Wednesday 29 September 2004


Uncle Phaedrus, Finder of Lost Recipes, can tell you how to make Fudge, fruitcake, pickled eggs, diabetic, food allergy and other special diet recipes, Chinese Walnut Chicken, Moustakouloura, Kashk Bademjan, Tropkapfen, Zweiback, Coquilles St. Jacques Crepes, Croatian Hrstula, Strawberries Romanoff... the list goes on and on, and we haven't had dinner yet. Warning to ye of delicate aesthetic sensibilities: get past the loud, clumsy site design, there's plenty inside that's well worth the trip. [Via Rebecca Blood]

Tuesday 28 September 2004

Lad lit

At McSweeney's, Wendy Molyneux tells you how Maxim's would do the classics. A sampler:
A Tale of Two Cities
Two identical dudes fall for the same chick. The chick is none the wiser that there are two dudes, so they can both get the chick and get a little action on the side. Was it the worst of times? No way, it was the best of times, dog.

Monday 27 September 2004

Holy comic book, Batman

Rohit Gupta of Apollo Bunder Comics writes in to tell us that Mid-Day has finally got his SOS (Special Officer Savant) strip online. This is the second story in the series, The Towers of Silence. We'll let you know if he manages to get the first story up as well.
And more in Indian comics: thanks to Putu, we can point you to the Pavitr Prabhakar Preview. That's the desi Spiderman, for those of you who are out of the loop.

Sunday 26 September 2004

One more for our wish list

Check out the Oakley Thump. And don't be deterred by that horrible name. It's an MP3 player built into the arms of a cool pair of shades. Transfer your music by USB connection, and you're good to go. The earpieces flip up so you can, say, take a phone call, or drive without wrapping yourself around utility poles. It even lets you flip the dark lenses up, so you can keep listening indoors.

Thursday 23 September 2004

Wednesday 22 September 2004

Time flies when you're having fun

While we go find a can of tuna to send to Putu the cat as a token of our fawning gratitude for pointing out this link, you go feast you eyes on Rolling Stone's 50th Anniversary of Rock picture feature. Pause for a second, though to consider this. Fifty years? Already?

Tuesday 21 September 2004

Coupla shots, anyone?

The General who invented the AK-47, which is believed to have caused more deaths than the Hiroshima atom bomb explosion, has lent his name to a new vodka. Not surprisingly, the world's sub-editors are having a ball churning out witty headlines. Erm, yes. We know.

You keep your nouse outa my business

Here's the latest in Perceptual Vision Technology (in English, "the computer 'looks' at you and figures out what you want it to do"), the Nouse.

Do you have US$ 1900 that you want to give us?

You must see Stuart Goldenberg's cartoon take on the iMac G5. It comes with the NYT's rather tardy look at the lust-provoking machine.

Class, discuss:

Drop by Seth Godin's post on who you know as opposed to what you do. Here's a quote:
In a world where things are viral, you're more likely to succeed with passive networking (strangers recommending you) than the old school active kind. In other words, make great stuff, do your homework, build your audience and when you've got something worth talking about, people will talk about it.
So you know who you are in this blog's plans for world domination, right?
And while you're there, see the preceding post on Lies to protect the status quo
1. Canadian pharmaceuticals are dangerous
2. Piracy is killing the ongoing creation of music and movies (notice I didn't say anything about the movie and music businesses)
3. Dental work lasts forever
4. A bottle of Evian is dangerous to airline security and must be surrendered
5. The Microsoft monopoly pays dividends to all users (like IE, for example)
6. You can’t start a business without venture money or a big bank loan
7. Working hard for your boss and following instructions is the best way to get ahead
8. We need to spend taxpayer money on support for traditional factory farming
9. It’s impossible to make a fuel efficient automobile Americans will accept
10. Who you know is more important than what you do
We'd probably change that first one to "Drugs made by anyone other than US-based pharma giants are dangerous." And, based on what we hear, add another "Outsourcing will kill American industry." Got any more suggestions?

