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...