Sunday, December 17, 2006
That's why I'm so pissed that he hasn't won the Booker.
OK, I know this is art, not athletics, and I shouldn't worry so much about prizes. But STILL... Is Boyd a stealth wanker, who's pissed off too many influential people to win? No, couldn't be. I mean, Salman Rushdie has pissed people off--and not just Muslim clerics, book people--and he won the Booker of Bookers for Allah's sake. Maybe he's really bad at meeting entry deadlines? He told people that he'd turn it down if they offered it? There's some form he doesn't know needs to be filled out? There's simply no other explanation. Here's proof.
2006 - clear from the first three chapters that Kiran Desai's Inheritance of Loss isn't a patch on Boyd's Restless (among many other books)
2002 - Boyd's Any Human Heart v. Life of Pi. Life of Pi! Life of Pi! Maybe if fellow shortlister Dirt Music had won it. But! Life! Of! Pie!
1991 - Boyd's Brazzaville Beach v. Ben Okri's The Famished Road. Haven't read Famished. Strong doubts, though. Amazon says its about a "spirit child" and that "at the heart of this hypnotic novel are the mysteries of love and human survival." Generally difficult to sound that bad and be good at the same time.
1988 - Boyd's The New Confessions v. Peter Carey's Oscar & Lucinda. Hmmmm.
1982 - Boyd's An Ice-cream War (at least it was nominated) v. Schindler's List. No comment.
Not convinced? What if I told you none of those books, apart from An Ice-Cream War, made the short list. Maybe a few were on the long list, I don't know. If they weren't, somebody needs to start kicking some Commonwealth ass. Or just give the guy the name National Book Award, the Pulitzer. Something.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
And, incidentally, where are those "budget hotel chains" that were announced with such fanfare a few years back? So far, they've opened in backwaters like Bhubaneshwar, where, no doubt, a decent place to kip was lacking, but so was demand, Bangalore and Pune. OK, fine on the latter two. But guys, if nobody's pointed out a few 2-stars in Mumbai and Delhi that are ripe for takeover, you need to hire an outside consultant.
But the prize goes to Leander, who managed once again to take what should have been a bright moment for himself and the country and turn it into an embarrassing display (and turned on the waterworks to boot). For those of you who didn't follow the tamasha, Paes once more offended his tennis doubles partner Mahesh Bhupathi after they'd won the gold medal at the Asian Games by making remarks to the media. Once more, Paes claims he was misquoted--the press reported that he said, among other things, that he'd never play with Hesh again. His erstwhile partner didn't mince words, saying on camera--no misquoting there--that he wouldn't beg to play with anybody and he was damned tired of Paes's bullshit (OK, that's a paraphrase, but it captures the gist).
Mr. Paes, your misquoting claim doesn't have legs any more, not with us and certainly not with your former partner, who clearly knows all too well that you're a drama queen through and through. You may or may not be the better player, and the two of you might make a good team on the court. But off the court you're like the girlfriend everybody wishes the guy would dump. If the media keeps misquoting you--which I doubt--stop talking to them. Or, if you can't stand to be out of the limelight for a second, stop and think before you talk. Come up with a plan. Hire a press agent. Get a script. For decades, sports cliches like "I just want to do what I can to help the team" have served legions of athletes well. Clearly, you don't think well on your feet.
Not surprising, considering you're this year's India's Biggest Idiot.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
As I’ve complained before, the beer situation in
Until I open my brew pub, I suggest we write to Vijay Mallya and complain. No, no, no – complain ABOUT THE BEER. The rest of his faults can be ignored for the time. Write your own letter if you want, or cut and paste this one, snail mail or email, it’s up to you:
Vijay Mallya, c/o
Senior Vice President – Legal & Company Secretary
United Breweries (Holdings) Limited
‘UB Anchorage’ 5th Floor
Dear Mr. Mallya:
The Kingfisher Beer you sell to people in
Please, sir, as a gentleman, if not as an executive, you must recognize the gravity of this problem and make recompense. Otherwise, the people of
YOUR NAME HERE
But what if you did the opposite? What if you used the regenerative braking and other electricity-generating concepts of the hybrid car to charge batteries that you could then bring home and use to power your lights and household appliances? In other words, what if instead of plugging in your car, you could plug in your house?
This was an under-publicized potential benefit of inventor Dean Kamen's highly publicized Segway PT. If the same concept could be applied in a vehicle for the masses like Tata's one-lakh car, perhaps India's power woes could be over.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
As if that weren't enough to rekindle my faith in humanity, yesterday I spent the afternoon and evening meeting with guys from Novatium, one of the offshoots from IIT Madras professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala's TeNeT group, and they took me to some sites where they've implemented a pilot program that hooks lower middle class families up with a network-centric PC and web access for Rs.399 per month. I'm not a "web can save the world" guy, but without "going native on the story" I have to admit that I was pretty impressed with the product/application. The funniest part was watching these little girls in frocks and plaits go to Google to find fun things to do on the web. The ingenuity that they've developed in their search strings was amazing. For instance, the ten-year-old told me her favorite thing to do on the PC was to play a game she called "Mario" (an offshoot of Super Mario Bros, I assume), so I asked her how she found out about it. She told me that they'd heard about the game from friends, and in the meantime her 13-year-old sister had fired up Google and typed "to play the game of Mario" in the search window. Not just Mario, not the full name of the game, but the syntax of the sentence likely to appear on the site that lets you play the game online. Brilliant!
Of course, they also used the machine for school and stuff.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
As for Siddhu himself, he resigned his BJP seat to draw attention to the Congress snafu over another convicted felon, Shibbhu Soren, a move that Siddhu's flunkies said demonstrated the manor of a lion. A house divided cannot stand, Siddhu is rumored to have told his seniors in the BJP.
What I can't wait to hear, though, are Siddhu's takes on Tihar.
But a more important question is whether the political parties will demonstrate their, er, convictions with a real drive to push the criminals out (whether they're petty thugs and idiots or hardened gangsters). Attn Judges: I think there's a few guys out there responsible for a riot or too.
Shibbhu, Siddhu... Let's call the whole thing off.