Wednesday, December 13, 2006

lost in the desert

Nicholas Kristof has written an interesting piece in the New York Times on the common stereotypes about Islam. In it, he argues that no "religion's influence is intrinsically peaceful or violent," but admits that "some Muslim societies do have a real problem with violence, wih the subjugation of women, with tolerance."

His main point is that Muslims exist across the world, and subsequently the practise of Islam spans too broad a spectrum to be so easily summarized. In fact, "The mosaic of Islam", he says, "contains many hopeful glimpses of the future."

He cites a Muslim in Brunei who implies that the problem is not with Islam, but with 'Arab' Islam. By putting it this way, Mr. Kristof simplifies the problem by breaking it up geographically: Asian Islam is like this, and Arab (or more specifically, Saudi) Islam is like that. This is partly true. Local culture and history do tend to play a large role in the way the religion is practised. But that's not the whole story.

The trouble with Saudi Islam is that it, moreso than its counterparts, is so opposed to updating its rituals in any way that integrating its followers with the rest of the world is becoming increasingly difficult. As a smart Muslim once pointed out to me, it "needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century."

What Mr. Kristof fails to point out, however, is that Saudi Islam, as the supposed purveyor of the faith, has a significant influence on other varieties, regardless of geography. Pakistani Islam, for example, often uses the Saudi model as a yardstick, unwilling as it is to carve out its own identity.

What's left is a problem that is exported out of Saudi Arabia into other parts of the world. The Saudis are quick to justify everything they do in the name of Islam, making it hard for Muslims everywhere, especially less educated ones, to deny their alliegance to some pretty dastardly things. The result is that many Muslim societies, among which Pakistan is a shining example, are sharply divided along educational, not geographic, lines.

Mr. Kristof drives home his point with a slightly melodramatic comment:

There is a historic dichotomy between desert Islam — the austere fundamentalism of countries like Saudi Arabia — and riverine or coastal Islam, more outward-looking, flexible and tolerant. Desert Muslims grab the headlines, but my bet is that in the struggle for the soul of Islam, maritime Muslims have the edge.

So what about places like Karachi, that are, quite literally, both maritime and desert at once?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Pakistanis are idiots.

Since Friday, no less than 12 people have either mentioned or sent me a link to this BBC article. It's about how Indian men have smaller penises than standard international condom sizes. The article itself is quite funny. But from the taglines appended to each of these forwards (generally in the "Haha, Indians are so lame, we have bigger dicks" vein), I gather that many Pakistanis consider this some sort of triumph of our nation over theirs.

This is completely stupid. Our two countries have only spent 59 years apart, separated by an artificial border. Many have criss-crossed this border several times over since independence, not to mention mass migration during partition itself. Conclusion: if Indian penises are small, then, sorry to say, so are Pakistani penises.

It would be fine if Pakistanis castigated Indians about things that are distinctly 'Indian', i.e. those that have evolved since partition. Unfortunately, such things (like democratic government, or entrepreneurial spirit, say) have generally shown themselves to be quite successful. Maybe we could learn a little from the things that are distinctly Indian, instead of ridiculing those that aren't.

Eventually maybe our penises will evolve in different Darwinian directions. Until then, young ladies throughout the subcontinent will have to look elsewhere for a good time.

Friday, December 8, 2006

will shoaib get fucked?

I'm sorry.

Call me juvenile, but this photograph may turn out to be quite prophetic in answering the aforementioned question.

I continue to wonder what will happen with this whole affair. Bob Woolmer has gone on the record saying he supports the decisions of both tribunals, which, umm, is a bit daft, given that they both handed out completely opposite sentences.

My guess is the ICC won't let this one slide. They already feel like the PCB has bullied them enough over the past few months (on which count I disrepectfully disagree). They will use the WADA excuse to push their weight around on this.

If the players do end up getting fucked, though, it will be unfair to them. They were made scapegoats in the PCB's unprecedented and unjustified campaign to promote justice and virtue. Regardless of whether or not they intentionally took nandrolone, they did not get a proper first trial; and it was the impropriety of the first that set the tone for the second.

Unfortunately, neither justice nor virture will prevail. If Shoaib and Asif were innocent, then their legacy has been unnecessarily tarnished; if guilty, then two intentional dopers are now openly allowed to play.

The PCB, on the other hand, deserves whatever it gets. I have tried to be supportive of them, but there's only so much incompetence I can take. The sad part is that they are likely to come out of all this relatively unscathed.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

cream of shrooms soup

In an article about the inconsistencies in the PCB's doping trials, Osman Samiuddin proves his point that this is not Pakistan's first encounter with anti-doping legislation:

For Pakistanis who are celebrating this decision, they should first cast a sombre glance at the cases of Meherullah Lassi and Faisal Karim. They are possibly Pakistan's best boxers, among the region's cream as well, and they have just been handed life bans by the Pakistan Boxing Federation for testing positive for use of cannabis.

I am amused. First, Meherullah Lassi is an awesome name. Second, cannabis is no reason to get kicked out of any sport. If you can be a pothead and still be "among the region's cream," then good for you. In fact, you might well be able to tackle other region's creams if you stopped getting high all the time.

basically the same

Here is an audio version of an interesting NPR story. The US Ambassador in Berlin has started a program to meet with young German Muslims and set up a dialogue about each other's respective worldviews. As part of this program the kids even get to go on a trip to the States. They visit New York and DC; check out Times Square and the State Department; and talk to Americans about America, Germany, and Islam.

This is a great idea. A lot of these kids grow up in small immigrant communities, often underpriveleged, and never leave them. Like in any inward-looking community, they end up with localized and skewed ideas about a lot of things concerning the rest of the world.

A program like this gives these kids a chance to step out of their bubbles, and also to see the more “human” side of America - or at the very least gives them some context and a frame of reference for the country and its people.

