Saturday, October 31, 2009

Time to Fall Back

Tomorrow is Sunday, November 1. At 2:00 AM tomorrow, the United States of America will move its clock back by one hour. The “standard time” will then begin.

USA changes its clock forward by one hour at 2:00 AM on the second Sunday in March. This is the beginning of “daylight saving time”. At 2:00 AM on the first Sunday in November “standard time” begins. There is a famous saying about changing the clock in USA: Spring forward and fall back.

Why they want to change the regular time to “daylight savings time” for 6 months? About 85% of the Americans have no idea. They just change the clock because every one does that.

Benjamin Franklin conceived this idea. The main reason for daylight savings time is energy conservation. If there is more sunlight in the evening, homes and shops do not have to turn on their lights as early and therefore save energy and fuel. USA went on daylight saving time during World Wars l and 2 to save energy and fuel for the war effort. The current national system of daylight saving system was implemented in 1973 through a law passed by the U.S. Congress. This was done at that time because of prevailing oil shortage at that time.

Many people hate daylight saving time. People are irritated to change several clocks in the home twice a year. Most of the home appliances like TV, DVD Player, Oven, Microwave Oven, A/C Thermostat, and Landline Phones have clocks. This is in addition to wrist watches and alarm clocks. Many feel it contributes to sleep disorders. Some people argue that there is not that much energy savings because of constant running of air conditioners during summer months. Also, if there is more evening time, people go on many different tasks and visit friends and therefore use more gasoline.

Quite a number of people at work will come late by one hour at the beginning of “daylight saving time”. Their excuse: I forgot to change the clock. I am yet to see any employee come one hour early at the beginning of “standard time” saying they forgot to change the clock.

There are many who suggest having a compromise. Change the clock by 30 minutes only one time and make that time a permanent one.

There are some states in USA and other U.S. territories that are exempt from this change. They do not change their clocks at all. They are: Arizona, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. This is because either they have more natural sunlight or they are tropical.

Places that are located near Equator, The Tropic of Cancer, and The Tropic of Capricorn have more sunlight. The Tropic of Cancer runs through India. Therefore no time change is necessary for India.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Guess What This Is?

Recently Insignia posted a blog with many photos. At the end, she posted a photo and did not tell what it is. She just wrote: “And finally, a task for you all. Can you taka a guess, what this could be?”.

From that blog, I got an idea to post a photo of an object that I have and ask our friends to tell what they think it is. This is certainly not a one upmanship. This certainly follows the idiom: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Here it is. Please take a close look at this and post your comments as to what you think it is.

Post Script: The above photo object is a wine pourer. Please see the photo below. It allows you to pour wine without drips.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Match Fixing?

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. October 21. Luxembourg Tennis Open. Caroline Wozniacki, ranked number 6 in the world, was leading in the first round against Anne Kremer of Luxembourg. The score was 7-5, 5-0. At that moment she retired from the match because of hamstring injury.

Looks like she was having hamstring injury problem from the beginning. When the score stood at 3-0 in the second set, her dad told her to retire before winning the match because her injury will prevent her from playing in the next round. This was picked up over the microphone and heard by the people watching the match on the internet.

Caroline did a wonderful gesture for her opponent by allowing her to advance to the next round in front of her hometown spectators. She said:

“I could possibly have finished the match, but felt there was no way I could get ready for the second round on Thursday, so I chose the sporting way and let her go through. She's also [playing] at home.”

What did Caroline get for her sportsmanship? WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) is now investigating Caroline for 3 big offences, gambling, match fixing, and tennis integrity.

Serena Williams verbally assaulted a line judge and she got a slap on the wrist.

I had written the following in reply to a comment on a previous posting:

Wimbledon. The year 1960. Semi Final Match. India’s Ramanathan Krishnan vs. Australia’s Neale Fraser. A shot from Fraser was called “out” in favor of Krishnan. Krishnan interceded and told the umpire that it was “in”. Krishnan, instead of gaining a point lost a point. Eventually that call was instrumental in Krishnan losing the match to Fraser.

Next week, a Tamil weekly, Kalki, put the picture of Krishnan on the cover and put a caption from Bhagvat Gita: "Paritranaya Sadhunaam vinashaya cha dushkritamDharma sansthapnarthaya sambhavami yugay yugay" (Whenever there is downfall of Dharma (righteousness), I incarnate to re-establish the Dharma.)

