Sunday, August 1, 2021

Etiquette for Olympiad

This blog post was originally published in July 2012 under the title "Etiquette for XXX Olympiad". But this blog post written during London Olympics will be good for Olympics in any city in the world.

Puleeeze. I am not a pervert. In Roman numeral XXX means 30 (not triple X-rated). The 30th Summer Olympics, which is officially known as Games of the XXX Olympiad, is beginning tomorrow in London, England. 

Britain’s tourism agency has issued guidelines on the etiquette of dealing with thousands of foreign visitors who will come to attend the games. The advice that is being given by the tourism agency is for those who are likely to work with tourists arriving from foreign countries. This includes people such as hotel staff, taxi drivers, etc. 

Here are some of the guidelines: (My own interpretation is given in brackets) 

For Brazilians – Don’t ask personal questions (Sir, Did you bring your mistress with you?) 

For people from the Middle East – Never be bossy with them. They are not used to being told what they can’t do. (Sir, please don’t strap that bomb on your chest while you are in my taxi. I am just making a request, Sir.) 

For the Polish – They don’t like be stereotyped as drunks. (Would you like a tall glass of Vodka with your breakfast, Sir?) 

For the French – They are very picky in restaurants. (No Sir, we don’t have escargot here and no croissants as well. However we do have FRENCH fries and FRENCH bread.) 

For the Argentineans – They don’t like jokes about their clothing or weight. (Sir, please use the stairs when you are going up to your hotel room. Our elevators have a weight limit. Also, please remember that only wearing underwear and black business socks is not appropriate attire at our swimming pools.)

For Indians - They are in general, an impatient lot, and like to be quickly attended to. The more affluent they are, the more demanding and brusque they tend to be. They also don't like being touched by strangers and may be suspicious about the quality of British food. (I don’t vant to stand in queue. I vant my dal and rice immediately. Don’t touch me. My mommy will be mad. I have to call her and explain to her vhy you touched me. I don’t like Yorkshire pudding. I hate subghetti also. All I vant is 2 idlis and 3 buckets of sambar.) 

China and Hong Kong – Winking or pointing with an index finger is rude. They don’t like to talk about failure, poverty, or death. They are unimpressed by the landmarks that are only a few hundred years old. (Thank you Sir, for building HUGE and impressive Olympic buildings in 2008 for the Beijing Olympics. I hear that they are unused and failing miserably. Welcome to London. We (pointing to my chest) won’t make the same mistake as you. (pointing with index finger) wink, wink) 

Mexicans – Don’t discuss poverty, immigration or earthquakes. They prefer to talk about history and art. (Sir, I would like to hear about the history of East Los Angeles. Sir, do you personally know Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio?) 

Canadians – They will be annoyed about being mistaken for an American. (Sir, I will never mistake you for an American. So far you have spoken 4 sentences and all of them ended with “eh”. My name is John Doe, eh. You are also here for the Olympics, eh. I like pizza, eh. Buckingham Palace is beautiful, eh.)

Americans – They are so informal to the point of being very direct. They won’t hesitate about complaining. (Now that we are in London, I want some real American food. Where can I get a burrito or some pizza? Why is everyone a foreigner in London? How come the bartenders never look at you and acknowledge your presence? London hotels charge $300 a night but why is there an additional charge for WiFi? I am going to enjoy this vacation…even if it’s going to kill me.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Why I Don't Like To Watch Tokyo Olympics

The following are the reasons: 

Time Difference:  USA is behind in time from Japan by 16 hours.  Whatever American television (NBC) shows as "live" I already know the results.  I knew Naomi Osaka lost her tennis match before their "live" broadcast.  I already knew the mighty unbeatable American basketball team lost to France.

American prejudice:  The network (NBC) thinks Americans want to watch only American athletes.  That is why they are losing the audience.  The American public wants to watch and learn about all the athletes.  For example, if in an event an American athlete comes in 5th place they will ignore all the other first 4 and starts to interview and tell the life history of the athlete that came is 5th.  His/her childhood, how did he/she trained, if he /she brought his/her significant other to the Olympics, and if they slept together before the event.

Unrecognizable events if an American is participant.  I watched an athletic event called "Slalom Canoe". I watched it for one hour.  (Side bar:  Even though I am  not an athlete, I have theoretical knowledge about many games and their rules. From Kho Kho to American Football)  I had no idea how this game Slalom Canoe is played and how they score points and how they win. They showed for a long time only because some Americans were the contestants.  Many Americans went back to sleep.

They will never show any event that Americans are not participating.  For example: Field Hockey. Badminton, Handball, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Trampoline.