I think there should be similar programs for Americans to visit Pakistan, and also, for that matter, for Pakistanis to visit the US. Just spending some time in the other’s country and speaking frankly with its people would give both sides a much better understanding of each other. It would go a long way towards dispelling so many of the pre-conceived stereotypes that people on either side can’t help but have these days. It would at least instil in young kids two fundamental facts: (1) that you can't blame an entire country or a tradition for the actions of a few of its members, and (2) that despite all the social, cultural, or economic differences, people everywhere are basically the same.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

a bunch of dopes

I have watched events unfold in the Shoaib/Asif scandal with a fair bit of incredulity. For some reason I haven't posted about this yet. Maybe because I had a sneaking suspicion that it wasn't over. Well, lo and behold, it wasn't. In the latest development, they have both been completely acquitted of all charges brought against them. Which means the entire process of having a trial and serving out a harsh-but-fair punishment was one big sham.

Here's how it happened: PCB, an organization so fervent about maintaining its secrecy, so notorious for its lack of accountability or transparency, suddenly decided to sacrifice its two best bowlers just to showcase a strange new commitment to justice and integrity.

They rushed to judgment, and now the country looks like a bunch of bumbling idiots. They should have played it safer earlier. They should have either: (1) stuck to their time-honored traditions of secrecy and dealt with the matter behind closed doors; or (2) opened it to the world and had a proper trial - not one where the sentence was, as it appears, pre-determined, but a real and proper and final one.

What has happened is neither here nor there. And it is shameful. And it makes us look shady.

Of course, I'm not all gloom and doom about this. In fact, I'm quite conflicted. There's a big part of me that's thrilled they're back. No, not thrilled...relieved. Despite the team's recent 2-0 test victory against the Windies, there was no angle from which to see Pakistan lifting the World Cup. Now, at least such a chance is vaguely visible, if only through a powerful electron microscope.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

recognizing records

So according to this article, a couple of Indian kids have broken the record for the highest partnership in any form of recorded cricket. In a school match, they put on 721 runs in just 40 overs.

My question is, why is this being reported as if it is actually a record? Is it comparable to Sangakkara and Jayawardene making 624 in an actual Test against South Africa this year? I mean, good for these kids, but this was a Hyderabad Under-13 school tournament.

Even Tendulkar and Kambli's 638-run stand in a 3-4 day game in a 16-17 year old all-India interschool tournament is a more valid record, although that too is overrated. Cricinfo's wording is priceless:

"The closest any Test batting duo came to going past the Tendulkar-Kambli record was when Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara added 624 for the third wicket against South Africa in Sri Lanka earlier this year. "

The closest they ever came?! Are you kidding me? 624 is pretty damn close to 638, and 624 in an actual test trumps 638 in a school tournament by about 500 miles. They shouldn't even be discussed in the same sentence.

Kambli, of course, remained unwilling "to buy the argument that school cricket makes for easy records."

So here's what I think. Tomorrow, there's a match in my studio apartment. All are welcome - boys, girls, infants, and seniors. The wall by the radiator is a six, and the tv stand is the wicket. If you hit the computer, you're out... Let's make some records!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

bringing running to a standstill

As much as I love cricket, I think it's lame that it allows you to have "runners" and "subs" in the way that it does. If you get tired of batting, you can call someone to come and run for you; and if you get tired of standing in the field you can go inside and chill while some random dude fields in your place.

I have fervently castigated other sports, like American football and baseball, for breeding "specialist" athletes - e.g. a quarterback's entire role is to throw the ball when he is told, and a pitcher in the American league will never bat. I now realize that cricket is not dissimilar, because runners and subs rules allow a player to narrow his task down to swinging his bat or bowling his over without worrying about other aspects of the game.

If you get cramps from smacking a ball around all day, then maybe you need to toughen up and build your stamina. You are, after all, an athlete playing at the highest level of your game, so it's not too much to ask. If you can't perform ALL the tasks of batting or bowling (including running and fielding) then you shouldn't be allowed to bat or bowl. If you do call in a substitute, he should have to play for the rest of the match.

It's time cricketers got up off their asses and increased the level of athleticism in the game. This will make for more interesting viewing. Maybe then the rest of the world will actually start respecting the sport.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

why so crabby?

Somebody has left the following comment on last Monday's post:

"this is a crab site there is no picz"

Needless to say, I am distraught at the quality of readers my site is attracting...

(It's okay if they're reading this - I deliberately used big words like 'distraught' and 'quality' so they wouldn't understand.)

staying up to date

So this is what shows up when you open up Netflix these days. I've blocked out my name, of course, but take a look at the two items they are asking me to "update" on my profile. And no, it's not like they don't have this information, you have to enter it when you sign up. They just want to keep their info up to date.....

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

epic tetus

I have just discovered that there was once a philosopher named "Epictetus." I wonder if he was as 'full-bosomed' as his name suggests...

Monday, November 6, 2006

if looks could kill

Fans will notice (if they are still reading) that has a new look! Big up to our friends at 4e44 for helping us out with this. Finally, an orange theme that works!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

pushing the envelope

Sacha Baron Cohen, the guy who does Ali G and Borat, is selling out.

First, he has started to appear on talk shows to promote his show, when earlier he would refuse to be seen in public out of character. When this first started to happen, I thought, well, enough people are in on the joke now that it's okay. But I still feel he could have kept his integrity by staying out of the public eye.

Second, he is taking this whole Borat thing a bit too far. Basically his Borat act involves saying horrible things, racist and otherwise, while pretending to be a Kazakhi television reporter. When it started, it was a nuanced and deftly constructed act, in which he would use people's ignorance against them by pretending to be completely out of sync with civil society, and in doing so bring out their own lack of civility. Kazakhstan at the time was just a symbol, representing a place about which most Westerners are completely ignorant, to the point where they could expect anything from someone who was from such a place.

