Wednesday 31 May 2006

Stationery ain't stationary

If they can't get their URL right, wouldja really trust their software? Check out this mailer from our favourite Redmond company for an app called OneNote, and pliss to note the spelling of stationery. Then, go over to the site it links to, (noting spelling as you go) and you will see that someone did find the error, going by the headline, but they haven't bothered to clean up page title.

Link courtesy Mahesh Murthy.

Tuesday 30 May 2006



My friend Hemant Suthar of Fractalink designed this logo. He would like to have it passed around, so here you are.

The HTML for the image is:
<a href="" title="Photo
Sharing"><img src=""
width="400" height="400" alt="noreserve" /></a>

Please note: this does not mean that I am anti-reservations.

And the preceding statement does not mean I am pro-reservations either.

I do not know enough to venture a public opinion, and, at this point, like Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that.

p.s. As per today's DNA, Hemant's design is on its way to going viral. [Note, that's a large PDF of the entire page. You may prefer to go to today's e-paper, and click your way to page 35. [DNA has a seriously sucky interface, be warned.]

p.p.s. Hemant's blog is here.

Monday 29 May 2006

In which we say hurrah

Our dear pal Joan Pinto is on the Oxford Bookstore e-Author version 4.0 contest shortlist. Yay Joan!

You can download her stories The City is never Lonely and The Saint of Lost Things [Dunno if the very clunky OB site will let you pull them off our links. If not, you poor thing, you'll have to go to the page linked to in the first paragraph and wait for every piece of crappy design to download.]

Friday 26 May 2006

They pulled what out of where?

Hint: it wasn't the brightest thing to do.

And, butt naturally, there's more of the same here.


Wired's June issue is online, with the 2006 Rave Awards topping the bill.

Pliss to also see the sub-category, the First Annual Steve Jobs Award. No peeking, but any guesses as to who won it?

Tuesday 16 May 2006

Neoblogisms (Getcha neologisms right here - Part Deux)

Blog Neologisms 101: Take an existing word and hack it about a bit. Add or subtract a letter, or a syllable, and hey, presto!*

Right. On with the show. *sounnd fanfare* We proudly unveil, exclusively for your discerning eye, our latest neologism:

Neoblogism: Word coined to describe something in the blogosphere. Contains the word "blog," with smart-arse additions.

Now then. Continuing on from where we left of yesterday, part Two, for your delectation.

We have the simple stuff out of the way. Now we'll go for two- three- and four-letter additions. And we're gonna open it up to you. Leave a comment with your neoblogism and its definition, and if we like it, we'll pull it up here.

Update 1, 2006-05-17

First, a quick run through of some existing neoblogisms, so you don't re-invent the wheel: bloggerati and blognoscenti, blogorrhea, blawg, splog, bleg and blegging, blogroll, permalink, podcast. (Have we left out anything?)

Then, a quick mention of proper nouns that have become verbs, like Dooce and Fisk via the blogosphere, or have been verbiformed (we just made that one up), like slashdotted. (Got more?)

Then – coz it's our blog – our own contributions.

Blogabulary: words frequently used in the 'sphere. Including, but not limited to, neoblogisms. eg. Hit Counter, Track back, Hat Tip, Blogroll, link whore, link love.

Blogger Pradesh: The loose community of Indian bloggers.

(at) bloggerheads: Pick yer sides, there's a scrap happening in the 'sphere.

Bloggerel: Poetry on blogs.

Blugly: Terrible blog template.

Blongblong: The blog equivalent of blingbling. Membership badges, "Blog of the month in Transylvania" badges, the little national flags thingies showing you how many people from those countries are currently visiting, etc.

Oblogation: The compulsion you feel to reciprocate a blogroll link.

Now, we have work to finish, so we'll come back later to pull stuff in from the commentspace (which is a word we stole from Megha.

* This follows the grand tradition of the word "blog" itself, a portmanteau word which started out as "weblog" before the inevitable shortening took place. (If you're remotely interested, we wrote about the history of blogs for a magazine a few years ago. No site for the mag, but our copy is here.)

Monday 15 May 2006

To spray coffee on keyboard..

..take large sip, and before you swallow, click here.

