Category Archives: Nonsense
Note: This is the second post on this topic. In the first post, I explained what the current H1B law provides for and what exactly the bill proposes to change. Please read that to get a full understanding of the situation.
The Protect and Grow American Jobs Act that was reintroduced last week by Rep Darrell Issa (R-CA) has received a large amount of attention from the Indian media due to its specific targeting of H1B visa changes. I have discussed in detail what the current law is and what the bill does previously. In this post, I will cover how the Indian media has incorrectly reported this bill.
To summarize the impacts of the bill, the following points should be sufficient:
- This bill applies only to H1B Dependent Employer (HDE) companies (those that have more than 15% of their workforce under H1B visas) and Willful Violator (WV) companies. It DOES NOT apply to ALL H1B visa seekers.
- The HDE and WV companies, unlike the rest of them, are required to recruit an American worker before applying a H1B visa for a foreign worker. They also cannot fire an American worker within 90 days before and 90 days after an H1B foreign worker is hired. They also cannot post the H1B worker at a different employer’s office. This is done to reduce visa abuse, to offer basic protection to American workers, and to ensure that only the best workers are hired under H1B.
- Under the current law, the additional requirements for HDE and WV companies, as shown in #2, can be easily bypassed in either of two ways. One is by hiring a foreign worker who has a Master’s degree in the area of the job. Second is by offering the foreign worker a minimum pay of $60,000 per annum. These two ‘exemptions’ allow the HDE and WV companies to bypass the additional requirements, thus making it very easy for them to abuse the visa system. (See the Disney H1B lawsuit for example).
- The new bill aims to change two things in the criteria that allows the HDE and WV companies to bypass the additional requirements (in #2). One, it aims to increase the minimum pay to $100,000 per annum. Second, it removes the Master’s degree exemption – meaning you cannot bypass the additional requirements just because the H1B worker the company plans to hire has a Master’s degree. This aims to close the loophole that allows visa abuses to take place.
So that was a summary of what is happening here. Now let us look at how the Indian media is reporting this news.
I will start with the most egregious falsification: The Hindu. The Hindu news article lists 6 separate items that it says the Bill aims to do. Only one of these is even partly correct. The rest are just outrageous falsifications. Let us look at them:
- The Bill prohibits companies from hiring H1-B employees if they employ more than 50 people and more than 50 per cent of their employees are H1-B and L-1 visa holders. ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT. There is no such language in the bill at all. Even the HDE company definition is incorrect going by this rule.
- The Bill encourages companies to recruit American workers. This provision would crack down on outsourcing companies that import large numbers of H-1B and L-1 workers for short training periods and then send these workers back to their home country to do the work of Americans, the Senators who introduced the Bill had said. This is a very generic statement offering no specific information on how the bill aims to do this. As a general intent of the bill, it is correct. But there is no language listing this explicitly.
- It explicitly prohibits replacement of American workers by H1-B or L-1 visa holders. ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT. The general intent to not replace American workers is indeed contained in the bill, as it is in the current law. But there is no ‘explicit’ language in the bill that talks about prohibiting replacement of American workers.
- The Bill seeks to give the Department of Labour enhanced authority to review, investigate and audit employer compliance as well as to penalise fraudulent or abusive conduct. ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT. Again, this is a very generic statement offering no information. More importantly, the bill text itself does not include any language in this regard.
- The Bill seeks to increase the minimum salary of H1-B visa holders to $1,00,000 per annum. INCORRECT AND MISLEADING. As discussed in the summary above, the minimum salary only applies to the H1B workers under the HDE companies seeking to bypass the additional requirements. This DOES NOT APPLY to all H1B visa holders, as this statement suggests.
- Currently, firms need not go through extensive paperwork if the potential H1-B employee has an equivalent of a Master’s degree or higher and he or she is paid at least $60,000 annually. The Bill aims to do away with the Master’s degree exemption (as “they are easily obtained by foreign workers”). PARTLY CORRECT. This is the only bullet point that has even a shred of correct information in it. As seen from the summary, what The Hindu lists as ‘extensive paperwork’ are essentially additional requirements that (only) the HDE and WV companies have to adhere to in order to ensure there is no visa abuse. Additionally, this statement mentions the Master’s degree exemption, but does not state what the exemption is for!
There is absolutely no excuse or justification for publishing such large amounts of wrong information on a leading national daily website (and presumably their newspaper as well). I am currently preparing an email to the Editor of The Hindu pointing out this outrageous misinformation. I do not expect a response, however.
The next biggest blunder I saw was from Zee News. Their article listed 3 separate items as part of the bill and its impacts. Here they are:
- To get H1B visa approved, you will have to fit in the salary bracket of $100,000 a year, up from $60,000 currently. ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT. This only applies for HDE companies looking to bypass additional requirements.
- One will need to have a Master’s degree, as recognized by the US. ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT!! Removing the Master’s degree exemption language is foolishly misinterpreted as a Master’s degree ‘requirement’!
- It is estimated that any change on visa law will largely impact companies who have more than 50 employees based in the US. INCORRECT. The HDE companies are those that have 15% or more of their workforce under H1B visas. Companies even under 50 employees have the HDE categorization.
It should be noted that the Master’s degree ‘requirement’ mentioned above is actually being listed in many newspapers and websites. This is completely incorrect. There is no such requirement at all! Do not confuse the removal of the Master’s degree exemption to the ‘requirement’ of a Master’s degree!
\[UPDATE March 29th 2017]\
One of the journalistic sources that I have been personally reading for the past 3 years and would strongly recommend is The Caravan Magazine. Its writing primarily includes long form journalism and has generally provided very high quality articles – albeit with a left-leaning perspective. However, I was particularly disappointed with the way the magazine had covered this H1B bill’s developments in this February’s edition. This error becomes even more egregious considering the writer is a Professor of Political Science at Indiana University and is an author of multiple books. It is difficult to comprehend how something as simple as this escapes folks who are expected to be well informed. Here is what it states and how it is incorrect:
- ….the bill proposes to raise the minimum salary of H1-B professionals from $60k to $100k, making it costlier for employers to hire foreign workers. INCORRECT AND MISLEADING. As discussed in the summary above, the minimum salary only applies to the H1B workers under the HDE companies seeking to bypass the additional requirements. This DOES NOT APPLY to all H1B visa holders, as this statement suggests.
