Thursday, August 30, 2007

Milo Minderbinder Lives!

Matt Taibbi comes back from a two month exile, his suppressed fermented rage blasted out in a bilge of scatalogical rhetoric. His target? - war profiteers in Iraq: Private contractors.

For greater comedy I've done a web 2.0 mash up of his article:

engineering clusterfucks useless pile of rubble caked in shit and piss subpar plumbing terrible job diluted urine and feces brown splotch fiasco pile of shit bunch of toothless black survivors Iraq is still in flames Operation Iraqi Freedom crude first take blurred to the point of absurdity appalling history of invoicing orgies and million-dollar boondoggles sort of paradise of perverted capitalism obscene profits unaccountable government bureaucracy supremely idiotic military adventure Republican bona fides what this war-ravaged, malnourished, sanitation-deficient country most urgently needed was … an anti-smoking campaign. $2 million stuffed into a duffel bag Willy Wonka's paradise for contractors Republican-friendly businessmen a farce request phony "bids" failed miserably given scads of money abandoned Iraqi Airways forklifts repainted $100,000 wads of cash as toys worst case of fraud clumsiest war profiteers bilk American taxpayers brazen, two-bit, purse-snatching money caper 10,000 times with your tax dollars $12 billion in cash flown into Baghdad on huge wooden pallets KBR, the former Halliburton subsidiary phantom deliveries "sailboat fuel." burning taxpayer funds marred by serious design flaws shoddily constructed multiple layers of subcontractors handed out money "Dummy Vendor." 190,000 weapons are missing in Iraq much-ballyhooed "do-gooder" project grandstanding, self-serving, indulgent and ultimately useless monstrous vacuum of patriotism blithely disinterested rampant waste of money and resources widespread contempt for the ostensible "purpose" five years of some of the worst graft and looting in American history looting or other improprieties, totality of the thievery disposable commodities civilian contractors who surfed the Internet and played pool and watched movies all day for big dollars broken air conditioning unknown realms of moral insanity greed-fueled hijacking suckling at the taxpayer teat In the history of balls the most diabolical, shameless, tongue-twisting bullshit in history mountains of thefts and fuck-ups big steaming shit piles beyond inefficiency, beyond fraud even corrupted by the profit motive

Air Car

Clicking around Evolutionshift, I came across an article on the Air Car - apparently Indian Auto manufacturer Tata Motors is going to start production of this.

Air is better energy storage medium than batteries or hydrogen. You don't need to worry about Toxic wastes like you do with batteries. The engine is much lighter because it's made of aluminum since there are no controlled explosions in the piston bore.






Design #2 from the youtube video is mindblowing.

We Are Nature Incarnate

Howard Bloom makes for an exciting read, he's the War Nerd of evolutionary biology. I was recently mailed this article by one of his assistants, it's notable because it has hope! Bloom is not the one to shy away from making controversial statements, exposing the deepest motives that drive us, promoting the hell out of himself. I recommend you skip the first question entirely.

This interview had several rationalisations that made me balk, at first:

Evolutionshift.com: How far down the road are we regarding Global Warming. How urgent is the situation in your view?

Bloom:
I’m a skeptic about global warming.

Before you go what the fuck, hear him out. He's got a point.

In the last 120,000 years, there’ve been 20 global warmings in which temperature has shot up between 10 and 18 degrees in a decade. None of these catastrophes were caused by man. None were caused by industrial pollutants, automobile emissions, or human consumerist excess. The message? Forget about sacrificing to mother nature so she will make the earth a garden of Eden. Mother Nature, to quote a chapter title of one of my books, The Lucifer Principle, is a “bloody bitch”. She exults in creativity.


To me our fixation on apocalypse, our fixation on global warming, is a sign that we are slipping into a new dark age. Cultures that look up move up. Cultures that look down sink and die. The Global Warming fixation is our way of looking down, very far down indeed. We feel that we have sinned and must sacrifice, that we must atone. Our sin is the rape of the earth. Our atonement is the self-denial we call “conservation” and “sustainability”.


