Posted in Humor - General, Politics - General

The Lucky Sperm Club

Hold on! Just don’t let your imagination run wild. This is not about any artificial insemination program or anything remotely connected to that. As a matter of fact, I didn’t know that this club existed till last night and today I am ready to write about it.

Just a little bit of a warning! I am not sure what I may end up writing in the next few minutes…so the disclaimer is that if I am insensitive to the rightist in you, it is not because I hate you but it is because I am angry with that rightist in you. In any case, this one is not for the weak hearted Republicans. (Smile)

I was wondering till I posted my first political write-up (“Barking up the wrong (‘Right’) tree“), if I should really do that here or not, for the fear of scandalously unveiling my political mask. Now that it is all open and clear, I guess I might as well cover the extra mile and try to tear down the conservative hypocrisy that is lewd, preposterous and plain obnoxious, in my mind. But honestly, I enjoy politics and politicking. I wanted to write something about Indian politics – more specifically Tamil Nadu politics, about which I have quite a bit of an interest in. Somehow, someway, “Plamegate” is in the top of my head now – so let me unburden myself.

Remember I talked about impeaching Bush in my previous blog? Well. Ladies and Gentlemen! Wait for the drum roll…In the next few months; you will be entering the dramatic world of independent counsels and indictments. I am not sure yet if the country will take it as far as impeaching “Bubba” but it sure seems like some kind of reprieve in the constantly liberal-beating media – of course, Fox News being an exception.

The Valerie Plame story is turning out to be an amazing stunner. I never would have imagined that a political game of that intensity is even remotely possible to execute over a long period of time. I mean, it is one thing to write a story or make a movie about such politics and tactics, but to do in real life is truly disgusting. Wake up America! What more do you need to find fault with the government? Are you going to wait for another 3 years and then bid farewell in a nice way, to the President who has the record for bringing the country to its worst deficit ever?

This leaking thing directly relates the White House to the false claim of Iraq’s WMD and the war itself. It is simply outrageous. So what if the Congress (including Democrats) passed a motion authorizing Bush to do whatever he can back in ‘02? The general mood of the country at that time was such that if you opened your mouth and said “it doesn’t seem right” or simply asked “why” for something the president and his evil cronies did, you were termed “unpatriotic” and in my case probably a “terrorist”, before you could bat your eye lid. The media, the hot-dog vendors and even the hair dressers thought it was apocalypse then and if we didn’t beat the s*** out of Saddam Hussein immediately, our drinking water would be poisoned and the bio-terrorists would fly from Iraq overnight and would fart poison everywhere in the country killing all the babies, pets and old people. It was like a do-or-die situation. All thanks to the wonderfully created “terrorized world” by Cheney and his boss, ably and dutifully supported, magnified and dramatically portrayed by the media led by the corporate-driven-media-mogul Rupert Murdoch and his mouthpiece – “The Fox Network”. So why blame Democrats now..? (this is becoming an increasingly common trait among the Republicans who are trying to defend the war “NOW”). The Democrats in the congress for the most part wanted to play it safe probably – after all they are politicians too. And with the term “liberal” in American politics being given more and more negative spin by everyone from the religious right to the conservative media that no politician would want to take a leftist stand, unless he/she is from those handful of Vermont or Washington State or Oregon or Massachusetts towns with a population of 5000 or less. So getting back to the war, everyone knew that Colin Powell just took a gas bag to the UN Security Council to present the US’s case for the Iraq war. But the media made sure the opposing voices were not heard.

May be, things have changed a little bit now for the better. You can actually see those networks relaxing a bit and coming down on the White House (albeit in small dosages). But Fox News still is the same – Actually, I have a doubt if the Fox News newsreaders read from Teleprompters that are controlled by the White House (like a direct link between the White House press secretary’s office and the Fox News control room). Just my conspiracy theory!! (Smile again..)

Joseph Wilson blows the whistle on the atrocious claim the Bush government wanted to make (and did) – that – Iraq bought Uranium from Niger. He said it was all “BS”. So what does the cunning Cheney do? He sends ‘Scooter’ to Miller and makes him leak..(Sorry no pun intended). The leak blows Valerie Plame’s identity cover open and her CIA career is ruined. That is the story in short, the implications of which is far and beyond Valerie Plame alone. But look at the level of involvement in this dirty politics. From Dick, the “Diabolic” Cheney to the White House dog – everyone had a piece of pie in this accomplishment.

