Friday, September 30, 2005

US and India brave Hurricane Rita Together

When my nephew Vic answered a call from two
lady friends running out of gas on the evacuation
route, I thought of how miserable they must have
felt to be moving forward at six inches an hour.
They were calling him from hundreds of miles away to
ask where they could find a gas station near them.
I suggested an online Map search and after some
Googling they had their answer. Little did we know that
in the meantime....

From an article in the
Hindustan Times :
'From half a world away, Indian operators provided
valuable tips on evacuation: the getaway routes that
Texans should take, places where they can find food,
gasoline, shelter etc. And the operators stayed extra
hours as they "felt the pain" of those running for cover

....No complaints this time round of India's "snatching
of jobs" or the incomprehensible "thick Indian accent"
— a factor that not long ago prompted Dell Computers
to shift a good chunk of its customer support base from India.'
Link to a good article.

Human Waste Matters

The Lav Nav

Here is an interesting bit of technology that makes me want to
skip to my Loo, even in the dark. The description, as seen at

'Introducing a solution for a common day problem. It's called the Lav Nav.
Short for Lavatory Navagator.

How this device works is very simple. When you approach it in the dark the
light turns on thanks to its sophisticated sensor. Makes the toilet a lot safer
and easier to see at night without irritating your partner. Bathroom lights can
be painfully bright in the middle of the night. So why switch them on?

Guys, is the girl in your life always complaining that she has to go paddling
after you're been to the loo in the middle of the night? Does she moan when
she falls into the toilet because you left the seat up during the evening?'
If you have to go now, go here

World toilet summit lifts lid on public hygiene
Delegates to the annual World Toilet Summit in Northern Ireland's capital Belfast could be forgiven for feeling flushed this week after sitting down for a three-day debate on the finer points of public sanitation.
Some 350 experts at the summit, which ended Thursday, discussed such
pressing subjects as anti-social behavior in rest-rooms, portable toilets,
and facilities for the blind.

"A lot was achieved, including the finalization of a protocol setting out
global standards for the provision and hygiene of public toilets,"
Raymond Martin, director of the Irish Toilet Association, told Reuters.
If you liked this crappy story, read more here

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Indians inspired by idle American

"American Idol' Judge Paula Abdul
to be Honored at Bollywood Awards

The admiration, which millions of Indian music, movie and entertainment
lovers all over the world have for Paula Abdul, has resulted in
"America's Sweetheart" of the hugely popular "American Idol" show to
receive an award at the Bollywood Movie Awards.
The Bollywood Movie Awards, are set to take place
on Saturday, April 30th at the "Mark G. Etess" Arena at the Trump Taj Mahal
Casino, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The 2005 Awards ceremony will be a
gala event of international stature, which like the Oscar Awards, will honor the
outstanding achievements of Indian moviemakers and artists during the prior
year. Over the years, Paula Abdul's talent and creativity have provided
much inspiration to her Indian counterparts.
Read on and enjoy. You know who you are.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

World-class luxury on wheels now in Pune

Uma Karve Chakranarayan writes in :
Pune, September 28: South Africa has the famous Blue Train
and Europe has the Orient Express. So far India has boasted
of the famous Palace on Wheels. But that could change, when,
for the second year, the Deccan Odyssey sets to thunder
through Maharashtra and Goa.

The 96-seater train has all it takes to make it happen. A spa,
two fine dining restaurants, masseurs, a beauty parlour,
a conference room are among the many facilities that suggest
enormous comfort. Besides, to enrich the truly Indian experience,
travellers will be served ethnic cuisine — Maharashtrian, Malwani,
Konkani, Goan — depending on the place they are passing through.
However, Continental and Italian cuisine, too, is on offer on board.

Tickets for the luxury train are steep — just below 500 dollars a night
for foreigners and Rs 15,000 for Indians. Bhushan Gagrani, MD,
MTDC, explains, “Most of our passengers are from Spain, Germany,
Italy and France. So far, for this season that begins on October 5, we
have not had a single Indian booking.” But since the target is foreign
travellers, that doesn’t seem to matter as much.
Read more about the Deccan Odyssey here.

