Archive for the ‘Weekly 2 cents’ Category

Weekly retrospectives and my two cents! [Feb 14 – Feb 20]

February 22, 2010

[Series which captures my thoughts/2 cents on the weekly take on the list of events/news/observations with some satire thrown in. Previous week’s retrospectives can be found here. Look forward to hearing your feedback.]

Sunday, February 14’th –

  • Politicians may not like this new research finding – Next time politicians feel good when they see their fan-following, it may not be that much because of their charisma. Whether individual’s are politically a Left’ist or a Right’ist; a Conservative or a Liberal; Democrat or a Republic; Congress or BJP sider – the new research from University of Nebraska-Lincoln says that it might have less to do with which party has the best agenda but more to do with the wiring of the individual’s brain.
  • Way to go.. Barbie!!! – And Information Technology (IT) people would soon have something to feel good and cheer about. After appearing in more than 125 career lines – Barbie is now donning the role of Computer Engineer. Her costume and accessories (which includes a t-shirt with binary codes, laptop, smartphone, bluetooth, etc.) has been specially designed by Society of Women Engineers and the National Academy of Engineering.

Monday, February 15’th –

  • Even Waste Management Inc. could not handle this particular trashWaste Management Inc. – leading provider of comprehensive trash and waste management services –  is seeking $500M as damages from SAP for failing to implement the ERP project for them. Waste Management is claiming that the software which SAP had implemented was the worst form of ‘waste‘ they had ever seen in all their years of existence and the entire collective brain power in the organization could not come up with ideas to how to ‘manage’ such a ‘waste’!
  • Mathematically proven – “Enemy’s enemy is my friend” – Well, we all had heard about this enemy’s enemy hypothesis; probably believed in it; and some of us may have experimented with it too. But now Steven Strogatz, Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University has mathematically proven it in his article “The Enemy of my enemy” published in New York Times. Turns out that the proof was pretty simple. (-1) x (-1) = (+1)

Tuesday, February 16’th –

  • Let us give finger-pointing a break, Mr. Advani! – Mr. L. K. Advani in his recent blog post blamed ex-Prime Minster Jawaharlal Nehru for the existing challenges which India is having with its neighbors – Pakistan and China. Breaking news, Mr. Advani, it has been more than 45 years since Mr. Nehru passed away!. Does Mr. Advani know what and all has happened in these 45 years – German wall came down, Soviets disappeared, EU was formed, BJP grew and shrunk, Indian Test Cricket team is Numero Uno, and Michael Jackson is no more. In short, it has been a life-time! Like all other departed ones, let Nehru – with all his wisdom and blunders – rest in peace. Along the same lines – IMO, it would be extremely unfortunate and too simplistic view if 50 years from today we solely blame Mr. Advani for being the chief architect for the communal divide in the country which could possibly be prevalent at that time. Now you wouldn’t disagree with me on this point, would you, Mr. Advani?

Wednesday, February 17’th –

  • Formula to get mileage of 4,704,280 per gallon – National Public Radio (NPR) carried a funny yet interesting article today comparing who gives the better mileage – the cars or the bees? Needless to say, the story titled “Bee Vs. Car: Who Gets More Miles per Gallon” is a simplification of many unconsidered assumptions. However, imagine if this could even be about 10-15% true – my guess is that the way the politicians would not have liked the above mentioned research; big oil companies won’t be too happy with this finding too.
  • Can we express our pain through humor? – In theory the answer for this is always yes; but we rarely get an opportunity to see or sense that. Well, this week I got an opportunity to sense/feel that. Yesterday, Fresh Air from NPR carried the book excerpt from recently published Carol Leifer book – “When You Lie About Your Age, The Terrorists Win: Reflections on Looking in the Mirror“. Carol Leifer is a renowned stand-up comedian and all Seinfeld fans (like me) would remember her for some famous episodes which scripted – The Lip Reader, The Hamptons being some of the famous ones. Carol, in the way she could do the best, have written a funny yet heart-breaking eulogy for her father who recently seems to have passed away. Here is the excerpt –

“Every year, I sent my father the same thing, his favorite gift for his birthday. A box of Godiva chocolate-covered nuts. Big emphasis on the nuts. Because, as he was not shy of saying as he unwrapped the cellophane to grab the first piece, “Creams? They’re a waste of time.” But this year is the first year I have no place to send anything. See, that’s the thing that truly sucks about death — no forwarding address!”