Stay Tuned for my next week's blog post.  I will repost the blog post I wrote about spectators for the London Olympics in 2012.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Developed, But Is It?

I wrote before briefly about my uncle's remote village in Tamil Nadu.  There was no electricity.  There was no phone.  You have to cross a river to go to the village. There is no bridge and therefore you have to walk through the water to go to other other side.

Here are some more details.

There is a special street where only rich people live.  How many houses in that street?  Just one.  My uncle's house.  One has to cross that street to go to the other streets where poor people lived.  The unwritten rule is bullock carts can go thru that street from 6 am to 6 pm.  And, that too the people who are sitting in that bullock cart should get down and walk until crossing that street.  After 6 pm and until 6 am next morning,   no bullock cart can go thru that street because our family is sleeping in the middle of the street on our cots.  (There were only 3 weather patterns there.  Hot. Hottest, Murder)

My uncle had few servants.  They were  not allowed to come inside the house.  They came thru the side doors to clean the house, clean the dishes, milk the cows, and take the cattle and cows for grazing.

This was long time ago.

Now that village has electricity, bridge over the river, so many phones, high rise apartments, and even a high school.

Couple of years ago I went to India and visited that village where I used to go every summer vacation.

Unfortunately, my uncle's wife (aunt) died.  She was sick and not having good health.

Two incidents I noticed.

The daughter of my uncle's servant who used to milk the cows is now a prominent doctor in the nearby town.  My cousins called her to come and check up my aunt.  She immediately came to our village in a driver driven car.  She was hesitant to come into the house.  My cousins insisted she come inside the house and check my aunt.  The doctor came inside.  She was hesitant to touch my aunt,  Finally, she took out a silk cloth, put it around my aunt's wrist and checked her pulse.  Same thing with stethoscope.

With tears in her eyes, she said my aunt's life is only a few hours away.  And, she left.  I have never seen a doctor gets emotional in any country in the world about a patient.  I have lived in 5 countries.  (Doctors never show any emotion.)

My aunt passed way.  The next day my cousins were arranging a funeral for her.  

The body was inside the house.  There came a fancy car.  Who comes out of that car?  A prominent lawyer who is also the "Leader of the Bar" in the nearby town.  A few of his juniors were also with him.  Who is he?  He is the son of the servant who took care of the cattle and cows for grazing.

He came to pay his last respect to my aunt.  My cousins asked him to come inside the house to pay his respects.  He refused and stayed outside the house with his juniors.

Finally, the body came out.  The lawyer fell on the floor in the street in front of the body. Got up with tears in his eyes, got into the car and left. 

Are we developed or not?  You tell me.

PS: My wife used to make fun about these villages all the time. That remote village was my mom's where there was only one house in the agraharam.  But my dad's village, which was 3 miles away, had 24 houses in the agraharam.   My wife used to tell everyone that compared to my mom's village, my dad's village is New York City.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Unique in Sports

Cricket: The only game where the captain makes all the decision – after winning the toss whether to bat or bowl, who will bowl, when to change the bowler, how to rearrange the field, who to send to bat in which order, when to declare the innings. In other sports, captain is only for toss up.

Baseball: The catcher (ala wicket keeper) tells – via signal – the pitcher (ala bowler) what kind of ball to throw (ala bowl).

Volleyball: the libero (defensive specialist) is the player that wears a different color jersey from their teammates. The libero is a specially designated player that is allowed to replace any player in the back row without the need to substitute. They may never play in the front row. 

Soccer (Football): The goalie wears a different color jersey other than the rest of the team. 

American Football – The games go on no matter what – Rain or Shine or Snow or Thunderstorm or national mourning. Two days after President Kennedy was assassinated the NFL (National Football League) games went on as usual. The then NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle later said it was the biggest mistake of his career. 

Golf – It is the game where a golfer does not get a point on the opponent’s mistake.

Ice Hokey: It has 2 intermissions in each game.  A total of 3 periods, each with 20 minutes.

If you know any other sports which are unique, please let me know

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Looking Back

I read in the internet about the arrest of self-styled (fraud) Shiva Shankar Baba. Kudos to the police. My thoughts went a few years back. 

Our mother wanted to go see and get a darshan of this Baba in Chennai. She asked my younger brother to take her to see him. My brother refused by saying this guy is a fraud. (He used a rather derogatory word “Basxxrd”). But my mom insisted. Therefore, my brother took her to see this Baba in his ashram. 

At the ashram hundreds of people were waiting to have a darshan of this baba. My brother told our mom that he would wait outside and not come inside. He will take her home after the darshan is over.

