Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Play

Stanford won today against Cal Bears with a comfortable margin of 23 to 13.
Thank God they did not have to send their Marching Band into the field to stop Cal Bears from winning the game as in 1982. HeHeHe.
It was November 20, 1982. Stanford against Cal at the Cal Berkeley Stadium. Stanford Cardinals were leading 20-19 with only 4 seconds to play. The Cardinals flooded the field to celebrate and the referee ushered them back to the bench.
Now with only 4 seconds left, Cal had possession of the ball.
Stanford’s band, assuming their team has already won, started marching into the field. The Cal Bears made several backward/lateral pass among their players and ran through the Stanford Band to make a Touch Down and win the game 25-20.
This last play by Cal Bears on that day (November 20, 1982) is the called “The Play”,
“The Play,” as it became known remains one of the most famous in college football history.   Here is the YouTube of that last play.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Those Were The Days

When I used to work in San Francisco, I had to cross the Bay Bridge in Highway 80. It is crowded during commute hours (at all times now). There is a special lane for cars with 3 or more passengers. I lived in El Cerrito and it would take about one hour and 15 minutes to reach my office. Thru car pool lane, I could reach my office in 25 minutes.
People who drive cars and don’t have 3 passengers in their cars will stop at the bus stop or the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station to pick up passengers. I used to go to the bus stop and everyday different people in different model cars will pick me up and drop me in my office.
One day, a stretch limousine stopped and the driver asked me if I wanted to go to San Francisco. I agreed and took the back seat. In the front was the driver and his wife. They both run a funeral home in San Francisco. He had 4 stretch limos for use during funeral services.
He asked me if I would like to be the third passenger every day. I agreed. He used to live very close to my home. He said he would pick me up at my home every morning and drop me off in my office. He thought I was doing him a big favor by being in his car as a third passenger.
Ricky (the driver) was a big showman. When we reach our office, he would ask me to wait in the car. He will come out of the driver seat, open the back door and let me out. When I get out of the limo, he will give me a big salute and bow slightly and say “have a good day sir”. Just to make fun so others who are entering the office building notice that.
One day when he was doing that routine, my Regional Vice President (Number 1 man for the entire Western Region) who was entering the office noticed that. He asked me if I was coming from the airport. (Side bar: Managers are allowed to go in limousine to and from the airport.) I said I am coming from home. He had a puzzled look. He asked coming from home in a stretch limo? I said yes and this is how I come every day.
He stared at me for 10 seconds and said “I think I am paying you too much money”. He then entered the office.
I went to office like this for 3 years until they transferred me to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Big Game Postponed

Last week I wrote about the Big Game to be played today, November 17, between Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley.
U.C. Berkeley Football Stadium
Today’s game has been postponed due to poor air quality caused by wild fire smoke. This game has been rescheduled for December 1.
This is the second time in history the Big Game has been postponed. The only other time the Big Game was postponed was in 1963, the day after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
This is not a sarcastic question. I am really curious. Do you know of any game/match being postponed due to any tragic event?

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Big Game

Next Saturday, November 17, 2018, the Big Game will be played in Berkeley, California. It is an American football game between Stanford University (Stanford Cardinals) and University of California, Berkeley (Cal Golden Bears). They meet once a year. This will be their 121st meeting.
Side Bar: In USA, it is a rule that if anyone wants to turn professional in any sports, they should have attended 4 years of college. (Some athletes have successfully challenged that rule.) Because of this and enthusiasm of alumni, college sports, especially American football and basketball are very famous. More famous than the professional teams.
Usually each college football game is attended by 40,000 to 60,000 people. Each spectator pays an average price of $50. In addition, the colleges are getting revenue by selling television rights. These colleges play 12 regular games a year. So it is a big revenue maker for the colleges and universities.
Who do I support in this week’s Big Game? Stanford vs Cal. I am torn. In our family, we have alumnus from both Stanford and Cal.
According to Las Vegas odds, Stanford is a slight favorite.
Here is Wikipedia link on the Big Game.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Just A Question

In New York, last week a limousine was involved in a crash and 20 people died including the driver. Terrible tragedy. The police arrested the owner of the limousine company charging him with criminal negligent homicide.
I just have a question.
If there is a plane accident, do they arrest the owner of the plane or the CEO of the plane company or the civil aviation minister? If there is a train accident do they arrest the owner of the train company or the CEO of the train company or the general manager or the railway minister? Same way for ship accident too.
But why they arrest a limousine company owner if one of his/her limo got involved in an accident?

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Failed Coup

Last week the desperate democrats in the U.S. Senate staged a coup and failed miserably.

It all started with President Trump nominating Brett Kavanaugh, a United States Circuit Judge, to the U.S. Supreme Court. We all know the democrats still cannot digest the fact that Trump won the Presidency in 2016. The moment Kavanaugh was nominated, democratic leaders vowed to stop Kavanaugh at any cost.

A lady by the name of Dr. Christine Ford wrote a letter to U.S.Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member, Dianne Feinstein, on July 29, 2018, that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when they both were in high school in 1982. (Both were 15/16 years of age at that time.)  Feinstein interviewed Kavanaugh 20 days later (in August 2018) and never brought up this subject.

Last week, when Kavanaugh’s hearing was completed and was about to go to the full Senate for a vote, Feinstein mentioned about this allegation and asked for an FBI investigation. The FBI had already investigated Kavanaugh’s background 6 times in the past.

Then Dr. Ford testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee. She did not know in whose home this alleged attempted rape happened. She did not know how she went to the party, i.e. who drove her since she was only 15 and cannot drive. She did not know how she went back home. She also did not tell anyone about this incident for 30 years. She remembers only one thing. Kavanaugh tried to rape her. His friend Mark was in the room. In a sworn affidavit, under penalty of perjury, Mark has said this incident never happened.