Aye, Robot

Heard about biomimetics? That's what they're beginning to call the branch of robotics which develops robots inspired by animals. Is this another case of science following art? We recall one of the Asimov (who coined the term "robotics") robot stories dealing with something like this. Generations after Dr Susan Calvin, when the world had turned against humaniform robots, a robot - was it R Daneel Olivaw? - develops a new branch of robots based on insects. In the story, it was a tiny flying robot that pollinated flowers. Anyone remember the name of the story? Anyway, here's the The New York Times >NYT story on biometics. And, while we were checking our spellings of Olivaw, we found Greg Bear's must-read essay on Asimov, and the moral problems he presented us with via his robot stories and the Three Laws, their inherent contradictions, and the Zeroth Law.

Monday 20 September 2004

Ftv is so yesterday. We're switching to ESPN.

This from the Onion:
In the wake of the Summer Olympics, during which many American women achieved a level of media attention often reserved for men, sports fans are pleased to report that female athletes are continuing to make great strides in their personal appearances.
And we thought it was just us that noticed.

Wait till we write our first book

She resolved to end the love affair with Ramon tonight . . . summarily, like Martha Stewart ripping the sand vein out of a shrimp's tail . . . though the term 'love affair' now struck her as a ridiculous euphemism . . . not unlike 'sand vein,' which is after all an intestine, not a vein . . . and that tarry substance inside certainly isn't sand . . . and that brought her back to Ramon.
Terribly sorry. We forgot to link to the Bulwer-Lytton 2004 winners.

Sunday 19 September 2004

What about deconstruction, then?

Some people think that when you're interpreting, you're trying to figure out what the poet intended in the poem. Others say that you can't ever be sure what the poet intended. But you can come up with intelligent ways to account for the feelings the poem gives you when you read it. Try to explain what you think the poem is doing and how the poem does it.
When you interpret poetry, you do the same thing you do when you interpret anything:
* Understand the explicit, literal meaning.
* Consider what's implied, unsaid, or suggested
* Build an interpretation based on your speculations about what's implied.
You may not take these steps in this order, and you may do some steps more times and other steps fewer, but all these steps are involved in the interpretation of poetry.
For the bright students in the class, be warned: this is from's Mastering Three Steps to Interpreting Poetry, and for the Rest Of Us.
And for the budding poets, you might also like this one.

How William made it in the big city

More than any other writer, Shakespeare's influence on the language lingers on to this day (also, see this).
Stephen Greenblatt, in The New York Times, takes a look at the makings of his legend.

Stiletto Science

Who said scienctists aren't practical, hm? Here's a formula for all our female readers.
h = Q.(12+3s /8)

h is the maximum height of the heel (in cm)
Q is a sociological factor and has a value between 0 and 1 (see below to work this out)
S is the shoe size (UK ladies sizes). This factor makes sure that the base of support is just good enough for an experienced and sober, high-heel wearer not to fall over.

Q = [ p.(y+9).L ] / [ (t+1).(A+1).(y+10).(L+£20) ]

p - the probability that wearing the shoes will help you 'pull' (in a range from 0 to 1, where 1 is pwhooar and 0 is stick to carpet slippers). If the shoes are a turn-off, there's no point wearing them.
y - the number of years experience you have in wearing high heels. As you become more adept, you can wear a higher heel. Beginners should take it easy.
L - the cost of the shoes, in pounds. Clearly, if the shoe is particularly expensive, you can put up with a higher heel.
t - the time since the shoe was the height of fashion, in months (0 = it's the 'in thing' right now!). One has to suffer for one's art, and if the shoes are terribly fashionable, you should be prepared to put up with a little pain.
A - units of alcohol consumed. If you're planning on drinking, be careful to give yourself a little leeway for reduced co-ordination.
Read the article here. [Via Rebecca]

(: 19/09/04 :)

How to review a book. *grin*
Yup, mebbe we should get us a nice outdoorsy wallpaper on our desktop. (Aside: That's the problem with using old economy words in a digital age.)
Well, it seems to have worked for synchronised swimming.
Us feeble minds are staying outa this one.
Goes straight into the Cartoon Inventions We'd Like To See Really Happen file.
Yeah, yeah, we'll clean our room later.
'Coz we're all like grown up now, we never say things like this.