No matter how much we curb our gaseous carbon excretion, future planet-wide climate catastrophe is inevitable. It will not be a product of our sin. It will be a product of nature. And we must ready ourselves to outwit and harvest disaster… or we simply won’t survive.

Evolutionshift.com: What do you think are the most promising alternative sources of energy short term?

Biofuels. Cellulosic ethanol—alcohol made from the bark of trees, from woodchips, from saw grass, and from other “waste materials”. But the real jackpot is in the ultimate toxic waste—human shit. We produce excrement in massive quantities. And that excrement is already gathered in central points, waste treatment plants. Then there’s the pig shit polluting many a river in the midwest. This stuff is biomass, man. It’s fuel and energy waiting to be made. Remember the lesson from Reperceiving Leadership—turn garbage into gold.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The People Vs. Orkut

News travels fast, and some news stories tend to attract news channels like something that really attracts something else. I heard this kidnapping story this morning when my cabdriver told me about it. (He was insulted that a fellow keralite would malign his community so) And now I see the Indian blogosphere erupting over this story like that IIPM scandal of yore.

I don't even need to watch TV to know that most channels are probably demonizing Orkut for corrupting our moral values and destroying the virtuous fabric of our society and whatnot. Reading this blog however, confirmed this.

The discussion of course started of with the host quoting some random blog post titled that “Orkut killed Adnan”. Duh!!! When I heard things spoken by the host during the discussion like “Should Orkut be banned?”

This is just the kind of episode where the masses will agree that there needs to be some kind of censorship on the internet, and probably get it. People get the kind of government they deserve.
What about the good Orkut has done to our society? What about all the lonely internet nerds who have humped other internet nerds based on superficial epigenetic activities like books, music and movies? How many people are in long, meaningful relationships with their internet girlfriends? What about all the repressed, asymmetrical, underage/overage, underweight/overweight teens who hide behind avatars of bollywood characters, whose only pleasure comes in inarticulate cybersex peppered with bathos-ridden smileycentral gifs?

It's certainly less humiliating than matrimony sites, where they're paired with each other like some warped eugenics experiment, where the gene pool shrinks to a point that it's almost incest.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I heart Doug Stanhope

I heart him so much that I wrote about him for free here. Partly because of the guilt of being entertained for free. Partly cause I didn't want to wait on it and write a half assed eulogy after he was gone. And I'm really bad at eulogies. See example.

Manufactured Landscapes - Review

I always dismiss anyone who says America's reign at the top is over. The Americans have a habit of doing that, building up nightmare visions of an imaginary enemy to keep their own people in place. First it was the Soviet Union, and then Japan, both claims were unfounded over time, and now we're been told that it's gonna be a Chinese century.


Newsflash: It takes a long time for an empire in decline to break down completely. The Byzantine empire held on to Constantinople for 249 years before it finally fell to the Ottomans. There is something positive and uplifting about that - these Che Guevera t-shirt wearing pseudo-leftist wankers will have to successfully breed for seven generations before Pashtun prayers for death to America actually lead to fruition.

I'd wager that by then, the Internet breaks down all these nation states, and we all coalesce into a singular consciousness, always wired and connected to the entire body of experience of every other living being, dead and alive, and that kind of enlightenment puts suicide bombers, evangelists, jihads, and missionaries out of work and in the rubbish bin of history.

I have a peculiar distaste people who read, advertise, or discuss shit novels by Sidney Sheldon or Dan Brown, or worse, advertise it on their facebook app. Anyone remember Michael Crichton's Rising Sun? I read that crap when I was of an impressionable age, and lacking in the internets, and believed every word of it. At least, for a while. I forget what's there in novels quickly and only remember the cliff notes version, god bless. When this asshole wrote a book debunking global warming, I just rolled my eyes and wondered if he was a CIA agent or something. Speaking of CIA agents, if anyone's come across an uncle type personality with a copy of The World is Flat, please forward them Matt Taibbi's review of the same.

I have a red, hard bound, Soviet made novel which details Maxim Gorky's impressions and accounts of America early last century. If you'd read that, America would seem like a giant furnace, feeding the bowels of hell with baby fetuses or something. Gorky, the sad bastard had no idea that a century later, the same America would spawn franchises that was at the heart of every adolescent dream, like American Pie, and embed words like MILF into the zeitgeist for decades to come.