Outsourcing Inconvenience

My nephew was forced to evacuate from Houston during the Rita threat
and his boss at Time-Warner cable kept asking him to get back soon,  as
customers were demanding refunds and free cable TV due to poor service.
Like many of his co-workers, he wasn't keen on getting back to face the
customers' gripes and ire. Yes, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita wreaked
havoc and caused inconvenience in the USA. Now, the Times of India
reports that the staffing shortage resulted in tons of overtime for India's
call center workers :
Raging Rita keeps Bangalore busy

BANGALORE: Hurricane sisters, Katrina and Rita, have brought in
some additional work for call centre agents in Bangalore.

For instance, some agents have to attend to 100 to 120 calls a day,
against 35-40 calls otherwise.

Florida, which alone employs around 50,000 contact centre agents,
became the worst hurricane-hit city, while an equal number of agents
are working in Louisiana, Texas, Houston, New Orleans and
Mississippi put together.

The hurricane effect made many call centres to divert work to internal
locations like Colarado and other destinations like the Philippines,
Ireland, Mexico, Brazil, and India with Bangalore, Noida and Gurgaon
taking the bulk of the traffic.

A project manager at a Noida-based BPO said: "We have received
some amount of work from Florida and Lousiana, so we have to ask
some of our employees to work multi-shifts." Many companies in
Bangalore too have done similar arrangements.
Rest of the article here

Monday, September 26, 2005

Hurricane Rita - the misadventure ends

Many of you have been anxious to know how I fared as I was
under a mandatory evacuation order. Well, since I'm not typing
this from Heaven or Hell, you are right in assuming that reports
of my impending death have been greatly exaggerated (mostly
by the morbid stuff I've been posting online).

The continuous news coverage, especially by CNN has put
all of my friends worldwide on the same page, except as to my
actual treatment by Rita.

So here are the facts :
I decided to take up my sister's offer to get the hell out of Dodge
a.k.a. Houston, with her family early on in the situation and so
avoided the largest mandatory evacuation and traffic tie-up in
American history.

Since there were no hotel rooms available online and calls to
nearby hotels proved fruitless, we found ourselves at a neat little
Best Western in Abilene, Texas. 7 hours NW of Houston, a small
clean, orderly town that is home to Dyess Air Force Base, Abilene
is part historic Frontier town and part contemporary hip college town,
with restaurant chains like the Olive Garden and Golden Corral, plus
a bunch of Italian, Mexican and Southwest Barbecue places.
The first hotel to bear the Hilton name still stands here, only it's under
restoration and goes by the name Windsor.

Rather than get upset by the distressing news reports, we made a
family vacation out of the whole trip once we knew that Rita had passed
through Houston with minimal damage to our own towns and none to our
residences.We spent some quality time together and had plenty of laughs.
When Monday rolled around and we were allowed to return to Houston by
the authorities, it was with a slightly heavy heart, knowing that the trip
home would bring us back to the big-city humdrum, noise, smog and
rat race. Not to mention the eternal prospect of being evacuated again
at the slightest mention of a Hurricane. Nov.30th marks the end of Hurricane
season for us, but only until next year
when the new Hurricane season begins
and we get to relive this nightmare all over again

Next time, I'll try not to be so dramatic and show a little more empathy for
the REAL evacuees, some of who had already been evacuated from Louisiana.
For now, a big Thank You to the friendly folks of Abilene, and a quote
from Jack Kerouac writing in 'On The Road' :
"Imagine living in this town a thousand miles from cities. Whoop, whoop,
whoop, over there by the tracks, old town Abilene where they shipped the
cows and shot it up for gumshoes and drank red-eye. Look out there!' yelled
Dean out the window with his mouth"

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Family - Newlyweds Fined For Kissing After Wedding In India'

You May Now Kiss The Bride (NOT !!)
India may be the land of the Kamasutra, the ancient
treatise on sex, but public displays of affection remain
strictly taboo in the country's hinterlands, as an Israeli
couple found out.

