zigzackly's omnium-gatherum *
|Quid quid latine dictum sit, altum videtur|
Reactions, suggestions, any kind of feedback is always welcome.
We, the Media;
Son of CSF.
Now and then, when Hurree needs a holiday, i pinch-hit at Kitabkhana.
We endorse, approve of, and throughly adore:
Other Thieves of our Time
D Mervin Ffingir writes, and having writ, moves on:
Saturday, July 29, 2006
0.3% of bloggers really do write for themselves.
30% of towel users use the same towel for more than three weeks.
47% of officegoers say The Times of India is a better lunchtime table mat when they're eating at their desks than any other paper. The combination of newsprint for absorbency and glossy paper supplements to prevent seepage is unbeatable.
Where did we get these figires from? They're a DRE estimation.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Guests arriving with presents found themselves cajoled by Blood Kumar and his wife Mangalam to join the blood party, held at a corner of the wedding hall in a busy part of the city.Read.:
Sunday, July 23, 2006
FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting) has an Action Alert out:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency prohibits journalists from having unsupervised interviews with Hurricane Katrina victims who have been relocated to FEMA trailer parks, according to a report in the Baton Rouge Advocate (7/15/06).The alert goes on to describe stuff that would seem natural in a police state, like security guards refusing to allow a reporter to give a victim her business card, not allowing photographs or interviews, and being "chased by the guards in golf carts, who said they would be taking down our license plate and that we couldn't return."
FAIR recommends that you follow the advice on FEMA's website which
urges citizens to report "allegations of civil liberties or civil rights abuses" to the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, who is Richard L. Skinner.Link courtesy Prem Panicker via email.
Regular readers of this blog (hola, zig!) will remember the link we posted in May about the gentleman who had a light bulb (wattage not specified) removed from, um, the end of his digestive tract.
Awab Alvi points us to this story on Yahoo, about a similar case in Multan:
Mohammad, who is serving a four-year sentence for making liquor, prohibited for Muslims, said he was shocked when he was first told the cause of his discomfort. He swears he didn't know the bulb was there.
Friday, July 21, 2006
E-mail is so last millennium. Young people see it as a good way to reach an elder _ a parent, teacher or a boss _ or to receive an attached file. But increasingly, the former darling of high-tech communication is losing favor to instant and text messaging, and to the chatter generated on blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.Read on.
[via Nancy's status message.]
Thursday, July 20, 2006
When the DoT came for the religious fundamentalists,
I remained silent;
I was not a religious fundamentalist.
When they blocked the leftists,
I remained silent;
I was not a leftist.
When they came for the libertarians,
I did not speak out;
I was not a libertarian.
When they came for the litbloggers,
I did not speak out;
I was not a litblogger.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
What the heck, since we're ripping off the good pastor, we might as well continue to sermonise ponderously. Here's what we wrote to the Bloggers Collective early this morning, with a few links added:
Congratulations! (and a but..)
InBlogs, a creation by Yasir Memon and Naveed Memon, which will provide the same service to Indian blog readers as pkblogs was doing so stoutly these past few days.
The Grease Monkey script by Mansoor, designed for Firefox users.
In this email to the Bloggers Collective from which I learned of these goodies, Dr. Awab Alvi, Pakistani blogging community stalwart, says
We seriously thought it was because of a thick and stubborn headed PakistaniThis tool can be downloaded from the the Don’t Block the Blog website, and is credited to Adnan Siddiqui
The good doctor (his specialisation is dentistry, by the way - never thought we'd say nce things about a dentist) goes on to say
We share all these as a gift to build better friends across the border and hope to shed the image of hatred and violence and give way to a peaceful co-existence between to lovely nations.Doctor Saahab, shukriya.
Go along for the ride: 1, 2, 3. The saga will, no doubt, continue here.
For those of you in india, the same links, pkblogs-ised, 1, 2, 3. The saga will, no doubt, continue here.
It's pretty awesome that a small (357 as of this writing) rag-tag group of vociferously disagreeing, rude, loud, opiniated, individualistic soap box orators can get the monolothic powers that be to (or at least their scapegoat) to back down and be sensible.
