Archive for July, 2009

Prediction

July 28, 2009

Writing shortly after the 2001 recession, a famous (Nobel) economist had this to say

The basic point is that the recession of 2001 wasn’t a typical postwar slump, brought on when an inflation-fighting Fed raises interest rates and easily ended by a snapback in housing and consumer spending when the Fed brings rates back down again. This was a prewar-style recession, a morning after brought on by irrational exuberance. To fight this recession the Fed needs more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble.

We live and learn. The current recession, as we know resulted from the burst of the housing bubble. Therefore, to get out of it, we need to create another bubble to replace it. It is reasonable to assume that the next bubble will be either in clean/green/whatever energy sector or health care information technology. The big contributor to this bubble will be google – overvalued stock, clean energy initiatives and flu trends. All this will be brought down spectacularly by an Antitrust case. In light of this, you could make money by

a) going appropriately long/short on GOOG.

b) copy-pasting this post in longbets. Any win/loss is yours. I only demand credit for my idea.

Going Green

July 23, 2009

The Thamizh pursuit of emigration is as American as the first settlements along Massachusetts Bay. The knowledge economy has changed the direction of the Thamizh journey to the fertile lands of North America, Wal-Mart and second-hand Honda Civics. We are a people occupied with saving vacation days for the visit to Madras or repeatedly entertaining the parents’/in-laws’ pilgrim to the New World and calling on Niagara Falls/Grand Canyon for the umpteenth time.

The land of make-believe has been well-promoted by a generation of Thamizh diaspora exhibiting motorized toothbrushes, electronics and chocolates during their annual trip to Madras. In all honesty, the lifestyle of shopping at TJ Maxx and being hooked to deals on rent.com is not spectacular. The receptionist at work who makes just above the median income of this country is prone to possessing a large house in the choicest neighborhood, a Chevy Malibu, the liberty to take vacation days on Fridays/Mondays in the pleasantness of July and the wherewithal to shop at Nordstrom. Is it her conceit or our misfortune that she does not have to remit forex to faraway lands and pay for air tickets to/from the said lands?

As the cliche goes, the grass is always greener on the other side. But we have perfected the art of landing on this side always. The Thamizh man in Madras working at Tidel Park has millions of people to subsidize his undeserved income. He can have a three-bedroom house in Kancheepuram district and dare to call it Madras. The contrast between him and us is painful: Chilli Chicken and Kingfisher beat Nachos/Potato Boats and Budweiser any day. Riding a Pulsar in chaotic roads is perhaps more respectable than driving a Corolla in the right-most lane. And being the forward caste is infinitely better than playing the role of a visible minority.

-Alan Smithee and I

ii

July 21, 2009

The American fixation with doing things together as a family and spending time together in the process often puts a Thamizh man in quandary. If the wife is pregnant, he has to go through all of the following:

Take the wife for long walks in the evenings presumably to ensure suga prasavam, sit through excruciating birthing classes, watch videos of women in labor and practice the “ha ha ha hoo” breathing patterns. He has to arrange for “surprise” baby showers with his desi colleagues and friends : rotis, samosas and dahl from the friendly neighborhood gujju lady, fanta in styrofoam cups, a handycam for the video and a still camera for creating a picassa album, all make up for the seemandham. He has to put up with visiting in-laws who always seem to have something to complain about — how teens wearing tweeny shorts portend apocalypse. He has to drink his whisky in the car and trash the bottle before entering the house. As if that weren’t enough, he has to constantly assert that his education is world class and comparable to that of their friends’ kids who went to Stanford and Sloan. He has to stand by the wife’s bedside as she goes through the labor and later learn the craft of changing diapers.

Instead, he’d prefer the time honored tamizh tradition : Send the wife to her porandha veedu after the Seemandham, savor old monk, chilli chicken and adult video at home. Upon receiving a telegram that instructs him to ‘start immediately’, board the mofussil bus to see his wife and the newborn. Some oranges and a bottle of Horlicks would affirm his love for them both. He’d come back and go again in about 4 months time to fetch the kid and the wife. By then the child is old enough to be held and bounced. The kid’s bladder and bowel activities follow a pattern and could even smile when tickled. This way, the not-so-cute part of the parenting process is neatly hidden from him.

Ngotha.

Travelogue

July 9, 2009
Mangayarkarasi, wife of Senthilnathan, a Lower Division Clerk in Southern Railways, has traveled the length and breadth of Tamil Nadu with her husband’s free Railway pass. Her travelogues establish how refined and well-traveled she is. In short, she travels and she can write.
 
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Of all the places that I have been to, Pulichamorepatti stands out as prominently as the race of the current President of the United States. Situated 20 miles from Neikarapatti, Pulichamorepatti is not one of your run-off-the-mill towns near Madurai. This town does not have a rice mill at all. It is further enriched by the complex tapestry of traditional and modern values.

In Pulichamorepatti, the shopkeepers are disinclined to serve you the goli soda and kathiri beedi for free. Your Amex Delta Skymiles card means nothing to them. The women are buxom with an overpowering stench of love juices and sweat. A railway track runs through the middle of the village and is lined with dried shit.