They were fined 500 Indian rupees ($11) each for
embracing and kissing after getting married in a
traditional Hindu ceremony in the northwestern Indian
town Pushkar, the Asian Age newspaper reported
Wednesday, Sept. 22nd.

The link here

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Hurricane Rita - the misadventure begins

6 pm : got a voicemail from the Seabrook P.D. about the impending
mandatory orders for all residents to evacuate starting Thu. morning.
So instead of waiting for the exodus, my sis, her family and myself will
be heading north early tomorrow morning in her minivan. May wind up
in a Huntsville motel if we get lucky, in a shelter if not.

Taking 1 dufflebag with three changes of clothing, toiletries, and 1 book.
And that's all I'll have if I ever get back to Houston and find my car and
apartment dry and still in one piece.

I wasn't planning on leaving, but why be forced out by the cops ?
Phones have already started acting weird. Can't dial out on cell or
landline but this dial-up modem connection is working fine. I'm
typing what may be my last e-mail...for awhile, hopefully.
My cell phone may actually give me e-mail alerts but I hope that doesn't
include Spam.

Stores sold out of water hours ago. Must buy beer ASAP....

Animated Hurricane Rita tracker from


Sept. 20, 2005
Attention :
Federal Aviation Agency
800 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington D.C. 20591

Dear Sirs:

I have the solution for the prevention of hijackings, and at the
same time getting our airline industry back on its feet.

Since men of the Muslim religion are not allowed to look at
naked women, we should replace all of our female flight
attendants with strippers.

Muslims would be afraid to get on the planes for fear of
seeing a naked woman, and of course, every businessman
in this country would start flying again in hopes of seeing a
naked woman.

We wouldn't  have any more hijackings, and the airline industry
would have record sales .

Now why didn't Congress think of this?


Bill Clinton

Monday, September 19, 2005

joad's land turtle

joad's land turtle
I liked this Steinbeck quote on his blog :
"The movement changed them; the highways, the camps along the road,
the fear of hunger and the hunger itself, changed them. The children
without dinner changed them, the endless moving changed them. They
were migrants. And the hostility changed them, welded them, united them."
- John Steinbeck

Hurricane Rita could be my Katrina

Really. Seabrook is a short drive from Galveston. where the
residents have a voluntary evacuation order starting Tues.
morning, which means they'll be going through my
neighborhood in a few hours. Should I join them or should I ride
out the storm ? If you don't hear from me by 2 pm on Saturday,
pray that I made the right decision. Either way, it's been great
knowing you ! And In the meantime, click on the link below for
Houston's evacuation plans :

Current location as of Mon. 19th, 5:45 pm.
Notice the 2 pm Saturday position.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Retro B/W Photos Digitized with superb results

This 1943 B&W photo (digitally enhanced) entitled
"Women workers employed as wipers in the roundhouse
having lunch in their rest room, C. & N.W. R.R., Clinton, Iowa"

is part of the U.S. Library of Congress collection.
and reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting.
It's gems like this that truly make Boing Boing
'a directory of wonderful things'

A few more photos from the time of The Great Depression
through World War II

I can't get over how the poise, grace and dignity these factory workers
display still inspires photographers and artists today. I gigged at a major
retail Dept. store once and the Retro styles of Jeans and other
'hip, inspired' clothing I saw there are all easily found here.

Lucile Mazurek, age 29, ex-housewife, husband going into the service,
working on black-out lamps to be used on the gasoline trailers in the
Air Force, Heil and Co., Milwaukee, Wisc.

A noontime rest for a full-fledged assembly worker at the Long Beach,
Calif., plant of Douglas Aircraft Company

Women are trained to do precise and vital engine installation detail in
Douglas Aircraft Company plants, Long Beach, Calif.

Lunchtime brings a few minutes of rest for these women workers of the
assembly line at Douglas Aircraft Company's plant, Long Beach, Calif.