Friday, February 19’th –

  • Re-branding of Global Warming –  Thomas Friedman – who in the recent months have become quite vocal supporter of the Global Warming control initiatives – wrote a very interesting op-ed column in NY Times titled “Global Weirding is Here“. In the recent months, the skeptics (and there is a huge population of them, BTW) of Global Warming have been toning up their resistance taking advantage of some screw-ups from some Environmentalists and also particularly cold/snowy weather across many parts of the world. Taking a clue from Mr. Friedman – here is my 2 cents. How about re-branding GW i.e. Global Warming to another GW i.e. Global Wierding? All we have to say that the recent revelations have proved that Global Warming is no longer a possible phenomenon but slowly leak out the news that Scientists have now started to see the Global Weirding phenomenon.

Thats a wrap for this week. I will be back next week with another one in this series. Until then, have a great week ahead. In the meanwhile – don’t forget to check out the previous editions of the weekly retrospectives.

Weekly retrospectives and my two cents! [Feb 7 – Feb 13]

February 15, 2010

[Series which captures my thoughts/2 cents on the weekly take on the list of events/news/observations with some satire thrown in. Previous week’s retrospectives can be found here. Look forward to hearing your feedback.]

Sunday, February 7’th –

  • Counseling or Coaching for Sarah Palin? – With increasing number of appearances of Sarah Palin in the recent days, New York Times reported about how she seems to be increasing maneuvering herself to a potentially public office role in the coming future. It said and I quote “Ms. Palin has also enlisted a small team of policy counselors to guide her through the substantive areas in which many deemed her to be lacking in 2008.” Now, don’t you think there are few things which are odd in this statement? If things were my way – I would have made the following changes to the same statement. It should have read – “Ms. Palin has also enlisted a small huge team of policy counselors tutors to guide teach her through the substantive all areas in which many all deemed her to be lacking in 2008″.
  • Heinz Ketchup and the Backless gown – Two very important things seem to have gotten redesigned this week. First the ketchup sachet which was last designed about 40 years back got a new look with Heinz Ketchup’s Dip & Squeeze packet. Second – the good-old backless hospital gown seem to have gotten a makeover from world’s top designer. Someone did say – ” One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”.

Monday, February 8’th –

  • If you ever wanted to disappear for a while… – Universal Pictures is offering $10000 to contestants who can completely disappear for a month. According to them only one person has been somewhat successful in doing so and that too only for 25 days – a writer by the name of Evan Ratliff. Universal Pictures also mentioned that in the recent months they received applications from people like Tiger Woods, NBC Executives, but unfortunately they could not accommodate them.

Wednesday, February 10’th –

  • What is common between Toyota and Tiger Woods? – Why Toyota probably would never be the same again. Because its brand was modeled around ‘state of mind around perfection and trust’  but unfortunately it did not have the preparedness to handle doubt, dismay or the obliteration of trust. Remember someone by the name of Tiger Woods?
  • Airline Industry’s growing hospitality – American Airlines yesterday made an announcement that they would now start charging $8 for a blanket and the pillow. This after they had already started charging extra for luggage, water, peanuts, being over-weight, and a list of other things. Marketplace carried a funny article today wondering what else can airlines charge for. Here is one I can imagine which can come up next – charging for the use of safety belt.