While waiting outside, he saw a crowd nearby. He was curious. He went to find out what was the commotion. There was a couple with a dead body of their 14 year old girl. The taxi driver who was supposed to take them to the nearby village, put the body in the street and refused to drive. 

The driver wanted the agreed amount of Rs.2,000 then and there. The couple were crying. They said they have the money at home and will pay him after reaching the village. The driver refused. He said the parents would refuse to pay the money once he reached their village. 

There were more than 50 people in the crowd. No one was willing to help. 

My brother took out Rs.2,000 from his pocket. He gave it to the parents in front of the driver. Told them to give the money to the driver only after reaching their village. He gave his number to the parents and driver in case of any problem. 

My brother helped the parents put back the body in the car and they drove away. 

Our mom came out after the darshan.  My brother told our mom what happened while he was waiting outside. 

My mom said: It is the Baba who made you go outside and help that poor parents. 

My brother replied with a “facepalm”.


Thursday, May 27, 2021

A Page from the Past

Long time ago, we were living in San Francisco city (when it was livable). 

Went to Safeway (grocery store) to buy groceries. After purchasing, I was standing in the line to pay for them. There were about 8 people standing behind me. I recognized one of the guys. He was the Consul General of India. 

At that moment, the Store Manager came by. I knew him since I was a regular customer. I told him the Indian Consul General was standing in the line and point out him to the Store Manager. 

The Store Manager went to him and said: Sir, please come with me. I will open a special counter for you. You don’t have to stand in the line. 

The Indian Consul General replied: Thanks for your offer. I prefer standing in line like everyone else.

Friday, May 14, 2021


Here are two examples of how people take advantage. 

According to Taiwan labor laws, newly married can get 8 days off for enjoying honeymoon. A Taiwanese couple took advantage of this and divorced and married each other 4 times within 37 days of their marriage. Therefore, they claimed 32 days off for honeymoon. 

His company disapproved his leave claims. He took the case to the Taipei city labor department. The labor department fined the company for violating the labor laws. 

They got married on April 6, 2020 and divorced on April 16. Got married one day later on April 17 and divorced again on April 28. Married again on April 29 and divorced on May 11. Married again on May 12.

Taiwanese Mayor said they are reevaluating the marriage-leave policy. 

I want to share a real-life story. The following anecdote is not a fiction. 

Long time ago, in our company, there was a girl who was a first line manager. Her supervisor was a second line manager. One day, this girl, the first line manager, filed a case within the company hierarchy alleging “sexual harassment” against her male second line manager. 

The company wanted to avoid this case going to a public litigation because it will be bad for the company’s image and PR purpose. So, the company decided to settle the case with her,

Meantime, the Second Level manager resigned his job. The first line manager, who complained, got an excellent cash compensation for her “suffering”. She also quit the company immediately. 

They both got married in a week.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill Gates and his wife Melinda are divorcing. In this grave pandemic situation, Newspapers  are obsessed with how their wealth ($143 Billion) will be divided between the two. I immediately thought of what Alexander the Great said when he was about to die.
On his death bed, Alexander summoned his generals and told them his three ultimate wishes: 

The best doctors should carry his coffin. 

The wealth he has accumulated (money, gold, precious stones) should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery. 

His hands should be let loose, hanging outside the coffin for all to see. 

One of his generals asked him to explain the reasons. Here is what Alexander the Great has to say. 

I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that, in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal. 

I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that material wealth acquired on earth, stays on earth. 

I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed. 

While I was writing this post, the following landed in my inbox. HaHaHa


Monday, April 26, 2021

Poor Judgement

Last week I wrote about Senicide.  The following is a real life story.  Not a fiction.  I knew the characters personally.  Very tragic.

His name is Larry. An Anglo Saxon White guy. He was working in our company as a junior level manager. He was a bachelor, never married. He lived with his aged mother. He was not heterosexual. Unlike some others, he never advertised his sexual orientation as a gay person. But his mother and friends knew this and accepted that fact. Of course, he had a lover. His name is Charles.

I knew him well. But he was not a close friend of mine. We have been to his house one or two times. He, his mother, and his lover have come to our house once.

Larry loved his mother to death. He took care of her daily needs with love and affection. He would cook for her every day. Made sure she had her medications every day. Daily, Larry would take her mother for walking exercise. He took her on exotic vacation twice a year. In short, he took care of his mother as if he would take care of his own newborn baby.

He never drank. He never smoked.