Another lady on lunch break at Douglas

Compare to Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover May 1943

Food that sounds worse than it tastes

Today I spotted some Spotted Dick in a 300g tin at my local ethnic
store and it cost a little over $5. It was made by Heinz,
the trusted
name in foods for babes of all ages. I may have a
Spotted Dick one of
these days since I never got one before,
to the best of my knowledge.

More good Brit tins at

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Virtual Mothers

Virtual Mothers
Originally uploaded by FredMikeRudy.

Speaking of strippers in the previous post led me to this....

Not Your Mother's Katrina Aftermath Story - 2

This news item gives new meaning to the words 'Relief' money.
Others have found better ways to use the cash....
like buying gold, drugs, and dining in fancy restaurants.

Some Evacuees Spend Relief Money At Strip Clubs

HOUSTON -- On the same day that the Houston Police Department announced
the formation of a task force to find people abusing or scamming the FEMA and
Red Cross debit cards, KPRC Local 2 discovered that some of the money has
been spent at local strip clubs.The cards were given to evacuees from Hurricane
Katrina to help them relocate and start their lives anew after losing everything they
own. There are no rules on how the money should be spent, but most spend it on
the necessities -- food, clothing and shelter.

A manager at Caligula XXI Gentlemen's Club on Westheimer Road told KPRC
Local 2 that he has seen at least one debit card used at his club.

A woman known only as "Abby" is a bartender at Baby Dolls, another adult
entertainment club across the street." A lot of customers have been coming in from
Louisiana and they've been real happy about the $1.75 beers and they're really
nice," she said.

Not Your Mother's Katrina Aftermath Story

"At the shelter, Sharli'e desperately wanted a shower. She says she
talked with a volunteer, explaining what she calls "my situation."


Transgender evacuee survives all obstacles

Vicks remains positive in spite of shelter arrest 


Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

Arpollo Vicks was born male, but in January, the 20-year-old became,
she says, "who I really am." She started living as a woman.

In New Orleans, this was no big deal.

Friends and family began calling her Sharli'e. She says that at
L.B. Landry Middle School, where she worked as a substitute teacher,
kids who had known her as Mr. Vicks simply began calling her Ms. Vicks.
The whole story here

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Bush Gotta Go P...Okay, Condy ?

George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State

Condoleezza Rice asking if it's possible to take a
bathroom break during a Security Council meeting
the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly
the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Puneites cry for Pune

Puneites, who have contributed their valuable intellectual and
professional resources and have hung on to Pune for years all
for the love of the city, now want to bid adieu, thanks to the mega
mess that the city has come to be.
Pune, September 13: WHEN you become a staunch Puneite,
you overcome the barriers of any caste, community or state you
hail from. You just fall in love with the city and surrender your
loyalty to it — perhaps even at the cost of turning away temptations
of greener pastures elsewhere.
Puneites used to proudly state ‘‘Pune tithe kaay une’’ (When it is
Pune, what can be wanting?). No wonder then — defence personnel,
bureaucrats, various professionals and entrepreneurs from all corners
of the country, have made a permanent home in Pune, over several
empress gdn

Check Him Down Under !

Hold your horses! Stallion in stud mix-up
SYDNEY (Reuters) - In a case of mistaken equine identity, one of the
world's top stallions earmarked for stud in Australia was sent from
England to a farm in Ukraine, and a lesser known steed came to
Australia in his place. The thoroughbred ID mix-up lasted six months,
with the unknown stallion booking about A$320,000 (US$250,000)
worth of services for the upcoming breeding season.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bishop’s end 9-yr drought

They were 'Thorough' this time...
Pune, September 12: The Bishop’s School outplayed
hosts Barnes School 1-0 to lift the Maharashtra Anglo-Indian
ICSE Inter-School football tournament for the first time in
nine years at Devlali earlier this week.