Getcha neologisms right here

It is not enough to have invented the term "collablogs."

We vant more, more, more.

And, as we just saw on Sepia Mutiny, it is important to make the claim first.

So, let's start with the easy bits, and thereby secure our place in history.

Ze method is seemple, junior. Take log and add a letter before it, and make up something. Right, here we go. And yes, some of these are stuff we'd barf at if you said it, so pliss to suggest improvements. We'll share the Wikipedia space, wokay?

Alog: [Hm, Abhi of SM says it reminds him of something dirty. Someone explain that to us. Update: TMB very kindly just completed our education. Thanks TMB. So shall we say Alogs are the kind you should flush away?]

Blog: [Gah. Taken.]

Clog: Dutch blogs.

Dlog Bhai-log ka blog.

Elog: Blogs about marine snake-like creatures. (pronounced "eelog")

Flog: Sado-Maso journals.

Glog: Blogs by Japanese dipsos.
Update: Honesty compels us to admit that Glog is taken. It's an abbreviation of cyborglog, which refers to a blog run by a person using wearable computing devices. It's a very interesting word, come to think of it. Two portmanteau words – Cybernetic + organism = cyborg, and web + log = blog – joined to make a third!)

Hlog: Blogs by those irritating pedants who point out to you that words like who, why and when are pronounced hwo, hwy and hwen.

Jlo-g: Jennifer Lopez fanblogs.

Klog: Blogs by breakfast cereal fanciers.

Mlog: Poison recipes only. Emlog. Hemlog. Hemlock. Gerrit? Ah never mind.

Nlog: Journals by people who don't like digital stuff. Update: For the person who emailed demanding an explanation, analogue.

Olog: [Open to claims, this one] Update: Teleute recommends "A blood group specific elitist blog."

Plog: [Stolen by Amazon. Also means "Project Log."]

Qlog: Blogs written on portable computing devices while standing in line.

Rlog: [As with O, even we couldn't think of something silly enough for this one.] Update: Another reco from TeleuteOurlog. Humlog in its online avatar.

Slog: Sarcastic name for blog written by someone on office time using office computer and office broadband.

Tlog: [Gah. Your call.] Update: The prolific Teleute suggests this be devoted to Arnie fans.

Ulog: Blogger posts one line, and then the commenters take over, writing reams and reams of stuff they should be putting on tgheir own blogs.

Vlog: [Taken by those chaps with digital video cameras.]

Wlog: Um. Welsh blogs?

Xlog: P0rn blog

Ylog: Most of the blogs in the 'sphere. The ones about which everyone wonders "why on earth does s/he think anyone would want to read that?"

Zlog: Mi casa es su casa.

Right class. For homework, fill in the ones we left out, and tomorrow, we'll do two-letter add ons. Ooh. Fun.

Saturday 13 May 2006

Honey, where did I leave the keys?

If you can't remember where you park, you need this.
Eliminate the embarrassment and possible danger of forgetting where you parked the car. The world’s most helpful key holder remembers where you parked, minds the meter, lights the key hole, and neutralizes static electricity. It records and plays a 15-second memo—example: “I parked on Level B, row 2.”

The LCD timer with running seconds doubles as a clock. Touch the rubber static pad to a metallic surface and you can open your car without receiving a nasty shock. Push a button to activate the bright LED light. Uses 1 “AAA” battery and 2 cell batteries (all included). 4"L x 1"D x 2"H.
But, as a BBC Science test we just took mentions at some point, women are more likely to remember where the bloody keys are in the first place.

Bloggers wanted (especially in other Indian languages)

Neha Viswanathan, Global Voices South Asia editor, is looking for bloggers to compile weekly (or fortnightly) link-fests.
You need to love reading blogs. All I ask for is a post once in a week or fortnight with five to ten links to interesting blog posts. These links could be thematic or they could be more general. You’ll have to provide a little context to these links and keep close to the pulse of the blogosphere. The post needs to reflect the Indian blogosphere to other people across the world - conversations, preoccupations, the ups the downs etc.
She particularly needs people who can cover "Hindi, Bangla, Urdu, Tamil or any other language that Indians are blogging in."

Go here for all the details.

