Saturday, May 28, 2011


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lord of War (Warning: contains spoilers)

Where there is a will, there is a weapon

Yuri Orlov: There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That's one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other eleven?

Yuri Orlov: The reason I'll be released is the same reason you think I'll be convicted. I *do* rub shoulders with some of the most vile, sadistic men calling themselves leaders today. But some of these men are the enemies of *your* enemies. And while the biggest arms dealer in the world is your boss--the President of the United States, who ships more merchandise in a day than I do in a year--sometimes it's embarrassing to have his fingerprints on the guns. Sometimes he needs a freelancer like me to supply forces he can't be seen supplying. So. You call me evil, but unfortunately for you, I'm a necessary evil.

Yuri Orlov's (Nicholas Cage) four rules in Gun Running.

1. Never get shot with your own merchandise.
2. Always have a fool proof way to get paid.
3. Never pick up a gun and join your customer.
4. Never go to war. Especially with yourself.

The movie begins with Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage) matter-of-factly stating, "There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That's one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other eleven?" The opening credits then follow the journey of a bullet from a munitions assembly line in the eastern bloc to the head of a small African boy.

The rest of the movie is told in flashback, starting in the 1980s and ending to where he is now.

Through voiceover, Yuri Orlov describes how he first became an arms dealer. Yuri and his family came to the U.S. from Ukraine as a young boy. His family pretends to be Jewish for favorable immigration conditions. His family owns a restaurant, which is useful, "because people are always going to have to eat." After Yuri sees a Russian Mafia boss kill his two would-be assassins, he decides to provide another necessity: guns.

Before beginning his career in earnest, he approaches Simeon Weisz, a seasoned arms dealer, at an arms convention with a business proposal. Weisz turns him down, dismissing him as an amateur. He partners up with his brother, Vitaly (Jared Leto), and begins selling arms. Yuri keeps his multiple identities and paperwork in a security container. It starts small and begins with him selling US M-16 rifles they left behind from the 1982 Lebanon War.

As he grows, Yuri (through voiceover) tells of his first incident with Jack Valentine (Ethan Hawke) , a dogged Interpol agent who can't be bought with money. The first encounter in the movie is when Yuri is on the ship Kristol smuggling a shipment of weapons, including M16s. He gets a call stating that the authorities have been tipped off; Yuri changes the ship name to the Kono and uses a French flag turned sideways to seem like a Dutch flag, and the first encounter with Jack Valentine smoothly plays out in Yuri's favor.

During his latest business deal with a Colombian drug lord, Yuri is paid in cocaine instead of cash. Yuri objects, is shot in the heated exchange, agrees to the deal, and leaves in a taxi with the load of cocaine. Vitaly is unsure of what to do next and asks Yuri what to do. Yuri answers by saying "let's celebrate". They both end up snorting cocaine, but Vitaly becomes addicted, and Yuri takes him to a rehabilitation center. From then on, Yuri conducts the arms business alone. Shortly thereafter, he begins to court Ava Fontaine, a successful model. After booking a fake photo shoot for $20,000 and the entire hotel for $12,000 he successfully courts her and they later marry and have a son.

His business is still relatively small, but finally Yuri gets his big break when the Soviet Union dissolves. Gorbachev's Christmas Day 1991 resignation speech is shown on television, which Yuri is more interested in than his family. He contacts his uncle, Dimitri, a general of the former Red Army, now left in bureaucractic limbo, as the new Ukrainian government and military are in the infancy of their organization. Taking him onside with his business, Yuri buys Dimitri's tanks and AK-47s to expand his inventory. Meanwhile, Interpol agent Jack Valentine stalks Yuri, nearly catching him when Yuri is loading weaponry, along with an old model Mi-24 Hind onto a Russian ship bound for Burkina Faso. Fortunately, Yuri discovers a loophole in the law banning the export of military helicopters — if unarmed and converted to civilian use, their export is not prohibited. The weapons are removed and shipped separately. Valentine growls about the loopholes and vows that they will be closed, but has no choice but to release Yuri.