Thursday, February 11’th –

  • R.I.P. – Former US Representative from Texas, Charlie Wilson who inspired the 2007 Tom Hanks starer – Charlie Wilson’s War – passed away today. He was largely credited for inspiring and backing the Afghan Mujaheddin in their battle to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan. He was equivalently vocal about America’s misgivings in Afghanistan post the Russian pullout which finally resulted in the birth of what is today the modern-day Talibans.

Friday, February 12’th –

Saturday, February 13’th –

  • Coming Soon – Mumbai does not belong to Maharashtra Campaign – Looking at the past history of flip-flopping/opportunism from Shiv Sena and the way Mumbai has responded to their hooliganism yesterday – I wouldn’t be too surprised if Sena decides to move out of Mumbai and now start a new agitation demanding that Mumbai should no longer be part of Maharashtra.
  • Shiv Sena’s 40 year Report Card – And while we are at the topic of Shiv Sena – you may want to have a look and evaluate their progress chart over the last 40 years –
Shiv Sena Progress Chart

Shiv Sena Progress Chart - Gradual climb and a steep fall

Thats a wrap for this week. I will be back next week with another one in this series. Until then, have a great week ahead. In the meanwhile – don’t forget to check out the previous editions of the weekly retrospectives.

Weekly retrospectives and my two cents! [Jan 31 – Feb 6]

February 8, 2010

[Series which captures my thoughts/2 cents on the weekly take on the list of events/news/observations with some satire thrown in. Previous week’s retrospectives can be found here. Look forward to hearing your feedback.]

Sunday, January 31’st –

Monday, February 1’st –

  • Double Giveaways from US – The popular panda – Tai Shan – from the Washington DC National Zoo (I had the pleasure of seeing him in his early years) was shipped to China by US. Incidentally, US also shipped arms to Taiwan this week too.

Tuesday, February 2’nd –

  • Coming of age for Mr. R. R. Patil – Sometimes we do have to give credit to the politicians where it is deserved. For example – following the incident in Mumbai where the girl drove under the influence of alcohol and killed two people, the Hon’able Home Minister of Maharashtra – Mr. R. R. Patil needs to be complimented for not saying “these things happen!”. See he has come a long way and matured since his Mumbai 26/11 goof-up. He also announced that there would be a 2000% increase in drunk driving fine. When asked as to how did he come up with the number 2000  and why not less or why not more – a confused Mr. Patil immediately asked his secretary – “why didn’t you tell me that a number more than 2000 existed?“.
  • US Deficit / Dalai Lama / Vaccine Development vs. Aishwarya/Salman – Lots of important things which are happening and being discussed in the world today. For example – the growing US deficit and its impact on the entire world for decades to come; China getting upset over upcoming Dalai Lama visit to US; Bill and Melinda Gates making $10 billion pledge for vaccine development; and ofcourse last but not the least Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai having smiled at Bollywood actor Salman Khan (video link).

Wednesday, February 3’rd –

  • Should you be serving hot tea or iced tea to your guests? – Should that be the host’s choice or the guest’s choice? Well if I understood the article published by Natalie Angier in New York Times today titled “Abstract Thoughts – The Body takes them Literally” the answer is – well, it depends! If you as the host are keen in having your guest/s having a warm and favorable opinion about you – then better serve them a hot drink. Else leave the choice to the host.
  • Animals as Protagonists in Action Movies – This week I owe the old Bollywood movie directors an apology! Now that I have grown up – my grudge against them was that time-and-again they fed me movies based on old folk-lore where animals like snakes, etc. were the main protagonist keen on taking revenge on human beings (assuming that these human beings had done something bad to them). This week – however – researchers from University de Toulouse, France came out with a study proving that bees can recognize faces. So if they can recognize faces, then the guess is that they can interact with human beings, and if they can interact then movies can be made out of them. I do understand that snakes are no bees – but then the USP of Bollywood has also been about stretching an imagination.

Thursday, February 4’th –

  • Chauvinistic Barking – How often do we pay attention or step out of the house to check when a dog barks on the street? Then why are we paying so much attention to all the chauvinistic barking which is currently going on in Mumbai? My apologies for the insensitive comment. I have the deepest amount of respect for the canine family.