There is also a modern twist to the otherwise rustic life. Davani clad teen girls who work at the nearby tannery giggle in the morning as they board the minibus. The repressed sexual tension between the girls and the lungi wearing youth is evident. May be a couple will sneak into the maanthoppu later in the evening. The local BSNL tower, (pictured below) has become a part of the village landscape just like the banyan tree and the striped jamakkalam have been for ages.

 

tower

(I will be posting about the bedazzlement caused by the amazing network of intriguing extra marital relationships and the rampant underage sex.)

–Mangayarkarasi, w/o K. Senthilnathan.

Guest Post III

July 9, 2009

The author is India’s eminent blogger and libertarian thinker who writes at Tasmac cutting. Empty Hip Flask is blessed to publish his writings.

As India’s leading blogger, I am inclined to pretend I watch American television channels and programs that may or may not be aired in India. My ability to search and embed YouTube videos is invaluable.

Moving on to Indian television, I’m hooked to the gay version of Vayalum Vazhvum. This is going to be one reality show where I’m going to feel sorry for the winner though he will be marrying into the same sex.

Bleak

July 8, 2009

In the generation past, there were two types of families —

Type 1 families work on a system of no/negative feedback. The wife usually cooks palatable food, the husband makes just enough money to make ends meet. The kids are placed 15th in their class of 35 and typically get suggestions to drink the urine of the girl who topped the class. (We will not be going into sexual fetishes thus developed) The policy on familial affections is much like the Bill Clinton’s “Do not Ask, Do not tell” policy on gays in the military. Nothing positive was said or acknowledged explicitly. There is no carrot, just the stick. Ensconced in a cocoon of mediocrity and low expectations, Type 1 works smoothly.

Then, there were Type 2 families which work on a system of explicit and positive feedbacks. The wife has to be complimented for every idli she makes, there are rewards (like bicycle/cricket bat/video games shit) to bribe the kid to do well in school and they all smile happily for photographs. Appreciation is as explicit as legalized gay marriages and becomes an entitlement, even if the kid pursues her dreams in music, biological evolution, literature and history, and eventual under-employment/unemployment. These kids really believe they are special and precious and grow up to be a pain in the ass for everyone else.

By Providence or otherwise, at least one half of present-day couples consists of Type 2 people. The Type 1 spouse tries to enforce Type 1 protocols but duly exasperated, indifferent and generally wary of confrontation, gels into Type 2 protocols. Therefore, the only products in supply are special and precious people for generations to come. Savor the people who admit they are a nobody while they last. The future is bleak.

Screenplay by I.

Sister Fucker

July 8, 2009

A scene from the movie “Masilamani”, produced by Sun pictures –

Heroine’s Mother – Yennanga, mani 6 aachu, namma ponnu innum veetukku varlaye.

Heroine’s Father(reading a newspaper) – Ava enna chinna kozhandaya, vandhuruvaa..

HM – aama, appidi ennadhaan andha paper la irukko. Kalaila irundhu padichukkitte irukkenga…

HF – Nalaikku kalaila 6 manikku adutha paper vandhrum nu dhaane ivlo kashta pattu padikkerein.. Indha paper la 3 nalaikku padikka vendiya alavukku vishayam irukku.

The camera zooms out to show that the heroine’s father is reading Dinakaran.

Whatever.

Guest Post II

July 6, 2009
Mark this day. It is a big day in the history of Republic India because the Supreme Court, in a landmark (no, not the bookshop) 7-2 judgement, lowered the age of adulthood from 18 to 12. As of today, children cannot be pushed over anymore.

I have often written about how India became a republic in 1950, but many Indians still don’t have a say in the process. Well, notch one up for our republic. There will be no more forced homeworks, curtailed wii hours and no more busting into the toilet when a kid shags to pictures from playboy (and there will be some mighty spirited shags tonight, as I write).

Finally, twelve year old men and women will not be discrimianted anymore! Fucking a 12 year old is not pedophilia, provided it is a consensual act. To clarify, the ruling decriminalizes only consensual sex involving twelve-year old men and women. Section 377 can still be used to prosecute coercive sex or sex with a minor hence understood as boys and girls younger than or equal to eleven years of age. And that’s just fine. As long as consenting adults can do whatever they fucking want.

This doesn’t mean that we have suddenly become an inclusive society. But at least everyone aged 12 can vote and participate in sexual activities. How big is that?

— The author is India’s eminent blogger and libertarian thinker who writes at Tasmac cutting.

Lagavulin 16yo

July 5, 2009

I was having a bad cold and was feeling a bit feverish. Plus visitors from India next week means that I will have to be contended with the occasional evening drams that I could have at the pub on my way home from work. What better to have than a nice bottle of peaty and medicinal Islay malt? I remember having an Islay malt that hit the right notes and somehow thought it to be the Lagavulin 16yo. Besides, the guy at the liqor store said this is the best peat he had. And he had an impressive collection including ardbeg, laphroaig, caol isla, bowmore and isle of jura. To cut a long story short, I had this bottle of Lagavulin 16yo for the weekend.

Notes — Smells like seaside, peat (not as much I remember it to be), smoke and iodine. Sweet and spicy not unlike a cognac. Smoky and woody with a minty finish.