Democrats and Dr. Ford put so many conditions for her testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Kavanaugh should not be in the room when she is testifying (Agreed)

All Republican committee members are old white male. They will be very hard on her during questioning. (Agreed. It was decided a lady lawyer will question her instead of these 11 old white male republicans.)

Kavanaugh should testify first. (Not Agreed because the accuser should first tell what happened. Then only the accused can defend himself.)

In replying, Kavanaugh came out swinging. Not as a calm and collected judge. But, as an angry son, an angry husband, and as an angry father.

Democrats wanted to delay the nomination process in the hope they will gain majority in the November election and thus stop Kavanaugh from being a Supreme Court judge.

The democrats demanded an FBI investigation regarding Dr. Ford’s allegations. Reluctantly, the republicans agreed for this.

FBI interviewed several people including Mark (Dr. Ford testified Mark was in the room when this incident happened.) Finally, FBI gave its report to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The FBI report did not find any corroborative evidence. Republicans are happy. Democrats complain that the FBI report is incomplete.

Democrats don’t want any investigation. They want to stall Kavanaugh’s nomination till January 2019 in the hope they will have a majority in the new Congress and stop Kavanaugh from becoming the US Supreme Court Judge.

After all this, Kavanaugh has been voted to become a Justice of the Supreme Count of the United States.

In my personal opinion, both Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford are victims at the hands of the Democrats. They used both of them for their personal dirty politics.

My final thoughts. Kavanaugh is not God. He got angry at the Democrats during his hearing. He will probably at the Supreme Court for another 35 years. He is just a human being. What would be his ruling if any case sponsored/supported by the democrats comes before him? My sympathies to the democrats.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

New York Times Op-ed

New York Times published an op-ed critical of Donald Trump. It was written by Mr. Anonymous. The NYT does not want to divulge the name of the writer. They said it was a senior official in the Trump Administration.
James Dao, the newspaper's op-ed editor, said in the Times' daily podcast that while an intermediary brought him together with the author, he conducted a background check and spoke to the person to the point that he was "totally confident" in the identity.
That's not a very senior person if Mr. Dao needs to check to see who that person is.
I think any of the following people could have written that article.
The barber who cuts/fixes Trump’s hair.
The gardener at the white house.
The butler at the white house.
The Editor of New York Times Mr. Anonymous himself.
Bob Woodward. He is known for making up conversations and events.
And finally, it could be me. But again it may not be me because I never got a call from Mr. Dao.
It would be fun if the New York Times’ own investigative reporters investigate this and publish the name of the author.
An Update: Mr. Trump has asked the Attorney General and the DOJ (Department of Justice) to investigate and find out who that anonymous author is. NYT has immediately responded with their usual defense – Freedom of Speech and First Amendment. Freedom of Speech and First Amendment are OK. However, if that anonymous author is a serving military person or with the National Security, there is no freedom of speech as long as he/she is serving in that organization.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Last Week At The DMV

I was at the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) to register my car. Two interesting things happened and I want to share with you.
Item Number One. I had to wait for 2 hours because that office was over crowded. I was watching people. There were lot of people taking written test to get driver’s license. The written test is taken on a computer terminal. Simple common sense multiple choice questions. There are 10 computer terminals. Only the person who takes the test should be in that area.
There was an Indian lady taking that written test. But an Indian male was standing next to her. I don’t know if he was a friend or relative. He was helping her answer the questions, which is a no no. I was just watching. After a few minutes, a DMV employee, who was watching the test takers, went there and asked the “helper” to get away from that area.
I got my work done and came out of the DMV office.
Item Number Two. I pulled my car out of the parking lot and was getting out. It was a one way parking lot. A car came into the parking lot from the opposite side (illegal). I stopped my car. That car also stopped. I rolled out my window and told the other driver that this is one way and she is driving on the wrong side. Also told her to back up so I can go out of the parking lot.
Looked at the driver. She was an Indian lady. I assume she must be a FOB*. There was an Indian male sitting in the passenger seat. She yelled she does not care if it is one way or not and she is going to come this way anyway. I told her since my car is facing her car, she cannot park anywhere unless I move my car. She did not say anything. Also, did not move her car backwards. (I said she may be a FOB because ABCD**s and Long Time Residents of Indian Origin always follow the road rules in USA.)
After a few minutes, I backed up my car and squeezed thru a little space available between her car and the parked cars. While crossing her car, I stopped on the side of her car. Rolled my window down and yelled a few expletives.
She looked stunned. Probably did not expect this kind of bad words from an Indian origin guy. She did not say a word. Looked away.
I drove out of the parking lot.
*FOB = Fresh Off the Boat
*ABCD = American Born Confused Desi

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Senator John McCain Passes Away

Senator John McCain passed away on August 25, 2018. He was 81.
He was a Naval Officer. He was also a Senator from 1987 until his death. He was the Republican Party’s candidate for the President of the United States in 2008 and lost the election to Barrack Obama.
He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958. Both his father and grand father were 4 star Admirals in the U.S. Navy. He was a naval aviator.
While McCain was on a mission in Vietnam in 1967 bombing Hanoi, his plane was shot down and was captured by the North Vietnamese. He was seriously injured at that time. He was a POW (Prisoner of War).
The North Vietnamese came to know he is the son of the Chief of U.S. Navy. They then offered him to release and return him to the United States immediately unharmed. But the young John McCain refused and said he will stay with the other POWs. The North Vietnamese took that gesture as McCain was a headstrong and wanted to teach him a lesson. He was subjected to the most brutal punishment and torture for any American POW with the North Vietnamese. He was released in 1973.
After returning home McCain entered politics. He was elected Senator 5 times from 1987 to 2016. He was very independent as a Senator. He was a Republican. But disregarded the party line many times and voted with his conscience. He was nominated as the Republican Presidential Candidate in 2008 against Barrack Obama and lost the election.
John McCain served his country very well. May he rest in peace.