Friday, February 5’th –

  • Thackeray knows his history quite well – We certainly need to give credit to the old man Bal Thackeray as he is raising the bar in his attacks on the Gandhi family – both literally and figuratively. He started with Rahul Gandhi, then his mother and then went after his grand-mother – Indira Gandhi. Then he attacked his great-grandfather – ex. Prime Minister Nehru. Today he attacked Rahul’s great-great-grandfather – Motilal Nehru. Now does anyone know the name of Motilal Nehru’s father? Bal Thackerey is asking for it for his forth-coming attack.
  • Who is hiring in Corporate Messaging/Media Relationships area? – Where can one find the best jobs in Corporate Messaging and Media Relationships? My answer is that this week they are all in Toyota.

Thats a wrap for this week. I will be back next week with another one in this series. Until then, have a great week ahead. In the meanwhile – don’t forget to check out the previous editions of the weekly retrospectives.

Weekly retrospectives and my two cents! [Jan 24 – Jan 30]

February 1, 2010

[Series which captures my thoughts/2 cents on the weekly take on the list of events/news/observations with some satire thrown in. Previous week’s retrospectives can be found here. Look forward to hearing your feedback.]

Sunday, January 24’th –

  • Bad roads are safe – What happened in Haiti last week was heartbreaking. One simply cannot quantify or measure the human tragedy. However, without losing the sensitivity behind that – this week US Army Engineers brought the good news – Haiti’s bad roads were not damaged by the quake (src – Washington Post). Two cents worth to cheer about!

Monday, January 25’th –

Tuesday, January 26’th –

  • Corporates or Cartels? – Now that the Hon’able Home Minister of India, P. C. Chidambaram has spoken on the IPL mess last week, I also feel safe to express my opinion about it. With the whole issue around the non-selection of the Pakistani cricket players in IPL beginning to stink, Lalit Modi came forward to clarify few things. He said there was no conspiracy in the non-selection of the Pakistani players. It was the collective IPL cartel decision!
  • Young or Old – And India celebrated its 60’th anniversary of being a Republic country today. And immediately the debate of “60 years young” or “60 years old” was kicked off by many so-called intellectuals in the media! Some of these intellectuals came from Lalkrishna Advani generation and the remaining came from Rakhi Sawant generation!

Wednesday, January 27’th –

  • This is what happens when you snore through your history classes – After Sachin Tendulkar’s comments about a month back that Bombay or Mumbai belonged to India, today his IPL employer Mukesh Ambani made a comment on the same line. I am guessing that as a similar reaction to Sachin’s comment, another so-called Tiger is going to roar (or purr – whatever!) in the next few days trying to ask Mukesh Ambani to manage his own business. And the debate will continue as whether Mumbai belongs to India, Portuguese, or simply Maharashtra. Here is my 2 cents about this whole thing. IMO, the perpetrators of this debate know that the opposite party do not have any perspective to disagree with them. How many of us have read through the history of Mumbai? How many of us appreciate the interesting journey which the city of Mumbai has taken in the last 3000 years before the newly created state of Maharashtra in 1960 had an independent state of Bombay merge with them? But then again as I said before – we did snore through our history classes.

Thursday, January 28’th –

  • Valentine’s Day, Hamburgers, and the ‘steamy’ celebrations – New York Times carried an article today talking about what various businesses are doing to attract customers on the upcoming Valentine’s Day. While looking through the various offers which businesses were planning to roll out to attract customers for their special day – the offer from White Castle (a fast food burger shop primarily based in US) caught my eye. I have to confess here first that I personally do not have the right insights as to how to best celebrate Valentine’s Day. However, I am not able to imagine going with the Valentine to have a combo meal for two of 10 ‘heart attack‘ hamburgers, two orders of French fries and two 21-ounce sodas and then promising an eternity of love for each other. White Castle is also claiming that this offer is going to make Valentine’s Day steamy! Once again, I am just reconfirming that I really do not understand Valentine’s Day that well!

