Whatsisname – II

New Zealand is a fine country. I have always wanted to visit it because of it’s scenic splendor. And now I have an additional reason to visit this country.
Names.
Really wonderful and creative ones, some being outright hilarious. The following are some of them – yes, they are fully official names, on paper.

Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii
(who recently was allowed to change her name)
Benson (and his twin) Hedges
Violence
Number 16 Bus Shelter
Variable (whose plea to change name to ‘F*ck Censorship’ was rejected)
In God We Trust

Among the names that were not accepted by the Registrar General: Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Stallion and Sex Fruit.

I mean, who calls their son/daughter Sex Fruit? That poor thing will not make it through pre-school. What will he/she say when asked the meaning of the name? And I wonder how many people will turn around to look when someone hollers the name across the street!
Similarly, poor Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii… I wonder which is the first, the middle and the last name for this girl…

A New Zealand judge has made a 9-year-old girl a ward of the court so that her name can be changed from Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii, the country’s national news agency reported Thursday.
Family Court Judge Rob Murfitt listed a series of unusual names that New Zealand parents had given their children, and said he was concerned that such strange monikers would create hurdles for them as they grew up.
“It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap,” the New Zealand Press Association quoted the judge as saying.
Among the names Murfitt cited: twins named Benson and Hedges — after a brand of cigarettes; Violence; and Number 16 Bus Shelter.
Some parents had named children after six-cylinder Ford cars, the news agency reported.
The Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages said in a statement that it had rejected names including Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Stallion, Twisty Poi — a staple food in Polynesian cuisine — and Sex Fruit.
A lawyer for Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii said the girl is so embarrassed by her name that friends know her as “K.”
Last month, an judge in the U.S. state of Illinois allowed a school bus driver to legally change his first name to “In God” and his last name to “We Trust.”
But an appeals court in the state of New Mexico ruled against a man — named Variable — who wanted to change his name to a two-word phrase that contains a four-letter expletive and expresses opposition to censorship.

Weird wild wacky world indeed.

Related post:
Whatsisname – I

Cell phones make popcorn. Hah!

That’s what three videos doing the rounds in Youtube showed.
Don’t believe it? I didn’t either.
But there was video proof!
Hah!

How it works:
1. Use three or more cellphones, with their antennae towards corn kernel on the table.
2. Make calls to all cellphones simultaneously.
3. Pop goes the corn!
See? See.

YouTube Video (0:40)

The two other videos are here and here.

What’s with everyone on a table? Why could they not do it um.. let’s say, on the floor?
Turns out that it is a hoax. Obviously, first because cell phones do not have enough power to do it. Second, the creators confessed. Actually they gave a disclaimer.

The contents of these videos are fictitious and humorous optical illusions, designed for entertainment. Nothing in these videos is meant to imply that mobile phones can make popcorn and Cardo Systems specifically disclaims that these videos contain any portrayal of facts or comments about safety. Cardo disclaims any liability for the information in these videos.

Cardo manufactures bluetooth headsets. This is their viral marketing strategy.
And this is going to sell more headsets.
Sure.

HandiCAPable

Blade Runner.

Fastest man on no legs.
Oscar Pistorius.

On May 16th 2008, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the Oscar Pistorius, the 21-year-old South African paralympic is eligible to race against able-bodied athletes, overturning a ban imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations in January this year. The initial ban was on the grounds that Pistorius has an unfair advantage because prosthetic legs avoid any lactic acid buildup during the race, thereby making him less tired than other able bodied runners. However, Pistorius has been fighting against this, at the cost of his training just so he can compete at the same level as other able bodied racers.
Earlier in 2007, The British Telegraph ran this article “Pistorius is no novelty sprinter” highlighting the difficulties he is facing with trying to compete with artificial limbs. He has been doggedly pursuing for permission to race in the 400 m in the Beijing Olympics, where his timing for one lap is a really impressive 46.34 seconds against the world record (Michael Johnson’s 8-year old world record of 43.18 seconds). Awesome what the fiber blades can achieve. Also in this race is

Pistorius has been the subject of criticism because of claims that his artificial limbs, which are J-shaped carbon-fibre prosthetics called the “Cheetah Flex-Foot” manufactured by Icelandic company Össur, give him an advantage over able-bodied runners. It has been claimed that the “blades” he uses are longer than is necessary, allowing him to cover more ground in each stride. Furthermore, it is said that the Cheetahs return more energy per stride without ever becoming fatigued or requiring the same “investment of energy” and that they are not subject to metabolite or lactic acid build-up that slows down ordinary athletes. Pistorius and his coach, Ampie Louw, reject these allegations, saying that his prosthetics do not give him an unfair advantage. They have brought up disadvantages that Pistorius faces, such as rain (which leaves traction hard to attain), wind (which blows the devices sideways), and the fact that he needs more energy to start running than others. Additionally, Professor Robert Gailey of the University of Miami claimed that they return only about 80% of the energy absorbed in each stride, while a natural leg returns up to 240%, providing much more spring. Pistorius has said: “If they [the IAAF] ever found evidence that I was gaining an advantage, then I would stop running because I would not want to compete at a top level if I knew I had an unfair advantage.”