This involved him making fun of many races, but also of Kazakhstan itself. Needless to say, everyone got offended, but none moreso than the Kazakhs themselves, who started having to defend their own traditions and decrying what was being said about them. At this point, Cohen had two options: 1. to ignore the Kazakh response, and 2. to retatliate. Unfortunately, he chose the second. So instead of being a nuanced attack on people's ignorance, it became an all out schoolyard brawl with the Kazakh authorities.

The latest episode in the saga involves him parading outside the Kazakh embassy maintaing that despite what the Kazakh embassy might try to tell you, rape and ping pong ARE in fact the two favorite pastimes of Kazakhstan.

It is childish and mean. It is irresponsible, and it is unnecessary. Media is powerful, and he should know how badly his words can hurt the image of a country. If his idea is to manufacture high-brow comedy then he shouldn't assume everyone will get it. And if they don't he shouldn' lash out at them.

Needless to say, I still think he is a genius, and the new Borat movie will definitely be worth a watch. But the joke is starting to go sour now. Let's hope it doesn't start to stink anytime soon.

ma homeys

So apparently up until 1975, the country we now know as Benin was known as the Kingdom of "DaHomey"! How brilliant is that! I wonder if that's where the word comes from...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


So according to Cricinfo, one (admittedly weak) defense for Shoaib failing the drugs test is that he was taking Ventolin inhalers. Apparently Ventolin inhalers contain steroids.


I better not take any drug tests anytime soon.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

spelling bee minus

Here's an excerpt of an email I received from Columbia, that they sent out to all prospective students. Basically they are showing off about how hot their visiting speakers are, and how so many of their faculty have recently won big prizes etc. So they say:

Next, two Columbia University Scholars were recently awarded a Nobel Prize. Orphan Pamuk, a Scholar in Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures and a Fellow with the University's Committee on Global Thought, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

"Orphan Pamuk" indeed. I almost want to rescind my application immediately...

Friday, October 13, 2006

it'd be so empty without me

Dear readers,

My heartfelt apologies for leaving you postless for so many days. Things are heating up with applications et al. Here, however, is a little article I just came across that I had to post about. So here ends my hiatus..

Apparently Canadian troops in Afghanistan are having a hard time getting through "almost impenetrable forests of 10-feet-high marijuana plants."

So they are wondering how to get rid of them.

"We tried burning them with white phosphorous -- it didn't work. We tried burning them with diesel -- it didn't work. The plants are so full of water right now ... that we simply couldn't burn them," he said.

Hmm.. I wonder what else they tried.

"A couple of brown plants on the edges of some of those (forests) did catch on fire. But a section of soldiers that was downwind from that had some ill effects and decided that was probably not the right course of action," Hillier said dryly.

Hahahaha.. downwind indeed. I'll bet they sucked that shit up as far into their lungs as possible.

One soldier told him later: "Sir, three years ago before I joined the army, I never thought I'd say 'That damn marijuana'."

What a wonderful story.

Friday, September 29, 2006

a post about mush

Well, I had to... He's everywhere these days...

There are two things in particular on which I will comment.

1. His speech to Washington's (expat) "community." -- First of all, he is a tremendous speaker. He kept it colloquial, seamlessly blended Urdu and English, made jokes, and used statistics to try and convince us of the nation's supposed unbounded progress. Of course I took the joviality as well as the accuracy of the stats with a few tablespoons of salt, but still, he spoke with far more tact and flair than on his previous visit.

2. His appearance on the Daily Show. -- Needless to say, I was dreading this, and was utterly prepared to be embarassed. Instead, I was amused and delighted by the way he handled himself. He did not appear overly earnest, and showed himself to be quite upstanding. Only as I watched did I realize the method to his madness. Because he can come on some random BBC show all he wants, but nothing will sink itself more deeply into the hearts and minds of America than a humorous, unstuffy, sincere appearance on the Daily Show.

I am, however, at a loss to figure out whether this is merely self-promotion for his book, a remarkably astute way of utilizing popular media to promote the country's image, or both.

Ergo, I am in a dilemma. As much as I want to read the book, I'm not sure I want to support how it's being promoted... hmm...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

hos by any other name

Dog commented on the whole business of name-discrimination based on what are perceived to be black or white names etc. I'd like to follow up with a personal anecdote.

A few months ago, I emailed a guy off Craigslist for tickets to a show. It was 2 pm, the show was at 8, so this guy had 6 hours to sell them. His ad said he had wanted to go but now he couldn't so he was selling at face value. Great. So I emailed him, and included my number in the email. An hour and a half went by without any response.

Just for the heck of it, I asked a friend of mine with a rather more 'pleasant-sounding' name to send another email. Lo and behold, within 10 minutes he received a phone call, and within 45 minutes we had the tickets.

Which means if I had been the only one who contacted him, he would probably still not have sold them to me. He would rather lose 160 bucks than talk to someone with a funny name.

Name discrimination is alive and well.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

a milestone

Dear readers,

Today is a momentous day indeed. In addition to being Google's 8th birthday and my mother's 58th, today also officially marks the one-month anniversary of's first post!

(Fans will notice I am not counting the "test post" that was put up two days earlier.)

So 31 days, 36 posts, and counting...

armchair pakistanis

I was at a yuppie Paki dinner recently.

Which means I have recently been subjected to much discussion about the 'state of the nation,' as it were.

Of course, we, as concerned citizens, using a bird's-eye-view from our perch 7,470 miles away, debated most fervently the topics that affect us least. The rights of women, the state of education, recent news bites, how to eradicate feudalism, fundamentalism, and other deep-rooted problems that we are all so qualified to fix.

For the most part, it was intelligent conversation. Granted, it was not only hypothetical but also hypocritical -- what could be more hypocritical than an expatriate teacher complaining about the lack of good teachers in the country? Yet, as far as such things go, it was of a reasonable calibre. Except the one girl who would offer up her views in neat little platitudes, like "women are treated so badly in Pakistan," or "there is so much violence in Pakistan," without any examples or follow-up comments.

