Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Scam

In USA, we can donate our old or unwanted or unused cars to charity organizations.  They will sell the car and take the proceeds.  They use this for generating revenue.  Donors can use the value of the car for tax benefits.
 
I have an old unused car that is more than 10 years old.  I wanted to donate this car to a popular charity organization.  I had made all the arrangements for them to pick up my car along with the title certificate.  I gave them all the details including where I have parked my car.
 
Yesterday morning, I was surprised to find the following note in the windshield of the car:
 
“Hi, if you would like to sell this, plz call John Doe, (xxx)xxx-xxxx”.
 
I was surprised.  And, I was very angry.  This is a scam.  I wanted to donate this car to a charity.  Someone who came to know this information wanted to buy this car from me for a few dollars and profit themselves by reselling it.  Thus deprive revenue for this charity.  I have a feeling someone inside the charity organization is tipping of these scam artists.
 
Scam artists are there in every country.
 
I just ignored that note.  The charity people picked up the car this morning.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bosses

I was reading a very nice post titled Horrible Bosses written by Ash.  That prompted me to write this post about the eccentric behavior of one of my bosses.  She was not horrible.
 
My first boss was Helen L.  I have already written about her long time ago.  When I went for the interview, after a lot of questions, she finally asked me if I have supervisory experience.  I said yes.  She then asked me if I have ever supervised Americans.  My instinct was to say no.  But I thought about it for 20 seconds. It looked like 20 hours.  I then replied: Why are you asking me this question?  Are they difficult to supervise?  She laughed and laughed and laughed.  And then said, you are hired.
 
Helen always thought if she is not in the office nothing will go right.  The whole place will crumble.  Whenever she takes a few hours off or a day off or takes a vacation, she would ask me if I can manage my unit without her being in the office.  For a few times, I made the mistake of telling her I can handle any situation during her absence and she should not worry.  When she comes back from the day off, she would ask a thousand questions and rip me apart purposely.
 
I am a fast learner.  After a few times, I learned the art of dealing her.  Whenever she takes even a few hours off (like a dentist appointment) she would ask me if I can manage my unit in her absence.  I would say: I will try Helen.  Can you give me the phone number of your dentist so I can call you if there is an emergency?  (There were no cell phones in those days.)  She would say “Don’t worry.  You can handle it.”  When she comes back from the dentist, she will never ask me any question.
 
Whenever she is going to be on vacation, I would always say “I don’t know if I can handle or not.  I will try.  Give me your contact number in case there is an emergency”.  She was happy.  My life became smooth.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Name to Remember

Srikanth Srinivasan, a 46 year old Indian-American lawyer, has been appointed by President Obama as a Federal Judge to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals (FYI: The U.S. Court of Appeals is just one step below the U.S. Supreme Court in the judicial hierarchy).  He will be the first Indian-American to serve on the Court of Appeals.
 
(Courtesy: Yahoo)
 
His nomination needs confirmation by the U.S. Senate.  It looks like both sides of the Senate (Republicans and Democrats) like him a lot and he is expected to have smooth sailing in the confirmation process.
 
There is even speculation that Mr. Srinivasan may be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court before President Obama leaves office in 2016.  If that happens, he will be the first Indian-American U.S. Supreme Court Judge.
 
Now wait a minute.
 
Just because his name is Srinivasan, I know many people in Tamil Nadu will be claiming to be his childhood friends.  There are others who will claim to be one of his elementary school teachers. 
Sorry to disappoint all of them.  He was born in Chandigarh and immigrated to USA with his parents when he was a small child.  Now it’s time for people in Chandigarh to celebrate.
 
It used to be that Indian-Americans were only doctors and engineers… and in more recent years came the IT experts.  Now they are in all walks of life in the USA.  It appears that anything can happen in the next 30 years.
 
So here is my imagination for the USA in the future:
 
Bobby Jindal will most likely contest for the President of USA and may even win.
 
Anytime in the next 25 years, Kamala Harris may contest for the President of USA and may even win.  She is now Attorney General for the State of California.  Kamala’s mother, Dr. Shyamala Gopalan is from Chennai (Tamil Nadu can celebrate).
 
There is a chance, in future, that Mr. Sri Srinivasan may be elevated to be the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
 
If that were to happen…here is something to ponder (which may never come true.  But then again never say never.)
 
Bobby Jindal becomes President and Chief Justice Srinivasan administers the oath of office.
 
Kamala Harris becomes President and Chief Justice Srinivasan administers the oath of office.  They both decided to take the oath and administer the oath in Tamil.  I think that would be a riot…and cause a riot.
 
Bring on the flex banners and 100 feet cutouts throughout Tamil Nadu.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Weight Loss Incentive

We all know planes do not run on seats.  They run on weight.  At least, I think so.  That is why when an airline say “the plane is full”, you can always see a few empty seats here and there.
 
