Archive for February, 2006

Quote of the Day

February 28, 2006

“Poultry is for cuisine what canvas is for painters.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (The 19th-century French gastronome)

[Source: The New York Times]

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Rooster Nation

February 28, 2006

I am a big fan of facts and geography and history and stuff. Everyday when I browse the web, read newspapers or magazines or even overhear people’s conversations, my mind sort of picks on little tit-bits of facts and figures and what-not here and there…

It was no surprise then that I learned a lot of new facts and trivia-like stuff on France while I was reading the ghastly news of Avian flu outbreak in France in The New York Times. I learned that the Rooster has been the national emblem of France since ancient Gallic times adorns official seals, church steeples, the garden gate of Élysée Palace, even the uniforms of the national soccer team.

The New York Times reports that, in the early 17th century, King Henry IV declared the right of his subjects to have a chicken in the family pot once a week, and even today, the ritual family lunch on Sunday is defined by a perfectly roasted chicken.

I’m a big fan of french food and I like the French atittude to liesure and all things good in life. Their cooking is more elaborate and detail oriented and very rich in form and texture. Like Indians they too take the time and prepare their dishes. The French women smell the big chunks of cheese in the French markets before they buy it. That makes the whole shopping, cooking, eating experience much more pleasurable. Unfortunately in America if you want to do it you have to go to a high-priced organic store… and the cheese is still wrapped in transparent wrap foil.

Today I learned how important the bird is to the elaborate French palatte. And I can truly sympathize with how this flu strain has affected the French lifestyle, not to mention the economic loss to the bird farming industry. So let’s hope this flu business is taken care of soon. Because when I visit France sometime in the near future, I still want it to be the “Rooster Nation”.

‘Made in Palastine’ Exhibit

February 28, 2006

Rubber-Coated Rocks  I am a Donkey

A first of its kind Palastinian art exhibition called “Made in Palastine” is all set to open in NYC on March 14th. It is interesting because I don’t think art is the first thing that comes to anybodys mind when they think of Palastine. It’s mostly negative things and despair that is easily tagged to Palastine. I think this exhibition would be an eye-opener for people in the West who have been fed a very one-sided warped view of the Palastine region as a whole. I also hope that this exhibition is curated by other well known museums in other cities in the world.

I personally am curious to see the artistic expression that has come out of Palastine. Other than 2004’s Divine Intervention and the current Oscar foreign film nominee from Palastine Paradise Now, I haven’t had much of a chance to see Palastinian creativity. Therefore I am keenly looking forward to it.

Edward Said would have been truly proud had he been alive today.

Astroboy Rules!!

February 28, 2006

astroboy

In Wired Mag’s 50 Best Robots ever issue, Japanese animations original posterboy Ozamu Tezuka’s classic Astroboy has notched up the 2nd spot. I was surprised to see a cartoon character up there. But then again Astroboy is no ordinary cartoon character. He’s the only unique (cute-looking that too) superhero who can defy gravity and burst into the skies like a rocket with jet propulsion aided by his ass. Sweet!!!

The coveted robot top 10 is as follows:

1. Stanley (Its a super-duper VW Taureg turned into a robot by some Stanford geeks)

2. Astroboy

3. Spirit & Opportunity (the two bots send to Mars)

4. Bobby the Robot (from the 1966 film Forbidden Planet inspired by Ariel in Shakespeare’s The Tempest)

5. Shakey (another 1972 bot creation from the Stanford guys)

6. Qrio (a Sony creations; recently used by Beck in his video for “Hell Yes”)

7. The Mechanical Knight (a Mark Rosheim creation inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s 1495 automated suit of armor with a windup crank)

8. Da Vinci Surgical System (a total robotic surgeon)

9. Dante II (a Carnegie Mellon Univ creation which made volcano research more humane)

10. The Stanford Cart (the Stanford creation which inspired Grand Challenge finishers and KITT from Knight Rider)

Am no geek, but hey it was quite cool to take a peak at these amazing creations of mechanical ingenuity. Only Astroboy was created in a storyline format in the imagination of a young artist in World War II Japan. Its the only one that’s totally imaginary and not created on a scientific platform for research or some end purpose. So thank you Wired Mag for recognizing the true grit of the human imagination.

