Sunday, April 29, 2007

Osama bein' Hendrix !

Here's what happens when you morph

Osama Bin Laden


Jimi Hendrix......

You get .......

Osama Bein' Hendrix !

See more and do more Morphing by registering for free at

Friday, April 27, 2007

Guitar Modding

Anything to do with guitar modifications interests me
I 'm happy to share this with you all.

Thanks to Boing Boing for another treat !

Steampunk guitar
(Image from Carbonic

This Email is Not For You

The ONE Campaign

It's for your friend.

So far this week more than 74,329 Americans have joined the fight
against extreme poverty making us the fastest growing movement
in America. Let's keep it that way.

To truly eradicate extreme poverty once and for all we need a
strong and sizable block of Americans working to make poverty a
priority. To this end, I am issuing a challenge to all members: get at least
ONE friend to sign up and join ONE and help end poverty. Let's add
25,000 more members by Wednesday, making it 100,000 new
members in one week. Forward this email to at least ONE friend
and ask them to go to and sign up.

To keep track of our progress we will replace the standard counter on the
front of with a counter showing the number of new members.
You can help raise this number by forwarding this e-mail to a friend and
sending them to where they can sign the ONE Declaration and
using their voice to end poverty.

Thanks to Idol Gives Back, over 30 million people learned about
the ONE Campaign on Wednesday. One by one we're growing, and
making a difference, whether it is successfully pushing for billions of
dollars of poverty fighting funding, or crucial trade reforms, we are

Keep up the amazing work.

Thank you,

Susan McCue,

P.S. I have already answered my own challenge by calling my friend
Harlan Coben,
New York Times bestselling author of The Woods, and
explained how he can make a
difference in the fight against poverty.
Now he and his family are members of ONE.

Help Save Pandora

Hi, Tim again,

First, I wanted to thank you again for the support last week. It was absolutely overwhelming. More than 200,000 Pandora listeners contacted their congressional representatives! The entire fax infrastructure on Capitol Hill ground to a halt. We had to deliver faxes manually - literally boxes full of them were delivered to every office in the Capitol building.

The result has been swift and dramatic: more than a million people have already joined the cause! There is now a bill just being introduced called the "Internet Radio Equality Act" to fix the problem and save Internet radio -and Pandora- from obliteration.

I'd like to ask you to do one more thing which is to call and ask your Congressperson, Nick Lampson, to co-sponsor the Internet Radio Equality Act:

Nick Lampson's phone number: (202)225-5951

This fight for our life is not over, but there has been a marked shift in momentum. Thanks to your efforts, this vital channel for musical diversity has a hope of finally being treated fairly and being allowed to grow and nurture a newly empowered class of independent musicians.

Your opinion matters to your representatives - so please take just a minute to call.

Visit to continue following the fight to Save Internet Radio.

Thanks again for being such a wonderful supporter.

-Tim Westergren
(Pandora founder)

© copyright 2006, Pandora Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

360 22nd Street - Suite 440 - Oakland CA - 94612

You are currently subscribed to receive email updates from Pandora. If you would like to unsubscribe, please log in to your account at, click on the account button, click 'edit my account', click edit, uncheck the checkbox in the lower-left of the screen, and click save. If you have any trouble, please email Privacy Policy

Thursday, April 26, 2007

American Idol Sets The Pace

Jordin Sparks is my pick of the Season 6 litter

While it was a treat to watch American Idol 'Give Back'
on Wednesday last, it was also an emotional two hours
for most viewers, many of whom were driven in record
numbers to make their first visit ever to the websites
of charitable organizations. According to Reuters News,
' the ONE Campaign to Make Poverty History, a coalition
of dozens of nonprofits like Oxfam and Save the Children,
said more than 70,000 Americans joined the campaign
after the show, which included an appeal by Irish rock star
and spokesman Bono ' Read the article here

Like the rest of the 26.4 million viewers who tuned in, I was
rightly amazed by the Elvis-Celine Dion duet which will be
the one with the most entertainment tech buzz in days to come.
Unlike Natalie Cole's duet with her father's giant-sized video
many years ago, this duet had something of a holographic image
of The King swinging alongside Celine, and to make it more eerie
people walked all around the stage without breaking up the picture,
as happens in projected images. Almost like a Star Trek sequence,
and the image was visible from ALL sides. My feeble mode of
tech comprehension said this was an Elvis impersonator, but no
amount of makeup could have reproduced this likeness.
We'll just have to wait for Idol to pull out another surprise from
their seemingly endless supply.

