importantly, why does Laura Bush have that homicidal look on her face?

England : Love made her ridicule prisoner genitalia

Lynndie England, an accused in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison scandal, where a number of Iraqi prisoners were stripped, forced to masturbate and stacked in a pyramid and then photographed, has defended her actions, saying that it was her love for her boyfriend that made her do those things.

England, seen here standing beside a group of naked Iraqis, pointing derisively at their penises, tried to justify her behavior by saying that she was just trying to make her boyfriend, whom she loved oh so much, feel good about the size of his miniscule penis by comparing it with those of the Iraqis.

Pvt. Charles Graner, her boyfriend, also a soldier who was posted in the same prison, has defended his girlfriend's actions. "Those were hard times for me. Actually, not so "hard" if you know what I mean. When we made love, even though she didn't say anything, I could sense that Lynndie was not really satisfied with the performance of little Mr Johnson. And it got me depressed and made me lose focus of my job to such an extent that sometimes I stacked those poor prisoners in a pentahedron of nakedness instead of a pyramid. Yeah, it must have been hard on them."

England testified that her boyfriend was needlessly worried about his manhood. "He wasn't any worse than the other guys, you know. At least the other white guys", she said dreamily. "But he really needed me to tell him that. So I stripped all these prisoners, lined them up and made fun of their genitals, just to let Charlie know how much I loved him and that his ridiculously diminutive member was not really that much of an aberration."

In unrelated news, President Bush attempted to calm the fear of America's elderly populace, who were afraid that their medicare funding would face deep cuts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, by advising them that the best way for old people to stay healthy was to join the army where the government would take care of their health for them. (via Raw Story)

Friday canal blogging

Autumn. Not here yet. But you can smell it.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Republicans to cut funding to Amtrak

Like a hyena on scraps of rotting flesh, the Republicans have grabbed the opportunity given to them by Hurricane Katrina's devastation, to propose a cut in funding for Amtrak, the only intercity rail service in America. As I pointed out in a previous post, America might probably be the only country in the world which is actually regressing in the field of mass transit, by bleeding it dry of funds, whereas other countries like Japan are investing a lot of money into it.

But here's my plan. Instead of saving a measly 250 million dollars and wrecking the only hope for mass rail transit America might have for the future, how about we withdraw from Iraq, where we are bleeding on an average about 5 billion dollars worth of taxpayer money in a single month? Then, we might actually be able to afford some money for reconstructing our own nation, rather than some other country which really doesn't even want us there.

Or, how about we shelve plans for going to the Moon or Mars, for that matter? Yeah, I know, pictures n stuff are pretty nice to look at, but really, given a choice, I would much rather my wife be able to commute to her workplace, than spend a nice evening gazing at Mare Tranquillitatis.

Two monsters in one month?

So, America, what the fuck is happening, man? Two monstrous sons of bitches in one month? I thought all that the freakin global warming was gonna do to my butt was give it a darker shade of sunburn and some more space for me to drive my bad-ass SUV. No one told me about the $200 billion New Orleans reconstruction bill or the $5.00 gas price. Come on man, what the fuck is all this hurricane BS? Talk to me, buddy.

Ok, lets be fair here. No one knows if what's happening here is due to global warming. What we know as facts are the following :

1.> Hurricanes feast on warm oceanic water , increasing in intensity as the water gets warmer.
2.> Hurricane Katrina occurred when the water of the Mexican Gulf was 2-3 degrees F above average.
3.> The average global oceanic water temperature has increased within the past few years.
4.> Greenhouse gas emission has increased within the past few years.
5.> Greenhouse gases are making the earth, and hence, the ocean warmer.

Now, granted, all this is circumstantial evidence, and it does not mean that greenhouse gases caused the massiveness of Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Rita. But goddamnit, isn't there enough evidence to at least start thinking about whether all this is correlated? But the problem is, short-sighted conservatives just look at the so-called benefits of global warming, like increased space for human settlements in the Arctic where the ice is receding, warmer climates so you don't have to wear those clumsy unsexy sweaters and easier oil exploration to satisfy your thirst for that black shit. Heck, one group, calling itself (ironically) the Cooler Heads Coalition is even claiming that global warming is oh so hip and cool because it can be used, someday to create life on Mars. Ok, it might just be me but I really fucking don't give a damn about life on Mars as long as my life here on earth is in jeopardy. And I am not in a mood to move to Mars anytime soon, 'cause you know, moving is a bitch and I have already moved far too goddamn often.

So this is what I'm saying conservative motherfuckers. How about you open your eyes just a little bit so I can flash some numbers at you. Since numbers seem to be the only thing your tiny one-dimensional brains seem to be able to handle.

Hurricane Katrina cost : $200 billion
Gas price next week : $5.00 a gallon
Number of major airlines forced into bankruptcy after Katrina : 2
Probability of a recession because of Katrina : 18%. That is, without considering the effects of Hurricane Rita.

Did that wake you up from your oblivious slumber? Did it kinda make you feel less warm n cozy about global warming? If it did, then how about you do something about it? At least try to find out rationally and honestly, using science and common sense, if the south is being ass-fucked because the north keeps shitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? Just get the fucking will, won't you? And earn your fucking salary bitches, or I swear, no more lunch money for you.

Oh, and while I am on the subject of gas prices, hey Mainstream Media here's some advice for you. Why don't you shut the fuck up about $5.00 gas prices next week? Stop going around town beating your drum, warning people that next week they are gonna be screwed when they fill their car up. See, all that's gonna achieve is that people will panic today, go to the gas station, fill their cars up, go back home, empty their gas tank into the basement, repeat it till their basements are full of gas, then go back and do it to their parents' basement. And this is gonna drive gas prices up to, hell, maybe even beyond the 5 dollar mark. So you see what you are doing here? You are just making the oil companies richer. Why don't you side with the poor consumer, namely me, for a change and stop speculating? Just take my advice and quit your yapping. Come back after the hurricane has left okay?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Political condoms

A rubber company in China has begun marketing condoms under the brand names Clinton and Lewinsky (via Political Wire, via Raw Story).

