July 12, 2006

Dis-credited

Posted in Humour at 11:37 pm by falstaff

Dhoomketu asked for this one. Literally.

Guy calls you up. Knows your name. Wants to sell you a credit card. (see details in Dhoomketu’s post)

Ten Ways to answer the call:

1) The come-on: “What’s your name? Oooh, that’s such a strong, masculine name. So, tell me, what colour underwear are you wearing?”

2) The friend-who-can’t-be-fooled approach: “Arrey yaar, Dhoomketu, kyon mazaak kar raha hai re? [1] You think I don’t recognise your voice. Come off it.”

3) The talking-on-cellphone-while-driving approach: “Yes, yes, I’d definitely like a cre…oh shit! AAAAAAAA! *sound of squealing brakes. Cell phone switches off*

4) The Tom Cruise Approach: “Tell me, are you at all familiar with Scientology?…”

5) The manic-depressive approach: “What’s the point of a credit card? What’s the point of anything? My life is meaningless. I’m going to throw myself out of my 22nd floor window now. Goodbye.”

6) The Capt. Haddock approach: “No! This is not Cutts the Butcher!”

7) The check-out-the-competition approach: “ABN Amro credit card? Who would want that? Let me tell you about the Citibank Credit Card that I market. You give 0% APR. We give -0.5% APR. You give flexible credit limits. We don’t believe in credit limits at all…”

8) The flight-risk approach: “Sure I’ll take a credit card. Could you have it delivered to the airport by tomorrow morning though? The international terminal. My flight for Botswana leaves at 8:00 in the morning. Oh, and ask whoever’s coming not to use my name but to ask for Mr. Dhoomketu. I’m travelling under a false passport you see.”

9) The Harry and Walter approach: “Ah, so you work for a bank do you? Good, good. So, tell me, is it a liquid bank. Do you keep a lot of cash reserves? Take an average branch. What’s that? Your main branch in on Barakhamba Road? Fine, let’s take that one. On an average day, what kind of cash would that branch hold? Would it be in the safe or with the cashiers? Is the bank safe? How many guards do you have posted? Are they armed? When do they come off duty?”

10) The certified pothead approach: “What did you say the credit limit was again? Let’s see, that would mean…three whole weeks of dope. Wow! Yes, yes, I want the card”

Bonus: The Pankaj Mishra approach: “How can you offer me a credit card at a time like this? Don’t you know that the average Indian still earns barely a dollar a day and that we haven’t moved at all on the Human Development Index? Don’t you realise that communal tensions are on the rise and any day now the communists are going to be voted to power? The faster you credit card companies stop believing your own myths, and offering these western temptations to consumers, the better it’ll be.”

[1] Translation: Dhoomketu, old chum, what are you kidding around for?

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July 11, 2006

Ifs and Butts

Posted in Current Affairs, Humour at 1:32 am by falstaff

And so, to the now (in)famous Zinedine headbutt.

Personally, I laughed myself silly watching re-runs of the thing on TV, and continue to maintain that it was an act of comic genius (as I argue in the comments here). I mean, can you imagine a wackier and more unpredictable way of ending a career? It’s positively inspirational. The day I finally get my PhD my advisor had better be wearing a sternum guard.

I’m even more amused by the reaction of Zidane fans. First, there’s this whole racial sledging thing. Everywhere I look people are going around speculating on what Materazzi must have said to Zidane to provoke the headbutt. Aside from the fact that at this point this is all unproven hearsay (even if Zidane does finally come through with a statement, I don’t see any reason why we have to take his word against Materazzi’s), I’m amazed that anyone would think that anything Materazzi might have said was justification for Zidane’s actions. The argument is not, as some people have suggested, that Zidane should not have reacted because it was the World Cup Final and he had a critical role to play. The argument is that, outside of Dharmendra movies and Shiv Sena Headquarters, it is not okay to respond to things you percieve as insulting with physical violence. That argument applies as much to Zidane as it does to the rioters protesting the Danish cartoons or the ‘desecration’ of Mrs. Thackeray’s statue. Physically assaulting someone on the playing field because they say something insulting is behaviour better suited to eight year olds. In a civilised society we don’t responds to words with fists. Or headbutts.[1]

I’m also amused by the convenient fiction (implicit in much of the moaning about Zidane’s actions) that Zidane’s exit was the reason the French side lost the match. It’s certainly a wonderful face saving device, isn’t it? The fiction writer in me is almost tempted to speculate that maybe the very purpose of the headbutt was to get Zidane sent off so the French would have a ready excuse for losing.

Finally, I can’t help being a little curious about the headbutt per se. Who responds to insults with headbutts? Punches, yes. Kicks, possibly. But headbutts? Is this a cultural thing? Are there societies out there where the headbutt is the ubiquitous form of social assault? Do people actually go around saying “Say one more word and I’ll headbutt you in the sternum”? Are there martial arts movies where the hero and villain fight by exchanging headbutts? Has Zidane watched too many Animal Planet specials on the mating rituals of antelopes?

Or was Zidane, perhaps, concerned about using his hands in a football game? Because THAT would be a foul?

[1] The desire to escape being insulted is, of course, the principle reason that the French don’t speak anything but their own language – that way they don’t know what the English are saying about them. You could always try insulting a Frenchman in French, but the odds that you’ll actually pronounce it right are so low that it’s not a serious threat.

July 7, 2006

The Order of the Purple Tomato

Posted in Humour, Personal at 11:53 am by falstaff

On the morning of 7th July, 2006, while engaged in vicious hand to hand combat with a particularly recalcitrant cabbage, Field Housewife D.W. Falstaff suffered grevious injury to the cuticle of his left middle finger. Despite being severely disabled and suffering heavy loss of blood, Field Housewife Falstaff continued to engage with the enemy, who eventually succumbed. Field Housewife Falstaff then went on to set a glorious example to his other fingers by further attacking, peeling and eventually destroying two potatoes, a bunch of beans and one particularly devastating onion that had eluded capture for weeks. For his gallantry, his courage around the kitchen fire, and for service above and beyond the call of subzi, Field Housewife Falstaff is post-prandially awarded the Order of the Purple Tomato.

*Applause*

Translation: I cut my finger chopping vegetables this morning and am trying to go easy on the typing. So more later.

P.S. : And then people say that women shouldn’t be given hazardous front-line roles.

July 4, 2006

Further evidence that my life is a joke

Posted in Humour, Personal at 3:11 pm by falstaff

One of my closest friends is getting married. I decide to write her a poem for the occasion. Casting about for a suitable metaphor, I come up with the idea of comparing the months leading up to the wedding to a river. I pack in a whole bunch of water images – talk about springs, and streams, and rivers and waves, etc. etc.

So what happens? Bombay, where my friend lives and is getting married, gets flooded. What’s the bet that she’s going to appreciate a poem that compares her wedding to large, flowing body of water now?

Gah!