Friday, July 30, 2010

Con Game

I received an email last night at 8 pm from a relative in Chennai. He is doing export business and travels all over the world very often. I have reproduced his email to me (without changing anything):

“How are you?Am in a hurry writing you this note,Just wanted to seek your help on something very important, you are the only person i could reach at this point, and i hope you come to my aid because something very terrible is happening to me now,i need a favor from you now, I had a trip here in London (UK) . Unfortunately for me I got mugged at gun point on my way to the hotel where i lodged.They went away with all i have got on me including my wallet where i have all my cash and credit card and also my cell phone.I wasn't injured because I quickly complied.Since then i have been without any money, I am even owing the hotel bills here and I don't have a return ticket back home becaues I bought a one-way ticket.Presently, my documents are been held down by the hotel management pending the time i am able to clear bills.I contacted the police here and they only asked me to write a statement about the incident and I also contacted my embassy but they could only help me replace my missing passport.I have limited access to emails for now, please i need you to lend me about 1350 British Pounds so i can make arrangements and return back please,i have spoken to the embassy here but they are not responding to the matter effectively, I will return the money back to you as soon as i get home, I am so confused right now.

I will be waiting to hear from you.”


From the very beginning, I knew this is a con game from a con artist. There are many reasons for me to think like that:

1. English writing is very poor. My relative writes good English.

2. India does not have an Embassy in London. India has a High Commission in London.

3. A businessman visiting from Chennai to London for a few days will always buy a "return ticket" and not a one way ticket.

4. Only an hour before the receipt of this email, I was talking to this relative of mine in Chennai over the phone.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jack Tatum

(Note: This note is for those who are not familiar with the American Football. This is a very rough sport. That is why the players are paid very well. Each game is played for one hour and only 16 regular games are played in a year. Even the new players who are making their debut are paid millions of dollars each year.)

He was called “The Assassin”.

Jack Tatum, one of the greatest defensive players in American Football died on Tuesday, July 27, of a heart attack.

He was one of the hardest hitters in the NFL (National Football League). As a defensive player, his job is to stop the offensive player from advancing. He intimidated the opposing players with his ferocious tackles. This helped his team, The Oakland Raiders, become the toughest.

Unfortunately, he was also associated with one of the most tragic moments in American Football’s history. In a game (Oakland Raiders vs. New England Patriots) a hit from Tatum left a Patriots player, Darryl Stingley, paralyzed from the neck down. Tatum was not the same person after the hit. Tatum tried to visit Stingley in an Oakland Hospital but was turned away by his family. It affected him very much. For years, he was almost reclusive.

Experts, including many football coaches, who watched the video clip of the hit were of the opinion that it was a “clean hit” and no foul was committed by Tatum.

Even though Tatum felt sorry for Stingley, he had no remorse for his head hunting ways. He wrote a book titled “They Call Me Assassin”. He mentioned about the Stingley hit as follows:

“There's no way to change yesterday. I was paid to hit, the harder the better. And I hit, and I knocked people down and knocked people out. But sooner or later they would always get back up. Yes, they got up every time except one.”

Jack Tatum, one of Football’s great is no more. May his soul rest in peace.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Other Tourist Attractions in USA

When visitors come to America, they go to the usual touristy places like Niagara Falls, Grand Canyon, Golden Gate Bridge, Las Vegas, Disney Land, Universal Studios, etc.

I have come across some weird and wacky places to visit in the USA. Remember these places when you plan to visit USA next time. If you live in USA, remember to take your guests to these places instead of a cruise. Cruise is a fashion nowadays.

Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska

This is a thoroughly modern automobile themed take on England’s mysterious Stonehenge.

Desert of Maine, Freeport, Maine

Desert in Maine? Yes. That is correct. Besides the lush pine trees, there is an intriguing sand anomaly in Maine. It has all the trappings of the Sahara.

Lucy the Elephant, Margate, New Jersey

Real Estate Developer James Lafferty, Jr. built this colossal structure in 1881 to bring attention for his real estate business. This is a 90 ton 65 foot tall wooden elephant.

Oregon Vortex, Gold Hill, Oregon

A weird sight since 1930, the Oregon Vortex and its “house of mystery”. What causes the disarming slant in the house? Why do brooms stand up on their own. This is a fun house of physics-defying experiments.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

We Need More Apps

Apple’s IPhone has more than 220,000 apps and Google’s Android has 60,000 apps. But did they cover everything? No way. They missed out a lot. Here are some of them collected from Twitter and Yahoo. And, some of them are my originals. I demand:

An app that puts my children to bed every night.