Which brings me to my point. Why do people talk when they have nothing to say? Did she think people were going to respond "Oh, what a wonderful point, I hadn't thought of that?" Did she think that she was saying was particularly groundbreaking? I just don't get it.

Much to my delight, however, she, and we all, were chided by an older member of our party, who proclaimed us to be "Armchair Pakistanis," loaded with empty opinions and devoid of meaningful action.

Of course, in the true tautological manner of an Armchair Pakistani, it makes me sad and concerned that there are so many of us. I'm not, however, planning to do anything about it anytime soon. Surely this makes my country weep.

To illustrate my point, here is an image of my weeping country, straight from my own messed up imagination.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

staying abreast of the market

zDog posted a few days ago about the Finnish guy who paid 32,000 bucks for fondling a woman's breasts 10 times. Of course, I have something to say about this.

First, a simple calculation. If we assume, for the sake of underestimation, that he fondled both breasts seven of those ten times, but that the other three times he was too much of an idiot to make full use of his purchase, and only fondled one breast at a time, it works out to:

(32,000 / 10 ) / (7 * 2 + 3) ~ 188 dollars per breast per fondle.

Now, as every economist is taught, you can put a price on most things. However, certain goods are notoriously difficult to quantify. Yet, micro models are constructed that determine the cost of clean air, and actuaries work long hours to put a value on human life. The way prices work in unquantifiable markets has less to do with competition and more to do with the general public's "willingness to pay" for such a good.

This means two things:

1. If he agreed to pay, as he says he did, then the price is not too high. Clearly, this is not a regulated market. A monopoly by definition can set whatever price it wants. Since an unregulated market operates outside the law anyway, it is not subject to anti-trust laws, and thus the consumer is not protected from a monopoly entity. (Which is why a hooker or a drug dealer or a craigslister can rip you off without you being able to do shit about it). So the court basically has no business in this matter, unless it charges her with something akin to prostitution.

2. The court's verdict as far as determining the appropriateness of the price was completely arbirtrary. What amount, for example, would they have considered appropriate? 10 dollars? 175? Is there a threshold at which this is an acceptable transaction? What about other factors, e.g. how hot the woman is? On what basis did they make the deduction?

We here at believe that a referendum of some sort would have been a far fairer and more democratic method of determining the average person's willingness to pay for a breast fondle. And so, we ask you once again, dear readers, to tell us what you think, in this, our second weekly poll:

(Note: all prices below are in US dollars. For conversion to other currencies, please click here.)

How much is a breast fondle worth?

disappointed fans

It appears I have gathered a loyal readership. (if you switch the l and r in "loyal readership", you get "royal leadership". Which means Chinese people must confuse their writers and their monarchs).

Of course, I hate nothing more than to read the pleas of disappointed fans. Unfortunately, I have been very busy of late, what with having to get a higher education and all. So, at the risk of losing readership, then, let me leave you with a promise that by the end of this day you will have at least one new post. I assure you there is much to talk about.

Till then...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

the history of caffeine

A little wikipediaing led me to this:

Humans have consumed caffeine since the Stone Age. Early peoples
found that chewing the seeds, bark, or leaves of certain plants had the
effects of easing fatigue, stimulating awareness, and elevating mood.
Only much later was it found that the effect of caffeine was increased
by steeping such plants in hot water. Many cultures have legends that
attribute the discovery of such plants to people living many thousands
of years ago.

The early history of coffee is obscure, but a popular myth traces its
discovery to Ethiopia, where Coffea arabica originates from.
According to this myth, a goatherder named Kaldi observed goats that
became elated and sleepless at night after browsing on coffee shrubs
and, upon trying the berries that the goats had been eating,
experienced the same vitality.

In 1587, Malaye Jaziri compiled a work tracing the history and legal
controversies of coffee, entitled "Umdat al safwa fi hill al-qahwa". In this
work, Jaziri recorded that one Sheikh, Jamal-al-Din al-Dhabhani, mufti
of Aden, was the first to adopt the use of coffee in 1454, and that in the
15th century the Sufis of Yemen routinely used coffee to stay awake
during prayers.

Towards the close of the 16th century, the use of coffee was recorded
by a European resident in Egypt, and about this time it came into
general use in the Near East. The appreciation of coffee as a beverage
in Europe, where it was first known as "Arabian wine," dates from the
17th century. During this time "coffee houses" were established, the
first being opened in Constantinople and Venice. In Britain, the first
coffee houses were opened in London in 1652, at St Michael's Alley,
Cornhill. They soon became popular throughout Western Europe, and
played a significant role in social relations in the 17th and 18th

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

speed dating for muslims

Here's a sample from an article in the New York Times about the whole marriage meat market thing that supposedly goes on at ISNA conferences.

The questions raised at the seminar reflected just how pained many
American Muslims are by the subject. One middle-aged man wondered
if there was anything he could do now that his 32-year-old son had
declared his intention of marrying a (shudder) Roman Catholic. A young
man asked what might be considered going too far when courting a
Muslim woman.

At the end there was an hourlong social hour which allowed
participants time to collect e-mail addresses and telephone numbers
over a pasta dinner with sodas. (Given the Muslim ban on alcohol, no
one could soothe jumpy nerves with a drink.)

First of all, what an inane thing to report, and second, what's with the tone? Isn't the Times supposed to be a respectable publication? Do respectable publications print articles in which they blatantly mock people's lifestyles and place them right next to foreign policy analyses? This is almost like the idiots who mock the people at the Scientology stands by shouting vehemently about how they "want to make noise when they give birth."

