Saturday, December 4, 2010

Laptop Repair Story

There is a computer repair store (Tracy Computers, Tracy, California) in our area. About 2 months ago, I bought a software online and downloaded in my laptop. But I could not install it. After trying unsuccessfully for 3 or 4 times, I took my laptop to this store. One of the owners, Yuri, attended on me. The charge was $30 and he said he will call me in a few hours after finishing the job. He did not call me in a few hours. He called me at 8 pm. He said he is having problem with installing this software and 2 technicians are working on it. He said he would call me when the job is done.

He called me the next day at 6 pm and said he has installed it and I can pick up the laptop. I went there. He said that this one was a complicated software and it took him 2 technicians for 2 days to do the job. He gave me the bill. It was just $30. Knowing 2 guys worked for 2 days, I offered to pay him more. He refused stating that his advertised store price for an installation is $30 and he will accept only that much amount. I was impressed by his sincerity.

Four weeks ago we returned from our Southern California vacation. I downloaded all our pictures and video clips in Picasa and uploaded to a web album. The video clips had sound in Picasa but no sound in the web album. So I called Yuri and explained. He asked me to bring the laptop. I dropped off the laptop in his store. He called me after a few hours and informed everything has been taken care off.

I go there. I pick up the laptop. Started to leave. Yuri asked me to test if everything is OK. I said that is not necessary because you (Yuri) did this yourself. But he insisted me to test. I was about to test. He said he would clean the laptop before I test. He took it inside and came back after a few minutes with a very sad face. I asked him what happened. He said: I was cleaning your keyboard and I must have done something wrong. Your keyboard is damaged and it is my fault. I will get another keyboard and install it. I am sorry it will take about 2 or 3 days. I am not going to charge you for the keyboard because it is my fault and I am not going to charge for the services because you are inconvenienced because of me.

I returned home and told my wife what happened. She said Yuri has been burned 2 times. The next time you go to his shop he is going to tell you to go to some other repair shop and he will bear the repair expenses. That way he can save lot of money because every time you to go his shop he loses money.

I picked up the laptop with the new keyboard. Couple of days later, Yuri called me to inquire if everything is OK with my laptop. I told him what my wife told me. Yuri laughed and laughed. He then said he would consider that option next time.
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A personal note unrelated to this post. Since I am involved with couple of special projects, I will temporarily stop writing posts and visiting other blogs. Will try to be back soon. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Friends

I got the idea to write this post after reading a post (Single Serve) written by NRIGirl.

We all know the famous saying. “Make new friends, but keep the old”. We do have a problem with that. Both making new friends and keeping the old are just about impossible for us.

We meet new friends. We get closer to them. It is exciting to talk to them and associate with them. Exchange of information with new friends makes us happy. We get a thrill out of it.

Once we have new friends, what do we do with the old friends? We think we have outgrown the friendship. We tend to ignore them. It is not as exciting any more to be in touch with them. The thought of them irritates us. Some of us even go out of the way to cut off the relationship.

And then there are friends who take advantage of your kindness and use you to the fullest. You give everything to that friend. But they just escape when they come to know you need some help. Recently I heard an incident like that. Brought tears in my eyes.

There is a saying in Tamil. It is called “rail snehidham”. Translation: Train friendship. It means it is a temporary friendship as long as we travel together between Point A and Point B. It will be the most entertaining and exciting time for us. But when the train reaches Point B, it is just bye bye and never to see them again. New friendship is something similar to the “rail snehidham”. Of course, in some few cases this will become a true genuine friendship. But very rarely.

Old friendships are the ones that did not start in a train journey. It is a genuine friendship. Genuine friendship involves a shared sense of caring and concern, a desire to see one another grow and develop, and a hope for each other to succeed in all aspects of life.

Just like the train journey, new friends are gone after a certain time. Then we get ourselves into loneliness that makes us really depressed. Then we start to miss our old friends, especially at hard times. We wish they were here. We wish we could see them. We wish we could do the same old things together. We fondly remember the help and assistance we gave and received.

One day we get enough strength and courage to call the forgotten old friend. As soon as he hears our voice, he immediately says “Hi (name) How are you. Haven’t heard from you for quite sometime. You must have been very busy”.

That is old friendship. It withstood the test of time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Won (again)

All of you may remember that I entered a contest by writing a post titled “By the Water Cooler” and I was declared one of the 5 winners. I wrote another post, I Won, announcing that winning. The story did not end here. Many of you may not be aware of further developments. Here it is.

Another blogger, YaadaYaada, claimed that a golu picture shown in one of my previous posts belongs to her. I took that picture from my wife’s golu picture collections. Therefore, I thought it was ours. I then checked with my wife and she said it is not ours. I immediately apologized to YaadaYaada and removed that post. YaadaYaada graciously accepted my apology and said: No Problem. I thought that was the end of the matter.

Ms. Parul Sharma, who organized the “By the Water Cooler” contest, and who is in no way connected with the YaadaYaada blog incident, decided to take it upon herself to punish me and teach me a lesson. In other words, she appointed herself as the Judge, Jury and the Executioner. She wrote a post and announced that she is removing my name as one of the five winners.

Ms. Parul Sharma may have thought that she was doing the right thing. But we also have to think if that is legal or not or acceptable in a civilized society. There are some people in this world think that “honor killing” is the right thing to do. Do we agree with that?

I could not believe what she did. She laid down the contest rules. I complied with all the rules. And then she declared me as a winner. What happened in another post with another blogger is none of her concern. I would have let the whole thing go if she had not insulted my integrity. Not only that. She questioned my sincerity when I apologized to YaadaYaada for an honest mistake.

Then I remembered an idiom made famous by Late Robert Kennedy. “Don’t get mad. Get even.”

I contacted a very capable lawyer in Mumbai. Explained her the whole situation as I saw. She agreed to represent me and sent a legal notice to Ms. Parul Sharma, requiring her to reinstate me as one of the five original winners. And, she got the message. On November 21, Ms. Sharma wrote another post, A very important announcement, declaring me as a winner (again).

Ms. Parul Sharma wrote in her post the following:

“SG, you are hereby reinstated as the winner of my contest. Please let me have your address in the next two days so that the book can be sent to you failing which I will send it to your lawyer”

I wrote a comment that I do not wish to receive her book.

I am sure she is not happy with this episode. But who cares?

I wish Ms. Parul Sharma success in winning The Man Booker Prize. The Booker Prize Foundation, its advisory committee, and the panel of judges will not change the “rules” after they announce the winner.

As Paul Harvey (Radio broadcaster for the ABC Radio Networks) would always say “And now you know…the rest of the story”.

I want to thank all those who supported me on this.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Turn Out the Lights

I was tagged by Insignia. Very interesting tag. Not the usual stuff. So I thought I would give it a try. Here are the rules:

1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, IPOD etc. on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS...
....