(: 14-18/09/04 :)

Now this one can only be seen by people who come here and don't say a word.
"Liar, liar / pants on fire" doesn't scan well enough?
We better get some shuteye. It's Sunday tomorrow.
And we don't know where the coffee machines is either, darlin.
Print this one up for your softboards, cube dweller.
We never could win, chaps.
That's a field in which we wrote the definitive doctoral thesis.
"State of denial" would be too, too obvious, no?
For NSR and DD. It's about time, isn't it?
Except, we think, "Is that ad/article/brochure ready yet?"
If you get many SMSes from us, it's because we're commuting...but we don't drive when we're messaging...but there's a thought there.
We miss Ftv.
Happy food does that to you.
Ours turn up that way.
We can see it now: KillZig 5.1 The shootemup that's taking blogreaders by storm.
Now don't you start.
Except Reality TV participants.
Opinions wanted here: is Antakshari the only really original game show on Indian TV?
Ah, that's like August 15th in NY?
And that goes double for you, blockhead.
But they sure have fun trying.
Meet deadlines, get up early, exercise...
Now that we think about it, what about Wonder Woman?
Yeah, we hate being disturbed when we're on the comp.
Oooo! Why didn't we think of this before?
You know, this is the one thing they should have outsourced to India before anything else, right, James?
He's probably googling it.

Saturday 18 September 2004

Suketu Mehta reading

This just in via SMS from pal Naresh Fernandes, of Time Out magazine.
Time Out invites you to a reading by Suketu Mehta on Tuesday, 21st September, at 7 p.m. at NGMA, Colaba.
Mr Mehta will be reading from his new book, Maximum City.

Kitabkhana features an excerpt, and points to other excerpts here and also on Mr Mehta's own site.

Wednesday 15 September 2004

Gmail invitation for a rhyme

Gmail contest 1
Write a poem, any style - haiku, ballad, limerick, free verse, quatrain, sonnet, couplet, vilanelle - saying why you need a Gmail account. The funnier the better. Parody of a well-known poem or poet or style gets you extra giggle marks. Perhaps you could touch on how it will improve the quality of your life, get you dates, job offers, etc.
Since the person who suggested this doesn't want an invitation, there are three invitations available here, for the best three poems.
Use the comments section (not the Comment This link - planning to discard that), and don't forget to leave your email address so we know where to send the invitation. Your email address will not be used by this blog for any other purpose except perhaps to ask you to buy us a drink sometime.

This just in: to get yourself published, first publish yourself

Apparently, if you want to catch the attention of a big-time publisher, you should self-publish first, and create a bit of a flutter.
Blogging doesn't count, i guess? But then we're not creating much of a flutter anyway, so sucks to us.
[Via Galleycat, who we found thanks to that other literary feline, Putu.

Tuesday 14 September 2004

*Beep* "You have new novel"

Saw this in the TOI today, from NYT.*Qian Fuzhang, well known Chinese author, has just given push button publishing a whole new meaning.
[His] Out of the Fortress, showed up on tens of thousands of mobile telephone screens on Friday. It is the text-message novel, a new literary genre for the harried masses in a society that seems to be redefining what it means to be harried.
Weighing in at a mere 4,200 characters, "Out of the Fortress" is like a marriage of haiku and Hemingway, and will be published for its audience of cellphone readers at a bite-size, 70 characters at a time - including spaces and punctuation marks - in two daily installments. Other "readers" may choose to place a call to the "publisher,", a short text-message distribution company, to listen to a recording of each day's story as it unfolds. All this for a small fee charged, like any text message, directly to the readers' mobile phone accounts.


Aaron Hawkins, pioneering black blogger, passed away. [Via The Desi Bridget Jones's Diary]

(: 08-13/09/2004 :)

Yeah, work has been getting in the way of the important stuff again.
Which reminds us, we have a client meeting tomorrow...
...And our efforts to leave will have similar consquences...
...And we have a deadline.
No, you can't play with our comp when we're out.
Now if you make us your default home page, we'll give you, let's see, how does "VP Comments" sound to you? And the corner office?
This is probably why we don't get invited out very much.
Or maybe it's this.
And they told us it was a problem with our ATM card.
Nope. That's Barbara Bush.
And that, my friends, is our raison d'etre.
(hic) Yeah, we totally don't understand thish either.
We tried swimming last year, but the paunches there were bigger than ours.
That's we switched to blogging through the night.
After all, that's why we have two comments sections.
Best explanation we've heard yet. Now we want someone to explain Daylight Savings Time to us.
Yo, Meera, you there?
Gotta patch them shorts.
Depends on which, er, end you're looking at.
Now in India, we avoid that spot of confusion by getting them to actually stand for elections. No, wait, they had the Gipper, and now, Ahnuld.
Did we tell you about the palace we stayed in a little while ago?
Oliphant on outsourcing.
Dear blog...
Life's good with us too. Thanks for asking.
We're waiting for the Feeding Zoo, actually.
Now here's an idea for the Indian tourism industry.
Hm. That's why we haven't heard from her.
That's why, most of the time, we just stick to links.