- It also promises to end a provision that allows as many as 20,000 foreign nationals in excess of the annual H1-B quota to avail of the visa if they hold a Master’s degree. This is the part which particularly disappointed me. The Master’s degree exemption that is discussed in the bill is essentially the loophole through which HDE companies can bypass a lot of additional requirements. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with the existing quota of 20,000 H1B visas being issued to people with Master’s degrees from US Universities. These are two separate and independent things. Even just the most cursory reading of the bill will make it clear.
I have written to The Caravan requesting them to issue a retraction on their upcoming issue. (There was none issued in the March edition). I am hopeful that they will.
\[UPDATE March 29th 2017]\
The bill among other things increase the minimum salary of H-1B visa to $100,000 per annum and eliminate the Masters Degree exemption.
And as we have seen, this is only partly correct and also does not include any information on what the actual exemption is. Additionally, the Economic Times ran a slightly different spin on this statement. This is what it said:
The new bill would require workers on the H-1B visa pay a minimum of $100,000, up from $60,000 currently. The bill also removes the Master’s degree exemption to the cap on the number of visas available.
The second line is what is total garbage. There is no impact to the ‘cap on number of visas available’ as this report states. The Master’s degree exemption is completely unrelated to the H1B visa cap of 85,000 per year. Completely false information!
I do not have access to all the local newspapers which may be carrying different incorrect versions of this information. But I do suspect most of these versions were covered by the big newspapers (not a compliment!). I do not know exactly what was discussed in all the ‘panel discussions’ on news channels, so I cannot comment on that. However, I do not expect it to be any different than what I have seen on the websites. I was also appalled at people in high positions in various big name companies provide quotes on this matter without knowing anything about it in the first place.
What did concern me though was that this false information was said to have caused a fall in the share price of these big IT companies. This should not happen. The media loves to profit from sensationalizing new developments. But in the process, it should also be made aware of its responsibilities to report correct news. This is not something that should even be pointed out. It should form the basic bedrock of their whole operation. But the fact that a regular guy like me can dig up the correct information within an hour – all on the internet – while paid journalists do not bother to do so, and in fact report falsified information, is a definite cause for concern.
The Oxford Dictionary listed ‘post-truth’ to be the word of the year 2016. Its definition is: Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. We always counted on the news media to show us what is actual truth and what is not – to separate the facts from the claims. But not any more. It now appears that as citizens of the world, we now need to verify what the media is reporting (or not reporting) prior to believing them. It is indeed a scary realization of today’s world – that the media is, in fact, part of the ‘post-truth world’.
I am sure that makes a sensational news story.
In a bizarre turn of events, young Americans under the age of 35 all over the country have stopped talking to each other after Congress accidentally passed a new law that banned the use of the word ‘Like’ – the most widely used word by Americans. The word ‘Like’ has been in popular usage not as a verb or a conjunction, but as a filler that is used in between ANY two words in any sentence in a role of complete redundancy that serves absolutely no purpose. However, in spite of it not serving any purpose, young Americans have shown a very strong affinity to throw in as many ‘Likes’ as possible while talking to each other. Now all this has been banned under the new law which took effect last week.
Now anyone using the word ‘Like’ in a redundant manner while talking will first receive two warnings. A third offence will invite a fine and more than 10 offences will make it mandatory for the culprit to take English classes demonstrating the redundancy of the word in regular grammar. As part of the law, employers will also be able to check how many offences any job applicant has to their name before hiring.
All this has not gone down well with Americans for whom the word ‘Like’ is fundamental to the successful construction of a sentence. A normal sentence such as:
After a long working day, he said, “I am feeling really tired and want to go home”
has always been spoken out as
After, like, a long, like, working day, he is like “I am, like, feeling really, like, tired, and want to, like, go, like home”
Young Americans have regularly demonstrated their inability to speak more than 2 sentences without using their favorite word. Linda, an American teenager, spent tremendous amounts of energy to focus and avoid using the word LIKE in order to tell us how she felt about the new law.
“I ….. don’t know …… what I’ll …..do……My friends…..cannot …..talk to ….each other anymore. I guess…I’ll have to….text them if I ….want to ….. say anything.”
This appears to be the ready made alternative to this new law. Teenage girls in America have always communicated with each other via text messages even when they are with each other, so this has become the go-to option for them.
Following this new law, demands for speech therapists has increased astronomically. John, a New York based speech therapist, had this to say about the new law and its impacts:
“This has always been an epidemic. It is not just Americans who have been affected with this disability. All immigrants who have stayed in the country long enough and interacted with other Americans on a regular basis have shown growing symptoms of this condition. So, I believe this really is an epidemic that keeps spreading and affects even those who speak without using redundant words.”
Some young folks have tried to protest the law by shouting slogans in front of the White House. But almost inevitably, their slogan shouting included the redundant use of the word LIKE (e.g. “We, like, like our like, right, to use, like, whatever, we like, like, when, we like, speak to , like, each other!”) and were subsequently slapped with a hefty fine and asked to enroll in English classes.
Guest speculators on the official Republican Speculation Channel Fox News have laid the blame squarely on Obamacare. Their Democratic counterparts on the Democratic Speculation Channel MSNBC have, as expected, blamed the existence of the Republican party for the consequences of the new law.
The international media, on the other hand, were perplexed about why anyone would be using the word LIKE in this manner in the first place. Most English speaking countries just failed to understand the idea of a spoken sentence such as
Like, I’m, like, very irritated to know, like, I, like, cannot even, like, talk to, like, my own, like, friends, like how I, like, want to.
Most English speaking people outside America said that by the time they heard the full sentence, they could not remember what it meant.
I have never been so motivated to write a negative review of a movie which is being hailed otherwise all over the world. And considering the fact that I am a big fan of this genre of movies and a fan of the previous installments of this FF series, my objectivity need not be questioned.
