Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Found: Reason why Bush misjudged Iraq situation

Study finds Americans are so sleep-deprived, they're making mitsakes at work; prefer sleep to sex; are too tired to remember the third thing. Over to ABC News: Poll: Most American Adults Sleep Poorly

Canada owes us an apology

There’s a new Celine Dion perfume. They are calling it “Belong” and not “Eau de No-Talent, Horse-Faced, Has-Been Singer” as a farker suggested. Celine Dion is Canadian. She shot to fame even in small town India because of that horribly sugary Titanic song that could trigger a diabetes epidemic among middle-aged men across the world. Canada has not apologised for her songs or these recent scents.

“In Belong, Celine reveals a little bit more of the woman Coty has come to know behind the scenes,” Eric Thoreux, president, Coty Beauty Americas, said in a recent statement.

“The new fragrance reflects where Celine is right now in her life—enjoying her family when she is out of the spotlight. Dion was involved in every aspect of the development of “Belong”, which has a modern floral Oriental scent, including the design of the bottle, a pentagon shape that represents her lucky number five.

Should Canada apologise? If it decides to how about killing two birds with one stone? Include Bryan Adams too.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The bum does it again

The Colonel with one of his female bodyguards.
(Photo courtesy: AFP © AgenceFrancePresse)

Moammer Gaddafi of Libya is the kind of schmuck I would love to meet some day. Only to ask, how does he manage to look like what he looks like, a schmuck.

When God lines up the worst folks from the planet for rounds of lashes, the mighty pair of Moammer will be on the line for sure, and he deserves about a thousand just for wearing that ugly pair of sunglasses in a summit meeting.

The Army captain toppled King Idris in the summer of 1969 and since then neither Libyans and nor the rest of us here have managed to push him to the back of our minds for this guy pulls one stunt or the other to demand a piece of history being written.

Here’s the latest. At the ongoing Arab League Summit, he was smoking while important speeches by heads of states were on.

“As Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali opened the summit with an address at the podium, Gaddafi — dressed in flowing white robes — asked an aide for a cigarette and lit up. He smiled broadly and puffed away as photographers took pictures,” CBS reported.

At last year's summit in Tunis, Gaddafi pulled the same stunt, smoking a cigarette on the conference floor, a violation of the Arab League protocol. Asked later why he did it, he replied, "I am disgusted. It's because of what's going on in reality."

He walked out of the 2003 Summit, angered by its refusal to take up his prominently preposterous proposal for a single Palestinian-Israeli state called "Isratine."

He basically hates Arab League, so this is a very mild form of the legendary things he does to peoples he hates. The BBC profile lists some of 'em:

  • He sent his army into Chad way back in 1985, although with characteristic nerve he has never admitted to it. US severed its relations with Libya in January 1986.
  • Britain had already done that after he got Libyans attacked in central London in 1984. One innocent policewoman lost her life.
  • Libya is a poor Arab country on the Dark Continent, because Gaddafi has squandered the oil-rich Libyan money in things he indulges in like designer clothes, designer shoes, designer shades and terrorism.
  • Americans had bombed Tripoli, the capital, to kill him for being such an ass, but he survived. His daughter was among the 101 dead.
  • Soon after the bombing, a ship was stopped by French police and found to be carrying arms from Libya for the IRA.
  • Libya, it is largely understood, ordered the Lockerbie bombing in 1988, when a Pan Am plane was brought down over Scotland.

But last year he paid off the victims’ families and bought peace with America and UK.

He is now the lovable bum of international politics, who thinks he’s not given enough importance by Arab League, even if you keep the rest of the world aside.

People would love to hate some quirky old man in chic shades, accompanied by a phalanx of gun-toting female bodyguards. Yes, he feels insecure surrounded by male bodyguards in a country where most women stay behind the four walls of their husband’s house.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Loo-t at political leaders' houses

Even the houses of Members of Parliament are not safe from thieves. Sanitary fittings have gone missing from the houses of at least four MPs on high-security Ferozeshah Soad not too far from Parliament House over the past few days, according to a Press Trust of India report.

Pipes, taps, mirrors and even a solar heater plate have been stolen from the houses of Capt. Jai Narayan Prasad Nishad (phew... his name is longer than the list of stolen items), Vijay Singh, Vinod Kumar and Sushila Kerketa.