Kook Central

When your nasty government
(Or aliens with nasty intent)
Are trying to read your every brain wave
Well in those circs,
Aluminium foil works
They won't know when you rave.
Alternatively, aliens
studying homo sapiens
Abducted you to study your, er, body,
Doesn't matter if your tale
Is way beyond the pale
This site is worth a click.
[Link courtesy Eric Mahady, via the Bartman.]

When you gotta go, you gotta go

Know anyone who pees
Everytime they sneeze?
Who sometimes loses control
When doing a forward roll?
Who needs diapers, adult,
To face the daily tumult
Of life in the big bad city?
Don't waste time on pity.
Science now has a cure.
It's safe, it's quick it's sure:
Yentreve; or duloxetine to its pals
Can save the blushes of the gals
With stress urinary incontinence

Now you try rhyming incontinence.

The days are just filled

For our fellow Calvin and Hobbes fans, here's a couple of databases that will help you find that particular strip which you remember everything about except what date it came out on, for instance. No small feat, if like us, you've painstakingly saved them as United Comics doles them out online and have about 3000 of them squirrelled away on your hard disk. Here's Calvin and Hobbes monthly and Anurag Jain's helpful list of Calvin and Hobbes subjects. Also check out his Calvin and Hobbes gems page.

Thursday 9 September 2004

The Gmail Contest Gmail Contest

Anniversary time!
We just realised that tomorrow makes exactly a year since we first started blogging. (We're ignoring the fact that it was a single post and we only really started posting properly in December.) To celebrate, we will simply do what we've been doing all year. Lift an idea. So, following in the footsteps of our betters, we'd like to tell you that we have, oh, ten Gmail accounts to offer you. And rather than just give them away, we thought we'd do our usual pathetic thing and milk this for hits and comments. But we're lazy and lacking in original thoughts today.
One Gmail invite each to the best three suggestions (or their favourite charities) for what the contest should be. And once we have that up, six more for the winners of those three contests.
Use the comments tag, please. Let's keep this transparent and open and fair, like the US Presidential elections. Ok? Start your engines.

"We," the royal pronoun

Please see our poor - but earnest - homage to The Master.

Comment or CommentThis?

While we waffle between Blogger's native comments function and the 3rd party "Comment This" add-on script, we're leaving both on for a bit to see which one people like more.
The advantage of Blogger's comments is that comments show up on the individual post's page, along with the post they're commenting on. Disadvantage: if you're not a blogger member, or choose not to log in, it means people show up Anonymous.
CommentThis lets you enter e-ddress and URL, and offers to remember them for you. Or comment anonymously, all without any extra choices needing to be made. But comments are in a separate pop up windows.
Additional dilemma: if we ditch Comment This now, it means we lose all comments made to date, all of which, we assure you, we value. And it will be too much grief to copy them into blogger comments. Plus anyone trawling the archives will see acres of comment-less posts.
Which, come to think of it, is what we're seeing now.
Ah well.
Your thoughts welcome. Use whichever comment link you like.

Goa gets even better. We think.

Such a lovely idea. Live jazz in Goa.
But, but, but... terribly drab site design, and copy that reads like it's been through a P&G focus group. (Like this "Jazz currently has a niche audience in Goa and one of Jazz Goa's goals is to broaden the listener base by encouraging general music lovers to experience and enjoy the magic of spontaneously improvised music through workshops and interactive sessions with performers. Spontaneous improvisation are the keywords to jazz and very often jazz musicians create some of the most memorable music in live performance as opposed to recordings produced in clinical studio sessions. Future plans of Jazz Goa includes releasing live recordings of selected performances in Goa, sourcing corporate sponsorship to launch deserving local jazz musicians at an international level and scholarships to finance talented youngsters who would like to study jazz at some of the worlds best institutes.")
Anyway. We're sure it's the thought that counts. Please go see Jazz Goa. It is with great, er, expectancy that we are, um, anticipating our next sojourn in that great littoral former Portugese colony.