I'm the first to say I absolutely disagree with whatever goes on at these ISNA matrimonial events, but if this is how people choose to reconcile their conflicting cultures, then so be it. It's not as if Muslims are the only ones getting arranged marriages. And it's certainly not as if Muslims are the only ones who get pissed about their children being exogamous. Finally, it's not as if the entire concept of speed dating and online dating is immune to mockery, so why not start there first. Seriously man, report on some real shit for God's sake.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

messing with nature

This wonderful article describes how some idiot named Jean-Michel is dissing the crocodile hunter for having too much of a "hands on approach" to nature television. Here's what he says:

"(He would) interfere with nature, jump on animals, grab them, hold them, and have this very, very spectacular, dramatic way of presenting things. Of course, it goes very well on television. It sells, it appeals to a lot people, but I think it's very misleading. You don't touch nature, you just look at it. And that's why I'm still alive. I've been diving over 61 years — a lot many more years than he's been alive — and I don't mess with nature."

I have two things to say:

1 - Why are we still talking about the crocodile hunter? Why are we so surprised that he's dead, seeing as how his entire life revolved around openly dealing with wild crocodiles?

2 - Don't diss on him dude. He's dead. Let him be. It'd be funny if this Jean-Michel guy died diving tomorrow. Then I could say "I sat on my ass jerking off and never left my house. That's why I'm still alive. And I've been jerking off for 13 years -- I don't mess with nature."

of bikes and men

In this post, Omar poses a pertinent question about his bike. Will it be stolen? Here at we are always ready to lend a hand. So in our first interactive polling feature, I urge you, readers, to let us know what you think. Vote now!

Will Dog's bike get stolen?

dog's blog

So Omar has been posting on his blog all this time. I thought it was being neglected. Here are his two cents on the whole Pakistan Miss Bikini story I posted about a couple weeks ago.

two hundred hits

My blog has just hit 200 hits...

Of course, 175 of them are mine, but who's counting...

the dully show

So Jon Stewart did a stand-up show in MD a couple days ago. What a bore. 2 hours of him waxing philosophical about how we all need to be moderate and have common sense. Ridiculous, not-very-funny observations on cliched topics, and silly platitudes that were far from witty were applauded as if they were gospel. I could see that he means what he says, but at the same time I wondered why I paid 85 dollars to watch him talk. Of course the other 14,999 people didn't seem to mind. They cheered every time they agreed with anything. Here's a little example:

JS: I feel bad for the democrats.
Audience: WOOHOOOOO!

The good news, however, is that the opening act was hilarious! His name was Mike Birbiglia. Here is a clip from some of his material.

ponting needs a punting

Ricky Ponting the choot thinks he can just rest while the rest of his team wins matches for him. Well a good old fashioned defeat by the West Indies should teach him, McGrath, and Gilchrist that they should save their rest days for when their team plays the Queensland Under-19s. Stuart Clark went for 87 runs in 7 overs. That gives me much joy. Also means that there is hope that once these three retire, other teams may actually stand a chance...

Friday, September 15, 2006

picture perfect

What a perfect shot. Wrong way sign, cop car, complacent expression, Abbey Road crosswalk reference. Replace the Pepsi with a joint and that's my next album cover. The rough streets of NW DC.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

the masturbating bear

Been looking for this clip for a while and finally found it. Conan is brilliant.

I should do something similar with Bloomberg (the little horned mascot on the top left)..

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

an incendiary comment

Woohooo! My blog has officially received its first incendiary comment! Omar has come through with a scathing response to my "saving" post. To which I feel I must now respond.

First of all, I completely rescind my statement about facebook and 'keeping in touch' with people. I intended for it to tie into my argument, but looking back on it I realize it comes off as merely an unnecessary addendum and a spiteful comment. The statement I am referring to is:

"Now, to those who claim that they're on facebook to keep in
touch with people, I ask why your friends list has people on it
whom you can't even remember having met. Are these the
people you want to keep in touch with? And are you really
keeping in touch by asking them "wot dey r up 2" every six
weeks or so? "

Fair enough, I understand that people have different ways of keeping in touch. As for the rest of it though, I am still not sure I see what the problem is. But Omar definitely made a couple of statements that I feel I would be chickening out by not addressing. Here's one:

"Yes, I may like to put me and blah are going out, but that is
relying on the fact that this information is not going to
broadcast across my 400 'friends'. If I knew that was the case,
I would not have put up the relationship status." [then some
lines later] "Those 400 people on your list are not all equal and,
though they may each be able to find out what you're doing,
390 of them don't give a hoot."

Here's what I don't get. First, if 390 of them don't give a hoot about you, why are they your 'friends'? Second, even if they are your 'friends', if they don't care what you're up to, what difference does it make if what you're up to is broadcast to them? It seems like you want to have your cake and eat it too. Put yourself out there for all to see, and then hope that only certain people actually do.

The way I see it, the crux of the argument lies in this remark:

"There is a line between how much one is willing to show to
the world through a web profile, and how much the web
profile is projected to the world itself."

This is where I believe there is a fundamental disconnect in our thinking. I just plain don't agree with this statement. I feel like this line may have existed some time ago, but it is fast disappearing. Sites like flickr and youtube and even this blog are making it so that what you put online is there for everyone's consumption. As for projecting it, to me that is merely a side issue. To others, that is the issue.

But thanks for the comments. And keep them coming. Since there are only about three people that read this blog, it looks as if I should try to post as many things that will piss them off specifically… hmm…

Monday, September 11, 2006


So there is this new facebook feature called a news feed that shows you what your friends are up to.. as in, who they recently added as friends, what parts of their profile they changed, and what they wrote on other people's walls, in an up-to-the-minute newsreel format.

And people are pissed!

I am not a facebook user. But I get the idea. And I do use my defunct, neglected account to look people up from time to time. So I ask, then, what is the big deal?

The way I see it, anyone can check your friends list at 10.14 and again at 10.16 and note the changes, but if that same person has a feed that tells them whom you added at 10.15, this is a problem.

Apparently this is some major breach of privacy. Privacy? On facebook?? Chances are if you've put up your pictures and birthday and favorite movies and books and quotes you're not a huge fan of privacy. In fact, I would argue you're something of an exhibitionist.

