Sunday, October 27, 2002

From Wired News, the hazards of working in the myriad ‘call centers’ in India:

[…] Partho let his accent slip and had to confess after being pointedly questioned that he was, in fact, an Indian sitting next to a telephone in Mumbai. "The man told me, 'You guys blew up the WTC,'" he said. "I tried to explain India had nothing to do with it, but he just banged the phone down."

Mandakini Pradhan, 21, once dialed an American home in an attempt to sell a caller ID system. The man told her, "Aren't you the girl who lives next door? Can you see me? I am naked."

‘Founded in 1959, Communication Arts is the leading trade journal for visual communications. It's the largest design magazine in the world and showcases the top work in graphic design, advertising, illustration, photography and interactive design.’slrs

“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.”
- Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill Houseslq

Like logos?


From the American Film Institute’s 100 greatest movie posters of the 20th century.


Saturday, October 26, 2002

In their September issue, the folks at Web User, the UK’s largest selling internet magazine, have selected their ten favourite weblogs. Here are their top three:

1. Beatnikpad
2. Rebecca Blood
3. Blogjam

Others on the list include Pop Culture Junk Mail and Swish Cottage.sll slrs

Found from a fellow blogger, who has a real classy looking blog at, a story in The Independent about a real Beckettian farce taking place in the London High Court. An excerpt:

Counsel: Now, Mr Chrysler – for let us assume that that is your name – you are accused of purloining in excess of 40,000 hotel coat hangers.

Chrysler: I am.

Counsel: Can you explain how this came about?

Chrysler: Yes. I had 40,000 coats which I needed to hang up.

Counsel: Is that true?

Chrysler: No.

Counsel: Then why did you say it?

Chrysler: To attempt to throw you off balance.

Counsel: Off balance?

Chrysler: Certainly. As you know, all barristers seek to undermine the confidence of any hostile witness, or defendant. Therefore it must be equally open to the witness, or defendant, to try to shake the confidence of a hostile barrister.

Counsel: On the contrary, you are not here to indulge in cut and thrust with me. You are only here to answer my questions.

Chrysler: Was that a question?

Counsel: No.

Chrysler: Then I can’t answer it.

Part II of the story here.

The 50 best romantic reads, from the British newspaper The Independent, list freak that I am…sll

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Last month The Guardian announced the results of its Best British Weblog competition. The winner was Scaryduck by Alistair Coleman of Weymouth, Dorset. Just checked out the blog. The chap has a good sense of humour:

In the name of God! Pretty Woman is not - repeat IS NOT a modern fairy tale about true love and the American Dream. It's a sordid little movie about a man who drives around picking up prostitutes. He's a kerbcrawler! A sex pervert! He probably even had a small rodent stuffed up his arse while he was at it...

And under a photograph of a suspicious-looking cat, he writes: ‘LESBIAN RABBITS TURNED MY CAT MENTAL’.

Coleman also maintains Scaryduck’s House of Lies – which has some pretty good howlers.

sll slrs

Largecow is the website of British cartoonist and graphic novelist Hunt Emerson.

‘I was abducted by aliens once. They ate my trousers.’slrs

Nothing like a good annotated reading list to whet your appetite for books. Here’s one I found recently, from the September / October 1999 issue of the American Book Review. ‘The 20th Century’s Greatest Hits: 100 English Language Books of Fiction’ is by Larry McCaffery, who teaches American literature at San Diego State University and is co-editor of the journal Fiction International. Save it to a floppy and read it at home.

More great book lists can be found at slrs

Right, I’ll get to Marquez on some bright sunny day, after I can get myself to stop puzzling at the ambiguous undulations that pigeons make as they sink downward to darkness on extended wings…

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Right now I am reading (rereading) collected stories of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Dear Clement, don’t waste your precious life reading the definitions of life, love and art, read any of these stories, especially the stories of 60's and 70's.

The grand mother shrugged her shoulder and took care of the musician. She handed him a bundle of bills that matched the figure written in her ledger.

"Two hundred and fifty numbers," she told him. "At fifty cents apiece, plus thirty two on Sundays and holidays at sixty cents apiece, that's one hundred fifty-six twenty.

The musician wouldn't accept the money.

"It’s one hundred eighty-two forty," he said. “Waltzes cost more.'

"Why is that?'

"Because they are sadder," said the musician.

The grand mother made him take the money.

"Well, this week you'll play us two happy numbers for each waltz I owe you for and we'll be even."