May be Krishnan would be investigated for match fixing in today’s world.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

California SuperLotto

California state lottery, known as SuperLotto, is attracting millions of buyers. The jackpot starts with $7 million. If there is no winner, the amount is carried over to the next drawing. The highest amount it has reached so far is $193 million (February 16, 2002). The winnings are subject to Federal Income Tax. It is free from State Income Tax. Winning numbers are drawn twice a week, Wednesday and Saturday. The cost of each ticket is $1. We can select the numbers. Or, we can ask the computer to select the numbers at random. This is called quick pick.

Who does not want to make easy money without working? Most of us want to make easy money. Therefore, yesterday, I went to Safeway grocery store to buy a lottery ticket. I always buy only one ticket. There are some people who buy more than one ticket. That is a waste of money. The odds of winning are 1 in 41,416,353. Therefore, if we buy more than one ticket, the odds are not going to help us.

Here I am reminded of a story. A guy was praying God for so many years to win the lottery. He did not win. One day he got frustrated with God and prayed a lot asking Him why he did not win the lottery so far. God took pity on that guy. God appeared in front of him. The guy asked God why he is not winning the lottery even after praying Him for the last several years. God told him: I want to help you. But please meet me half the way. The guy asked God as to what should he do. God replied: Please go and buy a lottery ticket. Then only I can make you win.

I don’t want to be like that guy. Therefore, I buy one ticket for $1.

Something funny happened in the Safeway Store. We can buy lottery tickets in the lottery machine. But the machine does not give change. I did not have a one dollar bill. Therefore I went to the Customer Service Department. I was surprised to see the Store Manager there. Safeway is a very big grocery store chain. Each store has a manager and several assistant managers. Therefore, it is very rare that a manager himself/herself attending to the customers behind a counter. Here is how the conversation went:

Manager = Good Morning Sir, How may I help you today?

Me = Can I have a SuperLotto Quick Pick one ticket

Manager = Sure. You want ordinary numbers or lucky numbers?

(He was joking. Before he could finish the sentence)

Me = Neither of them. Give me the winning numbers.

He dropped the $5 bill I gave him. Looked at me and said: That was a very nice come back. But this is the first time someone said (in that quick come back) "give me the winning numbers." So far every customer I asked that question have replied “give me the lucky numbers”. He gave me the ticket and said: Good luck to you.

There are some people who buy tickets for several weeks in a row. I buy only for one drawing at a time. Why? In my opinion, if I buy for next week also, it means in my mind I unconsciously believe that I am not going to win this week. Therefore, one lottery drawing at a time.

Did I win? I will know today, Wednesday, at 8 PM.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Japanese Ingenuity

Beginning October 1, All Nippon Airways is asking passengers to use the toilet before boarding the plane and help cut carbon emissions. They claim empty bladders mean lighter passengers, a lighter aircraft, and therefore a lower fuel cost.

The airline staff will be present at the boarding gates and ask the passengers if they relieved themselves before boarding.

They estimate the weight saved will lead to a 5 tonne reduction in carbon emissions each month. A spokeswoman for the Airlines said: "If the flight is lighter, we use less gasoline which is good for the environment,”

This news has brought lot of comments from people all over the world. Here are some:

“Because you go once does not mean you won’t go twice especially if you are drinking beer in the airport bar.”

“Do you get extra bag of peanut if you go number one and number two before boarding?”

“Considering some of the raw food they eat, it may not be a bad idea.”

“I wonder if they have considered enemas, hair cuts, and bra-less ladies.”

“If everyone held their breath during the flight, they could reduce carbon emissions.”

“What's next, shaving passenger's heads before boarding? Making them run a couple laps around the airport (so weight will be reduced by a pound or two)”

“Why not issue diuretics at the check-in counter?”

“Have everyone arrive 2 hours early so that they can give you enema to lighten the load.”

“Will the airlines start charging extra if you want a human pilot on board next?”

“Why not fly naked? (Clothes weigh a lot)”

“Next they would ask us to cut our finger nails.”

“You really want the likes of Michael Moore naked on an airplane?”