Friday, July 27, 2018

And Now, You Know

One day last week, July 20, was the 49th anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Landing. American Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human being to ever land on the moon. There were 3 Astronauts on that Apollo 11.
Neil Armstrong, Commander of Apollo 11
Buzz Aldrin, Lunar Orbit Pilot
Michael Collins, Command Module Pilot
The general rule in NASA is if someone was to spacewalk, it was always the junior person. The space commander will stay inside because he has to be safely behind the controls and in a better position to take action if there was an emergency. On Apollo 11, it was Buzz Aldrin who was junior in rank.
So it should have been Buzz Aldrin as the first man on the moon. But some mucky mucks in NASA decided to break the protocol. Their reason? The lunar module posed logistical challenges that made this order impossible.
There is a rumor that Armstrong pulled rank and made the authorities change the protocol of who should get out of the spacecraft first.
After stepping on the moon, Armstrong said: One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.
Aldrin set his foot on the moon 20 minutes after Armstrong.
Here is what Aldrin said:  It sucks Armstrong was the first man on the moon and I am the second man on the moon.   But I was promised I would be the first one when we land on the sun. (This is my attempted joke.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Page from the Past

I read a news item that 2 PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) female pilots, Commander Maryam Masood and her First Officer, Shumaila Mazhar, flew from Islamabad to Gilgit and back safely. The airline said this route is “"very challenging and requires a lot of precision and technique".
Captain Maryam Masood (L) and First Officer Shumaila Mahar (R)
This reminds me of an incident that happened while we were living in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was going to Chicago on a Sunday morning on company business. I was traveling in Economy. I had the aisle seat. In the middle and window seats were a young newly married couple on their honeymoon. The lady was in the middle and her new husband was in the window seat.
The moment the plane was air borne, the weather turned worse. The plane was shaking a lot. The flight attendants did not get up from their seats. These 2 newly weds were very nervous and literally shaking. The girl was more nervous than the guy. I started to talk to her.
She said they are on their honeymoon. They both are afraid to fly. And, this turbulence makes her more nervous. I told her not to worry and the plane is more safe than the car or train. She calmed down a little but still nervous. She asked me if she could hold my hand. What can I say? I agreed.
I then used the call button to get the attention of a flight attendant. One of the FAs came near us. I explained the situation to her and asked her to get two glasses of double vodka with little orange juice and give to them. (Before calling the FA, I got the information from this couple they enjoy drinking vodka with orange juice.) The flight attendant brought a strong Screw Driver to this couple. They seem to calm down a little.
Finally the plane made a safe landing in Chicago. While still taxi-ing, they both thanked me. I told them both the commander and the copilot of this plane are female. (When I entered the aircraft in Salt Lake City I looked inside the cockpit and noticed both pilots are female.)
The young lady told me: Thanks a million for not telling us this information while in the air. I would have died on the spot.
As for as I am concerned the gender of the pilots has nothing to do with how they perform. I have no problem flying with 2 female pilots.
Are you comfortable with 2 female pilots operating the plane in which you are flying?

Saturday, July 14, 2018

President Trump and the Queen of England

We all know the left wing American news media (Newspapers and Television Stations) hate President Trump. No matter what he does, it is always wrong. I am not saying he is perfect. He makes his mistakes. But these left wing news media write with a vengeance against President Trump.
Yesterday, he visited England and met with the Queen of England. All the left wing news media have the following complaints:
Trump is clueless and breaks all protocols.
Trump and Melania defied protocol and did not bow or curtsy.
Trump and Melania opted to just shake hands.
What is this? Give me a break.
American President does not bow or curtsy anyone except God. America’s founding fathers fought hard so that they bow to no leader. (As a matter of fact, no one, except the British subjects, are required to do curtsy to the Queen of England.)
Americans stopped serenading royalty after 1776. Someone should tell the left wing news media what happened in 1776.
Yet when liberal actress Susan Sarandon broke Royal protocol a few weeks ago by approaching the Queen and introducing herself, the left wing media thought it cute and charming. They even wrote “the Queen loved it”. I am not making this up. Look at this headline:
Trump as an individual may be a bad guy. But, did England give the due respect to the President of the United States? If USA was not involved in World War 2, the whole of England will now be speaking German as their first language.
I hope Trump wished the Queen Happy 4th of July.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Dog Robber

Dog Robber? I heard this term for the first time today. Then I did some research. Here is what I found out.
During American Civil War, enlisted men in the army were called “Dogs”. The commander of the army unit had a personal assistant. His job is to get the best available things for the commander = Food, Clothes, Liquor, Girls. He would most of the times steel from the enlisted men (Dogs) and bring to the commander. In other words, the personal assistant will obtain whatever his superior wants by any means necessary, legal or otherwise. Therefore, this personal assistant was called Dog Robber.
During World War 2, this name was changed to Aides in the US Army.
In India, they are called Orderly or Aide-de-camp. Even police officers have orderlies in India. Though they are not supposed to do any personal household work, it is what they do all the time.
Here is an interesting story. There was an Army General in India. His daughter went to a name brand university in a city in India to do a special course for 6 months. The General transferred a Major (who knew the local language and familiar with that city) to that city for 6 months on special assignment. His assignment? Take care of the needs of his daughter.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Spelling Bee

Indian origin kids have dominated the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship. They have now won 7 years in a row and all but 4 of the last 15 years.
This blog and this picture is to recognize those kids. This is not a made up picture. This picture was taken in a school in the East Coast of USA. I just blacked out the faces and the names to protect the innocents.