- ‘Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother'

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Website of the Film and Television Institute of India here in Pune. Bad text, unattractive design, and the Admissions link does not work. Reminds you that the institute is run by the government. Seems like the private firm which designed the site learnt their trade from the Department of Audio-Visual Publicity (the notorious DAVP) of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The latest goof of the DAVP I heard about is the ad they published on Gandhi Jayanti in a Gujarati newspaper which read, ‘An ungrateful[!] nation pays homage to the Mahatma on his birthday.’ The Congress promptly declared that if not on purpose, the slip was surely Freudian, and alleged that the Hindutvawadis in Delhi are still after the Mahatma more than half a century after they assassinated him.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002 chats with Asif Kapadia – director of the acclaimed British made Hindi-language film The Warrior. Says Kapadia:

My co writer Tim Miller… pitched me something he had read in a book of Japanese tales, it was a four line footnote: “A young Boy training to be a samurai, was bought before the Shogun, shown a severed head and asked if it was his father. The Boy knew it was not his father but to save his father's life he lied and said it was. To prove it, the Boy pulled out his dagger and killed himself. He would rather be dead than live with the shame his father had bought onto the family.” I thought it was such a powerful scene… the introduction to which Slate's cartoonist Daryl Cagle argues that 9/11 brought out the worst in editorial cartoons.
[Click on above pic.]

Cagle's Professional Cartoonists Index. HUGE collection of political cartoons.slrs

Monday, October 14, 2002

The NYT on American Desi.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Changed Salon’s archive template; got a drop-down menu for it. Changed archiving frequency to monthly. I dunno but all this seems to have solved the trouble with posting too. Everything fine then. Good.

For the archive template, used Phil Ringnalda’s Archive Script Generator, which I recommend. Because it uses JavaScript, which I have no idea of, I couldn’t get the archive pages to open in a new window.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

The art of the graphic novel – an article from December 2000 in The Observer.

Top 10’s in the Guardian’s Books section: selections of favourite ten books in all sorts of genres and sub-sub-genres of publishing, by writers, editors, academics, et al. One life ain’t enough, man!

Sample: The Observer's literary editor Robert McCrum’s ‘favourite books of the twentieth century’:

1. A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu by Marcel Proust
2. Ulysses by James Joyce
3. The Man without Qualities by Robert Musil
4. The Trial by Franz Kafka
5. Murphy by Samuel Beckett
6. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
7. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
8. The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass
9. A Bend in the River by VS Naipaul
10. Nostromo by Josef Conrad

It is also possible that you may discover something special: ‘The best comic strip of all time. The best illustrated book of all time. The best sustained work of surrealism of all time. A magisterial whodunwhat, full of little deaths and high adventure, insurrection and freedom.’ China Miéville here is talking about one book – Une Semaine de Bonte by Max Ernst.sll slrs

- René Magritte: The Lovers, 1928

You liked ‘A to Z of Surrealism’? There’s more where that came from. Last year the Tate Gallery in London hosted an exhibition titled ‘Surrealism: Desire Unbound’. The BBC had many programmes in connexion with this event. The very interesting material is compiled here.

A selection of works from the exhibition.slrs

From the transcript on the BBC website of a live chat with Jonathan Meades – author, journalist and critic – on Surrealism:

Q: True or false, intelligent people can't make art?
JM: That's a very good question, I think if you're too sensient and too intelligent you probably can't do it. I think perhaps that would be a quality that you don't know what you're doing - because if you know what you're doing you can't do it.
[Interesting, no?]

Q: What would happen if someone were to break the rules for Surrealism? Is it possible to be too surrealistic for Surrealism?
JM: Well think September the 11th. Well evidently you can look at the film of what was happening on that day and say as Carl Heinz Stockhausen said 'This is a great work of art' - that was a crass thing to say. However, it was possible to see that from the clouds and flames it looked like all of Max Ernst premonitions had come true.

Q: What is it that fascinates you so much about the fantastical dogma of the Catholic church?
JM: I'm a card-carrying Atheist but if I smoked cigarettes I would smoke Capstan full-strength rather than Marlborough Light.
[Them’s my sentiments!]

Q: What relationship does Surrealism have to anarchy? Exploring outside the realms of common sense and common rules?
JM: I don't know, I think that art does not attempt to control people in any way. It might suggest roots by which people can behave. It doesn't try to lay down forms for behaviour. It might suggest a way of behaving but it doesn't set out templates of behaviour - it is not prescriptive.

