Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Art of keeping it simple…

November 22, 2010

I am a great fan of the fine attributes of tolerance and grace, because I am not so well endowed with those. I see my mother and feel jealous about her as she has those in plenty. But no matter how hard I try, I blow my fuse at the slightest provocation. Bad habit, sooner I get rid off it, the better.

But despite the deficiencies as above, I am simple, straight as an arrow and a happy guy too. Coming to think of it, I keep my life simple like most men I know.

So this post is for my readers with a feminist slant…

How do men keep it simple…? I read a chain mail that got lodged in my inbox with the title “Why men are never depressed”…

Men Are Just Happier People– What do you expect from such simple creatures? Your last name stays put. The garage is all yours. Wedding plans take care of themselves. Chocolate is just another snack. You can be President. You can never be pregnant. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. You can wear NO shirt to a water park. Car mechanics tell you the truth. The world is your urinal. You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky. You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt. Same work, more pay. Wrinkles add character. Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100. People never stare at your chest when you’re talking to them. New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet. One mood all the time. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat. You know stuff about tanks. A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase. You can open all your own jars. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness. If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend. Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough. You almost never have strap problems in public. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes. Everything on your face stays its original color. The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades. You only have to shave your face and neck. You can play with toys all your life. One wallet and one pair of shoes — one color for all seasons. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look. You can ‘do’ your nails with a pocket knife. You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache. You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December24 in 25 minutes. No wonder men are happier.

This is real stay put

March 23, 2010

Where else, from The Onion

“In the summer of 1980, MIT graduates Donald Faber and Peter Haberle moved into an empty two-car garage and started work building their first ever personal home computer. Almost 30 years later, what began as a humble two-man operation has since grown into an even more humble, even more cramped computer company, based out of an even smaller single-car garage.”

That’s what you call staying put, really ūüôā

The famous Japanese enterprise

February 5, 2009

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In Japan, the Railway rules. Every working day a vast ganglia of 45 bullet, main and suburban-overground lines, with another 13 underground, channels 4.1m swipe card-carrying commuters into Tokyo’s central wards alone, with clean and exceptional precision. Shinjuku station alone disgorges 900,000 passengers each morning, sucking them in again in the evening, some of the men (and they are mostly men) by now inebriated, before dumping them in their distant bedroom towns.

Every year 2,000-plus train Chikan, or perverts, are arrested for groping women and schoolgirls‚ÄĒthe vast majority during the morning rush hour, causing minor delays. For years, females just put up with the indignity of groping, either out of embarrassment or out of fear that their claim would not be taken seriously. But habits are now changing, and women will hold up the offender‚Äôs hand and shout ‚ÄúChikan!‚ÄĚ. Several lines also have women-only carriages for peak hours. A few men‚Äôs lives have been broken because of false accusations.

The only thing that can be said with confidence is that Japan has found original ways to make money out of people‚Äôs sexual predilections. Little more than a stone‚Äôs throw from the huge Shibuya station is the ‚ÄúShibuya Pink Girl‚Äôs Club‚ÄĚ, which on its varied menu offers a Chikan densha, or pervert train.

The ‚Äúgroper‚Äôs course‚ÄĚ starts at ¬•12,000 ($130), where the connoisseur picks out from the menu the girl of his choice, dressed either as a schoolgirl or office receptionist. This girl then beckons him through the window of a mock-up train carriage, which not only broadcasts station announcements, but even shakes and rattles. For the next 45 minutes the connoisseur is under no risk of arrest as he gropes to gay abandon‚ÄĒbefore joining the slumberers on one of the last real trains home.

This is it. The Japanese creativity¬†never misses an opportunity ūüôā

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Cucumber standard, anyone?

November 15, 2008

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De-leveraging may be a fashionable word now (but nobody bothered when global markets were riding the leverage propelled liquidity wave).  One of the solutions folks put forth now is to return to gold standard as a way out of the economic mess. Remember why gold standard gave way to dollar standard?  Gold was way too rigid, it was scarce and its production process was complex.  There was not enough metal to go around.  Printing paper was easier.  America had all the gold after the War and Europe was in tatters.  That made it easy for U.S.Dollar to become global currency.