So I went to see Fast Five at IMax just because I had not had the I-Max experience before ever. Anticipating good action sequences and special effects, I went for a late night show. But what I ended up subjecting myself to was pure and unadulterated mediocrity and one that lasted for about 130 mins.
Now when I say that this movie is really bad, not only do I just mean that it is REALLY REALLY bad,but there is another more subtle reason. This is one of those movies which had a good mainstream director, good budget and already a measurable benchmark set in the previous movies. But the end product is what you might find from an amateur filmmaker who has no idea how to write a script and put the large budget to good use. And THAT is why I find it really bad. That it had all the resources and still managed to suck so bad.
I don’t even know where to begin. So let me begin with the first sequence of action. As Roger Ebert put it,
…steal cars from a speeding train by driving a truck beside the tracks, cutting the side out of a freight car with an acetylene torch, flipping the cars onto the truck bed, tilting the bed, letting them roll to the ground and then driving them away…”
The actual action sequence is actually lamer than what Ebert makes it sound like. In the scene, Paul Walker does a lot of acrobatics and stunts to get off a moving train and on to a car (driven by Vin Diesel) before the train gets on a bridge after which he may be forced to jump into the river running deep below. So he gets on the car just before the train hits the bridge but the momentum of the car takes them over the cliff and down into the river anway, thus making the whole action sequence redundant.
Come to think of it, the movie is replete with redundant scenes which do not amount to anything in the end. About 1/2 the movie is filled with such scenes. The whole planning of the heist, including assembling a ‘team’ (when half the members dont even contribute anything to the final outcome) and chalking out how to access the vault (when they really dont ‘access’ it in the end). There are also scenes where Vin Diesel and Paul Walker go in search of a faster car in order to beat the CCTV cameras in the heist site. They get a new car and show a bunch of scenes where they are practicing the run through the heist site but they still cannot beat the cameras. So later in the movie, they decide to use cop cars for the purpose ‘to camouflage’ their escape. And in the end, the way they eventually pull off the heist, they are not even avoiding to be caught, making all the previous planning scenes redundant.
The film tries to develop along the lines of a stereotypical heist movie. That is until the point where it suddenly decides NOT to be a heist movie. Sample this gem. Paul Walker says this somewhere in the middle of the movie:
“As a stealth mission, we will be in and out before they even know we are there.”
After watching the movie to the end, I am convinced the makers of Fast Five define ‘stealth’ as (Ebert) :
“…take two mid-size sedans, chain them to a bank vault and haul it behind you on a high-speed chase through the streets of Rio de Janeiro while being chased by the cops.”
I am not exaggerating here. In the end, The Rock takes his hummer and crashes into the concrete wall, thus breaking it. Then Paul Walker and Vin Diesel rip the vault off the safe room and haul it all around Rio. That is so ‘stealthy’ no? Totally making use of all the planning that went into the heist. But really, is it a heist anymore?
Some other notable instances of unwatchability: All the hot girls that are shown in the preview as the mandatory association with fast cars and the racing scene are shown for exactly the same duration in the movie as well. No exaggeration here either. And while portraying the racing scene in Rio, the characters decide to put a car-for-car bet on winning a race. Only thing, the filmmakers completely SKIP over the race part. Totally awesome no?
For a movie series that has made its name with action scenes arising out of car chase sequences and races, this movie features exactly 1 race and 1 car chase sequence. The inconsequential race lasts for less than 60 seconds (and it should have lasted even shorter considering the fact that they were trying to race for just 1/4 mile at super fast speeds). The car chase sequence is the last scene and it lasts for about 7-8 mins. The only other action sequences are the opening redundant train-car thing and a couple of ambush sequences of The Rock’s contingent (lasts for about 8 mins total). So that leaves you with about 110 or so mins of redundant planning and cheesy one liners.
The acting and the characters leave a lot to be desired. Vin Diesel looks like he is trying to be a wannabe Vin Diesel from the first movie. He tries too hard to sound and look invincible and totally awesome with his final-word-type dialogues. Paul Walker makes his presence felt by flashing his nice smile at the camera every time he agrees (like he has a choice) with Vin Diesel’s confidence-oozing plans. Jordana (Mia) shows us how you can jump 50 feet into a makeshift favella home and still escape uninjured – even while being pregnant.
Perhaps it is The Rock’s character that is the most hilarious and unnecessary. Seriously, his character has absolutely no influence in the movie’s story line, apart from a brief disrupting of their plans. And he seemed to be competing with Vin Diesel for cheesy and incongruous one liners and punchlines. The other female cop who supposedly has a tragic story to tell about how she lost her husband to the drug lord and that making her motivated to fight him seemed to be putting too much effort into her acting. It would have been better if someone just put up a message on the screen that read: “Ok. This female cop here has lost her husband to the drug lord. So she is motivated to fight him.”Oh and she is supposed to fall for Vin Diesel. But the chemistry between them is totally repulsive.
There are so many more sequences I can keep talking about. But I am getting tired of recollecting such intense mediocrity. And the worst part is that it has been getting extremely positive reviews all around. IMDB has it at 7.8. Roger Ebert gave it 3 stars praising the attention to detail in the story. ( I want what he was smoking when he wrote the review). I just found the movie retarded. Period.
Go watch it for yourself and feel retarded too. And hopefully you will do that BEFORE reading any review at all.
Before I say anything, let me get the context perfectly clear here. I am right now in the USA and have been here for the past 1.5 years. I woke up today morning and on my news feed, I saw that MCC’s Cul-Ah had been going on since Monday. This brought back all the nice memories of the Cul-Ah! that I had been to when I was in my PUC. So I decided to give it a read. This post is a result of the profound WTFness that I experienced subsequent to reading through those articles. READ ON…
For the uninitiated, Cul-Ah! Is the annual cultural fest that is conducted by Mount Carmel College, Bangalore, at their own campus. Usually they hold it in the month of January and this year too was no exception. This fest is considered to be one of the best fests in the city and is in high demand. (Hmm…I wonder why..). Perhaps the fact that MCC is a girls’ college with a continued reputation of housing the best chics in the city has something to do with that popularity. Anyways, I got to know about this year’s fest through this and this article on DNA.