One day, the fate struck. His doctor diagnosed he has AIDS. He was devastated. His mother was even more devastated. As months went by, his health deteriorated. Larry weighed 200 lbs. And, after 9 months he weighed only 130 lbs. He could not go to work. Therefore, he went on medical disability. He was unable to drive his car. His lover, Charles and another close friend, Sam (a straight guy) took care of the daily needs of Larry and his mother.

Larry was becoming depressed more and more every day. One day, he took several sleeping pills in order to commit suicide. However, Charles saw this and rushed him to the hospital in an ambulance. Doctors saved his life.

Many visitors came to see him at the hospital. All of them (except Sam) were unanimous in their scolding to Larry. “Why did you do this stupid thing? Your mother is very old. Who is going to take care of her if you die? If you die, your aged mother will become an orphan. Your mother is having health problems. You are going to aggravate her condition by committing suicide.”

Larry was discharged from the hospital 3 days later. Since Larry cannot take care of himself, Sam and Larry’s mother decided to admit him in a Care Home. Care Home is a home where they take care of sick people for a fee. He was there for a week. His mother was lonely at home. Sam went there every day to see how she was doing. She knew that her son was dying of AIDS. She decided to take Larry back home. Since Larry had suicidal tendencies, Sam was opposed to this idea. Sam and Larry’s mother approached the doctor in that Care Home. The doctor refused to talk to Sam. It is the law that doctors are supposed to talk only to family members, if the patient has one.

Larry and her mother talked to the Care Home doctor. No one knew the conversation. The doctor decided to release him from the Care Home and let Larry go home with his mother.

On a Thursday evening Larry called Sam about his car insurance. Sam said he will do the needful. On Friday evening Sam called Larry at his home. The phone was ringing and there was no answer. Sam decided to go to Larry’s house on Saturday. Larry’s neighbor called Sam on Saturday morning at 10 am. He said he knocked Larry’s door and there was no answer. The newspapers have not been picked up from the patio.

Since the neighbor had the extra key to Larry’s house, Sam asked him to open the door. After 10 minutes Larry’s neighbor called Sam and informed him that Larry and his mother are dead. There is blood all over the house. Sam asked the neighbor to call the police and rushed there.

To end this post, this is what happened. The visitors who came to see him in the hospital were scolding him as to what would happen to his aged mother if he committed suicide. This was a very poor judgement on the part of the visitors. Since Larry was already depressed and loved his mother, he was worried so much about the fate of his mother in case he should die naturally or commit suicide. He finally decided to kill his own mother, before taking his life, so that she would not suffer or become a helpless orphan after his death. So on Friday he took a claw hammer (a sharp V shaped at the end) and hit his mother forcefully in the back of her head several times. Blood was forced out of her head. There were blood marks on the ceiling, on the window screen, and on the side lamp shade. She died.

Larry then went to his room. Took a blade and cut the veins in his hands, legs, and neck. He also died 20 minutes later.

This is not a fiction. This is a true story. Larry and Sam worked in our Company. I have changed the real names to protect their privacy. Couple of days later Sam came to see me and told me the whole story. I said Larry made the wrong decision to kill his mother. Even if it was right in his mind, I told Sam, he could have put a bullet into her head as opposed to beating her forcefully in the back of her head several times. Sam just wept.

The lesson: When we visit someone who is very sick, we should say some encouraging words. We should not depress more a person who is already depressed.

Monday, April 19, 2021


Thalaikoothal is a Tamil word.  English translation is Senicide.  Killing of elderly people by the relatives.  It is an involuntary euthanasia.  When an elderly person becomes very sick, the relatives (mostly children) perform Thalaikoothal so he/she dies peacefully.

Some do it so the elderly person does not suffer a lot.  Some others do it because they don’t have money to take care of them or for operation. Village people think it is mercy killing.

I was surprised to see this is being practiced in villages in Tamil Nadu. This is illegal but still practiced in Tamil Nadu.

I came to know about this when I was watching a Tamil documentary type movie in Amazon Prime.  The movie is titled Baaram (Burden). Watched it last night. Very disturbing.  Could not eat dinner.

They say there are 26 different methods to do Senicide.  Most popular is giving cold water massage on the head of the elderly person and then giving him coconut water.  This will reduce the body temperature sufficient enough to cause heart failure.  In Tamil language, Thalai means head.  I don't know what is the meaning of Koothal.

In this movie, the guy was injected with poison.

Wonder why the Indian Government is not going after the culprits.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Great Indian Kitchen

This is not  a movie review but my own thoughts

A friend suggested I see this Malayalam movie, The Great Indian Kitchen.  To put it mildly I was shocked and stunned.  Having lived my entire adult life in USA, I could not believe this was happening in an educated family in India.