An app that gives my wife the “right answer”.

An app that teleports me to a spot with a good cell signal.

A “to do” list program that would remind me of things to do when I am in the right place to do them. For example, pick up medicine when I am near a pharmacy.

An app that converts a Web site containing Flash video on the fly to HTML5, or whatever format Apple will allow.

An on-screen pop up that would remind me that I am holding my IPhone 4 in the wrong way. (This app should be personally written by Steve Jobs.)

An app to put a little smile on my face.

An app containing 100 stupid quotes from politicians.

An app to tell me what to cook today.

An app to tell me what to wear today.

An app that tells me the correct parking rules for the spot where I’m currently standing.

An app, which uses public friends lists across multiple social sites to determine how I may be tied to someone I just met.

Mall/Department store GPS. Say goodbye to mall directory maps.

An app that tells me what there isn’t an app for.

If you know an app is ought to be there (but is not), then please tell me. I will write to Steve Jobs.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Great Love

It happened exactly 66 years ago today. Yes, the date was July 21, 1944. The place was Hitler’s concentration camp for jews in Auschwitz.

Jerzy Bielecki was walking along with his Jewish sweetheart, Cyla Cybulska, towards the exit gate. Jerzy was wearing a stolen German Nazi SS uniform. They nervously approached the German guards at the gate. The guards looked suspiciously at Jerzy’s forged pass and eyed the two for a long time. Finally the guard said the sweetest words: Ja Danke (Yes, Thank You) and let Jerzy and Cyla out of the death camp and into freedom.

Prisoners at the Auschwitz concentration camp used to say that the only way out was through crematorium chimneys. Jerzy and Cyla were one of the very few to escape from here.

The 23 year old Jerzy was a German speaking Catholic from Poland. In 1940, the Germans falsely suspected him as a resistance fighter and arrested and brought him to Auschwitz. From 1942, large number of jews were arrested and brought to this concentration camp. One of them was Cyla. Most of the jews were sent to gas chambers. Some were kept (to be sent to gas chambers later) to do hard work. Cyla was one of them.

While doing hard work at the concentration camp, Jerzy met Cyla. Their friendship grew into love. As their love blossomed, Jerzy started to work on a daring escape plan.

From another prisoner who was working in the “uniform department”, he got a German Nazi SS Uniform and a forged pass. He told Cyla “Tomorrow an SS-man will come to take you for interrogation and that SS-man will be me”.

The next day, July 21, 1944, Jerzy wore his stolen German Nazi SS uniform and arrived at the yard where Cyla was working. He demanded the German supervisor to release this woman for interrogation. Jerzy led her out of the barrack and onto a long path leading to a side gate where the guards finally let them go through.

They walked out with fear that any minute a bullet would hit their head. They stayed in hiding during the day and walked through fields for 9 nights before they reached Jerzy’s uncle’s house. At one time, Cyla was too tired to walk. She told Jerzy to abandon her and go to his uncle’s house by himself. And, he said:

“Cyla, we fled together. We will walk on together. I am not going to abandon you”. He sometimes carried her. Jerzy’s mother who was living with his uncle was overjoyed to see his son.

They were going to marry. But fate intervened. In 1945, Soviet Army entered Poland and in the confusion Jerzy and Cyla were separated. Cyla thought Jerzy was killed and eventually immigrated to New York. Jerzy settled in Poland.

They both wanted to see other in case both of them were alive. Their wish came true one day. In 1982, Cyla was telling her Auschwitz escape story to a polish woman. She said she heard the same story from a man in the Polish television.

She tracked down his phone number and one day in May 1983, she called him on the phone. When the phone was answered she said: Jerzy, this is me, your little Cyla.

After a few weeks they met at the Krakow Airport. He brought 39 Red Roses, one for each year they spent apart. Cyla died in New York in 2002.

Jerzy, now 89, said in an interview: It was great love.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Recently I wrote a post on introverts. One of my blogging friend, Chitra, asked me to write a post on extroverts. Therefore, he it is:

People think an extrovert is one who is very friendly and outgoing. That may be true. But a real extrovert is the one who is energized by being around other people. (An introvert is energized by being alone.) They are also called gregarious and unreserved persons.