1. If someone asks you, “are you okay ? ?” you say:
I like you just the way you are

2. How would you describe yourself
I left my heart in San Francisco

3. What do you like in a guy/girl ?
Naan aanai ittaal adhu nadandhuvittal

4. How do you feel today ?
Sunshine on my shoulders

5. What is your life’s purpose ?
Unnai kaanaadha kannum kannalla

6. What’s your motto ?
That Old Black Magic

7. What do your friends think of you ?
Marinedhirundhay Paarkum marumam enna

8. What do your parents think of you?
Oh, her eyes, her eyes make the stars look like they're not shining

9. What do you think of often ?
Memries, Like the corners of my mind

10. What is 2 + 2 ?
Malligai en mannan mayangum Ponnaane malarallavoa

11. What do you think of your best friend ?
I want you to love me, like I'm a hot pie

12. What is your life story ?
Kilimanjaro – malai kanimanjaro - kanna

13. What do you want to be when you grow up ?
Yane enakku mayakkam yane enakku nadukkam

14. What do you think when you see the person you like ?
June ponaa july kaatray

15. What will you dance to at your wedding 4th anniversary?
I need another story

16. What will they play at your funeral ?
I was thinking about her

17. What is your hobby/interest ?
Enakku piditha paadal adhu unakkum pidikkumay

18. What is your biggest fear ?
Who can take a sunrise

19. What is your biggest secret ?
You think I'm pretty without any make-up on

20. What do you want right now ?
You were in college working part time waiting tables

21. What do you think of your friends?
Right right turn off the lights

22. When you want to rush to the toilet, what do you think ?
So we back in the club

23. Person you hate the most is in front of you, what will you tell the person ?
Keep drinking cofee, stare me down across the table

24. You have just won a lottery. What will you sing ?
Vaseegaraa en nenjinikka un pon madiyil thoonginaal poadhum

25. What will you post this as?
Turn out the lights, The party’s over

I enjoyed very much writing this post. I want to tag Aparna, Raji, and Stranger.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Interesting Times

May You Live in Interesting Times. This is a Chinese curse. It means “may you experience much hardship and trouble in your life”. (Uninteresting time is calm, quiet, and peaceful.) Chinese curses are very interesting.

Having said that, I would like to wish “interesting times” to the following:

Managers for not treating all subordinates equally.

Doctors who order unnecessary tests.

Politicians who do not serve the people.

Doctors who refuse to treat poor patients in an emergency.

Restaurant owners who make employees work even when they are sick. (I don’t care that much about them. I am worried about their transmitting their sickness to the customers.)

Airline pilots who violate the 8 hour rule between drinking and flying. (FAA regulation is 8 hours. Some airlines enforce 12 hour rule.)

Shop keepers who demand a minimum purchase to accept credit cards.

Customers who abuse the liberal "no questions asked” return policy.

Teachers who go out of the way to give lower grades.

Airline stewards and stewardesses who go out of the way to give worst service.

Insurance companies who refuse insurance to those who need it most.

Banks who charge a fee for keeping a checking account.

Credit card companies who change the interest rates and the revolving credit limits at their will.

People who deliberately want to bring down Apple’s stock price. (I guarantee they won’t succeed.) (Little bit of Joe Namath here.)

People who are unhappy because I am happy.

If you want to add some more people to this list, please be my guest.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So.Cal Vacation (Part 3 of 3)

This was the final day of our vacation before returning home. We went to the Sea World in San Diego. It is mainly an oceanarium. We drove to San Diego the previous evening. Since we were planning to see only for one day, we chose 4 attractions to see.



Blue Horizons. This is a spectacular show with dolphins, the whales, and the acrobats. We enjoyed very much. This is the best attraction in the whole Sea World in San Diego. They warn before hand that if you sit in the first 14 rows, you will get wet when the dolphins splash water on the audience. We were sitting on the 10th row. You can imagine how we looked like after the show ended.

Please view the video clips of the show.


Learned from the MC (Master of Ceremonies) some information on Dolphins. They weigh approximately 500 lbs. They can swim at a speed of 22 miles per hour. They can jump 17 feet. They can dive 1200 feet.

Cirque de la Mer: Their description says: "Creatures from the fantasy world of Amphibia entertain you with their extreme acrobatics". But it looks somewhat like the other Cirque show. Only difference is this one is done over water.

4-D show with Sesame Street characters. It is a cool 4-D show. Not the best. But a decent one. Entertainment only for small kids. Does not entertain teenagers and adults.

World of the Sea Aquarium. It has warm water fish from many places in this world like Caribbean, South Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico. It also has fish display that simulates what we would see if we snorkel or scuba dive.

Of course, there are other attractions we did not have time to attend. May be next time. They are:

Pets Rule
Sea Lions LIVE
Shamu Show
Nightly Fireworks

Returned home to the Bay Area after driving for 7 hours from San Diego. Our next vacation (outside USA) is planned during February/March of next year.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Megamind

(Note: So.Cal vacation Part 3 has to wait. My Picasa album did not have sound. Gave the lap top to the repair shop. They by mistake broke my keypad. They are replacing it. Will take a few days. That will be another post.)

We just saw the movie Megamind.. It is in 3D. It is an animated comedy movie produced by DreamWorks Animation and Red Hour Productions. I am not giving a review. I am just giving my impressions.

This is supposed to be a kid’s movie. What were we doing there? We are known to do crazier things. That would be a post by itself. But sometimes a movie made for kids can appeal to adults also. I think this is one of them. (In the theater we saw so many adults viewing this movie.)

Storyline? I was very comfortable with the story. Typical Tamil movie story. Megamind (super villain) and Metro Man (superhero) grew up together from childhood. In a battle, Megamind kills Metro Man. Now Megamind has everything in this world. Having everything is boring for him. So he takes an ordinary guy Tighten and creates him into a hero so that he can fight him. Now, the new hero Tighten turns bad and the original villain Megamind and the people want to destroy him.

We have to have a heroine. There is a newspaper reporter, Roxanne Ritchie, who always covers the antics of these 3 guys. All 3 guys are after her love and affection.

Now we come to know Metro Man is not dead. He is alive. Megamind and Roxanne begs Metro Man to destroy Tighten. Metro Man refuses by saying that he is now a Musicman. So, Megamind fights Tighten. Did Megamind destroy Tighten? Who won Roxanne’s heart? For answers, you have to see the movie. But I assure you it is a typical Tamil movie ending.

The Voice-Over cast was superb:

Will Ferrell – Megamind
Brad Pitt – Metro Man
Tina Fey – Roxanne Ritchie
Jonah Hill – Tighten

They did not overdo the 3D. The 3D was really impressive.

The only fault I would find is that the storyline is too difficult for kids to follow. But again, nowadays with kids writing complicated programs, this story may not be that difficult to follow.

At home I was analyzing the movie in my mind. (I analyze everything to death.) A bad guy need not be bad always. He can change. Megamind did change.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

So.Cal Vacation (Part 2 of 3)

We decided to go to a town called Newport Beach. We heard it was a pretty little town. But we did not know it is exclusively a rich area. According to Wikipidia, more than a quarter households have an income greater than $200,000, and the median value for homes exceeds $1 million. Newport Beach is famous for its Gondola ride. But we did not take the Gondola ride. We have been to Venice, Italy, and went on Gondola ride. Compared to Venice, this city’s Gondola ride did not impress us.

The streets are beautiful. You can look at them all day.

Many TV serials are based on characters (people) living in Newport Beach.