Space Shuttle Tribute Bike visits Seabrook

The roar and hum of motorcycles on weekends
gets me out of bed (and away from it till
late at night) since I
live next to the Seabrook Beach Club
which specializes in
Boats, Bikes, Babes, Beer...the B's
go on. This is a local
hotspot situated alongside the water,
but the streetside
entrance/parking lot faces my window
so I'm often treated to
free 'previews' of current attractions.
Last Sunday it was a
souped-up car convention.
In Summer it's Miss Hawaiian
Tropic contests, Mud
Wrestling, Texas Hold'em, etc. I often
have to dig up the
old field glasses (mini-binox) to better
appreciate the '
free previews' ;-)

Well, last Sept. 3rd I heard an unusual hum unlike any bike
I'd heard before, so I looked out of the window and was
lucky enough to see an empty parking lot and a biker
couple cruising around the entrance of the club. Yes, it was
the Orange County Choppers' Space Shuttle Tribute bike !
Another beauty from these upstate NY bike builders regularly
seen on the Discovery channel.
Link to earlier Houston Chronicle coverage

One of these days I'll get a cam and record the view from here.

Hopefully no one in the parking lot will notice me....

Lost in Translation : Spanglish

Mozilla browser's Instant Translation
feature works for Yahoo Espana article...
with hilarious results :
9 of September of 2005, 20h09*

'The traveller undressed, lengthy during a passage'
LONDON (AFP) - the attempt of Stephen Gough, 46 years and
nicknamed by the British as the ' traveller undressed, to cross
Great Britain, was interrupted east Friday by a court of Edimburgo
that decided to send to prison two weeks to him.

This ex- member of the Royal Marine had arrived almost at the end
of its expedition after to have passed the end of Land's End in
Cornualles (Southeastern of England) in the middle of June and had
done more than 1,000 kilometers on foot.

But its passage was affected the 1 of September by a very modest
man. William Lister, of 21 years, alerted to the police after to have
seen Stephen Gough and its companion dressed in a knapsack
and its slippers passage.The young person both justified his
decision by the presence of a boy to the passage of travellers:
"he was worried about the boy, a boy who would see naked people",
he explained east Friday before the court of Edimburgo.

The condemned by disturbance of the public order, Stephen Gough
was accompanied by his companion, Melanie Roberts, of 33 years,
a peluquera of Bournemouth (South of England). Strangely, Scottish
justice has not considered useful or necessary to also undertake legal
actions against her.At any moment naked before the Scottish magistrates,
Gough did not need if it were going to finish his expedition towards
John ÓGroats, the Scottish northeast end, once left prison.

The ex- soldier already tried once this passage, but he did not arrive at
Scotland. It was stopped twice.For this passage of 1,400 kilometers,

Gough and its companion had anticipated to use two months.

It sends this page to a friend

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Heartbroken and Locked Up

DHENKANAL: In a case of shocking inhumanity, District Authorities here rescued
a woman, confined to a dingy room for 25 years by her family members, who
claimed she had an unsound mind.

Forty-three-year-old Annapurna was rescued from the room by the Police in
the presence of senior district officials on Wednesday, Police said on Friday.
“We found her in a wretched condition in the dingy room with an asbestos roof."

Friday, September 09, 2005

Gimme another shot of this beer...

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German brewer has concocted what he says is
the world's strongest beer, a potent drink with an alcohol content of
25.4 percent that is served in a shot glass.

"People will only be able to drink two or three glasses, otherwise they'll
drop like flies," he said. - from Yahoo News

India gives English lessons to US

There’s a new wave of outsourcing to India - tutoring US students.
Teachers at Growing Stars, an online tutoring service, offer tutoring
in mathematics and science, and recently in English, to students in
grades 3 to 12.

Five days each week, at 4:30 am in Kochi, the teachers log on to
their computers just as students in US settle down to their books
and homework in the early evening.

Growing Stars is one of at least half-a-dozen companies across
India that are helping American children complete their homework
and prepare for tests.
Times of India article

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Double Fault for Sania

Who'll win this match-up ? Religion or the Racket ?
Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza on Thursday refused to be
dragged into a controversy over her dress code.

Talking to the media on Thursday Sania, who returned home
after crashing out of the US Open, said: "I don't want to comment
on my dress code." She was referring to a question about a
'fatwa' issued by some Muslim religious leaders in Kolkata.

The religious leaders reportedly termed as "un-Islamic" the dress
Sania wears on courts, saying it violates the limits prescribed by
Shariat or Islamic law.

