Monthly Archives: September 2010

Do Your Duty! Make an Appeal for Peace !

Here is a quick way of checking if you are even remotely important in the scheme of things in India. It’s a simple test. Just one question is all that it takes.

Have you appealed for peace and calm in the aftermath of the Ayodhya verdict?

If you have, then you are right up there on the list of important people.
If, on the other hand, you have not, then your name is less than mud and I should probably feel insulted that my blog post is being read by someone of your ilk.

At last count — and I am sure loads of entries must have already been added to the list by now – there were simply millions of people who had gone on record, ‘appealing for peace.’ Some of the more important personages who had made the appeal are listed below.


Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh (Seriously, can anyone imagine the timid chap asking for anything other than peace? Not that he is going to get any, while Sonia Gandhi et al are running circles around him.)

Sonia Gandhi. Her PA briefed her that this was the right thing to do.

L.K.Advani has asked colleagues to “exercise caution, and maintain calm.” I am, however, not very sure about the punctuation here. Maybe he meant ‘exercise, caution and maintain calm.’ What with the absence of Rath Yatras, I hear most of his colleagues are in bad shape and a little bit of exercise would help them a lot.

Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray has appealed for peace. Word has it that he had to buy a lot of Marathi dictionaries so that he could distribute it among his workers, to help them grasp this alien concept of “peace.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. In fact he has gone so far as to suggest that he will call a state-wide strike in case people don’t maintain peace.

Trinamool chief Mamta Bannerjee is confused since she too would have liked to appeal for peace but now that Buddhadeb Babu has already made the appeal she does not know what to do. She has settled for calling a strike to protest Buddhadeb Babu’s threat to call a strike.

My landlord. He does not know much about the issue but saw that it was the fashionable thing to do.

My neighbourhood dog. Sheroo has little understanding of what this is all about but was besieged by television channel reporters. Apparently they mistook Sheroo’s idle barking for a call for ‘peace’ and ran non stop ‘exclusive’ reports about the canine’s appeal.

At the time of going to press a special unit of the Lucknow Crime Branch swooped down on Nathu Ram and arrested him while he was attending to his small tea stall. It seems he was arrested because he was the only person in the whole of UP who had not appealed for peace.
Very suspicious,” a constable said.

If you are in the unenviable position of not having appealed to the masses to maintain peace and calm in the aftermath of the Ayodhya verdict, here is your last chance to redeem yourself. This is what you have to do. Quickly crack a joke about the Delhi Commomwealth games. This will help to prove that you are a true Indian and not totally dead to your responsibilities as a citizen of this best of all nations – India.

More Monkey Business at Delhi CWG

Apparently there is more monkey business afoot at the Commonwealth games.

The New Delhi Municipal Council has decided to ‘deploy’ langurs to guard the Commonwealth Games venues in New Delhi. Initial reports suggest that these primates are supposed to chase away monkeys. It seems that NDMC already has 28 langurs, which are used to scare monkeys in VIP areas of the Capital. (These cousins of monkeys chase away other monkeys so that VIPs can indulge in their own special brand of important monkey business!)

The Hindu reported on Tuesday that the number of langurs on duty with the NDMC is expected to go up to 38, with the addition of another 10 langurs.


When contacted the Municipal Council clarified that nine, and not 10 langurs were going to be recruited. The Hindu seems to have got its numbers mixed up.

The confusion, however, is very understandable. The Hindu correspondent got thrown off the track about the number of langurs being hired because the NDMC issued a photo of Suresh Kalmadi standing along with 9 langurs. Ahem!

Who will Inaugurate the Commonwealth Games?

A huge controversy has broken out about the Commonwealth Games. This time the question that is troubling everyone is — who should preside over the opening ceremony?

This is really amazing. For four years we plan this event. For weeks we lambast it and abuse the people involved because they have made such a mess of it. Corporate sponsors are scampering away with their tails tucked in, so as to not be associated too closely with the corruption ridden event. And yet, we have people actually fighting to preside over the event.
I would have thought that we would have had to pay large bribes or kidnap the young ones of prospective chief guests, to get them to preside over the competition.