Highlights of the show were definitely the KIDS in Africa,
dying of
AIDS and Malaria without a whisper of hope.
Every three minutes a child dies of Malaria in Africa !
It was certainly worth
seeing the ever-bubbly Ryan Seacrest and the
unflappable Simon Cowell getting
overwhelmed by the depth of the
tragedy they confronted there.
They attempted to rescue a young
woman dying of AIDS by rushing
her to the nearest hospital in their
truck, but two days later they were
shaken by the news of her death.

Now all the Reality shows on TV, Jerry Lewis' Telethon aside, will
have to match Idol's effort or be resigned to the list of also-rans.
In the wake of the whole Sanjaya Malakar madness American Idol's
meaningful attempt to shed light on Poverty and AIDS in Africa
is uncontested Reality TV.

On another note :


Jeff Beck's duet with Kelly Clarkson was a big
treat for me, along with those funky Earth, Wind and Fire cats.
Here's Jeff Beck ripping the hell out of his Strat on a tune called 'Nadia'.
Makes his axe wail like an Indian shehnai....amazing technique. Enjoy !

Richard Gere Is Wanted

Previously in A Kiss is Just A Kiss ! I said, ' Which part of
' a kiss is just a kiss ' do they not understand ?'

Now hear this: A judge in the northern city of Jaipur
viewed a video of the incident and ordered the arrest of
Richard Gere
on charges of violating Indian obscenity laws.
Read the Yahoo News article

I looked at the pics again

and my conclusion is that ol' Richard
went a
bit over the top. He is a highly likeable actor, a devout
Buddhist and longtime vocal
supporter of the Tibetan cause.
He makes frequent visits to the
Dalai Lama, who lives in exile
in northern India. You would think
all those trips to meditate in
an Indian monastery would have
produced in Mr. Gere a deeper
awareness of the South Asian sensibility......
heck, he even made
a film called Red Corner,

where he is an American attorney on business in China
who ends up wrongfully
on trial for murder, and his only key to
innocence is a female lover/defense
lawyer from the country.
So he may have been the stupid Yank who was unaccustomed
to the ways of the Chinese in the flick but will real life imitate
Art here ?
Will justice be served according to Indian law ?
I don't think Shilpa Shetty will prevail in further defense of
Mr. Gere even if she is a Bollywood
goddess and is currently
enjoying 'most-favored' status in the U.K. for her stint on
'Big Brother'

So will Richard Gere ever be able to return to India to meditate
more deeply on this ? I don't know. All I know is that Ms. Shetty
is getting more mileage out of this and she should thank ME !

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bono on American Idol for

From : "Susan McCue,"
Sent : Tuesday, April 24, 2007 1:31pm

Dear Fred,

Tonight and tomorrow, one in ten Americans will sit down in their
living rooms and tune-in to American Idol for a special episode
called "Idol Gives Back."

We are excited to announce that Bono will be making
an appearance Wednesday night on behalf of ONE
urging the millions of Americans watching the show to
join us in the fight against extreme poverty.
Bono will
meet with the Idol contestants to talk with them about
ONE and the difference your advocacy is making in the lives
of the world's poorest people. The Idol contestants will also
perform "American Prayer," a song written by Bono and
Dave Stewart about the AIDS emergency in Africa.

We need your help to make sure your friends and family are
watching. Spread the word about tonight and tomorrow's shows!
This is a great way to introduce friends and family to ONE.
Invite them to join you in the fight against extreme poverty.

Forward this e-mail to friends and family and ask them to join today
by visiting:

Wednesday night's show will be a two-hour special hosted by Ellen
and featuring appearances by Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani,
Earth, Wind & Fire, Il Divo, Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Josh Groban
with the African Children's Choir, Jack Black, Helen Mirren, Rascal Flatts,
Quincy Jones, Carrie Underwood, Annie Lennox and many more.