Q: With Surrealist art the theory is to express the spontaneous. But how can a work of art, which takes time and effort to produce be spontaneous?
JM: I think it's very improbable that any work of art of any merit has been spontaneous. The only kind of spontaneity is the kind of spontaneity that has been very well rehearsed and thought out beforehand - That's knocking the idea of spontaneity right on the head.
[Again interesting, eh?]

Style for Men, from the About web portal: shaving, hairstyles, fashion. Am I being trivial?slrs

The following is from the page titled ‘The Fine Print’ on It’s pretty long – I couldn’t decide on a part to select and so here’s the whole thing. It’s a fun compendium. Reminded me of a particular Radiohead song. But Radiohead is another topic…

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Shading within a garment may occur. Use only in a well-ventilated area. Keep away from fire or flames. Replace with same type. Approved for veterans. Booths for two or more. Check here if tax deductible. Some equipment shown is optional. Price does not include taxes. No Canadian coins. Not recommended for children. Prerecorded for this time zone. Reproduction strictly prohibited. No solicitors. No alcohol, dogs or horses. No anchovies unless otherwise specified. Restaurant package, not for resale. List at least two alternate dates. First pull up, then pull down. No MSG used. This film has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to fit your TV. Driver does not carry cash. Some of the trademarks mentioned in this product appear for identification purposes only. Record additional transactions on back of previous stub. Unix is a registered trademark of AT&T. Do not fold, spindle or mutilate. No transfers issued until the bus comes to a complete stop. Package sold by weight, not volume. Your mileage may vary. This supersedes all previous notices. Repeat as necessary. Keep out of reach of children. Contents may be hot. Keep head and arms inside at all times. Dispose of properly. For external use only. Avoid contact with eyes. It is a violation of federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling. Close spout after use. Do not puncture or incinerate. Contents under pressure. If redness, irritation, swelling or pain persists or increases or if infection occurs, discontinue use and consult a physician. In case of accidental ingestion, seek professional assistance or contact a poison control center immediately. Intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating and inhaling the contents can be harmful or fatal. Do not spray while smoking or near fire. Products are not authorized for use as critical components in life support devices or systems. See reverse side for additional details. 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If you are pregnant or nursing a baby, seek the advice of a health care professional before using. This product has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory rats. For optimum performance and safety, please read these instructions carefully. Do not use the AC adapter provided with this player for other products. Do not play your headset at high volume. If you experience a ringing in your ears, reduce volume or discontinue use. Do not use while operating a motorized vehicle. Prices stated are USA prices only. This page intentionally left blank. Do not eat. This is not a toy. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball. Plagiarist is a registered trademark of and Approximately, Inc. All rights reserved.

A website called – a good site with a bad name. It is ‘a repository of classic and modern poetry’. Classic poetry is comparatively easy to find on the web. But this site is pretty strong on modern poetry too.slrs

To Fobbin:

I didn’t comment on your Monologue of a Bush Postman because it’s good and it shows. Typical of your stuff too. I feel like I’m beginning to get the hang of your ‘artistic vision’ (pardon the bombast). But maybe I’m too hasty. Let’s have more of your stuff, and I’ll tell you.

‘Passages, chambers, storages and altars’ – for some reason I like that. ‘Silver streaks’, ‘blinding glimmer’, ‘green breasts [beasts?]’, ‘broken mirrors’, ‘gnarled thighs’, ‘dark green silence’ – painter, aren’t you?

I’m telling you man, having read part of your African story as well as this monologue, you’ve got a good thing going with this bushman stuff. Can you get out of this something more sustained?

There’s some problem with Blogger. Whenever a post is made, it shows the message: ‘Cannot load template – we are working on this.’ And the last post does not appear on Salon even after refreshing the page. But everything is fine after a couple of minutes or so. So don’t bother if your post doesn’t appear immediately.

Life is moving fast like a bull let loose. And I being responsible for whatever it does. Sometimes rewarded, sometimes punished.
Offering explanations and justifications. Providing theories for life's dynamics, never really grasping it.
But I am addicted and stuck with it, like a woman to her charming, irresponsible husband.slcw

'A to Z of surrealism' is great. I discovered painter 'Yves Tanguy'.

How is my Monologue of a bush postman ?

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Ezra Loomis Pound

'... hysterias, trench confessions, laughter out of dead bellies.'

His support for Mussolini led to his confinement in a US mental hospital (1946-58).

'The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.'

Just browsed through the BBC website. Fantastic! Huge, comprehensive and authoritative. Easy to get lost in all that content. Some day I’ll have a permanent connection to the net and will spend my time reading all that stuff. Some day.

