Thursday, February 28, 2002

In Fire and Motion Joel Spolsky writes about the need to have time on your side, and the need to move forward every day. Entertaining article that makes a point.

In We Get What They Pay For Leslie Walker discusses the Internet advertising strategies employed by current search engines. Not surprisingly, only Google has vowed to NOT accept money from companies for guaranteed placement in search results. Thanks to Slashdot for this link.

As the countdown to the Oscars continues and people discuss the chances of LAGAAN as only the third Indian film to make the final five, Radha Rajadhyaksha & Shabnam Minwalla discuss why indian films reel at the Oscars.
Daily Readings for Lent
Jeremiah 17:5-10
Luke 16:19-31: Lazarus and the rich man
Dat Burman touch (by Rehan Ansari | Opinions | Sunday Midday)
In a New York-based magazine that covers the hip hop scene principally in New York and LA, and then Mexico City, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro et al I came across a story on the Burmans, SD and RD...{read on}
OtherMusic has a review of Bollywood Funk. A search off the main site also links to the article.
Since I've started working here at Other Music, I have tried, unsuccessfully, to find the distributors that all the Indian groceries and video rental places get their CDs from. There are a slew of great Bollywood soundtracks I've wanted to share. This new CD compilation very nearly makes my search redundant. Right off, at least six of the tracks on "Bollywood Funk" were already stone-cold favorites, and the remaining nine are just as impeccably great. In fact, it starts off with the two best Bollywood songs ever, both composed by the magnificent R.D. Burman (in my mind equivalent to Ennio Morricone in brilliance; outdoing him in quantity). First the theme to "Hum Kisise Kum Nahin", a mixture of Spaceheads (effects-laden trumpet) and "Tusk" (marching band!). The second track, 'Dum Maro Dum', is one of the biggest hits in Indian cinema ever, a funky slap across the head with psychedelic guitar feedback all over it. Most of these are Burman-composed and sung by his wife or sister-in-law (Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar, respectively) but I don't understand why Outcaste left off not only the composer's names, but the playback singers' as well. While filmi music can sound strange to some ears, this is the best introduction to the genre yet. [RE]

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

More LPs. I seem to have too much time on my hands. (note: link will become stale once the auction is over).


    Incidentally, the "bloke" who goes "wa-kow" is R. D. Burman himself



  • ASHA BHOSLE WITH R. D. BURMAN: LIVE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL, LONDON (double LP):Artists : Asha Bhosle with R.D. Burman ; Lp (double lp) : Live at the Royal Albert Hall London ; Label : EMI peasd 2019/2020 ; Year : 1979 ; Country : India ; Condition : cov Ex rec Ex ; Description : First of all you have a killer version (better than the original)of "Dum maro dum" from "hare ramahare krishna" with powerful drums and psychedelic guitars. There are also beautiful versions of "chura liya" from "Yaadon ki baarat" and "Mehbooba" from "sholay" with RD's bass voice and many more... The sound quality is excellent for an indian record Very recommended...! ...

