The Raja-mandala Re-centred

There has recently been a controversy in the Indian blogosphere about what the projection of power means. In the interests of enlightening lay readers, I asked my good friend and international relations expert Dr. Boris Bhartriraj Pandey to prepare a guide to power projection. Boris is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Parma, and his family background is even more impressive – his parents are the distinguished academics Dr. Acharya Somuchidononanda Pandey and Dr. Valentina Dimitrieva Pandey. He has written a short monograph on the subject at the Pandey family blog. It is also reproduced in it’s entirety here, with his permission:

Read the rest of this entry »

Lines of the Day

I have a daughter. I will not be allowing her anywhere where restrictions are placed on her during her periods.

(The Brat, the Bean and Bedlam)

Indeed! Why let society, sisters-in-law, or mothers-in-law restrict where you go or don’t go when it’s so much more efficient to let your mother do it for you?

Yet Another Google Service

For the past few months, I’ve been using the Books application on Facebook. As soon as I finish a book, I search for it, add it to my list of completed books within the application with a two or three line review, and a rating (on five stars). This is then broadcast to all my Facebook friends.

The obvious disadvantage with this is that it is broadcasted to only my Facebook friends. And only within Facebook. There doesn’t seem to be any way to get an RSS feed of completed books. Which is sad, because I’d like to have one, and push it onto the blog for permanent archival and suchlike.

Other Facebook apps like iRead which do the same thing also don’t offer RSS feeds.

Shelfari does let you keep a list of books on your blog, but this seems to be in the form of a Shelfari widget, and poking around their FAQ didn’t seem to reveal any way to get a pure feed. Besides, Shelfari spammed me at unmitigated levels back in August or September, earning my hatred (and the dubious honour of being added to my GMail spam filter).

But there is something which seems to meet all my requirements, and it’s a little-known Google service: Google MyLibrary.

This is an add-on feature to Google Book Search. And besides ratings and reviews, there are three extremely cool things which MyLibrary has:

  1. an RSS feed. So now, as soon as I finish a book, I can add it in MyLibrary, and display it in a WordPress widget or in the GOAT feed.
  2. labels. Which allows great scope for taxonomisation and categorisation. Such joy. Such joy.
  3. searching within the book, and reading the whole book, copyright permitting. Yay!

This weekend, I’ll probably be tinkering with feeds and widgets and whatnot.

Odd Bedfellows

Google Reader recommends that I subscribe to the following blogs:

Okay, what’s the connection here? That they all rant? I think the Peking Duck doesn’t. I think this along the lines that Amazon.com screenshot which Masabi sent me: if you liked Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, you may also want to buy Iron Maiden: Rock in Rio.

Serious note: Google Reader looks at the blogs you read, sees what other people reading those blogs also read that you don’t and recommends those. This just goes to prove that I am very catholic in my reading tastes.

More Mommyblogger Mockery

The Mad Momma asks: Why is it alright to be openly intolerant of children?

It’s for the same reason it is alright to be openly intolerant of anything – salwar kameezes, Shashi Tharoor’s writing, chicory-blended coffee, and so on. Freedom of speech are there. Or as Skimpy famously put it, I am a free citizen of free India and I shall say what I want.

Of course the reason I express my intolerance of children more than my intolerance of anything else is that nothing is as much fun as enraging mommybloggers1. Enraged mommybloggers move about in herds, angrily clucking ‘Wait till you have kids of your own!’ or ‘You are horrible and have no empathy!’. The warm, fuzzy feeling to be obtained from people bitching about being mischaracterised as emotional and stupid – and doing so in an emotional and stupid manner is delightful.

The pinnacle of emotional outbursts, of course, was this point-by-point takedown by J. For my own amusement, and for yours, beloved readers – I will now respond to this:

kids will become irritating when they are given too much attention:–Dude if you are dating a woman or married to a woman and if she will not give you enough attention, you too will become irritable. Correct me if I am wrong.

Being an upright young man with Saivite neo-Edwardian values, I am able to separate my behaviour from my mental state. Kids are not. I blame their mothers, given that they seem to be unable to differentiate between being irritable and being irritating. This pernicious encouragement of expressing your feelings regardless of the consequences is undermining our society.

This is also probably the reason why kids in Delhi and Chennai are the worst behaved–whoa whoa wait a minute. Iam smelling discrimination here or you are a less travelled person who is like a frog in the well….kids are kids irrespective of caste, creed, religion and nationality. Every child of a specific age behaves quiet similar and this is one of the reason why all the mommy bloggers relate to each other irrespective of their financial and geographical status.

If every child behaved ‘quiet’, I wouldn’t be bitching about them online. And yes, it is discrimination. Man is endowed with the ability to discriminate between right and wrong. Without the ability to discriminate, there would be no way to promote virtue and punish vice.