Whew. Too long, that sentence, especially after the last ten days or so of manic activity around the Mumbai Help blog and wiki, the Bloggers Collective and the Bloggers Against Censorship wikia. Will come back and write more about this, we will (be still your beating heart), unless, of course, someone pays us to do so first. Which reminds us. We have shitloads of deadlines to meet, and all of those people know this URL.
So you go read them links. Especially the BC archives. Much fun. We shall go back to the salt mines.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Just found this while looking for something else
..trade chamber Assocham issued a strong statement saying the movie, directed by Madhur Bhandarkar, shows Corporate India in bad taste by portraying industrial houses as 'ruthless and heartless', other industry bodies like CII and Ficci chose to keep mum and distance themselves from the issue.The movie in question is Corporate, and no, we haven't seen it, so we have no idea if it is, as the FICCI official claims, a work of art.
Flash! Mr Bhandarkar and his producers should use this in their publicity: "a work of art - FICCI"
Friday, July 14, 2006
Indomitable. Unquenchable. The Spirit of Mumbai. [cue violins]
Enough already. You're making me throw up.
A city is a place. A geography. Like a state. Or a country. A municipal ward. A neighbourhood. Boundaries we create. We. Human beings. People.
Tell me, the stuff you saw the other day, the stuff you lived through, tell me now, did it seem all soft-edged and romantic?
Don't get me wrong. I'm awed, choked up, by the heroism. By the struggle against the odds. My heart breaks when I see the pain, the grief. But that's human beings being the best that they can in the face of other human beings being complete evil bastards. It's just the good in all of us showing through. Ain't got nothing to do with the geography. If it did, hey, there's enough heroism to see on a day to day basis on your way to work. If it did come down to the city, why aren't we crying everytime we see babies play in the muck besides the railway lines? Why aren't we breaking down when we watch a legless human being drag himself from car to car at traffic signals asking for money? Why aren't we frigging appalled and stung into action by children working for a living?
Stray thought. So you're pissed off about the TV channels shoving gore on to prime time. Or you're upset about the invasion of privacy. Oh you're disgusted about the way they're promoting themselves on the coat-tails of suffering. Tell me now, they're just showing a different aspect of that same spirit that we love to call the Spirit of Mumbai. They're Getting Down To Business. They're making the most of whatever opportunities life throws their way. They're seeking a share of your viewing time because that't their business. It's the same reason why you took a train to work on Wednesday. Because you must. Or lose out.
Another stray thought. I was exchanging SMSes with a friend. She asked about some Sri Lankan lads I know. She mentioned that one of her friends had been blown up at the Elephant Pass a little while ago. Over there in the "Emerald Isle," they've been getting it in the neck so long it's a part of life for them. You must talk to Morquendi sometime. Anyway.
My friend—the one who I started out the previous paragraph with not the Lankans—said, wouldn't it be great if this was the last of it for the year? Wouldn't it be nice if we had a a year's global armistice? A year without wars, terrorism, bombs, fighting?
A year, I said, A year!? Why not Peace In Our Lifetime? (I talk like that sometimes, In Capitalised Words.) The odds are better for a year, she said.
Is that what we're down to? Hoping for a few months of peace? Oh the humanity.
Oh, and that's a phrase I found reverbrating in my head the last couple of days. I looked it up, but I'm still not clear what it actually means. I'll give you Nilanjana's take instead. She said it better: I don't know what it means, but I know exactly what he meant.
Where was I?
Oh yes. The Spirit of Mumbai. We'll hear a lot of this in the weeks to come. How brave we are. How we never say die. (Tell that to the poor sods who got blown up.) Me? If I had my druthers, I'd prefer that we didn't have to prove ourselves in this way every few years.
Man. I really shouldn't write when I'm angry and depressed at the same time. It gets me into deep shit.