"The Clinton condom will be the top of our line", said the company spokesman. "The Lewinsky condom is not quite as good."

"We are also developing a George Bush condom for budget conscious consumers, which could mistakenly enter the wrong orifice, and a Michael Brown condom which will prolong your experience by delaying your climax", added the spokesman.

A rare venture into public transportation

So how many human years is equivalent to one car year? The reason I ask is because lately my car has been kind of falling apart, and it's only 5 years old. There are some strange squeaky sounds emanating from my dashboard. My always helpful colleague diagnosed it as a rat running around in my dashboard. He might be right too. Then, suddenly, all the audio speakers on the left side of my car stopped working. And finally, the day before yesterday, the window glass on the passenger's side of the car fell right into the door.

Yeah, sounds strange doesn't it? But that's exactly what happened. There was a loud bang and the window glass went crashing inside into the cavernous space it usually emerges from. So, I called up my dealership.

Me : Hello, yeah, I have a problem. My car window just fell into my car door. I can't get it up. The window, I mean.

Car dealership lady (obviously in the throes of merriment) : Ha ha really? Well that's not a good thing now is it? Hey, you are lucky, at least it's not winter otherwise things might have gotten a bit cold for you in the car.

Well yeah, I guess I was lucky this time. But I wasn't so lucky last time when the driver's side window fell down. In winter. And the time before that, when it fell during an entire week of non stop rain and I had to drive around with a garbage bag stuffed into the window. So yeah, I guess I WAS lucky. THIS time. Damn fool woman.

The pregnant pause in the conversation got to her. She sobered down.

Car dealership lady : Ok, so when do you want to bring her in?
Me : How about tomorrow?
Car Dealership lady : Sure, you can come in at 7:00 am.

The die was set. I was gonna have to use public transportation. SEPTA. Now for me, using SEPTA is kind of a joke. I only take the train to commute to work when my car is out of action. This is because the train that takes me to work takes about 1.5 hours to travel a distance of 25 miles. Apparently the route from Western Philly to Eastern Philly goes through Calcutta. But heck, I had no car, so I had no other option.

So I boarded the train, and luckily found a window seat. You know what, even though I am not usually one who relishes the thought of spending an hour closeted with the human race, if I absolutely had to do it, I would do it in the morning. In the morning, people are much less objectionable to me than they are later on in the day. Much quieter too, none of those annoying cellphone conversations, none of do you call it...acting human, which is nice. And they are clean scrubbed, nice smelling, men with their hair freshly gelled, women with their hair freshly washed, it's all nice n clean. Except the train itself.

The one good thing about being a male foreigner is, I guess, you are the last choice of anyone seeking to share a seat. So, if a train is almost full, you might still be in luck because most Americans would prefer to squat on the floor rather than sit beside you. It's not as good for female foreigners though. They are one step higher up in the food chain.

An elderly gentleman entered the train, wearing the strange combination of an immaculate suit and a straw hat. I wondered if he had dressed in the dark and put on the hat by mistake. He looked like he was going to a convention of very upscale fishermen.

Finally, a middle aged guy came up to my seat and sat beside me. He started to read the free newspaper they keep at the station. I spent the next few minutes trying to peek at the headlines.

Someone boarded the train at a station, walked up to someone already sitting in a seat and showing a display of immense joy, clasped the hand of the second someone. I wondered how difficult it would be to feign excitement at seeing the same person on the same train at the same time of day over and over and over again, day after day.

An advertisement on the compartment wall caught my eye. "Station Square brand new apartment homes. Life is a journey, climb on", and there was a picture of a railway track. Now I am no marketing genius, but why in freaking hell would you sell apartment homes to a SEPTA train commuter by comparing life in those homes to an eternal train journey? When a guy is sitting on a train with some blackish goop of indeterminate origin under his shoe and some unidentifiable stains on the seat beside him, I would think that the last thing that would persuade him to embark on an apartment buying frenzy is the feeling that when he gets home it's gonna feel just like the train he just stepped out of. It's like selling an apartment to a plumber using the tagline "Life is a toilet bowl....get flushed down it."

I looked outside and saw more advertisements on the station wall. "Only a short commute away from your money", said a Bank of America ad. "High Speed access to the future", said an Arcadia University ad. I wondered if it was a rule that every advertisement in the vicinity of a train had to make a reference either to the train or the train commute. "Start a steamy relationship", said a Wawa coffee ad. Ok, that was better. Creepy, but better.

I had to change trains in Temple University. The air was muggy and warm as I stepped out. Suddenly, the dirty air conditioned train seemed to be a better option. Within 5 minutes, I had boarded the next train.

I reached work an hour late. The same colleague who advised me about the rats in my dashboard came to pick me up at the station. The train journey had made me tired and cranky, and it was only the beginning of the day. But at least I wouldn't be taking the train back home. No, I had already decided on a scapegoat to tag along with.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The internets strike back.

The internets struck back against President George Bush. This is what happened.

The Office of Women's Health of the FDA announced the appointment of a new acting director. His qualifications? An "FDA veteran trained in animal husbandry" (via ThinkProgress). Yes, a veterinarian was appointed to be in charge of women's health. Makes sense ain't it? Gotta take care of dem bitches n shit.

Then, later, after an outcry against this appointment, the FDA changed it's tune.

Three days after the Alderson announcement, the FDA main press office sent out a very different announcement. It said that 20-year FDA veteran Theresa A. Toigo would be the new acting director of the women’s health office. … Alderson — and the statement announcing his appointment — was never mentioned.

Asked yesterday who exactly was running the office, FDA spokeswoman Suzanne Trevino said that Alderson had never been appointed acting director. She said that Toigo would take over from the departed Wood, and that her office knew nothing about the statement regarding Alderson, who is the agency’s associate commissioner for science.