So this year, MCC has gone on and made the effort to theme their fest. The theme chosen is “ELEMENTS”. According to Andrea, general secretary of Mount Carmel College students’ union,
Our college is completely eco-friendly, and hence we came up with this theme. Considering that this year is the year of ‘biodiversity’, we have begun a number of campaigns in the college that encourage students to be more eco-friendly and to save the earth. For Cul- Ah, therefore, we chose the five elements of our planet to define and categorise our events.
The United Nations has this to say about the International Year of Biodiversity:
….that humans rely on the diversity of life to provide the food, fuel, medicine and other essentials needed for life… this rich diversity is being lost at a greatly accelerated rate because of human activities, such as the expansion of cities and farming. International Year Of Biodiversity is aimed at raising awareness about the loss of animal and plant species and organizing action to halt it.
Looks like a responsible thing the fest organizers have done. Starting a number of campaigns and getting their main fest to be themed that way to create awareness for the ‘Year of Biodiversity’. Just ONE small problem I came across:
The Year of Biodiversity was LAST YEAR, 2010!!!
Yes, yes..this is the point where you go WTF???!?!!!??
I mean, seriously, what were the organizers thinking? I can imagine people messing up on some small aspects of the fest, but screwing up the very premise behind the main Theme of the fest, now you gotta be really messed up to do that!
I am now trying to reconstruct the discussion that I believe, took place, during the planning of the fest (in 2010).
Chic1: Girls! We gotta do something different this time. Something that will capture the attention of everyone for a very good purpose.
Chic2: Save the Planet!
Chic3: Oh my God! That is soooooo original! Lets totally do it!
Chic1: Wait! Save the Planet doesn’t sound fancy enough. Lets give it a different name.
Chic2: Hey look! This year is ‘Year of Biodiversity’! We can use that as an excuse to get this totally original idea on to our theme! This is so awesome no??
Chic1 and Chic2: Yay! This is going to be the best fest ever!
Chic4 (with mega-inferiority complex issues): Excuse me girls… err..hmm… but I was just wondering.. ummm.. since we will be holding our actual fest, like, next year, you know, 2011, don’t you think we need to consider that also?
Chic1: Did we ask you your opinion?
Chic4: Err…I was just saying…you know, that you had to consider…
Chic2: Are you suggesting that we don’t know how to do this?
Chic4: I am sorry.
Chic3: Yeah! Who the f*** cares anyway? As soon as they see something even remotely associated with Save Nature stuff, they will think we are doing a very responsible thing.
Chic1: So where were we? Ah yes! So lets make the theme as those 5 elements that make up nature. Earth, water, fire, air and space.
Chic2: Oooooooh! I so love Captain Planet! Go Planet! This is sooo good!
Moving on, we now come to the events. The events are categorized with respect to the different ‘elements’. Here is the idea behind the classification:
Fire will include high energy events like dance, mad ads and mock rock, whereas music and poetry are in the category of Air. Water, with its characteristic intelligence, will include events such as quizzes and pictionary that test your intelligence and creativity while events such as vegetable carving, cooking without fire and flower arrangement fall in the category of Earth.
And here is the clincher, really. If you were wondering what they came up with for the ‘element’ of Space, this is what the Gen-Sec, Andrea, had to say (brace yourself for the profound WTF moment):
All these events will be conducted in the element of space, which in this case is MCC.
You know… if you really wanted to find an excuse to somehow include that 5th element, I am sure there was a less retarded way to do so. Let me reconstruct the discussion that led to this:
Chic1: Ok, now that’s a great idea. Year of Biodiversity, and ELEMENTS! I think we are onto something totally awesome here. Now how can we structure these events so that all the 5 elements are covered?
Chic2: I think the best way to do that would be to classify the events among 4 of the elements and treat the 5th element as something that will encompass all the other 4! I am so awesome no??
Chic3: So for example, we can put our events in Air, Space, Fire and Earth, while saying that we are holding our fest under Water. And then we can say that this is symbolic of how global warming is going to get all places under water soon if we do not do something about it! Isnt that a great idea? We can also use the Global warming excuse to put Fire as the 5th element saying we can die of heat and stuff.
Chic2: Oh my god!! There are so many options here! Lets draw lots!
Ok. So enough with that. Lets now consider the actual events and their classification. Honestly, I really don’t know where to start. Fire is supposed to represent High-energy events? When exactly did rewriting a rock song in a funny manner (Mock Rock) become a ‘high energy’ event? And so poetry and music events are classified under Air? Oh I get it! The vibration of air is required to create any sound and so music events come under Air. What about poetry? Oh I know! You need air to breathe while you create poetry! Epic!
So Water has ‘characteristic intelligence’? Hmm..lets see. Googling ‘characteristic intelligence of water’ yields results describing the Goldfish and the Portuguese Water Dog. I am sure the organizers found a way to link both these innocuous animals with their events. So quizzes and Pictionary are supposed to test your intelligence and creativity? Ok..so then why is the Kannada quiz in Air and not Water? You suggesting Kannada quiz does not require any intelligence or creativity? (Kannada Rakshana Vedike anyone??)
In fact, here is my alternate proposal for classification. Fire is generated by sparks. So a spark of the mind is related to the Fire element. Spark of mind also gives rise to creativity and intelligence, as seen in lit events such as quizzes and such. So classify all ‘intelligent and creativity’ based events under Fire. Then look for the real dumb and retarded events. Like Antakshari, where only the dumb get excited playing. You can classify such events under Water. Why? Because water destroys fire, the spark, the same way the dumb cancel out the intelligent!
“I am so awesome no??!!!?”
It is fairly obvious what has happened. The organizers somehow want to tag their fest with some kind of a socially-responsible message. And once they do that, they had to find ways to relate each and every event to the theme somehow. And so they come up with these ridiculous ways to connect their fest with the ‘Save the Planet’ message. And they know nobody is going to really question it or think too much about it as it is, by default, supposed to generate a feel-good factor. This whole thing, I have to say, is a perfect scenario to explain the idea of Subjective Validation.
