Monday, June 29, 2009
Leave it to Michael Jackson to add a new record to his long
list of accomplishments : he captured more Celebs per frame
than any I can recall in a single music video, back in the
early days of MTV.
First, see how many Celebs you can recognize and then check
out this link to find out who you missed. No marks for spotting
Steven Spielberg, since he's sitting in the Director's chair.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
who was the second man on the Moon,
seems never too busy to make a public appearance or be
involved with anything in which he's the star of the show.
Unlike the others on that historic Lunar trip, Mr. Aldrin is not
camera-shy or introverted. He's a one-man celeb/star/agent,
engineer and businessman all rolled up into one who takes
everything in stride. Smooth and very calm and cool even when
he's not on camera. But when he is on camera, as you'll see
after you read my story, you'll be amazed, I promise !
In 1996 I was working at the Nassau Bay Hilton in Texas
when a disheveled older man with a rather noticeable comb-over
( I was just giving up mine then ! ) and dressed in a windbreaker
softly stepped up to the Reception Desk and said he had a
reservation. He spoke so unassumingly that at first I thought he
was one of the local cab drivers who hang around Hotels in search
of late-night business. Boy, was I shocked to verify from his Credit
Card that this was Buzz Aldrin, the VIP we had been warned
about and were expecting all along ! That was one of the most
unforgettable Celeb meetings I have ever had, simply because it
was so late at night and there was no one else around except for
the two of us at the Desk. No fanfare, no lights or chaperones or
I often had to inspect the topmost floor where Mr. Aldrin had a
permanent reservation for the Penthouse Suite, a.k.a the
Honeymoon Suite, when he didn't need it and some couple did.
With a 360-degree view of Nassau Bay, it had an unbelievable
ambience and luxurious touches like a huge round sunken Jacuzzi
spa right in the center. A room that was bigger than any of the
apartments I've ever rented in my life, and one that has always been
a part of the Buzz Aldrin agenda for Houston. Buzz was just a trainee
(see this TIME magazine slideshow here)
when he joined NASA and began staying at the Hilton, he explained
to me once; he preferred the old Hilton over all the other fancy new
Hotels because it is five minutes away from the NASA/ Space Center
Houston complex and it held so many memories of his youth.
Now his lifelong relationship with this landmark hotel is ended, (?)
thanks to a severe hit from Hurricane Ike which created enormous
damage but still left it standing, looking like it had received a few
rounds from a nearby cannon. The lady takes many a beating and
weathers many a storm and it shows.
So that's my little true-life Buzz Aldrin tale, except - as promised -
the latest Buzz on Buzz. At age 79, I find he's taking another giant
unheard-of leap, this time into the world of.....Rap !
Alongside Snoop Doggy Dogg, no less, Buzz looks great
in the studio as he eagerly and swiftly gets into the groove
under the experienced eye of Snoop. What a concept !
Buzz Aldrin website - a must see !
Buzz Aldrin wiki
Monday, June 22, 2009
people following the recent Iran elections and the bloody
aftermath that we are now daily witnessing,
has been seen as a symbol of the
Revolution of the young and the restless :
text-messaging addiction has been given the go-ahead as
the lifeline for the world's communication needs. And more
than the 1,000 words that are repeated by the second, there
are the Twitpics,
garnering more 'followers' for the Tweeter who posts pics
faster than the speed of texting. The urgency of such digital
instant relays are indeed amazing to those of us who are
not participants, but is it all that ?
Apparently not, judging by the way those in power in Iran are
showing that they not only can they stand toe-to-toe with the
Revolutionary Tweeting, but they can also micro-control
the generation of what's being sent out to the Twitter world.
Thanks to its earlier investments in technology provided by a
Siemens/Nokia partnership, Iran's ability to monitor,
dissemble and re-assemble user transmissions in milliseconds
is truly phenomenal as is now being revealed in the news.
Tweaking and using this technology during the elections has
made Iran's control of its people more public and fearsome.
The world may be watching, but Iran is able to watch and
increasingly control what is being watched, where and by whom.
To put it simply, it's legal hacking, something that is a major
selling point for Communications Technology providers. Offering
unlimited data control to their clients is like Spam control
for your email : you have the choice to block or mark messages
as Spam, but it's still limited control. The ingenious Hacker
who gains access to all your Inbox and Outbox info can use your
name and picture to create a whole new profile on say, MySpace
and then ask to be 'added' to a whole slew of that Social
network's users. I myself have to deal with such trickery frequently,
so I can say with conviction that the tricksters may not 'get' me but
they certainly have been successful in enticing hordes of lonely
internet addicts in search of online companionship. The rush of
finding someone who seems to share the same interests, likes
and dislikes often blinds the unsuspecting user, and so it is now
It's too late to turn back the control that has been provided by the
Technology consortiums. Asked about selling such equipment to
a government like Iran's, Mr. Roome of Nokia Siemens Networks
said the company "does have a choice about whether to do
business in any country. We believe providing people, wherever
they are, with the ability to communicate is preferable to leaving
them without the choice to be heard."