Someone put up the DVD of AAG SE KHELENGE (a 1989 standard flick with music by R. D. Burman) for bids. (note: link will become stale once the auction is over). The synopsis alone confers B-movie cult status to the film: Title Aag Se Khelenge Description Anil Kapoor, Meenakshi Sheshadri, Jeetendra, Amrish Puri, Shakti Kapoor Director Bindu, Music: R D Burman Brand EROS Genre Film, Action Subtitles English Features Police Inspector Shekhar Kapoor's(Jeetendra) chief purpose is to end the wild terror that the underworld don Zaka(Amrish Puri) and his son Shaka(Shakti Kaprro) had spread. Shekhar while solving his case gets hold of Johnyy. But as it turns out Johnyy reveals that he is Inspector Ravi Saxena a Delhi cop who has sneaked into Zakas gang in the guise Johnny, small-time criminal. Johny(Inspector Ravi Saxena) explains to Shekhar that his ultimate mission is to bust Zakas gang. Shekhar suggests that they work together, under his supervision, to which Johnyy agrees. But tables take a sudden turn when Shekhar discovers from his Delhi office that Inspector Ravi had been killed six months back. Who is Johnny then? Can Shekhar sales the mystery? Watch Aag Se Khelenge
R.D. Burman on eBay.
YEH TO KAMAAL HO GAYA (note: link will become stale once the auction is over). R. D. Burman seems to be a regular favourite in dance clubs here. Cool and funky accompany the description of every item of his that goes for bids:
Indian Soundtracks are weird. Though they are weird they not always deliver what one expects so here's two really cool ones... If you're disappointed you're probably ready to see a docter but I'll refund. These are very danceable ones with good cool songs, rhythms, that late seventies disco-beat, effects and loads of basic weirdness. This is 'Yeh To Kamaal Ho Gaya'. Music by R.D Burman. Sleeve is VG+ cause of slight weear amd sticker. Record, from 1982, is NM. I've played this one in a club... Three songs I used in a very funky go go way to everybody's satisfaction!...
Nice bit about Indian soundtracks there. And in case you are wondering what the gradings mean, here goes:
VG+: a record which has a noticeable scratch or two. Still plays well and still a good playing copy.
NM: a record which, though it may have been played now and then, is in excellent visual condition with no visible flaws. Flawless. {aka Near Mint}

Another one, from the same person. This is BOND 303 (note: link will become stale once the auction is over):
Indian Soundtracks are weird. Though they are weird they not always deliver what one expects so here's two really cool ones... If you're disappointed you're probably ready to see a docter but I'll refund. These are very danceable ones with good cool songs, rhythms, that late seventies disco-beat, effects and loads of basic weirdness. This is 'Bond 303'. Music by R.D Burman. Must be a very funny Indian James Bond rip off. There's three instrumentals here of which two are loaded with very heavy moog sounds! Wow! Also some funky danceable tracks. The real thing too! Sleeve is VG+ cause of slight wear and a small pricestickerremovaldamage plus somebody wrote ABC up front. See scan! Record, from 1984, is NM. I've played this one in a club... Three songs I used in a very funky go go way to everybody's satisfaction!

Another auction has four of his LPs (no fancy descriptions though): RAJA RANI, ABHILASHA, MEHBOOBA, BIWI O BIWI (note: link will become stale once the auction is over).

Two tape combinations going out.(note: links will become stale once the auctions are over).

  • ASHANTI/SUGANDH: The first in the combo is R. D. Burman's work:This great late period soundtrack by R.D. Burman mixes everything from cheap direct-to-video synth licks with 70s slapping bass grooves , 60s bongos, sex moans, Group la-la-las, 80s scratching, to Hawaii five-o horn arrangements and island carribeana and the second is by Bappi Lahiri, the disco composer of the 80s:The tape's flipside has the soundtrack to Sughandh by Bappi Lahiri. There are a few mystical trippy numbers here ...the greatest bollywood disco tune I've come across {yeh disco ka bukhar} Genius! The next is a bit more mellow with some cool horn arrangements{Din bhi khile}

  • VIDHAATA/SHAKTI: HMV/RPG (Catalog Number SPHO 820486)Another great Bollywood Twofer cassettes features music by Kalyanji Anandji and Lyrics by Anand Bakshi to the film Vidhaata. This one is nuts! Great studio trickery, weird synth effects and an inimitable vocal cackle. A must for fans for the weird end of the bollywood soundtrack industry. Side two features R.D. Burman's soundtrack to Shakti with lyrics by Anand Bakshi. Though slightly more subdued, the tracks feature much of Burman's patented synth pop arrangements...

Some great Bollywood LP covers can be found at Niall Richardson's site. Psychedelic, cheesy, them what you may. Lots of obscure ones, including some forgotten films scored by R. D. Burman. My personal favourite (for no formal reason): Seeta Aur Geeta.

