Monthly Archive for July, 2006

Speech is silver, brevity is golden

Don’t you hate it when your colleagues calling you for business purposes engage in the exchange of terms of endearment instead of getting down to the business? To me, it is a violent disregard of phone etiquette.

Take this example. Some time ago I worked with a team in India which was coordinated from the US by this genius named Anand. Since I was leading the team, people felt free to molest me by calling at 11PM whenever there was the slightest hint of a problem. So, as you can imagine, I didn’t exactly let out an ecstatic squeal when I got a call from Anand. I would rather be done with the call as quickly as possible and get back to my previously scheduled programming.

When I get his call on my cell phone, I do see his name. So I know who is calling. Moreover, none of my friends call me at that time because they know what I would be doing – washing dishes, of course. So I pick up the call and say, “Hey, what’s up?”

Here we have to stop for a moment and think about what the opening statement means.

If I say, “Hi, this is TD,” it means “I don’t know who the hell you are so state your name and purpose.”

If I say, “Hi?” it means “I know who you are but I can’t imagine what perverted reason you could have for calling at this ungodly hour”

But if I say, “Hey, what’s up?” it means, “I know who you are and why you are calling, so cut the bull and get to the point.”

But apparently Anand and I were not on the same page, or in the same book for that matter, when it comes to talking on the phone.

Here goes the conversation:
Me: Hey, what’s up?
Anand: Hi… TD?
Huh? Unless my months-old son’s voice started cracking reeeeally early, it has to be me!
Me: Ya, hi. So?
Anand: Hi, this is Anand
I KNOW that. I read it in 24pt typeface on my phone
Me: Hi Anand.
OK, NOW can we get to the point?
Anand: How are you?
Jesus F. Christ! Get to the effing point al-effing-ready

See what I mean? I hope people start respecting other people’s time. It doesn’t apply to friends though. I am happy if friends waste my time.

Oh, before I stop, I have to give you this gem.

Anand calls. I figure, if I announce to him I know who is calling, we can hit the ground running, so to sepak.

Me: Hi Anand. What is the issue.
Anand: (pause)Ya, Hi, this is Anand.
I already said that! Jesu… You know the rest of the story.

Harmless banning

By now I am sure everybody knows the story of Indian government banning a few websites on the grounds of bad graphics, annoying animated GIFs and unbalanced HTML tags. (After visiting the sites I couldn’t think of any other reason).

Apparently some bozo in Indian government defended the decision to block (via aditi). Hindustan times reports:

Officials defended the decision saying, “We would like those people to come forward who access these (the 12) radical websites and please explain to us what are they missing from their lives in the absence of these sites.”

The following are the statements I hope I won’t hear from the Indian government in the future:

  • “Yes, we shot all the beggars on the streets. Please explain to us what you miss in their absence”
  • “We understand that by lifting all environmental restrictions on all factories owned by ministers, we are posing a threat to the environment. But you won’t feel these effects in your life time. So we like people to explain why they are concerned.”
  • “We are banning newspapers from publishing any items of politicians or government officials shooting themselves in the foot.”
  • “Yes, we made it official that the cops can beat up any suspected criminal at will. If you are not a criminal, why are you worried?”
  • “We will shoot anybody who compares India to communist countries”
  • “We are banning any scenes in movies that show two flowers touching head on. We realized that movies are using such scenes to represent inappropriate contact between a male and female. Please tell us how your movie-going experience will be dilated in their absence”
  • “We banned extra marital affairs. We asked people who miss such affairs to come forward and explain to us why. Not one person stepped forward so far.
  • “Yes, according to the new law, people on life-support systems in government hospitals must sign a consent form. We issued an emergency order to cut oxygen supply to all such patients immediately. We will circulate the form next week. So what’s your problem?”

Outrageous advertisement

You can’t even blow your nose without offending somebody these days. It looks like people are just waiting for somebody to say something remotely related to them so they can get all upset.

So when I saw this great UNICEF advertisement I was thinking, while it is an innocuous advertisement, somebody will find something to complain about it. I tried to imagine how many groups/races/religions can think of something objectionable in this ad. Here is my list. Feel free to add your own.