The thieves entered a bathroom of Kerketa's 13-A Ferozeshah Road house on Sunday and made off with some taps and shower fittings, a relative of the Jharkhand MP said. She said a police complaint had been filed but there had been no results so far.

Ukraine II in Kyrgyzstan

The Opposition, which lost an election rigged by the ruling party, in Ukraine forced the corrupt rulers to respect public opinion. A re-election took place, the Opposition won next time, but its supporters did not leave downtown Kiev until their leader was sworn in as President. That's what you call people power.

That people power is on display in Kyrgyzstan, another country that like Ukraine, came into existence after the Soviet Republic broke up. The Opposition has taken control of many cities in an attempt to repeat what happened in Kiev some time ago.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Back in Amdavad

New resolutions in the changing Age

1. Never agree to fly early in the morning. And yes 10 o’ clock is early for us nightly creatures. And the flight was at 6.10. So there I was at the airport reporting at check-in counter at 5.57. "Too late sir," was a curt response from the babe sitting on the other side. She smiled the smile of the revenge killer after the knife has drilled a hole in the heart. "But hey there is this freak fog, the flight is gonna be delayed any way," was a quick one from this side. "No show, sir. It's full. I am told, about four ours later, by my would-have-been co-passenger that the flight took off at 7. And people were boarding till 6.30. And nearly 50 seats were not warmed. Joy of Flying, my left foot.

2. Never drive to the airport thinking it's just a couple of days. I saw the tariff card very closely today. By the time I am back, I would have to pay a fortune to get my car back.

3. It's Dandi March Redux here. It's kind of a festival. Gandhiji defied the British in a symbolic event, he walked to Dandi and made salt. So all the Congressis are here to walk the same path 75 years after Gandhi Baba. Flights are full, the arrival lounge was full of folks shouting slogans for wheoever's face they could recognise.

4. Sworn enemies BJP to RJP to Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela and BJP leader and Keshubhai Patel (both former chief ministers) were spotted talking to each other. They both hate the present chief minister, Narendra Modi. Vaghela is the Opposition's leader, and Patel is the Opposition camp leader. Gujarat BJP has always had an Opposition camp within.

5. It's a reunion here. I am meeting people I hadn't seen in five years. People I taught and some I learned from. And I am also meeting people from Delhi I hadn't seen in months. Some are here to cover the Dandi March and some are here for the same event as I. And it's not the Dandi March. If I could walk, I would be slimmer.

6. A lot of water has gone under the Sabarmati since I was here last. The earthquake that killed thousands and the riots that killed thousands are just two of them. The city looks the same, good old upward-looking, money-making Amdavad. There is a lot of traffic, the roads are better. I could see Sardar Sarovar water flowing in the canal on the outskirts. Can’t imagine some from the same affable, god-fearing vegetarians turned into monsters after Godhra. Amdavad was the worst hit by the way.

The next morning

1. Sonia Gandhi has flagged off the Dandi yatra. She didn’t take the 232 km walk. She doesn’t need to. One non-khaadi man I could recognise was Rahul Bose the actor.
2. All the rooms in all the good hotels are full. Most descent hotels are hosting Congress leaders. Gandhiji lived, at least his public life, like a sage in one piece of cloth in an ashram, from where today’s yatra began. The 75th anniversary of his yatra is full of people in designer kurtas, staying in five-star hotels, some of the non-believers in non-violence. One Congress leader from Delhi was flaunting her Vertu mobile phone. No Vertu costs less than 3 lakh rupees. And yes, Rahul Bose The actor was also there.

And an addition to the rules

1. Do not go for Gujarati thaali, even if you are dying to taste the local delicacies. And if you believe in not wasting food, you will sin. Gluttony is one of the seven sins.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Stung twister: Thus speaks the Babu brain

Life is not fair, I tell you. These days, one can’t even take an honest bribe peacefully. ’Swear on Shibu Soren, this is the heights.

But remember, tomorrow everything will be okay, wads and all. It’s not that we are the first ones to take favours to give favours. We will not be the last ones either, rest assured.