See how caution is the keyword for Twitter users :
at The Wall Street Journal and at The BBC.co.uk
Your ISP Can and WILL Tell All
Ohhh....if you're on Twitter, could you spread this link,
please ? I'd like to see just how many tweets this gets ;-)
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
when I visited St. Anthony's Home for Orphans
in Pune, India prior to taking part in a Charity concert
to benefit those orphans. Along with three friends who
gladly agreed to perform as 'The Lighthouse Band'
we threw together an evening of 'Gospel Rock' music and
enjoyed ourselves in a way that we never expected, simply
because of the pre-show lunch and visit with the kids at the
Orphanage. To be surrounded by a room full of Orphans
for whom you hope to raise funds, and then to succeed with
a sold-out performance is a most satisfying, humbling and
eye-opening experience. We didn't have many sponsors or
knowledge of fundraising, but we certainly had an inkling
of its impact from that day onward.
Responsible advertising for a Non-Profit Organization
sometimes blossoms into a movement that not only
recoups the expenses of the ad campaign but raises the
subsequent creativity level more than a few notches.
Nowadays the Non-Profit ad arena has certainly been
put front and center thanks to some brilliant design,
maneuvering, and genuinely concerned individuals in
the Advertising and Entertainment industries.
Think Ravi and Anoushka Shankar for PETA,
or Eric Clapton for Children with Leukemia and
you'll see the impact of celebrities on fundraising for
the needy. But it's not always the celebs who make the
difference. Below is a video of a campaign by a Mumbai-
based agency that created a monumental surge in the
effort to help the Blind children of India's oldest
school for the Blind, called Kamala Mehta Dadar
School for the Blind. I will not offer any details about
this video because doing that often detracts not only from
its beauty but also its impact. Enjoy.
Credit where credit is due, to :
Advertising Agency: ideas@work, Mumbai, India
Creative Directors: Zarvan Patel, Prashant Godbole
Art Director: Shriram Mandale
Copywriters: Kartik Smetacek, Roy Abraham,
Aired: December 2008
See larger version here
Australian Photographer Richard O'Farrell displays some
exquisite portraits of the Blind schoolkids of Dadar here.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
of Chat, SMS, Texting, IM-ing, Twittering, Beeping
and such things. I use my Cell Phone with the most Basic of
payment options, try to use my Cell only when away from home,
where my good old-fashioned landline works great, even in a
Hurricane-prone area such as mine.
The 2009 season for Hurricanes just began in June. Here in the
Texas Gulf Coast region we expect two major ones to hit and disrupt
our lives and communications once again. Cell phone towers may not
respond as well as expected and the heavy usage of Cell phones at
such times means those phones need juicing up by connecting to car
chargers and alternative power sources . I noticed many frustrated
persons at such times get all stressed-out and restless about making
and receiving calls, and while that was totally understandable from a
family safety standpoint, I couldn't help but wonder how the previous
survivors of Hurricanes in the pre-cell days must have focused on
helping those in the vicinity, instead of spending time trying to work
out Cellphone aggravation like some do nowadays. Which leads
me to this....
I've always considered myself the silent type, not a Cell addict.
So I gladly took the latest test that came along with my email
yes....Real Age. Below, my answers highlighted in Red :
The Newest Addiction: Are You Already Hooked?
Think you’d die if you had to give up your cell phone?
Answer these three questions:
1. Are you preoccupied with your cell?
2. Do you use it despite soaring bills?
3. Do you get irritable when you have to cut down on calls?
If YOU said yes, you -- along with countless other people --
may be addicted to your mobile.
In Britain, where cell phones outnumber people, researchers
asked volunteers these and other questions and found that
17% had an unhealthy dependence on their cells.
(And we thought Diet Dr. Pepper was bad!) More than a third
said they were preoccupied with their phones and used them to
lift their moods or avoid facing problems. A whopping 65% said
they continued to use their mobile phones despite mounting bills.
Don’t text your friend this tip yet!
In another study, the same researchers managed to pry the
phones away from a group of frantic addicts. And do you know
what happened? Not complete collapse, meltdowns, and isolation.
Instead, the digitally deprived group actually felt less stressed,
and their blood pressure stopped spiking as high when they
talked about their phones.
Turn yours off and you might find that, gee, you have a pretty
interesting life. Or that you can concentrate better. Or that not
being constantly “on call” is relaxing. Even if you just spent a
fortune on the latest and greatest iPhone, there’s an off button
for a reason. Your body will thank you for using it. And really, that
call can wait.
See how old your Real Age is, click here
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tarun Chandel, professional Business Analyst, Photoblogger,
Techie and Thinker brings us v.2 June 27 2009 at :
Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research
7th Floor, Atur Centre
Gokhale Cross Road
Model Colony, Pune -16
Pune, Maharashtra India
What's this all about ?
' BlogCampPune is a FREE unconference focusing
exclusively on blogging, organized by bloggers for bloggers.
It‘s built upon the principles of the famous BarCamp
(ad-hoc unconference) focussed on sharing, learning and
new ideas. 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). '
~ Yahoo Upcoming Events
I live in Friendswood, Texas USA, a long way from my old
home in Pune but I will be there - in the spirit once again.