In the evening we went to Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. While having dinner, you can watch medieval style games and sword fighting. Six knights wearing full armor clash in a combat tournament for the title of King’s Champion.

Audiences are seated in 6 different section of the arena. People in each section are to root for their own knight. They are given the matching color hat for their knight. People take this fighting seriously and shout at the top of their voices. We were in the Green section. But that night, the Green knight did not win.

Inside the stadium everything is medieval. There are no forks and knives to eat. We have to eat with hands, just like the medieval times. Even the soup is to be drunk like you would drink a cup of coffee. All the employees (bartenders, sales people at the shops, waiters, bus boys, people who greet you at the door) address all customers in a royal fashion. All men are addressed “My Lord”. All women are addressed either ‘My Lady” or “My Princess”. I could not digest this. I don’t like it even when someone calls me ‘Sir’. But many Americans seem to love this.



Here is something funny. During the show, they would announce over the microphone any important occasion that day for people like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. This announcement was funny, I thought: “Mr. and Mrs. Xxxx are spending their honeymoon. But what the heck are you two doing here?”

Here is a picture of a hash brown from McDonald’s. Goes well with coffee. Nothing like, as they say in Tamil Oru Kadi Oru Kudi (one bite one sip).


Please enjoy these video clips fom the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

So.Cal Vacation (Part 1 of 3)

Last week we went on a short vacation to Southern California. We did not want to see the same Disneyland and Universal Studios for the umpteenth time. This time we wanted to see those places we have not been to so far. Therefore, we visited Disney’s California Adventure, a city named New Port Beach, Medieval Times Entertainment and Dinner, and the Sea World in San Diego.

Disney’s California Adventure is located next to the famous Disneyland. It opened in February 2001. This theme park is a tribute to the people of California and celebrates the richness and diversity of California. Since we planned to spend only one day there, we were not able to see all the attractions. We saw only the following:

Soarin’ Over California

This is their best attraction. This is a simulator attraction which lasts about 5 minutes. We are taken on a simulated hang glider attraction of California, flying over Golden Gate Bridge, Redwood Creek, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, San Diego, Malibu, Los Angeles, and finally Disneyland itself. (Some of the other I saw I do not remember now). Imagine parasailing at 500 feet above ground at 100 miles per hour all over California. It was very exciting and at the same time very scary. We felt as if our foot is going to hit on top of the Golden Gate Bridge or on top a big tree. A must see. Since I could not take pictures, here is a youtube video.. But this does not do justice for the real experience. (This youtube video clip is almost 10 minutes. Please be patient. If you want, you can skip the first 2 minutes of pre-show.)



Grizzly River Run

We embarked on a white water rafting adventure along the foaming torrents of the Grizzly River. We went through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains culminated in a thrilling, spinning plunge down a runaway river. We loved it.

Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

This is recommended for kids up to pre-teen age. But what the heck. We went. It is a kids make believe climbing fire lookout towers, slide down cable runs, slip through hollow redwoods, and navigate suspension bridges. We could not enter some of them because it was so tiny built for the kids. We enjoyed on the whole.



Hollywood Backlot

This is a replica of Hollywood backlot. Movie studio style gateway and other stuff give a Hollywood backlot atmosphere. Since we have seen the real Hollywood, we were not impressed. But something funny happened and we still laugh at our home.

We went to a thing called Animation Academy. I thought they were going to show how the animation movies are made. We stood in line for 30 minutes and entered. I was disappointed. It is a show teaching the visitors how to draw animation characters. There was an animation character professional taught us how to draw. In our family and friend circle, I am famous for my expertise in drawing. Even a 2 year old kid is better than me in drawing. When we came to know it was a drawing class, my wife could not stop laughing until we got out of the class. I have to hand it to you. The professional taught very well. Given below is that professional’s drawing of Mickey Mouse and my drawing after her teaching. Even my wife commented “not bad”. If you also think it is not bad, the whole credit goes to that professional for being such an effective teacher and not me.

Professional instructor's drawing:

My drawing:

World of Color

This is a night time water, color, light, and fire show. If I say this show is spectacular, it is an understatement. I thought the water shows in Las Vegas and Akshardham in Delhi were very good. But this one is far better. Please enjoy my amateur video clip.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Won

Remember, I recently wrote a post titled “By the Water Cooler” as an entry for a contest organized by the popular writer, Parul Sharma. She was going to select 5 winners and send each one of them a free autographed copy of her latest book, By the Water Cooler.

The 5 winners have been selected and the results were published in her blog, Radio Parul.

I am one of those 5 winners. I am humbled. Oops. I am honored.

I want to thank all my readers for their best wishes and encouraging words.

Here are the other 4 winners:

Vini of And Then

Aarti of Aarti Writes

Mom of RS from Mothering Multiples

SP Menon of The fragments of my thoughts

As suggested by Neha, I have posted here cover page of Ms. Parul Sharma's book, By the Water Cooler. This is her second shot at the coveted The Man Booker Prize award.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Humbled

People say they are “humbled” when they receive some honor. Is it because they don’t want others to know how proud (arrogant) they are to receive the honor? Is it because they really think they don’t deserve this honor? Is it because they never want to be rewarded in front of others? What message they are trying to convey? I think the word choice is a little weird.

On the flip side, if the person says “I am honored”, then he/she is stating the obvious. A friend of mine told me “I am humbled” is a little more intimate than “I am honored”. He also said by referring to your humility, you are expressing an emotion or an internal condition.

It is a graceful gesture of accepting the honor with humility, rather than displaying vanity. It is a quid pro quo reciprocation of respect to the honor itself, and the person / institution bestowing the honor. This is socially appreciated, and often expected.

Me being me, I looked in the dictionary for the meaning of this word.

Humbled as a verb means:

a) to lower in condition, importance
b) to destroy the independence, power, or will of.
c) to make meek
d) to be overly submissive or compliant

If I use the above meanings I can translate like this:

I am "lowered in condition" by this honor.
I am ""destroying the will of something" by this honor.
I am now compliant by this honor.
I am now submissive by this honor.

I am lost. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Short Vacation

We are going to Southern California for a short vacation. Will be back by Monday. Will try to write a post on our vacation.

Meantime, after the huge success of Endhiran, the studio has leaked the opening scene/trailer of Rajnikanth's next film. Enjoy!


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Latest News:
Paul the Octopus, World Cup Soccer Guru, has died. He was 2 ½ years old. May his soul rest in peace.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

By the Water Cooler

Popular writer, Parul Sharma, has a contest. Any one can write a post telling a story/anecdote based in an office. The winner will get a free autographed copy of her latest book, By the Water Cooler. (Last date to enter the contest is October 31, 2010.)

So, here is my entry to that contest.

I work for a multi national corporation which has more than 275,000 employees. I work in California. Our headquarters is in New York. This happened couple of years ago. On a Friday, two minutes before 5 PM, I got a call. The caller said he is from the CEO’s office and the CEO wants some information about a particular client and that too within 15 minutes. (I thought this guy is using CEO’s name to get the information in the last minute.) I was irritated. My employees have already closed their desk and ready to go home. I told the caller that if the CEO wants it very badly he can call me and please give him my number.