Friday, January 29’th –

  • Thank you Mr. Osama Bin Laden – Felt very enlightened today after hearing Mr. Osama Bin Laden’s thoughts on climate change. I am now also looking forward to Mr. Laden enlightening us on cancer research, same sex marriage, extra-terrestrial life, Facebook, etc. etc.
  • And someone did purr – And as I had predicted above – the ‘old’ tiger did purr!

Saturday, January 30’th –

  • Modi‘ism – Quote from Pradeep Magazine in Hindustan Times – “Lalit Modi – Amar Singh of Indian Cricket” (link to article). Damn, the man stole my line!
  • Parsing a Sorry – Next time someone apologizes to you or if you hear someone apologizing – this article by Alina Tugend in New York Times today – “An Attempt to Revive the Lost Art of Apology” – can certainly act as a cheat sheet to analyze whether they really meant it. With the way apologies and sorry which tends to flow out so easily nowadays – knowing the science behind apologies can be a handy thing.
  • Tony Blair’s resume is ready – I thought I would get an opportunity to use the above theory if Mr. Tony Blair were to apologize for unilaterally invading Iraq in his testimony yesterday. But Blair said that he is not sorry for invading Iraq and added that he would do it again. He also added that his experience in invading Iraq would be very valuable if West decides to invade Iran.

Thats a wrap for this week. I will be back next week with another one in this series. Until then, have a great week ahead. In the meanwhile – don’t forget to check out the previous editions of the weekly retrospectives.

Weekly retrospectives and my two cents! [Jan 17 – Jan 23]

January 24, 2010

[As promised in my new year blog, I was keen in starting up a series which captures my thoughts/2 cents on the weekly take on the list of events/news/observations with some satire thrown in. Here is the first in that series. Look forward to hearing your feedback.]

Sunday, January 17’th –

  • Birthday – Mom’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Aai!
  • Jyoti Basu – End of an era for the Left-Communist purist! Not many left in the world (other than Fidel Castro, I think) and they don’t make any more of these (phew!). So long, Jyoti Basu! You were one of the kind!

Monday, January 18’th –

  • The Next Recession? – I thought we were still to recover from the global recession which was at its peak last year; there is already a talk about the next one. New York Times editorial today talks about more to come after the Dubai fiasco. Greece, Ireland, Mexico also seem to be suffering from a similar flu. I wonder if it has got to do something with Amar Singh. Well, he has invested in housing property in Dubai. Has he invested in the above countries too?
  • Talking while WalkingIdea Cellular‘s recent “Walk When You Talk” campaign may no longer be slotted in the “What an idea, Sirji” category. Ohio State University’s recent study has found that in 2008 more than 1000 pedestrians visited emergency room because they got distracted and tripped, fell or ran into something while using the cell phone to talk or text. This was double the number in 2007 which itself had doubled from the numbers in 2006. While this study came out – Adam Gazzaley – a neurologist at University of California, San Fransisco has also found in a study that animals never walk into a pole!
  • e-Cigarettes – Looks like I had missed out on this one. e-Cigarettes! Electronic Cigarettes. Yup, this is what the electronic gizmo freaks were missing out in their storage shelves. These e-Cigarettes are some kind of plastic tubes, shaped like cigarettes, have a heating element to vaporize a refillable liquid nicotine mixture. How cool! Wait, this gets better! They have electronics to monitor air flow so that when a user inhales, the device delivers a vapor with a taste and feel that the manufacturers say simulates cigarette smoke. Pretty cool! And it comes with free shipping too! Can someone please update me on what is the latest progress on Cancer Research?
  • Relationships and Global Warming – For those who are continuously thinking and concerned about external factors which could potentially affect their marriage and/or relationships – here is one more thing to worry about. Clean Tech! New York Times today carries an article on how Therapists have started reporting increase in Green Disputes.
  • And Sachin Tendulkar continues to keep getting younger! He scored his number 44’th in Test Cricket today.