Nimisha Sanjayan is a dancer and brought up in Bahrain.  She gets into an arranged marriage with a teacher in Kerala.  Her in law home is a patriarchal family.  She tries very hard to adjust and be submissive.  But they test her patience.

Don’t want to give the end of the story.

The movie is directed by Jeo Baby.

The actress Nimisha Sanjayan did not just act.  She becomes a real submissive housewife.  She tries to adjust to their whims and fancies.  But she can tolerate only so much.

She tolerates some of the disgusting things:

The husband and father in law eat and spit the waste all over the dining table.  She has to eat there after men finished eating.  But when they go to a restaurant, the husband shows good table manners.  The wife asks him about it.  The husband gets made and ask her to apologize.

The father in law is a cunning character.  He asks her not to cook rice in a gas stove.  He wants his rice cooked only in fire.  He does not like his clothes washed in a washing machine.  He asks the daughter in law to wash his clothes by hand.

I don’t even want to go about her sufferings during her monthly period time.  She should be away from everyone else.  In fact, it was suggested she should not sleep in a bed.  She should sleep on the floor.

The movie is not about the “great” Indian kitchen.  It is about the Indian domestic slavery.  It is about a wife who is a cook, cleaner, and a sex slave.

Excellent movie.  Everyone should watch this.  Orthodox patriarchal families should learn a lesson.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Sad Story

I was reading about Jagdish Chandra Bose.  He was a biologist, physicist, and botanist.  He had so many discoveries.  But was disinterested in patenting and commercializing.  Therefore Mr. Bose never patented any of his discoveries.

I then remembered a very sad story.   Here it is.

Robert William Kearns (1927 to 2005).  He invented the intermittent wiper systems (popularly known as delayed wiper) for automobiles.  He filed for patent in December 1964.

Mr. Kearns approached the Big Three automakers, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler for licensing his technology.  All 3 rejected his proposal.  Yet, they started to install this delayed wiper system in their automobiles beginning 1969.

He filed a lawsuit against these 3 companies.  He was a poor man with no money to pay lawyers.  So, he acted as his own attorney.  Automobile companies had big name attorneys.  They dragged this case for many years.

Case against Ford Motor company lasted from 1978 to 1990.  He asked for $395 million.  Court awarded him $10.2 million.  Chrysler case lasted from 1982 to 1992.  Court awarded him $18.7 million.

Kearns filed lawsuits against Ford, Porsche, Volkswagen, Ferrari, Volvo, Alfa Romeo, Lotus, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault, Rolls Royce Motors, Saab, Toyota, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz.   Several cases were dismissed after Kearns missed deadlines in other filing papers. 

In fighting these cases, almost all his money was spent on legal fees.

Kearns died in 2005 as a poor man living in a one bed room flat.

His life was made into a movie Flash of Genius.

Let us assume if these automobile manufacturers were honest and paid him at least $1.00 per wiper.  Think for a minute how many cars were sold in this world from 1969 to date.  At an average of 50 million cars in a year, he would have earned $2.6 Billion.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Napalm Girl

When I wrote last week about Heart-Wrenching Photos, I purposely did not include this tragedy.  I wanted to write  a separate blog post.

On June 8, 1972, South Vietnamese Airforce dropped the flaming napalm bomb on civilians.  9 year old girl,  Phan Thi Kim Phuc, who was playing with her cousins in the street was caught in that. Her clothes were burnt.  She had to rip her burning clothes off and run naked for safety.

This was the most iconic image of Vietnam War.

This picture was taken by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut,  He won a Pulitzer Prize for this. 

When this photo was published in the New York Times, the whole U.S. population shook.

Later Phan Thi Kim Phuc defected to Canada and she now lives there.

Want to know the effect of napalm bomb attack?  Major portion of a city will be burnt and destroyed.  When a napalm bomb is dropped, this is how the place looks like.

Here is a photo of that girl and the photographer on June 8, 2012 on the 40th anniversary of that incident.

Friday, March 26, 2021

A. R. Rahman pissed off

It was the launch of A. R. Rahman’s  maiden productions 99 Songs in Chennai.  The anchor who was hosting the event welcomed Mr. Rahman in Tamil.  Then addressed actor Ehan Bhat in Hindi.

Mr. Rahman got pissed off.

He was visibly taken aback and said “Hindi”? and exit the stage.

On the way out, he asked the anchor in Tamil “Mudalliye kattene Tamil pesuveengalanuttu” (I asked you before the event started if you can speak in Tamil)

The anchor replied in Tamil: Tamil than.  Idhu chumma welcome than sir. Kovikaadheenga sir. ((Yes I am Tamil.  This is just a welcome intro sir.  Please don’t get angry sir)

My personal opinion is I agree with Rahman.