AboutMusic is their in-depth section on music of all persuasions, where Debussy jostles with Dylan and Davis.

AboutMusic’s profile of Beethoven with more links and recommendations. I suppose the site would also be a worthy aural experience, but the net café has no facilities for sound.

The informative entry on Dylan (‘unquestionably the greatest musical poet of the 20th century’) from the Encyclopedia of Popular Music reproduced on the site.

Paris in the Twenties’ – a feature article in AboutMusic.

The A to Z of Surrealism: … B is for Andre Breton:

The founder, chief theoretician and presiding spirit of Surrealism, who became such a ferocious and possessive guardian of its purity across the decades that he became known by cynics as its “Pope”.


Having looked around to find out what else other than Gandhi’s birth occurred on Oct 2, I was interested to know about the events that took place on my birthday – June 26. Here’s what I found:

In 1284, the Pied Piper lured 130 children of the town of Hamelin away. In 1894, Karl Benz received US patent for gasoline-driven auto. In 1896, the first movie theatre in the US opened. In 1945, in San Francisco, the UN Charter was signed by 50 nations. In India, the Emergency was declared in 1975. In 1989, the US Supreme Court ruled that 16 year olds can receive the death penalty. In 1997 the Court struck down the Internet indecency law; and, on the same day, upheld the ban on doctor-assisted suicide.

In 1870, June 26 saw the premiere of Richard Wagner’s Valkyrie in Munich; and in 1912 Mahler’s 9th Symphony premiered in Vienna. The Beatles released A Hard Day’s Night in 1964; and in 1977 Elvis Presley gave the last performance of his career, in Indianapolis.

People born on June 26 include the scientist Lord Kelvin, the writers Andre Maurois and Pearl S Buck, the blues singer/guitarist ‘Big Bill’ Broonzy and the conductor Claudio Abbado, the actor Peter Lorre, and the director Paul Thomas Anderson.

Alfred Doblin, who, in his novel Berlin Alexanderplatz, gave Berlin the same treatment that Joyce gave Dublin in Ulysses, died on this date. (The novel was made into a film, which, at 15 ½ hours, is the longest narrative film ever, by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.)

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Wallace Stevens

'We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.'
- 'Sunday Morning' (1923) st. 8slq

Yesterday was October 2: Gandhi's birthday.

Others born on this day include Richard III, Wallace Stevens, Graham Greene, Groucho Marx, Bud Abbott and Sting.

The day also marks the first time the world saw a comic-strip featuring Charlie Brown and Snoopy (1950) and the premieres of 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' (1955) and 'Twilight Zone' (1959).

On October 2, 1187, Saladin captured Jerusalem from the Crusaders; and in 1941, Hitler began his ill-advised Operation Typhoon to bring Russia to her knees.

On this day in 322 BC Aristotle died of indigestion; and in 1955, James Dean died in a car crash.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

J B Priestly - quote

"For what is essential is that the novelist, whatever else he does, should be able to show us people who by some means or other, through delighted fascination, repulsion, or mere conviction that in their own world they exist, catch and hold our imagination. if his characters fail to do this, then the novelist has failed. A novel in which the people do not seem to us to come alive cannot succeed as a novel, no matter what merits it may have as a piece of writing.
Vital relationship between us and its characters, or atleast some of them, remains central in fiction, its keystone."
J B Priestly

J B Priestly - quote

"Enjoying modern poetry was no longer like enjoying a glass of wine, spring blossom, the operas of mozart, but began to suggest some difficult and mysterious hobby, solving cryptograms or learning to write chinese. The gap between the poet of genius or great talent and society in general was now far wider than it had been when the age began.
contemporary poetry seemed to be written by and for specialists.And here is the tragic irony of the situation, For poetry does not represent the specialization and separation of men, cannot be another of the barriers between them. Poetry is the break-through, the whole man addressing other whole men. but now modern poetry, in its sincere effort to be more purely poetical, lost most of its audience, and just when that audience was in need of it. So if the poets were unlucky, so was the age."
J B Priestly

J B Priestly - quote

"Strictly speaking, 'A hero of our time' (Lermentov)is not a novel at all but a series of five tales,and no matter how beautifully they are told,five tales do not add up to a novel, just as five pavillions cannot equal in their architectural importance a splendid palace.
A great novel has a scope and sweep, a broad continuity of narrative, a massive fundamental structure, with which, fortunately for the writer of the tales, episodes,anecdotes,novelettes, has not to concern himself."
J B Priestly.