So the FDA denied ever having appointed the guy. But oops, they forgot about one thing. Google doesn't forget. Google remembers. The Google cache of the FDA webpage clearly showed the appointment which they now deny. The cache is gone now. Chalk that up as another lie of the administration.

What is with the Republicans though? Why are they so obsessed with animals? Take Brownie, who used to tend Arabian horses. And now this guy entrusted with women's health, who used to be a veterinarian. Very very strange. Bizarre even. But then, maybe not so bizarre.

President Bush to henceforth communicate solely in sign language

President Bush has announced that he will henceforth only use sign language in all his dealings with the media and the public in general. The decision to not subject Americans to the President's voice any more was taken after it was found that President Bush's approval ratings had actually fallen to 35% after his speech from New Orleans (via ThinkProgress). Before the speech, his ratings were a good solid 39%.

"Americans have sent out a clear message that they do not want to hear the President's voice anymore. In fact, every bit of evidence points to a consensus of opinion among Americans that they would like him to stop talking and shut the hell up", said a political analyst at CNN. "In that sense, the decision taken by the President to henceforth only use sign language for propaganda purposes might turn out to be an extremely wise one."

Critics of the administration were vocal in their opposition to this latest decision. "Granted, the very sound of his voice makes me want to shove a corkscrew up my nose and twist it around, and it is also true that if I hear him snigger one more time on camera I will probably go stark raving mad, but I am still against this transparent attempt by the President to give himself a free pass for lying indiscriminately, so that later he can always say "You know, I never really 'said' that", commented one caustic presidential detractor.

In other news, President Bush has announced that Osama Bin Laden has finally been captured and safely escorted to Pakistan, where he will remain under country arrest, thus bringing an end to the War on Terror.

Monday, September 19, 2005

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Quote of the day

"You are about as useful as a cock-flavored lollipop"

- Dodgeball : A true underdog story

Country deeply divided over Vice President's reconstruction

A new study suggests that America might be deeply divided over the reconstruction of vice president Dick Cheney's body. Cheney, who has already suffered 4 heart attacks and has undergone a quadruple bypass surgery, is scheduled to be operated on to treat an aneurysm of an artery behind the knee. Doctors say the surgery will be long drawn out and will be at a considerable expense to taxpayers.

Conservative critics of the administration disagree on whether the reconstruction of the vice president is worth the immense time, effort and expense involved. "Vice presidents aren't forever", said Joel Garreau of the Washington Post (via Patrix). "The man is already a walking zombie. His body is a cesspool of toxic chemicals, and even if the sludge in his circulation system is cleaned up, it is debatable whether his body will be hospitable enough to harbor his everlasting soul."

Other Republicans agree with Garreau's analysis. Jonah Goldberg, of National Review, questioned the legitimacy of imposing the bill for Cheney's rebuilding on American taxpayers. "Lots of readers ask why national taxpayers should be asked to foot the bill for the reconstruction. Instead, I submit to you a proposal for relocating the vice presidential executive duties and responsibilities to an alternative flesh receptacle.", he said in an online column.

Democrats, however, are all for restoring the vice president's visage to it's former splendor and glory. "The vice president's mortal remains are a historical landmark of this great nation. The ravages and disease that his body has been through are a symbol of what the country itself is going through right now. So, in order to give the country hope for the future, it is necessary to stitch together what remains of Dick Cheney's flesh and save it from decrepitude.", said Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic Party.

On being asked for his views regarding the detoxification and clean-up of the vice president, President Bush has commented that "We will do for Dick Cheney's body what we did to Iraq. We will succeed eventually, no matter how viciously we have to tear his body apart in the process." The vice president, on learning of this view of the president, has voluntarily chosen to be euthanised.

In other news, President George Bush, on learning of his nephew's arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, has issued a congratulatory statement saying "Welcome to the family."

Friday, September 16, 2005

The electrifying personality that is President George Bush

Brian Williams at NBC News (via Atrios) :

"I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing when the power came back on for blocks on end......... The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions."

Looks like our president has been blessed with the power of spontaneous electrification. Now if only he possessed the power to part the toxic waters of Lake New Orleans.

Judge rules uttering God's name during on-screen sex acts unconstitutional

In a landmark victory for the forces of atheism in America, a judge has ruled that any on-screen sex act that culminates in the utterance of a word referencing God or His son is unconstitutional and shall be punishable by law.

This class action lawsuit brought about by the Fornicating Actor's Guild against the Association of Pornographic Movie Producers reflected the growing desire in adult film actors to maintain the separation of church and sex that had lately been under threat from overly religious adult movie producers. When asked about the need for this class action lawsuit, one of the plaintiffs in the case who refused to supply her name said, "As an atheist, it offends my sensibilities when my producer asks me to scream out 'Jesus Christ, I'm coming'. Since I do not believe in Jesus Christ or in orgasms, this goes entirely against my belief structure, and is tantamount to harassment at the workplace."

A spokesman for the Movie Producer's Association, when asked to comment, replied "We tried replacing 'Jesus Christ' with 'Non-Denominational Supreme Being Who Might Not Exist', but somehow that does not seem to carry the same effect. It's too complex for our average clientele to relate to and hence, bad for business. Many of our customers have returned their purchases, complaining that they couldn't follow the plot at the end."

In a remarkable case of bipartisan consensus, religious right-wing organizations have agreed with the decision, saying "Sex is a spawn of Satan, so the gratuitous utterance of God's name during this foul act is a heinous crime. We applaud the judge's decision."

In other news, Wikipedia has announced that it will no longer allow the White House to make any more changes to it's section on "Rationale for the Iraq War", citing a lack of credibility and server space (via horkulated).

Thursday, September 15, 2005

My first ever limerick

News in limerick posted the following regarding the plastic ban in Mumbai :

The Mumbai department of dairy
Of a plastic ban is extremely wary
"We'll surely face lot of troubles
When the price of milk doubles
But looks like it's a can we have to carry!"