Before the event started, Rahman asked the anchor can you speak in Tamil.  Also, the person she was addressing knows English.  The anchor knows Tamil very well.  Plus the event was in Chennai.  Therefore, she either should have addressed in English or Tamil.  She thought would have one-upmanship with Mr. Rahman.

Being a gentleman, Rahman came back to the stage and participated in the launch.

My question is if there was a Tamil actor being introduced in Mumbai, will the anchor welcome that Tamil actor in Tamil?

I think it is ok to speak in English if there are non-Tamil audience.

What do you think?

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Heart-Wrenching Photos

Incredible photograph of a German soldier going against direct orders to help a young boy cross the newly formed Berlin Wall after being separated from his family, 1961.

3 Year old John F Kennedy Jr. Salutes His Father's Coffin with The Honor Guard

Chinese teenager stands in front a column of tanks – Tiananmen Square – June 5, 1989.  He was not seen anywhere after that.  Rumor has it that he was executed a few weeks after that incident.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Thala (Dhoni)

M.  S. Dhoni was in New York on vacation.  He had shaved his head.

Indian cricket player Wasim Jaffer who is famous for his Twitter added a quirky caption to describe Dhoni’s picture.

Thalai Lama

Almost everyone in Tamil Nadu loves the captain of Chennai Super Kings.  They affectionately call him “Thala” which in Tamil means Leader.

I was talking to a friend of mine (Madhu) about this.  He said if Dhoni run in a Tamil  Nadu election as a Chief Minister candidate he will win hands down.

I was thinking about that afterwards.

Many Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers do not have Tamil as their mother tongue.  Annadurai and Karunanidhi are Telugu origin.  MGR is a Malayali.  Jayalalitha is Kannadiga born.  Rajnikanth who wanted to be a CM is Kannadiga/Marathi

So why not Thala (Dhoni) be the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu?

What do you think?

Sunday, March 7, 2021


On February 4, 2021, I wrote a blog post titled RealHero.  I had described how a Spanish cross-country runner helped a Kenyan runner (who was leading the race but not know where the finish line was) to win the race.  The Spanish runner could have won by overtaking him.  But he did not do that.

Here is just an opposite incident.

Year 1999.  Comrades Marathon is a grueling ultramarathon race.  The distance is 90 kilometers (56.1 miles).  It is held in South Africa.  More than 20,000 people start but 95% of them could not finish.

Here comes our friend Sergio Motsoeneng.  He is from an impoverished Central Eastern South Africa.  He came is 8th and won US$1,000.  Fellow Runner Nick Bester complained he never saw Sergio passed him in the final stretch.  The race officials dismissed that charge.

But a reporter for the African newspaper The Beeld decided to investigate it.  He looked at several photographs.   Finally discovered the runner had his watch in his right wrist in some photos and in different photos his watch was in his left wrist.  Also, he had a scar on his left shin and in other photos there was no scar.

It turned out the runner Sergio has an identical twin brother.  They both switched running the race every 10 kilometer.  One would duck into a porta-potty and his identical twin brother would be waiting there inside.  Then the other guy would run 10 kilometers and switch places.  Sergio removed his shirt, bib, hat, and even shoes, and gave them to his brother, who continued the race.

They were caught.  Money was taken away from them.  They were banned for 5 years from competing in any race.

They said poverty was their reason for cheating.

Monday, February 22, 2021

What a Way to Win

November 19, 1999. The TV contest: Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Host: Regis Philbin. Contestant: John Carpenter. He won. 

John did not just win the game, he won it with style. He was the first-ever to reach the million-dollar question. There were several lifelines. He did not use any lifelines. But during the very last question, he called his father. 

During the last question, Regis Philbin asked the following question: 

Which of these U.S. presidents appeared on the television series Laugh-In? 

A. Lyndon Johnson 

B. Richard Nixon 

C. Jimmy Carter 

D. Gerald Ford 

He saw the question. Just smiled and called his father for help. When his dad answered the call, the host gave the question to John’s dad and passed the call to John. Here is the conversation between John and his dad. 

John: Hi dad. 

Dad: Hi. 

John: I don’t really need your help. I just want to let you know that I’m going to win the million dollars. Because the President that appeared in Laugh-In is Richard Nixon and that’s my final answer.

John got the right answer in the best possible way. He got to the million-dollar question without using any lifelines, only using it to tell his dad that he knew that answer all along. He’s the first-ever to win the game to top it all off. 