After 10 minutes, my phone rang. I could see in the called ID, our CEO’s name CB. I picked up the phone and said hello. The caller said: I am CB. I am very sorry to bother you this late on a Friday evening. A dinner meeting with the President of this client company has been arranged in the last minute. I am meeting him for dinner in another one hour. I need to get some background about this Company so I can have some intelligent conversation with him. Can you please help me?

I was stunned. The CEO of one of the largest companies in the world calling me and politely requesting some information and apologizing for the last minute request. I told him not to worry and the requested information will be faxed to him within the next 20 minutes. I faxed the information within 15 minutes.

Again the phone rang. Our CEO himself on the line. He thanked me profusely for faxing the necessary information.

When the annual bonus was given out at the end of that year, I was very well taken care of. I then learnt that the CEO had called my VP and told him to “take care” of me during bonus time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Frozen Memories

(As a comment, I wrote a few words about frozen memories in another blog. Our blogger friend A asked me to write a post on frozen memories. So, here it is.)

Before I started to write my own blog, I wrote this post as a “guest” in Insignia’s blog. I am reproducing that post (with Insignia’s permission).

We immigrated to USA long time ago. Even though we visit India frequently, our memories of India are frozen at that time we left. Since then every time we visit India, the changes, good and bad, give us shock. For example, an ordinary Kancheepuram silk Saree now costs Rs.7000.00. Even though we can very well afford, my wife says “my marriage saree” was less than that. When we go to a restaurant in India, our mind automatically think about the price we paid before leaving India for the dish we are ordering . But it is not shocking to the people who live in India because they grow every day with that change.

This frozen memory happens to all of us. Say we had a friend in school. We have not seen him/her in the past 15 years. Our memory of that friend is still the same as we saw him/her the last time. If we see him/her now, we will be shocked. In school, he had a nice thick curly hair and now he is bald-headed. She was a cute little beautiful girl next door and now she has 2 kids and weighs 185 lbs.

Going back to the place we visited long time ago is also the same. The last time we visited Delhi was in 1997. We visited again one year ago. I was pleasantly shocked to see the Los Angeles style freeways. The toll plaza at Gurgaon looks more or less the same as the toll plaza at the San Francisco Bay Bridge. In 1997, the Ring Road from Moti Bagh to Safdarjang Hospital to AIIMS to Defence Colony to Lajpat Nagar was crowded and congested. Now there is a smooth freeway.

In the past 300 years, lot of Indians have migrated to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Fiji Islands, and West Indies. Their memories are also frozen at the time their forefathers left India. In those places, those Indian origin kids learn about Indian traditions and customs from their parents and grand parents. They, in turn, learnt from their parents and grand parents. Therefore, those Indian origin kids think as Indian traditions and customs what was practiced 150 years ago in India.

This happened last month. We were invited to a cocktail reception in a friend’s home. The host and hostess are from Malaysia and speak Tamil at home. They have never visited India. As soon as we entered their home, the host shook hands with me. The hostess started to fall on my feet (to get my blessings) and half way through I stopped her. She said she is delighted to receive me because her grand parents told her that it is auspicious and good luck if a “Brahman” comes to the house. I smiled and said I am not that kind (old, pious, learned, knows 4 Vedas) of Brahman. In fact I have come for a cocktail reception. She said “I do not care. All I know from my grand father that it is auspicious and good luck if a Brahman comes to the house. Therefore, I need your blessings”. (I was thinking in my mind that after few more drinks, I would start blessing everybody. Hahaha.)

Memories are not only frozen but passed on to the next generation also.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Latest Office Buzz Words

There are new office buzz words coming out every day. Here are some new ones I came across recently. (May be you have heard them before. I am the one who gets the news always late.)

Space = Industry or Field. Example: I am in the manufacturing space.

Brand = Put a good face on. Example: OK, we did a terrible mistake in our manufacturing process. How should we brand it?

In Transition = Change from one state to another. Example: Since the downsizing, I have been in transition.

End of the Day = Uncertain point in the future but everything magically works out well. Example: At the end of the day, the CWG is a grand success.

Go Offline = Don’t bother me now, preferably never. Example: Could we go offline to discuss this irregularity?

Transparent = Open about the facts. Example: We have been transparent about the tax increase.

Bandwidth = Money, staff, computing capacity or other resources. Example: "She lacks the bandwidth to compute compound interest.

Human Capital = Human Resources, previously known as Personnel: Example: Human Capital is on the third floor.

Footprint = Impact, formerly ecological, now applicable to anything. Example: Uncle John’s rear end had a significant footprint on our sofa.

Throughput = Not your conclusions, but the mind-numbing numbers and facts you chewed over to get there; information generally demanded by a micro-manager who won't believe that you did the work. Example: Don't tell me what you've decided about this problem; I just want your throughput.

If you have know some latest buzz words, please let me know. Thanks.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Latest Popular Ads

Latest popular advertisements have a few things in common.

They are unique.
They are funny.
They look home made amateur video (to the casual eyes).

Please take a look at the latest Samsung advertisement. It has become very popular. Nothing special. A young kid dancing solo on a mat joined by her teachers, and then the entire town.





Other advertisement that has the same formula is the popular Levi’s “Walk Across America”.





And then this Dodge commercial starring a monkey dressed like daredevil Evel Knieval.





Hope you enjoy these three ads.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Columbus Day

Columbus Day is being celebrated today in the United States. This day commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492. USA celebrates this day each year on the second Monday in October. This day became a national holiday here in 1937.

The Italian-born explorer had set sail on August 3, 1492,* backed by the Spanish monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. He intended to chart a western sea route to China, India and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia; instead, he landed in the USA.

In my opinion, Columbus was a politician. Here are my reasons:

When Columbus started out he did not know where he was going. When he got there he did not know where he was. When he got back he did not know where he had been. And he did it all on other people's money.

Agree with me?

* I had a typo. I had typed 1942 instead of 1492. "A" was kind enough to point out this. I have made the correction. Thanks A.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What is next in the Airline Industry?

Continental Airlines has decided to test a “self boarding” plan. This plan will be tested at the Houston Intercontinental Airport. When the passengers swipe their boarding pass, a turnstile door will open to allow the passenger entry into the airplane. This automated boarding does not require the human touch. But there will be an attendant on hand to deal with any customer service problems.

Continental Boarding Pass

Looks like they are going to test an anarchy rule. Right now the passengers are called by row to board the plane. With this “Do It Yourself” boarding plan, all passengers will make a dash through the turnstile.

A Transportation Security Administration spokesman said that they are "determined it does not impact the security of the traveling public." Thanks for the encouraging words. Thanks a lot Ms. Janet Napolitano.

Self-boarding has been around at foreign airports for a few years. As of 2009, 14 airlines worldwide were using self-boarding gates.

What is next in the Airline Industry? As usual, while doing nothing most of the day every day, I came up with the following rhetoric questions:

We serve our own drinks in the plane?

Self load our luggage?

Vending machines replacing flight attendants?

Pilot-less planes like the Air Force? Or

Self Flying Flights? Passengers will take turns flying the plane to its destination?

Bring our own toilet paper?

Should Steve Jobs and Apple sell the airline an iAgent?