Wednesday 8 September 2004

The music of the net

Want to know what's happening in the online music world? Bookmark the Online Music Blog, which promises to guide you to music news, services and downloads. A quick glance through shows comprehensive linking to news. We haven't checked out the music downloads they offer yet. That awaits our broadband upgrade.

Tuesday 7 September 2004

(: 05-06-07/09/2004 :)

We have been remiss. Earning a living and all that. Here you go, comics junkies.

We're hoping to be the talk of the geriatric set now.
Except mum, and she's changed her mind.
We'd like to inform you that we also do targetted corporate presentations.
Which reminds us, we have a deadline.
It's a little trick we learned from our MBA pals. It's called changing the bar, as opposed to raising it. Like so: "People rarely comment on this blog because the stuff we post is unquestionably good."
Happens every day in Hollywood.
But mom, we like to find interesing stuff to blog. It's fulfilling.
Have we made any marketing or MBA cracks lately?
...Or little in-jokes?
To our teacher pals: we're sorry our homework is a bit late.
It's not just our silly fondness for self-referencing humour, we relate to the deadlines bit too.
We're told this one ran in 2000, approx. Shudder. Prophetic.
We want one of these.
Plus ça change, and all that.
Actually, we think American Idol leads all the rest.
To which we'd add, hm, computer games?
Now about those other blogs you read...
Hm, do we have one like this in India, people?

Cat literati

Zig jealous, Zig forlorn,
Zig wondering why he born.
Fame passed without knocking
About Zig blog no one is talking.

Bloody Putu cat literati
Going to all the Page Three party.
All are coming to see damn cat,
Scratching ear and giving pat.

Damn billi is media hogging,
Zig thinking, damn this blogging.
Putu discussing publishing terms
Zig going garden to eat worms.

Please go see Putu the Cat's hilarious Literary Saga with Happy Ending. We're still chortling.

Saturday 4 September 2004

Now if we had these instead of bandhs

Dave Barry on one of the protests in New York, home of the Republican convention.
This media crowd -- which, you will be surprised to learn, was overwhelmingly male -- formed a semicircle around the protesters, keeping a respectful distance and behaving with the decorum and almost reverent solemnity of guys who know that, if they don't mess it up, women will show them their panties.

Also on hand were some Wall Street workers who had paused on their way home to be part of this important protest. I stood near two guys in suits who were inching their way forward to the front of the crowd when one of them grabbed the other's arm and said, ''Jesus, there's a camera straight across.'' The two of them quickly melted back into the crowd, apparently not wishing for their spouses to see them on the evening news. (``Working late, Frank? IS THAT WHAT YOU CALL WORKING LATE?'')

Finally, after much respectful media anticipation, the protesters began chanting a chant that I cannot repeat in the newspaper except to say that it utilized wordplay involving the president's last name. Then a spokesperson read a statement, which I couldn't hear, although her tone sounded very sincere. Then the protesters flashed their panties, and chanted "THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!" The press corps, performing its vital First Amendment role of keeping you, the public, informed on the issues, took 174 billion close-up photographs of the various panties. Then the protesters chanted several more chants, the most printable being "THE PANTY LINE'S BEEN DRAWN; WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?"

(: 03-04 /09/04 :)

File this one away pranksters.
God help America.
We suggest "No more war." Or better still, "No more McDonald's."
And we're not too hot on work either.
Trudeau's on a roll.
Amazing how we feel nostalgic about things we didn't have.
Video chat's gonna screw this up.
See, truth in advertising works.
Why the dinosaurs died out.
Could there be a thought in the Alien Terminator, you think?
Women, you gotta love 'em.
How else do they get on to Page 3?
That's how we get the not-guilty verdict.
Er, we don't have kids...

Friday 3 September 2004

Is nothing sacred?