“Why don't they just weigh the passengers and charge by the pound. Like freight.”

“How about a new type of status on the screen: GO TO TOILET.”

“Next they'll be asking you to prepare for a flight as though you were going to have a colonoscopy.”

“In related news, Air India has asked its passengers to go on a hunger strike prior to boarding.”

“Passengers could flap their arms while in flight to reduce weight.”

Are they going to install dialysis machines at the airport and employ nephrologists and nurses to help passengers with acute kidney failure? (This is not in quote because this is my own comment.)

“Do we get any points for vomiting before getting on the plane?”

“Could you get a reduction in the ticket price if you swore you drank or ate nothing the previous 24 hours?”

“Are they going to rename All Nippon Airways to Stop and Go Airways?”

“Airlines staff can ask the passengers the following:

Sir or Madam,
When was the last time you emptied your bladder? Do you think you could do so again before you board the plane? If you don't we'll have to impose a full bladder surcharge on your ticket. Yes, you have to show the container full of liquid to prove that you voided your bladder.”

Here is one I think is the best: “If they would just let us open the windows we could relieve in-flight”. (But there is a political problem here)

An Irish airline, Ryanair is considering charging passengers for using the toilet while flying. They are thinking of installing “coin slot on the toilet door”.

I just thought of an idea to increase revenue for the airlines. Install coin operated toilets in the plane. They should accept only coins. No paper currency. No credit cards. Then include coins in the banned items (like knife, blades, firearms, etc.) so that passengers will not carry any coin with them while boarding. Once inside the plane, stewardess will give change for paper currency. Passengers will get 3 quarters for each dollar. How about that? Any takers?

Frequent flyers can use their mileage to buy toilet tokens.

You have any comments? Be my guest.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Visit to Greensboro, N.C.

A relative of ours lives in Greensboro in the state of North Carolina. They celebrate Navarathri Pooja in a grand style each year. Every year they would invite us to visit them. We never found time so far. This year we decided to accept their invitation and go there.

Golu in Greensboro

We stayed in Greensboro for 5 days. It was raining cats and dogs for 2 days. We were able to go sight seeing only for a few days. We visited the following 3 tourist attractions:

Natural Science Center

It is very much a family oriented place. We spent the day with lots of fun and exploring the science museum and planetarium. They feature dinosaurs, insects, and aquatic life. We also visited the Animal Discovery Zoological Park. We were able to see at close range tigers, wallabies, alligators, and African wild dogs.

Blandwood Mansion

This is a National Historic Landmark. Originally constructed in 1795 Blandwood Mansion served as NC Governor John Motley Morehead's home. In 1844, AJ Davis designed an addition, transforming the farmhouse into an Italianate wonder. We were able to see original architecture and family furnishings.

Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

It was an interesting and emotional experience to visit this place. Battle of Guilford Courthouse was fought here on March 15, 1781. The largest, most hotly-contested battle of the Revolutionary War's Southern Campaign was fought here between the Americans and the British. The Americans kicked the British’s a** royally.

The British General said: “I never saw such fighting since God made me. The Americans fought like demons.”

Who was this British General? General Cornwallis. Yes, the same guy who became the Governor General of India from 1786 to 1793. We should have kicked the British out of India just like the Americans did.

A page from the history. 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.

Another scene from history. Lt. General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi of Pakistan, in spite of all the terrible things done by him, personally surrendered to the Indian Army’s Lt. General Jagjit Singh Aurora in Dacca on December 16, 1971.

Niazi fought for his country. He was man enough to come forward and surrender personally. He was not a coward like Gen. Cornwallis.

Finally, I have landed in San Francisco International Airport hundreds of times. Every landing is a pleasant and exciting experience. Until the last second before the plane’s touch down, it will look as though the plane is going to land on water. This picture was taken a few seconds before landing.

Happy Deepavali to you and your family.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

More Awards And A Tag

Since President Obama has not received any awards or prize during the past 2 days, I have some extra time on my hands. Therefore, I would like to accept the awards I have received.

These two awards (One Lovely Blog and I Love Your Blog) were passed on to me by Neha and RaMmY. Thank you very much Neha and RaMmY.

This award (A Fabulous Blog) was passed on to me by Nazish Rahman. Thanks a lot Nazish.