  • The kid is black and the family is white. It has the implication that black kids should seek white family. It’s offensive to African Americans
  • It depicts a man and a woman as family. It’s offensive to gays and lesbians
  • What the woman is wearing looks remotely like fur. PETA will have something to say about that.
  • The way the kid is looking at the man symbolizes “looking up to father”. Feminists will be offended because it’s belittling woman’s role in the family.
  • There is only one woman. Offensive to Mormans
  • The man and woman are not wearing wedding rings, indicating that they are a “family” out of wedlock. Offensive to the conservative Catholics.
  • There is no Asian representation. Offensive to Asians.
  • The woman is not wearing a burka. Offensive to half the muslim nations.
  • The woman is showing some skin. Offensive to the other half.
  • The woman is barefoot. Good. But she is neither in the kitchen nor pregnant. Very offensive to Republicans.
  • It’s offensive to some Indians. I mean, we are a billion people and it’s got to be offensive to some minority.

Harriet Carter

Apart from the Mad magazine, Harriet Carter catalogue is the most funny book I get in the mail. If you don’t know Harriet Carter, they are a mail-order shop with supposedly nifty household items. For some of the items are hilarious and some are down right stupid. Here are some gems from the latest catalogue.

Yep, there is nothing inhumane about blasting ear-piercing sounds into the dog’s ears!
If you need a darn focus light to see the hairs, who’s going to notice if you leave them there!
Dandy. But what the hell are those things that are coming out of the dog?

It’s a product to listen to sounds from long distances, even whispers. Look at the guy’s expression. Makes you wonder what kind of conversation he’s eavesdropping on.
f you hate your neighbor, place this so that he gets a glimpse of it in the middle of the night. Works even better if he has a pre-existing heart condition.
For $7.85, why can’t one buy a real shirt!?
WTF

Bump ahead

My friend told me this juicy story. Let me narrate it to you:

He and his wife were at the mall last weekend where they ran into their ex-neighbor. She was an attractive woman, looked even better in the skin-tight number she was clad in. They, as expected, exhausted everything they could talk about in about 3 minutes, were down to “Um.. what else,” and, soon after, were on their ways.

As soon as she left, his wife turns him and says, with a sparkle of discovery in her eyes, “Did you notice!?” My friend was quite surprised that she was prompting him to discuss a topic so dear to him and goes, “Of course! I mean her bra must have a 4-inch thick padding! No way in hell she can be that obscenely big!”

His wife was taken aback for a moment. Put off, she says, “I meant, she is showing a little tummy-bump. I think she is pregnant but not announcing yet.” My friend vaguely said, “Yeah, I noticed that too” but they both knew he never got to checking out her tummy.

I won’t bore you with what happened after they got back home but rest assured that he won’t make that mistake again.

Take your best shot

Since morning, my wife has been all giggles. There is no end to the badinage. A “Let me know if you really like it, I will stock up more” here and a “does it feel smooth and silky” there.

In retrospect, I should have doused myself in after-shave so she couldn’t smell a thing. But who would’ve thought, what was claimed on the package, “fresh lavender scent” was not just a marketing gimmick? I overlook one small detail, and that’s it, I open myself up for potshots for a life time!

But what would anybody do? When you are halfway through the morning shaving routine you find out you are out of shaving cream. Would you continue sans shaving cream risking skin irritation? Or would you use the canister in the bathroom that says “shaving cream”, ignoring lavender scent, pink packaging and the picture of sleek lady’s legs?

Look out!

When I was driving the other day, the driver behind me caught my attention. My thought process was something like:

It’s a woman

Oh! It’s an Asian woman

Oh my god! It’s an Asian woman on cell phone

Holy Crap! It’s an Asian woman on cell phone checking her make-up in the mirror.

I can’t think of a more dangerous combination on the road. I would treat such combination with the same respect I would treat an 18-wheeler going 100mph with no breaks carrying 10,000 gallons of gas. I would get the hell out of the way!

Ok, ok! I don’t believe women are worse drivers than men. But what are stereotypes for if you can’t make fun of people?

Not all Asians are bad drivers either. Some of them don’t drive.