(After thought) Please take a closer look at the word "spelling" in this picture.
Congratulations to all Spellimg Bee Champions.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Football Match Commentary in Spanish

A friend of mine sent me an email this morning asking if I am going to write a blog post about Football. Usually I write a post or two during the FIFA matches. Here is the one I wrote in July 2014. World Cup Finals.
Being in California, I can hear Spanish conversation all the time outside of my home – be it office or mall or grocery store or movie theater or restaurant. I understand the basic words like Cerveza means beer. (I thought sarvesa means God in India.)
I watch as many matches as I can possibly watch. But English commentaries are no fun. If you want to get really excited during the match, listen to Spanish commentary. Even if you don’t understand the language, you will feel very excited.
New York Times sports writer Richard Sandomir wrote all soccer games should be broadcast in Spanish or Italian.
If you listen to a soccer match commentary in Spanish it is a sensation of belonging. Someone feels the way you feel. I always feel like someone giving the commentary in Tamil or any other Indian language. Here is a sample of Spanish commentary. (Note: When you hear the word “gul” they mean “goal”.)

Please listen to this less than 4 minute video before commenting. Thanks.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Michael Jackson Remembered

Today, June 25, is Michael Jackson’s death anniversary. Just want to remember something good about him.
We all know the famous song (Beat It) written and sung by Michael Jackson.
In 1984, “Weird Al” Yancovic released a single “Eat It”, a parody of Michael Jackson song, “Beat It”. Parody means making fun of the original. This music video, “Eat it” became very popular. "Weird Al" got a Grammy for that single.
Before producing this album, he asked Michael Jackson’s permission.  Michael Jackson was a mega star. Still, he was not only magnanimous enough to give permission but also helped "Weird Al" with the production of "Eat It".
Here are the YouTube video of both – Beat It and Eat:


Monday, June 18, 2018

Greeting Gestures

Here is an excerpt from a blog post I wrote in 2012:

Quite a few world political leaders, when shaking hands, use both hands. Some shake with both hands. Some others shake with one hand and the other hand touches the elbow or shoulder of the person they are greeting. People who greet like this are considered (rightly or wrongly) “born leaders”. In USA, whoever wants to become a “born leader” practice this habit. Hahaha. A few sample pics:

                                                   Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern

                                           Bill Clinton and a Navajo Indian woman

                                           Barack Obama and Man Mohan Singh

                                           Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev

                                                      And now this, last week:

(Pictures: Courtesy - Yahoo)

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Credit Card Caution (Continuation)

In one of my previous blog posts (Credit Card Caution), Rajesh (Destination Infinity) commented that “when I tried an online purchase 4-5 times continuously - again the card was blocked.”. I replied to Rajesh I will write about a similar interesting incident that happened to us.
Here is that incident.
A few years ago, one of my employees wanted to discuss something important on a Saturday. I took pity on that guy and told him I will take him for lunch. We went to a nice name brand Italian restaurant and had lunch. I then came home.
That evening my wife told me she was too lazy to cook dinner and wanted to eat out. I asked her where she would like to go and she gave the name of the same restaurant I had lunch with my office colleague. I told her I had lunch today in that restaurant. She then wanted to go to a different restaurant. It was her favorite restaurant, so I insisted on going there though it will be second time for me in the same restaurant that particular day.
We go to that restaurant. We had a nice dinner. The bill came. I gave my credit card and the waiter took it to the register. He came back and whispered: Sir your credit card has been declined.
I could have given him another credit card and left the restaurant. But I was in a mood to find out why it was declined. I called the credit company on my cell phone and asked them the reason. They had the most laughable reason. Sir, your credit card was charged in the same restaurant for lunch and it is also being charged for dinner also. It is a very unusual activity and therefore we declined.
I had to explain to them it was a legit and asked them to remove the block. They did it immediately.
I asked the waiter to process my credit card again and it was accepted.
On the way back home, while I was driving, I had an earful for going to the same restaurant twice in a day.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Dwight Clark

Our own San Francisco 49ers’ Football legend, Dwight Clark, passed away today due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 61.
Clark played college football with the Clemson University. He was recruited by the San Francisco 49ers in 1979. Clark played for them until his retirement in 1987.
During his 9 years with the SF 49ers, Clark played on two super bowl championship teams.
He was made famous by the entire football world for catching the winning touchdown pass from Quarterback Joe Montana (16) in the NFC Championship Game in January 1982 against the Dallas Cowboys. The play immortalized as “The Catch” made room for the SF 49ers to win their first super bowl championship.
Clark is survived by his wife, a daughter, and 2 sons.
His contribution for the success of the San Francisco 49ers is immeasurable.
May he rest in peace.
Here is a YouTube video of "The Catch".

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Credit Card Caution

A friend of mine is going to UK shortly. I gave this friend a few pointers about credit cards and bank accounts. I want to share one of them with you also.
When you are going abroad on vacation, please inform your credit card companies and bank that you will be on vacation in “these” foreign countries from this date to this date. They will put a note on your account to this effect.
As we all know, the credit card companies and banks are very watchful to avoid any fraudulent charges to our accounts. When they see someone charging your account in a foreign country, they immediately suspect fraud and, most of the time, block your credit card or bank account. If you are in a foreign country and enjoying your vacation, and if your credit card and/or bank account is blocked, it will put you into a lot of hardship.
However, if you inform them prior to your departure, they will know that the charges from these places are legit.
This happened to me personally. I was in a small town in Tamil Nadu. Bought some silk sarees for my wife, and some gold and silver thru my credit card. Also withdrew some cash thru ATM using my American bank debit card. The next day I came to know that my credit card and bank debit card were blocked. I called them from India and they told me about their suspicion. I explained and they informed me that I should let them know prior to my travel to a foreign country. Lesson learned.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Poor Meghan Markle

We all know American actress Meghan Markle married an unemployed Britisher (Prince Harry) who is still living with his grandmother (Queen Elizabeth). (Not my original. Borrowed from somebody else.)
According to The Cheat Sheet magazine, these are some of the strange food habits at the Buckingham Palace:
Garlic is banned.
Pasta for dinner is unacceptable.
No rice and potato.
No one is allowed to eat shrimp.
They use utensil placement as a way to communicate with staff.
If the queen has finished eating, everyone must stop eating.
If the queen places her purse on top of the table, dinner must end within 5 minutes.
They must always wear a formal attire.
No wonder immediately after their marriage reception ended, Meghan ordered a Shrimp Scampi (Shrimp sautéed in a garlic sauce, tossed with asparagus, tomatoes, and angel hair pasta) from Olive Garden Restaurant,  take out, and asked her unemployed husband to pick it up.
Oh I forgot to mention. With a side order of French fries.