Yes, you don't want anyone to see except those you deisgnate as your “friends”. But who on facebook has friends who are actually their friends? If you've met someone once, or know someone who knows a friend of yours, chances are they’re on your friends list. And they can see all your friends and your favorite books and when your birthday is. So obviously you are letting them into whatever farcical facebook world you subscribe to. The newsreel feature only reports on activities among your “friends” anyway, so what's the problem?

So some friends are better than others, I see that. Only certain friends need to know certain things. But even then, what's so private about what you're putting up for all to see? Granted, I am not a user, and maybe I would understand if I were. But I don't get it. It's not as if facebook posts are incredibly profound. They generally range from the mundane -- "Yo! long time! let's get 2getha dis week sumtime!" -- to the arcane -- "hmm... ure shirt looks familiar ;)" -- to the inane -- "why do elephants have eyebrows neway =P?"

So what's there to hide?

Now, to those who claim that they're on facebook to keep in touch with people, I ask why your friends list has people on it whom you can't even remember having met. Are these the people you want to keep in touch with? And are you really keeping in touch by asking them "wot dey r up 2" every six weeks or so?

Now I mentioned I am guilty of the occcasional stalking on facebook. So defenders of the facebook boycott try to corner me by asking "What if everyone could see every time you visited somebody's profile? Would you like that?" And I answer "No. I would hate that." But here's the thing. I never put anything up about having visited these people's pages, never published it, never shared it with anyone, never spoke about it or wrote about it. In fact, I meant it to be discreet in every possible sense. You, on the other hand, put up your relaionship status for all to see. And now you're complaining that they saw it. I was merely accessing publicly available information. You were making it publicly available. There is a difference.

This is cyberspace. If you're putting something up, you'd better be damn sure you want people to see it. If you don't, don't let people in, or don't put it up.

You wanted to be connected. So now you are. Get used to it.

Friday, September 8, 2006

the art of coin tampering

So Omar discovered a website called Howstat which has the most detailed cricket stats I've ever seen. So I decided to do a completely inane analysis on the luckiest captains, by number of tosses won. Obviously I found nothing mindblowing, seeing as I was studying the frequency of a coin coming up heads or tails. But here are the results anyway.

ODIs (captains that have captained 20+ matches):
Each team has won between 46.7% (WI) and 53.6% (Ind) of it's tosses. Except Sri Lanka, which has won the toss only 30.7% of the time. This is mainly due to Arjuna Ranatunga's reign as captain, in which he captained the side a mammoth 193 times, while winning a meagre 10 tosses(5.2%). Surprisingly, he still managed to win 51% of his matches. Other unlucky captains are Carl Hooper of WI (34.7%) and Aamir Sohail of Pak (31.8%).

The luckiest captains have been Jimmy Adams of WI (69.2%), Ramiz Raja of Pak (68.2%). Interestingly enough, both have lost over 54% of their matches.

Tests (captains that have captained 10+ matches):
Again, no surprises. Each team has won between 46.7% (Pak) and 54.9% (SL) of their tosses. Ranatunga has fared better in tests, winning 51.8% of his tosses in 56 matches.

Luckiest captains are Arthur Hassett of Aus, Robert Wyatt of Eng, and Hubert Deane of SA, all of whom have won 75% of their tosses. All also lost less than 35% of their tests. Incidentally, all played before 1955, when cricket was cleaner and happier. And coins, apparently, were nicer. The only post-1975 captain to win over 70% of his tosses is Shivnarine Chanderpaul of WI (71.4%). Unfortunately, he has also lost 71.4% of his tests.

Unluckiest captains are Frederick Brown of Eng (20.0%), Glenn Turner of NZ (20.0%), and Bevan Congdon, also of NZ (23.5%). All have lost over 40% of their matches.

It is important to note that although many captains have very low toss-win ratios, Pakistan have never had a captain who won less than 32% (Akram) of his test tosses. Lanka and the Windies have fared even better, their unluckiest captains winning 45.5% and 41.7% of the time, respectively. Surely there is foul play at work. Perhaps it's time for the ICC forensics team...

Spreadsheets are available for anyone who has even less to do in life than I.

bikinis are scary

A little article from reuters. If only the 'Pakistani authorities' spent their time on more pressing concerns...

Pakistan says bikini contestant not a representative
Thu Sep 7, 2006
11:01 AM ET

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani authorities are investigating
how a Pakistani-born American woman entered a "Miss Bikini"
pageant in China as a representative of predominantly Muslim,
conservative Pakistan.

Houston-based Mariyah Moten, 22, took part in the pageant in
the Chinese resort of Beihai on August 28. She won a "Best in
Media" title, for being the most photographed and interviewed
contestant, according to media reports.

A government official said Moten did not have permission to
represent Pakistan, where many women only go out in public
covered in a veil. The country does not hold beauty contests.

"We have asked our missions in Washington and Beijing to
investigate this because it is against our policy, culture and
religion," senior Culture Ministry official Abdul Hafeez
Chaudhry told Reuters Thursday, referring to Moten's

"She is an American passport holder. She is an American
national of Pakistani origin, so how did she get entry as a
Pakistani?" he asked.

Moten, a student of hotel management at the University of
Houston, was born and brought up in the Pakistani city of
Karachi, news reports said. She moved to the United States
with her family eight years ago.

Chaudhry said Pakistan might take the issue up with China,
depending on the result of the investigation.

He also said the government might withdraw from Moten
special privileges offered to people of Pakistani descent such
as visa-free travel to Pakistan.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

So here is the best picture I could find of this chick. She
seems pretty hot to me... I say we applaud how we have
hot bitches like her... and hot guys like me... or maybe
I better watch out..

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

bert and ernie

Hahahahahah... This is completely juvenile and inane. But I couldn't stop laughing!