Be that as may, here is the list of top contenders.

President Pratibha Patil – As the leader of the nation that orchestrated this most fun-filled and ridiculous version of the august completion, she has prime rights to preside over the opening ceremony.

Prince Charles – In the absence of Queen Elizabeth II, Charlie, the heir-to-the-throne, has expressed his intent to preside over the games. Look at it from his point of view. The poor chap has been waiting for such a long time for the Queen to abdicate, retire or just die. None of this has happened in so many years. The Commonwealth games may be the poor dear’s one big moment in the sun. No wonder he is not taking kindly to people trying to elbow him out of ithe opportunity.

Nathu Ram – Nathu Ram, a daily wage labourer, has also put forward his name as most suited to preside over the event. His claim to fame is that he has so far caught 14 dogs and 4 snakes within the Commonwealth games village. He reasons that he should get precedence over the other two because in the likely event of a snake or a dog popping up in the middle of the competition, he is the only one who would be able to tackle the situation with aplomb.

At the time of going to press, it seems a compromise had been reached. The Deccan Herald reports

Prince Charles will declare the Games open while the President will say “let the Games begin”.
(It is assumed that Nathu Ram will stand in the background and catch dogs and snakes!)


The (I am not making this up !) News – Vol. II


Nobody seems to know what Kim Jong-un looks like. Except JournoOnTheProwl !

Everybody in North Korea seems to be in a tizzy about Kim Jong-un, the heir apparent in NK. The communist regime is preparing for a dynastic third-generation power succession and media houses are tying themselves into knots wondering what this guy looks like. Apparently it’s been a long time since Kim Jong-un smiled for a photograph. The most current photograph of the future leader happens to be from more than 10 years ago, when he still used to wear half pants. And no, he does not seem to have profile picture up on his Facebook account. And the mystery is not going to get any less mysterious any time soon. Intelligence sources in Pyongyang say that photographing Kim Jong-un is going to be frowned upon when NK’s political elite meet at a rare ruling party meeting on Tuesday.
“Photographing Kim Jong-un has been restricted to prevent public exposure of the heir,” JoongAng Daily reported. A well made point, after all who likes exposing their hair to the public?
The JournoOnTheProwl blog, however, believes it has acquired off the internet, a very authentic photograph of what the future communist leader looks like. Do take an exclusive look !

Click Click Click

Talking about pictures, you cannot stay in the movie business for long without having a little bit of the drama rub off on you. Well, that’s exactly what seems to have happened to Los Gatos, California-based online movie rental company Netflix Inc. On September 22 Netflix launched an online video-streaming service in Canada for films and television.


All perfectly sane till now. Here is the funny part. The company hired actors to give media interviews gushing about the video subscription service’s arrival in Canada! The company even provided actors with scripts and urged them to fill a variety of stereotypical roles, including “mothers, film buffs, tech geeks, couch potatoes,” according to the one-page handout given to them.

Apparently reporters grew suspicious when one 24 year old man claimed to be a mother of three and a diehard NetFlix fan. Preliminary investigations revealed that the chap had unfortunately got his instruction sheet mixed up with a lady and was trying to do the best he could in the circumstance with the role he ended up with.
Suspicions were further aroused when certain members of the audience kept parroting the same line again and again. “Wow! What a company! Wow! What a company”


Things at Apple’s Cupertino, California headquarters got really exciting after The New York Times on Sunday reported that A few years before Apple introduced the iPhone, research engineers atNokia prepared a prototype of an Internet-ready, touch-screen handset with a large display, which they thought could give the company a powerful advantage in the fast-growing smartphone market. Former employee, Ari Hakkarainen told NYT that the product was shelved by Nokia management because they feared that it “could be a costly flop.”