Shortly after this, Dimitri is assassinated by a car bomb — compliments of Weisz. Yuri moves onto selling arms to the West African dictator of Liberia, AndrĂ© Baptiste (based on Charles Taylor). Jack Valentine continues his pursuit of Yuri, confident that he will eventually slip up. Jack doggedly searches the garbage of the Orlov household. After painstakingly reconstructing a dumpster full of Yuri's shredded documents he discovers that Yuri will soon be making a cargo run to Sierra Leone.

Yuri's cargo plane, an Antonov An-12 is intercepted by an L-39 jet trainer. Yuri instructs the pilot to land the plane on a dirt road, knowing the fighter will not be able to land there. After landing safely, and having been deserted by the plane's crew, he gives the entire shipment of arms away to passers-by. When Jack Valentine finally arrives, the plane is empty, and there is no evidence of the arms shipment. Jack deliberately keeps Yuri detained for twenty-four hours (the longest detention allowed without charge), before he is forced to release him, because, as he argues, any delay in the arms trade saves lives. Yuri is just left unguarded in the wild for 24 hours with handcuffs on. In the meantime, all removable parts of the plane are stripped off by locals.

By now, Yuri has established a very good relationship with André Baptiste, but is horrified when Baptiste captures Weisz as a "present." Baptiste invites Yuri to kill Weisz. When Yuri refuses, Baptiste puts the gun in his hand while slowly pulling the trigger himself. Yuri is invited to say "stop" at any time, but only says it after the shot. Soon after this incident, Yuri sniffs "brown-brown," a mixture of cocaine and gunpowder, and becomes extremely intoxicated by the mixture. At a point in his delirium, he has sex with an African prostitute, despite the uncomfortably high probability that she is HIV positive. Jack keeps Yuri under surveillance, and reveals to Ava that Yuri is an arms dealer. At first, she does not believe him, but begins to realize the truth. Ava confronts him about his business, and he promises that he will stop. He makes more legal deals to exploit the resources of poor nations, but complains that the margins are low and competition is high. A year later, Baptiste and his son come over and visit Yuri (they are heading to the United Nations) with another arms deal offer. Yuri initially refuses, but when Baptiste indicates that he will be much more generous than usual, Yuri relents.

He takes Vitaly along to the deal, which turns out to be in Sierra Leone. However, during the deal, Vitaly becomes distressed: he sees men kill a mother and child in a nearby village of unarmed civilians and tells Yuri that their customers will kill all the villagers right after Yuri sells the weapons. He pleads with Yuri to cancel the shipment. Yuri, who goes by the slogan, "It's not our battle," tries to convince him that someone else will sell the weapons if they don't; he also argues that both of them will be killed if they try to cancel the deal. Vitaly pretends to agree. But in a bold act, he takes two grenades and destroys half of Yuri's shipments; the guards then kill Vitaly. Of the incident, Yuri says that it was true that the village dwellers were massacred after he handed the weapons over, but, "There were half a dozen other massacres that week. They say that 'evil prevails when good men fail to act.' It ought to be 'evil prevails.'"

Yuri ships his brother's remains back to the United States. He pays someone to remove the bullets from Vitaly's body, but one bullet remains, and Yuri is stopped by customs. Meanwhile, while being followed by Jack Valentine, Ava finds Yuri's security container, who finally has the definitive proof to imprison Yuri. Ava takes their son and leaves him. When Yuri calls his parents, his mother says, "Both my sons are dead." Valentine tells Yuri that he has a long jail sentence ahead of him, but Yuri abruptly brings him back to reality. In a bold statement, he proclaims that the United States government is a much bigger supplier of arms than him, that some of Orlov's customers are useful to US foreign policy (i.e. "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"), and that to put him on trial would bring too many embarrassing revelations. He tells Valentine that there will be a knock at the door, and that a high ranking military officer will be standing outside, and that he will order Yuri's release. Valentine realizes this reality and states, "I would tell you to go to hell, but I think you're already there." A few seconds later, there is a knock at the door, and events proceed as Yuri predicted.