What a way to win.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Acquitted Again

Democrats in both the House and Senate got their chance.  Tried to impeach the ex-President Donald Trump.  But it failed.  House which has Democrats majority impeached Donald Trump.  But the Senate has to convict him.  

In the 100 member Senate, there are 50 democrats (including 2 independents who support them) and 50 republicans.  To convict him, they  need 67 votes.  Everyone knew they cannot get 67 votes to convict him.  Waste of time and money.

It was evident at the very beginning.  They had a vote whether the trial at the Senate is legal or not since Mr. Trump had already left office.  56 Senators (all democrats and 6 republicans) voted it is legal.  At this stage it was evident "this dog don't hunt".

After the arguments were over, the final vote was 57 senators (all democrats and 7 republicans) voted Mr. Trump is guilty.  43 republican  senators voted not guilty.  So Mr. Trump was acquitted again for the second time.

The whole drama begins now for the next 4 years.

I was watching the arguments from both sides.  I thought the prosecutors (House Managers) did a slightly better job.  After everything was over, Nancy Pelosi (Speaker and second in line to become President) came on tv.  I take umbrage what she said.  She said those republican senators who voted not guilty are cowards.  What if some republican senator says Nancy Pelosi and the democrats are "mentally retarded"?

This is uncalled for.  If there is a court case, and the judgement was 5 to 4, you don't call 4 dissenting judges "cowards".

This will come back to haunt Biden and the democrats.   Republicans are dangerous.  They don't forget easily.  They have a long memory.  They can give lot of trouble to President Biden.   In 2022 or 2024 if they become majority they may bring impeachment proceedings against Biden or Obama on some trumped up charges. 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Reply to a Comment

In my previous post, a reader (Destination Infinity) wrote the following comments. 

“I wonder how a competitor was not shown the finish line beforehand. These are standard procedures at that level. In spite of that if someone is confused, it's a UX issue which is rare at big events. It's possible that the entire episode was rigged to generate a newsworthy incident. I hope not.” 

I was going to reply there. Then I thought it may be a long reply. So I decided to make this reply a blog post by itself. 

Thanks for your comments Rajesh. I certainly do not think it was rigged to generate a newsworthy incident. What could be their benefit in rigging this? It was an international competition and already a newsworthy incident. 

Make a mistake or a gaffe is entirely possible however meticulous you are. Here are a few example. 

S. M. Krishna, India’s then Foreign Minister was about to speak at the United Nations Security Council. Behind him seated and helping him with the speech were 4 Indian Foreign Service Officers and his deputies and secretaries. What S. M. Krishna did? He read a prepared text from the speech given by the Portuguese Ambassador. Five minutes into the speech Indian team realized the mistake. Then Mr. Krishna took the correct Indian prepared text and started to read. 

President Bill Clinton was about to give an important State of the Union Address to the joint session of the Congress in 1994. All the House of Representatives, all the Senators, the entire cabinet members (except one*), all the 9 U.S. Supreme Court Judges, and chiefs of different U.S. military branches, and ambassadors from almost every country in the world were present. And, millions of Americans were watching. 

When he started to give his speech he realized his teleprompter was loaded with the wrong speech. He had to stop and ask his assistants to load the correct speech in the teleprompter. 

In 1976, President Gerald Ford was speaking in a conference. His prepared draft speech was reviewed by several people. President Ford said “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under Ford Administration". 

Everyone in the world knew, in 1976 Russia was completely dominating the entire Eastern Europe. 

Therefore Rajesh, mistakes can happen anywhere however prepared you are.

* Before the President gives the State of the Union Address, he always designates a Cabinet Member to stay away from Washington, DC, during his address.  Reason: In case the whole U.S. Capitol Building came under attack and everyone dies, at least one Cabinet Member will be alive to take over as President.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Real Hero

It was December 2012. Cross Country Race in Burada, Navarre. Kenyan Runner Abel Mutai was leading followed closely by Spanish Runner Ivan Fernandez. A few yards before the finish line, Mutai got confused where the finish line was and stopped running thinking he crossed the finish line and won. 

Ivan Fernandez realized Mutai did not know where the finish line was. He shouted in Spanish asking Mutai to keep running and finish. Mutai does not understand Spanish. Ivan Fernandez then pushed him from behind to cross the finish line and win the race. 

After the race was over, a reporter asked Fernandez why did he let Mutai win the race. He said I did not let him win, he was going to win. The race was his. 

The reporter insisted you could have won the race by overtaking Mutai. His reply was a class act.

 “What would be the meaning of my victory? What woud be the honor of this medal? What would my mother think of this medal?"