Apple’s Steve Jobs, was reportedly very excited when he read the report. A source with little knowledge of the matter said that Jobs has asked two of his most trusted Vice Precedents to do nothing but stand outside Nokia meeting rooms and take careful notes of all products that Nokia rejects.


The (Un) Commonwealth Games

I hope you are keeping a tab of all the jokes you are hearing about the New Delhi Commonwealth Games, set to start Oct. 3.
Why? Well, I am considering bringing out a joke book specially dedicated to this event. It will help spectators pass the time of day while they wait for the fire brigade to come and pull them out from all the rubble.
I mean, if stadium roofs and bridges are falling apart at the seams even before the contest starts, it is very likely some such disaster will happen when spectators actually start clapping.
The Guardian on Wednesday reported that the Commonwealth Games have been plunged further into crisis after a roof collapsed in the weightlifting arena, the Scotland team delayed its departure and the England team boss said the competition was “on a knife edge”.


One cannot but feel that the England boss is taking things a bit too seriously. After all, he should realise that any knife that is brought into association with the Delhi version of the CWG, will probably get all bent before it can nick anyone!

Structures at the CWG are so flimsy that even Bollywood celebs — well attuned to acting on the shakiest of movie sets – are protesting.

Actor Ranvir Shorey reportedly tweeted that he is “Waiting for something to collapse on one of the Government officials who’re telling us everything is alright at the CWG.” Stern stuff.

Hollywood, on the other hand is taking a more lenient view of the whole affair. Word has it that media bosses are so impressed with all the bridges and ceilings falling all over the place that they are contemplating shooting sequels for “Armageddon” and “2012” on location in Delhi.

Organising Committee secretary-general Lalit Bhanot, is certainly not reading too much into reports that Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive, Mike Hooper, on Tuesday expressed disappointment over the ill preparedness of the 2010 Games Village and termed it as ‘filthy’.

The standards of cleanliness and hygiene differ from person to person,” Bhanot said, brushing aside these concerns.

According to unreliable media sources Bhanot only bathes on alternate Saturdays because he has a ‘different standard of cleanliness!’

I will sign off with a warning to my loyal readers.

In case you are brave enough to actually visit the stadiums during the games, I hope you take necessary precautions. Wear a helmet, stock up on mosquito repellent to keep off all the dengue mosquitoes and try not to cheer too hard lest the stadium fall on your head.
Of course it might be a good idea, to not stand too close to Suresh Kalmadi. I have overheard that javelin throwers have been told that they will get extra points if they manage to hit Kalmadi! Let the games begin!

The (I am not making this up !) News – Vol. I

THE WORLD, SEPT 21 – Some people just do not know how to utilise all the unused talk time on their mobile phone calling plans. Take for instance the 42-year-old man in Singapore who decided to use some of his unused minutes to place a call to the police emergency hotline 999, about a non-existent bomb at a hotel. At the time of going to press the man, if convicted stands to be fined up to $100,000 or be jailed for up to 5 years or both. One expensive prank call this!


Talking of expensive mistakes, the Commonwealth Games in Delhi could be termed as one too. On Tuesday a footbridge near the main stadium collapsed, injuring more than 20 people, and leading people to question if other structures such the stadiums can be relied upon to stand the strain of the games. The president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Mike Fennell, said the newly built village had been seriously compromised and conditions in the residences had “shocked the majority” of overseas officials. Unconfirmed reports said that Fennell has suggested that audiences at the games be banned from loud cheering, clapping, whistling, stamping of feet and heavy breathing lest it result in the stadium falling on their head.


There is, however, plenty to cheer at the London Fashion Week. After years of painstaking research and path breaking creative thinking wig-maker Charlie Le Mindu has managed to achieve the ultimate in Haute couture.. nothing! Mindu broke tradition by making his models strut down the catwalk completely naked, said London’s Metro newspaper. It seems the jury is still out, unable to make up their mind if Mindu’s designs are copied. “When I saw this nude model walking down the ramp, I thought to myself… I have seen this look somewhere!” One, however, cannot but feel relieved that the models were naked, considering that this is the same Mindu who at last years fashion week had produced a headdress made of real mice and rat carcasses. At least rodents will approve this year’s designs!