A free man again, and without his family and friends, he returns to selling arms. In the closing scene of the film, he is in North Africa and gives two guards a packaging slip for a shipment of umbrellas. "Umbrellas? In the Sahara?" one guard asks incredulously. "Sun umbrellas," Yuri says. The guards lift up the slip — revealing a plush bribe — and both guards immediately wave them through. The movie ends by proclaiming that the U.S., the UK, France, Russia and China (the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council) are the world's leading arms dealers and ends with, "This film is based on actual events.", as the camera rolls over thousands of bullets (symbolic of all the weapons Yuri has sold) until they fade away and the credits pursue.

The visual journey of a bullet from its "birth" in a manufacturing facility in an Eastern bloc country to its "death" through the head of a teenage African kid has the song "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield:

For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield

There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away

We better stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, now, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

According to Andrew Niccol, the filmmakers worked with actual gunrunners in the making of the film. The tanks lined up for sale were owned by a gunrunner who had to have them back to sell to another country. They used a real stockpile of over 3,000 AK-47s because it was cheaper than getting prop guns. The gunrunners were more cooperative and efficient than the studio or the crew.

Yuri Orlov is a composite of five real arms dealers.

No US studios would back the film. International finances were secured instead.

The tanks seen in the movie were real and belonged to a Czech arms-dealer.

Before shooting the scene where tanks were lined up for sale, the filmmaker had to warn NATO, lest they think a real war was being started when they see satellite images of the set.

The character of Andre Baptiste is loosely based on famous warlord, and ex-leader of Liberia, Charles Taylor.

Yuri Orlov: Of all the weapons in the vast soviet arsenal, nothing was more profitable than Avtomat Kalashnikova model of 1947. More commonly known as the AK-47, or Kalashnikov. It's the world's most popular assault rifle. A weapon all fighters love. An elegantly simple 9 pound amalgamation of forged steel and plywood. It doesn't break, jam, or overheat. It'll shoot whether it's covered in mud or filled with sand. It's so easy, even a child can use it; and they do. The Soviets put the gun on a coin. Mozambique put it on their flag. Since the end of the Cold War, the Kalashnikov has become the Russian people's greatest export. After that comes vodka, caviar, and suicidal novelists. One thing is for sure, no one was lining up to buy their cars.

Yuri Orlov: Every faction in Africa calls themselves by these noble names - Liberation this, Patriotic that, Democratic Republic of something-or-other... I guess they can't own up to what they usually are: a federation of worse oppressors than the last bunch of oppressors. Often, the most barbaric atrocities occur when both combatants proclaim themselves freedom-fighters.

Yuri Orlov: There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That's one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?

Yuri Orlov: There are two types of tragedies in life. One is not getting what you want, the other is getting it

Simeon Weisz: The problem with gun runners going to war, is that there is no shortage of ammunition.

Yuri Orlov: Enjoy it.
Jack Valentine: What?
Yuri Orlov: This. Tell me I'm everything you despise. That I'm the personification of evil. That I'm what- responsible for the breakdown of the fabric of society and world order. I'm a one-man genocide. Say everything you want to say to me now. Because you don't have long. The reason I'll be released is the same reason you think I'll be convicted. I *do* rub shoulders with some of the most vile, sadistic men calling themselves leaders today. But some of these men are the enemies of *your* enemies. And while the biggest arms dealer in the world is your boss - the President of the United States, who ships more merchandise in a day than I do in a year - sometimes it's embarrassing to have his fingerprints on the guns. Sometimes he needs a freelancer like me to supply forces he can't be seen supplying. So. You call me evil, but unfortunately for you, I'm a necessary evil.

Friday, January 18, 2008

New amendments to the ICC Cricket Rules

(In the wake of the second test match between India and Australia at the SCG ...)

Here are the new amendments:

Amendment 1.1 — LBW rule
It is no longer necessary for the ball to hit the pad for a leg before wicket appeal to be successful. The ball can hit the bat or even miss the player completely. As long as the leg is before the wicket, it can be deemed out. The batsman or his pads have no required legal involvement in this process.

Amendment 1.2 — The Caught behind rule (converse of LBW rule),
The batsman will be deemed caught behind, if the ball makes it to the wicketkeeper’s gloves. No contact with the bat is necessary. As the rule implies in its apt naming, the ball has only to be caught behind the stumps. The batsman and his bat have no required legal involvement in this process.