Friday 12 May 2006

Dave Barry's dog ate his mother's toes

When we posted the other day about poetryDOTcom, we clean forgot to add the bit about Dave Barry's take on the matter.

He first wrote about them in 1995 1994 (couldn't find the column, but Wind Publications has a copy up):
Anyway, I wrote a poem for Best Poems of 1995. I call it, simply, "Love." Here it is:

O love is a feeling that makes a person strive
To crank out one of the Best Poems of 1995;
Love is what made Lassie the farm dog run back to the farmhouse to alert little Timmy's farm family whenever little Timmy fell into a dangerous farm pit;
Love is a feeling that will not go away, like a fungus in your armpit;
So the bottom line is that there will always be lovers
Wishing to express their love in an heirloom quality book with imported French marbleized covers;
Which, at $49.95 a pop multiplied by 3,000 poets
Works out to gross literary revenues of roughly $150,000, so it's
A good bet that whoever thought up the idea of publishing this book
Doesn't care whether this last line rhymes.
Read the whole column.

But that's not all.

In 1993 2003 (Thanks David, for pointing out the typo), Mr Barry took another shot, via his blog.
So anyway, this blog was just thinking how interesting it would be if a whole bunch of people submitted poems that contained a certain key poetic phrase. To see how it might work, this blog submitted a poem under the pen name of "Freemont A. Harkins," entitled: "A Sad Day." Here's how it goes:
A Sad Day

i am sad, so very sad
the tears run down my nose
it was a happy day until
the dog ate mother's toes
You can see this poem at, using the search engine to search for "Freemont Harkins." Wouldn't it be fun if a lot of people submitted poems using a Pen Name that began with "Freemont" and incorporating the phrase, "the dog ate mother's toes"? Then we all could search for poems written under the first name of "Freemont" -- currently, this blog is the only one -- and see how creative everybody was!

Or would that be wrong?
His devoted readers obliged. Most handsomely.
The site now has more than 500 poems by people coincidentally named Freemont concerning the consumption of mother's toes by the dog. Some of these poems are genuinely alarming. This blog is SO very proud of you all. Just think: If you were to take all that energy, creativity and talent, and apply it to something truly useful -- something that would benefit humankind -- this blog would be very disappointed.
And then – and you have to take your hat off to them for this one – pulled one of the best spins ever. They milked the "Freemont Project" for more publicity, with a page that was even linked to from their front page for a while. An extract:
So what's the story behind all this fun? Our old friend Dave Barry! You may remember back in 1994, Dave's column "This Poet Don't Know It" – later reprinted in his mega-seller Dave Barry is from Mars AND Venus, Dave wrote a poem for inclusion in our contest, which was later published in one of our anthologies.
Well, Dave's at it again, urging people all over the world to submit funny poems to the world's largest poetry repository – – all using the first name Freemont, and all including the line "the dog ate mother's toes".


Dave urged all his readers to submit their effort for posting on, and we proudly present them here. Enjoy!
The page links to those poems, though we hear that most were subsequently yanked. However, this site links to archived copies elsewhere.

Right. Now, we have an idea brewing. See next post for details.

In the flesh (self-indulgent list-making)

People who we have met thanks to their blogs (roughly in the order that we were granted our first audience)
Jai and Samit, who we met over charcoal tablets and beer on a cold Delhi evening.
Dina so, so long after we first met and chatted online and became firm virtual buddies
Amit and Dilip, on the same day at Crossword, thanks to this, and then a few days later, same place, same reason, Yazad
Rahul and Chandrahas at Sonia's book launch.
Uma, and Charu and Scott (in one evening at Uma's, at a party for Scott)
Akshay and Sidin on the same day, thanks to this
Lee and Sachi, who Dina brought along to a panel chat
The world-faymbus Neha
Vulturo, at the wolrd-faymbus Meet the world-faymbus Neha blogmeet.
River (for all of two seconds)
Update (28th May). Last Sunday we met Manish Vij (who is so old-school-cool that he has a three-letter URL), formerly of the very, very faymbus Sepia Mutiny and now the man behind the new-but-already-faymbus Ultrabrown.

People who we knew from before they started blogging and got all faymbus but they still talk to us

People we knew, from before they started blogging, but they just don't bloody well post or they'd be famous too.

