The Whole Cricket Scandal

Harbhajan Singh There was that huge controversy over Harbhajan Singh making racist comments about Andrew Symonds, it was all over the news, and edged out ethnic violence in Kenya, Intel’s war with the OLPC, and the near end of the high definition format wars. Quite strange really that Indians are so untouched by ‘monkey‘ but so outraged at ‘poppadam‘, it has to be something to do with the religion and Hanuman and stuff like that. One would think that the people who find it offensive if people of another religion visit their places of worship would be the first to stand up against racial comments. Odd that, I didn’t see any of that.

Cricket Itself

It’s a boring game, really, and not particularly exciting except for the last few minutes but people still play large sums of money simply to have the chance to sit under the hot sun along with other sweaty tired people like them and talk about how advanced their nation is because they’re good at cricket. Perhaps, it’s the whole thing about cricket being a gentleman’s game. Or perhaps not. It isn’t. Not to the wildest imagination. It is a violent game, filled with unsportsmanlike behaviour, lies, cheating and a stupid adherence to so-called tradition to the detriment of fair play. Even worse, it has never been a gentleman’s game at any point of time when it was played between countries. Really, even under the watchful eye of the cliché police one is forced to quote George Orwell. Get over it, cricketers, you’re no gentlemen.

Racism

A touchy thing, racism, and one that Indians are not amateurs at. We’re professional bigots, talking about the stupid dalits, evilly reproducing people from other religions who hope to take over India, white men who defile our temples, heck we’re Masters of the Art. However, I doubt Harbhajan Singh intended to make a racial slur. As Pipe pointed out, he probably said “Teri maa ki…” :D

Well, okay, maybe not, but one has to stop and think: are words like ‘poppadom’ and ‘monkey’ really so offensive? I mean look at them – one is a food item, the other is an animal. Here we are, the most intelligent species on this planet and we spend our time calling each other the names of food items and animals and then we let our tribal blood boil and unleash modern-day animal screams. Douglas Adams was right about the dolphins.

I used to be a great subscriber to this anti-racism business, before I realised how stupid it is. I am now an anti-bigot, too much anti-racism is fluff that covers up real events. And words… words… words are just that, words — they don’t hurt you unless they’re from someone you care for, they don’t kill you or maim you and they don’t rip out your soul. Harassment’s a different issue, bullying’s something else: If someone comes up to you every day and puts you down, it’s not the fact that that person uses particular words that’s bad for you, it’s the fact that it is repetitive harassment. That sort of stuff can hurt people, really, reduce productivity, and drive them to feeling unappreciated and depressed. If a bunch of white kids pick on a black kid because he’s black the real offence is in the fact that they’re picking on the kid, the colour of his skin is less important. Think people, grow thicker skins not heads.

Interesting Spam

Back in the good old days, I used to get thousands of spam comments per day, but before that I only had a regular flow of twenty or so. In those days I actually bothered reading through the moderation list and removing the spam which got through Akismet. Some of those messages had very interesting text. Here are a few I had saved as a draft a long while ago.

  • Bangem smurf and domination: What were they thinking? Perhaps they too believed that the Smurfs were commies too?
  • Male strippers in cincinnati: I don’t know why I put this here. It’s not even funny. I mean, anyone looking for that can get precisely that on Google Maps. They didn’t even need to advertise, especially on a blog in Madras, India.
  • Prune juice for baby constipation: This is just twisted but I’ve got to admit that it’s got a use. Remember that annoying little kid at some relative’s place that kept biting you for no reason? Give him constipation, buy our prune juice.
  • Professional clown shoes: Professional clown shoes, a growing market that some say may eventually force amateur clown shoes out. Horrifyingly, the link included with the text pointed to a site full of naked women without clown shoes!
  • Really really want spice: Oh my god! It’s the Return Of The East India Company! Get Aamir Khan on the line, we need to make another movie.
  • The walrus and the carpenter: were walking hand in hand. They wept like anything to see such quantities of spam. And the link seemed to imply that both the walrus and the carpenter needed Sildenafil citrate
  • Poop com in apartments pantie: This reads like some Borat text. “Poop come in pantie, 4th best poop in apartment!” I wonder what they were advertising, I hear it’s something about a cup.

What’s wrong with this picture?

This is the Adyar Bus Depot. I took the shot some time ago while I was on my way to Marc’s place.

Adyar Bus Depot

I’ll tell you: It’s the buses. There are beautiful new buses all waiting in the bays, just asking to be run around the city, but instead of the improved comfort, we have to put up with the old buses. It’s like the MTC is trying to get as much of their money’s worth out of the buses as possible. They’re probably losing it all on worse mileage anyway. I don’t understand why they can’t run the newer ones and make us a little happier.