This is getting to be a random collection of my pent-up frustration. But hey, I need to tell you what the club is all about.

“The Lucky sperm club” – A select (albeit unofficial) club populated by powerful men who owe their exalted status in life not to talent, intelligence, creativity, or hard work but to winning the sperm lotto by having the great good fortune to be born into a powerful family.

For starters, let’s just say Bush and Sulzberger belong to this –

(Thanks to Arianna Huffington for the great invention! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/)

Where are the real Democrats? They need to be doing more work now.. Blow the “Plamegate” out into the next “Watergate” or even bigger! They don’t need the Hillary Clintons defending the Democratic fortress anymore. Bring back the Howard Deans and the Al Gores!

Posted in Humor - General

Potluck with Pumpkin Pies

Here comes another blog dedicated to food! Makes you wonder if all I do is just eat, eat and may be “bark up the wrong tree”, right? Part of my Monday morning normally goes in weekend memory assimilation and whatever fun stuff I do during weekends, they all end up with a fun meal. So this shouldn’t really make you wonder anymore.

The weekend was a grim reminder of what is ahead of us, the Michiganders, this coming winter. Temperatures were in the 40s for most of the day Saturday and Sunday.

Friday – Our drive to an apple farm for a Halloween get together was exciting because Nakul had hay-loads of fun even though it was bitterly cold. He was so amused with painting his pumpkins that if not for an allergy that Kameshwari contacted thanks to the “haywire” atmosphere, we would have stayed there longer. Nevertheless, the thought of making pumpkin pies for our following day’s potluck affair stimulated me enough to get into the car and drive back home with sprinkles from my candy apple generously sprinkling all over my seat as I kept eating (and driving) till I was left with just the stick. Two fresh pumpkins are a lot of work to peel, puree and to do the rest for your pie filling. I was tired when both the baking trays in my oven looked “done” finally at 1:30 AM.

We decorated our house (decorated here means the opposite) for Halloween – hoping that the guests that evening would get booed even before they entered and may just leave. But…

When all of us settled down in our cozy family room munching on the delicate Brussel-sprout walnut appetizer, we were making plans to visit a haunted house that night. A couple of hours and my-only-party-prank-fiasco later, when supper was ready to be consumed, all of us opened our serving pots and laid them on the dining table. And then, we knew the menu for the evening.

A friend asked, “So what does potluck mean?”..

Complete silence.

“May be this would be the topic for my next blog”..

“Ha..Ha…”

As the conversation drifted, I was determined to take upon that as a private investigation. We went on with our business for the rest of the evening. A haunted house trip where we paid to get scared, demanded us that we wait long outside in the cold. The natural outcome was that we had thoroughly numbed all of our sensory cells (almost everywhere). So at Midnight when they were all ready to call it a night, I served all my friends a slice of the pumpkin pie. They said they liked it. Well..The numbing did help after all.

Private Investigation Findings:

Potluck originated several hundred years ago – According to some sources, its first recorded use in print was in the 16th century. One account of its origin, perhaps a bit more colorful than factual, says that peasants of that time, since they received no appreciable wages and had no local grocery store at which they could do their shopping, depended mostly on whatever bits of meat they could scrape together or their lord felt like giving them. When there was enough meat in the pot, they would make a stew. It was never exactly the same kind of stew twice, because on different days, different things had the “luck” of falling into the pot.

In modern times, if you have guests showing up unexpectedly at your home, you can serve them “potluck” for dinner. They are served whatever happens to be in the pot (or the freezer) that night. And “potluck suppers” are affairs having no planned menu. Each person brings a dish or pot to pass, and with luck a balanced menu falls into place. And if everyone does not bring the same dish, then that is specially considered good luck!!

But our potlucks are normally more planned than any planned event menus!

Not this time though. For the most part, it was an unplanned menu – Looking back, I think we were lucky that night.

Posted in Politics - General

Barking up the wrong (“Right”) tree…

The conspiracy theory that I was siding to in my previous blog was on the reason behind the sudden push of the panic button for the New York City daily commuters on Oct 6 and 7. With his man’s popularity rating slipping and his approval rating sliding, what else could the political genius in Karl Rove come up with other than making an attempt to tap the perceived strength of the President – which is keeping the country safe from terrorists?

