Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Pauli Meets God

Monday, August 18th, 2014

God is kind to physicists. They get an interview after death where questions which stumped them in life are answered. Most ask about Quantum Gravity.

Wolfgang Pauli too, got his chance.

God: “You have any questions for me? ”
Pauli: “Of course not. May be your staff didn’t tell you who I am ?”
God. “Oh yes, they told me some Pauli stories. And I see what you did there with the matrices.”
Pauli: ” So.. do you have any questions for me?”
God:”Yes. Explain turbulence.”

Wait A Second..

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Siva is the mysterious God of the Hindu Trinity. He is said to meditate for eternity, sitting at the peak of Mount Kailas in Tibet. Even other Gods dare not disturb Him from His trance. Siva is all-powerful, unknowable, scary, shapeless, time-less and irascible. The Universe was created out of Him. When Siva eventually comes out of meditation and performs the fiery Thandava dance, the Universe will dissolve back into Him.

A devotee prayed to Siva for years on end. Finally Siva appeared in front him, visibly annoyed.
“So, what do you want?”
“Oh, Lord, I heard that a second for you is a hundred million years to mere mortals like me.”
“Yeah, so? Just tell me what you want from me.”
“Also, I heard that a penny for you is equivalent to a hundred million gold coins for me.”
“You are annoying me with trivialities. Just ask already.”
“Great Lord, give your humble servant a penny, please.”

“Sure”, said Siva. “Just wait a second…”

Om Nama Sivaya.

eHow To Watch A Chick Flick

Friday, July 17th, 2009

There are three kinds of chick flicks.

Type A often has Meryll Streep and always involves a disease. There is no way to watch this type. Run. Don’t walk. May be there is a hospital fire somewhere that only you can put out? Doubly beware if the name of the movie ends in cutesy symbols such as `XXOO’ or makes inscrutable references to metallic flowers and/or green fruit.

Type B usually has Meg Ryan, Kate Hudson or lately, Ann Hathaway. These are watchable, in small quantities.

Never see a chick flick at a theater. Does the phrase captive audience mean anything to you? Always go for Netflix or a DVD at home. Do not hog the remote control. Just for once.

The first hour of the movie is the hardest. (more…)

Highly Trained Individuals

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

When I came to the US thirty years ago, coffee was this brown muck that cost about a dollar per gallon. In the generation that has passed since then, coffee has become a spiritual experience, a political statement and a way to save the planet. Sleek new devices that hiss and purr when stroked have replaced the old coffee machines. The people who make the coffee have never looked better. Many of them have college degrees, even if they are unaware that Venti is simply the Italian word for twenty .

Starbucks just took out a full page ad in the NYTimes touting its exceptionalism.

They Want You To Think Coffee is Coffee. Well, It’s Not Just Coffee. It’s Starbucks.

It’s lotsa bucks actually. Until a year ago, $4.50 was considered a reasonable price for a cup of coffee. Starbucks is, like the Hummer, Enron and the AIG, an emblem of turn of the century excess. Now McDonalds is eating their lunch. The baristas at Starbucks still look upon with you with condescension if you ask for a “small cup of coffee” instead of a “Tall Americano”. But you can see the fear in their eyes. The Ad says that these are highly trained individuals, who can make 87000 different kinds of coffee. If so, aren’t they a bit over-trained? Punching a few buttons on a coffee machine is not exactly rocket science.

Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount of Brenchley

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

I had to write a report this week and was looking through my calendar from last year. Noticed a curious entry, a talk I missed because I was out with a cold. Who exactly is Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount of Brenchley, this denier of Global Warming? The magic of Google and Wikipedia allows us to find out easily. The drawback to such convenience is that such information is often superficial.



We Just May Have To Lay Off Andre’.

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Hat tip Public D

The Economic crisis is so bad that we just may have to lay off Andre’.

Publisher’s Note
The original author of this photo-cartoon remains anonymous. I took it from a post on Daily Kos and added the following speech explaining Andre’s fate. The photo has since appeared on many websites. The second speech below is a totally unfair parody of one by the CEO of Beth-Israel Medical Center. I blame our staff for the biting tone of that parody. The staff member has been properly chastised. His only excuse is temporary loss of sanity from performing experiments on the nature of electricity.

Why We Just May Have to Lay Off Andre’

Hello everyone. Thanks for taking the time to get together today at an actual work site. How is everyone feeling in those work overalls? Thought it would be a nice change from the eleventh floor.

I’m not going to waste your time or mince words. The reason for getting together is to bring you up to speed on the company’s status. Unfortunately, it’s not as good as we all would have anticipated even 6 short days ago.

There are several issues.