To which I posted my comment also in limerick form, of which I was so proud, it being my first ever limerick and all, so I felt it deserved a post of it's own.

Plastic's been a sin
Here there n everywhere in between
So forget all the row
Just suck it off the cow
And hope she's not a him

For all you haters about to point out that "him" does not rhyme with "sin" or "between", suck it up people.

The gas rant

Man, filling up my car has become a bitch. The other day, I had to pay 16 bucks more than what I paid last week for the same amount of gas. Thats like almost an extra hundred bucks out of my wallet a month.

And you can sense it on the highways too. People drive slower now because apparently a car gives better mileage at a speed of about 60 mph. But here's the thing. If you drive at 60, the guy behind you is gonna drive at 59, the one behind him 58, and so on and so forth till the person a 100 cars behind you is going 50 miles in the opposite direction. You see what I'm saying? So please, dear gas economizer, fuck science, just this once. Just do a respectable 75 like a normal human being.

And whats with the fucking cop prowling around during rush hour? As it is, everyone's doing like 40, there's no road space available for speeding even if one wanted to. The only thing he achieves is making everybody nervous, and the last thing you want during rush hour is a bunch of nervous people looking in their rear view mirrors for flashing lights, not paying attention to the car in front. And boy oh boy, how I adore the guy in front of me who is already doing a measly 40 mph in a 55 mph zone, and then he sees a cop car parked on the shoulder and slows down to 20. I mean, what the fuck is with that? It's not like the cop's gonna give him a certificate for being extra safe or something. And then there are the brainless retards who slow down to watch someone being pulled over on the other side of the road, causing a traffic backup on this side. How fucking starved of entertainment do you have to be to find the spectacle of a man getting ticketed by a cop enthralling? Jesus Christ, how about getting out more often?

I'm sure that the rising gas prices have given an impetus to the adulteration industry. When gas reached it's post-hurricane peak, my car suddenly began to give a lesser mileage. I could almost imagine someone sitting in Hackensack, New Jersey with a barrel of light crude, a barrel of Dr Pepper and mixing them together in the prescribed adulteration proportion. All I know is that my fuel gauge is acting weird, sometimes even swinging from one end to the other in a matter of seconds like a female on PMS.

You know what they say, you learn a lot about a man by how he handles himself in times of adversity. The same goes for your car too. The other day I stopped at a McD's drive through. There was a line, so I switched off my car to save gas. When the car in front of me moved, instead of switching it on and wasting fuel, I let gravity work for me and slowly rolled up to the ordering post. But goddamn, when I tried to brake or steer the car, both of them suddenly locked up and I found myself drifting towards the wall with no control over my car. If I hadn't had the presence of mind to pull my hand brake, I would probably have ended up in the kitchen. It was only later that I came to know that the hydraulic steering and brakes only work if the car is switched on. Who the fuck knew? I guess everyone except me.

But gas prices are dropping now, or so they say. And what intrigues me is all these rises and falls in the gas price are based on speculation. If someone "feels" or "has an inkling" that the oil barons in the middle east are going to suck out more gas from the ground, gas prices fall, even though there is no oil actually being sucked out at the present time. And if someone "feels" or "has an inkling" that people are going to travel more on the weekend, gas prices rise, even though no one has actually travelled yet. Yeah, yeah thats how it works I know. That's why it is called speculation. But where I come from, it's called spreading rumors. But my question to oil company executives is, why should it always have to be about your feelings? Aren't my feelings important too? Why can't I go to a gas station tomorrow and pay a lower price on the gas because I "feel" that tomorrow they are going to come out with a new fuel substitute derived from human hair? Why oh why can't I do that?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Apple announces the release of the I-pill

Apple Computers, having achieved a major breakthrough in it's never-ending quest to miniaturize the popular I-pod MP3 player, has finally come up with a version that is small enough to be orally ingested. The new player, called the I-pill, will be available in pharmacies worldwide in January 2006.

Steve Jobs, on being asked to comment on the new product said, "This is a revolutionary new technology, the only one of it's kind where a person will be able to consume music in a whole new way. This also eliminates the need for using headphones, which as everyone knows, might be responsible for causing premature hearing loss."

The I-pill will be sold in a variety of flavors, lemon yellow, apple red, strawberry pink (for the ladies) and chipotle.

On being asked how the I-pill would play audible music after being swallowed, an Apple technician replied, "The I-pill is currently incapable of reproducing music. You can, however, store a thousand GB worth of audio files on it. Also, it is very small in size and contains all the circuitry of the original I-pod in miniaturized form. And it has been known to cure constipation, while being able to withstand the immune system of the body at the same time. Isn't that great?"

Apple marketing executives warn that the I-pill does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases or possess any contraceptive properties.

In related news, Apple is currently working on a microscopic version of it's I-pill, which has been tentatively named I-nvisible.

Just one more reason why there might not be a God

Yesterday started out like a regular garden variety tuesday. The alarm rang at 5:45, I was walking to my car in my pajamas by 6:00 and 6:02 saw me and my wife in the car, waiting for the traffic lights to change at the intersection leading to the train station. The old familiar lead-in skit that signified the beginning of the morning radio show I listen to was playing. It goes like this:

(knock knock)

Woman in a mexican accent : Housekeeping!
Sleepyman : Hmpgrgrglub....

Woman in a mexican accent : Housekeeping?
Sleepyman : nmblglm....10 more minutes.

Woman in a Mexican accent : You need towel?
Sleepyman : No towels....need sleepy

Woman in a mexican accent : You need pillow?
Sleepyman : Please go away, let me sleep for the LOVE OF GOD.

This is where the actual show begins. It's actually a pretty funny skit. Unless, of course, you are listening to it at 6:00 in the morning and your state of mind is pretty much similar to that of the sleepy man in the skit.