Time was when you went to an ATM to (a) withdraw money (b) dump money into the bank (c) withdraw money (d) see how much money you had left to withdraw.
Now, aside from actually getting crisp, staple-free notes tumbling into your sweaty little palms, you can do most anything via your phone banking and net banking facilities. If, that is, you're not with a PSU bank, and provided you can remember your phone PIN, your phone password, your Net banking ID, your net banking password, your customer service number, and Demi Moore's vitalstatistics. And ATMs now give you other facilities too. For instance, ICICI Bank now offers you Anytime Blessings. Click a few buttons and send a donation to the temple of your choice. No tedious pilgrimages. [Link via Amardeep Singh - do toddle over and check out his take on it.]

You had me with "iPod."

If you're trying to figure out if somebody is a gadget freak, try this simple test: work the phrase 'video iPod' into a sentence. If the subject hyperventilates, salivates or passes out, you'll know.
Hand held video is here

Made you look!

In the New York Times, Kirk Johnson writes about the philosophy of spam
The very basis of the spam wars is a search for better analysis of the way human beings think. Those on the defensive side seek to understand what we want to block by analyzing our choices, while the offense tries to find the ever more perfect mirror of what we will actually pause to look at. Each in its own way is trying find a model of human perception: spammers countered by filters countered by spammers, with no goal or destination in sight, only the ever-accelerating process itself.
And perhaps at the same time, by scooping up the tiny crumbs of our privacy that we leave on the Net every day, spam will eventually be a mass medium no more. The spam that arrives will be unique, directed to each individual, personalized and custom-fit. Spam programmers have found, for example, that professors at M.I.T. tend not to block e-mail poetry from their in-boxes, so some spam is now getting through in verse.
In my case, I'm still deeply enjoying the irony of anti-spam spam. As I thump away on my delete button each morning, I find myself pausing at the spam that says it will rid me of spam, and I often feel I'm being offered a glimpse into a kind of M. C. Escher print in which the iterations continue on forever into some golden braid of mist and meaning. And maybe that means the anti-spam spammers have got me figured out. They've learned how to make me look, and that's their goal.

Shameless self-promotion
(And no, it's not about us this time)

At The Village Voice, Tony Perrottet writes about that first great self-publicist, Herodotus.
Recommended reading for all our writer buddies. And try not to let this get into the hands of the marketing types, or we'll never hear the end of it.

(: 02/09/04)

Never argue with a depressed wordsmith.
We miss that feeling.
Soon to be "adapted" for Indian screens.
Pretending that you go see these.

My land

Ever wondered how much "nature" your lifestyle requires? You're about to find out.
This Ecological Footprint Quiz estimates how much productive land and water you need to support what you use and what you discard. After answering 15 easy questions you'll be able to compare your Ecological Footprint to what other people use and to what is available on this planet.
Take the Ecological Footprint quiz.
(Our results:
FOOD 0.3
And you?)

Thursday 2 September 2004

Where you win even if you lose

Go to the Fact microsite for more details CRY's annual quiz, Fact, is coming up.
Since 1998, FACT has been a fun way for corporates to be a part of the movement for a better future for Indian children. It is a trivia quiz for a social cause, not a social cause quiz, considered one of the toughest in India.
Here's the basics:
Two-person teams.
A company can send multiple teams.
Entry fee per team - Rs 8000. (50% tax exemption under Section 80G), which will educate ten children.
At each regional round, a written test will be conducted.
6 teams will go through to the regional finals.
Regional finals will consist of various question rounds including audio rounds and audio-visual rounds.
Mementos will be awarded to the winning teams.
One winning team from each region will make it to the national finals to be held at Delhi on September 26th 2004 at the British Council Auditorium. Arrangements will be made for the travel and stay of the finalists.
National winner will receive the CRY FACT 2004 Trophy, plus other attractive prizes, like free holiday packages, gift vouchers, coupons from leading stores, etc. You can download, fill out and mail in a PDF form or send in an online entry.
Fact 2004 Schedule
Regional Finals
Bangalore   Sept. 05, 2004, Sunday
Hyderabad  Sept. 06, 2004, Monday
Kolkata       Sept. 07, 2004, Tuesday
Chennai       Sept. 09, 2004, Thursday
Mumbai      Sept. 10, 2004, Friday
Delhi           Sept. 11, 2004, Saturday
National Finals
Delhi           Sept. 26, 2004, Sunday