Interesting statement of the day{extracted from the review of the soundtrack album of LAGAAN on Planet Bollywood}
Not many a Bollywood composer would know that composing a true waltz requires 3/4 measure (basically the 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3 feel for the song).
Blog Ticker
The blogdex project at MIT Media Labs amalgamates pointers on personal sites to get an instantaneous look at internet fashion from democratic means. {blogdex} is a system built to harness the power of personal news, amalgamating and organizing personal news content into one navigable source, moving democratic media to the masses...{read on}.
New post on Andrew Sullivan's blog: The Blogger Manifesto
Something for people like me: Dennis Mahoney's article on writing a better weblog.
Daily Readings for Lent
Jeremiah 18:18-20
Matthew 20:17-28

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Cartoon for the day: UserFriendly's take on Star Trek
One of the active topics of discussion in hindi film music is inspiration and plagiarism. Several articles have been written filled with accusations, confessions and explanations for this phenomenon. Here's an article I just found on the Sunday Midday pages. It's not very comprehensive or well-etched, but adequately presents some of the excuses one would hear from composers accused of 'lifting' tunes.
The Kapoor family is perhaps the largest family in the Indian film industry. To make sure you have all the links right, check out the family tree on the web home of RK Films.

RK films have always (well, almost always) been associated with great music. Yet, no matter who the music director, the music for an R.K. film was always Raj Kapoor's. His collaborators were only channels of his expressions. Here's a good article on the musical legacy of Raj Kapoor.
Trying to convince your colleagues and managers to switch to Python? Google has always been using Python. Check out the original Google paper, their hiring page, or the First Annual Google Programming Contest. For more coal to burn in advocacy, try Mark Lutz's Python advocacy page or the Python advocacy how-to.

Movie for the night: KAALA SONA
Ravee Nagaich's (unintentionally) hilarious, (unintentionally) risque desi take on the Westerns is rich with inappropriate dialogue, bizarre cuts, awkward camera takes, incongruous close-ups, numerous fish-eye shots and has everyone vying for a hamming title. Starring suave Feroz Khan, miscast Parveen Babi (she looks out-of-place in traditional Indianwear and cannot shake a leg), dimunitive (the camera emphasizes this sometimes rudely and often hilariously) bubbly Farida Jalal, Danny Denzongpa (who even sings a duet for himself in the film with Asha Bhosle) a one-eyed Prem Chopra (as Poppy Singh) and includes inconsequential cameos by Helen (with a well-tuned badly picturised dance number), Satyen 'now you see me, now I'm dead' Kappu, Jairaj ('did you miss me? I'm dead') and an ever-inebriated Keshto Mukherjee playing an aptly named character called Sharaabi. Rakesh (Khan) abandons his lifestyle as a playboy and heads north on a horse to avenge his father's murder. The killer Prem Chopra is also responsible for a massacre in the village and the disappearance of Chetan, the son of Thakur Randhir Singh and little brother of Durga (Babi) and Bela (Jalal). Rakesh runs into Shera (Danny Denzongpa) and gains an ally and disciple in his quest for revenge. Along the way, Rakesh finds time to win Durga's heart, Bela and Shera fall in love (per force, if I may add), and there is an anti-climactic tail-ender that is both unnecessary and irritating. Good tunes by R. D. Burman, although picturisations are hilarious and often jaw-dropping. A definite candidate for the B-movie library, this film includes numerous instances of people hurling other people into the air or onto the ground without a 'by your leave'. Strange!

Daily Readings for Lent
Isaiah 1:10-20
Matthew 23:1-12

Monday, February 25, 2002

Arguably, no soft drink has as rich a history as Coca Cola. The home site includes a lot of information about the bottle design, Coke's contribution to Christmas, and much much more. Something I couldn't find there (call it laziness or bad site design) was a list of Coca Cola advertising slogans. A search on Google gave me several results but Roger Richardson's list, Winspiration's page and Graham's Coca Cola Website were especially promising.
Just stumbled upon a great archive of several posts on the newsgroup devoted to the music of the Beatles. It includes analyses and opinions about many of their songs, and also links to the "official" page for the newsgroup. My favourite section: Alan W. Pollack's 'Notes On' Series.
As of February 18, 2002, iLOR, the RESEARCH destination, that proclaims itself as ...the most user friendly search engine in the world, has switched from Google to Ask Jeeves for their results. What's with the name? It is derived from "Internet Lore".