PS:  I am not making this (Shrimp Scampi) up.  Check out the Oliver Garden Restaurant Menu.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Tapas Party

An explanation is in order to start with. Tapas does not mean what we think of Indian saints do in the forests.
In Spanish language, Tapa means appetizer or snacks. So, Tapas Party consist of several appetizer or snacks with wine. In a Tapas Party, there is no main course. All are appetizer with wine only. It is very popular in Spain, Central American countries and Mexico.
(Courtesy: Yahoo)
There are restaurants now in Spain serving only Tapas. People also give Tapas Party at home. Invite friends, serve as many snacks as you can make or buy, have some wine and enjoy.
This is becoming very popular in USA also nowadays. But people are finding it difficult to make too many snacks. One idea is to ask friends to bring a few snacks each and gather at someone’s home.
The general rule is to have 3 to 5 snacks. If you have the time and can afford there can be more snacks. If you want to serve non-alcoholic drinks, you can serve soft drinks instead of wine.
I was thinking it will be very easy and interesting to give Tapas party with Indian dishes. If we don’t have time, we can buy from restaurants. Here are a few I thought of:
Samosa, Cutlet, Paneer Tikka, Chicken Tikka, Kothimbir Vadi, Masal Vada, Goli Bajji (Mangalore Bonda), Bengali Fish Fingers, Khaman Dhokla or anything else you like. If you are a vegetarian, just drop the non-veg items.
When is your next Tapas Party?

Thursday, May 10, 2018


When Donald Trump was running for the President of the United States, Nick Gillespie wrote in the Newsweek Magazine that Trump’s modus operandi is negging.
I have heard of leggings. I have heard of begging. Even heard of kegging. But never heard of the word “negging”. Have you?
According to New Statesman:
Negging, as it is called, is in essence a trick. The idea is to undermine a woman's confidence by making backhanded or snide remarks—give a compliment with one hand, and take away with the other. It is about control, putting the man in charge of the interaction by pushing the woman to earn his approval....
It gives a few examples. Here are a few of them.
“You look amazing. What have you done?”
“If your face was as good as your legs I'd have to marry you.”
“Nice eyes, even though one is bigger than the others.”
According to Mr. Gillespie, Mr. Trump was using this tactic against his opponents to make them vulnerable. He used this tactic against Mexicans (They bring drugs, they bring crime, but some of them are good people) and against his opponents (So and so is a good man but…..). Hillary Clinton was the worst Secretary of State but her husband was the best President.
Negging is an insult to undermine the self confidence of a woman so she might become more vulnerable to a guy’s advances. It is used as a pick up technique. Interject an insult during the initial conversation.
I understand it is being practiced around the world as a seduction technique.
Women use negging tactics against men? Sure they do. But I have read it is not that effective on men. If women have to get the attention of a man, they have other effective strategies.
PS: I heard this morning President Trump and Kim Jong Un will be meeting in Singapore on June 12. This is the first time a sitting US President will be meeting a leader of North Korea. I think Trump is using this “negging” tactics very well against Kim. Kim is falling for that, in my opinion. Trump called him a “rocket man” and at the same time called him a “smart cookie”. Trump said “North Korea will be met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before." Today Trump said it is nice of Kim to let the 3 prisoners go and we want to thank Kim who really was excellent.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Strange Name Board

Saw this strange name board in front of a store in Issaquah, Washington State:

 May be a spelling mistake. I think it should have been "Ready Ice". If not, where is the "Rao Ice" and "Naidu Ice"?

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Need to Know the Truth

There is a famous Tamil movie line “enakku oru unmai therinjaganum” (I need to know the truth). So here goes.

Everyday I read news from 4 news organizations, Two American and two Indian. One of them is the online edition of NDTV News. I always wondered what they are thinking when designing their pages. They have a header with the title INDIA NEWS and on the same page SOUTH NEWS. Please see below.
I always thought South India is also part and parcel of whole India. Then why INDIA NEWS and SOUTH NEWS separately? I can understand if they show NORTH NEWS, WEST NEWS, EAST NEWS, and SOUTH NEWS. Don’t they consider South is also part of India?

If someone knows the answer, I would appreciate.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Class Act

Gautam Gambhir was captain of the IPL (Indian Premier League) cricket team, Delhi Daredevils. Since his and his team’s performance were not to his satisfaction, he decided to relinquish the captaincy. He also decided to play for free of charge this season and decided to forego his salary of Rs.2.8 crore.
(To my non-Indian readers:  Cricket is the only game where the captain is the deciding authority on the field and off the field.  In other sports, the coach or the manager is the deciding authority.)
That is a class act. As stated in NDTV, he puts pride above everything else. This also shows his love for the game.
As I am writing this, my thoughts go out to Pete Rose, one of the greatest professional baseball players.
To say that Pete Rose loves playing baseball is quite an understatement. Let me give 2 examples of his love for baseball.
1 - He once said in an interview that he will play baseball even if no one paid him any money to play. He loves the game so much that he’ll play for free.
2 – During his games, whenever he got a “Ball 4 - Walk”, he would run as fast as he could to first base, instead of just walking to first base. (Non Baseball readers: If you do not understand the game, it is OK). This is just an example to show Pete’s enthusiasm for playing the game. He is like a 12 year old boy, playing a game with friends on the weekend, in the middle of the street.
Pete should have been elected to the Baseball’s Hall of Fame. He was denied because he was accused of betting on baseball games. Betting on baseball games is legal in Las Vegas but players are not allowed to bet.
What kind of bets did Pete make? He always made bets for his team to WIN. He never made any bets for his team to lose.
I think Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. He does not deserve a life time ban from the Hall of Fame.

