Thursday, October 23, 2008

This is really rather silly.

An Al-Qaeda website has said that, um, they endorse John McCain for American president. Apparently, it'll be easier to bring down the 'evil US empire', or something. Who knew endorsements were so vital to terrorist organisations?

In other news, my companies are doing well, despite the downturn: Google and Apple have surpassed expectations, bringing some cheer to beleaguered markets. And I read this really fun essay in the NYT a couple days ago, arguing that following the prescribes of great literature might not work out so well in real life.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I think I got the blues

Maybe it's the festive season, or certain facts of life just sinking in now, but I've been a bit gloomy recently. Of course, that could just be because of the economy in general and how the world is going down the toilet. But there's a lot to love, certainly, and I'm going to try to cheer myself up by posting happy links.
  • A legendary investigative reporter tells it like it is in the Observer's profile of Seymour Hersh.
  • Colin Powell points out the obvious in his endorsement speech for Obama. I love that someone has finally said it: Even if Obama were Muslim, that shouldn't have been a talking point.
  • Also I really, really love the fact that Tina Fey said, in reponse to Carly Fiorina's criticism that her portrayal of Sarah Palin was sexist, "I saw one lady trying to form a thought that it was sexist on the news, but she didn't really get it together. Probably because she was a lady and she was dumb. (beat) Wait. Is that sexist?" HAH. This is old, now, but I only just found out and I love Tina Fey more than ever.
  • Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize in Economics (or the Bank of Sweden.. whatever, if you want to get technical). Yay!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A rather motley collection

of links and such things. I have just finished reading Tim Harford's the Logic of Life, and like the blurb behind the book promised, I feel like I have a pair of x-ray vision goggles to look at the world with. Unfortunately, it is little help in understanding the utter chaos in the world right now. And if you read the papers, you'd be forgiven for thinking the world is ending. I get scared every time I look at a newspaper, and its hard not to be pessimistic. On the other hand, you take relatives out shopping to boutiques and look at this gorgeous, gorgeous kurta and think, hmmm, maybe 32k isn't that unreasonable an amount to spend on something so pretty. Thankfully, sanity reigns before you can spend money that you don't have on clothes that you don't need.

So onto the fun stuff: Foreign Policy wonders what Google would be like as US President. I so love the idea of the article, I wish I'd written it! And I'm sure Google would have done better than Dubya. And there's an amusing bit here about how Bill Adama is the leader we need. Not as fun is three US states trying to challenge the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling. This NYT editorial on the matter is spot on in its estimate that the measures these three states have taken will have far-reaching consequences. And there's an alarming piece in the Times UK about how the credit crunch might mean the end of sport. But to end on a bit of a happy note: people are apparently getting mixed-up over which is Sarah Palin and which is Tina Fey. And in other bit of news, McCain has rescheduled with Letterman after the relentless ribbing he took when he cancelled his last appearance on the show to ostensibly deal with the financial crisis.

ETA: This lovely article in the NYT about caricature and its influence on politics. Again, I lament the lack in India.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nobel Prize Catfight

I've been following with great amusement the catfight of sorts that has broken out between the Nobel prize committee on one hand and spurned American literary critics on the other. Ever since permanent secretary to the committee, Horace Engdahl, gave this interview to AP saying that Americans were too ignorant and insular to be given the Nobel prize, the literary world has been in turmoil, with one rejoinder following another. To the extent that even the announcement of the award is being seen in the context of this debate.

I think Engdahl was speaking rubbish. And I do believe that these guys, Adam Kirsch in Slate and Charles McGrath in NYT are quite right. But this is so much fun! LA Times has weighed in also, so has the Guardian (well, people in those papers have weighed in, anyway). And here's the Telegraph UK on it, and then Washington Post.

I'm a little worried about my ability to be sarky right now. This was tailor-made, but I'm inclined to just let it pass without much in the way of wisecracking.

Monday, October 06, 2008

So much news!

The two weeks or so I haven't blogged have been incredibly newsy -- from the nuclear deal Finally getting passed, to the economy in meltdown, to new Sarah Palin shenanigans, Tata pulling out of Singur and the ever-worsening situation in Orissa and Karnataka. So I'm not sure where to start, except with... me. I went to Milan, and it was fun! I also took advantage of having been to Milan before and travelled to Bergamo one day and Como another. Both were beautiful, in different ways. Italy is a gorgeous country and the gelato and the buildings are wonderful. I even found the requisite South Asian in Piazza Del Duomo, which is like the centre of the city. In fact, I found two -- one was a Bangladeshi who owned one of the tourist kiosks in the square and sweetly gave me a discount once he found out I was Indian, and the other was an Indian man selling flying helicopters who wanted to know if all was ok in Delhi (this was just after the blasts).

Speaking of, it's humbling to be inside Milan's Duomo. It is Beautiful. So Spectacular and so peaceful. The Duomo in Como was also lovely, though unlike the one in Milan, it was not gothic in the slightest and had many German influences. Bergamo had an incredible one in its old city, and the new one had a wedding in progress!

I've been watching the Daily Show religiously now. Jon Stewart is on such a roll, he's been pretty fantastic lately. Political satire, Yay! I loved the Ricky Gervais/Steve Carell bit at the Emmys -- could they please host next time, please, since you won't ever give BSG its due, you may as well do this, Academy.

And the Saturday Night Live skits with Tina Fey as Sarah Palin. OMG. She got it SO RIGHT. The US election continues to be the best dramedy to follow. Apparently, some 70 million Americans tuned in to watch the vice-presidential debate -- more than the presidential debate, btw -- and that's not counting the international audience. Wow.