I was talking to a friend of mine about this new procedure. He wisecracked: Don't know about you, but I have always self-boarded. They never carried me to the plane.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Romantic Engagement Proposals

Passengers on a Delta flight were treated to live entertainment, when a man in love managed to convince the pilot to pop the question for him.



When she went to the airport to pick up her boyfriend, a Navy Officer returning from a tour of duty, she didn't expect to leave with so much baggage. Her future husband was the last to come of the plane. But every other passenger greeted her as they exited, with a bouquet of roses.



Forget flowers. Say it with dolphins. For their four-year anniversary the couple treated themselves to a day with the good-natured mammals. This surprise proposal was sweet in part because it really was a surprise. Also, dolphins kiss.



Paul McCartney concert in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. In the audience, a man proposed to his girl friend. Paul saw that. He immediately sang the famous Beatles’ romantic song “My Love” to the delight of the couple. How many music personalities in this world would do such a thing impromptu.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Endhiran

We saw Endhiran movie last Friday. I don’t want to give a review here. Lot of people have already given their reviews. I want to write here what went through my mind while watching the movie:

Rajni started his movie career as a villain. If this is his last film, he will end his career as a villain.

This is a regular Tamil masala movie with comedy, songs, dance, romance, and fights. While I am enjoying this for entertainment, suddenly I see this super quality special effects which are certainly better than any Hollywood films.

The reverse is also true. While I am enjoying this super quality special effects which are certainly better than any Hollywood films, I am brought back to the real world with comedy and songs.

A. R. Rahman music? I think he has done a better job in other films. One stand out song is Kilimanjaro.

Cinematography by R. Ratnavelu is excellent.

Director Shankar failed in the second half. The whole movie is focused on special effects and Rajni only. No good story. The good turns bad and the bad turns good. The good gets trashed in the end. I did not feel so connected in the second half with the story.

Last 45 minutes will give hard core Rajni fans a thrill of a lifetime.

We saw this movie in San Jose, California. Rajni fans are Rajni fans wherever they live. When his name was shown on the screen and whenever Rajni walks (in his own unique style) the whole theater went bonkers - shouts, claps, whistles, and more shouting of “thalaivaaaa” (Oh my leader).

The movie was disconnected for 4 times in the first 15 minutes. I think the theater’s projector did not work well.

There was English subtitle on the screen. But the English lines were delayed by about 6 minutes. Therefore, non Tamil speaking audience could not follow the screen and the dialogue.

Good to see quite a few Japanese in the audience and a lone white woman.

Sunday morning read the following in the web and other magazines:

A song-and-dance sequence (Kilimanjaro) was filmed in Machu Picchu (A very favorite place of a friend of mine.)

Special effects were done by Stan Winston Studio which provided the animatrics for films like Jurassic Park and Avatar.

All the stunts have been choreographed by Yuen Woo Ping, the Hong Kong based action director who created the high-adrenalin stunts of classics like Kill Bill and Matrix.

Slate, an American magazine wrote about this movie and Rajni, on September 27, 2010. The following is the title and the beginning paragraph:

SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth!
The biggest movie star you've probably never heard of.

Jackie Chan is the highest-paid actor in Asia, and that makes sense. But the No. 2 spot goes to someone who doesn't make any sense at all. The second-highest-paid actor in Asia is a balding, middle-aged man with a paunch, hailing from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and sporting the kind of moustache that went out of style in 1986. This is Rajinikanth, and he is no mere actor—he is a force of nature. If a tiger had sex with a tornado and then their tiger-nado baby got married to an earthquake, their offspring would be Rajinikanth. Or, as his films are contractually obligated to credit him, "SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth!

I agree.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Games Begin

Today, October 3. The Commonwealth Games Begin - At the cost of many, many billions of dollars.

But this lady does not care. She is concerned about feeding her hungry, crying child.

(We saw Endhiran movie this Friday. Wanted to write my view on Endhiran. But I thought this is more important than that movie. Will write on Endhiran in a couple of days.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Page from History

West Indies cricket team arrived in Bombay in November 1974. Captain was Clive Lloyd. Shortly after arrival, he was taken to the “ground” where the test match will be played. In this particular ground, this was to be the first test match. The Bombay test was scheduled on the last week of January 1975.

Lloyd was terribly disappointed. It was just a bare empty land with children playing cricket. No stadium. No construction activity. When he expressed his displeasure, he was assured everything will be done before the test match.

After playing other test matches, Lloyd and his team arrived in Bombay at the end of January. He was taken to the stadium to inspect. He was totally surprised. The once bare ground was covered with grass and the stadium had the seating capacity of 40,000. That too in just 3 months. (Please see the match score at the end.)

On one of the match days, the spectators became unruly and police had to use force to maintain law and order. There was considerable damage to the stadium. By next morning the whole stadium was repaired.

How they were able to build a nice stadium within 3 months and correct the damage overnight? The cricket in Maharashtra was run by a guy named S. K. Wankhede. Incidentally, he also happened to be Maharashtra’s Finance Minister. All he had to do was to contact a few builders and executives of some cement companies and tell them in no unmistakable terms what he wanted them to do. Can they refuse this man? Bingo. The job was done.

His name is immortalized in the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Why don’t they have people like Wankhede organizing the 2010 Commonwealth Games?

Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
***************************************************************************
West Indies won. Here is the final test score.

West Indies First Innings: 604 for 6 declared. (Lloyd not out 242, Fredericks 104, Gavri 4 wickets)
India First Innings: 406 all out (Solkar 102, Viswanath 95, Gavaskar 86, Gibbs 7 wickets)
West Indies Second Innings: 205 for 3 declared (Greenidge 54, Gavri 2 wickets)
India Second Innings: 202 all out (Patel 73 not out, Holder 6 wickets)


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Boss Engira Baskaran

Have you done anything on impulse? That is what we did today. We decided to go to a newly released Tamil movie, Boss Engira Baskaran. For no reason we decided to go for the 4:30 PM show. Today is Monday (working day) and how many Tamil speaking people you would expect for a 4:30 PM show? You are correct. We were the only two people in the whole theater. We were expecting at least a few others to show up. No way. When the movie started, we looked around. We were the only two people. Anyhow, we enjoyed it. Felt like watching a movie in our own huge private theater.

There was supposed to be a 15 minute interval. There was no line. We bought the soft drinks. Only 5 minutes were gone. Still 10 minutes left. The operator came to me and said if I wanted to, he could start the movie right now. I asked him to go ahead. We really felt like watching in our own huge private theater.

Bottom line is we liked the movie. It is a romantic comedy. Actors were Arya, Nayantara, and Santhanam. Rajesh is the Director. Yuvan Shankar Raja composed the musical score. Santhanam (the comedian) stole the entire movie. It is a regular Tamil movie masala. One thing I liked is there was no fight in the movie. I am tired of watching one guy fighting with bare hands 100 people with guns and knives.

The story is about an ever obliging guy Baskaran (Arya) who is always busy doing odd jobs for other people. In the process he misses a lot of his personal life and doesn’t seem to embark on a useful career. When things almost go out of hand, a no-nonsense young girl Chandrika (Nayantara) enters his life and puts him on right track. A middle class love also blooms on the way.