While on the subject on search engines : Incubator turned software specialist divine (NASDAQ:DVIN) has acquired content and search technology firm Northern Light... (read on)
The BAFTAs were announced yesterday. The official list is rather high on loading time, so you could try the page on IMDB, the San Francisco Chronicle or the BBC(which also includes a sidebar of enticing links to all things BAFTA) or The Hollywood Reporter.
Will the LAGAAN madness never end? Cricket comes to Hollywood proclaims the BBC Sports section. Thanks to K. V. for this tidbit.
Daily Readings for Lent
Daniel 9:4-10
Luke 6:36-38

Sunday, February 24, 2002

More R. D. Burman results off eBay

This time it's SHALIMAR (note: link will become stale once the auction is over). This soundtrack has become a regular groove favourite in the US of A:
Composer : RD Burman ; OST : "Shalimar" ; Label : Polydor 2392147 ; Year : 1978 ; Country : India ; Condition : cov VG++ rec Ex ; Description : Yes, the hottest indian soundtrack around, for the last few years, it has become a must for every rare groove heads of this planet. It contains 3 perfect tracks in an exceptional sound quality for this kind of records: - First you have a dramatic hip-hop instrumental that must come from another planet - Then your needle gently slides to a weird song upon a kinky beat by Usha Uthup (aka Usha Iyer) "one two cha cha cha" that surely won't leave the dancefloor empty - Finally you won't be insensitive to the funky sexy "baby let's dance together" In one word, this album is fantastic...

And here's another auction item: BASERA:
OST : "Baseraa" ; Artist : R.D. Burman ; Label : Polydor 2392291 ; Country : India ; Condition : cov VG++ rec NM ; Description : This LP contains the funky euphoric duet "Tumhe chhod ke"...

Yet another one: THE GREAT GAMBLER:
Artist : R.D. Burman ; OST : "The great gambler" ; Label : EMI eclp 5566 ; Year : 1978 ; Country : India ; Condition : cov VG++ rec Ex (except an audible 10 second scratch on the firs track) ; Description : For sure this is great R.D. stuff, although it is not as hip as Shalimar, it is filled with beautiful indian songs and a funky suspense instrumental theme. There are also a few good loops for the beatheads...

And CHANDI SONA (with my corrections and modifications):
this original indian only issue lp by "Rahul Dev Burman" the man behind all the dope indian o.s.t. and this ill lp is called "CHANDI SONA" this lp features a very dope funky mambo electronic heavy percusion club banger.....which i just saw on a list last week for $150.00 plus spacey tune with like star trek sound effects solo and mad ill yes another mambo funker with such sick funk and flute club dj style with some mad mad synths and brass djs will rip it....also you will find some top hip hop samples on this rare indian only o.s.t. like weird wah vocal samples sitar,tablas on that timberland production vibe.on the emi ind ia record label from the year 1976 in mint condition....lp sounds more late 60,s to me ? top indian lp of the month..., an interesting tribute to the genre, includes a list of "the best in beats-driven soundtrack music over the past thirty years. It encompasses music from all over the world, focusing primarily on funk and 'blaxploitation' scores while including earlier groovy, jazz-influenced or 'beat' soundtracks. Ratings are based on a subjective appraisal of a soundtrack's groove element: that indefinable something that makes you want to dance, nod your head, or listen more closely to the music. The ratings are purely the opinion of's soundtracks contributors." R. D. Burman has three entries in the list: SHALIMAR, HARE RAMA HARE KRISHNA, and YAADON KI BAARAAT. In case you want to sample more Bollywood hits that have achieved a following as funk classics, check out BOLLYWOOD FUNK, a July 31, 2000 release. Incidentally, the date marks the 19th death anniversary of famous Indian playback singer Mohammed Rafi. Read the entries for this album on Amazon and All Music Guide.
Python has been my favourite programming language for quite some time now. Referred to by some as a competitor to Perl, the epitome of terse obfuscation, Python is endearing for its readability, modularity and mix of imperative and object-oriented programming paradigms. So, what about Java? I have tried to learn Java several times, but I probably started the wrong way. It's no surprise then that Mr. Preprocessor's page on the language that I stumbled on would tickle my funny bone.
Ever wondered why a sub sandwich was called a sub sandwich? The submarine sandwich gets its name from the shape of the roll used. Passed under the guise of monikers like "Italian Hero", "Hoagie", "Grinder", "Poor Boy" and "Dagwood" this essential member of American Fast Food supposedly originated in Italy and had its humble beginnings in the US of A in the town of Chester, PA.
I owe all this information to Munchmaster and the AT&T Virtual Classroom.
While on the subject did you know that the Subway restaurant chain is the world's largest submarine sandwich franchise, with thousands of independently owned and operated restaurants spanning the globe?
It was the summer of 1965, "Help Me Rhonda" was blasting from the speakers of newly minted Mustangs and T-Birds. Lyndon Johnson was in the White House and The New York World's Fair was offering a hope-filled but commercialised glance into the future...(read on)
Abandonware is defined as any PC/Mac/Amiga/C64/Apple game that is:

  1. At least four years old

  2. Not being sold or supported by the company that produced it or by any other company.
    When a certain piece of Abandonware is later found to be sold or supported by a
    company, then it ceases to be Abandonware.

The post on slashdot and Flashbacks for Free on GameSpot have more on this.
Ridley Scott is working on yet another version of Blade Runner for the Special DVD release. Good news for the excellent visuals and sound, but what about the poor fans who have to now rush to claim another addition to their collection?, the web home of hosts an interesting interview with Scott for the British edition of Empire Magazine of February 2002. We all know by now that the movie Deckard was a replicant. I miss the ambiguity of the novel (and the completely excised subtext involving Mercerism). Independently, the film stands out as perhaps the definitive example of future noir. As an adaptation, it may only serve as yet another indicator of how tough it is to adapt Philip K. Dick for the screen. The post on slashdot includes the usual mix of interesting comments. Here's the press release on SCI FI Wire.

Daily Readings for Lent
Genesis 12:1-4
Timothy 1:8-10
Matthew 17:1-9

Saturday, February 23, 2002

It has been days since the final Oscar nominations were announced. LAGAAN becomes only the third Indian film to make the final list of Foreign Film nominees. Aamir talks more about it in his interview for this week's issue of SCREEN.

This Saturday's trip to the public library results in a large haul. Despite my conscious efforts to cut down on my extra-curricular reading I have ended up with Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster, Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem, The Films of Clint Eastwood by Boris Zmijewsky and Lee Pfeiffer, Names by Paul Dickson, Coming to Terms by William Safire, Hollywood Urban Legends by Richard Roeper, and Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub. If that wasn't enough, I also got a handful of CD music. Here goes (each title links to the all music guide entry for it, just in case you want to evaluate my taste based on their reviews:):

The usual walk to Atlanta Underground resulted in my first visit to a Häagen-Dazs outlet. I tried the Belgian Chocolate Chocolate small cup (which was more than enough after the heavy lunch at the food court). Good stuff. I accompanied my friend to macy's one block north of the public library and ended up giving in to a Club Room sweatshirt on clearance. My first sweatshirt ever.

More proof that some people just have too much time on their hands. A friend just sent me an email that asked to try out the following command:
telnet This interesting enterprise, or the Starwars Asciimation as the site prefers to list it also has an article in The Register devoted to it titled "Ever wanted to see Star Wars in Telnet?".

Daily Readings for Lent
Isaiah 58:9-14
Luke 5:27-32

Friday, February 22, 2002

A friend sent me this hilarious article on Simbly South about migration, emigration and transmigration.

Tired of endless swapping on my machine, I fired off a search for R. D. Burman on eBay and was pleasantly surprised to find some useful results. Someone had put up a combo CD of YAADON KI BAARAAT/HUM KISISE KUM NAHEEN for bids. The link to the item will go stale once the auction ends. Here's the description of the item, which is what really caught my attention.

Indian soundtrack two-fer CD - YAADON KI BAARAAT & HUM KISISE KUM NAHEEN. Composed by the GOD of Indian soundtracks - Mr. Rahul Dev Burman. Do you like moogs, overdriven organ sounds, congo drums, funky beats, surf guitar, wah wah guitar, sexy Indian chick vocals? If you like any of that stuff, you'll more than likely dig this CD. You DJ's/producers really need to buy this thing, cuz there's just SO MUCH to sample from here. And your friends will think you're cool cuz you like this weird music. You've bought all the David Axelrod records. It's now time to get into something new. Believe me, if Vanilla Ice was sampling this stuff, he'd have a major comeback.