Extroverts don’t want to be alone. They want to be with other people. They enjoy social situations and even seek them out. They are very good at small talk. They are quite comfortable approaching a total stranger and having conversation. Extroverts tend to think as they speak. (But an introvert will think thoroughly before they speak.) For an extrovert, concept doesn’t seem real unless they talk about it.

They are good at managing people. In a work environment, they will be very popular managers. Employees would love to work for them. And, if they are transferred to another department, employees want to follow them.

In summary, extroverts are interested in what is happening around them. They are very open and talkative. They often compare their opinions with the opinion of others. They like action. Easily make friends. They say what they think. This may land them in trouble sometimes. They can easily break unwanted relationship or friendship with no regret. Some famous extroverts are:

Alexander the Great
Sir Walter Raleigh
Thomas Edison
Eddie Murphy
Robin Williams
Anthony Robbins
Weird Al Yankovick
Tom Hanks
Almost all politicians
Most industrialists

Friday, July 16, 2010

Apple Story (continues)

In a special press conference a short while ago, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the following:

“We are not perfect. Phones are not perfect. If you don’t like IPhone 4, don’t buy it. If you bought IPhone 4 and don’t like it, bring it back. You will get a full refund.

In order to solve this problem, all those who bought IPhone 4 will be issued a free protective case. (
Writer's Note: This will solve the antenna problem)

We care about every customer.”

Protective Case for IPhone 4

Finally, Apple came out and acknowledged the problem and provided a solution. And they stopped giving wishy washy answers.

I was also imagining how previous Apple style answers can be given for other problems in this world. Some of them are:

Problem: Tamil Nadu is facing shortage of electricity and the electricity board is not doing anything.

Apple style answer: A software error falsely indicated we have surplus electricity.

Problem: Fuel price hike throws life out of gear.

Apple style answer: We'll be holding an invitation-only "press conference" to discuss how we purchase crude oil.

Problem: Sony’s VAIO laptops catch fire.

Apple style answer: The problem is with Microsoft Windows Vista.

Problem: Toyota has sticky gas pedals.

Apple style answer: Drivers are pressing their foot down wrong.

Problem: Too much traffic in the street and there is heavy traffic jam.

Apply style answer: Stay indoor during day time. Go out between midnight and 3 am.

Problem: Double sided electric tooth brush looks ugly and weird.

Apple style answer: Our CEO likes the way this tooth brush looks slick and slim.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

An Apple Story

Insignia wrote a post on apple. From that post, I got an idea to write a post on apple too. Thanks Insignia. You are always my inspiration. But this is different apple. The Apple Company.

Apple, Inc. has been in the news a lot for the past 3 months. Their IPad and IPhone 4 have suddenly become attractive products all over the world. Apple’s profit has skyrocketed. They have become the largest technology company in the world (replacing Microsoft) through market capitalization. The stock is at $253 now and estimated to go over $390 in a year.

Now comes the problem. From day one IPhone 4 has antenna problem. When the phone is held in a certain way the signal drops. At first Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, brushed aside telling that the customers are holding the phone in a wrong way. Then they came out and said there is a problem with software algorithm used to define the signal bars on the phone.

Immediately, the stock plummeted from $279 to $242. Apple still has not fixed the software problem.

Since announcing the sale in late June, they have so far sold approximately 2 million Iphone 4. Now experts are suggesting different solutions. Some experts suggest that users buy a case ($30) to eliminate the issue. Some others suggest that Apple should issue a free case to those who bought their IPhone4. Apple is sitting on a cash of $42 billion (that is billion) in their checking account with no debt. The cost of giving away free case will amount to $60 million only. This is nothing for Apple.

Some people have suggested that Apple should refurbish all the phones that were sold. This would cost Apple about $200 million. No big deal for Apple.

Then why they are not doing it? If they do anything like this (issue case or refurbish) it would mean admitting that they made a mistake.

Some people are demanding total recall. This is not likely. This is about how you hold the phone and not whether this phone will blow up or not. Experts on crisis management and public relations say that Apple handled the situation very badly. Even if there is nothing wrong, acknowledging the problem is key. Steven Job’s flip remark (holding the phone the wrong way) did not help. Apple had a chance to dictate how this story will be developed. But by ignoring and giving unsatisfactory response to the customers, they have a potential recall on their hands.

PS: I am long on Apple with heavy investment. Hope Apple handles the situation well and come out of this.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Tag

I was tagged by Renu more than a month ago. Thanks for tagging me Renu. I wrote this post immediately. But just now found time to publish it.

