Commerce and Kansa

October 6, 2008

Kodhi sends in the following SMS:

There is a furniture shop called woodpecker which has lines like “No Children Section” and “Kids are parents responsibility especially in case of damages”

What gods. Finally a business establishment which goes to clear and unambiguous lengths to make children and parents feel unwelcome. Businesses which lead the way like this will have their deeds celebrated in song and ballad wherever Kansa Society members gather.

Double-o Offsets

October 3, 2008

In a comment to my blogpost about the founding of the Campaign to Losen Standards, Hawkeye writes:

Guilty as charged (several times over). Knowing this doesn’t help much. All an offender can do is try his best to reduce it. It will never go away.

This is true. But why should the offender try to reduce it? Help is at hand from the CLS. We shall mitigate the linguistic impact of all these double-o’s with out own single-o’s. And to accomplish this we shall use one of the great innovations of the modern environmental movement – marrying markets and pollution reduction.

Just as people who fly in private jets can buy carbon offsets to make up for all the CO2 they’re emitting, people who feel guilty about repeatedly turning ‘lose’ into ‘loose’ can buy offsets from the CLS. For every offset they purchase, the CLS will restore the balance of ‘o’s in the world by publishing a blogpost in which ‘loose’ is turned into ‘lose’.

The number of offsets to be purchased will depend on the readership of the original error. So very few offsets for a blogpost, more offsets for a news ticker, and even more for a newspaper article. Details of exactly how many offsets will be worked out through intensive modeling by quants who worked for investment banks and can now be hired for cheap.

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An Important Announcement

October 3, 2008

Dr. Dr. Mikhail Murugavel Somuchidonandovich Pandey (the son of the eminent Dr. Mr. Acharya Somuchidonanda Pandey and Dr. Mrs. Valentina Dimitrieva Pandey of St. Petersburg) has published extracts of his groundbreaking paper on the shared Tamil past for humanity on the Pandey family blog. These extracts deal with the defeat of Vercingetorix the Gaul – or rather, Veerasinga Thevar the Kallar. Please do read the blogpost as it is about revolutionary and shocking new discoveries.

The World is Flat

October 3, 2008

So I finally got around to reading The World is Flat. My cousin who I’m staying with (and whose usual reading is self-help books) had MED for it and in a moment of weakness I succumbed.

I didn’t find it as terrible as Prof. Ed Leamer’s scathing review (so scathing, he takes no less than 51 pages to scathe through) makes it out to be. The difference drawn between wholesale reform and retail reform was one of the better parts of the book, and the first time I’ve actually seen it drawn outside of a one-off newspaper op-ed or blogpost. On the other hand, the breast beating about declining standards in American education and what should be done about them, are entertaining to read but manage to contradict the rest of the book stunningly.

The overall impression I got of the book is that Thomas Friedman is to business journalism what Navjot Singh Sidhu is to cricket commentary. While there is an actual concept at the bottom of everything they talk about, these guys fall in love with their metaphors, to the point where the metaphor takes on a life of itself, and it becomes impossible to find the funda. Such is life.

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Kids These Days

October 3, 2008

Skimpy has not one but two posts where he abuses the students of these days who are useless and lazy incompetents who don’t speak IIMB lingo and don’t organise the IITM open.

Although “these days” are just two years after “back in our days”, it’s never too early to abuse your juniors. It’s one of the great natural processes of life, rolling on through the batches. It gives people who miss college and are annoyed at work an opportunity for some pleasing schadenfreude. And in this sterile modern world of ours, it’s the closest substitute for the tribal elders performing ritual circumcision on the young and grumbling about how they can’t take it. In our day, of course, Lord Kamaala was the tribal elder.

The role of grumpy old men in any society is a greatly underappreciated one. Fortunately Skimpy is carrying it out with aplomb.

The Campaign to Losen Standards

October 1, 2008

I am starting yet another NGO. This one is in response to people everywhere adding an extra ‘o’ to the word ‘lose’. So we have TOI editorials talking about India loosing the war on terror, blogposts talking about Ganguly being a looser, and news tickers flashing breaking news about investors who loose money on the stock markets.

This regrettable tendency is leading to an excess amount of ‘o’s in the English language, which may eventually overwhelm its carrying capacity. To bring the ecosystem back into balance, I propose that we start writing the actual ‘loose’ with only one ‘o’. So we would have lose jeans, lose women, losened monetary policy, and Nokia’s losening grip on the Indian handset market. People would go to gastro-enterologists complaining of lose motions.

I think it is time to unleash this idea. Or rather, to let it lose.