So, every morning, the location on my station route where this skit begins determines whether my wife is going to miss her train or not. If it begins at the traffic lights we were waiting at, chances are good that the train would probably leave without my wife on board. Naturally, I was impatient.

Soon, the lights turned green and I gunned my car and started to turn left. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a red sports car came speeding from the left, and just as it approached the intersection, instead of slowing down for the red light, it accelerated. I realized in disbelief that he was going to run the red light. I was already almost halfway up the intersection, and I saw this guy roaring towards me, and if I had not slammed on the brakes in reflex, he would have crashed right into my passenger's side of the car. He flew past barely a whisker away from my front bumper. He was doing about 80 mph or so, so my death would have been instantaneous.

I sat there for a while so fucking stunned, my hands shaking, that the lights turned orange and red, before I even managed to jab down on my horn. I sat there blaring my horn, even though the guy in the red car had already disappeared from my life. I don't know how long I sat there, till my brain came to grips with the fact that I had just met Death face to face. I was seething at this person who would be so careless with other people's lives, just so he could save a couple of seconds on his commute. God yeah, how I was seething.

Then, I began to think about how close both of us had been to death. If I had moved even half a second before I did, our bodies would probably be lying in a morgue right now. What had determined that I would live and not die? Was it not my time? Was it Divine Intervention?

And it was then that I came one step closer from being a skeptic to a full-blown atheist. If God really had some say in the matters of men, would he really have bothered to save me from Death? As I look at my life, it is quite clear to me that I have sinned a lot. As Homer Simpson said, heck, I don't even believe in Jebus. And I'm sure God wouldn't be too pleased with this blog either. Why, then, would God bother to save me?

Many people might say to me that au contraire, the very fact that your life was spared proves that there IS a God. I beg to disagree, my pious friend. Think about it for a moment. Do you really think I am so fucking arrogant to believe that my life is somehow special and that He should save me when God did not bother to save his own son, or these people who were actually pious and might have deserved to live more than I ever did?

If there were a God, then I should be dead right now. Since I am not, there cannot be a God. It is as simple as that.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Mary Landrieu, Democratic knucklehead

Mary Landrieu, cute blonde bimbette, who also works part-time as the Democratic senator from Louisiana, being interviewed by Chris Wallace of Faux News : (via Daily Howler). Wallace is asking Landrieu why a number of schoolbuses seen underwater here were not used for evacuating New Orleans residents. Mary, unfortunately, responds by exhibiting behavior akin to that of a child caught stealing from a cookie jar.

LANDRIEU (continuing directly): In other words, this administration did not believe in mass transit. They won't even get people to work on a sunny day, let alone getting them out—

WALLACE: But Senator, there were hundreds of buses sitting in that parking lot. Can I just ask the question?

LANDRIEU: You can, but let me finish, if I could, please.

WALLACE: Well, look in the picture here. There were hundreds of buses in parking lots. The city and the state—

LANDRIEU: That is underwater. Those—

WALLACE: It wasn't underwater before the—

LANDRIEU: Those buses were underwater. Those buses—

WALLACE: They weren't underwater on Saturday. They weren't underwater on Sunday.

Now thats a deer caught in headlights and getting sodomized simultaneously.

And later,

LANDRIEU (continuing directly): ...... Now is not the time for finger-pointing. Now is the time to rebuild. So, I'm asking the White House to stop sending out press releases blaming local and state officials.

You know what, theres nothing wrong in pointing fingers. As long as you follow one simple rule. Once you are done with the finger pointing, DO NOT express self-righteous indignation at other people's finger pointing. Wallace rightly berates her.

WALLACE: OK, thank you. But you're the one who's done the finger- pointing. You were the one who, on the Senate floor, talked about the federal response being “incompetent and insulting” to the people of Louisiana. You were the one—if I might—and, I want to ask you, also, because you've also pointed the finger at the Bush administration for failing to spend enough on flood control. Here's what you said this week on the Senate floor. Let's take a look...

Katrina and poverty

Secular-Right India argues that the American welfare state is in part responsible for creating such abject poverty that people found themselves marooned with no place to go, and later died in the floods that ensued after hurricane Katrina.

"75 odd years after America's Keynesian New Deal, and 25 odd after Lyndon Johnson's anti-poverty Great Society programs, America still has poverty -- poverty so extreme that people don't even have resources to escape known catastrophes on the way."

I think Primary Red is doing the city of New Orleans, heck not just New Orleans, but practically any American city, a great disservice if he is implying that all of the thousands of people who were left behind in New Orleans were merely wasting away idly, while receiving monthly government welfare checks. Sure, there must have been some people who must have been on welfare, but the vast majority of those affected had jobs, just like ordinary Americans. New Orleans is a major American tourist destination. As a result, it has a huge number of people who are working at jobs that are lowest in the food chain. Cab drivers, waiters, garbage collectors, strippers, prostitutes, musicians who eke out a living playing in the multitude of black jazz bars scattered throughout the city. These are all people, indispensable threads in the broader fabric of New Orleans, who even though they are part of the free market economy that is America, suffer from abject poverty. And this poverty is not due to any poverty of spirit, which Primary Red implies they suffer from, but just the low-paying nature of their particular profession.

In addition, Primary Red claims that poverty is resolvable, through persistence, if people put their minds to it. Okay, granted, if I really want to make it in the world, if I put in extra efforts, chances are pretty good that I might succeed. However, say, if a cab driver, through diligence, hard work and education succeeds in his quest for a white collar job. What then? The world is still going to require a cab driver. So someone else steps in to fill that position. In fact, in a free market economy, as the job market fills up with more qualified applicants, it would follow that jobs that require less qualifications would pay less. And lets say every American cab driver gets himself a bachelor's degree and makes it to a higher paying job. What happens then? America relaxes her immigration policy and more Mexicans or Latin Americans or Asians enter the country to fill that need of society. However, what is to be noted is that the number of poverty stricken people does not change. Poverty just changes hands. The average wage of a cab driver is not going to go up. The number of people marooned in the New Orleanian soup bowl is not going to change. How then, would a free market economy help in this case?