PS:  Here is a hypothetical question.  If Virat Kohli bets a few dollars that India will win the next T20 World Cup, will you support banning him from cricket forever?

Friday, April 20, 2018

Famous M.S.

I was reading an article about Famous Amos.  It is the brand name of a fast selling cookie in USA.  The company was founded by a guy named Wally Amos.
While reading about Famous Amos, my thoughts went to famous Indian emmus (M.S.) I am aware of and/or read about.  Here they are:
M.S. Subbalakshmi – Needs no introduction.  Carnatic music singer.  Awarded Bharat Ratna.
Dr. M.S. Swaminathan – Father of India’s green revolution.  Responsible for high yield varieties of wheat and rice.  Awarded Padma Vibhushan.
M. S. Viswanathan – Music Director. King of Light Music. Composed songs for more than 700 Indian films, mainly for Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu films. Even today millions of people are mesmerized by his melodies.
Dr. M. S. Venkataramani – A doyen of American studies in India.  Professor emeritus at the School of International Studies, Centre for American and West European Studies, at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.
M. S. Gurupadaswamy – Freedom fighter.  Politician. Indian National Congress and later Janata Party.
Mani  Shankar Iyer – Famous or notorious? Will leave it up to the readers.  Belongs to Indian National Congress.  The more he talks the more BJP wins.
M. S. Dhoni – Needs no introduction.  Cricketer.
M. S. Golwalker – Former Chief of RSS.
M. S. Ramaiah – Engineer, Educationist, Philanthropist
M. S. Rajeswari – Playback singer, South Indian movies.
If you know any famous M.S. please share with us here.
Friday afternoon now.  Looks like I have too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

15 Minutes of Fame

(Courtesy: The Image)

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit was having a press conference in Chennai. At the end of the press conference, while leaving the podium, the Governor patted the cheek of a woman journalist Ms. Lakshmi Subramanian.

I agree what he did was not a custom in Tamil culture. Patting the cheek or touching the head of a younger person by an older person is an honorable North Indian custom.

But this woman journalist and a few political parties are making this a big issue. The woman journalist wrote an email to the Governor telling him she did not appreciate that pat on her cheek, The Governor sent a reply to her apologizing for this. She is still angry.

This woman journalist is now giving lot of interviews to various channels about this horrible incident that happened to her. A few political parties are making a big deal out of this incident. They are asking the Governor to resign and go home. A Chennai Press Club member is charging the Governor with “outraging the modesty of a woman”.

This woman journalist says she washed her cheek several times but could not get rid of that disgusting feeling.

Oh yeah? Come on. Suppose President Obama visits Chennai and you were one of the reporters at his press conference. At the end of the press conference Mr. Obama kisses you on your cheek or hugs you. What will you do?  Kissing on the cheek and hugging are American custom and not a Tamil culture. 

Will you write an angry email to Obama telling him your modesty is outraged?  Noooo.  You won't wash your cheek for 6 months (if it was a kiss) or you won't change your clothes and take a shower for 6 months (if it was a hug).

Also, you will be giving interviews how lucky you are because Obama singled you out..

Monday, April 16, 2018


I was at a get together recently. A Tamil iady addressed her husband as “Aththaan”. I was pleasantly surprised. Nowadays, almost no Tamil woman address her husband by that word.
The actual meaning of “Aththaan” is either he is her dad’s sister’s son OR mom’s brother’s son. That word always has a romantic connotation in Tamil Nadu.
When some girl says, fondly, he is my aththaan , it is understood he is the guy she intends to marry.
In Tamil culture, a girl can legally marry her dad’s sister’s son OR mom’s brother’s son. I know it will be disgusting to our North Indian readers. Actually, 50 years ago 70% of the Tamil marriages were within close relatives. My mom and dad are related. My brother married his aunt’s daughter. No, I did not marry any of my cousins. I married an outsider.
I asked that lady in that get together if she and her husband are related before marriage. She said no. Still she addressed her husband as "aththaan".
So many romantic songs in Tamil movies with that word. For example:
Aththaan varuvaga. Oru mutham koduppaga (Aththaan will come. He will give me a kiss).
Aththaan en Aththaan. Avar ennaithaan. Eppadi solvenadi (Aththaan he is my Aththaan. How can I say what he did with me.)
Kulungum mundhanai sirikkum aththaanai viratuvathenadiyo (Why the shaking loose end of your saree is chasing out this Aththaan)
Akkaluku Valaigappu. Aththaan mugathiley punsirippu (Baby shower ceremony for elder sister. Aththaan’s face is full of smile.)
There is a dialogue in a Tamil movie (Bangalore Naatkal). A guy is telling his close associate what kind of wife he wants. One of his condition is the girl should address him as Aththaan after marriage.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Compliments Always Help

(Courtesy: Yahoo. File Photo)
A few weeks ago I was traveling from Oakland, California, to Seattle, Washington. The travel time is one hour and 34 minutes. I was in the economy class.
After ascending the desired altitude, they started to serve drinks. In the economy class you have to pay for the alcoholic drinks. Soft drinks are free.
When the stewardess asked me what I want, I asked for 2 scotch with water. I then gave my credit card. While giving the credit card to her I casually mentioned how nice of this airline to offer beverages to passengers when the flying time is only one hour and 34 minutes.
When she heard my compliment, the stewardess smiled and thanked me. She returned the credit card without charging and said the drinks are on the airline.
My lucky day.
(Side bar: American pilots take too long to turn off the seat belt sign even after reaching the desired altitude. The stewardesses do a great job of taking care of more than 125 passengers within an hour.)
I was narrating this incident to my son and daughter. My daughter said “Appa, you are a smooth operator”. My son said “Appa, you a hustler”.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Use of Language