I'd better stop.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
My friend Danish Husain has started a collablog called Writers Against Terrorism. An extract from the first post:
This blog is an attempt by writers to address issues of terrorism, fanatacism, bigotry, war, censorship, human rights violation, women's rights and any act which violates the idea of justice and fairness.We are one of the contributors, though we haven't had the time to post there yet. We'd be happy to send you an inviation too. Leave your email address in the comments, or mail us at zigzackly[AT]gmail[DOT]com.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Awright. So two rockets deep-sixed over the last couple of days. Never mind. We'll still put one on the moon. And Rediff's got a contest going to figure out what you think Chandrayaan will look like.
What do you think Chandrayaan-1 will look like? What should it look like? What kind of special design does it need?
Monday, July 10, 2006
Maria Giovanna, a.k.a. the Filmiholic sent us a link to this New York Times article on travel writing.*
In the interview, Mr. Kohnstamm, a travel writer, described the experience as one of "the darker realities of the job." He added that he stared death in the face on an assignment when the brakes of his car failed on an icy road in the Andes. Other realities of the job, he said, were "being broke, spending massive amounts of time staying in fleabag hotels, and there are aspects of the writing that are just data entry."See, as we told you, it is a lot of hard work. :)
Awright, awright, we haven't gone though any of the bad shit the article describes, and with the exception of being unable to sit comfortably for a couple of months because we had a few minutes of stupidity, and getting chewed by mosquitoes in various parts of India, we quite enjoy our little breaks.
Psst. Shameless self-promoting plug time. We have a little piece on Bombay in the rains in this month's issue.
..how could you?
Saturday, July 08, 2006
But the erudite Professor A Singh has a far better descriptor:
the "Opal Mehta's Arranged Monsoon Marriage Under the Curry-Smelling Mango Trees" school of masalafied Indian fictionDelicious. Now we must quickly memorise it so we can drop it into conversations.
There's these awards, see, a spoof, kinda thing. How it went was they asked their readers to send in the best, er, logos that show, or seem to, the ah, um, not to put too fine a point on it, a penis. And now, they have, um, put up the winners.
That, me children, is the way to train your significant other.
So says Amy Sutherland. And you've got to believe her. She wrote the book. Well, a book. It's called Kicked, Bitten and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers.
Seriously though, the stuff she says makes sense. Reward behavior you would like to see more of. (Though the flip-side, ignoring the stuff you don't like, isn't easy for most of us.) Understand your
A wonderful nostalgia-inducing collection of Indian press advertisements on Cutting the Chai.
Installments one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve.
Link courtesy Neha.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
~ Ogden Nash
Go hang yourself, you old M.D,!
You shall not sneer at me.
Pick up your hat and stethoscope,
Go wash your mouth with laundry soap;
I contemplate a joy exquisite
In not paying you for your visit.
I did not call you to be told
My malady is a common cold.
By pounding brow and swollen lip;
By fever's hot and scaly grip;
By those two red redundant eyes
That weep like woeful April skies;
By racking snuffle, snort, and sniff;
By handkerchief after handkerchief;
This cold you wave away as naught
Is the damnedest cold man ever caught!
Give ear, you scientific fossil!
Here is the genuine Cold Colossal;
The Cold of which researchers dream,
The Perfect Cold, the Cold Supreme.
This honored system humbly holds
The Super-cold to end all colds;
The Cold Crusading for Democracy;
The Führer of the Streptococcracy.
Bacilli swarm within my portals
Such as were ne'er conceived by mortals,
But bred by scientists wise and hoary
In some Olympic laboratory;
Bacteria as large as mice,
With feet of fire and heads of ice
Who never interrupt for slumber
Their stamping elephantine rumba.
A common cold, gadzooks, forsooth!
Ah, yes. And Lincoln was jostled by Booth;
Don Juan was a budding gallant,
And Shakespeare's plays show signs of talent;
The Arctic winter is fairly coolish,
And your diagnosis is fairly foolish.
Oh what a derision history holds
For the man who belittled the Cold of Colds!
Take the Weblog Author Personality Quiz. [Caveat: it's one of those bad-mannered quizzes that doesn't cough up results till you fill up all the answers. And it's 20 questions long, each one with 16 answers to choose from.] [Caveat to the caveat: the 16 alternatives are mostly funny and worth the read even if you don't take the quiz.]