Don't get me wrong here. I am not a communist, nor a socialist. Heck the last time I thought Karl Marx was on to something good was in high school biology class, when the realization that memorizing a frog's anatomy would be a necessary condition for me to get a decent job after graduation, made me wish for state controlled job allocations. I agree a free market economy is the way to go for America or India or pretty much most countries in the world. I am for reduced government regulations. But it irks me when libertarians use wishful thinking and stretch the bounds of logic when they imply that the free market economy is a cure for every ill in the world. Because that is just ideology speaking, not the facts.

On a related note, Michael Higgins has an interesting take here on the damage caused by Katrina. He says the people who live in a disaster prone area should bear a greater financial burden for protecting themselves. I agree to some extent. My only question to him is what would be the definition of a disaster prone area? For example according to this map here (via Pharyngula), the only safe disaster-free area to live in the US is West Virginia. Ok, that map's just a joke, but it illustrates the point I'm trying to make here.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Frustrated President sets Dick Cheney loose on stubborn New Orleaners

Frustrated with the stubborn attitude of the few remaining New Orleans residents, who still refuse to evacuate the city in spite of the filth, floodwaters, lack of power, water supply and the ever-increasing possibility of an outbreak of disease, President Bush today dispatched Vice President Dick Cheney to the beleaguered city. The president hoped that the pall of terror cast by the impending arrival of the vice president would motivate the obstinate tenacious few into fleeing the city.

"I tried being nice, I tried being reasonable, but since these people decided to play hardball, I have no option but to set the vice president loose in the sludge-filled, flooded lanes and byways of New Orleans.", said the President in a news conference. "He has not been fed for a week now and is deemed to be extremely dangerous.", he added.

An expert on mutant carnivorous amphibian lifeforms with the American Museum of Natural History at New York commented on how the vice president would carry out search-and-devour operations in New Orleans. "After being introduced into the garbage-ridden sewers of the city, where his limbs would immediately metamorphose into fins and flippers, the vice president would then rely on the heat-sensors on his proboscis to efficiently zero in on any human lifeforms that may be dwelling in his immediate neighbourhood. Once in his natural habitat, the vice president is an extremely lethal killing machine, and I strongly urge anyone still in New Orleans to get the hell out."

On being asked whether there were any living organisms not in danger of being exposed to a slow, long drawn-out, excruciating disembowelment at the hands of the Vice President, the expert replied "Plumbers. He is strangely attached to plumbers."

Attempts to elicit a comment from the Vice President were met with overwhelming hostility and baring of fangs.

In other news, in a nostalgic attempt to go back in time to a less complicated period in his life, President Bush has requested Mrs Cindy Sheehan to return back to Crawford and resume her anti-war vigil because reportedly "It is easier to deal with one mother whining about one dead son than an entire nation whining about thousands of dead people."

A half-hearted ode to the F-word

A few days ago, I read a post by Gotham Chopra on Intentblog, which appeared to be an ode to the F-word. The "Fuck" word, for readers who've been asleep for the past 50 years. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the post, and I agree with it entirely. In fact, Gotham Chopra put into words a few of my own thoughts regarding the F-word. As readers of this blog might have noticed, I am not one to scrimp on the expletives. I like to use the F-word, among others, I use it whenever I can, I use it so fucking often, sometimes I use it for no reason at all, and then, when I go back and reread what I've written, I find the placement of the word has no relevance in the scheme of things at all.

But, coming back to the post in question, as I was saying, I admired the intent of the author and his benevolent treatment of my favorite word in the English language, but throughout the post, I found one extremely conspicious discordant note. I noticed that the author had not used the actual word in the entire post even once. To be fair, he used it by cloaking it in characters and using it in sentences like "What's the f#$@%^& point, I was left wondering" and "Oh f#$@$%# contrare, mon frere I say to that." (whatever that means). But, I was left with the question, that if your entire post is a poem dedicated to extolling the wonders of the word "Fuck", why in God's name would you write F$#%^ everytime the word needed to be uttered? You see what I'm saying here?

It's like, if Sanjeev Kapoor on his television show, after describing in verbose detail the gastronomic sumptuousness of mutton, later demonstrated the recipe for Mutton Kolhapuri using a soy based meat substitute.

So basically I have one question for Mr Gotham Chopra. If you love the F-word so much, and are willing to have it's child, why then are you so ashamed to spell it as it is meant to be, why are you covering it with an aluminum foil of ascii characters? Don't be coy, man.

I personally feel that the F-word is needlessly discriminated against. What with the beeping on television, and the ascii charactering on the internet and what not. But I also realize that part of the magic of the F-word is it's aura as a forbidden fruit, an anti-establishment rebellious persona. And it is this aura, or persona of this word that makes it an effective tool in verbal jousting or unilateral polemicizing. If the F-word were to gain acceptance and respectability in the main-stream, then it would probably lose it's sheen, it's biting edge, which we employ to express strong emotion. And, sooner or later, it would drop out of the English language because of disuse.

It's a dilemma.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

My blogroll

Because Blogrolling is being a major pain in the ass, taking forever to load at particular times of the day, I am shifting my blogroll to the bottom of the page, so that the blog will load first and then the blogroll. It will remain there till I shift from blogrolling to manually adding links. Let me know if anyone has a better idea.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Exporting homophobia to Iraq

The following is a letter from a soldier stationed in Iraq to the editor of Stars and Stripes, the American military newspaper.

Iraqi behavior questioned

I’ve been on Forward Operating Base Warrior [for] nine months, and since we’ve been here I’ve seen Iraqi soldiers get away with way more than they should. I’ve seen them with cameras in the chow hall taking pictures. And I know that it’s custom for them to be affectionate with each other, however I don’t think it’s appropriate for them to kiss each other or hold hands. In a don’t-ask, don’t-tell military, there are lots of customs we have to leave at home, so I think it’s only right that they do, too.