Moving on, lets look at the Twitter account that MCC opened up to publicize and market their fest. Not a bad idea as a lot of people use Twitter and word gets spread around faster through it. There are 12 tweets in the account, the last of which was on Jan 3. Now I am not going to comment on the inefficient usage of the account. Instead, the followers of this account tell a very good story. (At the time of posting this) There are 21 followers, some of whose descriptions are as follows:
- I’m a 17 year old girl. I Love Music. Met Jesus when I was 11. Living life in His grace and love. Servant, Daughter, Sister, Friend. =)
- hi im **** a.k.a chikku.. im a huge fan of linkin park and edwars cullen.. i love playing different sports….well thats it for now… cya later……:-)
- everything must be proportionate. your chicken and your rice must both last till the end. one must divide the bites of chicken evenly among bites of rice
Well, I guess I am done with the organizers and the college. I have nothing against them really. I am sure they had a great fest and a lot of people had a good time. Come to think of it, I clearly remember to have had a memorable time when I went to Cul-Ah! 2003 edition when I was doing my PUC at St. Joseph’s PU College. But all that aside, I really cannot tolerate mediocrity. And hence this post. But I am not done yet. So far, I took care of the college. Now let me turn my attention to the newspaper- DNA.
Substandard or unethical journalism is something that really gets on my nerves. I have written about them before here and here. And I continue to see this even today. The DNA journos Merlin Francis and Vidya Iyengar have written the two articles that I have quoted here. In each case, I would like to know what the journos treat as their standard.
First up, with Merlin Francis. This is the dude who has got the Gen-Sec of the fest to quote that the Year of Biodiversity is this year. And he just took it for granted, making zero effort to check the factual accuracy of what he was quoting in his final article. All he needed to do was spend 15 seconds to google ‘Year of Biodiversity’ and he would have everything he needed. But no! Why? Well, I guess the standards differ, don’t they?
And now, with Vidya Iyengar. Call me a stickler for accuracies, but I really have a zero tolerance for inaccuracies in newspapers. The Fashion Show event is listed under the category Earth in the article.
The theme ‘Earth’ will be reflected in a fashion show that will sport rich, Indian ethnic wear.
However, in the actual brochure, the event is listed under Fire. This may look extremely trivial to some. But there is no guarantee that the above line was not just made up to suit the article. Maybe it was the fault of the organizers who fed in wrong information to the journo. Or perhaps, the organizers messed up their brochure (in which case, I would not attribute any wrong doing to the said journo). But these factual inconsistencies are not excusable in any form.
However, there is an even more WTF thing involved in these 2 articles. The General Secretary’s name is said to be Andrea D’Silva as per Vidya Iyengar, while it is Andrea D’Souza as per Merlin Francis!! Now, seriously, who f***ed it up? Poor Gen-Sec. You have my sympathies!
And I guess I am done. I am feeling good. Having said that, let me also add that I would like to thank all those involved in this awesome mess for providing me ideal fodder for a blog post! Please keep it coming…..
UPDATE: The MCC folks have left a few comments below (along with the inevitable brickbats). Read them for their response and how all the facts did NOT go into the newspaper article. Also, since I am exercising my freedom to criticize people here, I also realize that I am open to criticism as well. I will not be deleting any comments here, even if they clearly show me in bad light. I will probably not be responding to them.
I have decided to write a series of posts based on the idea of searching through some of the Indian popular news and gossip portals and summarizing some retarded headline. But this is already done in many damn places. So what I have decided is to include the even the best of the more awesome “comment section” featuring the most intellectually gifted that India has to offer! And of course add some “comments” to these “comments” myself! So here is my first in what I hope to be a long series of posts:
THIS just friggin’ made my day! All the stress of the past one week just seemed so damn distant after reading it! Mind-f***in-blowing!! Here is the headline:
“Govt banishes ‘vulgar’ shows to after-11 slot”
Apart from the total ambiguity, pointlessness and moral-policing involved, the interesting part is WHAT shows qualified as ‘Vulgar’. Get a load of this. So far, 2 shows have been categorized as ‘Vulgar’: Raakhi ka Insaaf & Big Boss. Make no mistake. I have never seen these shows. But I am fully aware of what they are.
I am not going to pass judgment on the quality of these shows as I would prefer puking after getting drunk to watching these shows when I am sober. (Oh wait! I just passed some judgment there! Ah f*** that!)
Anyways, lets cut all the crap and look at some of the ‘details’ the news item.
The ministry’s order points out that show hostess Rakhi Sawant uses abusive language and participants in both shows “are shown quarrelling and hurling abuse at each other”.
So if quarrelling and hurling abuse at each other qualify as ‘vulgar’, whatever happened to MTV Roadies and the whole bunch of other shows? Ah well! Thats different isn’t it?? It is a civilized world this MTV and all. So lets not point fingers at them. Also whatever happened to all those “Debates” and “We the People”? There is definitely lot of quarrelling involved there. And surely more anger as well.
But nevermind all that! Lets just roll with some of the awesome comments that I found in that website on this article.
1. “There is no clearcut definition of VULGARE. . .jokes against handicapts? not respectful to elders? cheap erotic?. . .everything which is uncommon is vulgare.” —– Raj Kumar Daruwala
>> Dude I totally agree with you. There is no clear cut definition of VULGARE. In fact, that word just doesnt exist!!
2.” Both Channels are part of NDTV…which is run by an islamist terrorist and communist PRANAB ROY…………” —– Neohorizons
>>> Umm…Can I invite you to be the next Quizmaster when I want to hold a quiz?
3. “Ashmit the blue movie king is desperate to cast Pamela in his next blue movie along with her sister . Pamela aunty should send her secsy sister into Asmhit movie as Indians deserve to see better .” — Nautanki
>>> F*** me! Pamela is an Aunty?? Can I star as the nephew in one of ‘those’ movies then?