I enjoyed one conversation very much. Santhanam has a barbershop. The name is Thala Thalapathi Barbershop. {For non-Tamil readers: There is a rivalry going on between two Tamil actors. Ajit is nicknamed Thala (Leader) and Vijay is nicknamed Thalapathi (General)}. In a scene, supporters of these two actors wanted to know why Santhanam named his barbershop like this. Santhanam gave a long philosophical explanation. One guy told him: You are giving a long explanation which no one understands, just like the way Kamal Hasan speaks.

My opinion: Comedy is the boss. Perfect for a weekend in which you decide not to give your brain much work.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

For Animal Lovers

Please be patient. Few seconds of advertisement before the start of each video clip.

Excercise Anyone?



Dynamic Duo (Pig and Monkey)



Seal Steals



Dancing Parrots


Thursday, September 23, 2010

College Major

( (Courtesy: Yahoo)

Many readers of this blog have already completed their education and have started their career. But if any young student ask for advice, they can give something along the following lines.

They should not select a major in any subject that involves dealing with real facts. These include math, chemistry, physics or biology.

Let us say you choose math as a major. The professor may ask the following question: A goat is tied to the outside corner of 4 yards by 4 yards pen on a 16 yard leash. How many square yards of grass can he eat? If you do not come up with an answer that the professor has in his/her mind, he/she will flunk you.

Same goes for chemistry major. Calculate the pH of the solution that results from mixing the following four aqueous solutions together. You don’t come with a correct answer you fail.

Same is true for physics or biology major and subjects like that.

My advice is to select a major in subjects like English, psychology, philosophy or sociology. These are the subjects no one understands what others are talking about and there are no real facts.

Take for example Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. If you have to write an essay on Pip, you can write about Process Industry Practices. The professor who reads hundreds of similar boring papers on Pip will think you are very different and creative. He will also view you as an “out of the box” thinker.

It is easy to major in philosophy. All you have to do is sit in a room and do nothing all day. Wear a t-shirt that says “Sh*t Happens” and take some drugs like MDMA.

It is easy to major in psychology also. In later years, when you become a psychologist, all you have to say is only one sentence. For example:

Patient: I hate my mother
Psychologist: Thank you for sharing that with me

Patient: I am depressed
Psychologist: Thank you for sharing that with me

Patient: I want to kill you, you fat slob
Psychologist: Thank you for sharing that with me

Finally, seriously, nowadays they don’t want any “expert” as a CEO. The multi national corporations are looking for liberal arts majors to be their leaders. (I am talking about U.S. companies only.) They are considered “out of the box” thinkers and having leadership qualities. They will be supervising the “experts”.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Olympics in India?

Collapsed bridge near the Commonwealth Games

How about Olympics in India? A dream come true?

Statement by Randhir Singh, IOA General Secretary, on July 8, 2004:

“The infrastructure required for hosting the Games would almost be ready during the Commonwealth Games (in 2010) and it would be the right roadmap for holding the Olympic Games (in India) in 2016.”

Farsighted or Far-fetched?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Canadian Ingenuity

Authorities in West Vancouver, Canada, were concerned with drivers not slowing down for traditional speed bumps. They were particularly worried about speed bumps near schools. They immediately put the Canadian ingenuity to work. Bingo. The town unveiled a new way for drivers to slow down near an elementary school. It is a 2-D image of a child playing, creating the illusion that approaching driver will soon hit a child.

According to officials, the pavement painting appears to rise up as the driver gets closer to it, reaching full 3-D realism at around 100 feet.

I have the following thoughts:

The drivers may think it is actually a child and slow down one or two times. Once they are used to it, they won’t slow down because they know it is not a real child. What happens if a real child was crossing the street and a driver thought it is another 2-D image and hit the child?

Here are some comments from other readers:

That is the most DUMB idea us Canadians have had!!!!!!!

Yeah, great. I would see this, slam on my brakes, and possibly swerve. This will not end well.

Did Bush come up with this? I blame Bush.

Isn't it winter in Canada for part of the school year? How is it going to work if she is covered in snow or slush? Not to mention normal daily road grime.

I can see a drunk driver swerving to avoid this and running down the real people on the sidewalk after losing control of the vehicle.

What are you guys complaining about? I love this idea.

So that's a ball? I thought it was a skateboard. And really, who would think this was a real child with those huge feet?

This is remarkably creepy.

All governments are run by educated idiots without the education.

Why fix what ain't broken?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kids' Questions

Kids ask some of the cutest, toughest, and silliest questions that adults don’t have answer or unable to give a satisfactory answer. Here are some:

1. Where did I come from?

2. Why Do You and Mommy Fight?

3. What is God?

4. How Much Money Do We Have?

5. Why Do People Die?

6. Why are we moving?

7. Why wasn’t I invited to that party?

8. What is Heaven?

9. How does a man get inside a TV?

10. Can I marry mommy when I grow up?

11. If I am not tired, why should I go to sleep?

12. Will a shot hurt?

13. How do thunder and lightning work?

14. Is this a boy chicken or a girl chicken?

15. Why do we eat animals?

16. Why do I have to go to school?

17. Can I get a cell phone?

18. Who will take care of me if you die?

19. Why can’t I stay home alone?

20. Why do I have to say thank you?

If you know or heard of a “cute” or “tough” or “silly” question from a kid, please let me know. Thanks.

And, finally a cute question from a grown-up kid:

When a doctor doctors a doctor, does the doctor doing the doctoring doctor as the doctor being doctored wants to be doctored or does the doctor doing the doctoring doctor as he wants to doctor?

Answer: That’s a good question. (Translation: I don’t know the answer.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Alcatraz Island

Recently we took an out of town guest to visit Alcatraz Island. This is located in the San Francisco Bay. Until 1963, this island served as a Federal Prison. This was considered the maximum security prison. No one can escape from here because the prison is in the middle of the bay. If any one wants to escape, they have to swim about 2 miles to the shore. The water is very cold and there are sharks. You have to be a special person to be sent here. Please see this announcement.


Most notorious crooks in the country spent time in this prison. It has 336 main line cells and 42 solitary confinement rooms. Alcatraz tour is certainly one of the most famous. Whether you prefer to experience part of the history of the island or you just want to see one of the most well-known prisons on the earth, this is a getaway you will not forget.

The prison was in operation for 29 years and there were 14 escape attempts. There was only one successful escape. Remember the Clint Eastwood movie, Escape from Alcatraz.

Here are some pictures:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Houseguests

We all want to treat our houseguests as best as possible. Sometimes, we overlook small things and it will create discomfort to our guests. But they will never tell us because they don’t want to embarrass us. Here is a list of items our houseguests will never tell us:

(Later addition: I am not saying the guests are demanding and finding so many faults with the hosts. In fact, it is opposite. They don't want to hurt the hosts. Therefore, if there is something lacking, they will not tell us. It is for the hosts to make sure the guests have a nice stay. This is my personal opinion.)

Our houseguests will NOT tell us the following:

I'm hungry. (Leave some fruits and cookies in the bedroom.)

After turning out the lights, I bruised my knee climbing into bed. (Place a bedside lamp or make sure the bed’s edges are not sharp.)