In my last blog post titled “7 Days in Entebbe”, I wrote the following:
In the movie when two Germans speak, they speak in their native German language. When two Palestinians speak they speak in Arabic. Why then does the director of the movie let the Israeli Cabinet discuss everything in English? The Israeli Cabinet will always discuss topics in their own language - Hebrew - and not in English. I have a possible reason and it’s the topic of my next blog post.
Here it is...
I believe the director of this movie decided to have Israeli Cabinet’s conversation in English because, in my opinion, he thought it would show the full force of their words to the audience.
As you can see in this movie, when two Germans speak in German they show the English translation at the bottom of the screen via subtitles. That does not capture the full force of their words to the audience. The same is true for the two Palestinians speaking in Arabic. English subtitles are provided on the movie screen. Only if you hear the conversation in the language that is most familiar to you (in this case - English) only then will you get the full effect of the conversation.
This takes me back to an eminent international scholar I spoke to once back in the day. He was a professor emeritus at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
He told me that leaders and diplomats from English speaking countries (USA, UK, etc.) hate Indian leaders and diplomats because Indians reply/retort immediately without waiting for a translator.
According to him, when people say something in their native language…it is then being translated to their counterparts (Russians, Chinese, Japanese, etc.). Then the other leader says something to the translator and he/she translates it into English. So non-English speakers are unable to give an immediate and effective reply/retort. They just sit in front of the English speaking guys like dummies with smiles.
So if you understand the language and feel the full impact headed in your direction, without the need for a translator or subtitles, the lesson is “give it to back to them” by replying immediately in their own language.
Yo! Your movie sucks and is a terrible re-boot. Let me know if you need a translator or subtitles for assistance.

Monday, March 19, 2018

7 Days in Entebbe

June 27, 1976 – An Air France plane was flying with 248 passengers from Tel Aviv, Israel to Paris, France via Athens, Greece. That plane was hijacked by 2 members of the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine and 2 sympathizers from Germany. The flight was diverted to Entebbe Airport in Uganda. Ugandan dictator at that time Idi Amin welcomed the hijackers. The hijackers had various demands including releasing of many prisoners in Israel.
After two days, they released all non-Jewish passengers. 94 Jewish passengers and 12 crew members remained as hostages. They were threatened with death.
Israel never negotiates with any hijacker. They decided to send their commandos of the Israeli Defense Forces to rescue the hostages. 100 commandos took part. On July 4, 1976, they made a daring, thrilling, and successful rescue operation. They rescued 102 of the 106 hostages. All hijackers and many Ugandan soldiers (who supported the hijackers) were killed.
There was only one killed on the Israeli side. It was their commander Lt. Col. Yonatan Nethanyahu. He is the older brother of the current Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Nethanyahu.
This rescue operation was made into 3 movies so far. Victory at Entebbe (1976), Raid on Entebbe (1977), and Operation Thunderbolt (1977).
Now another movie about this rescue operation is released this week. It is titled “7 Days in Entebbe”.
I saw this movie last night. I am not reviewing this movie. I will tell my impression. It is a tale of real life cruelty and heroism. But I like the previous 3 movies much better.
In this movie, a sequence of dance performance is distracting and breaks the continuity. I have no idea why the Director placed this dance performance.
I thought I would see Israeli Commandos in action throughout the movie. But saw their action only in the last 10 minutes.
I was more interested to see their assault preparation than the Israeli Cabinet’s endless discussion.
One touching incident was when the Air France Pilot (a French citizen and a non-Jew) was released by the hijackers, he refused to go. He told the hijackers that these are his passengers and he will stay with them until they are released.
One more observation. In the movie, when 2 Germans speak they speak in German language. When 2 Palestinians speak they speak in Arabic. Why then the Director let the Israeli Cabinet discuss everything in English? The Israeli Cabinet always discuss subjects in their own mother tongue Hebrew and not in English. I have a possible reason. Stay tuned for the my next blog post.
I think the 1977 movie Raid on Entebbe was more interesting. It is available in YouTube for free. Please watch it if you want to.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Give an Inch - H-4 Dependent Visa

U.S. Government issues H-1B visa to skilled workers to come to the U.S. temporarily and work here. Most of these H-1B visa are issued to people from India and almost all of them are from the IT industry. They can bring their spouses to live with them, These spouses are issued H-4 dependent visa. But these H-4 dependent visa people are not allowed to work in the U.S.
Beginning May 2015, the U.S. Government started to issue Employment Authorization to those H-4 visa dependents if their H-1B spouses have an approved petition for Green Card. (Once their petition is approved for Green Card, it may take many years for them to get an actual Green Card.)
Already there are protests that these H-1B visa holders are taking the jobs away from American citizens. These protesters are further outraged that now the H-4 dependents also have started to work and they take more jobs away from the American citizens. There are some lawsuits pending in courts.
Now the current U.S. Government is considering to go back to the original situation whereby H-4 dependents can stay with their spouses in U.S. but cannot work.
The responsibility of U.S. Government is to provide employment for the people of Bangor, Maine, and not for the H-4 dependents from Bangalore, India.
These H-4 dependents are now complaining. Here are some of their reasons:
They will lose their financial independence. This can lead to psychological problems.
They resigned high paying jobs in India to be with hubby in U.S. and now in a dilemma.
They have masters degree from reputable universities but unable to work here.
They are in a sense of entrapment to helplessness to self-doubt to self-hatred.
Their hardest problem is loneliness
They don’t want to become a shadow of their husband.
There is an idiom. Give an inch and take a mile.
I can understand issuing H-1B Visa for highly skilled workers. I can also understand issuing H-4 visa for spouses so family stays together. But allowing H-4 dependents also to work and take away American jobs? No way.
All these highly educated and intelligent H-4 dependents knew what they are getting into when they applied for H-4 visa. They know the restrictions. Then why complain now?
I have a suggestion for these people. If you think you can make a significant contribution to the U.S. economy and society with your education and experience, why don’t you apply to change your visa status from H-4 to H-1B. I know a few people who have done that.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Another Airline Story