Monday, September 4, 2006

boa constrictor

Here are the entire lyrics to Boa Constrictor by The Magnetic Fields:

I spend my evenings alone talking to your picture
Love is wrapped around my heart like a boa constrictor
My mother should've murdered me, what jury would convict her?
For love is wrapped around my heart like a boa constrictor

Friday, September 1, 2006

mama zuma's revenge

A pretty serious bag of potato chips by a company called Route 11.

Armed with her jalapeno whip and extra jalapeno ammo in her belt, a fiesty Mama Zuma takes her revenge on a poor sombreroed fellow in a canyon full of cacti on fire.

And this is the mild version...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

dr worm

Lyrics to Dr. Worm by They Might be Giants.

They call me Dr. Worm.
Good morning. How are you? I'm Dr. Worm.
I'm interested in things.
I'm not a real doctor
But I am a real worm.
I am an actual worm.
I live like a worm.
I like to play the drums.
I think I'm getting good
But I can handle criticism.


klpd in cardiff

Not sure who decided to stage an ODI in Wales, but the first Pak-Eng match was rained out today after a great performance by ma boys. Just as they were well on their way to a solid win, it started to come down... hmmmm....

Sadly, I also ended up at position 152 for the match in the fantasy league. Bother.

All in all, an 'anti-climatic' (ha ha ha) finish.

keeping your hair on

Excerpts from a hilarious piece in the Guardian about Darrell Hair's potential future as a reality TV star:

"Though fair and balanced members of the Australian commentariat (and is there another kind?) have rallied strongly behind the beleaguered official, some naysayers in Britain and in Pakistan have suggested that if he and his colleagues fail to produce sufficient evidence of Pakistani ball-tampering during the ICC inquiry, Darrell will be effectively be "finished".

What nonsense. Precedent - in fact the entire drive of contemporary culture - suggests that should the unthinkable happen, it will be a matter of days, if not minutes, before he begins his new career as a reality TV star. The sole purpose of the modern medium, for Guardian readers still clinging to dinosaur channels such as BBC4 and Artsworld, is to prove that there are always second acts. It's not optional: it's the rules. So if Darrell may be assured of anything in these difficult hours, it is that smirking, jaded telly executives are even now dreaming up vehicles for him, probably running along the following lines:

-- Hair Force
Armed with only a copy of the Geneva Convention, no-nonsense Darrell is parachuted into various global troublespots, where he must play diplomat between warring factions and attempt to broker a peaceful solution. The problem with being an international umpire, Darrell once remarked, is that "you have to travel to places where you are out of your comfort zone", so producers are banking on fish-out-of-water hilarity to ensue.

-- That's Just Hairsay! Madcap linguistic quiz show in which Darrell presides over two teams; with panellists to include Freddie orsyth, Dennis Wise and Su Pollard. Slated rounds include "Is that a euphemism you're tampering with in your pocket?", where teams must tease out the meanings behind popular newspaper expressions like "holds robust views", "is Australian" and "has made controversial calls in several matches featuring sides from the Indian subcontinent".

-- Hairlooms. Valuation show in which members of the public are invited to offer up treasured items for Darrell's consideration. He must decide swiftly whether the artefact in question dates back to the Ming dynasty, or was in fact fashioned by Janet Ellis on Blue Peter circa 1984; any dispute on the matter will result in the object being immediately and permanently forfeited. Unreasonable? It's the rules."

profit margins

Interesting fact:

If you spend $100 at a restaurant, the server gets an average of $15-20. The restaurant itself, on the other hand, makes a paltry profit of five bucks.

Even worse, turns out if you spend the same amount on groceries, the store makes even less, only two dollars, in profit.

Hmm.. Selling food is harder than I thought..


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

the story of bulbar

By popular demand, here is The Story of Bulbar in it's original form.

"bulbar was a choot... he had five fingers and no friends... or was it no fingers and five friends... that i do not know.... smiley face....ever since i met bulbar he was a misguided foool... not to be harsh but hey cho\\oot thats the museum face.... not bulbar!!! he screamed above the noise of the alligators... didn';t you see, it was bulbar all along??? yeah, i guess i knew all along, said the guy.... why? not todayyy//... bulbar... ohhooooo... like a song my choot....bulbar..... not bad yaaar ... said the friend of bulbar...... i haunt you... bit like the weezer song... bulbaaaaaaaaar jinsenf...\\\\feff.... said bulbar... sorry kayge... you said bulbar... i said whispering chinese... not chinese qwhispers... why??? bulbar said so that ss why.... not bulbar again!!! so i sett;ed it with the courts.... wait for bulbar.... hes a star...on the car.... debate for bulbar when the sun is in in the stars bum bum!!!! waking up like bul;bar he said muthafucka waitup its bulbar bul;bar bulabr

pepsi pepsi pepsi mujhe lu\oge bolein...; hi peppsi hello bulbar loge bolian i aint an actor im not a star and i dont even have my own car./ nnooooooooooooooot bulbaaaaaaaaar tonight

im nottttttt bulbarrrrrrrrrr agaiiiiiinnn toooo naaaaiiightt...bulbarr

bulbar is in my car i told bulbar just sleeeeppp i ate a bar
i had a cigar

bulbar but now i sleeeeieieieieieieieeeeep

dhun dhun"

--- 12 Sep 05

michael schumacher is a pizza delivery guy

So I tried looking for the English translation to Applausi Per Fibra. Didn't find it, but I did come across a forum where they were discussing the linguistic origins of the song Dragostea Din Tei by O-Zone. (The one that goes numa numa yay etc). The song is actually Romanian, but there seems to be some disagreement on this forum, to say the least...

Of course, I didn't have a chance to read through all bloody 57 pages of it, but here are some choice excerpts:

"Saying to romanian people that the song is in chinese ... is like going to Michael Schumacher and telling him that he isn’t driving in F1 competition... he is a pizza delivery guy..."