And read this. It's a potty-mouthed rant, with bad grammar and too little humour to make it amusing, but it makes some good points. It dates back to 2002 so apologies if you've seen this before.
Added later: We really wish that the writer had made his points in a less vituperative manner. Because many of them are really good ones.
Of course he makes statements like "..it has become very clear that only people who are insulted by this essay are the ones who see themselves as falling into the categories I describe above as negative. People who match these criteria tend to send me emails with random insults.."
Our problem is not that we mind being insulted. It's just that we vastly prefer that it be done in lucid, and in a perfect world, elegant prose. Or poetry for that matter. Bad language for its own sake ceased to be funny in the 9th standard. Well, okay, a little later. We were a late-blooming idiot.
This, boys and girls, is a US Senator debating a bill in a Senate Commerce Committee.
I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?and
So you want to talk about the consumer? Let's talk about you and me. We use this internet to communicate and we aren't using it for commercial purposes.and
They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck.and
Now I think these people are arguing whether they should be able to dump all that stuff on the internet ought to consider if they should develop a system themselves.From 27B Stroke 6. Link via email from Ingrid Srinath.
Full audio here.
Pliss pliss pliss also see hilarious follow-up post which explains why the internet the Senator's staff sent him took five days to get to him.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
A note from Jaya Bhattacharji at Zubaan
Our favourite duck's long blog silence is explained.
He's been hard at work on his Sarai Fellowship project.
If you're into SF&F and speculative fiction, you'll love these interviews: Anil Menon, Ashok Banker, Cheryl Morgan, Gotham Chopra, Jai Arjun Singh, Jaya Bhattacharji, Jeff VanderMeer, Manjula Padmanabhan, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Matthew Cheney, Payal Dhar, Rana Dasgupta, Sarnath Banerjee, Thomas Abraham, Vandana Singh, Zoran Zivkovic.
And then there are Samit's essays, IWE and genre, The Indian superhero, The South Asian diaspora and speculative fiction, Indian children's literature and speculative fiction, Comics, graphic novels and Indian spec-fic.
Right. Good on yer, laddie. Now get back to work. We await book three with bated breath.
You've probably heard some self-styled management guru spout this one:
"Take a pot of hot water and a frog. Throw the frog into the pot. What do you think will happen? The obvious, of course: the frog will jump out. Who likes hanging around in a pot of hot water? Now ... [t]ake a pot of cold water, put the frog in it, and place the pot on the stove. Turn on the heat. This time something different will occur. The frog, because of the incremental change in temperature, will not notice that it is slowly being boiled. Unfortunately, many organizations, as they grow, begin to resemble the boiled frog."
Fast Company's investigative team, the "Consultant Debunking Unit", put the frog story to the test.
Didja shudder? Didja?
The original recorded, pre-digitised sound was not actually of scraping fingernails, but of something known, from previous experiments, to be very like it. In a footnote, Halpern, Blake and Hillenbrand confide that "the instruction set used in this study included a description of [a] three-pronged garden tool being dragged across a slate surface. Virtually all subjects shuddered upon reading this portion of the instructions."Marc Abrahams in the Improbable Research column in the Guardian, tells us about a study called "Psychoacoustics of a Chilling Sound". Or why we shudder at certain sounds. Here ya go.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Why do people say that? Is it possible to be an indirect descendant? You're either descended from someone or you're not.
Ancient Greek and Roman historians recorded that during the siege of Syracuse in 212 BC, Archimedes (a notably smart person) constructed a burning glass to set the Roman warships, anchored within bow and arrow range, afire.Some people at MIT went about proving that it could indeed have been fact.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Ah, the memories..
This tongue-in-cheek 1971 article by Larry Niven explains why it wouldn't work if Supes and Lois (or Lana for that matter) got it on. Go, read.
(Niven, incidentally, introduced the Flash Crowd in a story by the same name, which, 30 years later, evolved into the Flash Mob. Sorry. Digression.)
Note: [*] = The site linked to requires registration.
Zig's on TwitterFollow, all ye who must know more.
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually produce a masterpiece. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.