Jobless doting female relatives, who do nothing but stay at home–what kind of a loser talks like this about the women folk who spend their entire life serving their family. WTF do you mean by “jobless”. Does jobless means earning money only. I really question your upbringing today which taught you to respect people on the basis of their revenue generating capabilities.

No ‘jobless’ means sitting on your arse while the domestic servants do all the work, the husband earns all the money, and the grandmothers do most of the child-rearing. What part of ‘do nothing but stay at home’ do you not understand? I use words with precision.

In the case of Chennai, because they actually are unemployed–Can you please support your statement by some figures (if at all you are intelligent enough to understand what I am saying). By the way in my work career I have come across some really intelligent tamilians and real dumb punju’s. (how does this sound since you are a punju)

Given that I have been abusing Punjews online since… oh, 2003, and with an especially popular campaign in 2005, and that I am widely acknowledged to be Tam – it sounds like validation.

and in the case of Delhi, because employment for Delhi women usually means fraud stay-at-home stuff like garment designing–FRAUD?????????? Are you a fuckin police or intelligent department official who can pronounce a profession as “FRAUD”. As a matter of fact can you design a garment? DO you know what kind of creativity goes into it. Have respect for every person who is trying to make a honest living yet tending to their responsibilities.

Yes, deciding to put sequins on a salwar kameez is very creative. And a business set up purely to satisfy ego, and which gives lower returns than a fixed deposit is an honest living. As for whether I can design a garment, I’m thinking of having a Kansa Society T-shirt up for sale on Myntra soon. Also, why do I have to be a fuckin pole or intelligent department official to pronounce a profession fraud? Nobody in my IIMB Batch was, and everyone used to pronounce either consulting, or marketing, or I-banking, or HR fraud. To say nothing of all the courses we used to pronounce fraud. Your grasp of lingo is really quite terrible.

With non-stop attention lavished upon it, the kid becomes a monster–How dare you call a kid “monster”. They are the only purest form of mankind left now. Rest all are busy talking bullshit (like you). Did you ever have a kid come to you and look at you with those innocent eyes and appreciate all tat you did for him / her? I have experienced that innocence and how can you call such children monsters, just because they are extra energetic and crying is one of the ways to express their needs (god created that way)

Well, there goes the argument for intelligent design…

Also, J, you are wrong. Kids are not the only purest form of mankind. Masabi, Skimpy, and Jugga are. There is no malice in Jugga’s heart. He loves all of humanity, without fear or reservation. So much so, that he hugs hijras on MG Road and gives them money. Read Skimpy’s petromax post to realise that he is fearless, and unconstrained by the mores of society. As for Masabi, you only have to gaze into his eyes to discover how innocent and pure he is.

But I never saw kids throwing tantrums in mumbai–Dude refrain from making such statements. How many kids did you sample and from which cities. Can you once again provide some statistics.

No. Can you provide some statistics on kids being the purest form of humanity?

have seen this with my own nephews and nieces also. The one who curls up with a Roald Dahl and generally doesn’t talk is the one whose parents are a doctor and a physiotherapist, and who therefore hardly see him. On the other hand, the Nephew Who Bites has lived his entire life with a stay-at-home mother, a stay-at-home grandmother, a drop-in-practically-ceaselessly grandmother, and a father who is an ameer-baap-ki-bigdi-aulaad, and so doesn’t need to work– I am an Associate Director in a big firm in Manhattan and my husband is a software professional. We both spend few hours in the morning and few in the evening with my 22mths old son. Contrary to your statement he bites us, he throws tantrums, he screams his lungs off on roads / malls, spits food. Well his grandparents do not stay with us. (now its your turn to start battering working mothers)

No, I shall stick with my theory of attention as it stands. Since his tantrums are not being caused by nurture, they are evidently being caused by genetics. So it’s still your fault.

And where I’m concerned, Ma and Papa used to just leave me alone and whack me every once in a while, and I am now a model of manners, rectitude, decency and sobriety. So much so, that people refuse to believe that I’m Punjabi.—-hahahahaha. This was my fav part out of the whole blog. Dude get a life, you were deprived of love and attention your whole life that’s the reason u r spitting venom at mothers who are showering attention on their kids.

They’re so busy showering attention that they can’t recognise literary references. Oh well.

Think about it. You devote an entire blog to the kid, and nothing but the kid–How about devoting entire life for my kid. The happiness he gave me, nothing else can ever match it. I will not mind giving up everything for him.

Well, you’ve given up spellcheck. ‘Appauled’?

1: This is not strictly accurate. As Ravikiran discovered, making sexist comments at feminists is huge fun too. But enraging feminists will lead to undesirable friction with the girlfriend, and who needs that? So mommybloggers it is.

More Fuel on the Mommyblog Fire

Two points:

First, Falstaff is a cheap guy. He talks about Coase and childfree-airline tickets without referencing me.

Second, a more important point about mommyblogs in general.

I’ve been discussing this point with junta, and the consensus seems to be that kids will become irritating when they are given too much attention. The more attention a kid gets from its parents, the more it thinks of itself. It becomes spoilt, throws tantrums, and eventually the Kansa Society has to be called in.