The Inauguration Will Be Televised

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

I come home from a business trip to see a large envelope from the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Inside is a handsome card embossed with a Golden Seal.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee requests the honor of your presence to attend and participate in the Inauguration of

My heart beats faster. Finally, all those blogs I wrote on Daily Kos are paying off. Impassioned arguments with Hillary Clinton supporters back in the Spring of 2008. Alegre, eat your heart out in your little corner. We are the ones going to the Inauguration.

Barack H. Obama as President of the United States of America


Who Is On The Line?

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Hoax phone calls used to be funny. As a teenager, Steve Wozniak, the inventor of the Apple computer, figured out the Bell System technical protocols- he and Steve Jobs had found the manual at the SLAC Library. Woz used this knowledge to call the Pope, pretending to be Henry Kissinger. His fake German accent was good enough to get the Holy Father out of bed. But before he took the phone, an aide figured out that it was some California teenager pulling a prank. (more…)

The Trolley Problem

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008


Whenever a nation has done something deeply embarrassing, which shames its decent citizens, moral philosophy thrives. As though the obvious atrocity can somehow be hidden behind sophisticated reasonings about abstract thought experiments. Psychologists must have some fancy name for this phenomenon.

We live in such a time now. You cannot open the New Yorker or the New York Times Magazine without running into a conundrum designed by the best and the brightest to teach us lessons on moral values. The difference between us and the ancients is that we look to science, not religion, as the source of our values. Thus, neuro-scientists emerge as the Deep Thinkers of our time. Supposedly their knowledge of how our brain is wired allows them to deduce ab initio what is right and wrong.

One the most fundamental of these puzzles is the Trolley problem. It goes something like this.

On your morning walk, you see a trolley car carrying five passengers. It is hurtling down the track, the conductor slumped over the controls. The passengers are oblivious to the danger. You are standing at a fork in the track and can pull a lever that will divert the trolley onto a spur, saving the five people. Unfortunately, the trolley would then run over a single worker who is laboring on the spur. Is it permissible to throw the switch, killing one man to save five? Almost everyone says “yes.”

But wait a minute. Here is the twist. The single worker is Mr. Average Joe, who is working an extra shift so he can pay off his mother’s hospital bill. You just received a text message identifying the five conscious occupants of the Trolley car as Steven Pinker, Niall Ferguson, Philippa Foot, Judith Jarvis Thomson and Joshua Greene. (You are carrying an iPhone. Duh.) And you have just enough time to Google these names before making the decision.

Now, which way would you throw the switch?

Who is more valuable? Five moral philosophers or an honest working man?

Those with the correct answer will be entered into a raffle for the complete works of Ayn Rand.

The New Faith

Monday, February 4th, 2008

I am at my daughter’s birthday party the other day, chatting with the father of one of the girls.

“So, what do you do?” (more…)


Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Our publisher has described the origin of his name elsewhere. Interesting names are all around us.

The Roman Catholic Church had a Cardinal named Sin. He was the Archbishop of Manila, (more…)

Helluva Job Mushie!

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Other articles on Pakistan
Excerpt from an interview with President Bush by ABC News Nov 2007.

What’s his name has agreed to hold elections in January, and he’s agreed to take his uniform off. Frankly, I think he should do that in the privacy of his own home, but hey, everyone wants the man to take off his own uniform, so lets let him do it anyway he wants. Make sure you cover it live Charlie.

Do you mean Musharraf?

Yeah him. Have trouble remembering his name. General. General something. Hey, he knows how to call me, I don’t need to remember his name. (more…)

Kalla Yoga 2

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

Continued from Part

I need to hurry up and launch my own brand of yoga before the inevitable yoga backlash sets in. It must be distinctive, eye-catching and easily patented. More than a set of exercises. A whole way of life, which will require many accessories. (more…)

Kalla Yoga 1

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

Yoga means `union’ in Sanskrit. It could be your union with the universe. Or it can simply mean a meeting, as in a political or cultural gathering. In mathematical texts, yoga means sum. It is a rather common word in all Indian languages descended from Sanskrit.

But in America, Yoga has come to mean a system of physical exercise. It is a mystical and esoteric word. It is also a multi-billion dollar industry, a lifestyle, even a religion in all but name. Twenty million people practice it in the US alone. Like wine for France and pasta for Italy, yoga has become India’s defining export, its brand identity. (more…)

Practical Vedanta

Saturday, April 14th, 2007

Vedaanta is the end of all knowledge. End as in goal, or as in the ultimate kind of knowledge. It is a theory of what knowledge itself is. What practical use could it be? Volumes have been written on how to translate the abstract concepts of Vedanta to every day life. The ultimate authority in `modern times’ (only about a few hundred years ago) is Sankara Acharya. His Vivekachoodaamani and Bhajagovindam are attempts to explain this most abstruse of all branches of classical Indian philosophy to the masses; or at least to laymen.