I wonder now what happened to his books, if anyone reads them, now that his credibility is shot to shit. I have a theory that Hunter S Thompson killed himself because he was humiliated by how off he was in this column here, where he predicted a Kerry win.

"It is now Tuesday, and John Kerry is looking good today, while George Bush is looking a little desperate. His eyes are wild and his voice is shrill and he is acting more and more like a doomed animal on its way to the meat-grinder. Young George is about to lose his first election.

JFK will win this one decisively enough to make any recounts or challenges irrelevant. If Kerry wins New Hampshire and Pennsylvania and Florida, for instance, this election will be over before it really gets started.

Kerry will win big today. I guarantee it. The evil Bush family of central Texas is about to suffer another humiliating failure on another disastrous election day."

What does all of this have to do with Manufactured Landscapes? It's a documentary based on the collective works of a photographer, Edward Burtynsky, whose beat is post industrial wastelands. It's a beautiful documentary similar in substance to the Koyanniqatsi series, with mind blowing wide angle shots, no preaching to the choir, which lets you draw your own conclusions. Ten, twenty, fifty years from now, this documentary will retain all its credibility because it commits to no statements. It just shows you a series of pictures, and lets you draw your own conclusions.

The documentary starts with a slow walk through a kilometer long walk through a factory in China, it's a chilling scene that shows the sheer madness of the scale and size of China's industrial might is unraveled. There is something scary about their discipline, their uniformity, an army of people hunched over their tables, doing a series of repetitive tasks. It hollows out all western rhetoric about individualism without saying a word.


The information age doesn't mean the industrial age is over, it's been outsourced to China, where people are cheaper and more effective than robots. Robots aren't are versatile as a woman's hands; a 20 second shot of a woman assembling a complex circuit breaker convinced me of that. Her zen like movements were like a magic trick, yet, there were a few hundred other women doing the same. If the circuit breaker factory decides to make toasters, the robot would have to be scrapped, while the human being could make mental adjustments in a few minutes.


Manufactured Landscapes is a National Film Board of Canada production, and has the ambient sound of a Warp records label artist by the same name. There's a bit of sparse, and mature commentary of Edward Burtynsky discussing his work, taking you through China, where all all the dirty, unglamorous work is done for a few cents on the dollar. In one of his shoots, Burtynsky points out that 50% of the scrapped computer parts from the world are shipped to China where laborers go at each circuit chip with a hammer to salvage precious metals, burning the remains, poisoning the soil, and destroying the water table with lethal poisons that seep through during rains. But there's no Al Gore like sanctimonious bullshit about it. Burtynsky is more syncretist, pointing out that he drove here in a car made of iron that ran on oil, his camera, tripod, and film the products of the industrialization that he'd captured.

It's this restraint that is missing in most so called counterculture websites, which I'm beginning to get tired of.

If you have HDTV, Manufactured Landscapes will be a worthy collector's item, right up there with Terminator 2 and LOTR-Return of the King.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bushwacked

Some absurd hilarity by Chris Morris. This weekend I'm gonna try and collect more of his work.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Chak De India - Hoo Haa India!

As I trudged my way to work this morning, I was confronted by one of those things that only NRI's in Dubai are privy to: patriotic Pakistanis.

I saw at least 6 cars with Pakistani flags as decoration, one of them had the Pakistani flag with a picture of Mohd. Jinnah on it. There was one super patriotic car with flags on each side of the aging Mitsubishi Lancer, like they'd just had their own Alamo. As a non Pakistani, I found it quite absurd. What's to love about Pakistan? Former cricketer Ian Botham once said, "Pakistan is where I would like to send my mother-in-law for a vacation." This was during a losing tour where a massively dehydrated England team got their asses kicked, and Botham scrambled to high ground in a sport that the Brits will always be champs at: cold, snide sarcasm.