Editorialising

I like my news to be news. For opinions, there are hundreds of blogs – each with no less credibility than some random journalist. I couldn’t care less. Sometimes I just want news, tell me what happened, be dry, be real. Don’t editorialize. I don’t want to hear what you think, you are not important. Honestly. I can form my own opinion, my mind is capable of thought, and I don’t like being told what to think. Really, neutral reporting and interesting reporting aren’t mutually exclusive. If something is exciting, it will be.

Let’s see, I get three newspapers, so I got to see how different they are. Three headlines (and lets leave out any talk about lack of originality), The Hindu reported that Benazir Bhutto had been killed, The New Indian Express and Deccan Chronicle had their headlines telling me that a hope had died. Sloppy, that tells me nothing until I read the article. Matter of fact, the former has more impact. It’s a problem with Indian newspapers, TNIE can’t describe the BJP or the CPI(M) without making it an opinion piece, DC likes celebrities too much and The Hindu has real trouble relaying bad news about the so-called Left parties.

See, I have nothing against editorialising per se, but why mark an editorial as news? You have those center pages, marked Editorial, or those other pages marked Opinion. Put everything there. Call everything an editorial. Let’s have some honesty please. And while you’re about it, those Opinion pieces, try to write some good ones. The only interesting opinion pieces in a newspaper here are a few in The Hindu and the ones taken from the NYT or the Guardian or some other foreign newspaper. TNIE thinks inflammatory articles must be good, by default, so they print utter rubbish with little facts and lots of errors. And most of The Hindu articles have this air of I’m-the-venerable-old-colonel all over them — stuck-up.

Really, I’m beginning to think that those people who read only the comics, they’re the smart ones.

How To Win Elections

Narendra Modi Master Modi says,
Think to the future. Kill anyone who won’t vote for you.

Well, apparently it worked. The guy’s won the Gujarat elections, even though the main BJP didn’t even support his campaign. You’ve got to give it to the Congress, they’re the equivalent of the USA’s Democratic Party, only slightly less bad than the alternative, with the potential to make some really good decisions except that they manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Talented buggers, only they can make the impossible a habit.

I hope no one ever forgets that this guy presided over the worst communal riots in India this side of the century. Some figures say that nearly two thousand people were killed. Well done sir. A job well done.

Presentation Software – Powerpoint, Impress, whatever

Presentation software is retarded. Deep down inside, each of those coders is a psychotic killer on the verge of flipping out and going on a massacre. To keep these unstable people in a sort of happy state, they are allowed to write software that will cause mayhem all across the globe. It’s no surprise that they get paid for it, after all, isn’t that what life is all about?
Impress - Not

Impress:

OO:Writer is good, it does all I need and is generally predictable and doesn’t do weird stuff. But Impress, what a disaster. This is something that wouldn’t compare favourably to a broken gutter, there are options that don’t get enabled, rectangles that disappear only in slideshow view and if you create a new master slide and modify it, even by selecting the relevant portions, the first master gets modified and the second doesn’t. I’ll give OO.org the benefit of the doubt here, because the rounded rectangle thing atleast is something that arises from Ubuntu modifying stock OO, or so I’m told. I’ll go report the bugs after I’m finished typing this. Now this is just awful, stuff that works completely contrary to how it should work. To make that rounded rectangle you have to copy a rectangle from OO:Writer and paste it in OO:Impress because the rectangle in OO:Impress is ‘Shape’ not a ‘Rectangle’. Wow, thanks.

Powerpoint:

< See, I use free software all the time. So it's a big thing that I actually restart to Windows to use Powerpoint (I don't like Wine, doesn't integrate with the desktop so only useful for games). I thought, this is paid-for software, it better be good. But my god, it was anything but. See, Bikram sent me this presentation and I looked at it, and all the text had freaking shadow. Why?! Why is this default on that goddamn machine? Okay, that may be someone mucking about, but let's see how to fix this. Select text, Font Properties... Okay, shadow is unchecked. That's strange. Something to do with the Slide Master? Check there, sure enough all text has shadow. Okay Font Properties, remove all that shadow. Shadow is now gone. Return to slide, shadow is still there. What's going on? Go back to Master, no shadow, go to slide, shadow. That's weird. After more trouble, notice there's a separate shadow button for turning off shadows. Retardedness. Masters work well here. This is better software, but by no means good. I can't believe these people are so careless! I'll cut MS some slack because I'm using Office 2003, but Impress has no excuse, it’s the latest. Very well, no point complaining alone, so bug report time.

As for why? Needed to make presentation for college, and even the simplest things are so much trouble to make.

Bug report: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/openoffice.org2/+bug/175311
I sort of figured out that Master bug. It’s non-obvious, but it happens. I think the rounded one is already reported.