 

Anyways it’s amazing¬†how they chose gold as the substance to be valuable in our world.¬† Isn’t it just sludge that comes out of the mud? ¬†Mud sludge, if you will. Humanity decided to base all of its wealth and prosperity on mud sludge. ¬†Imagine they had picked something else like flowers or something, how different would things be. It’s funny¬†to think gold is valuable¬†just because some people in ancient times decided that the sludge they found in the ground should be called valuable. After all, it wouldn’t be valuable at all if the ancient people felt it ain’t worth the sweat and let it just be mud sludge.¬† Why¬†couldn’t they have picked something better, like honey or something. Why did they have to pick something that is so rare and capable of getting extinct? Were they trying to make life tough for future generations so they’d always have to go around digging?¬†What if one day there is none left in the ground? Would we all starve? Or could we just decide that the ancients were wrong and we could then pick something better to represent the wealth of the world. If we did, we wouldn’t pick something stupidly rare like truffles in the ground, we could pick something easier to mine or grow. Like cucumbers. Now wouldn’t that be something?

 

“Get me Hank Paulson please, will ya?”

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Dream list and Wall Street mess

October 1, 2008

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Busy looking up Forbes Fab 400.¬† Grrrrrunt‚Ķ.sighhhhhhhh‚Ķ my name is not yet on it.¬† And you‚Äôre not on that list either (unless someone is reading it to you! ūüėČ

 

How do¬†people get in there?¬† Simple. Notch up $1.3 billion minimum networth.¬† A task made slightly easier because of a falling dollar in case if you happened to work outside US.¬† I¬†scan each one of them (and let my imaginations run wild – it’s easy!).¬† Not all have earned it.¬† Most got there because their rich dad dropped dead. ¬†Good Luck to¬†the fortunate few!

 

Coming to think of it, the entire Wall Street mess can be fixed if these 400 guys donated half their wealth (averaging $3.5 billion) to that $700 billion kitty. No need for congressional approval or for Hank Paulson to go down on his knees.  No need to tax the poor guy setting off moral hazard alarms. He is not going to stake claim for the riches that Wall Street may offer (if and when it turns the corner), so you guys can split it back again in the ratio of your contribution.

 

I can safely say this as long as I don‚Äôt figure in¬†that list.¬† When I do – no marks for guesses.¬† This is how I will likely go ‚ÄĒ ‚ÄúSure lets give more money to people that just finished ripping us off! I tell you what‚Ķ the best thieves in the world can make stealing 700 billion dollars look legal!¬† This bail out ‚Äúplan‚ÄĚ was in part initiated by a man, Treasury Secretary Paulson, who was paid $42 million in his last year on Wall Street and helped engineer this fiasco. America, you have a man in charge who was part of the problem and not the solution. To him your few thousand dollars share of the bail out is pocket change ‚Äď so why raid us?‚ÄĚ

¬†With that, I‚Äôll tuck away my wallet¬†ūüôā

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Random flotsam

September 29, 2008

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Bitter times make way for wry humor.  I can’t spend the rest of my life griping about deals that have slowed down, decision makers dragging feet.  It just is part of life. The other extreme is despair, clearly not an option for one with my supersized ego.  I have already taken three fortnightly vacations (to shake off the blues and to get some creative distraction) and the fourth is commencing by mid Oct and will last thro to its end.

 

Getting a lot of time to read and reflect.  Stock market, across sectors is going one way, that is down.  S&P Nifty closed 5% down today. Natural gas is puffing up, Steel is slimy. Paper is stationary. Retail is just left with a  tail. Pencils lost a few points. Power equipment is weak. Infrastructure is fluid, while refrigerators freeze. Light switches were off.  Iron ore mines turn empty craters. Diapers remained unchanged. Shipping lines stayed at an even keel. Consumer goods are bad because soaps don’t wash. And batteries exploded in an attempt to recharge the market.

 

I could focus a lot more on what‚Äôs happening around. Parents play a lot lesser role in bringing up kids. I see them bringing kids up only in elevators at the supermarket. In real life kids get what they want (unlike our times) and do what they like.¬† In effect, they raise themselves.¬† My daughter just got herself admitted to a keyboard class and asks me to finish the other formalities ‚Äď to pay up !

 

So I settle down to talk to her about the importance of saving money early.¬† (No, she hasn’t shot back “Did you?”)¬† But how can I tell her to put her money in that big Bank because piggy banks don‚Äôt pay interest?¬† She reads newspapers and is already asking why big Banks go the Big Bang way?¬† Silly me, talking of trusting banks to the 13 year old that reads papers and watches TV.¬† She just told me her piggy bank will never go down with her money nor would she let Wall Street `uncles’ raid her nest.¬† I am buying her another piggy bank ‚Äď capital protection comes first!