Amendment 2.1 — The Catch rule
Gully cricket rules will be expressly observed in this regard. The ball can reach the fielders’ hands after one bounce, and can be claimed as a catch. The ball can be caught after the bounce, with one hand or two hands, as per the fielder’s discretion. It’s mandatory for the catcher to make a dive or roll over after grabbing the ball.

Amendment 2.1 — sub clause
i) In the above case, the umpire, if in doubt, can outsource the decision to the fielding team captain, who can then convey his decision directly to the batsman. This will be known as the ‘Bangalore Amendment’.

Amendment 3.1 — TV Umpire rule
Whenever a decision is referred to the third umpire (TV umpire) it is not legally binding for the said umpire to be watching the cricket channel on his/her TV in the umpires box. The TV can be tuned to any channel, as long as it is not beaming racially insensitive programming. The mere matter of the impending decision can be sorted out by the TV umpire in the commercial break of the programming he/she is enjoying.

The decision can be made on a random‘eanie-meanie-minah-mo’ basis of selection. No proof or reference/attribution to on-field occurrence is necessary in such decisions.

Amendment 5.1 — the Racism hearing rule (also referred to as the Guilty until proven Innocent rule)
This rule states that any sub-continental player accused of any charge by the opposing team is guilty. No proof or evidence is required. The player must be banned for 1/2/3 Test matches, the punishment being directly proportionate to the nuisance value of said player to the accusing opposition. The charges for imposing a ban can be racial abuse, verbal abuse, stealing helmet, having an extra sandwich at teatime or not saying ‘excuse me’ after an on-field sneeze.

So, there you have it, poor Mr Bucknor and Mr Benson are not at fault, because these amendments came into effect with the 2nd India-Australia Test match. It’s a pity that only one team knew the new rules.

Evil roommate’s observation of the week: The racial abuse hearing was judged by a White South African?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

And the (Cricket) Oscar goes to...

Best actor
Umpiring in his fifth consecutive World Cup final, this award goes to West Indies' Steve Bucknor. His decision-making has slowed down so much that even in slow-motion it looks pretty fast. Notice that he is usually looking at the stumps below his zinc-ked nose while giving decisions reluctantly.

Best film... oops match
The only award for which there were few candidates, actually just two. The last Super 8 match when England beat West Indies by 1 wicket and 1 ball remaining. The unlucky one: South Africa beating Sri Lanka with 1 wicket in hand after Lasith Malinga had claimed four wickets in a row.

Critics award for best actor
Matthew Hayden of Australia. Until last year he was not even being considered for the World Cup. Until Saturday night he was the leading scorer of the World Cup.

Critics award for best film
Ireland, for beating Pakistan, and Bangladesh, for defeating India.

Best actor(s) in a sad role
Captains, Brian Lara and Inzamam-ul Haq. Both had sob-sob sendoffs. The first one decided to quit international cricket completely and the second stepped down as ODI captain.

Best actor in a supporting role
Tom Moody, Sri Lanka's coach: Did anyone hear anything from him, including wanting to coach India, during the last two months. Perfectly cast, always in the background, yet with an important role to play.

Best actor in a comic role
Andrew Flintoff of England for his outstanding performance of getting drunk, falling into the sea and then having to be rescued. He was suitably rewarded as England stripped him off as vice-captain.

Best actor in a villainous role
Greg Chappell. For taking a team of talented players and winning only one match, against lowly Bermuda.

Best dialogue
Two nominees, both Dutch captain Lucas Petrus van Troost. First, after the match against South Africa when Herschelle Gibbs hit six sixes in an over: "Before the match we told ourselves, we'll make history and we made it."

And the second, after losing to Australia and South Africa, and on the eve of their match against Scotland: "After two warm-up matches, we're ready for the big one."

Best debut
Shaun Tait. Fast, young, bowls wides and no-balls, troubles all batsmen.

