Vantage point

Friday, February 29, 2008

Dumbing Us Down

There has been a lot of talk about how a plethora of reality shows and suchlike are dumbing us down. But nothing shown on MTV or VH1 or American Idol dumbs us down more than 24-hour news channels. The entertainment shows are after all just entertainment. What excuse do news channels have?

And no, I am not just talking about the excessive coverage given to Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan or some white woman kidnapped and/or murdered in Aruba or Ohio. I am talking about "real news". The supposed coverage of real news is as dumb as can get. And lately we have been witness to a specific example.

A year ago, news channels were spending hours and hours discussing and analyzing how a Hillary-Giuliani race would be. They were of course relying on opinion polls taken several months before the primaries. Giuliani imploded and Hillary is on her way out. Given how that went, you would think the news channels would learn, evolve, adapt or whatever.

But lately they have been spending hours and hours talking about national level opinion poll results about Obama vs McCain. A whole 9 months before the election! Why? Because they gotta talk about something!

Is dissecting polls which are irrelevant for hours at length really less dumb than watching bimbos fighting for the affection of over-the-hill musicians, actors and comedians?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hayden's Racial Vilification

Harbhajan can claim to be "racially offended" by Hayden's statement. He was called a weed. Weed is smoked. Harbhajan is sikh. Among sikhs, smoking is as much a taboo as drinking is for muslims. Hence Hayden's comment was racial vilification!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sympathies for Hayden

I sympathize with Matthew Hayden at this difficult time in his life, but isn't he a bit too young to be going through a menopause?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tinhousetrix.... and Hobbes

Indians who move to the US are prepared for several culture shocks. But none of the desi grad students or onsite software professionals are prepared for the biggest shock of them all. Most Americans they socialize with have never really read Tintin, Asterix or P.G. Wodehouse. And worst of all, they aren't rabid fans of Calvin and Hobbes, though they have read it before.

Desis are thus often left in real pop culture limbo during conversations are parties or in bars. It is at times like these that you thank your stars for Seinfeld. And you wish you had read Doonesbury when Times of India published it.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

It's Kinda Weird!

I am happy the Coen bros finally won the Oscar. But it is bittersweet that they won it for No County for Old Men, clearly not even the top 3 of their directing resume. It's kinda reminiscent of Scorsese winning for, of all the films possible, The Departed. The Academy is beyond stupid. But as they say, better late than never!


I have never particularly rooted for my favourites to win an Oscar. But tonight I have been rooting for the Coen bros to get the best director Oscar. And I resolved to post if they won, before the finished their speech. And I am doing so. Congrats Joel and Ethan!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What is this?

Answer here.

Muzzles or Earplugs?

Dear Family of Gurudas Dasgupta,

I am curious to know the means you use to ensure that the rest of you in the family apart from Gurudas get a good night's sleep. Gurudas clearly never shuts up. So do you muzzle him at nights, so his incessant nonsense is reduced to a buzz? Or do you all wear top quality earplugs? Ever tried hooding him?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

H-Bomb Warning

If I get one more scrap on Orkut which has some stupid javascript claiming to do impossible, illegal and policy-breaking things like revealing crushes and what-not, I am going to drop a hydrogen bomb on India.

To all those people who fell for those stunts- start praying Darwin was wrong.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bengali Gospel

What would you name an album that contained all the popular Bengali gospel rock songs?
Bong Hits for Jesus

Those who didn't get this joke, search for 'Morse v. Frederick' on wikipedia.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

An Absorbing Finish

The 2008 Presidential campaign has been the most entertaining reality tv show of all time, and it is barely halfway through.

McCain's surprise win, after being written off 5 months ago, has been source of a lot of that entertainment as I wrote before. A few years back, when India-Pakistan cricket matches involved a cut-throat emotionally heavy rivalry, an Indian win would give me an unusual avenue of entertainment. Every time India won a match, I would switch to PTV for the post-match analysis. The way hosts and expert on that channel would be frothing at their mouths was hilarious. The best of course was the panel discussion after Sachin KO-ed Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup. One expert blamed Saeed Anwar for the defeat. You might remember that Anwar scored a century, taking Pakistan to a respectable 270-odd. So why did he deserve the blame? In the words of that expert, "Anwar scored his 100 off 120 balls, whereas Sachin scored his 98 off 75 balls. On such an easy batting track, that wastage of 45 balls made Pakistan lose."

The point of this India-Pak digression - listening to Talk Radio (the admittedly conservative radio station) since McCain's triumphs has been similarly amusing. Hannity, Limbaugh, Coulter, Ingraham.... all of them have been in an angry delirium.

On the Democrat side, Obama's surge has been fun too. Hillary has now lost 8 states in a row and is counting on wins in Texas, Ohio and my own Pennsylvania to help her win the nomination. Sadly for her, the best wins she can hope for are 60-40 wins, which will still give enough delegates to Obama to keep him ahead. And it looks more and more likely that they will both head to the convention a bit short of the 2050 delegates required to seal the contest. Then it could all come down to the 700 or so "superdelegates".

Superdelegates are elected officials, like senators, congressmen, governors etc, who get a vote at the convention. As of now, most of them seem to be siding with Hillary. But just think. If Obama goes to the convention with a higher popular vote and higher normal delegate count, he will have the higher moral ground. At that point, if Hillary wins thanks to superdelegates, it won't seem that different from Clarence Thomas awarding George W. Bush the presidency over Al Gore in the 2000 race after the Florida deadlock. And considering how most left-liberals still obsess over the sneaky Bush win, it could open up a can of worms.

In that situation, McCain will be delighted. He is already the only Republican who has appeal among independent voters. He is seen as a principled man, a sometime maverick, and is untarnished by the Bush legacy. Independents have been overwhelmingly voting for Obama in Democrat primaries. If they are screwed over by superdelegates, I don't see them voting for Hillary. McCain could use Hillary's screwing over of Obama as a great talking point, and maybe even win the white house.

So funnily enough, the best chance for Democrats to win the Presidency seems Obama who, at least now the "establishment" i.e. the superelegates don't seem to want. And the best chance for Republicans to win is McCain, who is as anti-establishment as it gets, barring Ron Paul.

Friday, February 15, 2008

It's Official

Dexter is awesome!!!!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

There IS a God..

... and this great God loves me. Why else would he gift me with this hilarious news item - Indian commie 420s conned by Nigerian 419-ers.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Just take one dip and end it!!!

Any Seinfeld fan will remember this hilarious moment.

Well, a study inspired by that episode has found that George was, as always, in the wrong.