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Getting it wrong and still be loved

April 2, 2008

Paul Graham dwells on a hierarchy of disagreements.  Sarah Perez gives it a web twist.

I recall Tim O’Reilly in this old post recounting a story from a speech by Charlie Munger, a long time associate of Warren Buffet.  That story elucidates knowledge gained by rote and the one got by conscious labor. 

I quote –

‚ÄúAfter winning the Nobel Prize, Max Planck went around Germany giving talks. His chauffeur heard the talk so many times that he had it by heart, and so one time, he asked Max Planck if he could give the address. Planck agreed, they changed places, and the lecture came off famously. But then came the Q&A, with the very first question being one that the chauffeur had no hope of answering. The chauffeur replied: “I’m surprised to hear such an elementary question on high energy physics here in Munich. It’s so simple; I’ll let my chauffeur answer it.” ¬†

Munger went on to point out that what went wrong in oversight of Enron was a lot of chauffeur knowledge, great ability to give a presentation, but no deep knowledge.

As Graham says –

‚Äúthe greatest benefit of disagreeing well is not just that it will make conversations better, but that it will make the people who have them happier‚Ķ..Most people don’t really enjoy being mean; they do it because they can’t help it.‚ÄĚ

To those haters of discord, I would just say this.  Most bloggers that we know are amateurs. They must entertain dissent while canceling those that go over the edge. Readers don’t expect professional quality in their output. So just they need be tolerant of dissent and be grateful to acknowledge a mistake when pointed out.  They can of course outwit a scathing comment by adding a dose of humor.  But never try to get around that by pleading you were way too busy and wrote in a hurry.  That makes you look like a stinking orifice.  You may well be one but why that secret be made public knowledge?  

Admit ignorance where you were. You need not be  Dr.Samuel Johnson for that! .

Having Greenspan for company

March 12, 2008

Most rules of public speaking or norms of even simple conversation urge us to stay away from jargons.  I for one don’t think I can remember all those rules, much less act them out.  When I speak, I am busy collecting my thoughts in tandem, test their adequacy so that the listener is put in context, apply emphasis where necessary and liberate them in a simple vocal exercise. Where do rules figure in this mind-mouth scamper?

Yet I think of occasions when jargons came in handy.  It helps me compact my sentences amongst people that liberally use them. Saves me and the listener lot many words, long winded explanations. Sometimes it effectively helps parrying questions that are uncomfortable to answer or are totally out of context or even irrelevant.  Few inquirers have the chivalry to admit ignorance and persist.  If they do, I throw more jargons at them. Signal their cluelessness and convey it’s just beyond them. Wear them out.  They’ll soon find something better to do.

Now I find from this article Alan Greenspan used this tactic to avoid answering questions when testifying before Congress !!! 

I am no great fan of Mr.Greenspan.¬†¬†But it¬†feels good to know I have his company ūüėČ

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Not just in India

March 11, 2008

If you think I’d been particularly hard on Guy Kawasaki for blowing the Steve Ballmer interview yesterday, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet !

Here is Business Week reporter Sarah Lacy going onstage with Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder) and completely botching it up. I thought it’s just with the snooty woman interviewers of CNBC-TV18 in India that cut off famous people and butting in with their flirty lines. Ms.Lacy is several notches below though.  Clearly, they are not quite ready for prime time. 

Journalism professor Jeff Jarvis gives a fantastic low down here on how (not) to conduct onstage interviews..

I watched that video and a few things struck me. If not knowing her audience has been her error of omission, she committed another horror in assuming that they knew her Рin the process mistook Zuck’s audience as hers. She imbibed an osmotic vision of hollow personal grandeur commensurate with that of the person sitting opposite. She comes around as a naturally bad listener and the result is of course, predictable. She blew it. 