People who we had met IRL, but lost touch with and then resumed contact thanks to blogs, but then have not met since:

People who we knew IRL, but hadn't a clue that they blogged till they told us, and then we find that it's a blog that we read:
Prufrock Two

People who we wish would blog, but no, they just sit there smirking, saying "khelbo na."

The how-could-we-have-forgotten-we're-kicking-ourself department
The faymbus Pratik (blogfuhrer of the excellent DesiPundit), who made time to meet us in a shopping mall despite a very rushed schedule involving things like buying engagement rings and getting engaged.

That's what the fading memory dredges up. Will come cheat and add more if we remember. And we'll do a whole separate post introducing you to Caferati's blog's contributors one of these days.

Thursday 11 May 2006

Suriname floods - help wanted

Just a heads-up that the World Wide Help Group is blogging about the floods in Suriname at

Information from and about Suriname in general, and the flood situation in particular would be most appreciated. As would information about aid efforts, whether official, NGO-led or ad-hoc, national or international. Mail it to suriname[AT]worldwidehelp[DOT]info.

And we could really use your help if you can translate from and to Dutch.

Wednesday 10 May 2006

Dedicated to the ILP

"Can you live off poetry?"
"Of course," he said, as he
paid his domain renewal fee
for, "He he he."


On Caferati's message board, and in our email, every now and then someone posts gleefully about having a poem accepted by poetry dot com (yes, deliberately not clickable), or about the contests that site runs.

And then one has to go about the sad task of letting the person know they've been conned. So, we thought, being a lazy sod, we might as well put all the gunk out here, thus saving ourself the trouble of having to search-&-cut-&-paste every time.

How does it work?

You send in an entry, and after a respectable interval, you get a lovely glossy mailer telling you that you are a semi-finalist. It will enclose an Artist's Proof of your poem for you to sign. The mailer will also tell you that you can buy a copy of the thick cloth-bound book that will contain the best entries in the contest.

It's a "benign scam," you see. The ILP (International Library of Poetry, aka and others like it operate by preying on the desire so many of of us have: to see our verse in print. You DO get a book. A large coffe table book crammed with poems. For which you pay a whole lot of money. It's cheaper for you to do a vanity printing, with only your verse in it, and give them to your 50 closest friends.

How do we know it's a rip-off? We sent in a poem once* (we were so much younger then), and were flattered to find we were a "semi-finalist." We immediately checked out the bank balance and thought to ourself, hm, perhaps this is worth a shot. Lucky for us, we first asked a few friends and e-contacts more worldy-wise than us. And were gently told that we should, ahem, perhaps, er, reconsider.

Exhibit One (a.k.a. the International Library of Poetry, the National Library of Poetry, and many others), is a vanity anthology scheme that draws in poets through free contests, and then solicits them to purchase the anthology in which they will be published, plus a variety of other merchandise and services. The contests, in which all entrants are declared "semi-finalists", are bogus; and while the company portrays itself as a viable and even prestigious poetry market, the complete lack of editorial gatekeeping and the resulting poor quality of most of the poems means that publication in one of its anthologies is not a professional credit.

A number of organizations, including the Office of the Maryland Attorney General, are seeking writers who have complaints about You can find links to all of them at, a website organized by poet Robert James Funches.

Note: doesn't exist anymore.
Someone did the math. Here's Exhibit Two:
Turn-over estimate

The anthology that I bought cost me $ 59.95. (excluding p+p). My estimate is ... that there are around 1,500 poems in there. Since you won't get published if you don't buy the book, all those 1,500 poets have bought the anthology. That would mean 1,500 x $ 59,95 = $ 89,925 for the poems. There are 325 biographies of poets in the back (I DID count them by hand), for which the poet had to pay $ 25 extra. That's 325 x $ 25 = $ 8,125.

Together for this anthology that would be $ 89,925 + $ 8,125 = $ 98,050.

I took the time to count the released anthologies that they have on the website and in the year 2002, ... they released a total of 52 anthologies. In 1998, which was probably a very profitable year for them the number of released anthologies rocketed up to 78.