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Two Different Extreme Judgements

A Bombay High Court Judge Pushpa Ganediwala has ruled that groping a child through their clothes  not amount to sexual assault. The guy was fondling a 13 year girl’s boobs without removing her clothes. That is OK with that Bombay High Court Judge. According to the judge the accused did not make skin to skin contact. 

The same judge, in a different case, ruled unzipping a girl’s pant or holding her hand do not amount to sexual assault. 

This is one extreme judgement. I wonder how the judge would have ruled if the victim is her own daughter or any relative. In my opinion she should be dismissed from the job. 

Indian Attorney General called the judgement “very disturbing” and brought this to the attention of the Indian Supreme Court.  

Different country, different judge, similar case – same day 

In Malaysia, a female judge Gunasundari (Malaysian Tamil), for a similar case (a man sexually assaulting a 12 year old girl) sentenced him to a corporal punishment of 24 caning and 1050 years in jail. 

This is another extreme judgement. Caning 24 times as a corporal punishment is fine. But 1050 years in jail? Is this a show off? Does the judge expect him to live 1050 years? If she wanted him never to get out of prison, she could have given a judgement of 125 years in jail without parole. (He may not live for more than 100 years,  125 years just to be on the safe side.)

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Trump - Unsung Accomplishments

The hatred TV media (especially CNN) has for Trump doesn't allow them to recognize anything good he did. To be fair and objective, here are a few samples: 

He ended gag orders on pharmacists which had prevented pharmacists from sharing money-saving information with customers. 

He added new tools to help states fight sex trafficking.

He signed a law requiring airports to have a space for breast-feeding mothers. 

He signed a law to fund $10M/year to clean plastic and garbage from the ocean. 

He enforced a provision of the Affordable Care Act forcing hospitals to publicize their prices with another executive order. 

Competitive corporate tax rates. 

He ordered the military to totally destroy ISIS and they did. 

He is the first president in forty years not to start a war.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Trump Impeached Again

President Donald Trump was impeached again for the second time by the House of Representatives.  What a waste of time and money.

Nothing will happen by impeaching him 1000 times unless the Senate convicts him.  Senate Majority Leader (the current leader) Mitch McConnell said he will not even bring the matter for discussion until after Trump leaves his office at noon on January 20.

Even if the impeachment proceedings by the Senate were taken up after he leaves office, will there be 60 votes (out of 100) to convict him? I doubt it.

My advice to Democrats.  Just leave him alone and he will leave office in a week.  By impeaching him you are giving more popularity and publicity.

This will also give Trump a great campaign speech in 2024.

"Look, I pissed off the democrats so much that I was the only President to be impeached twice by them.  Therefore, all democrat haters vote for me".

PS: After publishing this post, one more thought came to my mind.  Can they impeach and convict a private citizen?  After January 20th noon time, Trump is a private citizen.

The relevant text of the Constitution reads as follows: "The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." (Article II, Section 4)

Friday, January 8, 2021

The Riot

January 6, 2021. The joint session of U.S. Congress (House of Representatives and Senators) was meeting to count the electoral college votes from each state and declare who won the presidential election. This joint session was presided over by the Vice President Mike Pence. 

While the counting was in progress, thousands of hard core supporters of Donald Trump marched to the U.S. Capitol. They were instigated by President Trump. Violence broke out and the mob breached the perimeter. They broke down the barriers. 

Trump supporters forced lawmakers to evacuate the Capitol and stop the formal count of the 2020 Presidential Electoral College Votes. 

The Capitol Hill Police could not control the situation. They asked for help from the National Guard. They arrived promptly and brought the situation under control. 4 protesters died. One person was shot dead. Three others died because of “medical issue” as per the police. 

Joint Session of Congress finally, after a 6 hour delay, certified Joe Biden as the next U.S. President. 

My thoughts: 

Rioting is a bad idea. If they think there was election fraud, go to the court and file a suit with strong evidence. Storming the Capitol building will not change the electoral college votes. 

Trump has only 12 days as President. Now there is talk of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. That is another stupid idea. This will bring more riots and mayhem. 

There is a talk of arresting or impeaching Trump. This is a useless idea. President can pardon anybody for any crime. Most likely, Trump will pardon himself, his family, his advisors and his friends. Can he pardon himself? It was never done before. U.S. laws do not say anything about a President pardoning himself. If he does that, there will be law suits. Finally, Supreme Court will decide. 

My advice: Hey you lost the election. Instead of rioting, work towards the 2024 election. 

As the famous American Football commentator, “Dandy” Don Meridith would sing at the end of the football game 

Turn out the lights. The party is over.