I woke up at the crack of dawn. (Blackout shades should be considered.)

I am really cold or uncomfortably hot. (Make sure the room has the right temperature according to the guest’s liking.)

I can’t find a place to charge my cell phone. (Point out where the power outlet is, if not easily visible.)

I find the bedroom is not clean. (Make sure the guest room is clean and spotlessly clean bathroom.)

I don’t like this food or I have this food allergy. (Ask them in advance what food they like and if they have any food allergy.)

I cannot have internet access. (Volunteer to provide them with your wireless network security key code.)

I find the bathroom inadequate. (Make sure to have enough towels, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and a nice clean shower curtain.)

Your car is dirty. (Keep your car clean in and out and do not have any “garbage” in the car.)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

CL

Please be patient and read the entire post. Please do not jump to the last line immediately. Thanks.

What am I going to write about? Is it about:

CL - Internet country code top-level domain for Chile. No.

CL - New York Stock Exchange symbol for Colgate-Palmolive. No.

CL - The Champagne Lodge. No.

CL - French Company specializes in corporate multilingual publishing. No.

CL - Chronic Liar. No.

CL - Chat Life. No.

CL - Casual Leave. No.

CL - Center for Limnology. No

CL - Central Luzon, Philippines. No.

CL - Cathedral of Learning at University of Pittsburg. No.

CL – Cecile Licad, a classical pianist. No.

CL – Clear Lake, California. No.

CL – Combinator Logic. No.

CL – Current Loop. No.

CL – Roman numeral for 150. Yes.

This is my 150th post. Thanks for all your support.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My New Template



Lyrics:

The loveliness of Paris seems somehow sadly gay
The glory that was Rome is of another day
I've been terribly alone and forgotten in Manhattan
I'm going home to my city by the Bay

I left my heart in San Francisco
High on a hill, it calls to me
To be where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars
The morning fog may chill the air, I don't care

My love waits there in San Francisco
Above the blue and windy sea
When I come home to you, San Francisco
Your golden sun will shine for me

Monday, September 6, 2010

Shrek the Fish?

We always thought that Shrek, the green ogre, lived peacefully in a swamp. No way. He is adventurous.

Now he has gone swimming off the coast of Japan. This particular fish, almost 30 years old, bears a remarkable resemblance to Shrek. The head, the chin, the beady eyes — it's all there. Were they separated at birth?




But no sign of Donkey or Fiona.

Did I misspell? Is it Fiorina?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

College Football Season Begins

Today, in USA, football season in all the universities begins. That is American College Football Season. There are lot of interests and enthusiasm with the Americans on College football games. Sometimes more than the professional games.

(Blue Uniform is Berkeley and White Uniform is Stanford)

I have already written that professional football in USA requires people to graduate from college before they are eligible to become professional. Therefore people start to watch college players with keen interest. Also, there are many die hard college alumni.

Tickets for these college games are not cheap. The stadiums can accommodate anywhere between 40,000 to 100,000 people. The average cost of a ticket is $80. They play 12 games. 6 at home and 6 away from home.

There is always the big rivalry between two teams. I will mention a few of them:

University of California, Berkeley vs Stanford University

Army (United States Military Academy at West Point) vs Navy (United States Naval Academy at Annapolis)

University of Texas at Austin vs University of Oklahoma

University of Alabama vs Auburn University

University of Michigan vs The Ohio State University

What do these universities do with the huge amount of money collected from football games? They use this money to award scholarship (full and partial) to deserving other students.

Next time, you or your relative or a friend get a scholarship at a U.S. university, please remember these college football players.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Day At The Movie

A popular movie theater in Chennai. Famous movie. House Full. Ashok and his wife Akila had already purchased a first class ticket at a cost of Rs.300 each. Saket Raman and his wife Sangeetha stood in the long line and purchased lower level tickets at Rs.70 each.

Intermission. These two couples meet in the coffee counter. Akila and Sangeetha were college mates. They introduced their husbands. Ashok bought the coffee for all four. They go back to their seats.

Movie ends. The couples say good bye to each other with a promise of meeting for lunch sometime.

Ashok and Akila are walking towards the bus stop. Akila tells Ashok: At last we were able to save some money and see a movie just like rich people. I am so happy today.

Saket and Sangeetha are walking towards their Mercedes Benz. Their driver was waiting to open the car door. Sangeetha tells Saket: At last we were able to see a movie just like ordinary folks. I am tired of this high society rich people stuff. I am so happy today.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tiger Woods "Trick"

You mention Tiger Woods and his “trick”, people immediately think it is something of a juicy and raunchy news. They would make sure kids are not around to hear what is going to be said.

Believe me there is one “trick” by Tiger Woods that is completely innocent and cool. People can talk about it in friends circle with kids present. Please take a look at it.




Mark Ingram is 21 years old and a Junior (3rd year) at the University of Alabama. He is a famous College level (American) football star in USA. Last year, he won the Heisman Trophy. Heisman Trophy is awarded to the best college football star in USA. Once he graduates, he will certainly become a professional with a multi million dollar contract.

(Yes, professional football in USA requires people to graduate from college before they are eligible to become professional. Some people have successfully challenged that rule. If that rule in applied for cricket, at least 50% of the current players would not have become professionals.)

Mark Ingram can imitate the Tiger Woods “trick”. Please view this.




What do you think?

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Traffic Jam

You thought the worst traffic jams in this world are in countries like India, Egypt, Japan, and Russia. If you see what is happening in China, traffic is a breeze in these countries.

Thousands of vehicles were bogged down in a more than 100-kilometre (62-mile) traffic jam leading to Beijing that has lasted nine days. It does not mean it takes 9 days to get through the jam. It means the jam has been there for nine days. This highlights China's growing road congestion woes. Take a look at these pictures.


The traffic jam between Beijing and Jining City has created a new economy. Merchants are selling water and food items at inflated prices. Capitalism strikes again in this communist country.

All of a sudden too many cars and poor infrastructure. You have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run. The Chinese took off running before they could crawl.

If you want the fastest growing economy in the world too fast, you will end up with these kinds of problems. Beware India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. You can be proud of being invited to attend the G-8 Summit. But you will end up like China (another invitee to the G-8 Summit) in traffic jam.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Opus

Famous Los Angeles Architect, Steve Hermann, has built a home in Montecito, California. The home is called the “Glass Pavilion”. All walls are glass. Mr. Hermann calls this as his “opus”.

The lot is 3.5 acres. Built in area is 13,875 square feet. 5 bedrooms. 5 ½ bathrooms. Kitchen. Wine Room. Art Gallery. It took him 6 years to build this home.

He originally built this for himself and his family. But now changed his mind. It is for sale now. The price: $35 million. Anyone interested to buy?

Front

Front (another view)

Living Room

Dining Room

Car Park

Friday, August 20, 2010

Leadership

More than 2200 beaches from Louisiana to Florida were closed because of BP’s oil leak. Since then clean up operations have been undertaken and these beaches were declared safe.

Businesses that are dependent on tourism were hurt. President Obama is visiting that region to jump start the tourism industry. What did he do for the tourists to come back?