Link to Sania declines to comment on her on-court dress :
Hindustan Times article

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Chow Time

All my Pune/Poona friends and punkahs,

you are invited to an Indian Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner with me
and wherever. Take the shortcut via the www to
The Cooks' Cottage Pune.

Dress code: Birthday suit or Casual Lounge (Lunghi)

RSVP the Chef ASAP !


Fiddling while Rome Burns Part II

With FEMA in charge , we're assured of a timely response
to any Emergency, including Bio-terrorism....

Firefighters stuck in hotel awaiting orders
ATLANTA — Hundreds of firefighters who volunteered to help rescue
victims of Hurricane Katrina have instead been playing cards, taking
classes on FEMA's history, and lounging at a local hotel as they wait
for days for deployment orders.

"On the news every night you hear, 'How come everybody forgot us?'"
said Joseph Manning, a firefighter from Washington, Penn. "We didn't
forget. We're stuck in Atlanta drinking beer."

Tony Russell, the FEMA official in charge of the firefighters, says he's
trying to get the officers deployed as fast as he can but wants to make
certain they're sent where the need is greatest.
Link to AP article via the Houston Chronicle

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Story of a 6-year-old Angel

A child in charge of `6 babies'
In the chaos that was Causeway Boulevard, this group
of refugees stood out:
a 6-year-old boy walking down
the road, holding a 5-month-old, surrounded
by five
toddlers who followed him around as if he were their leader.

They were holding hands. Three of the children were about
2, and one was
wearing only diapers. A 3-year-old girl, who
wore colorful barrettes on the
ends of her braids, had her
14-month-old brother in tow. The 6-year-old spoke

for all of them, and he told rescuers his name was
Deamonte Love.


By Ellen Barry Tribune Newspapers: Los Angeles Times
Tue Sep 6, 9:40 AM ET
Copyright © 2005 Chicago Tribune

Gasper Visits VC

Gasper Visits VC
Originally uploaded by FredMikeRudy.

Relaxing after another hectic session of screenprinting T-shirts
for our VC booth at the Snehayatra Youth Festival in Malavli.
I'm still impressed with the quality of the finished Tees and the steadiness of my hands as I painstakingly designed, drew, traced and then hand-cut every stencil by myself.
Then the printing part was handled by Terry, Rusty and anyone else in
the area who was fascinated (and sober) enough.

Keep up with The Times

Today's Disaster Log at The Times of India

Typhoon Nabi lashes southern Japan

TOKYO: Typhoon Nabi lashed southern Japan on Tuesday,
injuring at least 15 people and forcing tens of thousands to
evacuate, as the government dispatched troops to fortify
defences against the waves and flooding.
Three people were reported missing.

Typhoon Talim leaves 99 dead in China
BEIJING: At least 99 people were confirmed dead and 36
others missing in floods and landslides triggered by typhoon
Talim in east China, latest reports said on Tuesday.

Strong quake jolts Taiwan
TAIPEI: An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale rattled
Taiwan on Tuesday and shook buildings in the capital,
the Central Weather Bureau said.

Sri Lanka tsunami shelters destroyed in fire
COLOMBO: At least 14 temporary shelters occupied by tsunami
survivors in southern Sri Lanka were destroyed in a fire, police
said on Tuesday.

Hurricane survivors throw Gay Parade
NEW ORLEANS: Music, Mardi Gras beads, costumes and confetti
returned to the French Quarter as a determined handful of hurricane
survivors vowed to keep the spirit of New Orleans alive.

What's next ?

Memo to MeMo (the Blog)

Quoting Kyrie O'Connor of the Houston Chronicle Blog MeMo :
Give good stuff. The Louisianans in our midst are not charity cases.
They are our brothers and sisters and parents and children. Give
accordingly. It's been my experience that a lot of stuff given to
second-hand clothing places and even food banks is stuff the givers
wouldn't wear or eat.

Don't do that. Those acid-wash jeans with the pleats? Nobody wants
to wear those. They don't want your gallon jar of capers, either.