I have heard that million times and cannot totally understand why an average American would believe that Bush is the safest bet when it comes to protecting the country. The Rove (or Cheney??) ploy of creating a sense of insecurity and alertness among the public and reminding them once again of the gruesome outcome of a terrorist attack, was quite evidently to make the American people look up to Bush for reassurance once again, hence living up to their reputation of having short memories and giving a big hike to the President’s rating numbers which mean nothing at all to anyone who really cares how the country should be run. I am glad indeed that the Big Apple commuters went on with their everyday life without much ado and the whole thing fizzled out. By no way, I am undermining the possibility of such a threat but how the hell does an Orange threat level threat make me less or more scared than a Yellow threat level? Someone really went on a “logic-shattering ride” before coming up with this color scheme. Now, it makes total sense to me what the conspiracy theorists came up with and it is a political game after all. All of the above is well within the “logical” boundaries of Washington D.C. politics.

So it is not surprising that the well renowned blogger Andrew Sullivan is just one of the many Republicans who are disappointed and angry with President Bush, because as day goes by, it seems like the entire world of American right wing extremists and the conservative fanatics are up in their arms against the nomination of Harriet Miers. Even Ann Coulter (a face I cannot stand in thousand years) is p***** off with Bush. But what bothers me when Andrew Sullivan says that he trusted the man in November 2004 and voted for him but now he regrets and thinks he should have voted for Kerry, is that there is no real remedy for his & many such people’s situation. The entire mid-America and the conservative base which forms more than 50% of the rest of the country had a chance to get rid of this man in 2004 but they did not. Quite ironic that less than 6 months into his second term, when more than half of them who voted for him are already thinking about the choice they made, nothing really can be done within the framework of this so called greatest democracy and its constitution. What matters to the American public and the senseless politicians is that if the President had a physical fling with someone in his office or not. That is disastrous to the country but not the hundreds of things that fall into my category of “I-wish-I-could-list-here-but-I-don’t-have-the-patience”. So an impeachment is out of the question and we have more than 75% of his second term still left. God Bless America.

This is turning into a blog version of “Real Time” but I just hope better sense prevails – Katrina or not, Iraq war or not, Tom Delay’s indictment or not, William Bennett’s arrogant half-thought comments which when taken out of context sound more racist & cruel than anything you have ever heard before or not, Karl Rove or not… (Gosh I didn’t realize I could go on and on with this list!!)

Talking about Iraq, there was only one thing that was on CNN Live this morning. Saddam Hussein’s trial – Nothing happened today in the trial. Really! Nothing at all. The judge just recorded all the names of the accused and those who are representing them. That was it. The News channels sensationalized this non-event as the biggest thing that is happening on the planet today naturally oblivious to the 99% of the rest of the world which did have some real events to report on. Well that’s American media.

Again I go off barking at a tree which I know will not respond or change. Albeit, Once in a while, I think it is good for my system if I do that. Bow..Wow!!!

Posted in Music - General

Café Carnatic

Steve Jobs has been a great source of inspiration for anyone who wants to invent cool products and to introduce them in style. But I think he stands out from the rest of the crowd because he heads Apple and they are the best when it comes to home computers and the related. I own a G4 and have had it for five years now. Because of the prohibitive cost, my every night’s dream of getting a new G5 has not materialized till today even though my G4 has gone through quite a bit of an upgrade, the most recent one being an uplift in its internal hard disk storage capacity. Well. I got to admit I still love working on it even though the old G4 processor is not fast enough to handle all the loaded applications on Jaguar. I can’t complain yet as I still use it without much pain for my music production as well as the occasional DVD making. So, when all the newspapers were ripe on their speculations as to why Jobs had called for a press conference last week – it was no longer a well-kept secret. The video iPod was released and how cooler can they get!

The weekend was just god-awful busy – landscaping work, fall bulb planting and more cleaning work kept the clock ticking and my Saturday relaxation came in the form of Half-Blood prince. I wish I have the time to analyze this woman’s creative brain and her narrative style. If you think the Harry Potter books are for kids and young adults, then I don’t mind being called one because I am a very big fan. I think there is much more than the fantasy her books are woven around. I can get back to Harry in another blog.