You don't have to be from Pune to attend and you're encouraged
to support and help make this a permanent Blogging tradition.
Meet, mix and match your talents and ideas. Create !
Collect your Blogcamp Pune Badges from:
http://bit.ly/ij16A or http://tinyurl.com/m9g8lm
A Flickr set from the previous Blogcamp
Previous related posts here
Sunday, June 07, 2009
The Fab 5 !
So here's my second amateur attempt at capturing the sights
and sounds of the Kemah Boardwalk in Texas. The first one
is one that I am living with. This time around, I did get three
good visual clips but somehow the audio came out all jerky
and I decided not to upload them. Instead I used some of the
photo captures and added the Fab 5 demo music which is
exactly what it sounded like at the concert anyway.
The Fab 5 are a cover/tribute band who really are Fab when
it comes to recreating the sound of The Beatles. They are
an energetic, authentic addition to the Texas Gulf Coast
Music scene: legends in their own right, who were the opening
band for classic soft-rockers 'America' at their last Texas gig.
If you're planning a trip to Houston, Texas and visiting the
NASA/Clear Lake area, the Kemah Boardwalk is a definite
'must see' spot. There are Thrill Rides,
free concerts during Summer, a 4-D Theater, great restaurants
like Landry's, Shopping, and lots of amusement for kids and
grown-ups alike. See a related Flickr photo set here
All from the scenic Kemah Waterfront, which is recovering
well from the devastation which it incurred from Hurricanes Ike,
Rita, Katrina and others. They certainly have Galveston-born
Tillman Fertitta, who owns the Landry's chain of Restaurants,
and the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, to
thank for his stoic zeal and support to keep the place afloat
The Fab 5 website :www.thefab5.com/
and they are also on MySpace
Official Kemah Boardwalk site
Related post from May 2008 with video
featuring 98 In The Shade
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Ever since I was in Junior school, discovering DC Comics'
Superman and all the other Super heroes, Comic book art
put me in a trance ust as it did many schoolboys, back in those
days before we ever saw a TV set. Along with the Comics we
were just discovering TIME,LIFE, PHOTOPLAY, PLAYBOY
and other marvels of Americanpublishing. But only one magazine
– MAD –straddled all the lines of satire, humor, art, Beatnik
hipness and insanity to transport us to an America we always
knew existed but never really looked at in the way MAD made
Parodies of Hollywood Blockbusters of the time, Billboard chart
hits, Housewives, Preachers, Politicians, Housewives, Olympians
all got the MAD treatment and in the process a new awareness
was raised in their readers worldwide.
Yes, the ‘geniuses’ behind MAD were also the early geniuses
of Madison Avenue, where products are created and marketed
by the brightest, most hyper-animated in the world of Advertising.
The ‘usual gang of idiots’ as MAD staffers called themselves
were anything but idiots– as all those who grew up and got out of
school and into the real world eventually realized. Of course there
is not that much of reading going on nowadays when there’s
MAD TV and SNL to watch. Which is why I must recommend getting
your hands on an old copy of MAD Magazine, the older the better,
and see if all the mocking humor of yore doesn’t qualify today as
an American cultural institution. Thousands are of the same opinion
as I discovered through my adult (?) years. I have been MAD-inspired
for almost my entire life. So imagine what it was like to not only
meet but be alone with MAD writer Dick DeBartolo, who joined the
staff fresh out of high school and still stays on as Consultant today.
As a fledgling Limo Driver in New York City I had the rare and
pleasurable opportunity of picking up Mr. Bartolo from the CNBC
Studios in New Jersey and driving him home to the West Side of
Manhattan. The entire trip saw me lose my professional attitude
and revert to the gushing schoolboy who had just split his sides
reading the latest issue of MAD. By the time we reached his
residence, Mr. Bartolo was fully convinced of the genuineness
of my admiration and gave me the latest issue of MAD, not only
autographed, but with a line dedicated to me ! But wait, that’s
not all – he even gave me the MAD pin from his Baseball cap,
saying jokingly that he couldn’t give me his cap as he was bald
(it was a cold New York winter) and needed it. I left on Cloud Nine
as you can imagine. And I often gaze fondly at the business card
(above) he handed me as he got out with a warm handshake.
Silly, crazy childish me, still growing up mad, letting them get to me.
Selected TRIVIA from wikipedia.org
Richard Nixon, ….remains the only President credited with
Critic Roger Ebert wrote: I learned to be a movie critic by
reading Mad magazine... Mad's parodies made me aware
of the machine inside the skin—of the way a movie might look
original on the outside, while inside it was just recycling the same
old dumb formulas. I did not read the magazine, I plundered it
for clues to the universe. Pauline Kael lost it at the movies; I lost it
at Mad magazine.
Always as controversial as humorous, here's a Google cached
image from a report about the mag being pulled from the shelves
of Retail Electronics giant Circuit City (now in Bankruptcy)click to enlarge and read
Earlier MAD raving on this Blog