Tuesday, January 19’th –

  • NBC, Leno, O’Brien, et. all – I am sorry but I am not able to get a grasp on the squabble at NBC between the NBC Executives, Leno, and O’Brien. Here is the way I see it – first the NBC Executives moved Leno from his ratings peak at the Late Night Tonight Show to a different time which directly was in competition with the local news hour time with regional channels. These Executives said that this was a long term view of Tonight show. Leno represented the past and O’Brien was the future. Their future view suddenly got limited to 6 months before O’Brien could realistically get a chance to prove himself. Ratings dipped and regional TV channels complained. Now suddenly Leno is back as their future, O’Brien is being shown the door, and NBC is getting poorer by few measly billion dollars. What am I missing here? Just one thing, I think – is NBC (or their new buyer Comcast) dolling out bonuses this year?
  • Up – Pleased to hear that “Up” – a stirring and heartfelt animation movie from Pixar with an old man as the main protagonist along with a 8 year old kid going on a long-held adventure trip – was awarded the Golden Globe yesterday.  I had watched the movie 10000 feet above the land in a bumpy plane ride and hence got the practical experience behind it too. Not too sure if the in-flight entertainment on that particular flight was sponsored by Pixar.

Wednesday, January 20’th –

  • Political Inclinations and Professions – “Why are Professors Liberal?” – An interesting working paper report published out on 15’th by Professor Neil Gross and Ph. D. candidate Ethan Fosse at Department of Sociology at University of British Columbia. Talks about why Professors in general tend to be more Liberal in their thinking as compared to being Conservative in their beliefs. While it has taken Professors as the case point – IMO, the same hypothesis probably also stands for many other professions out there. Ever wondered why Jerry Springer is a Democrat?
  • Senate Loss at MassachusettsOuuch! this should have hurt the Democrats and President Barack Obama. Senate loss in the bluest possible state of Massachusetts! Come on! Even the life-long but life-less Massachustetts Senator John Kerry won the state of Massachusetts when he ran for President.
  • Life can be sarcastic and charming at the same time – This is very, very interesting! There were atleast about 165 people who survived the atomic blast in Hiroshima only to land up in Nagasaki when another bomb fell three days later (srcNew York Times article). And they still survived! Sorry, I do not think I can have any sarcasm on this particular one! The real sarcasm and/or charm is from life itself.

Thursday, January 21’th –

  • ‘Sachin’ and ‘Warne’ as verbs – Yesterday only I thinking about touching base with the mechanic to see if his estimates would be in the ballpark of my budget. And no, I am not a baseball fan! Confused? Read the interesting article which appeared at Cricinfo today – “Sachin, Warne and other such verbs” written by Sue de Groot. While sports terminology being used in regular talks have been a norm for a long time – use of names seems to be the modern thing. I think next time when I have say – “Let us not screw up the project”, I might just say – “Let us not Lalit Modi the project”.
  • Environment and those pesky marketeers – You know as a person who strongly believes that our Environment/Earth is under tremendous strain, I am personally not that upset with the recent exaggeration of Al Gore at the Copehagen Environment summit (about artic being ice-free in summers in 5 – 7 years) and now his Nobel Prize colleague Rajendra Pachauri’s recent botch-up about all Himalayan glaciers disappearing by 2035. IMO they got carried away while marketing a concept or an agenda. An important element of a marketeer’s job is to exaggerate. Come on! You don’t believe this? Ever heard of Cloud Computing?

Friday, January 22’th –

  • Joy’ism Bill Joy (co-founder of Sun Microsystems) had once said “that there are always smart people outside the organization than within” and I would like to add to that “till the time you get those smart people into your organization“.

Thats a wrap for this week. I will be back next week with another one in this series. Until then, have a great week ahead.