Personally I have no idea whether he has an added advantage or not. But I do think that he should be allowed to race, and no further restrictions should be imposed upon him. A big step for the physically challenged.

WHAT IS THE POINT??!

Want something bright and shiny for your bathroom?

A Swarovski crystal studded commode. Price tag of $75,000. It has gone one lucky owner. Coming soon – studded sinks and studded bath tubs, may be.

Here’s some perspective:
Number of homeless in India – 78,000,000
Price to have one decent meal in Mumbai ~ 50 cents.

Something I saw in Ads of the World

Click for enlarged view

Paying for music: As you like it

Radiohead

I am not much of Radiohead fan. But a certain stint of theirs caught my attention. This British alternative rock band formed way back in 1986, rising to fame with the release of The Bends (1995) and OK Computer (1997). Kid A (2000) and Amnesiac (2001) saw the pinnacle of their popularity in the music industry.

In October 2007, they released In Rainbows. Apart from the music itself, the USP of this album release was the fact that it was available online with a BLANK in the cost field. The artists requested fans to pay what they felt was appropriate. Official figures of sales were not released, but it was reported that 1.2 million copies were downloaded on the very first day, and as it turned out, more people paid for it compared to those who did not. 🙂

"Pay what you want", they said. In my opinion this was something wonderful… an intelligent step towards anti-piracy. Music artists should get paid for their talent when we download their songs. Otherwise it’s just plain stealing. However, when it came to evaluating the price of their music, they handed the reins of judgment to their fans. "Pay what you feel like for our efforts." While some paid the standard cost of $0.99 a song, some were more generous.

piracy_2Dkills_2Dmusic_2D

Though by some standards it might seem like foolhardiness, I feel that when the artists pleads in this way to the music lover, a personal note is struck – "Please don’t steal this music… we have worked hard towards it!" It makes a greater number of people NOT download it for free.

Picture courtesy: http://www.byte.org/images/piracy_2Dkills_2Dmusic_2D.gif

What the HONK!?

Kolkata traffic can be summarized in a few words as “Honk, honk, honkity-honk, honk honk honk.” Puncuated liberally by the yell, shout and the sound of the rickshaw blow-horn, which I swear, was invented to emulate a dog’s yelp.

natWhen I landed in Kolkata airport that morning, I took a deep breath to smell my country. And I got the familiar aroma of singara, kochuri, luchi aar aloo’r dum.

And the whiff of urine someone had relieved himself of. Smoke, beedi, diesel, petrol and lebu-cha (lemon tea). 🙂

City of Joy.

In the taxi ride from the airport to my residence, to put it simply, I was sh*t scared. The driver was maneuvering through traffic like a complete maniac, with barely a few inches margin between the car and the object of terror. Brrrr. Pedestrians and bicyclists were treated like maggots. And the incessant use of the honk to get into that little space between the bus and the road divider. Oh wait, THAT’S NO ROAD DIVIDER! That’s ANOTHER BUS! May be the bus was used in the 1942 Quit India Movement. Those things should not be on the road. Really.

Anyway, in retrospect, may be Indian driving has always been like this. May be I always needed to cross roads like that because everything on wheels was out there to kill me. May be because I have seen a different kind of driving in another law-abiding country, lawlessness on the road is more pronounced. Meanwhile, I wonder… before getting used to the US style of driving, I wondered… when I used to drive in India, did I drive like a madman too? Probably.

Photo courtesy: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20061223/nat.jpg

Santa asked not to Ho Ho Ho

Calling someone a ‘Ho’ and Santa Claus’ classic “Ho Ho Ho” have been put on the same footing. Ouch.
According to this news article in FoxNews.com, Australian Santas have been told to change the “Ho Ho Ho” to a “Ha Ha Ha” because “Ho” is slang in US for prostitute. And it could be frightening to children too.

WHAT?!

Yes, it is true, and therefore, the new Santas are being trained for using “Ha Ha Ha” – some have quit. I wonder why. Santas are now rebelling against this ban because they all feel (quite strongly) that kids wouldn’t understand what ‘Ho is! Moreover, it’s destroying something traditional, something which we all have heard all our lives.

In my opinion, if a kid is aware what a ‘Ho is, he is too old to sit on Santa’s lap.

Santa Claus image taken from www.clipartguide.com

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