This is also probably the reason why kids in Delhi and Chennai are the worst behaved. They’re brought up in environments full of doting female relatives. Jobless doting female relatives, who do nothing but stay at home. In the case of Chennai, because they actually are unemployed, and in the case of Delhi, because employment for Delhi women usually means fraud stay-at-home stuff like garment designing. With non-stop attention lavished upon it, the kid becomes a monster. While in Bombay, both the parents are off at work, the kid has to fend for itself, and grows up a clean and sober Goregaon type personality, with excellent social skills, and a bindaas attitude. In my months in Bombay, I saw Gujew aunties abusing Landmark for stocking books. I saw people expectorating with enthusiasm. I saw Jain monks in a fistfight. But I never saw kids throwing tantrums.

I have seen this with my own nephews and nieces also. The one who curls up with a Roald Dahl and generally doesn’t talk is the one whose parents are a doctor and a physiotherapist, and who therefore hardly see him. On the other hand, the Nephew Who Bites has lived his entire life with a stay-at-home mother, a stay-at-home grandmother, a drop-in-practically-ceaselessly grandmother, and a father who is an ameer-baap-ki-bigdi-aulaad, and so doesn’t need to work. Between these extremes, I have a soft-spoken and well-behaved niece whose parents run the nine-to-five gamut. And where I’m concerned, Ma and Papa used to just leave me alone and whack me every once in a while, and I am now a model of manners, rectitude, decency and sobriety. So much so, that people refuse to believe that I’m Punjabi.

Anyway, the point of all this is that a surplus of attention turns kids into monsters, fit only for slaughter by the Kansa Society.

And when it comes to giving kids too much attention, mommyblogging is the pinnacle. Think about it. You devote an entire blog to the kid, and nothing but the kid. And while in the normal course of things, the kid forgets the attention it gets as an infant, here the attention is public, archived, and up to be accessed at will. The Little Emperor generation created by the Chinese one-child policy will be as nothing compared to the generation created by mommyblogging. Legions of spoilt brats will stalk the nation, thinking too much of themselves.

Mommybloggers have a lot to answer for.

Update Your Blogrolls!

The annual renaming of this blog has taken place. Sleisha Cuppax Fundaes (w)Only is now the easily-acronymised Givvup Only Are There. Also, the tagline has been changed to “Country are the new pseud.”

The next post will be another annual ritual (at least, I plan to make it an annual ritual): the next year in preview.

Inconvenience Regretted

This website is under heavy attack from spambots. I’ve turned off comments and pings on all posts for the time being to see if this has any impact. Until me or MadMan are able to figure out what’s going wrong, comments will remain off. Sorry about that.

Powerless

My idiot flatmate hasn’t paid the electricity bill and the power’s been cut off.

The good news is that this happened during winter in Bangalore, and so this doesn’t lead to much physical discomfort. The bad news is that thanks to another decision by the idiot flatmate (viz., buying a manual defrost refrigerator instead of a frost free one), the kitchen will be flooded by the time I return today. I suspect all the salad inside the fridge will also spoil.

Also, this will lead to an absence of blogposts which required either the use of a scanner, or embedding YouTube videos (which I can’t do at work), or quoting stuff I saw on facebook (again, blocked at work).

Upgrade Blues

Just a few things related to the upgrade to 2.3.1.

  • I’ve been getting hammered by comment spam for the past couple of months, and MadMan advised me to install Akismet and Bad Behavior. Akismet was already installed, so I installed Bad Behavior.
    Bad Behavior is a WordPress plugin which detects all incoming comments and tracbacks, and checks them against a blacklist of spammers. If there’s a blacklist match, it just serves up a 403 page to the spambot. Enthused, I set it to strict mode.
    Unfortunately, all IP addresses assigned by Reliance Infocom (including mine) are on a spam blacklist. As a result, I couldn’t write comments. Or create new posts. What makes it really fun is that Bad Behavior doesn’t allow blacklisted IPs to do anything that requires submitting a form – including turning strict mode off. So I was locked out of my own blog until Madhu kindly logged in for me and turned strict mode off.
  • The blogroll in the left sidebar has the white background only in the lower half. I will have to fix this by editing the .gif background file. This will require much careful fiddling about in Paint.
  • The blogroll also no longer contains the link category headings (though links are still sorted by category). I’ll probably be able to restore the headings by mucking about a little with the PHP. This needs to be done at leisure, with enough time to debug, so it may not happen for a while. Bear with me until then.
  • The ‘Email Aadisht’ page had stopped working because I accidentally deleted my contact form plugin. It’s working again now.
  • The del.icio.us links widget will be back again soon. Soon = tonight if I get home early enough and fresh enough. Otherwise, by Thursday.
  • Tags!
  • The new theme lets you hide the widgets by clicking on the green circle. This is stupendous.