The Evening News on our local Houston ABC-TV had a snippet of FBI
agents from
Austin who 'donated' truckloads of confiscated clothing,
'Knockoffs' a.k.a. illegal copies of Designer creations. And as we
know, there's a huge market for the stuff. Think of all those 'Insider
Shopping Tips' we get on the Morning Shows :
'The original cost $2,500. We spent just $60.00 !'

So if you see some really fabulous Designer Duds being sported
around the Astrodome, don't be taken aback. The victims did not go
on an extravagant shopping spree. The FBI made it possible through a
simple act of Goodwill.

Go thou and do likewise....

Kalpana Chawla - the comic book

Indian astronaut takes comic form
Chawla comic
The life and achievements of an Indian-American astronaut
who died in the Columbia space shuttle disaster in 2003
has now been illustrated in comic form.

An Indian publishing house has released the comic book
based on Kalpana Chawla, the first American female
astronaut of Indian origin to have gone on a NASA mission.

She was one of the seven members aboard the Space Shuttle
that disintegrated minutes before landing.

BBC News Link

Monday, September 05, 2005

Aftermath Part Two

Aftermath Part Two
Follow up to the Times of India article on
India's offer of aid to the USA.

Thanks to Xeni at Boing Boing I found the
Rudyard Kipling poem
'Gunga Din'
aptly quoted in
this Blog

I shan't forgit the night
When I dropped be'ind the fight
With a bullet where my belt-plate should 'a' been.
I was chokin' mad with thirst,
An' the man that spied me first
Was our good old grinnin', gruntin' Gunga Din.

'E lifted up my 'ead,
An' he plugged me where I bled,
An' 'e guv me 'arf-a-pint o' water-green:
It was crawlin' and it stunk,
But of all the drinks I've drunk,
I'm gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.

It was "Din! Din! Din!
'Ere's a beggar with a bullet through 'is spleen;
'E's chawin' up the ground,
An' 'e's kickin' all around:
For Gawd's sake git the water, Gunga Din!"


Any excuse for a Psychedelic 'Happening !'

Sania Mirza Got Game

And Grace. And Guts.
'Mirza, who enjoys huge support in India and
was vociferously backed by large numbers of
her compatriots at courtside, showed her
more illustrious fellow 18-year-old how to
remain relaxed and interesting in front of the
cameras and questioners.'
SANIA MIRZA Gallery from Yahoo Sports

I-Rock Hits Roadblock

Pune bands face Mumbai police chief's music
Pune, September 4: Mumbai’s showcase event of rock music —
Independence Rock or I-Rock — simply got grounded, about
half-an-hour before the bands went on stage. Seventeen bands
from all over the country, waiting to prove their mettle at the
Gateway of India this weekend, met a roadblock in the form of
Mumbai’s police commissioner AN Roy.
Organiser Farhad Wadia was extremely agitated, since he believes
that all the requisite permissions had been taken. ‘‘What happened
yesterday (Saturday) at the Gateway of India is a travesty and
mockery of fair play and justice in Mumbai. The commissioner of
police did not simply stop I-Rock, he basically told us that the police
will control what kind of music can be heard at the Gateway of India,
a monument that belongs to all Mumbaikars.’’

Sunday, September 04, 2005


Role Reversal ? India offers Army men to US
Times of India article Sunday Sept. 4th 2005
NEW DELHI: Disaster is a great leveller. In a reversal of usual roles
following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, India has
offered a comprehensive assistance package to the US,
the world’s largest relief donor.
The offer was formally communicated to the White House by Indian
ambassador to the US, Ronen Sen, on Saturday.

Tapping into its experience in combating large scale disasters, India’s
three-pronged package attempts to export a combination of materials
and expertise. Apart from a $5 million contribution to the American
Red Cross, India has offered to fly across Army medical teams to
New Orleans. Army, rather than civilian, relief teams are being offered
keeping in view the worsening law and order situation in the city.