Fowl play, cries the tiger !

I don’t know if you are really in the know, when it comes to the feline world, but things are in a pretty bad way. The fourteen hundred or so Indian Panthera tigris
are just about ready to curl up and throw in their paws. For years a persecuted lot, the tiger, has never had it so bad. The tiger, though not a chicken-heart, can only stand for so much.
It is not exactly everyone who can see the humour in having anorexic kids (a juvenile goat… not what you are thinking! Duh!) tied under trees and then when you take the merest sniff at the meat, to have the brave shikari take pot-shots at you from the safety of a machan. I mean, one moment you are the king of the jungle and are ready to tickle your tummy with a nice appetizer, the next you are a moth-eaten ball of fur mounted on the trophy wall. But at least there is some dignity in such a death.
And even though some people go on and on (a certain Mr. Corbett for instance! ) about how they tracked you and dispatched you to your maker, it is okay. Every bit a painful state of affairs no doubt and enough to make any tiger frown and somewhat spoil the ‘immortal symmetry’ that has been so cracked up about.
But mark you (in stripes, if you are so inclined!) the tiger has always taken many insults and insulting people in its stride. (And some unfortunate ones in its maw)
The important thing, is that there is some dignity in being slain by a creature that can at least do calculus. It’s a fair battle, a match of wits that can have but one victor. But what do you call it when a mere chicken takes a pop at you and sends you howling to the pearly gates. Utter humiliation. Well that’s what happened.

The DNA on Thursday reported that veterinarians have confirmed that four-year-old tigress, Divya, of Bannerghatta Biological Park, Bangalore, India, died of diarrhoea triggered by feeding on chicken infected with salmonella bacteria. [ ]

How is a tiger to hold its head up in such circumstances? Hounded everywhere, for fur, paws and claw, the poor tiger can now not even take a relaxing snack at KFC without being consigned to diapers and then to a grave! Will he not hear a sly sniggering every time he passes the chicken coop? Yes. He will.
With the chicken playing foul, and the government already taking steps to ban cow slaughter, the poor tiger has but two choices. Either he turns vegan or curls up and dies. And will anyone mourn the passing? Not likely. Possibly the exchequer will throw a party with some of the money saved from not having to conduct tiger census year after year! On top of it all word has it that Tiger (Woods ) is thinking about changing his name to Cheetah !

HP pays $2.4 bln to kick Dell’s ass in 3PAR bidding war

On August 16 Dell Inc said it wanted a larger piece of the data center pie and revealed plans to buy data storage company 3PAR Inc for $18 a share. 3PAR, which has barely made a profit since it was founded in 1999, had closed at $9.65 on August 13. Dell’s offer, valued at $1.15 billion was at a whopping 87 percent premium to 3PAR’s last close price.
Analysts were generally of the opinion that Dell was overpaying for the company. Till now things were sane. The insanity starts now.
Hewlett-Packard Co, smarting from the embarrassment of having had to chuck out a philandering Chief Executive, decided to jump into the fray. So HP, the world No. 1 PC seller put in a higher bid for 3PAR, trumping Dell.
But Dell was determined not to ring the death knell for its bid for 3PAR. What followed, was a rapid series of bids, counter bids and counter-counter bids. Here is what happened.