>>> Yes yes. K serials are so damn good that people should even emulate what happens in those serials. Then we will surely have a fully moral society. And perhaps make Ekta Kapoor as GOD. Oh wait! There is one more comment before I agree with you completely.
5. “I thought k serials were worse… People got married 20 times in it.. sometimme to brother of current husband and all that.. so much for incest” —– Ag
In response: “Do you know the definition of incest? In christianity incest is not allowed.” –Peter
>>>> Peter dude, you just opened my eyes! You are the epitome of all that is logical and right in this world. @ Ag: You win for the only worthwhile comment in the article.
Breaking News: India to start Kho-Kho WORLD SERIES on the lines of Baseball WORLD SERIES. Winners to be crowned WORLD CHAMPIONS.
In a major development to one of the few aboriginal Indian games that are still played, the newly formed Kho-Kho Federation of India had decided to conduct a Kho-Kho WORLD SERIES on similar lines of the Baseball World Series in America. The tournament will feature 8 city based teams which will be operated on the basis of a franchisee. The structure and the format of the series will be very similar to the World Series informed the President of the Federation.
The primary motivation for such a huge step was supposedly the frustration surrounding everyone involved with regard to the poor publicity and recognition that was offered to the game. A bunch of Kho-Kho enthusiasts decided to bring about some much needed change and so set about determining the best way to draw attention to the age old sport.
“We were thinking. What is the easiest and most effective way to publicize a sport that nobody cares about? The answer was not difficult to find at all! All we have to do is to become World Champions and then everyone will take notice of us and the sport will then grow!” said Kumar Vaidyanathan, one of the Kho-Kho enthusiasts.
When asked to elaborate further, Sai Kumar, another excited Kho-Kho player explained, “You see, this is best understood with an example. Do you know why Baseball is so popular in the US? It is because every year, one of the US based teams is crowned WORLD CHAMPIONS for winning the Baseball WORLD SERIES! This generates a lot of enthusiasm and excitement among its supporters and motivates the other teams to try for the position as well. This cycle keeps repeating and the popularity of the sport continues to grow- primarily because one of the teams in the tournament is going to be given the title of the World Champions! Similarly, we are going to establish a tournament wherein some 8 teams from various cities in India will compete for the title of World Champions! That way more Indians will take note of the game and it will get a much needed boost!”
When pointed out that you cannot become World Champions if only one country is playing in the tournament, Mr. Vaidyanathan replied, “That is the wrong perception! Look at the United States. They have so many games that are based on this format. Basketball with NBA, American Football with the NFL/AFL/Superbowl, Ice Hockey with the NHL, and Baseball with the World Series. In each case, the winner is treated practically as the World Champions!
You are asking me about the validity of this process? Screw validity! Just look at how crazy and excited the fans get when they realize that their city based team are the WORLD CHAMPS!! Even if they only beat their neighbouring city teams! Do you know how much this can do to Kho-Kho in India? So much revenue will come with increasing popularity and the sport will grow tremendously!”
“So you are saying that one Indian city based team will be crowned as World Champions because they beat another Indian city based team?” asked a curious reporter.
“Thats exactly how it works!” replied Mr. Vaidyanathan. “Just as is done in America, an Indian city based team is going to be crowned World Champions Kho-Kho for beating other Indian city based teams!”
“Yeah. I totally agree. The way the World Champions tag is justified in baseball is by saying that the best players in the world are playing in the World Series and hence they are entitled to the tag. Similarly, even we are getting the best players in the world to play in our tournament and we believe that the winners of this tournament deserve to be called World Champions!”, echoed Mr. Kumar.
Satish Rai, another Kho-Kho enthusiast quipped in, “Our players will eventually become as famous as Brett Favre, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. They deserve that much recognition.”
One reporter immediately stood up and asked, “Who the f**k is Brett Favre, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees?”
Satish Rai gave a mischievous smile and continued, “You see thats the whole point. Nobody outside the USA has any idea about the existence of Brett Favre, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees! But all these people are ‘World famous in the USA’! Same way we are going to create a tournament which is going to elevate Kho-Kho players who are presently in some gully or village to become ‘World famous in India’!”
The initial bidding process for the 8 city based franchisees was largely dull as the format and the structure of the tournament didn’t strike a chord with businessmen. However, after hearing that the winning team will be given the title of WORLD CHAMPIONS, there has been a hectic bidding war between the business empires for the rights to own them.
One business magnate, who didn’t wish to be named, said “It is a very important thing this. It helps us to associate ourselves with a team that will be crowned World Champions! That is the pinnacle of branding for any company anywhere in the world! Of course Cricket is already a lot more popular in India. But think of it. Which company can associate itself with a team that can be called as the World Champions? Even the main sponsor of the Indian cricket team cant claim that as India have not been crowned World Champions since 1983. The IPL only crowns the winning team as IPL Champions. So this is a golden opportunity for any company to be able to sponsor a team that could possibly be called as the World Champs! No wonder there is so much competition going on for that.”
The Ministry of Sports also released a statement conveying its full support to the tournament. “We strongly support the idea that Kho-Kho become popular in India. This is a very quick and sureshot way of helping it gain more popularity-both in the short term and long term. In fact, the Government is now commissioning a committee to look into the possibilities of using the same idea for other not-so-popular games such as Lagori, Gilli Danda, Goli, Kunte Bille, Dabba ( a variant of Hide & Seek) etc. This will encourage children to excel at their sport with some kind of assurance that they can make a living out of it.”
SUPERSTAR Rajnikanth wasn’t available for comment.
Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Own Goal has renewed his contract for the upcoming season after putting pen to paper just hours before the game against Fulham. The evidently delighted Ferguson could not hide his enthusiasm and revealed that he had always expected Own Goal to sign up for one more season even though his contract was due to expire by the end of the month.
There was speculation linking him with a move away from Old Trafford but the prolific goal scorer said in an interview just after the Fulham match that he had always wanted to stay at Utd and attributed his decision to the support the fans showed him throughout last season.
“You know you are good when you score goals for your club on a regular basis and in very crucial situations. But its only when the fans show their support and love towards you do you feel wanted and appreciated at the club” said the United player who seemed to have mastered the art of consistency.