As for the cameras, that’s just simple security precautions and the people I talk to say they have passed security, so they’re fine.

I just want it known how some soldiers feel about what’s going on right under our noses. This is only one base in Iraq. What’s going on elsewhere?

Spc. xxxx xxxx
Forward Operating Base Warrior, Iraq

Let me get this straight. You are in their country. You want them to leave their customs at home. But that is their home. What exactly are you saying anyways? Maybe, since you are in their country how about you follow their customs and start kissing and fondling your fellow soldiers? Just so the Iraqis feel comfortable with you? And did it ever occur to you that maybe holding hands and kissing in their culture doesn't necessarily signify homosexuality?

I didn't know that along with democracy, the US is exporting homophobia to Iraq as well. This really makes me wish that before the US government sends it's men out to do battle in a foreign nation, or as they call it nowadays, to spread democracy in the world, it would take a minute and educate these soldiers about the culture of the country they are being sent to. Otherwise, they could just end up doing more harm than good.

The office war

So yesterday a colleague in my office, lets call him G, sends me an email forward which goes like this:

"Send this warning to everyone on your e-mail list!
If someone comes to your front door saying they are conducting a
survey on deer ticks and asks you to take your clothes off and dance around
to shake off the ticks, do not do it!
They only want to see you naked.
I wish I'd gotten this yesterday. I feel so stupid."

Now, G is a Republican, a decent enough Republican in that he does not kill and eat kittens, probably just maims them for life. I remember during the election insanity, we were once drinking in an Irish pub, watching the second Presidential debate, and under the influence of Democratic enthusiasm as well as Guinness-induced inebriation, when G W Bush started to speak, I stood up and started yelling indiscriminately at the television screen, and G gently reminded me to cool down saying yes, he could understand my pain, but really, was it the tv's fault?

So, because of G's Republicanism and my own khujli, I reply to his email thusly : "Don’t feel bad, I’m sure it got rid of the ticks too"

To which G replies back : "I hope you get bitten by a rabid dog."

Then, back from me : "Well come on over, I’m in my cubicle."

G replies back : "You mean the one without a window?"

Well, my cubicle doesn't have a window while his does. It is probably all for the best, since it keeps me from escaping, but it is still a sore point with me.

Now here, I should remind you that this email exchange was also being sent to a couple more people, seeing as it was a forward. Here's where J joined the fray. Now J is the kind of person, who, if he had been there in biblical times during the David-Goliath slugfest, if he had thought David and Goliath were on the verge of making peace, he would have thrown a tomato or something at Goliath, whistled, looked away and insinuated that it was David, just to keep the fight going.

So, J chimes in with : "Aww....Man that was Low!!!!"

Nevertheless, I reply back to G : "Ah so that’s where the ticks came from, your window."

J, the flamemaker replies : "Good come back!!!"

G then says : "No, probably from the Indian place last Friday."

J, probably anticipating that the fight is winding down, in a last-ditch effort to keep it alive, chips in with : "Ouch...And G pulls out the Race Card!!!"

Unfazed, I reply : "Well who asked you to order deer?"

G, shifting his attention to J, says : "Listen Sir Limp a lot, keep your mouth shut over there."

J currently has a cast on his leg, from a bike accident a while ago. Correctly recognizing that G's wrath has shifted from me to him, and like all tomato-throwing, fire-igniting bystanders, he tries to quell it before it breaks out in a full-fledged inferno.

He says: "Hey you just remember who provides the magazines for your 10:00 a.m 'Break'"

This is where the conversation ends, probably because we all run out of things to say.

Then, later at lunchtime, as I am placing an order in the neighbourhood Subway restaurant, I look around and there's G, along with J, sitting at a table. Assuming a fighting stance, I say with barely disguised hostility: "Did you follow me here? You looking for a fight?"

G, no doubt feeling intimidated by my footlong sub, replies mildly and with a tinge of sorrow, "So is this the end of our friendship?"

Now feeling bad about all the animosity that passed between us, I try to put it all behind me, saying "No man of course not, all water under the bridge. Till tomorrow, of course.", I add, not wanting to get too sentimental.

Fighting back tears over this emotional reunion, we go back to the office.

Time magazine says FEMA chief Michael Brown fudged his resume, my neck begins to hurt from indiscriminate self-backpatting

Readers of this blog will remember, back on September 4th, I talked about Michael Brown, the head of FEMA, having been asked to resign from a previous position as commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association. However, this stint of his does not appear on his online resume at the FEMA website, which led me to believe that he fudged his resume. This is what I said :

Funnily enough, Brown's own resume posted on the FEMA website omits any mention of this period in his professional career. Not that I blame him. Who amongst us hasn't fudged our resume here and there?"

Time magazine, now says Brown might actually have fudged his resume, with respect to another position he previously held (via Raw Story).

Before joining FEMA, his only previous stint in emergency management, according to his bio posted on FEMA's website, was "serving as an assistant city manager with emergency services oversight." The White House press release from 2001 stated that Brown worked for the city of Edmond, Okla., from 1975 to 1978 "overseeing the emergency services division." In fact, according to Claudia Deakins, head of public relations for the city of Edmond, Brown was an "assistant to the city manager" from 1977 to 1980, not a manager himself, and had no authority over other employees."

So basically, Brown claimed to have held a position of authority he actually did not. Hell, why am I not surprised? Not only that, in a different instance, he claimed to have been a professor at a university where he was actually a student. Hows that for role-playing?

"Under the "honors and awards" section of his profile at — which is information on the legal website provided by lawyers or their offices—he lists "Outstanding Political Science Professor, Central State University". However, Brown "wasn't a professor here, he was only a student here," says Charles Johnson, News Bureau Director in the University Relations office at the University of Central Oklahoma (formerly named Central State University)."