We are excited about what the next two days could mean for the fight against AIDS and extreme poverty. Because of your continued support and involvement, extreme poverty is getting the national attention it so badly needs. When millions of people come together as ONE voice, anything is possible.

Thank you for your energy and dedication,

Susan McCue,

Monday, April 23, 2007

Teachers purify students with cow urine

No, this is not 'Weird News' or 'Odd News of the Day'

It's about racism and apartheid and hatred and more
all cloaked in good ol' fashioned Religion.

Teachers at a school in Mumbai India were ordered by the
new school Principal to sprinkle the low-caste students with
cow's urine as a means of cleansing them from the evil they
carried around with them as part of their low-caste status.

Since the cow is regarded a deity in Hinduism, the act would be
akin to a Baptism by holy water, assuming the person wished to
be baptized. That's not what happened here. Instead the students
in question complained it was humiliating, and the parents had the
two teachers arrested.

Quote from Yahoo news article :

' India's secular constitution bans caste discrimination,
but Dalits --those at the bottom of the caste system --
are still commonly beaten or killed for using a well or
worshipping at a temple reserved for upper castes, especially
in rural areas.

Dalits, once known as "untouchables," make up around 160
million of India's billion-plus population.

In February, the New York-based Human Rights Watch group
said India is failing to protect its lower-caste citizens, who were
condemned to a lifetime of abuse because of their social status. '

Read more from the article here

Also take time to check out the global Dalit rights movement at

And don't miss
the National Geographic magazine coverage

Flickr Dumpr Museumr Toy

This pic is from my Flickr collection - click on it lets you upload your picture and puts it in
different museum settings. It's fun, fast and free and
guaranteed to enhance your ego regardless of what
you look like when you wake up with a hangover
on the sidewalk the morning after ;-)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Create a custom Wired magazine cover!

Check out my customized Wired magazine cover !
It's fun, free and legal since it's from Wired mag.
click here

Click below to find out how to create your own
Wired mag cover :

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Wild Wild West - and East

Here's a link you might be interested, in given that this
comes on the heels of the VA Tech massacre,
the anniversary
of the Columbine shootings, and
the shootings at NASA's
Johnson Space Center in Houston, minutes away from my home.

Friday, April 20, 2007

RESPECT: India's Biggest Small Wedding

click to enlarge this BBC image

The wedding took place in Mumbai, India....sorry you couldn't be there ;-)

From the BBC :

' A friend of the family said the Bachchans wanted to keep it
small as the groom's grandmother is unwell and undergoing
treatment in hospital. ' **



Meanwhile in Jodhpur ...

' the hurly burly is yet undone. British actor
Elizabeth Hurley's Indian wedding with Mumbai-based
businessman Arun Nayar is not even a month old when, first, an
anguished father's outcry against being left out in the cold, followed
by a suit slapped against the couple for "making a mockery" of
Hindu customs, threaten to leave a sour after-taste following the
culinary delights served at the reception. ' (Times of India report)

It's all about RESPECT. You dis your parents in public on the most
important day of your lives, you deserve your comeuppance.

Snake Massage

Israeli woman pays for snakes to crawl all over her and
calls it the best massage ever. Good clean fun. Right.

The Hole - video powered by Metacafe

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Blog Status

This explains why this blog looks like it's missing some parts today :

Blogger Status
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

' Picasa Web Albums will be having some more maintanence
this afternoon. Hopefully the outage will not last more
than 30 minutes. During this time, photo uploading will
be unavailable, and some older photos may not be available
for viewing. We will post updates as we know more details.

(Update, 7:30PM PDT: Image uploading should be working again).'

Pom in Xiemen, China

Photo from my last visit China diring April 2007 for all Poona friends.
Visit my Blog for more like this

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Two Indians Die in Virginia Tech Massacre

Minal Panchal
, a Masters student of Building Architecture who

hailed from Mumbai, was initially missing but later declared
dead at Norris Hall, the same place where an Indian Professor,
G.V. Loganathan fell to the lone gunman at Virginia Tech April 16th.
Here's a CNN/IBN Live video of Loganathan's family in Coimbatore:

Read more :

Heartfelt sympathies to the families of these two brilliant persons and
also to the friends and families of the other victims.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Defending Gere

A follow-up to the previous post where Ms. Shetty bravely
speaks up, and rightly so.

