Archive for March 5th, 2007

Not tonight, darling, I’ve misplaced my applicator

5 March 2007

This product has just been decreed the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa. Two years ago, it was chosen as a permanent exhibit in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It’s the kind of thing we turn our eyes away from. But is this what we really need to stem the spread of AIDS?

Read the full story here: Condom device wins Most Beautiful award

Describe the colour ‘red’ to a born-blind person

5 March 2007

CHURUMURI POLL: Should stray dogs be killed?

5 March 2007

Bangalore and Mysore are facing one of their biggest civic challenges: stray dogs going on the rampage. At least two young children, a girl in January, a boy in February, have been mauled to death in the State capital by packs of dogs. And dozens of them have been attacked and bitten across the State in what is clearly a bad time of the year.

The civic administration in the two cities have reacted in the only manner known to bureaucrats—through a combination of panic and cover-my-ass. Street dogs have been caught and culled, many have been put to death through lethal injections, and a few have been given anti-rabies shots.

What should be done to tackle the street dog menace? Is it OK to kill dogs to keep the streets safe? Should the officials who turn a blind eye to unhygienic meat shops be brought to book? Is this all a plot by the land mafia to clear out pesky slums squatting on prime real estate? Or is the media hyping stray incidents out of proportion?

Above all, whose life is more valuable: that of the dogs or the humans who live and more around them?

There’s no greater treasure than self-control

5 March 2007

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN sneaks into the shoes (XXL) of the Union Finance Minister:


“Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to present the Union Budget for 2007- 2008.

# For those of you who are prone to get hungry three times a day, I have provided relief as per Section 15 A.

Under this:

I have reduced the Basic customs duty for Cat and Dog food.

If people find it difficult to afford regular meal due to inflation, I recommend:

a) Cat food three times a day to be taken till next year’s budget. If anything happens to you meanwhile, remember cat has at least nine lives!

b) Dog food, five times every alternate day after finishing your job near your pillar. Please note, if you don’t have a pillar and if you use a lamppost, the concession duty will not be available to you as I have added a countervailing duty called the ‘Wailing Duty’ to the Basic Duty.

#If you are expecting your dreaded mother-in law, you can avail Section 18A under which I have completely exempted import of Dredgers from all kinds of Duty. I suggest first you import the dredger, and as a duty-bound son-in-law, export the dreaded M-i-L on the dredger using Export benefits Under Section 24A.

# Since you will not be able to afford a full meal after this budget, don’t despair. I have reduced the import duty of Non-Tobacco Pan Masala from 66% to 45%. You can now chew the Pan to your heart’s content with your P.A.N. card and make a meal out of it! The additional bonus is, there is no danger of getting cancer.

# I have reduced the import duty on all forms of Plastics and Fibres from 12 to 7.5%.I have also asked Food industries and Director of CFTRI V. Prakash to make light-weight Chapathis and Tandoori Rotis which will have more ‘fibre’ content. If there is indigestion problem, my State colleague and Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss can arrange medical test free of cost as I have already brought these specified medical Equipment under ‘Life Saving’ Category.

# If due to inflation and Sky-rocketing prices, providing food on the Dining Table becomes a major worry for housewives, do not worry. I have two solutions for this.

a) When our Rashtrapatiji Abdul Kalam retires in October this year, I will personally request him to study the Prices from ‘Rocketry Science’ angle and design a suitable ‘Debooster’ to bring the prices down. I have provided grant-in –aid of Rs.50 Crores towards this under Section 44CC.

b) Meanwhile, as a temporary measure I have reduced the duty on polished diamond from 5to 3%. This should keep you in good spirits, even if you go hungry.

Don’t for a moment think, I am like the French Empress who asked her subjects to eat cake when they couldn’t get bread!

# I had asked the Chief Ministers to distribute ‘Note Books’ to their MLAs and I believe they have already done so. But I understand from my colleague Mr. Dayanidhi Maran, a majority are awaiting ‘pencils, rubbers and ball-point pens’ for using the Note book. I have allocated Rs.100 crore for this purpose with equal contribution from the State Governments. This will be under Non-Plan, Non-Usable, and Non-Returnable Expenditure’.

# Ever since the prices of essential food article have sky rocketed, getting a decent meal has become a major problem in every household. Even I am facing the same problem with my wife, who incidentally is sitting in the gallery here with paper missiles. Hence I am expanding the drip irrigation scheme to include drips at household also so that people can avail of glucose drips at their home itself. I have brought Electral, Glucon D, brine, etc under ‘Life Saving’ category, which means nil duty. I recommend all taxpayers, Senior Citizens, Non-taxpayers to hoard these freely without any worry.

Mr. Speaker sir, finally, before I end my budget speech, I would like to quote poet Thiruvalluvar, who said in 200 B.C.

Guard your self-control as a precious treasure,
For there is no greater wealth in life than this’ (122)

I request my countrymen to follow what Thiruvalluvar said, in letter and spirit.

I would like to place the budget for 2007-2008 before the House along with the poem, both to be read concurrently.”

9 ways to skin a cat, 12 ways to read a paper

5 March 2007

On our media blog sans serif, edited excerpts from the BBC’s former political editor Andrew Marr‘s memoirs, My Trade. In particular, 12 suggestions for reading a newspaper.

Suggestion No. 5: If the headline asks a question, try answering ‘no’

Is This the True Face of Britain’s Young? (Sensible reader: No.) Have we Found the Cure for AIDS? (No; or you wouldn’t have put the question mark in.) A headline with a question mark at the end means, in the vast majority of cases, that the story is tendentious and oversold. It is often a scare story, or an attempt to elevate some run-of-the-mill piece into a national controversy and, preferably, a national panic

Read the full story here: How to read a newspaper

Nike and cricket: a marriage made in hell

5 March 2007

CHETAN KRISHNASWAMY forwards us the YouTube link for Nike‘s first cricket commercial in India, starring the people of India and two very special ones, Zaheer Khan and S. Sreesanth—shot at a very familiar Indian landmark, the Bombay traffic jam.


“We wanted to show how cricket is played on the streets in India. These players are as tough, mean and hard as international cricketers,” says Agnell Dias, executive director of J. Walter Thompson, the company which did the commercial.

Marketing spiel aside, the real surprise is that Nike should associate itself with cricket, a game that is completely antithetical to its core philosophy.

In Nike’s book, winning is all. The company is infamous, even notorious, for its abrasive advertising. At the Olympics—which is what the cricket World Cup is—it puts up hoardings saying, “You don’t win silver, you lose gold.”

The implication: games are played to come first, those who stand second or third (or eighth) can go to hell and beyond. This is a company which has never heard of a draw, or a tie, the possibility of rain stopping play, or the Duckworth-Lewis method being applied.

That such a company should now be waxing eloquent of the fairest, most just, game played on the face of the planet, shows even the most agile legs, covered by the most blazing sneakers, can be brought to its knees by the colour and crackle of money.

Related link: Nike just did it!