Andy Borowitz

Been a bit busy the last week but also the prep work for the next post on my favorite Carnatic ragas is taking a bit longer than I want (I hear rambodoc muttering thanks).

So like what my favorite satirist Andy Borowitz said a while ago, perhaps this like pointless filler column. I guess I am trying to prevent the “flame” (# of hits) alive.

Twenty20 Cricket

What’s up with this? The format seems ridiculous for a sport. I thought that for a sport to be engaging, there must be two opposing aspects which are sort of on even ground(batting vs. bowling, attacking vs. defending, offense vs. defense) . But this one is too heavily slanted towards batsman. Like I commented in pr3rna’s blog, why even have professional bowlers? The crowd wants to see a lot of 4s and 6s – why not just give it to them with the least resistance? Have an amateur bowler (or better yet a bowling machine), and amateur fielders – perhaps very good actors who can dive when there is no need and not field so that to the crowd it looks like “a great shot past the fielder”.

Of course, just when you think it cannot get any more silly, you have the concept of “bowl-out” to break a tie – like a penalty shoot-out in soccer. Which genius came up with this idea? The penalty shoot-out is quite anti-climactic, but this tops that by also being comical! But at least I think this joke won’t play out that often as a tie at the end of 20 overs would be quite rare.

I cannot find the link on The BBC Sports website about history of Twenty20 – but I found their seriousness in taking this sport serious to be quite amusing. Apparently, a crowd of a few thousand in England is enough to declare this is a rage and it has “caught on”. Soccer in the US draws a heck of a lot more, but it is still “catching on”.

I certainly do not doubt the entertainment value of Twent20 cricket, but can it last as a sport? Or will it only last until the next best thing? I think soon people may get tired of the mindless hitting – but then our appetite for masala movies is never satisfied …

Gatherings, festivals, Social Events Galore

It is quite clear that the size of the Indian community here in this big mid-western city has just exploded exponentially. This year, like in May, the months of August, September and October are loaded with functions and events. Every weekend, we have something to attend to – whether is cultural festivals, dance arangetrams, music concerts, dance programs etc. etc. And very often, we have clashes – two functions on the same day and we have to pick one!

One big indicator of this rise in the size of the Indian community is the # of cars parked at the local temples on a weekday. I remember 10 years ago, if I went to the temple during a weekday in the evening, there will 2-3 cars parked. The temple would literally be deserted except for the priests and a couple of administrative folks. Nowadays, you go anytime the temple is open, there are at least 20 cars. Some days, you think there is nothing big going on – but the entire parking lot is full. On big religious days, local police has to come and organize traffic. On really big ones like Deepavali, you have remote parking with people having to take shuttle buses. In a US city, 10,000 miles away from home. Wow!

The talent of professional musicians is mind-blogging

I am a lover of music – but specifically Carnatic Music. Last week, I witnessed a orchestra from India learn within a matter of few days, 3.5 hours worth of music to be performed with coordination with dancers (three dance groups, 5 hours including the 4th dance group with which they were touring).

The # of new pieces they learnt were about 40 I think. They had to remember how many times certain lines/phrases had to be repeated, when to “extend”/”improvise” a certain part to allow the dancers to enhance the scene etc. Some pieces included fairly complex rhythmic combinations. They did all this with only 1-2 live rehearsals with each dance group. And they did a fantastic job given the seemingly herculean task! I was there for the rehearsal and just watching them pick up stuff, make minor adjustments as and when needed all seemingly at a blink of an eye – it was truly mind boggling!

Not that busy to not comment

Well – I have not been so busy that I could not visit the blog world. I did spend time – mostly commenting on wonderful, engaging topics by mahendra and nita, and enjoying the humor of krishashok’s jalsa and jilpa, and rambodoc’s twisted wor(l)ds.

I have been meaning to write about Andy Borowitz and his The Borowitz Report for a while, and an article from last week had me LOL that I felt I should post this now. I visit his website regularly to get my laughter fix, and he almost always delivers a good chuckle or two. Even if the main “news item” is not that funny, his “Elsewhere” bit at the very end usually makes up for it.

His style of humor is satire (i.e. made-up “news”), mostly “over-the-top” political satire. I am a huge, huge fan of satire, and an even bigger fan of political satire. Borowitz of course is not the first one to do it – the long running The Onion was perhaps the early one and still quite good. However, in my mind, he is in a separate league.

If political satire is your cup of tea – he is a must read. If you like when someone makes fun of George Bush and his gang – he is a must read as they are usually (perhaps understandably 😉 ) the targets. You can check out the Borowitz Report at The older articles are under the Archives. Here are a few of the many many that I liked:

  • Craig: I Will Not Blow This Job : That funny post from last week. Makes fun of the recently “caught” Idaho Senator Larry Craig – particularly his flip-flopping once caught.
  • NBC launches ‘To Catch a Senator’ : NBC’s To Catch a Predator is a powerful show where they catch child predators. This post again makes fun of Senator Larry Craig in that context.
  • Guiliani Challenges Himself to Debate – This is of course about Guiliani’s shifty positions on issues. Some highlights:
    • “I know exactly what to expect from me, and I will be prepared,” he said. “May the best Giuliani win.”
    • … Mr. Kerry himself, who memorably told reporters, “I was for the idea of debating myself before I was against it.”
  • Bush Postpones Thinking about Iraq Until 2009 – Some highlights:
    • “Thinking about the war in Iraq is exactly what the insurgents want us to do,” Mr. Bush told reporters. “By saying that we are giving the war in Iraq a thoughtful assessment, we would be playing directly into the evildoers’ hands.” .. “The best thing we can do to support the troops is to not think about them,” the president said.
    • “For one thing, by 2009 he’ll be out of office,” Rep. Pelosi said … the president rebuffed the Speaker’s request, telling reporters, “There she goes – thinking again.”
  • Supreme Court Gives Gore’s Oscar to Bush – “It is true that Al Gore has done a lot of talking about global warming,” wrote Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority. “But President Bush has actually helped create global warming.”
  • Cheney Invites Libby on Hunting Trip – For his part, Mr. Cheney said that Mr. Libby’s lawyers were being “worry warts,” adding that his former aide had his “full support.” … “I’m behind Scooter,” Mr. Cheney said, loading his rifle. “Right behind him.”
  • Lou Dobbs Warns Santa Not to Cross U.S. Border – “To our knowledge, Santa Claus is a resident of the North Pole and therefore is doing business in the United States as an undocumented worker,” Mr. Dobbs told his television audience. “In short, he is taking jobs away from hard-working American toy-delivery personnel while the government looks the other way.” (Lou Dobbs, on CNN, is a very vocal, outspoken critic of illegal immigration)
  • An old article during the 2004 elections following the controversy with Janet Jackson’s infamous “slip” during that year’s Super Bowl.
    • The fall campaign, still in its early months, got even uglier today as the Kerry campaign unleashed its latest attack ad, in which entertainer Janet Jackson’s right breast “morphs” into the smiling face of President Bush. … Over a freeze-frame image of the President, a narrator intones, “Isn’t it time to expose THIS boob?”

Check out the archives and let me know if there are others that made you chuckle and laugh.