Best make-up
Lasith Malinga. Fuzzy, tinted and bouncing hair, zinc on face, pouting lips and for hurling the ball out of somewhere over the umpire's left shoulder.

Best choreography
Ireland captain Trent Johnson's bizarre jig when he leaps on one foot, then the other while flapping his arm. The chicken dance, as it's being called now, is the in-thing at all fashionable dos in Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Best guest appearance
Marvan Atapattu of Sri Lanka. Like in 1996, this former captain has failed to play a single match.

Best story and director
Malcolm Speed of the ICC for giving a World Cup which had everything including a murder mystery.

Best screenplay
For the Bangladesh vs Ireland match which was actually supposed to be an India vs Pakistan tie.

Best editing
For the Sri Lankan (81-2, 10) bowlers for finishing a 100-over match in just 37.2 overs against Ireland (77, 27.4).

Best action
The 120 kg-weighing (a conservative figure) Bermuda's Russell Dwayne Mark Leverock gravity-defying successful effort to pluck an edge by Robin Uthappa at first slip.

Lifetime achievement award
It was a World Cup of veteran thespians and, hence, quite a few candidates. But this award goes to Dustin Hoffman.. err to Glenn McGrath who might be tempted to reconsider his retirement decision after this.

Best Art movie
Team India.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

na tum jaano na hum: An explaination for the unenlightened..

kyon chalti hai pawan => Due to varying pressure zone formation
kyon jhoome hai gagan => Because of earth's revolution
kyon machalta hai mann => Problems with respiration
na tum jaano na hum => But I just gave all the reasons!
kyon aati hai bahaar => Because of a change in season
kyon lutata hai karaar => Suffering from mental tension
kyon hota hai pyaar => Because of opposites' attraction
na tum jaano na hum => Seems you didn't pay enough attention
kyon gum hai har disha => Because you have a poor sense of direction
kyon hota hai nasha => Because of drug addiction
kyon aata hai mazaa => Brains response to physical sensation
na tum jaano na hum => Even after all the EXPLANATION!!!! C'mon

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Simple rules to live by

No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"

What other people think of you is none of your business.

Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your family and friends will. Stay in touch.

Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful, or joyful.

Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

The best is yet to come.

No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.

Do the right thing.

Call your mother and father often.

Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

Enjoy the ride. Remember that this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Top 10 Unconventional IPOD uses

Top 10 uses of an iPod you'd never expect

You may be used to seeing people listen to iPods on the train. You may even use one yourself in the gym or while walking the dog. However, the rise of the iPod has prompted generations of developers - and creative end-users - to exploit possibilities other than simply listening to music or watching videos.

Record flight data
The little white box can also be used as black box. One airplane modification company, LoPresti Speed Merchants, has apparently added iPod integration to its Fury line of planes, with a view to using the MP3 player as an in-flight data recorder.
According to LoPresti, the iPod can record more than 500 hours of flight time details as well as act as a voice recorder to capture cockpit conversations and clearances. The company's CEO is also hoping developers will come up with some new aviation applications using the iPod.
The cockpit isn't the only place Apple's MP3 players can be found on aircraft. Seats that connect iPods to aircraft entertainment systems are expected from a number of airlines from this year.

Cut medical bills
Using an iPod can be good for your health, it seems. Radiologists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have developed a system to share images using open source software and the Apple MP3 players.
UCLA's Dr Osman Ratib, whose background is in medical imaging, wanted to find a way to sidestep the $100,000 workstations needed to view high-resolution images that required 3D rendering. So, with help from programmer and fellow radiologist Dr Antoine Rosset, he created OsiriX - an open source application to enable radiologists to teleconference with the images on Mac desktop systems.

Make your desktop ultra portable
Developers have already cottoned on to the potential of the vast storage the iPod packs in. One company has devised a service whereby users can almost carry their laptops inside their iPods.
Once users of the service, which already include some police forces, plug their iPods into another PC, the iPod will present them with their 'home' desktop - files, folders, Outlook emails, preferences, cookies and the like. The system is apparently used by students and salespeople, who regularly use different PCs, as well as police and the military, who need secure access to their desktops.