Sure enough, the Man Utd fans have reciprocated the feeling by chanting Own Goal’s name repeatedly after their side were put ahead in the final 6 minutes by (who else??!!?) a vintage Own Goal goal. The chanting grew even more intense when Fulham equalized and the fans turned to Own Goal to help them get all 3 points at Craven Cottage.
Speaking after scoring his first goal for United in the new season, Own Goal described his preparations for the match. “Obviously I was lacking in match practice before this (the Fulham match). So I decided to make a guest appearance the previous day for Bolton Wanderers and help them get off the mark against West Ham.”
That match practice eventually proved very crucial as Own Goal helped secure at least one point from the match.
“Obviously I would have wished to win it. After I had scored, I thought Nani’s penalty should have sealed it but then it happened to be one of those days when things dont go well for your team as a whole.” said the dejected goal scorer.
Asked if he would make guest appearances for United’s main rivals-Chelsea, Arsenal, City or Liverpool- Own Goal was very clear cut in his reply: “Well I would be lying if I said I dont like to make guest appearances. It sometimes feels good to have other club fans cheering you as well. But even if I do make a guest appearance, I will ensure that the goals I score for rival teams will be totally inconsequential. I will probably score a goal when the team is already winning by a big margin or losing by a big margin so it wont make any difference anyway. Lesser restrictions will apply for lower ranking teams. I did this last season and I will repeat it this time too. So that way my loyalty to United will always be preserved.”
However, Sir Alex Ferguson was all praise for him in spite of the dropped points. “I’ve been telling from the beginning that Own Goal is a very important part of my team and my plans for the season. He is a good lad who can score goals and get us points in very crucial situations. Its like doing what Macheda did against Aston Villa but Own Goal had been doing it week in and week out. “
“I am very happy that he has decided to extend his contract with the club which is the greatest just because it has a vast history and all. Other clubs who may be the reigning champions but who are not worth supporting just because they dont have any history have to now acknowledge our most powerful weapon- Own Goal.”
Own Goal echoed the importance attached to him by Ferguson by pointing out that he was the top scorer for the club after Wayne Rooney last season.
“Sure Wayne got a lot of goals. But that should in no way prevent football fans to see who their second top scorer was. I would have got even more goals but many goals were eventually awarded to other United Players even though they just gave me the assist. “
When a journalist pointed out that his name was never mentioned on any goal scorers’ statistics table, Own Goal was visibly frustrated and said that he would take up the case with FIFA to include his name in all goal scoring compilations.
Experts are already pointing out that his contribution last season to United’s push for the title, though vital, was always in the presence of Wayne Rooney and hardly ever in his absence. But looks like Own Goal has already proved his critics wrong by scoring with Rooney not even featuring among the subs.
“Who said I cant score without Wayne Rooney giving me the assist? I can score on my own many times you know” said the United frontman.
We will only have to wait and see how United’s potent weapon of last season will fare this season.
All of us have our own addresses. If an Indian is asked where he lives in their city, the response ranges from Bandra to Basavanagudi, from Gurgaon to Gorguntepalya, from T.Nagar to Thodesandhipalya (Ok that last one was made up). And if you are familiar with the area given as a response, you ask “Where in Basavanagudi?” or “Where in Thodesandhipalya?” (You really dont have to answer the last one). And if you are familiar with even the second response, you keep narrowing the location until you have convinced yourself that the other person is your long forgotten neighbor.
However, in the USA, things, as always, are a little different. Say you approach an American living in New York City, one of the largest cities in the world. And you ask him where he stays in New York. The most likely response you are going to get is “Oh I stay in Perry Street” or “My house is on Graves Avenue” or “I live right by Richmond Lane”! You see, the address of a house in the USA has just two things on it that help you to locate it in a given city: the house building number and the street where the house building is located. Thats it! So in an area of about 800 square kms, all you have with you to locate one single house is the name of the street its on??!!?? That surely helps doesnt it??? Its equivalent to saying “My house is next to my neighbor’s house” or “I am my father’s son” etc. It doesnt tell you anything useful.
Yes we all know there is this invention called GPS which can take you from anywhere to anywhere with just the street name as input. But seriously, what if you dont have one? Let me elaborate on this a bit. Imagine you have just arrived in New York City and take a cab to get to your apartment. You tell the cab driver “Take me to 4800 Eastland Drive” and just expect to be dropped off in front of your house? Well if the cab driver does just that, then either he has an awesome memory or his house is within a 2 block radius of your house. But then what happens if neither of the above “totally-possible” situations prevail? Then I guess you have to start looking for a map. Imagine this. You are in a cab and the cab driver spends the first ten mins just figuring out which part of the city he is supposed to be taking you!
Not implying that this is the only way things happen around here in the US. But seriously imagine something like that happening in India. I mean, you go and ask a Bangalore Auto Rickshaw dude to take you to 8th Cross Road, WTF do you think he is going to do? Of course he is going to look at you like you were born a retard and stayed that way for good!
Perhaps one of the direct consequences of American addresses having such small number of characters in them is seen when you are trying to fill out a form online- like an application for the college, GRE, TOEFL or any other thing that is based out of the US. You see the website creators make this sincere and totally pointless effort to restrict the number of characters in which you enter your address. So when your address goes into describing just your house number and street name, there really is no problem. However, unfortunately for all us Indians, this poses a problem. Especially if your address involves your house name, house number, Cross Street number, Main Street Number, Layout, Stage, Near some landmark, Block and lastly Area name- as is the case with most Indian addresses- you are in for a small problem! And it is really amazing how I have learned, over the years, to express words in much smaller forms without failing to convey its intended meaning!
Getting back to ground reality, more and more people are having GPS in their cars and it is available for dirt cheap prices at WALMART. But that still doesnt justify having only one street name to describe the location of your house in a mega metropolitan city. ( You might argue that the Pin code narrows it pretty well but seriously who knows about the postal code apart from the post men?) I sincerely hope I dont have to go through any circumstances involving hunting for ONE street name amidst hundreds if not thousands in a city.