Somewhere in the interview she could‚Äôve salvaged it by turning the mic over to the audience.¬† She blew it again by angrily reacting “Let’s go with the Digg model and let them have mob rule.”¬† That did her in, completely.¬†

The audience was unusually forgiving till Mark prompted her to ask a question. I understand they just blogged and twittered over this egotistical boor. ¬†But will she ever realize what a chop she‚Äôs been?¬† Her response after the fiasco (rough video) says the opposite. ¬†For starters, she could cut that narcissistic giggle out. ¬†If she still doesn‚Äôt get it, a sex change is all that‚Äôs left ūüėȬ†¬†

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Dumbasses clamor for online privacy

October 20, 2007

Emily Gertz has an intriguing post in her blog on the limits of online anonymity.¬† She questions the right of those in public office to claim¬†anonymity over the internet¬†and their right to put forth the violation-of-privacy argument if they are tracked down and outed.¬† In her own words ‚ÄúJust as the internet can help create more transparency in government, it provides officials opportunities to spout off as they wish while ducking responsibility.‚ÄĚ

I go that the right to online¬†privacy (not data security)¬†is over hyped.¬† Those who clamor for it are the ones that can’t handle transparency.¬† They use fake user id or go under pseudonyms. It’s like asking for privacy while wanting to be in the cloud. Internet is a cloud. If you take flight, you would be in the radar screens.¬†All that you can do to protect your privacy is to keep mum or stay locked in. Cyberspace is hardly the turf to tread on and then claim privacy. It’s free for all out there.¬†You will be tracked down easily if you do something that‚Äôs hackworthy. ¬†Hackers have your prick in their pocket and you are too blind to see it.

You invariably leave a trail and there‚Äôs nowhere to hide except by¬†getting lost¬†in that crowd.¬†That multitude,¬†in itself is your guard –¬†you will not be noticed unless you¬†stand out.¬† Spin that theory and you get – only the exceptional get noticed online.¬†¬†I could use a¬†familiar nude beach metaphor here. We don’t¬†look at anything that moves in a nude beach, do we?¬† Our eyes feast on¬†truly gorgeous, sculpted¬†bods.¬† They die to get noticed there.¬† They punish themselves all year round to look great in that beachwear on the day.¬† If you don’t want to get noticed, you’ve no business to be there.

Learn to handle online publicity.¬† Tweak it to¬†your advantage. Speak your mind and craft your unique online persona that you can never¬†do offline because you get only a few¬†fleeting¬†moments of attention.¬† Offline distractions are far too many (you could get nervy)¬†and you¬†are not sure of¬†leaving great impressions. Get a good online headstart and follow it up by offline touch and feel.¬†¬†That’s how you get larger than life. The only risk here¬†is, you are exposing¬†to¬†get kicked in the butt by some smartass.¬† Have enough¬†humor to absorb it and gain wits enough¬†to riposte.¬† That way you build a circle, if not relationships, with people you like.¬† Be smart and use them to your advantage.

Much as many¬†hate it for its laissez-faire, I love the Net exactly for that. I figured it out early on and said to myself – if it leaves a trail for others to find me, why not use it ingeniously for saying ‚ÄúI am in this business. I‚Äôd love your custom‚ÄĚ on the sly?¬† I think that‚Äôs cool.

My normal tactic is to¬†break in with some riveting comments that make people that matter take notice. It makes a statement of what I am¬†and what I do,¬†for a living.¬† My aim – to¬†get me some interesting enquiries that could¬†later turn into deals. My greatest win has been Trevor, my brilliant channel partner¬†from NYC,¬†that no recruitment ad would‚Äôve ever gotten me. He told me he never looked up job ads ‚Äď he tracked all¬†my four blogs,¬†some comments in¬†other blogs¬†and sketched my persona. ¬†Eventually he felt I’d¬†just be¬†the right one¬†to work with. He says he isn‚Äôt worse off for that and my deal book has several credits to his name!

When you go asking for orders, you get squeezed. The clients that¬†come calling after experiencing me online,¬†pinch less on the price I quote. They either give me their business or they don‚Äôt.¬†¬† Since my comments have always been sharp and direct (I don‚Äôt bother to euphemize for fear of diluting my intent that weakens the punch ‚Äď and now it has become my signature and style!)¬†it leaves them with little doubt what they are letting themselves in for.¬† It obviates a lot of pre-deal feel-ups. Who will give so much PR mileage across the world and FREE?

In summation, my business would’ve remained a non-starter but for the pubilicity I got over the Net.  The other alternative was to carry on in a 9-5 cube farm and slog for some dumbass. I did that for a couple decades and Enough ! 

Right to online privacy, still anyone? I say, ‚ÄúNo, thanks.‚ÄĚ

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