Samoa Air has come with an excellent idea.  Charge people by their weight.  When you book your ticket online, you should mention your weight and the weight of your luggage.  You will be charged as per the weight you input.  You and your luggage will be weighed again at the airport.
 
Since most of the Samoans are obese people, this is an excellent incentive for their weight loss program.  I think all airlines should follow this pricing policy.
 
Here is my sort of soliloquy:
 
If you are so large and take up other people’s space, you better pay extra for your seat.  Free market capitalism. Pay for the poundage.
 
May be they should charge more if the plane is bigger.  I think it would cost more to operate a larger plane.  Charge more for a seat in 747 than A-300.
 
Put all the obese people nearer to the vending machine.  Extra revenue for the airline.
 
Don’t put all of them on one side of the plane or all of them in front or all of them in the back.  Gravity issue.
 
Will they put wider seats for those obese people paying extra money, a la, premium economy in certain airlines.
 
Anticipate more law suits.
 
Great news for midgets and petites.
 
Discount for malnourished people?
 
How about charging people on the basis of their income?  Bring a copy of your last year’s income tax return.
 
Is obesity considered a disability?  In that case, they will demand discounted rates.
 
Why not introduce this ticket price based on passenger’s weight to buses and trains also.
 
What does ACLU think?  For non-American readers, ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) is an organization who are supposed to fight for individual rights and liberties.  Many people think ACLU is a leftist organization known for handling unusual/strange cases.
 
Is there a weight rule for those who fly free, i.e. airline employees on vacation using their travel benefits.
 
What to do with the obese flight crew (pilots, copilots, flight attendants) who operate the flight.
 
What do you think?

Monday, April 1, 2013

My Observations in Chennai

These are my observations while I visited Chennai.  They are not criticism.  Just observations.
 
Girls/women are well dressed than before a few years ago.  Pleasantly surprised that they dine  alone in restaurants for breakfast/lunch/dinner.  I mean alone without any friends or relatives (male or female).   Kudos to them. This will not happen in USA.  Here they think if they dine alone, the society will look down upon them.  Either they will order “to go” or if they are staying in a hotel order “room service”.  My personal feeling is there is nothing wrong with a girl/woman dining alone in a restaurant.
 
I have written before that a few auto drivers ask “how much we are willing to pay him” when we tell him we want to go to a certain place (instead 0f telling us how much he will charge us).  It is changed now.  Instead of a few auto drivers, now most of the auto drivers ask the same question to us.  I always give my standard answer.  I am willing to pay you one rupee.  Now you tell me how much you want to charge.
 
We went to a movie.  Lot of young couple came to the movie after the movie began and left before the movie ended.  My wife is na├»ve.  She asked me why a lot of couple come late and leave early.  I had to explain her the reason about their wish to spend some quiet quality time in the dark.
 
In order to give security to the Chief Minister, they have daily deployed police in every main street in Chennai.  Thousands of them, one at every 50 feet.  I am told they are bringing police even from outside of Chennai for this.  Many of them  are women police.  The average woman police is about 5’3” and weighs 110 lbs.  They stand the whole day in the scorching sun.  They look like they are about to faint.  I felt sorry for them.
 
My question is this.  The Chief Minister is already having the highest security available in the land.  If there is a real threat for her, what can this 5’3” 110 lbs. girl can do to save the CM?  She does not even have a stick (lathi).
 
Gold price skyrocketed.  But gold jewellery shops are so crowded with buyers.  Everyone complains restaurants have become very costly.  All restaurants are very crowded.  The more Karunanidhi talks about his belief in atheism, temples are more crowded than movie theaters.  (Karunanidhi’s atheism applies only to Hindus.)
 
They now have call taxi.  This is very convenient for people.  We can even book a call taxi online.   They start the meter only after you sit inside the car.  But there is one major problem.  Most of the drivers are new to Chennai.  As soon as we sit in the taxi and when we tell the driver our destination, most of them ask “do you know how to go there”.  This is very inconvenient for the visitors.  Not all visitors know how to go from Point A to Point B in Chennai.  At least, these are honest drivers.  A few drivers just roam the city for ever asking for directions from a lot of people in the street.  The poor passengers will be paying extra rupees because of the driver roaming the city.
 
I am not an expert.  May be a car GPS with mapping software would solve this problem.
 
Funny thing is once I booked a call taxi to go from T.Nagar to Mylapore.  The taxi driver told me he has never heard of Mylapore.  I asked him how long he has been in Chennai.  He said 2 days.  I was LMAO.  What will you do if a Mumbai tax driver says he never heard of Nariman Point. Or, if a Delhi taxi driver says he never heard of India Gate.