Sunday was sort of a creatively productive day when the idea I was toying with the last couple of weeks materialized just in less than an hour when I brought Nakul to my studio and started recording his babbling. That was inspiring enough to give some shape to a lounge music piece that I wanted to compose. I spent a couple of hours late in the evening, mixing and mastering it. So Nakul has a recorded song under his belt now. Don’t know if I am completely satisfied with it or not..but like most of my other pieces, the longer I sit on an idea, more the chances are of me dropping the idea all together. At least I have a completed song now and I named it “Café Carnatic”.

If you believe in Conspiracy theories, then what do you think can the conspiracy theorists come up with for the Oct 6/7 panic in New York subway system? Give your political brains some twitch and I will tell you why I am on their side.

Posted in Miscellaneous

Garba and Quake

If you can squeeze one thousand odd people in a University indoor auditorium that is probably meant for half that size, throw some galleries for folks who want to sit & watch the proceedings, place an awful sound system in the center of the “non-acoustic hall”, bring some loud percussionists who swear by the force of their thumping rather than the rhythmic grace and make the thousand odd colorfully clad men & women dance in circles – what do you get?

That’s Garba for you in the greater Detroit area. Being my first attempt, I thought I enjoyed the dancing part of it and the company I was with, notwithstanding the above mentioned negatives – if you will. I have to admit that Dandiya is not something you can pick on the fly. I mean, you could learn the basic steps and go with it if you have a good rhythm sense but to improvise and to do some goofy stuff, not only do you need some practice (this is not necessarily dancing but more of hand and leg co-ordination with sticks in your hands), but you also need good partners. The most striking thing being there that night was how you got an opportunity to witness the “culture” that is being kept alive. I think we owe this to our future generations whether you like it or not – I guess Garba and Dandiya are part of the Gujarati culture and there can be no two thoughts about why the future generations should have something to identify themselves with, even if they hate it.

The Earthquake in the Kashmir area was naturally devastating & mentally disturbing news. There is nothing that humans can do to answer such nature’s ferocious calls. But at least we can be better prepared – property damages are inevitable in such calamities but damages to human lives can certainly be minimized. Even though the Pakistani government wants to put the death toll way up there (over 40,000 as of Oct 12), I believe the official figures are more in the 20,000 range. Musharaff is trying to win a great political mile out of this and it is very evident from the way he is doing the “Rudy Giuliani” in front of the international media. The Indian government on the other hand is trying to handle the situation in a more matured way – “yes..we know we have done this before..don’t need any help..will take care of ourselves..etc.” Given that the entire world’s attention is on Pakistan now. Not that it is bad – but come on! There were people dead on this side of the border too! Probably the Indian media itself hasn’t gotten its ropes around the ducts yet because they seem to be focusing less on the Indian Kashmir.
When I read about rescued/surviving children dying in cold without proper shelter and protection that to me is the real evidence of how much of a mismanaged structure we have in our administrative bodies in the Indian sub-continent.

Beyond all these, sometimes it is just hard for me to digest human suffering in any form anywhere.

Signing off with these famous Lennon words:

“Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people sharing the entire world…”

Posted in Miscellaneous

Falling Temperatures

Was 80 degree something yesterday and it was 50 degree something this morning. But the wind chill in Chicago was more like 40 degree something this morning. Anyways, this is Fall, I am in the midwest and I have no right to complain. Or do I?

Listened to this puzzle in the NPR car talk show a couple of weeks ago – I just remembered it as I was writing about temperatures.

“John drives to work on a nice fall morning. He sees a temperature billboard on his way to work, checks the temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius and thinks to himself – that’s not bad for a fall day morning. When he drives back home that evening, the temperature had dropped considerably as he could feel the chill in the air. He drives past the same billboard again – the Fahrenheit reading had dropped 36 degrees (from his morning reading) but the Celsius scale still shows the same temperature. After some calculations he figures out that there is probably a small glitch on the board but the temperatures are right.”

What are the temperatures? Give it a shot and post your responses in the comments section.

The first week in October has been quiet – but this weekend is a special one. Our 5th anniversary and we have an opportunity to dance through the night – Garba weekend. More on that soon.