So if we take the average of that, 65, and use that as the amount of released anthologies per year, you can calculate the following: 65 x $ 98,050 = $ 6,373,250 income per year only for those anthologies. That is over SIX MILLION DOLLARS!


And then I didn't even count all the other shit that they are offering. The awards, which cost like $ 175 - $ 250 each and the plaques on which you can have your poem printed and the audio recordings you can get from your poem and the offers for the symposia that you can visit as an outstanding poet.

And in this matter I'm only talking about the poetry part that they have. Imagine what their turn over is if you take into consideration that they also do 'business' in for example photography! My dear fellow poets, this is BOOOOOOOOMING business.
[Read the whole thing.]

Here, from the same page, is a poem by the person who wrote the analysis above:
Poor Victims

Naive poets
walking with open eyes
into a spider's web
of deceit and lies.

An institute
by the name of ILP
desillusions any
well-faithed wannabe.

A flattering letter
send in a fancy envelope
brings the new poet
temporarily new hope.
Dear fellow poets,
don't fall for
this trick;
ILP shall deceive us no more!
This was published, s/he says. :)

Here's another Semi-finalist:
by Wergle Flomp

flobble bobble blop
yim yam widdley woooo
oshtenpopple gurby
yip yip yip
nish-nash nockle nockle
opfem magurby voey
Ahh! "Wurby tictoc?"
"quefoxenjib masaloouterp!"
bim-burm nurgle shliptog
afttowicky wicky wicky
erm addmuksle slibberyjert!
Reqi stoobery bup dinhhk
yibberdy yobberdy hif twizzum moshlap
dwisty fujefti coppen smoppen dob
tigtog turjemy fydel
saxtenvurskej brisleywum
swiggy swiggy swug
yumostipijjle dobers!
This, by the way, inspired the Wergle Flomp Poetry Contest

Oh, here's a few more links. Google will give you about 42,100 results for " scam" in case you'd like to try it out (and another 595,000 for "literary scam").

A few to get you started: (good list of scams)

* Can't link to it, because the site pushes you back to the home page when you enter the search results. If you really want to read it, you could search for our name, then pick the poem titled "Old Diary" from the search results.

Um. Correction. Still can't link to it, but we did a little R&D so we can now at least make the search a little easier. It was written somewhere in 2001, if we remember right, but the site apparently keeps the copyright updated! And the book in which we could order it, as well as the scheduled release date, keeps changing too, to just a few months after the time you make your search. The site notes, if you click through to the Order Book page, that "Actual title and cover photograph may differ."

Monday 8 May 2006

Found while bloghopping

On a post at And why are you here? that calls for a "Turban Awareness Day":
..we will learn that a turban isn’t a hat- it can’t be removed at a moments notice, can’t be taken off to comply with a restaurants dress code and can’t be doffed to show respect to Her Majesty. Asking a Sikh to take off his turban is like asking Brittney Spears not to take anything off. It just can’t be done.

Saturday 6 May 2006

Delhirium - 2

It was a heavy day, meetings in different parts of Delhi - from Nizamuddin to Hauz Khas, then Darya Ganj, then Okhla and a long search, then a shorter search in another phase. Mercury well into the 40s, a heat haze, mingled wih much dust and pollution. We drank lots of water, and, sunk deep into the seat of our hired car, we, in our usual macho way, whine piteously to ourself about the heat and the dryness.

And then we see this.


And this.


Down Under

You argue with your rickshaw driver. He demands 40 rupees, you give him 25, telling him that that's what he gets for not turning on his meter or pre-negotiating a fare. He continues to grumble, but you're already on your way out of the blazing sun into the inviting cavern that's sending seductive tendrils of cool air in your direction.

As you disappear below ground, the heat and dust fade slowly away until it's almost like they weren't there. It's cool here, and quiet. No muck, no paan stains or discarded gutka and wafer packets. The loudest sound is the squeak of your rubber soles on the gleaming floor.

You pay your money to a surly chap-behind-the-counter (some things don't change), you get a undistinguished -looking round piece of plastic.

You dawdle a bit, not wanting to look the complete hick, so that you can sneakily see what more experienced souls are doing with those tokens. "Heck, I can do that," you say and stride forward confidently .. and manage to muff it on the first try. But then, it's fool-proof, so you get in on the second shot.

