August 7, 2009 by

Maha is going green not with recycling but with envy that a woman commended Sriram on sticking to his Brahmin roots. Maha blamed kali yugam (not the Prabhu film one hopes) and suggested writing about the woman and her ilk who agree with the views presented on that blog. Consider the below carefully:

1. Someone thinks that “views” are presented on Being/Empty Hip Flask
2. The insinuation that anyone would agree/disagree with those views.

Presumably, the ilk consists of people with earthy appetites. After all, who can have bigger appetites and who can be more earthly than people from the erstwhile Thanjavur district? Mangayarkarasi would write in her travelogues about the open gutters, dinosaurs pretending to be mosquitoes, outbreaks of filaria and the overpopulation of Iyengars, distinctive of — if not unique to — Kumbakonam.  But that would be unfair to the people of Kumbakonam. Someone should confiscate her free Railway pass and Internet.


Of booze, getting drunk and puke

August 7, 2009 by
As I am getting older, I can’t drink as much. The liver is working overtime but it can’t keep up.. Wait.. Poring over the pathetic sitemeter data, we figured that our prose is not flowery enough. And apparently, flowery prose generates readership and comments. We have decided to act —

Four years in America have meant that I no longer enjoy booze the way I used to. Drinking luke warm beer without chilli chicken or tandoori paneer to snack on. Drinking within the limits always mindful of the drive back home. What kind of drinking is it if you don’t get drunk? The American kind perhaps.

I am not a big fan of college years. I was glad that the awkwardness and angst ended. When someone talks of wanting to go to college again, I can’t quite relate to it. But sometimes when I drink, I am struck by the sudden memory of binge drinking.

Of being able to snatch money from unsuspecting classmates and buying a full bottle of old monk. Of being unafraid to throw up. Of being in possession of a healthy liver. Of being able to ingest large quantities of alcohol with a 1 Re. packet of pickles. Of being able to watch porn in a room and being unashamed of the erection and/or accidents. Of being unsatiated at the end of it all and wanting more.

To be fair, I could still do this at home. But the thought of throwing up and the resulting bad taste in the nostrils and throat keeps me away from it. This weekend when others in the family went on a road trip, I had a dozen cans of beer all for myself. Keeping me company was ppv porn on TV and carry out tandoori chicken from the local Indian restaurant.

When I woke up in the morning with a massive headache, I reconsidered my ambivalence towards college days. Perhaps there were good times. Just that I don’t remember them all.

(Plagiarized and adapted from a popular Indian blogger. Link not provided because we are afraid she might commit seppuku on reading this perversion.)


August 6, 2009 by

The bottle says, “Smokehead is a rich, seaweedy and intensely peaty whisky. The flavor is fresh, fruity and immense, with notes of sherry iodine, toffee, smoke and sea salt all fighting for recognition.” At first take, the peat overwhelms all other tastes and flavors. If you let the whisky stand for a few minutes, all other notes become more apparent. It kind of grows on you and you get to like the finish.

Notes:  Peat, smoke, tea, cocoa, honey and spicy-sweetness. Peatier than the average Islay malt, I’d think. The wife said I smell of kari kattai and isthiri potti after a few sips.

Samuel Adams Boston Lager

August 5, 2009 by

I have had Samuel Adams twice before. The first time was about three years ago and I don’t remember what brew it was. It was horrible and tasted like chocoloates and vanilla and very unlike beer. A year later, when a bunch of us classmates met to spend the weekend going to strip clubs and casinos, a committed spoilsport changed our plans and took us to hooters instead. As if that were not enough, he ordered a pitcher of Samuel Adams winter lager. It was equally horrible and flat. I took my chances this weekend and ordered a Boston lager on tap at the local pub.

Notes — Nothing extraordinary and hence not unpalatable either. Hops and malt. Easy to drink, crisp. A decent failsafe option.


July 28, 2009 by

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 by

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 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


July 21, 2009 by

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.



July 9, 2009 by
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.
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.



(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 by

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.


July 8, 2009 by

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.