The Ramayan is one of the two major epic poems in India that describe the journey of virtue to annihilate vice. The poem is composed in a complex metre called Anustup (which incidentally happens to be the name of a famous quizzer in the Indian circuit). To read more about shloks and metres, start off with this article. The article mentions the ITRANS transliteration scheme from the Devnaagri script to English. Read more about it here.

We make an impromptu drive to Taj Mahal Imports on Woodcliff Drive and I now have some more old Hindi VHS to watch: KHOTTEY SIKKEY and MANORANJAN. The other selections we make include KABULIWALA and SAHIB, BIWI AUR GHULAM. Dinner is a buffet at Mirch Masala. This is the first time I have eaten there. Although rather limited the buffet included some redeeming kadhi and kheer. The layout was appealing. I almost expected Mithun or Jumping Jack Jeetendra to pop out near the cashier's counter and break into a dinner disco tune. The place also emphasizes chatter against faint strains of oldies instead of a muzak-enhanced background.

Movie for the night: MANORANJAN
Shammi Kapoor's directorial debut is a bold desi remake of Billy Wilder's adaptation of IRMA LA DOUCE with Sanjeev Kumar, Zeenat Aman and Shammi Kapoor relishing his role as Dhoop "Dhoopu" Chaaon, the proprieter of Dhoop Chaaon hotel, switching between witty one-liners and moments of pure ham. Great soundtrack (but this is really biased opinion) from R. D. Burman with the experimental excursion into rhythms called Aaya hoon main tujhko le jaaoonga, the lovely Asha solo Chori chori solah shringaar karoongi and Goyake chunaanche, which has Manna Dey voicing for Shammi Kapoor. The film met with mediocre success when it was released in 1974. A very off-beat choice to make a debut with, and a very commendable effort that falls apart in the rather hastily wrapped up and poorly acted out climax.

Daily Readings for Lent
Ezekiel 18:21-28
Matthew 5:20-26

Thursday, February 21, 2002

Taran Adarsh lists the movie titles registered each week here. We have a few interesting ones today: Prem Kahani-A Love Story Of Two Enemies (registered by Vishesh Entertainment Ltd., which, if I am not mistaken, is the Bhat(t?) clan) We also have a 'First Time' troika:

  • Pehli Baar (meaning: the first time)

  • Bas Pehli Baar (meaning: just the first time)

  • Pehli Pehli Baar (meaning: the first time, with added emphasis)

Weblogs (or 'blogs') are the most democratic channel for public opinion. This page is an example of a blog. I was looking over my collection of references to articles that talk about this 'social creature'. Here are a few links that provide context.
anatomy of a weblog by cameron barrett
weblogs: a history and perspective by rebecca blood
weblogs as community by derek m. powazek
if bloggies were a popularity contest...
the second annual bloggies

Daily Readings for Lent
Esther 12: 14-25. Strangely, all versions of the Bible that I found have only 10 chapters for this book. If anyone finds a link to this, please let me know.
Matthew 7:7-12. The last part of the Sermon on the Mount

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

The unpredictable Atlanta weather strikes again. Turned in yesterday night to a cool night and woke up today to grey cloudy skies and raindrops pattering against my window. Truly, Heisenberg would have been pleased (I am probably referring to him out of context, but he's the only person I can think of right now.

Special Time Event Today
There is a special "time event" today evening: the palindromic symmetry of 8:02pm on February 20, 2002, 20:02 on 20/02 of 2002 (2002 2002 2002), using the international date/time notation. It seems that the only other time this has occurred is at 10:01am on January 10, 1001 (1001 1001 1001), and that it will never occur again.After 2112, this event will never occur again because for this trick to work, the first two digits can never be bigger than the 23 hours in a day (22/22 and 23/32 are impossible day/month combinations).Thansk to Jason Kottke for this.

Father Time's Blog also includes a mention of it.

