India Uncut

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Flying pigs, sex changes, corpsy marriages and chess

If God existed and if government regulations could affect God, then I would influence my local legistator to push forth a bill demanding that the number of hours in a day be increased to 42. Somehow, over the last month, the amount of work I can get done in a day has shrunk like a weewee in cold water. I haven't been blogging as much as I'd like to, or writing as much as I'd like to, or reading or watching films or spending time with friends. And I'm somewhat bewildered by this, because nothing in particular has kept me busy. I think it's just indiscipline, and a mind that loves to wander. Something must be done.

Meanwhile, as I certainly won't have the energy to make seven more posts before sleep comes, here are some links.

First up, Chandru tells us what happens when pigs fly. He also tells us why Tamil Nadu owns Belgaum. I wish I'd had teachers like him in school.

Next, I learn via email from MadMan that "[a] Seminole man is fighting to stop alimony payments to his ex-wife because the woman is now a man." This is interesting, and makes me wonder: if both partners in a failed marriage change their sex after divorce, does alimony change direction?

And what about marriage after death? Maria emails me a link to a New York Times piece about what happens after some Chinese bachelors die:
To ensure a son’s contentment in the afterlife, some grieving parents will search for a dead woman to be his bride and, once a corpse is obtained, bury the pair together as a married couple.
Yeah, and when boy-eating maggot meets girl-eating maggot under the soil, they get all romantic and all, and tell their friend maggots, "It's so strange, we feel just like a married couple." Pfaw to afterlife, pfaw to [such] marriage.

While on pfaw, a Times of India piece begins:
At a time when inspiring lyrics like Vande Mataram are branded communal, a Muslim girl who opted for Sanskrit has topped the Kerala University MA (Sanskrit) exam in 2006.
Besides the fact that news reporters should not be expressing their personal feelings while reporting news, isn't it cute how there is no connection between the first half of the sentence and the second? This could start a new trend in journalism.

My series on the misuse of taxpayers' money is focussed on India, but I can't resist pointing you to the sexiest subsidy ever demanded: "A government subsidy on sexy underwear" to "cut divorce rates, boost birth rates and make Australia a happier nation." If we had that in India you'd be paying for my thong. (Link via email from MadMan.)

Quizman points me to an interview of Marjane Satrapi in which she says:
[W]hen you're dropped in a pile of shit, so to speak, you have to decide - either add to the pile, or use it as fertiliser, and grow flowers.
She grew flowers.

Finally, chess. I'd written earlier about the curious turns the World Championship unification match between Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov had taken, with Topalov accusing Kramnik of taking too many bathroom breaks, and implying that he cheated in the loo. Well, the action has hotted up since, with Topalov's manager having done an analysis that supposedly shows that 78% of Kramnik's moves were also the first choice of Fritz 9, a computer program. That hardly sounds like evidence to me: if another top player was put through the same situations, I imagine there would be pretty much that many moves in common. Something like 95% would have been more convincing.

Here's the reaction of Kramnik's camp, which no doubt cheered up a bit after Evgeny Bareev and Peter Svidler, two top grandmasters, publicly took Kramnik's side. Former world champion Garry Kasparov put it all in perspective in a piece in the Wall Street Journal, while Yasser Seirawan, once a formidable grandmaster himself, explained the roles of the officials involved, and where they went wrong.

Woof, longest yawn ever exploded, and sleep beckons. Good night now.
amit varma, 4:03 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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