This entry since then, has been amended to say "Honors: Outstanding Pol. Science Senior".

Christ, this administration really takes hiring of incompetents to a whole new level. But as I said in my post, in this case, this incompetent was responsible for the death of thousands of lives. If nothing else, this administration should be impeached for criminal negligence.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Oregon's getting turned on

Oregon is getting a visible hard-on. Probably 'cause it's squeezed in between sweet Cali and rugged old Washington (I always knew Oregon was bi). And it's ready to blow a big fat load of steaming hot magma.

Major Bush administration disasters according to Jon Stewart

Thats a hell of a list to go through in the next three years. But I guess they are on schedule.

On another note, related to Katrina, Jon touched on some points which I made myself in some of my earlier posts namely this, this and this.

New poll confirms most poll participants unqualified to be polled

A new study by online pollster Mister Poll has suggested that contrary to popular belief, Americans might not be qualified enough to participate in polls. The poll tries to identify the relationship between various personality traits of people with their propensity for being polled. The results clearly show that the segments of society most vociferously trying to make their opinions known to public are the teenaged female segment and the male segment of population wallowing in the throes of mid-life crises. Also, the topics most likely to receive the most patronage from these segments were polls related to sex and / or nudity.

This poll to verify the validity of all previous polls, was carried out under US Congressional guidance, who was getting increasingly wary about strange and nonsensical trends that were beginning to manifest themselves lately in many polls. For instance, in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, even with the shadow of possibly more than 10,000 dead in the resulting floods, a majority of Americans who were polled refused to hold anyone responsible for this tragedy, also refusing to ask for anyone to be fired for incompetence. On the other hand, when it came to rising gas prices, people were quick to hold the president and oil companies responsible, even demanding an investigation into the matter. The results of these two polls basically indicated that if Americans had any kind of complaint with hurricane Katrina, it was that instead of water, it didn't rain barrels of crude oil.

Dr Timothy Schlesinger of the American Institute of Common Sense (AICS), when asked to comment on these strange new polling trends said, "Lately, it has become a matter of policy for all administrations to implement public policy decisions based on poll numbers, and not on informed rational reasoning. In that respect, it is important to note that the constituency the government is relying on to base it's policy-making upon, is mostly composed of teenaged girls with raging hormones, who usually cannot be relied on even to make basic household decisions and depressed suicidal men who quite possibly might desire the end of all mankind."

On being polled whether they agreed with this new poll, Americans, in a huge majority of 100% said no, thus leading Congress to quash it's findings.

An apology to Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter

A 2 foot long alligator escaped from his pen, waddled down to the Allegheny river and swam downstream, where a group of friends spotted him among the weeds growing on the bank of the river.

" Nicki Hilliard, of Tarentum, said she saw the alligator and shouted to her friends before she took off after it. 'She was brave enough to grab his mouth,' said Hamm's mother, Ruth. 'She said she'd seen 'Crocodile Hunter' and knew you had to keep its mouth shut.'"

I guess I owe the crocodile hunter an apology after calling him an irritating Australian prick yesterday. Even though my opinion about him being an irritating prick stays the same, maybe he does have a reason for existing.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Revenge of the invertebrates

A strange new kind of aquatic parasite has been discovered, preying on fish. The modus operandi of this new parasitic louse is to gobble up the tongue of a fish, attach itself to the stub where the tongue used to be and then proceed to drink the blood oozing out of the wound. It also acts as a prosthetic tongue for the fish.

(Fish to friend : God I feel lousy tonight)

Before you go check your tongue in the mirror for any sign of protruding eyes, rest assured that this bug does not prey on humans (at least upto the time this article went to press), but only on fish. That too, fish which have a big mouth and can't stop yapping on and on about their shiny new fins and how they get more tail than anybody else in the bowl.

This is what the louse looks like when it is not being a nasty little son of a bitch.

(Courtesy BBC)

Bill Gates funds fake research institute by mistake, asks for money back

Bill Gates is reportedly suing the Seattle based Discovery Institute after it refused to return the 10 million dollars donation the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation made to it over a period of 5 years.

As anyone familiar with the whole Evolution / Intelligent Design / Flying Spaghetti Monster controversy knows, the Discovery Institute is a fake research organization dedicated to the propagation of the Intelligent Design "theory", which purportedly tries to prove that man did not actually evolve from apes but was ejaculated by God, after a nightlong session of passionate intercourse with the Firebreathing Galactic Serpent.

Bill Gates, when asked to comment, replied, "Our foundation, as everyone knows, is a philanthropic organization dedicated to the cause of education. I thought we were pledging funds to the Discovery Channel, you know, the one with the irritating Australian prick who sleeps with rattlesnakes and fingers crocodiles to an orgasm. Unfortunately, I sent it to the wrong outfit. Little did we know that our money was going to some two-bit religious quackhouse which makes a mockery out of science and is trying to inseminate theology into an otherwise scientific topic. We, at Microsoft, do not believe in Intelligent Design. We develop all our software in-house, and it's very obvious if you look closely at our software that no Intelligent Design ever went into any of our products."

When asked if his mistake had made his wife, Melinda Gates, angry at him, Gates replied, "Yeah she was pretty mad. You know women, every million dollars mistakenly donated to the wrong research institute is a million dollars less spent on buying shoes. In fact she was so pissed that she just went ahead and upgraded my home computer to Windows XP Service Pack 2. Service Pack 2, imagine that. I wouldn't do that to my worst enemy. Nothing works anymore now. You've got to be pretty mad at someone to punish them like that."

The Discovery Institute has refused to return the 10 million dollar check Bill Gates mailed them, reportedly saying "No. Money like. Money not give back."

In related news, Steve Jobs of Apple Computer, trying to keep up with the Gateses, has started donating money to a new foundation attempting to convert seawater into oil.