New Google Ad Strategy
There is a post on Slashdot today about Google's new strategy for sponsored rankings. The referenced article is hosted on on Excite.

ITA Software has been posting picture ads on Slashdot for quite a while now for a recruitment puzzle involving add-a-grams, nine 9s, and a mystery M function. There has been some discussion about this on several forums like the comp.lang.python newsgroup and Lambda the Ultimate.

Lambda The Ultimate is 'The Programming Languages Weblog' and contains several interesting threads and posts. They also provide an RSS 0.92 feed.

Just read about ROOT, an object-oriented data analysis framework at CERN. The main page also has a link to CINT, an interpreter for C and C++.

Although the null device hosts links to numerous applications of The Dada Engine, it also has an interesting blog. The main item today was a link to an article in the Boston Herald about the effect of language on human cognition.

The official site for the X-files has a link to a press release about the much-awaited series finale. David Duchovny will return for the two-hour finale (I guess he finally figured out his acting career was going nowhere). He is also confirmed to direct THE X-FILES episode scheduled to air Sunday, April 28 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) based on a story idea he co-wrote with Carter and executive producer Frank Spotnitz.

A posting on comp.lang.python referred to the Collatz Problem. The numbers in the sequence produced by the Collatz are sometimes referred to as hailstone numbers. If this sounds interesting, read more about it at Eric Weisstein's World of Mathematics.

Daily Readings for Lent
Jonah 3:1-10
Luke 11:29-32
Both readings, the first from the Old Testament and the second from the New Testament, talk about Jonah and the people of Nineveh.

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

New words for the day

1. prandial: adj: of or relating to a meal
Etymology: Latin prandium late breakfast, luncheon: Date: 1820 (source: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary)

2. aperçu: noun: a brief survey or sketch, an immediate impression; especially
plural aperçus
Etymology: French, from aperçu, past participle of apercevoir to perceive, from Old French aperceivre, from a- (from Latin ad-) + perceivre to perceive -- more at PERCEIVE: Date: 1828 (source: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary)

Ever wondered about the difference between 'to compare to' and 'to compare with' ? Here's an article from The Vocabulary Review that addresses the need for brevity in English writing.

Daily Readings for Lent
Isaiah 55:10-11: The source for the church hymn Thank you Lord for all you've done
Matthew 6:7-15: The Lord's Prayer

Monday, February 18, 2002

The first day of another working week. It's President's Day today. If you cannot remember why today is President's Day or if you never knew why to begin with, here is some information.

I finally book my first flight within North America, after 18 months in this country. Got a good deal (considering I had such a small advance window) from HotWire.

Found a review by Jonathan Yardley of 'Tobacco: The Story of How Tobacco Seduced the World' by Iain Gately off Arts and Letters Daily. It features the following extract from King James VI's tract called A Counterblaste to Tobacco. I remember this as part of a chapter in our Class X English text back home in India.

"Smoking is a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black, stinking fume thereof nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless."

Just found out about IMDb's new subscription site IMDb Pro, which bears an interesting interface chock-full of nuggets like box office figures, news and the like. All for $12.99 a month or $99 a year. I think I'll stick with the free version for now, but "If you use IMDb to do your job, then you need".

Dialogues make a David Mamet film memorable. Click here for quotes from THE SPANISH PRISONER.
Some of the lines are funnier if you have seen the movie, but there is still enough to make a click worthwhile.