Improve your tech knowledge
Aside from all the enterprise applications, it's worth remembering the iPod is first and foremost an entertainment device. If you fancy killing some time in between meetings, fill the iPod up with your favourite tunes, music videos or even a TV show or two.
However, one of the more interesting changes the iPod has wrought on broadcasting is the podcast - user-generated content of every stripe and on every subject. If you fancy genning up on tech in your lunch hour, there's a thousand and one podcasts to suit, available from the iTunes Store.

Polish your bowling
Technology is now even inveigling its way into the fusty world of cricket. According to reports, the England team have been given clips of their opponents' batting and bowling to be played on video iPods to help prepare for matches during the Cricket World Cup.
Reuters reports that team members have long been used to studying such footage on PCs but the decision to put clips on iPods is a recent one. Apparently the gadget-laden cricketers have had footage put on their games consoles too.

Run Linux
Both Linux and Apple products bring out the fanboy in geeks the world over. Now one band of souls is working on uniting them in an iPod running on Linux. The LinuxiPod project has been running for years and has successfully installed Linux on several generations of iPod.
And if all that were not enough to warm the cockles of the techiest techie, the iPod Linux lot have also managed to install playable if not high spec versions of Doom on iPods.

Turn it into an enterprise haven
All that lovely storage is just crying out to be used for business purposes. Should you feel so inclined, you can buy a microphone that fits into your iPod and records audio - essentially turning the device into a Dictaphone. And with up to 80GB knocking around, even the longest of meetings can be stored for posterity.
As well as massive audio files, you could use the iPod as a larger version of a USB memory stick and keep all the documents and spreadsheets you need for portable use. And the iPod is equipped with a host of personal information management (PIM) tools, with several solid applications out there for helping you do even more with your PIM - including iSync, which as the name would suggest, lets you sync all your calendaring and contacts between your iPod and your computer.

Get some education
Schools and universities are already waking up to the potential of the iPod as an educational tool, podcasting lectures, making audiobooks available for students and using iPods to record music lessons for example.
Duke University in the US even took to giving away free iPods to all incoming students hoping to encourage them to make use of them for education purposes. Some Scottish schools have also experimented with a more straightforward iPod-as-bribery tool, rewarding healthy eaters with one of the shiny devices.

Commit theft
What looks more innocuous than an iPod hooked up to a PC? What some employers have come to realise is that not every worker is filling up their MP3 player with music - they may be filling it up with sensitive corporate data, a practice that fraud investigators have observed and which has spawned the term 'pod-slurping'.
Other members of the criminal fraternity have been turning to the iPod to store the particulars of their nefarious acts, including details of identity thefts. Which is rather handy for the police when they turn up to investigate and find an iPod packed full of vital evidence.

Personalise it
There's a world of applications out there to give your iPod a flash new look. Don't like the font? There's an app that can change it. Fancy putting some new wallpaper on your iPod? There's one that can do that too. There's even some third-party apps that will act almost as RSS readers and suck content such as weather and news updates onto the device every time it is connected to an internet-enabled PC.
And if you fancy making sure your iPod stays yours, some developers have come up with an anti-theft application. If the software in question is installed, the next time the iPod is connected to an internet-enabled PC, it will betray the thief by sending information on its whereabouts to its original owner.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Ant and the Grasshopper

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant's a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant's a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

NDTV, BBC, CNN show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house. Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other grasshoppers demanding that grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter. Amnesty International and Koffi Annan criticize the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the grasshopper.

The Internet is flooded with on-line petitions seeking support to the grasshopper (many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace for prompt support as against the wrath of God for noncompliance). Opposition MP's stage a walkout. Left parties call for "Bharat Bandh" in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry.CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among ants and grasshoppers.

Lalu Prasad allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the 'Grasshopper Rath'.

Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act [POTAGA]", with effect from the beginning of the winter.

Arjun Singh makes Special Reservation for Grass Hopper in educational Insititutions & in Govt Services.

The ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government and handed over to the grasshopper in a ceremony covered by NDTV.

Arundhati Roy calls it "a triumph of justice". Lalu calls it 'Socialistic Justice'. CPM calls it the 'revolutionary resurgence of the downtrodden' Koffi Annan invites the grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly.