8 TV shows/News Channels I like to watch:

1. CNN
3. Outsourced (Saw preview. Coming this fall)
4. M.A.S.H. (rerun)
5. Rookie Blue
6. The Mentalist (rerun)
7. Metti Oli (rerun)
8. Nadhaswaram

8 Places to eat and dine:

1. My Home (My wife is a great cook.)
2. Washington Square Bar and Grill, San Francisco (Excellent Bar)
3. Sahn Eddar in Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai (For Afternoon Tea)
4. Max Brenner, New York (Best Chocolate Pizza)
5. Olive Garden (Italian Restaurant Chain)
6. Lizza’s Pizza in Salt Lake City, Utah
7. Dhaba Indian Cuisine, Tracy, California
8. Sankara Vilas Hotel, Trichy, India (The Best Rava Dosa)

8 Things I Look Forward To:

1. My visit to Vancouver next month (which did not happen)
2. My visit to India next year.
3. Watching the movie Toy Story (Part 3).
4. Successful launch of my new project.

8 Things That Happened Yesterday:

1. Wrote a post for my blog
2. Watched Obama rip apart BP for Gulf oil spill
3. Finished reading a book (The Book of Questions)
4. Bought tickets online for the March 20, 2011 cricket match India vs. West Indies in Chennai
5. Went to an Indian grocery store
6. Had a fight with a friend of mine (When you make-up it feels good. So want to fight frequently.)
7. Had a long distance call with a relative in India
8. Washed my car, finally (and then it rained here).

8 Things I love about Winter

1. Welcomes a new year
2. Ice (I love to ski)
3. Bright cold sunny days
4. Mulled wine
5. Everything is lovely and green
6. Sitting near the fire place in the family room

8 Things on my Wish-list

1. Good health for me and my family and our friends
2. Apple share should go to $400 (now at $260)
3. Buy a Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
4. Take a cruise vacation on the ship MS Oasis of the Seas. (It is the largest cruise ship. 6,300 passengers and 2,200 crew)
5. Buy a house in Dublin, California, with a bedroom downstairs (That is the trend now.)

(Since I cannot come up with more than 5, I will add World Peace, Solve World Hunger Problem, and Permanent seat for India at the United Nations, as additional 3 items.)

8 Things I am Passionate about

1. My family
2. Helping those I dearly love
3. Watching TV (especially news and sports)
4. Visiting restaurants of different cuisine
5. Helping (anonymously) people who are in need
6. Do things my own way
7. Never take “no” for an answer
8. Cooking (my new hobby) (learning from my wife)

8 Words/Phrases I often use

1. Bingo (means: “that is correct”)
2. Inshallah
3. The whole enchilada (a group of related things taken in totality)
4. Aruvai (most boring) (when I watch any Tamil serial)
5. Mucho Dinero (lots of money)
6. Guruvayoorappa
7. The difficult will be done now and the impossible will take some time.
8. May God show mercy on my enemies because I won’t (I like this phrase but I rarely use it.)

8 Things I learnt from the past

1. It may appear some people are buddy buddy with you. Beware. Most of them are here only to pass time. They sense you have a problem? They will just take off and disappear.
2. Those who stand by you and support you during tough times are your real friends. Rest are just train friendship (friends only until they reach their destination.)
3. If you want something to be done on time then do it yourself.
4. If people around you are not happy then you will not be happy. Therefore, make them also happy.
5. If you keep quiet, people think you don’t know anything.
6. Favorable public opinion does not happen. It is manually created.
7. Except those who you really trust, never discuss your ideas or future plans with anyone else. They will steal your ideas.
8. If you don’t do anything, most of the times problems will be solved by itself.

8 Places I would like to go/visit

1. Hawaii (again)
2. Niagara Falls (again)
3. Penang (again)
4. Akshardham Temple in New Delhi (again)
5. Bangalore & Mysore
6. Golden Temple at Amritsar and Wagah Border
7. Venice, Italy (for the umpteenth time)
8. Tirupathi (for the umpteenth time)

8 Things I currently need/want.....


8 Blogging Buddies I want to Tag

1. Chitra
2. Lostworld
3. NRIGirl

Friday, July 9, 2010


A friend of mine is an excellent writer. But on the phone or in person, no words will come. Never talks that much and listens only with a smile. Lot of people will mistake these people as “stuck up”. Actually they are introverts.