All three of them tagged me with the same questions. So here are the answers:

1.What is your current obsession?

2. What are you wearing today?
Black Pant and Blue T-Shirt

3. What’s for dinner?
Falafel on a Pita Bread, Piquillo Pepper Yogurt Sauce, Tomato Relish (My wife is preparing them now)

4. What’s the last thing you bought?
A California Lottery Ticket

5. What are you listening to right now?
TV playing Batman cartoon.

6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?
Neha – If I ever have to face the law, I want her on my side as a lawyer as well as a friend for moral support.
Nazish – His postings are thought provoking. (PS: My own words. I did not copy from Neha.)
Rammy – Very likeable person. Read his “About Me”

7. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC.

8. What are your must-have pieces for summer?
Money, to go on vacation.

9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
Penang. It is a paradise on earth

10. Which language do you want to learn?
Spanish. In 30 years, it is going to be the official language of the United States.

11. What’s your favorite quote?
"Don’t get mad, get even”

Thirukural - Inna Seitharai Oruththal Avar Naana Nannayam Seithu Vidal (Do good to the person who has done you wrong. Let this be his punishment.)

“Who said nothing is impossible? I have been doing nothing for so many years.”

12. Who do you want to meet right now?
Someone I know. Do not want to give the name.

13. What is your favorite color?

14. What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own closet?
My dark blue Brioni suit

15. What is your dream job?
University Professor taking a class on Modern History or Current Events.

16. What’s your favorite magazine?
Forbes Magazine

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?
Go to Wente Vineyards in Livermore and buy couple of bottles of Merlot Nth Degree (2004).

18. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?
No white after Labor Day (First Monday in September in USA). Bandana.

19. Who according to you is the most over-rated style icon?
Angelina Jolie

20. What kind of haircut do you prefer?
U.S. Marine haircut

21. What are you going to do after this?
Have dinner.

22. What are your favorite movies?
Nenjil Ore Aalayam, Thillana Mohanambal, Godfather (Part 1 and 2), Bridge on the River Kwai, Duel, Borat, Star Trek

23. What are three cosmetic/makeup/perfume products that you can't live without?
Nothing. I don’t use any.

24. What inspires you?
When someone says “you cannot do this” or “you should not do this”. That inspires me to do that.

25. Give us three styling tips that always work for you:
Be self confident, be positive, walk like you own the place.

26. What do you do when you “have nothing to wear” (even though your closet’s packed)?
When I “have nothing to wear” I don’t wear anything. (That’s a joke. Please laugh)

27. Coffee or tea?

28. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?
Watch TV

29. What is the meaning of your name?

30. Which other blogs do you love visiting?
I love visiting most of the blogs.

31. Favorite Dessert/Sweet?
Badam Halwa. Chocolate Pizza from Max Brenner in New York

32. Favorite Season?

33. If I come to your house now, what would u cook for me?
I will request my wife to cook and she will be delighted to. Any South Indian dish or Punjabi Dish or Falafel or Pizza with Pesto Sauce. She is an expert. I would request her to do the cooking because I want you to enjoy the food in our home. I will select the wine.

34. What is the right way to avoid people who purposefully hurt you?
Just hit them back when they are least expecting. After that, they will avoid you….unless you love that person. Then, it is ok to forget and forgive.

35. What are you afraid of the most?
I am reminded of what John Gotti, the mob boss and a godfather said. I have the same answer. Who? Me? Afraid?

My own question: Why can’t you think of a question to type here?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize

As soon as I got up this morning, I turned on CNN. I could not believe the news. President Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. My first reaction was “for what?” Has Nobel Peace Prize become like an honorary doctorate degrees given to the Tamilnadu politicians?

All nominations must be received by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee by February 1. President Obama took over as President of United States on January 20. What did he accomplish in the first 12 days?

Then I read a statement from the awarding committee. It cited "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." I like Obama. But excuse me. In 12 days in office, did he strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people? All he did was promise. In my opinion, it is an award for promise and not for performance.

If they give a Nobel Peace Prize for promise, the following people should also be considered:

Vladimir Putin – He promised to protect journalists in Russia who face serious threats.

Gordon Brown – During election campaign, he promised to allow the people of Britain a democratic vote on the Lisbon constitutional treaty.