Many years later...The ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multi billion dollar company in silicon valley.100s of grasshoppers still die of starvation despite reservation somewhere in India..

As a result losing lot of hard working, brilliant ants and feeding the grasshoppers, India is still a developing country......

Monday, June 26, 2006


Football. Wonderful Sport. At last a sport that has a ball that’s bigger than your foot. World Cup 2006 is like a rare steak approximately 30 per cent done. And after two weeks of football, let’s see what we have learned exactly.

Let’s start with the spelling, the English spell it football, the Mexicans have an atrocious spelling of Fuzbol, the Ukranians are no better with Fotzbal, and the Ghaneese also erroneously spell it Fietbel, which is almost as bad as the Bengali Photbole or the Malayalee’s Fatboll. What the hell are we trying to teach our children?

We’ve also learned that a fat Ronaldo is far better than a fit Ronaldo. After sleeping through two games, the world’s fattest athlete, (barring three Sumo wrestlers and In-za-mam on weekends), sprang to life with a brace of goals. Fuelled by Atkinson’s initial diet of fries, supplemented with cheeseburgers, Ronaldo finally proved Newton’s fourth law of motion to be entirely and conclusively true. Size does matter. The fatter the better.

We’re also learning that England is not only a country ruled by a Queen, (and please no asides even though it’s coming onto Elton John’s birthday. But for all practical purposes it’s the WAG’s (Wives and girlfriends of footballers), who really are wearing the shorts. These wives led by the world’s most untalented celebrity, ( a record she’s held since Milli Vaniti abdicated and Kishen Kumar retired), miss Posh Beckham, have drunk more beer in a week than the entire colony of East Germany, between 1945 and 1989.

Not to be outdone, Mrs Rooney-to-be, flew from Baden Baden or twice Baden in Germany to Liverpool, and back just to have her hair coloured by her neighbourhood barber, still obviously clinging onto old English prejudices ‘that there are no barbers in Germany, since that close shave in World War II’.

The Germans have been in sublime form and whilst proving to be superb hosts, they are inventing new Germanic phrases every day. For example a German player scratching his groin is referred to as one scratching his Michael Ballacks. Consequently a German player scratching another player’s groin is known simply as Michael Ballack.

The French, whose team’s average age is 57, are showing that you may advance in the world Cup despite having one foot in the grave. Sadly their captain is now a travelling antique,and without Zidane, France looks like Bollywood without the Bachchans. Thierry Henry is suffering from a serious flaw in his game. The flaw, of course, being that he thinks France is his club, and Arsenal his country. A common and hopefully correctable mistake.

We’ve also learnt about a similarity between goalkeeper Fabien Barthez and Zaheera Sheikh. Both keep hoping the balls in someone else’s court. Ghaneese are educating us in a more positive way.

Michael Eisson’s pure poetry with the odd phonetic muddle. But what’s amazing is a six-foot 3-inch, 220 lbs mid-fielder who answers to the name of Ping Pong. Ping Pong’s name and physique are a harsh lesson in mutual incompatibility.

Croatia vs Australia took politics to a new high. The game itself is being served in as a question for Majors in Political Sciences. Seven Australians are from Croatia. Three Croatians were born and live in Australia. Two Croatians are married to Australians. One of whom has returned to Croatia. One Croatian is half Australian on his mother’s side and four Australians speak Croatian as their first language. The good news is that three Australians hadn’t ever heard of Croatia, and one more consistently spelt Croatia with a K.

As Crosby Stills Nash and what’s his name said ‘lets keep following the World Cup and teaching are children well’. Or as more contemporary Missy Elliot says, The Miseducation will continue until further notice from FIFA.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Carved ceiling, Akshardham

Central Quadrangle, Akshardham

Fountains in Akshardham

Shri Swaminarayan statue in Akshardham

Water spigots in shape of cow head in Akshardham Temple

Window to Akshardham

Akshardham Temple

Akshardham Temple lawns

Akshardham Temple at dusk

Resplendent Akshardham at night

Night lights at Akshardham Temple