Did he visit that area in a helicopter and declared the beaches are clean and safe? No. Did he stay in a mansion surrounded by secret service agents and declare the beaches are safe? No.

Obama said his family planned to "enjoy the beach and the water — to let our fellow Americans know that they should come on down here.” To reinforce this message, he and his daughter swam in the Gulf’s waters on Saturday. Please see this picture.

Some people might say it is a publicity stunt. Yes, it is a publicity stunt to bring back the tourists to this region. How many leaders in other countries will go for swimming with his family to prove the beaches are safe after the oil spill? That is called leadership by example. Not just Obama. Any U.S. President would have done this.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Funny Quotations

We often read funny quotations. We just smile and move on. Some is so funny we remember them. Here are a few funny quotations I remember:

Albert Einstein: Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.

Franklin P. Jones: The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it.

John Peers: Never stand between a dog and the hydrant.

Oscar Wilde: Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.

Whitney Brown: I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants.

Will Rogers: Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.

Samuel Goldwyn: Coffee isn’t my cup of tea.

Robert Benchley: Drawing on my fine command of the language, I said nothing.

G. K. Chesterton: Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.

Katherine Hepburn: I don’t care what is written about me as long as it isn’t true.

Homer Simpson: You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is 'never try'.

Mae West: Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.

Groucho Marx: I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception.

George W. Bush: Rarely is the question asked: is our children learning?

Jeanne-Marie Roland: The more I see of men, the more I like dogs.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Revolutionary Freedom Fighters from South India

Many Indian history books forget to mention the contributions made by South Indian Revolutionary Freedom Fighters. When we read any history book about Indians who fought the British, we see only the names of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, Shiv Ram Hari Rajguru, Subash Chandra Bose, and a few others from North India.

There is a long list of South Indian revolutionaries who fought the British. I will mention a few of them here.

Vanchinathan (1886 to 1911)

Vanchinathan was born in Shenkottai, Tamilnadu. He obtained his masters degree from Thiruvananthapuram. As a youth, he participated in the freedom movement of India. He could not tolerate the atrocities committed by the British. He wanted to take revenge on them. On June 17, 1911, he assassinated Ashe, the District Collector of Tirunelveli. He shot Ashe at point blank range when Ashe’s train stopped at the Maniychi Junction on the way to Madras. The British response was brutal. He committed suicide to avoid capture by the British.

Tiruppur Kumaran (1904 to 1932)

Kumaran was a revolutionary who participated in the Indian freedom movement. He was born in Erode district of Tamilnadu. One day he participated in a freedom march in Tiruppur. He was holding the Congress flag. The police ordered him to drop the flag on the floor. Kumaran refused. The police beat him to death in the street in front of hundreds of people. Finally he died unable to withstand the beatings from the police. His body fell down on the street. His hand was still holding the flag high.

Alluri Sita Rama Raju (1897 to 1924)

Alluri Sita Rama Raju still remains an inspiring model of people who fought oppression. He led the Ramba Rebellion. Raju raided many police stations in and around Chintapalli and killed many British officers. Despite having fewer weapon and men, he exacted tremendous damage to the British. The British campaign to arrest him lasted more than one year. He was finally captured in the forests of Chintapalli. He was tied to a tree and short dead with a rifle. British were proud of their justice system but followed the law of the jungle.

Rani Channamma and Sangolli Royanna

Rani Channamma, the Queen of Kittur, refused a surrender offer by the British and instead attacked the enemy surrounding her fort. The Queen and her small army put up a heroic fight but was eventually defeated. She was imprisoned.

Sangolli Royanna, an employee of Kittur State, gathered a considerable band and carried forward the fight. He was later overpowered, arrested, and hanged in 1830.

Pazhassi Raja (1753 to 1805)

Pazhassi Raja was known as the Lion of Kerala. He was a prince from the royal dynasty of Pazhassi Kottayam. Pazhassi Raja resisted British imperialism from 1793 onwards till his death in 1805. He fought two wars to resist English intervention in domestic affairs of his kingdom. On November 30, 1805, the Raja and his assistants were camping near the stream named Mavila. Raja and party were caught by surprise and an intense but short fight followed. Six rebels were killed. One of the earliest rebels to be killed was Pazhassi Raja.

Captain Lakshmi (Born October 24, 1914)

Captain Lakshmi participated in the Indian Independence Movement. She is a doctor by profession. At the end of World War II, she joined Indian National Army, an armed force formed by Subash Chandra Bose. Captain Lakshmi served as the Commander of the Rani of Jhansi Regiment of the INA. She was also a Minister in Subash Chandra Bose’s Azad Hind Government. She was taken as a prisoner in Burma. (Even though she became a Lt.Col., at the time of her arrest she was a Captain. Therefore, this title for her became popular.)

On this Independence Day, let us salute these revolutionary freedom fighters.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another Reason to Split

Bo Wyble and his girl friend Sara Saco-Vertiz went to a professional baseball game. Their favorite team Houston Astros was playing that day. A ball hit by the batter came their way. Bo ducked. The ball hit Sara in the right elbow. Please see this video.



They took it jovially. They went home. Sara started to think about the incident. She thought if her boy friend could not protect her from the oncoming ball how is he going to protect her in life if they get married.

She told a reporter that her pain was a 6 out of 10.

Bo said he would do things differently if allowed the chance. If the ball again came their way, he'd let the ball hit him "probably in the back."

Many people feel Bo was a real wimp for not protecting her. If the guy bails over a foul ball, just imagine what he'd be like in a real crisis. She's better off without him.

Therefore Sara told Bo she is splitting from him. Now they are separated.

What do you think? Did she do the right thing?

Soccer-Tennis

Looks like there is a new game being developed internationally. It is called Soccer-Tennis. You play on a tennis court with a tennis ball but no rackets. You play with your feet and head ala soccer style.

This week, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic played an impromptu tennis game with their feet. (This video looks nice if you watch on full screen.)





These two players put their footwork, dexterity and quickness on display with the quick game, which appears to have been won by the team led by Djokovic (on the left).

I am impressed with the heading abilities of Rafael. He could have strengthened the Spanish Soccer Team in this year’s world championship. On the other hand, they did not need any help this year.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Funniest Small-Town Names

I have come across some small towns in USA whose names are very funny. Here are some of them.

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

This town is located half-way between El Paso and Albuquerque. It is well known for its geothermal springs.

Boring, Oregon

This town is located half an hour from Portland. There are lot of activities here and you will never be bored.

Cool, California

This town is located in the foothills of Sierras and about one hour from Sacramento. It is famous for its annual bicycle race.

Uncertain, Texas

This town is located along the Texas Louisiana border. Caddo Lake, Texas’ only naturally formed lake is the main attraction.

Carefree, Arizona

This town is located just north of Phoenix. This resort town is famouse for golf, spas, and other outdoor activities.

Last Chance, Idaho

This town is located about 30 miles south of West Yellowstone. It is a nature-lover’s paradise. Fishing and hiking are popular pastimes.

Accident, Maryland

This town is located 2 hours from Pittsburg. This town’s biggest attraction is the historical Drane House.

Normal, Illinois

This town is located about 120 miles from Chicago. Children’s Discovery Museum is the main attraction here.