Kevin Rudd – He promised zero-tolerance of violence against Indian students.

I am sorry, I forgot about some of the Indians who are qualified for this prize. They are:

Sonia Gandhi and Congress Party – They are always promising to end poverty in India.

Most of the Indian Politicians – They promise constantly for passing Women’s Reservation Bill.

All Tamilnadu Politicians – They have been promising for ever to help Sri Lankan Tamilians to achieve their goal, peace, and happiness.

In the end, the power of the President of the United States won. In my opinion, a deserving individual, who was nominated this year, Greg Mortenson was denied this prize. His Central Asia Institute has built more than 130 schools for girls in places where opium dealers and tribal warlords roam. They are located in Afghanistan and Pakistan. His mission has inspired millions of people to realize education and protection of girls is very important to peace and prosperity.

In order to be fair, I have to write here what Obama said after hearing the news that he won the Nobel Peace Prize. He said: "To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize.”

A tid bit here. There is no Nobel Prize for mathematics. Reason? Alfred Nobel was a bachelor. But he had a mistress. She ran away with a math teacher. Nobel got angry and decided not to give Nobel Prize for mathematics.

PS: Please read about Mike Ditka in the "comments" section. Thanks.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"The Circle of Friends Award"

I am happy to receive “The Circle of Friends Award” from SiMbA tAgO. I am honored he considers me as his friend.

Here are the rules associated with this award.

You have to display this award in your sidebar mentioning who you got it from with a link to his/her blog.

You can keep this award only to yourself or pass this on to more deserving bloggers of your choice.

And now, I pass on this award to:

Insignia – a true blog friend and my technical advisor
Gautam – a friend of a friend, so he is my friend

Congratulations Insignia. Congratulations Gautam.

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Awesome" Photo

This photo was taken by Mr. Pat Gaines at Bonny Lake State Park. This park is located in Colorado State.

Here a kingbird rides bareback and harasses a red tail hawk. Mr. Gaines said he focused his camera on this red tail hawk because the bird had been screaming. He also said as the kingbird rode bareback on the hawk, it pecked away at the hawk’s head.

Mr. Gaines posted his photo at the Colorado Birder website. This photo was also published in the Denver Post.

He felt sorry for the red hawk. We all do.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Honesty Tag

Here are the rules.

“This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog’s content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant.”

“When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!”

Thank you Shruti for presenting me this award. I am honored.

10 honest things about me? I don’t know what to say. Here are 10 thoughts come to my mind at random.

1. I have lived in 7 cities in 3 different countries.

2. I had the best job in the world. My bosses thought I was a super hero. There is an Irish proverb: If you have a reputation as an early riser, you can sleep until noon. Therefore, I read Wall Street Journal for 2 hours and took a long lunch every day. I believe my job can be done in 2 hours time instead of 8 hours a day.

3. Even though I have lived in USA for most part of my life, I am a vegetarian. I enjoy vegetarian dishes from Indian, Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisine.

4. I love red wine, especially Merlot.

5. I do not decide anything instantly, either at home or at work. I take my own time to decide. But once I decide, I never change my mind. Even if it is a wrong decision. Sorry, I can not say “never”. Occasionally, my wife puts her foot down and makes me change my decision.

6. I believe kids should not be sent to school or day care center before they are 5 years old, if any one parent is able to take care of the family financially. Once they go to pre-kindergarten, those precious days of “kids at home” are gone forever.

7. I have been smoking cigarettes since I was 14 years old. Two years ago, one day, I decided to quit. Then, I quit cold turkey.

8. I am a news junkie. I can watch news channel like CNN for ever.

9. I am afraid to go in an underwater tunnel. We have BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) here to transport passengers. It is a computer operated train. Everyday thousands of passengers take BART to reach their destination (like the London Tube). I also take the BART. However, I never go on the BART between Oakland and San Francisco. Between Oakland and San Francisco lies the Pacific Ocean’s Bay. BART connects these two cities through underwater tunnel. As for as I am concerned, I like BART (Buses Are Reliable Transportation) between these two cities.

10. No offense to animal lovers. I don’t like pets. I don’t want them in my home.

And now, the award is presented to: RajLakshmi, raMmY, SiMbA tAgO

Please accept the award and the tag. Thanks.