I have already written quite a few blog posts on airline industry. Here is one more.
Transavia Ailines was flying from Dubai to Amsterdam. A passenger continued to fart loud. Two fellow passengers asked him to stop but the flatulent passenger refused to stop. Fight broke out. The pilot made an emergency landing at the Vienna Airport.
Police came aboard and removed the “passengers on the rampage”. These are the words used by the pilot. They were released without being charged.
Since I always analyze everything, here are my thoughts.
Why didn’t the pilot let down the oxygen masks?
Was the plane flying on a tail wind?
Why don’t they have First Class, Economy Class, and Gas Class?
May be that passenger misunderstood the German expression Gute Fahrt. This means “have a nice trip”. (I am not joking. I am not making this up. Google these two words.)

Monday, February 26, 2018

Rest in Peace Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan (Sridevi Kapoor)

(This is a guest post from our blogger friend Dee.  She lives in San Ramon, California, with her husband and their baby girl.)

For most of you who don’t know, this is the true name of Indian Super Star Sridevi who passed away on Feb 24th 2018 due to Accidental Drowning in the bathtub in Dubai. She, her husband and youngest daughter were attending the wedding of a relative. As the entire nation is mourning this loss of our versatile female superstar here are some details from her life
Real Name: Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan
Date of Birth: 13th August 1963
Place of Birth: Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu
Parents: Rajeswari Yanger (Mother, Mother Tongue: Telugu), Ayyapan Yanger (Father, Mother Tongue – Tamil)
Siblings: Satish Yanger (Brother), Srilatha Yanger (Sister)
Spouse: Boney Kapoor

Ex.Husband: Mithun Chakraborty
Kids: 2(Jahnvi Kapoor & Kushi Kapoor)
Step Children: Arjun Kapoor, Anshula Kapoor
In-laws: Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Kapoor
Languages Acted in: Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada
First Movie:Thunaivan (1969) in Tamil
Last Movie: Mom (2017) in Hindi and 300th film
Yet to be Released Movie: Zero (2018) in Hindi
Awards: Padma Shri (2013), 6 Filmfare Awards, Tamil Nadu State Film Award for the movie Moondram Pirai and several other awards and nominations
Some of my favorite movies that are on my repeat list are, these include both Hindi and Tamil and are in no particular order Moondram Pirai, Chaalbaaz, Mr India, Gumrah, Chandni, Sadma, English Vinglish, Judai, Khuda Gawah, Mom, 16 Vayathinile, Nagina, Sigapu Rojakal, Vazhvey Maayam.
I am going to miss Superstar Sridevi and her death was a shock to me, as I am sure it is to the rest of the world.
My Favorite song snippet from the movie Chandni (Lagi Aaj Sawan Ki), and the way I like to remember Sridevi
Kuch Aise Hi Din the, Woh Jab Hum Miley Teh
Chaman Mein Nahin, Phool Dil Mein Khiley The
Wohi Toh Hai Mausam, Magar Ruth Nahin Woh
Mere Sath Barsat Bhi, Roh Padhi Hai
Lagi Aaj Sawan Ki, Phir Woh Jadhi Hai
Those days were something like this only,
when we had met, when the flowers had blossomed in our hearts instead of the gardens.
It's the same weather, but the times are not the same.
Now even the rain cries with me.
Please share with me some of your favorites of Sridevi.
RIP Sridevi

Sunday, February 18, 2018

D. B. Cooper

It was a pleasant afternoon at Portland International Airport on November 24, 1971. Northwest Airlines Flight #305 was ready to depart for Seattle. It was a Boeing 727 plane. The last passenger to board the plane was a gentleman by the name of D.B. Cooper. He looked like a business executive with his suit and tie. Before entering the aircraft, he asked an airline employee if this was a Boeing 727. The airline employee said in the affirmative.
While in the air, Cooper gave a handwritten note to the flight attendant. The note said he had a bomb in his briefcase and demanded $200,000 (today’s value $1.3 million) in 20 dollar bills and 4 parachutes. The flight attendant informed the pilot. The pilot informed the tower and they informed the FBI.
The plane landed in Seattle and came to a halt in the middle of the runway. D.B. Cooper said passengers will be allowed to leave the plane only after he gets his money and parachutes.
The FBI consulted with the airline. The airline thought the passengers are more important than the money and therefore agreed to give the $200,000 and 4 parachutes to D.B Cooper. They were delivered inside the plane and then D.B. Cooper let the passengers leave the plane.
Now there were three pilots and one flight attendant still on the plane with Cooper. The plane then took off from the runway. Cooper ordered the plane to go to Mexico City. The pilot said the plane cannot fly nonstop to Mexico City and has to refuel in Reno, Nevada. Cooper agreed. He told the pilots to go at a maximum speed of 200 miles per hour and only fly below the 10,000 feet altitude. He also ordered that the cabin should not be pressurized.
20 minutes after takeoff, Cooper sent the flight attendant to the cockpit and ordered her not to come outside. Cooper then donned the parachute, tied the money onto himself, went to the rear of the plane, opened the rear stairwell, and jumped.
When the plane landed in Reno, Nevada, there was no Cooper on the plane. No money on the plane. He was never captured. Almost 50 years later, it’s still a mystery as to what happened to D.B. Cooper. The only skyjacking that was never solved.
Side bar: I mentioned above, while boarding the plane Cooper asked an airline employee if the plane was a Boeing 727. According to experts, the 727 is the only passenger plane that can be used to parachute out safely. Looks like Cooper did his homework.
PS: He was a classy guy too.  Before taking off with the money and parachutes from Seattle airport, he ordered food for the 3 pilots and the flight attendant and made sure they ate their dinner.