Feel totally free to get fully emotional and sentimental about the American address systemand pass judgment on my assessment of it- but make sure you do that on your own blog.
This is some thing that I witnessed a while back at a friend’s house. I would have preferred to make a comic strip out of this but then my laziness (as always) got the better of me. So here is a small conversation that took place.
Guy 1: What are you doing?
Guy 2: I am installing Linux on my computer.
Guy 1: Why does it take so long?
Guy 2: There are a lot of things you have to do yourself in Linux thats why.
Guy 1: Ok.
Guy 2: Have you ever installed Linux?
Guy 1: No never. But I am still confused. Why use Linux at all? Isn’t Windows sufficient?
Guy 2: Its a lot complicated than that. You wouldnt understand.
Guy 1: But I want to know. Why do you use Linux instead of Windows? What are the advantages?
Guy 2: Ok here is the thing. You can see Windows files from Linux but you cannot see Linux files from Windows!
Guy 1: Wait! I dont understand…
Guy 2: What dont you understand?
Guy 1: I mean…if you wanted to see Windows files, why see them from Linux? You can see Windows files from Windows itself right?!!??!?!
Guy 2: Its not like that…
Guy 1: I mean think about it. If you are going through all these painful and time consuming process of installing Linux in order to see Windows files through Linux, dont you think you are just wasting your time? If I wanted to see Windows files, I will access them through Windows itself!!
Guy 2: *Facepalm*. Make that *Epic Facepalm*
Ok Ok. The World Cup has improved drastically in both quality and entertainment value in the past one week in strong contrast to what we had witnessed in the Group Phases. There has been some free flowing football, some close finishes, some good scorelines, entertaining football, and of course then there are the Dutch. But more about them later. First up, lets get fully judgmental and talk about the matches that took place.
URUGUAY 2:1 KOREA: Ah well, though I didn’t expect too much of quality in this, I have to say, just watching Luis Suarez play around with the ball and especially with that sweet sweet finish that was the second goal, I wouldn’t be too surprised if he makes a move to a UCL playing team in the transfer window. Having said that, failure to utilize clear cut chances (including a couple of one on ones) on part of Korea just made them to deserve the result.
USA 1:2 GHANA: Ah! How I was rooting for Ghana in this match! This was one captivating game with either side playing some free flowing attacking football! Oh wait sorry! The USA ended up playing Soccer in a Football World Cup! No wonder they lost! Also, Ghana’s Goalie- the Kingson dude- was very easily the most awesome guy in the entire stadium that day. Save after save after save was the only reason why Ghana still remains in the World Cup. He was such an awesome keeper that the fact that he is also the 4th choice goalie for Wigan Athletic doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
GERMANY 4:1 ENGLAND: Most entertaining game of the Knock out phase and The less said about this the better. So many things have been said about goal line technology and how that goal could have prevented the German counter attack etc etc. But none of that is going to change the fact that England played crappy football all through the World Cup and simply deserved to go home. Having said that, I shall, without any hesitation, concede that Miroslav Klose was simply a different footballer that day and made some really useful plays (in contrast to my earlier opinion on how badly he played in the Group Stage).
ARGENTINA 3:1 MEXICO: Argentina again show why they are the team to beat and still continuing to prove why they are the most entertaining team to watch. I have nothing new to add here except that I had wished to see more of Kun Aguero that day.
PARAGUAY 5:3 JAPAN: Boring game with some pathetic finishing and settled fast with penalties. Wish I could have just seen the penalties and saved myself some quality time.
SPAIN 1:0 PORTUGAL: That is what you get for just relying on counter attack and let the Spanish pass the ball to death. There is bound to be a goal somewhere there. And I have to say that Spain won against Portugal INSPITE OF Fernando Torres. As per my earlier opinion, Fernando Torres continued his journey towards becoming the Emile Heskey of Spain and I believe has become successful to a large extent. But thanks to people like David Villa and Iniesta and Xavi who actually make that extra effort to score goals, Spain still stay on and play.
NETHERLANDS 2:1 SLOVAKIA: And of course there are the Dutch. Grinding out cheap wins consistently via producing some totally retarded football is an art and the Dutch seem to have mastered that. Get a load of this: With the exception of 5 times, the Dutch NEVER passed the ball FRONT in the opponent’s half of the pitch in the first half! (It was 12 in the 2nd half). It was as if they were playing with normal football rules in their half and with Rugby rules in the opponent’s half-( you know that rule which states that you cannot pass the ball FRONT and can only pass BACK or SIDEWAYS?) Not that they didn’t try. Its just that the pass mostly ended up being either intercepted or going out of bounds. If you think I am exaggerating, just watch the replay of that match and COUNT for yourself. THAT is how fucking lame the Dutch are playing!
BRAZIL 3:0 CHILE: And that is why I am so looking forward to Brazil belting the Dutch ass! Brazil, on the other hand, played football which actually involved completed front passes in the opponent’s half as well. And contrary to popular belief, the boys from Brazil do NOT seem to have abandoned the Sambha style of play. At this point however let it be made known that I am NOT a fan of Brazil and do not intend to see them lift the World Cup.
On a side note, I want to make a comment about how the English FA are reacting to the lame performance of their team in the World Cup. With regard to the decision on whether to keep Capello or to fire him, the FA seem to be toeing the we-need-to-fix-the-real-problem-not-the-symptoms line of reasoning while favoring to keep Capello. They imply that developing a good youth system is the answer to the problems etc etc. There is a fundamental flaw in this line of reasoning. I believe that the intended consequence of this youth system development is the production of really good players as such. My question is this: When you already have players with the capacity of Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard, Terry, Cole (J and A), etc, what are the odds that the youth system will churn out players who are even better than this crop? If the manager cannot get this bunch of world class players to produce good results, what makes the FA think he can do any better with a different bunch of players? A change of tactics (if not manager) is of the essence. There is no freakin way somebody like Wayne Rooney can just randomly decide to lose form. If he doesn’t get the ball, WTF is he going to do just running around?