Sunday, December 16, 2007

Alright, Stop it Already

I have written previously about jokes in Reader's Digest that are predicated on taking a well known idiom or expression and rewording it in order to produce a punch line. Here are two more examples of this despicable technique from recent issues:
A rope walks into a pub. The barman says, "You were in here causing trouble. Go on, get out."

The rope shuffles outside and winds his top half round his bottom half, vigorously rub his head against a lamppost then goes back into the pub. "Oi!" shouts the barman. "Didn't I just throw you out?"

"Nah, mate," says the rope. "I'm a frayed knot."
I'm afraid not. Get it? Ha ha. The next one:
One man hated that his wife was always nursing sick birds. At home he found a crow with a splint on his beak sitting in his favourite chair. On the dining table a feverish eagle was pecking at an Aspirin, while in the kitchen his wife was comforting a shivering little wren that she found in the snow.

"I can't take it any more!" he said. "We've got to get rid of all these darn..."

His wife cut him off in mid-curse. "Please, dear," she said. "Not in front of the chilled wren."
Oh, I get it. Not in front of the children. Bwahaha, stop it, you're killing me.

Movie Review: I am Legend

[Warning: spoilers]

Let's start with the name of the movie: I am Legend? What kind of a crappy title is that? Talk about egomania.

The movie piques your interest initially, what with the scenes of overgrown New York streets with not a human being in sight, deer and lions having a free run, and all that, but this wears off quickly, once you are filled in on how this miserable state of affairs came about. The rest of the movie is very depressing, with no turning-of-the-tide moment, with the protagonist going through one misfortune after another [the family pet gets killed, for God's sake (a totally unnecessary Old Yeller moment thrown in for good measure, too) -- how much more dystopian can you get?].

There are so many holes in the story:
  1. How does Dr Neville get to set up a well-barricaded house, with a state-of-the-art lab in the basement, in the face of all the turmoil and confusion (we are told) that accompanies the virus outbreak?

  2. What's up with all the folks who get turned into 'mannequins'? Why have their bodies not decomposed/turned to dust/whatever? (Update: Well, it turns out they are mannequins, probably set up by Dr Neville to tide over his feelings of loneliness.)

  3. Couldn't the doctor have hooked up earlier with any other persons who are immune to the virus?

  4. Where does the electricity come from? I'd have asked the same question about the fuel, but they show Dr Neville pumping it from a gas station, so I'll let it go and assume that he has not run out of gas for three years because he is getting his supply from various gas stations all over the city.

  5. Why doesn't he escape with the woman and the kid at the climax? Why the need for sacrifice and martyrdom?

  6. Why does he leave the dog to roam around freely when there is a real danger of the dog running into the den of darkness seekers (or whatever the heck they are called)?

  7. We are told that the bad guys have de-evolved completely, i.e., they have lost all their human qualities and have become like animals, but they still retain the intelligence to device a clever trap to try and capture the good doctor.
Minus two stars out of five.

Aamir Khan on Black

Well, if I'd sat through the entire movie and had done a full review of Black, it would definitely be in alignment with Aamir Khan's take (sorry, the quote is from DC, so no link):
The sensibility wasn't right for me, I couldn't make out if they were living in a museum or a library or a church. The performances were over the top.
No doubt referring to Big B's fricken British accent.
Most importantly, it was about a child who had these problems, an alcoholic person comes and says you have to leave her alone with me for forty days, and he slaps her around. I don't know of any parent who would agree to that.
Ouch. And I wasn't even thinking of the pedophile angle.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dish TV Sucks: Part 9564

  1. You log in to the web site and are asked to change your password. You change your password, but when you try to log in using the new password, you get an error saying that your password contains invalid characters. You disable this validation by turning off JavaScript temporarily, and voila, you're able to log in. Sigh.

  2. You enter your credit card details and click on Submit. Payment gateway error. Against your better judgement you repeat this three more times, and hit the same error each time. A part of you is worried that you've actually paid them four times, but a phone call to Citibank reveals that no transaction has gone through. Whew. Come to think of it, I think I should consider moving this to the (non-existent) "Why Dish TV is Great" list.

  3. You try the credit card payment the next day, and it goes through. Only problem is, the default option in the renewal screen is for the basic package; therefore you do not get the full complement of channels. And it takes you one hour of arguing with the call center person -- after waiting patiently for 24 hours for the activation to kick in -- to figure this out.

  4. You ask to be put through to the supervisor so that you can complain about the poor service, and are asked to give your phone number; the supervisor will call you back. You do so, not really expecting a call back. Your expectations are met fully and completely.

  5. The IVR system is faulty; it works with certain mobile phones and not with others.

  6. Staying on the subject of the IVR, you select the option for English, and are connected to a representative who impresses you with his chaste Hindi.
Alright, maybe there is one item that can go on the "Why Dish TV is Great" list: for all their other shortcomings, the set top box's interface is miles ahead of Tata Sky in the usability department. Ironical, when you consider how badly their web site's usability sucks.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Blackwill Booga Booga

From The Hindu:
Indian cities could be targeted by extremists who could lay their hands on nuclear weapons once Iran develops them, the former U.S. Ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, said here on Monday.

“If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, some Arab countries may follow suit and who knows what western city or Indian cities such as Delhi or Mumbai could be a target,” he said at a session at the India Economic Summit