Hindu nationalists are burning Richard Gere in effigy --
no, not because of "Shall We Dance," but because of his
over-affectionate behavior toward a popular Bollywood actress.

Watch 'Defending Gere' Video :

Watch more great videos at

A Kiss Is Just A Kiss !

Reuters image

Which part of a 'kiss is just a kiss' do they not understand ?

The part where a Bollywood idol like Shilpa Shetty gets
kissed and swayed backwards by Richard Gere in public.
At an AIDS awareness program aimed at truckdrivers.
Public displays of affection like I mentioned back in 2005
are still frowned upon in Indian society and I suspect this
Bollywood - Hollywood matchup would only be tolerated in a
big-screen setting. Every Truck driver's fantasy of being with his
idol while watching her on-screen was shattered in real life !

An off-screen inferno ensued according to

What If The Beatles Were Irish ?

This was my favorite BoingBoing link of the day

And What If The Beatles Were Indian ?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Biryani. Awesome. Period.

There is an Indian dish that has been lauded through the ages,
one that
each Indian gourmet will swear is unattainable except
in a certain part of
a certain city in India. The cities most often
in this context are
varied - Bombay, Hyderabad and
, etc. with an occasional mention
of Poona/Pune by
those seasoned travelers who claim to be 'in the know'.

Just as there are those who swear by their New York, Neapolitan,
Sicilian or
Chicago Pizza, so it is with Biryani. Opinions about
this dish and its worldwide
incarnations are varied and frequently

Wikipedia, if it is to be trusted, says the Hyderabadi version
is the
most popular in Southern Asia but also mentions Iraqi, Thai,
Burmese and
Pakistani variations. Naturally no one particular version
can claim to be the
best since the whole experience is tied to the
individual palate; if there
is one thing that all the gourmets seem to agree
on, it's that this is a dish
to be served only on very special occasions.
So the headliner on the menu at
South Asian weddings, Birthdays,
VIP receptions, etc., is almost always Biryani
or a variation of it.
Nothing else seems to fit the bill (speaking in a non-veg context
The same dish respectfully offered to satisfy the palates of the Mughals

also thrived under the British Raj and beyond.

There are thousands of Food Blogs that will describe meals like this
in glowing
terms while providing the recipe, so I will refrain from using
terms like
'succulent', 'slow-roasted' or 'intensely aromatic' and I will
only say one thing
about the ingredients : there are the standard Asian
spices, with Saffron showing
up more often than not, and either
Chicken, Mutton, Shrimp or Vegetables all layered with
long-grain Rice
( preferably Basmati).

My favorite Biryani is the Irani version which includes Potatoes
Yogurt, the kind I grew up on from Dorabjees in Pune.

I set out with this post to offer a review about Dorabjees' Biryani but
a little research led me to this excellent page by different authors about
Pune Restaurants at Virtual
. Someone had written a rave
review as I might have written it years ago ! Just goes to show how the
traditional method of preparation remains virtually unchanged through
the ages. End of post, except I'd like to leave you with a few
Biryani Links

The Cooks Cottage
My favorite Blogger from Pune who writes, photographs and cooks
all in her own unique style.

Once Upon a Feast
Features a
Mughlai Lamb Biryani recipe by world-renowned Chef,
Author and Actress
Madhur Jaffrey

Gits Vegetable Biryani Mix

Marketed by Mukhtar Tejani, a classmate from my old school and
college days, this is for those folks who are in a hurry or intrigued
enough to attempt this somewhat non-traditional approach. I like to
think of Gits as the leader in worldwide distribution of Pune in a packet.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


My Box Net additions for today are some
modifications of everyday vegetables.
Click on the link above to view full size or to
share or download.

Sorry for the gaps in posting, I have a few drafts
in the works.