Daily Readings for Lent
Leviticus 19:1-18: The Ten Commandments
Matthew 25:31-46

Sunday, February 17, 2002

A fun weekend it has been. Saturday included a drive to the Red Top Mountain State Park. The movie for the evening was the Bollywood blockbuster of 2001, KABHI KHUSHI KABHIE GHAM. A slick visually pleasant piece of filmmaking packed with more songs than required, the film has a deplorably weak and sapid screenplay. Some of the dialogue (which won a Filmfare Award on Saturday IST) sparkles, but most of it is prolix that aspires to be pithy and epigrammatic. There are a few very brief scenes that deserve credit (Rahul's confrontation with Yashwardhan Raichand before he leaves home has some good moments, Rahul feeding his brother Rohan the lines that open the film on the park bench, Rahul asking the now grown-up Rohan about his parents (again on a bench). The winners of the Escapist Hyperboles Award include the Raichand mansion and the helicopters. The Chandni Chowk set deserves mention, as do the photography and the costumes. Karan Johar smartly and slyly includes songs from the Chopra collection of movies, revisits MAINE PYAR KIYA (Wah wah Ramji among other motifs), HUM AAPKE HAIN KOUN (spoken ever so blithely by Rohan to Poo) and his previous success, the candy floss box office smash KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI. The Big B is dependable and his screen presence is undeniable. Wonder when he will begin to choose sensible roles instead of just the moolah that he receives from these baritone-dominated half-baked if-you've-seen-one-you've-seen-them-all characters (the authoritarian Narayan Shanker in MOHABBATEIN, the patriarch of principles in K3G). AKS saw him in a different light, but left him stranded playing an ill-defined individual backed by an ambitious yet weak script. Hrithik Roshan should capitalize on his looks, acting and dancing skills to grab roles of meat and substance instead of playing the cynosure of female teenage hearts (of course, he gets paid to do that, so who can blame him?). Shah Rukh Khan is mercifully more under control here than in his other films, but there is little else that can be said. I guess the same would go for Kajol, although I know nothing about the residents of Chandni Chowk to comment on the quality of her interpretation. However there are serious lapses in her character and speech that prevent her performance from being completely convincing. Kareena Kapoor is riding high on the wave of hype and publicity. I expect a crash soon, but find it unlikely considering she is a star kid. She cannot act and frankly doesn't qualify as beautiful (Rani Mukherji scores there although she really needs a tonsillectomy). She and Jaya Bachchan (wasted in an insipid conventional role that could have been essayed by a junior artiste had Karan Johar decided to focus on story instead of the appeal of nostalgia and slick looks) compete for the next release of the Ramsay Brothers. Honestly. Karan Johar is laughing all the way to the bank right now. Who can blame him? Inspite of negative word-of-mouth, everyone watched the film at least once. Long live hype and publicity. Who needs good stories anyway? Years ago they accused Satyajit Ray of selling poverty to the USA. Are they ready to own up for the stereotyped image of Hindi cinema that has found its place in the minds of people today? Money talks.

Readings for Lent (Saturday)
Isaiah 58:9-14
Luke 5:27-32

Spent most of today (Sunday) listening to my R. D. Burman CDs before a trip for groceries and some food from the Atlanta Underground Food Court.
Some great news off comp.lang.python. Guido van Rossum was awarded the Free Software Foundation Award for the Advancement of Free Software for inventing and implementing Python. Click here to read the press release.

Mass Readings
Genesis 2:7-9 - 3:1-7
Romans 5:12-19
Matthew 4:1-11

2122 EST Just discovered an uneasy mudslinging fest (well a couple actually) on RMIM about R. D. Burman. Here are the relevant threads.
About the Pancham Yahoo! Group
Who takes the credit ? (Re: RDB fans are pathetic)
RDB fans are pathetic losers
Website for Plagiarism/ Copying in Indian Film Music...

Friday, February 15, 2002

Yesterday was Valentine's Day. Nothing special for me. However, I make up for it in the evening with HEERALAL PANNALAL. A rather dismal film replete with coincidences that would give Robert McKee a heart attack. Good hummable tunes by R. D. Burman were the real reason for my borrowing it from Taj Exports.

Daily Readings for Lent (for Thursday)
Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Luke 9:22-25

Today a faculty lunch provided for pizza. Abstinence meant I could only stick to the veggies. Later in the evening, a large free pastry appeared in the break room. I'm full of junk food now. Need to take a break.

Daily Readings for Lent (for Friday)
Isaiah 58:1-9
Matthew 9:14-15

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

I have finally created a blog for myself today. It's also Ash Wednesday and I have decided to abstain from meat and fast. By the time the sun goes down, one may expect me to have visions of coloured circles and obscure shapes.

For more about ash wednesday, read the entry in the Catholic Encyclopaedia

Daily Readings:
Joel 2:12-18
2Corinthians 5:20-6:2
Matthew 6:1-6
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