Dell’s bid – $1.15 Bln
HP’s counter-bid – $1.6 Bln
Dell’s counter-counter-bid $1.6 Bln
HP’s counter-counter-counter-bid $1.8 Bln
Dell’s counter-counter-counter-counter-bid $1.8 Bln
HP’s counter-counter-counter-counter-counter-bid $2.0 Bln
Dell’s counter-counter-counter-counter-counter-counter-bid $2.0 Bln
HP’s counter-counter-counter-counter-counter-counter-counter-bid $2.4 Bln
Dell blows the whistle

On Sept 2, after more than two weeks of frantic press releases from all three companies involved in the bidding war, Dell finally bowed out of the mad bidding war for 3PAR.
Strangely enough, Dell shareholders did not show much relief at the stop to the insanity, just as they had not shown any reaction to the unreasonable bids. This curious placidity led one Reuters commentator to wonder — “Are Dell’s shareholders on Xanax?” – Xanax being a Benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and panic disorder!
Since I am certainly not on Xanax or any other drug for that matter, I am anxious to point out that a lot of interesting things could have happened in the “other leg of the trouser of time.”
What if HP bowed out just before its ultimate bid? It would have left Dell with a very hot potato. Dell would have had to buy 3PAR for $2 billion — $850 million more than what it had originally intended to cough up for the company!
And I don’t know what’s been happening at HP’s Palo Alto, California-headquarters, perhaps they are too overwrought with the shenanigans of ex-CEO Mark Hurd, the high-profile chief who stepped down on Aug. 6 after a probe into his hanky-pankying relationship with a contractor. But I would have thought that they would have woken up to the fact that they are paying $2.4 billion for a company that has just below half a billion in sales for the past three full fiscal years that it has reported. And the price that HP is paying is more than twice – a $1 billion more than– what Dell had initially offered.
3PAR I am sure is laughing all the way to the bank. The stock that had traded largely bound in the range $4.25-$17.99, catapulted to $33.84 on Thursday. And they can thank Frank Quattrone, who advised 3PAR in the current negotiations with DELL and HP. The man is a genius.. a salesman PAR excellence. (pun intended, of course!)
A superhero among investment banker in the 1990s, Quattrone steered some of the biggest tech IPO’s of his time. These include and Cisco Systems.
Tech companies normally show great restraint when it comes to bidding wars. The last notable one that comes to mind is the spat between EMC Corp and NetApp last year, when they were at each others throats in a bid to buy Data Domain for $2.4 billion.
It does not take a genius to identify common themes in the EMC-NetApp war battle and the most current one between HP-Dell.
In both cases bidding stopped at a whopping $2.4 billion. And in both cases the company being auctioned off was advised by Quattrone.
So are you thinking what I am thinking? Yes! If you have a company that you want sell, just hire Frank Quattrone. And lie back and enjoy the show as Tech titans fight like ally

The titans and the dwarf !

cats. Valuations, forward earning multiples be damned .. we have Quatrrone in the cockpit and the sky is barely the limit!

Apple September Event — An Apple a Day!

I Love Apple. Today at its music-themed September media event the company lifted the curtain off a a sexier line of its iPod. The company unveiled new designs for every model of the popular media device.

The company’s legendary co-founder continues to show that Bloomberg was really really jumping the gun when it accidentally released his obituary in 2008. The man is alive and kicking! and he is going wild!

“One of the secrets to the iPod’s success… we have never rested on our laurels. Every year we have tried to improve iPods. This year we have gone wild. We have all-new design for every single model of iPods. It’s the biggest change in the iPod line-up ever,” Jobs said at the event.

What’s more interesting is that the company continues to bust myths.

Take for instance today… Apple broke through the $50 barrier with its new iPod shuffle.

The New iPod Shuffle sells for $49 and has 15 hours of music in a tiny package. Attaboy!

and finally the world famous

“We have one more thing. Actually it’s one more hobby. Of course we are talking about Apple TV.”

The company is introducing the 2nd generation of its Apple TV today.

The New AppleTV a quarter of the size of the old one. HDMI, Ethernet, and WiFi. All HD. All rentals. Amazing.

And its so tiny that one Tweeter notes…

“Gasp. Apple TV is so small, I’m…tweetless…” well, I am not surprised!

and Steve continued

“It’s silent cool and tiny.”… and apparently “You can rent first run HD movies at $4.99”!


well after all this I am sure I am an Apple fan! Shareholders do seem to agree as Apple shares were up $7 or 3 percent at $250 in midday trade Wednesday on Nasdaq!