You hobble in search of a down escalator, but there isn't one, alas. As you start down the stairs, you realise there was an elevator that you missed seeing. Never mind.

Bombay-bred instincts steel your spine, galvanise your elbows, as you prepare to fight your way in.

But there's a sleek metal tube just sitting there, doors open, seats vacant. You look around suspiciously. No, it's not a trap. Gingerly, you step in, sit down. A beep warns that the doors will close. A lithe young collegian leaps in, eyes only on his phone, SMSing through the process.

The doors murmur softly as they slide closed. And with a lurch, the train sets off north. At least you take it on faith that it's north. There's no way to judge, underground, no sunny side of the train.

Your map, carefully copied from a website, is redundant. Clear signage over the doors lay out the route. A scrolling red-and-black marquee welcomes you to the Metro, and tells you what station is coming up.

Patel Chowk.

CP, and there's a smallish crowd waiting to get in. They don't wait for people to get off (other things don't change either) and there's a minor scuffle which quickly sorts itself out.

New Delhi. More crowds. Standing room only. Lo and behold, a young man gets up and gives his seat to an elderly lady!

Chandni Chowk.

Delhi main. More people getting off than on.

Kashmere gate.

Civil Lines. You get off. The train whines, eager to be off. The doors hiss shut, and it speeds off into the dark. You get up the stairs, once more, you watch to see how people let themselves out.

This time you manage the token insertion with elan. You check the signage. The Underhill Road side is where you've been told to get off.

You climb up the stairs, still awed, SMSing as you climb: Your Metro ROCKS!

And the blaze of light reaches down to you, hot fingers laying streaks of sweat down your face, your back. You emerge from this tecnological marvel of modern transport, and several cycle rickshaws clamour for your custom.

p.s. There's a Delhi Metro Yahoogroup! [Link via Manish Vij, who also has a bunch of pictures up in this post.]


Oh, have just put the Pachmarhi story (yes, the one that caused our butt so much grief) online now the next issue of the mag is on the stands, as per usual practice.

Friday 5 May 2006

Thursday 4 May 2006

01.02.03 04-05-06.

Nice time-stamp, no?

Gah. We wrote this ages ago, and then forgot to post the damn thing.

Tuesday 2 May 2006

The Zubaan Book of New Writing by Young Women

The Zubaan Book of New Writing by Young Women

(working title only)

Concept note

Zubaan is planning to produce an anthology of short fiction showcasing new, young women writers from South Asia.

The criteria

• The focus of the book will be on young writers in the 20s and 30s.
• The writers should be women of South Asian extraction, but may be based anywhere in the world. We are interested in non-resident Indian writers as well as those based in India.
• Stories can be of any length up, ideally anywhere between 2-5,000 words and should be complete stand-alone narratives.
• All submissions must be in English.
• The anthology will be of fictional writing, and we are keen to include a variety of genres – from humourous pieces to science fiction, fantasy, detective stories, and other forms which may fall under the general rubric of ‘speculative fiction'.
• Preference will be given to unpublished stories.


Selection will be on merit, and the stories would be read by Zubaan's in-house editorial team. The final selection for inclusion would rest with the Editor.


Complete stories should be sent as word attachments to: Zubaanwbooks AT vsnl DOT net, contact AT zubaanbooks DOT com and anitaroy1000 AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk
with the subject line Submission for Young Writers Anthology.
Along with the story, writers should email a short biography about themselves, including details of their published writings (if any).


Responsibility for the editing, design, production and sales of the book rests with the Publishers.
Copyright for individual pieces would rest with the respective authors, but rights in the anthology as a whole would rest with the publishers, who will actively pursue the sale of translation and co-publication rights for the book.


All writers selected will receive a modest fee for their work.


All submissions should be received by July 31 st 2006

About Zubaan

Zubaan is a small independent feminist publisher, based in New Delhi. Headed by Urvashi Butalia, who co-founded India's first feminist press, Kali for Women, Zubaan is committed to publishing books by, for, on or about women – and women's issues – in South Asia for an international market. For further details, and a list of books published thus far, please refer to:

Update: Please note change in the first email address.