Patriotism is like poetry. Sacred only when it's personal. To the outsider, it's ridiculous and unbearable. Nobody is fonder of India than the ones who have left it for greenbacks. NRI's mainly express their patriotism by feverishly following cricket scores, as evidenced by abundance of NRI Banking ads on cricinfo.com. But Cricket is not a very patriotic game, because it's hard to celebrate a bunch of losers who are carted out on the first round by a country we liberated.

This was a tragic rift that the Yash Raj Dynasty (1970-current) identified, and capitalised on with Chak De India, a movie more patriotic than that Pepsi Ad. The formula is quite simple: strip a game of its essence, replace it with a steroid shot of jingoism, add a copious smearing of drop D guitars (because nothing expresses youthful exuberance like a bone crunching guitar riff), and provide a roller coaster ride of drama that you know will end well, because heck, this is a goddamn Bollywood movie.

It's a story of personal redemption of Kabir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) who misses a penalty shot in the Hockey final to Pakistan and is then branded a traitor by the news media. After a 7 year exile, he returns to craft a fractious women's hockey team into world champions.

I've had the misfortune of seeing SRK (of the quivering eyebrows fame) before, and he is still the reigning champ of hamming, ever since Sivaji Ganesan threw in the towel. Here's what the press release has to say about his beard: "Shahrukh Khan will be seen sporting a beard in the film. According to him in a recent interview, Shahrukh plays a guy who is hurt in life."

I love gross generalisations like these: Beard=Anguish.

The hockey squad of 16 is composed of a multi-ethnic squad, each of them is introduced with a low grungy guitar riff, interspersed with some horrible scat-rap which needs to be transcribed for the glory of humanity: "tothebeattothebodyyo tothebeattothebodyyo tothebeattothebodyyo tothebeattothebodyyo comeon comeon!"

Uhhhh.

The feel good factor is very important - When Rang De Basanti came out, Shankar Mahadevan made press statements like "Be the Change", like a movie is supposed to incite a youth revolution, with Chak de, every viewer is made to feel like he is noble for supporting a sport that is not cricket.

There's a catch phrase (Chak De!) a flag, and a championship that we win in 3 hours. I'm sure we can all get behind that. A movie that provides the orgasmic dopamine rush of victory for the price of a ticket and a big bag of chips and popcorn.

But I'd be a liar if I told you I didn't enjoy the movie. There's a definite improvement in the standards of moviemaking, and it seems encouraging, like the Indian 8% growth rate, but this only gets us as far as that Adam Sandler movie, the Longest Yard. However, this movie inspired me to think of one issue that is at the heart of every scenester in India. How do we support and promote Indian rock?

Nanditha Sashidharan of No Idea has a facebook forum dedicated to this very issue, and I'm glad to have her know that I've figured it out. In fact I'm gonna scrap her and let her know of this revelation after I hit publish.

Have you ever seen regional sports championships on Doordarshan? It's a really depressing state of affairs, with empty seats and the sounds of crows echoing through the stadium. You get all these Indian rock bands a bunch of amplifiers and have em play bone crunching nu-metal riffs all day. If the zeitgeist of Indian culture - Bollywood is okay with metal riffs, sports organizers will have no moral policing issues accommodating struggling Indian bands that cover Lamb of God and Metallica.

Trust me on this one: scenesters who will show up at any place where there is music, instead of empty stadiums you will have crowds of stoners pulling chillums and rooting for whoever is polevaulting or shotputting. Even archery and table tennis can billiards can do with a solid dose of heavy metal.

So this is my advice to all you bands: I'm talking to you Bhayanak Maut, Scribe, Skincold, Pin Drop Violence and Demonstealer. Get talking to these sports organisers. Hit the long tail yo.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Comedy + History = Win!

Political satirist and comedian Robert Newman is a bit of a kook, his website is hosted by solar powered web servers, he eats only grass fed meat, doesn't own a car, and takes Peak Oil very seriously. Why should you listen to him?

Because he's hilarious. I just saw his 2005 skit - The History Of Oil, an entertaining lecture on the geopolitics of fossil fuel. He's taken most of his talking points from this book, but then again, he's a kook. As I've pointed out before, we've got plenty of other fossil fuels left.

Enough pontificating, grab some popcorn and enjoy the comedy.






Parts 2,3,4,5