An introvert is not just a shy person. He/She is a person who is energized by being alone. Their energy is drained by being around other people.

They are concerned with their inner mind. They enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings. Even if they have good social skills, they avoid being around people. These social situations drain their energy. After being with people, they want to be alone to “recharge”.

They also have a hard time being goofy in front of the camera. They cannot tell a joke to more than a couple of people at a time. But they can be extremely witty. Introverts’ personality traits are definitely not neurotic.

Some people mistake them as depressed. They simply want time to be with their own thoughts. 70% of the introverts are gifted people. Gifted people are the ones whose IQ is 130 or above. Introverts' contributions to society far exceed their numbers. Many of these people have changed our lives incalculably. Some of the famous introverts are:

Albert Einstein
Steven Spielberg
Charles Darwin
Warren Buffett
Michael Jordan
Isaac Newton
Friedrich Nietzsche
Hans Christian Anderson
Others (They Got Brains)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

One Nil

Today will be an enthusiastic day for American sports announcers in television and radio stations. Here is the reason.

The meaning for the word “nil” is zero or nothing. In sports, it is used in soccer very commonly. However, in USA, when there is no score the term “nothing” is used. Never have they used the word “nil”. Also, soccer is not that popular in USA yet.

But there is lot of enthusiasm here during the soccer world cup. It is given very high priority in news. World cup matches are televised live.

Sports announcers get a kick out of saying the word “nil”. Actually, they love saying it. They enjoy saying it. If the score is something like 2 to 1, they don’t show that much enthusiasm. There is some enthusiasm when the score is “2 nil” or “3 nil” or “nil nil”. But their biggest pleasure is when they announce the score “one nil”. Their pronunciation is more pronounced. A few minutes ago, Spain beat Germany one nil. They will be very happily saying throughout the day:

Today Spain beat Germany onnneeennniiilll.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day

Today is 4th of July. America’s Independence Day. Happy Independence Day to all.

Just like India, America got her independence from the British. But they did not get through non-violence. British did not grant them independence. Americans just beat the crap out of the British, made the British Army surrender, and declared their own independence.

Today, there will be a lot of fireworks, parades, and cookouts throughout USA. Fortunately this is a 3-day weekend also.

There are a couple of similarities between India and USA.

They both do not celebrate Queen’s birthday. USA is not a member of the Commonwealth Realms. Most Commonwealth members (former British colonies) still recognize the Queen as their monarch. Some of them are Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Fortunately, even though India is a member of the Commonwealth, it does not celebrate the Queen’s birthday. Thank God.

Another similarity is both countries chose their own Independence (USA) and Republic (India) dates.

In USA, the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress was signed on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Even after this date, the British were fighting the Americans. They finally surrendered to the Americans in 1781.

(Latest trivia published only yesterday. Thomas Jefferson, one of the people who wrote the Declaration of Independence, wrote “subjects” when he referred to the American public. He then erased that word and replaced it with “citizens”. Only the British are subjects. Americans and Indians are proud citizens of their country.)

(As I wrote in a previous post, the British Army surrendered to the Americans in Yorktown, Virginia. The surrender ceremony took place on October 19, 1781. The commander of the British Army, General Cornwallis did not attend the surrender ceremony saying he was not feeling well. He sent his deputy, General O’Hara, to officially surrender. Yes, he is the same Cornwallis who became the Governor General of India from 1786 to 1793.)

The Purna Swaraj declaration or Declaration of the Independence of India was promulgated by the Indian National Congress, on January 26, 1930. It was declared in LAHORE. (Nice twist to this post.) Therefore, India selected January 26 in 1950 as the Republic Day.

I am an American Citizen. And, I am of Indian Origin. I am proud of both. Especially for kicking the British out of these 2 countries. Thank God we don’t have to curtsy to anyone. We bend our knees only to God and our elders.

Example for Indo American Friendship. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has a huge flight facility at the Wallops Island. In the main reception hall of that flight facility, there is a huge painting depicting soldiers trying to rocket launch against the enemy. You know who those soldiers are? They are Tipu Sultan’s soldiers trying to rocket launch against the British troops.

Dr. Abdul Kalam wrote: "It turned out to be Tipu Sultan's army fighting the British. The painting depicted a fact forgotten in Tipu's own country but commemorated here on the other side of the planet. I was happy to see an Indian glorified by NASA as a hero of warfare rocketry".