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Monday, April 30, 2007
100 

Yesterday marked the 100th edition of our TOI column, Mousetrap. Next week will make two years since the first one. A sense of satisfaction pervades. That's a longer stay than with any of our SOs, and more time spent than in all but one job (and that one was eight years).

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Bibliophilia? 

Indulge yourself with some Hot Library Smut. Enjoy.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Rukavat ke liye khed hai 

Regular visitors to this blog will note that posts and comments since end-January have disappeared. Nope, this is not us having a hissy fit or going off the deep end or abandoning blogging altogether (so put back those balloons and party hats and nisemakers).

We have been having Problems With Blogger.

We just put it all down in a post on our test blog, for anyone who cares, but mainly to vent a bit.

For reasons outlined at the end of that post, we will continue to post there for a bit, and leave this one undisturbed for Blogger's geeks to—hopefully—figure out.

Inconvenience, if any, is regretted.

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Friday, April 20, 2007
You could try explaining Web 2.0.. 

..or you could save much breath by just showing your Grandparent / Significant Other / Boss / Friendly Neighbourhood Luddite the final version of Michael Wesch's The Machine is Us/ing Us


P.S. Higher quality versions available for download:
Windows Media File (55 MB)
Quicktime File (96 MB)
Mojiti Version (for comments, translations, etc.)

Tried to post this ages ago, but was stymied by my Old Blogger / New Blogger woes. Pre-dating it to the time I tried to post, originally.

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Kiwi 

A lovely example of a story told without words, through some very simple animation. It has everything. Won't spoil it for you by telling you more.



Aside: Spent ages hunting, fruitlessly—or bootlessly, if you prefer—for this on YouTube after a pal old us about it. You see, we searched for 'emu.' Gah.

This post got lost in the upgrade. Pre-dating it to the day we originally posted.

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Monday, April 02, 2007
Shakti Bhatt 

Shocked and deeply saddened to hear about Shakti Bhatt's passing away. I can't claim to have known her well; but I know many people who knew her, and had heard of her often, all nice things.

I met her just once, at the Kitab Festival in February, where I got to thank her for releasing our book at the Jaipur Literature Festival in January, and for a workshop she, Jeet Thayil, her husband, and Nilanjana, conducted for Caferati Delhi. At Kitab, we shared a light at the Prithvi Cafe, and talked of this and that, and the impression I filed away was of a hugely intelligent, vibrant, cheeerful person. Later, at the dinner, I joined her, Jeet, and a couple of other friends and chatted a bit. I have been an admirer of Jeet's writing from the days that he was a columnist for a Bombay paper, so it was a pleasure to meet him; Shakti said charming, encouraging things about the stuff we—Caferati—were doing. Meeting them was pretty much the best thing about Kitab for me, and I was looking forward to strengthening the acquaintance when I next visited Delhi..

My thoughts are with Jeet, and the family.

Jai Arjun Singh. Nisha Susan. Lesley Esteves. Amitava Kumar. Arun Venugopal on SAJA. Nilanjana. Ossian at the Willesden Herald.

Update: You can leave your memories of Shakti here, and read remembrances by others here.

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And another financial year starts. Happy, happy, etcetera. 

Two April 1st offerings from Google. Gmail Paper, and Google TiSP. Enjoy.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007
Jones, keeping up with 

Terry Jones, actor and Python over at the Guardian's Comment Is Free blog.
I share the outrage expressed in the British press over the treatment of our naval personnel accused by Iran of illegally entering their waters. It is a disgrace. We would never dream of treating captives like this - allowing them to smoke cigarettes, for example, even though it has been proven that smoking kills. And as for compelling poor servicewoman Faye Turney to wear a black headscarf, and then allowing the picture to be posted around the world - have the Iranians no concept of civilised behaviour? For God's sake, what's wrong with putting a bag over her head? That's what we do with the Muslims we capture: we put bags over their heads, so it's hard to breathe. Then it's perfectly acceptable to take photographs of them and circulate them to the press because the captives can't be recognised and humiliated in the way these unfortunate British service people are.
read the rest of Call that humiliation?

See also Ronan Bennett's piece in the Guardian, A Peculiar Outrage
It's right that the government and media should be concerned about the treatment the 15 captured marines and sailors are receiving in Iran. Faye Turney's letters bear the marks of coercion, while parading the prisoners in front of TV cameras was demeaning. But the outrage expressed by ministers and leader writers is curious given the recent record of the "coalition of the willing" on the way it deals with prisoners.

Turney may have been "forced to wear the hijab", as the Daily Mail noted with fury, but so far as we know she has not been forced into an orange jumpsuit. Her comrades have not been shackled, blindfolded, forced into excruciating physical contortions for long periods, or denied liquids and food. As far as we know they have not had the Bible spat on, torn up or urinated on in front of their faces. They have not had electrodes attached to their genitals or been set on by attack dogs.

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Words

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.
~ Eyler Coates

to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight and never stop fighting
~ e e cummings

In three words i can sum up everything I've learned about life.
It goes on.
~ Robert Frost

Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack in everything;
That's how the light gets in.
~ Leonard Cohen

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
~ Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

I fell in love – that is the only expression I can think of – at once, and am still at the mercy of words, though sometimes now, knowing a little of their behavior very well, I think I can influence them slightly and have even learned to beat them now and then, which they appear to enjoy.
~ Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet, short-story writer, and playwright, "Poetic Manifesto" in the Texas Quarterly, Winter 1961

A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
~Thomas Mann, novelist, Nobel laureate (1875-1955)

The world in general doesn't know what to make of originality; it is startled out of its comfortable habits of thought, and its first reaction is one of anger.
~ W. Somerset Maugham, writer (1874-1965)

In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
~ Al Rogers

Assumptions are the termites of relationships.
~ Henry Winkler, actor (1945- )

Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.
~ George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), novelist (1819-1880)

Either you think - or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

There is no remedy so easy as books, which if they do not give cheerfulness, at least restore quiet to the most troubled mind.
~ Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, author (1689-1762)

Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching.
~ Satchel Paige

Fake it till you make it.
~ (Heard on West Wing)


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