Every Delhiite has his day. Today, it happens to be us. With TV showing us -—innocent, god-fearing government servants -- in poor light. These hidden cameras do not even have proper lighting, I tell you. Neighbours, who have known it all this while, suddenly aren’t looking at me with envy.

These Aaj Tak people, I tell you. It has taken half a century for the country to get used to the give and take equation, and now they are telling people it’s wrong. It happened even during Mahatma Gandhi’s time. Gandhi baba once wrote: “Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today.”

Inevitable products of democracy, you see. Hypocrisy, too, is a product of democracy and no sales tax is levied on this. Tell me what department is free of corruption. Tell me, na? Arre, come with me and I will show you corruption even in the anti-corruption department.

We got caught because we were not hypocrites. We take it over the table. Nothing unofficial about it. And look at the mess our honesty has landed us in. Who said honesty is the best policy? Honesty is the best politics, baba.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. You go to a restaurant, you tip the waiter. Service tax, baba. Are we worse than a waiter? No respect for people, who studied 18 hours a day to pass that government exam where some 18 lakh students sit every year and 18 are selected? No reward for hard work, huh?

Now politicians and even senior bureaucrats are suspending us and hurling all kinds of abuses. As if we didn’t pay a share. We pay every time we want a reasonable transfer. We pay monthly, annually and generally all the time.

And I ask you citizens to be not afraid of us and continue cooperating in future. Let such small stings not mar our mutual understanding of more than 50 years. We’ll be back. And please don’t come with cash to office for some time. We can deal somewhere else before I appoint an agent outside the building. And remember what Saul Alinsky said: He who fears corruption fears life.

If poor Saul isn’t your favourite writer, try Peter Ustinov’s “Corruption is nature’s way of restoring our faith in democracy.”

India is the world’s largest democracy. Have faith.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

This one does. If you cut your penis, don't eat it.

"If you cut your sex organ and then eat it, then something is wrong with you." said the judge. This sure is a painfully funny case. Here is the full story.

Nothing can beat this!

Man, too scared to commit suicide, takes out contract on his own life. Turns out the hitmen weren't so great, either. Read it here.

Kahat Cabir slow bhai sad ho!

An italicised look at a day in an age where mobile phones get viral. The News straight up. Our views in itals.

There is good news and bad news. First the good news: the commwarrior.a virus isn't spreading as fast as initially feared. The bad news: it IS spreading, however slow.

Researchers at F-Secure, a Finnish mobile security firm, who have been analysing the code reported on Tuesday that while the infection does send itself on to other phones using the multimedia messaging service (MMS), it does so very slowly, leaving a time delay of anything from 15 minutes to several hours between propagation attempts. Analysis has revealed that the infection is not spreading rapidly because of coding flaws in its design.

"This thing has been out since January and if it operated at peak efficiency we would all have had it by now," said Mikko Hypponen, head of F-Secure's laboratory.

"Another factor holding it back is the relatively low number of people using MMS. Here in Finland most people get MMS as standard, but that's not the case for most of the rest of the world."

Yes, dear Hypponen, we in India do not get MMS as standard and we always regretted it. We have changed our minds now. Who knows what message has an inbuilt commwarrior to destroy our smart phone? The trouble with emails and now MMSs is that we are tempted to open them, even if we aren't sure about the content. Those tricky names like realhotgirl don't help either.

The virus is also capable of spreading via Bluetooth to other mobile phones. Once on a mobile and activated the virus displays the text 'OTMOP03KAM HET!' This is Russian and means roughly "No to braindeads."

OK, now Russian Guy, who are you calling braindeads? Your virus is a dud. Couldn't even write a virus right, you lazy bum. It can't even spread itself properly.

The first ever mobile phone virus, proof of concept code called Cabir, also originated in Russia.

Hey folks by the Moskva, don't you have other things to do like killing some Aslan Maskhadov. Come on, get off our mobile phones, man. These phones aren't Chechen rebels.

It was thought to be the work of the 29a hacking group, well known for writing proof-of-concept viruses with no harmful payloads.

What no harmful payloads? Cabir turned all those sexy 6600s into turtles, they are slower than a vodka-laden Russian. Besides Cabir ate a lot of battery. And by the way, the virus' name sounded like one of our great poets. And w take offence to that.