5 Fine Points on Work-Life Balance

February 27, 2006

Just got this e-mail from a good friend of mine about a speech given by Narayana Murthy (who is the chairman of one of India’s largest software company Infosys). He gives a 5 point guideline which actually makes a lot of sense. Not only does it make perfect sense, but if we can change our so-called schedule and make the change happen, it would be astounding on actual work productivity. Here’s the 5 points…

1) Wake up, eat a good breakfast, and go to work.
2) Work hard and smart for eight or nine hours.
3) Go home.
4) Read the comics, watch a funny movie, dig in the dirt, play with your kids, etc.
5) Eat well and sleep well.

the one’s I’ve highlighted are I think a must for everybody to enjoy life and not take things too seriously. If only we could get evrybody to follow these guidelines the whole corporate work place culture would have been a dream come true…

Adcenter on PSFK

February 27, 2006

My alma mater VCU Adcenter has been spotted on yesterdays PSFK blogline. It’s a writeup on a presentation that the bright new students at Adcenter made at the Future Marketing Summit about their vision on the future advertising agency.

Couple of good smart points in there. Kind of reminded me of the same topic that was thrown at us way back in 2001/2002 when we were doing the ad-school grind. At that time the dot-com bubble had just burst and evrybody had second thoughts about where the whole online ad revolution was headed. Many of us never paid much attention or gave importance to the interactive communications class. Wish I had.

It is interesting to note that after all the hocus-pocus on the internet startup craze in the late 90s, all the weed has been separated from the chaff and the ones with real business models have survived. And now with the advent of the Google model of advertising and Web 2.0, Madison Ave has started recognizing the fact that creativity is not just about making a great looking visually arresting print or TV ad as consumers are more empowered than ever.

A fresh blog post from Russell Davies makes the definition of creativity ever more clear in today’s context. Russell borrows a quote from Ken Robinson (had never heard of him) which says “creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value”. Brilliant!!

Hallo Mittelalter’06

February 27, 2006

Mittelalter06

Flickr user mmike has uploaded this stencil graffiti that has popped up on some street corners of Hamburg. The translation basically goes “Hello Middleage 2006”. The headshot is obviously from the controversial Danish cartoon. This image was randomly ranked by Flickr for interestingness on Feb 11th.

A lot of mumbo jumbo conrtoversy has been raging accross the world about the blasphemous cartoons. I’m not interested in giving my 20 cents worth of argument here. That’s not the purpose of this blog.

What’s quite interesting to me as a planner is how fast this image has trickled down to mainstream culture in the form of graffiti. Graffiti is a form of self expression of the youth of various cities accross the world. In the information age things do move pretty fast as is evidenced by this image on a Hamburg street.

I do wonder what the tag Hello Middleage means. Is it you’ve reached middle age and the life clock is ticking faster? Does it have a German connotation to its huge middle age population?? Wish I knew…

The Real Jabberwocky

February 26, 2006

Most of you who don’t know what jabberwocky means or where I got the name “Jabr-Woky” need not go any further… Jabberwocky basically means a surreal area where sense and nonsense collide…

The actual dictionary meaning (according to dictionary.com) is nonsensical speech or writing. A more elaborate contextual explanation would mean something of a play on neologisms and linguistic hieroglyphics, situated somewhere between mathematical theorem and literary pastime. (whatever that is…)

It’s no surprise then that the word was initially brought to light by none other than Lewis Carroll in a poem called “Jabberwocky”. Later on the Monty Python madman visionary Terry Gilliam gave us his take on Jabberwocky in his first movie venture of the same name.

And finally as I’m putting these nonsensical daily observations and ruminations in a 21st century web 2.0 blog format I just thought it apt to kind of cut it down to a shorter form “Jabr-Woky”. Much easier to type in and don’t really know if it sounds cool…

Anyways for those of you who are interested here’s the Lewis Carroll poem in its full whimsical glory…

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

”Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One two! One two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

”And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Top 3 Album Covers Jan 2006

February 26, 2006

Chemical Brothers

This Chemical Brothers album cover is an absolute classic!!

These two are quite interesting and deserves mention…

Scritti-Politti Mololoko

Top 3 Movies Jan 2006

February 26, 2006

Crash Downfall Mondovino

Crash is racism and emotional chaos in the cultural cornucopia of modern day LA.

Downfall is a riveting account of the last days of Hitler. Not many movies have focused this intensly and with pin precise detail on what was happening on the higher echelons of German power during the fall of the Third Reich.

Mondovino is a sort of improvisational handheld documentary on the changes that globalization has brought about in the global wine industry. Has pretty in depth interviews and personal snapshots of the most proficient players in the wine-making profession.