Jazz like dat

It's not often that we get jokes in the mail that (a)we haven't seen at least thrice a year before and (b) make us laugh. Here's one of those rarities. [Thanks Susan.]
Stevie Wonder is playing a gig in Tokyo.
He's just finished playing his seventies classic Sir Duke. The crowd is still going wild when a young man at the front says, "Stevie, you play a jazz chord, you play a jazz chord!"
So the amiable Mr Wonder plays an F# minor on his keyboard and goes off on a jazz riff. Done, he turns to grin at the audience, basking in the applause. As the cheers die down, the young man stands up again. "No Stevie," he says, "You play a jazz chord please!"
So Stevie tries an A and off he goes with the band on this amazing improvised moment. When the blind musical genius finishes, the crowd goes wild once more. But the young man pipes up again: "No Stevie, a jazz chord, a jazz chord!"
By now old Stevie is a little confused. "What do you mean, play a jazz chord? I've just done two for you!"
"But it best song of Stevie Wonder! It velly famous!" comes the reply.
"Ok, well how does it go then?" Stevie asks. The young man clears his throat, closes his eyes, and starts to sing:
"A jazz say...I ruv you."

The art of titling
How "how" can target your readers

At the Guardian, David Aaronovitch has been noticing that there are a lot of political books on the shelves. And that most all of them have a subtitle, which, most of the time, starts with "How."
The subtitle told the possible purchaser what side the book was on. So marked was this polarisation that the bookstore had mounted above its display a diagram created by a Chicago social networks analyst, Valdis Krebs. He had analysed book purchases to look for patterns among bookbuyers. He then plotted these purchases, and created two separated clusters, looking something like two testicles - one blue and one red.
What he showed was that there was almost no crossover at all. Liberals read only liberal books and conservatives only conservative ones. Their authors were not just preaching to the converted, they were marketing their works specifically at the converted.
But thinking about it, this is a great business opportunity. If an American publisher is reading this, may I offer them my own forthcoming bestseller: Big Fat Stupid Lying Liars and the Big Fat Stupid Lies They Tell (subtitled: How the Other Side Are Destroying Everything You Hold Dear, Whatever That Is). Open the book one way round and it's a blistering condemnation of Bush and Fox News; open it the other and Hillary and the Washington Post get it in the neck. As ex-CIA chief George Tenet would say, it's a slam dunk and yours for half a million bucks.

Finding Blandings

This, says one study, is Blandings Castle, not this. So there.
And while we were checking that one out, we found these lovely pieces by Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, the actors who played the title roles in Jeeves and Wooster. And there's more articles on The Master here and you can check on which of his books you haven't read here.

Dave was there

Mistah Barry, covering the Olympics like only he can:
Ready, set . . . TIPIYOTKI!
Looking for ruins? Pick a Tipiyokti and start climbing
No naked athletes in modern times
Take the bus? Yeah, if only it were that easy
At hot-hot-hot sailing, a search for inner yngling
Taking a taxi in Athens is taxing
Life's a beach at volleyball venue
This Olympic shuttlecock is no poppycock
Allow me to burden you with weightlifting facts
Drug-free losers embarrassing to United States
Statue of limitation: Greece wants its marbles back
Indoor cycling: It's a learning experience
Thirst-quenching sponsorships are aplenty in Athens
An apology -- and thank you, before leaving

(: 01/09 :)

So, what do you people think of this blog, then?
We have a Kermit somewhere.
We plannned to clean our room.
This is playing right into your hands, Gentle Reader.

We're in love

Or maybe it's just lust. Sigh. Anyway, the new iMac G5 is here.

The man who made Windows possible

In 1975, David Bradley wrote the code for what is arguably the best-known computer keyboard combinations ever, Ctrl+Alt+Delete. It forces obstinate computers to restart when they will no longer follow other commands. He retired from IBM early this year.
And here's a snippet from an article a friend sent in [thanks Sunil]
At a 20-year celebration for the IBM PC, Bradley was on a panel with Microsoft founder Bill Gates and other tech icons. The discussion turned to the keys.
'I may have invented it, but Bill made it famous,' Bradley said.
Gates didn't laugh.