"U kno how sum languages sound thet same. Like spanish and i think its french or italian sounds the same(i cant remember which 1) Maybe it just sounds like spanish but may not be spalled the same. or it could be a mix of different languages. And the song has been made over so it may have been made over in spanish english french etc. but the original song is romanian. Im not saying im right sum1 else could be right but this is what i think and i hope this helps a little. Imnot saying u have 2 believe me or anything its ur opinion and u can believe whatever u want."

"I’m a romanian.... and if you say that i am chinese, german ,spanish or french i think i would still say that i am romanian... this is what you are doing... you are telling me that i’m not a romanian .. and this is not my language... is like telling you that shakespeare was bulgarian, caravaggio was from turkey, napoleon was the ruller of russia... whouldn’t you english, italian and french people get iritated?"


"lol omg you are all idiots, and its more funny when someone talks like they know what they are saying, and they think they are right, its fucking arabian you idiots, if you watch the news now adays, youll hear some of these words in the background. i am an indian, i would know"


applausi applausi


Behold Applausi Per Fibra by Italian Hip Hop artist Fabri Fibra. Funky name, fantastic song. The video's not bad either. Now if only I could understand the lyrics...

Monday, August 28, 2006

michael holding

I always thought Holding was a hater. Turns out he's totally awesome. Here are some excerpts from what he wrote in India Today:

"I have absolute and all sympathy with Inzamam-ul Haq. If you label someone a cheat, please arrive with the evidence."

"There is a double standard at work in cricket and this episode has only highlighted it. When England used reverse-swing to beat the Australians in the 2005 Ashes, everyone said it was great skill. When Pakistan does it, the opposite happens, no one thinks it is great skill. Everyone associates it with skullduggery. "

"When bombs go off in Karachi and Colombo everyone wants to go home. When bombs go off in London, no one says anything. That is first-world hypocrisy and we have to live with it."



Thus far I've been vehemently opposed to the 20-20 format being adopted on an international level, but very pro domestic 20-20s, mainly because I think it lowers the level of the game to just a notch above baseball. But I just watched my first International 20-20 (Eng-Pak) and I have to admit that it was quite exciting and thoroughly enjoyable. Although I wonder if I'd still have said that if we hadn't won convincingly...

I do love how the umpires look so hip and cool with shades on in the middle of a gloomy English late afternoon.. hah! One umpire made a couple of bad lbw decisions... I guess for a 20-20 umpire he doesn't exactly have "20-20" vision! hahahahah..... um.... yeah....

good-looking cricketers

Omar is always harping about how hot certain cricketers are.. Here's my compilation of his top 5:

1. Alistair Cook (ENG)
2. Stuart Broad (ENG)
3. Shahid Afridi (PAK)
4. Simon Jones (ENG)
5. Daniel Vettori (NZ)

learning urdu

Here are some excerpts from what Wikipedia lists as the difficulties faced by English speakers in learning Urdu:

" -- The phonetic mechanism of some sounds peculiar to Urdū. The distinction between aspirated and unaspirated consonants will be difficult for English speakers. In addition, the distinction between dental and alveoloar (or retroflex) consonants will also pose problems.

-- Pronunciation of vowels: In English, unstressed vowels tend to have a "schwa" quality. The pronunciation of such vowels in English is changed to an "uh" sound; this is called reducing a vowel sound.

-- The 'a' ending of many gender-masculine words of native origin, due to romanisation, is highly confused by non-native speakers, because the short 'a' is dropped in Urdū (i.e. honā).

-- The Verbal concordance; Urdū exhibits split ergativity; see Ergative-absolutive language for an example.

-- Relative-correlative constructions. In English interrogative and relative pronouns are the same word. In "Who are you?" the word "who" is an interrogative, or question, pronoun. In "My friend who lives in Sydney can speak Urdū," the word "who" is not an interrogative, or question-pronoun. It is a relative, or linking-pronoun. In Urdū, there are different words for each. "

Ummmm.... What the fuck are they talking about?? Ergativity?? Relative Correlative constructions?? The poor blogspot spellchecker went nuts! If native english speakers could only understand this article they might have a better shot at learning Urdu...

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Ok so talking about it got me angry again.

Why does the PCB continue to undermine the team in order to keep everyone else happy? I say enough is enough, and it's time to make a point. Be firm with assholes like Darrell Hair for once so they know not to mess. The only thing firm right now is the ICC's dick, as Shahriyar Khan goes about the task of licking it personally. There was no need for him to convince the team to go back out to play, because that shifted the focus to us begging for the match to continue, rather than us demanding proof. But this has been discussed to death, by everyone, so I will say no more.

Whatever. I hope our team kicks ass. Win a 5-0 series and go home with dignity well and truly intact. Inzamam Zindabad.

popping my cherry

In order to gain support for my blog idea, I convinced Omar to create his own blog. Turns out he already had two. Both had one post each. The two posts had a total of three words between them.

His latest attempt, following my encouragement yesterday, is this.

Umm.. yeah.

In other news, Darrell Hair is a choot. I was going to write a long scathing piece about him, but thankfully my rage has subsided slightly. At least it's no longer like last Sunday, when I was nearly catatonic and threw a bottle of pomegranate juice on my bed. Luckily it was nearly empty, because otherwise not only would my bed have been a mess, it would also have been worth like a million dollars more, given the exorbitant price they charge for that shit. $4.99 a bottle my ass.

For now, I have only this to say: I wish I could accuse an athlete of cheating, not provide any proof, and then in the subsequent ruckus ask my employer to give me a half million bucks to never have to work again.

And why does everyone keep talking about how he was 'technically following the rules.' Of course he's following the fucking rules, because the rules basically say "the umpire can do whatever he wants whenever he wants." Evidently, if Darrell Hair feels like taking a piss on Inzamam's shoe in the middle of the pitch, he will still be following the rules... of course, if Inzi protests, he will probably be charged with 'bringing the umpire's dick into disrepute.'


Friday, August 25, 2006

here it is

Yo. This is my blog.