India reckons water purification will be urgently required in a city where
contamination would be rife, causing water-borne diseases. As a leading
producer of bulk drugs, India is sending across a large consignment of
medicines. After attending to numerous large-scale disasters, including last
December’s tsunami and last month’s Mumbai flooding, India now has
acquired considerable expertise in combating such large-scale disasters.

A Jazz Capital Lives Forever
Close your eyes and listen to a few notes from the musicians and
you'll get that Big Easy feeling. The city may be washed away but
its heart lives on through its music and cuisine which fascinate
To a person like me, born and raised in India, words like 'Cajun',
'Zydeco' 'Po Boy' and 'Gumbo' have as strong an effect on my senses
From various agencies and also in the Times of India Sept. 4th 2005 :
New Orleans is the home of a diverse group of entertainers that includes
Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., the Neville Brothers,
Britney Spears, Dr. John, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint, Ruben Studdard
as well as celebrity chefs Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse.
An Indian Blogger in Turkey
Long before Katrina was even heard of, Aakash in Istanbul wrote : 
"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which
you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself,
"I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." . . .
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

And let your best be for your friend. If he must know the ebb of your tide,
let him know its flood also. For what is your friend that you should seek him
with hours to kill? Seek him always with hours to live."

Houston Chronicle Blogger :
What's Wrong With This Picture ?
"This is, apparently, an absolutely true fact: the singer, actor and
New Orleans native Harry Connick Jr. went out Thursday and spoke to the
suffering, hot, hungry, sick and occasionally dying crowds of people at the
New Orleans convention center. These are the people who had, up to that point,
received no aid or succor at all, none whatsoever."

Got Beer ?

What's the point?
An Indian firm has launched a vitamin-rich beer which it says protects
the body from the harmful effects of alcohol, the Press Trust of India
news agency reported.

Ladybird Bio Beer contains aloe-vera extracts as well as the normal
ingredients of barley malt and hops, said its inventor B. Srinivas Amarnath.
He said research showed that it did not harm the liver or cause ulcers and
gastric illness.

"The results of human clinical trials have shown aloe vera increases the
bioavailability of vitamins like B1, B6, B12, C and E," said C.B.
Jagannatha Rao, senior vice president of Khoday group of industries.
The beer was launched in the southern Indian state of Kerala today by
Khoday in partnership with Amarnath's firm, Advaith Biotech.

Amarnath said consignments of the beer had been exported to Canada
and customers from Malaysia and the United States had also expressed interest.


What Do You See ?

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Houston Astrodome ~ Then and Now

From 2002 to 2003 I worked at the Hampton Inn and Suites
on the opposite side of the street from the Astrodome, and it
was typical of so many places in Texas - a vast unused piece
of forgotten land, simply serving as a landmark for lost motorists.
I found these timely and interesting links that will perhaps
give the Dome more respect than it has received after
it closed in 1999.
Dome 1999
The Houston Astros got a new Ballpark called Minute Maid Park
and the historic Astrodome sat vacant all these years
with the exception of an occasional Liquidation Sale event or
a Electronics/Gun Show. In the meantime, investors and planners
have been trying to figure out how to make the Astrodome profitable
while it sits alongside the luxurious Reliant Park Covention Center
complex, which attracts Car/Boat/Gun shows, not to mention
entertainers like The Rolling Stones. 
Notable Dates at the Astrodome
1965: Judy Garland and The Supremes perform at the grand opening
of the new Houston Astrodome.
April 9th :1st game at Astrodome, Houston beats Yankees 2-1 in
exhibition as Mickey Mantle hits 1st indoor homerun
Aug 19th : The Beatles who were not particularly welcome in Houston.
1973 Sep.20 : The Battle of the Sexes. Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs
1974 March 3, 1974 : ELVIS plays an Afternoon show at the Dome.
2005  Aug 1st : A report on the arrival of Hurricane Katerina 'refugees'
from the horrors of the New Orleans Superdome.
told the Los Angeles Times, cradling her three-week-old son in
the Superdome stadium.

Pee is for Phosphorus

Today's Ask Yahoo question
Dear Yahoo!:
Why is our pee sometimes clear
and sometimes yellow?