Enjoy !

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter !

Dear Family, Friends and Readers
if you are celebrating Easter, I hope it brings new
meaning and Joy into your world !

Friday, April 06, 2007

Pune Cheers Up

Now Puneites can drink the way they were born to,

according to this Times of India article


'PUNE: Better enforcement of law, growth in
automobile and allied industries and the software
boom have resulted in a sharp increase in consumption
of liquor and beer in Pune city and district, thus helping
the state excise department reap a rich harvest.'

My old friends are of course not too impressed by these
developments. They have been supporting the State Excise
Dept. by faithfully consuming liquor long before the baby boom,
the software boom and all the other booms......Bam !

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Pune Goes WiFi

Pic by Pierre Rouss /Virtual Tourist

As of April 3rd 2007, my old hometown Pune is the first wireless
city thanks to the PMC (Pune Municipal Corporation) hooking
with Intel India and Microsense. Hope all my friends in Pune
planning to avail themselves of this breakthrough technology !
Link to Financial Express article

IndiaNewsBox :: India is all the news you can use concerning India,
all under one roof. That includes pages bloated with endless pop-ups
for Matrimonials from, Bollywood Gossip and the latest
cricket scores, not to mention Flash-driven animations at every turn.
Even with a good broadband connection this gives my eyes a case
of the jitters.

To overcome this case of the jitters I simply use the best browser on
the planet, Firefox. If you're still using the IE option to go online, do
a favor and download Firefox free and keep it as an additional
on your PC. Soon you will be changing your settings to make it
the default
browser at startup. The themes and add-on extensions are
always free
and work great. I could go on and on about this and I have for
a few years
now. Go get it !

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Shatha Hassoun : The Real Idol

At first I was glad to see an Indian-American on a Reality TV show like
American Idol, then somewhat surprised at his
landing in the Top 12.
Then things got really bizarre
and now the future of the most-watched
show in the USA
is in jeopardy thanks to Sanjaya Malakar ??
(See The Huffington Post article below)

As I see it, the winner of the LBC Star Academy contest held
in Baghdad last week ('Iraqi Idol' they call it unofficially) is the real
one who needs to go down in history, for uniting Shiites and Sunnis
albeit for a few brief moments in time. These are people of a country
that has had civilization and culture before Christianity came about
and that remains a vital part of who they are as this NBC clip shows.
Here's Shatha Hassoun in pics and in a TV commercial from where else,
YouTube. Cast your vote. You be the judge.........

The Huffington Post

Alex Blagg: American Idol, Sanjaya Malakar, and the Postmodern Condition


All kidding aside, I happen to believe that Sanjaya Malakar will go down in TV history as the single most important personality ever to emerge from the American Idol phenomenon. ... Read the rest at

© 2006, Inc.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Google ISP offer

Who can top this ? Free WiFi for all thanks to Google !

Blog Camp Pune

Site venue: click to enlarge

Checking out a Punekar's Food Blog called The Cook's Cottage
I came across something equally interesting and noteworthy -
Pune's first Blog Camp is set for June 2007 at
Symbiosis Infotech Campus. The 'Un-organizers' are calling it an
'Un-conference' not unlike the worldwide Bar Camp events you
techies are familiar with. Will it be totally 'Un-organized' then ?
Not the way they describe it :

'This is going to be an intense event with discussions, demos and
interaction between attendees. Any blogger who wants to contribute
is welcome and invited to join.

In the spirit of BarCamp, if you attend, be prepared to present
something (even if it's just 10 minutes).'

I am not in sync with these gatherings but if I were back in my old
hometown of 'Poona' I would definitely attend. I mean, where there's a
Camp, there must be a Bar, and where there's a Bar there has to be
a drink, right ? Just Kidding ! Actually I don't drink like I used to so I
wouldn't care too much if there were NO drinks at this Bar Camp.
in this case should mean Bring Your Own Blog !

I suppose I'll really have to live up to my title of Virtual Poona Blogger
and be there virtually........maybe come up with a virtual 10-min. speech,
who knows ?

Visit the official blog:

Sent via a FeedFlare link from a FeedBurner feed.