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Archive for the ‘Trivia’ Category

FCB: Givin’ Martini a Bad Name…

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A sincere request to lovers of alcohol everywhere…to stop appending the name ‘Martini’ at the end of any random fruity, colorful liquor concoction.

Even otherwise erudite bloggers are at it, tweeting about something called Mango Martini ! As far as I can see, it is just a variation of the SATC-popularized cocktail Cosmopolitan, with mango juice replacing the cranberry. Nothing against anyone liking it (although, personally I think it is a bit of  a waste of Triple-sec trying to pair its sweet-orange taste to the mango juice, the latter is just awesome on its own). But a ‘martini’, it ain’t, so someone should at least come up with an alternative name.

Nitin also RTs someone suggesting another abomination, The Espresso Martini, as a drink that ‘rejuvinates…like nothing else’.   The drink is  pretty much a shot of espresso added to a slight variation of the  White Russian theme, so yeah – stop calling it a martini !!!   As for the drink itself, I guess to each his own – but mixing coffee and alcohol is usually not my cup of tea (I do, however, on occasion don’t mind a well made Irish Coffee); you are sitting on the precipice of starting to drink the nightclub-sustaining Vodka/Redbull mixes. Besides, why add coffee when the recipe already calls for substantial coffee liqueur  (1.5 parts Kahlua) ? I’d rather go with a simple Black/White Russian. Finally, coffee flavor-based cocktails are supposed to be desert drinks, so not sure of the rejuvenating aspect either. I would suggest going for a Mint Julep, Caipirinha, or a Collins if you are going for ‘refreshing’, and pretty much a shot of any strong liquor – perhaps a bourbon/whiskey – if rejuvenation of the soul is required.

(Semi-regular posting of cocktail recipes for FCB will happen sometime in the future – or not. Life is logistically pretty messy now, and it is much easier here  in the US to step out on a Friday evening and enjoy cheap but well-made cocktails! And in  great company 🙂 )

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

September 4, 2009 at 9:06 am

Life in Technicolor II

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Life in Technicolor – an instrumental plus short chorus track, is my favorite number from Coldplay’s Viva La Vida album.

I always thought that the intro section had a bit of santoor-tabla combo  playing (Brian Eno’s idea no doubt) – although google searches kept insisting it was the “Persian Santur“. Anyway, I figured it would still be quite a good number for a fully Indo-western fusion version (more santoor, a bit of flute and even some sitar strings thrown in). Just a thought, not necessarily the reason for liking the music.

Now, being the usual chump, abodee under the rocks and quasi-luddite, I hadn’t realized (till about early this year) that Coldplay had actually released a follow-up version to La Vida – Prospekt’s March – that contains a full vocal, lyrical version of Life in Technicolor, unimaginatively named ‘Life in Technicolor II‘ !

Not to belabor it, point is that my realization about the existence of Prospekt’s March came while watching the music video of Life in Technicolor II (one  that confirms the use of tabla and santoor):

While the video is interesting in its execution and fun to watch, I still prefer the original instrumental version of the song. I think the lyrics distract too much from the fluidity of the original melody (not to mention a bit of lack of subtlety in their video – did the little girl really need to confirm the CP bandmembers ?) .

[what’s the point of posting this now, when realization had come couple of months ago ? not much really, except that I am enjoying the music anew for some reason and that I hadn’t posted for a while. gotta let the imaginary readership know I’m alive and well!]

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

May 14, 2009 at 9:52 am

Republic Day and more…..

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On the occasion of the Republic Day in India, it would be appropriate to celebrate with Bharath Bala and  A R Rahman’s wonderful take on Vande Mataram (Maa Tujhe Salam):

Way back when, Republic Day used to bring about much misty-eyed pride while catching the parade on TV; now I am more cynical, but this video is still moving.


Down under, it is also a holiday on account of Australia Day, which recognizes the foundation of the country by celebrating the day when the first British fleet landed. Just like 4th of July in the US, or the I-Day/Republic Day in India, there is a surfeit of flags all around  – from cars to underwears, and the patriotic scale has been set to high. However, some Australians – quite appropriately – view it as Invasion Day, and many opponents, including this year’s Australian of the Year, Mick Dodson,  have called for a change in date in order to be more inclusive of the indigenous people.

Either way, Aussies know how to enjoy a holiday (there are very few public holidays in the calendar year): the day is sure to feature thong-sporting picnic-ers, barbied snags, cheap lager, sun-burns, ferry races, air-shows and finally the ubiquitous fireworks in the evenings. This year coincidentally will even feature a celestial event with a partial solar eclipse visible towards the early evening.

And in that day-long partying spirit, here is one of the most celebrated songs about the country:

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

January 25, 2009 at 7:57 pm

The Curious Familiarity of Forrest Button

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Watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which has won the highest number of Oscar nominations this year, we were stuck by the curious  feeling of actually watching Forrest Gump lite version. Not just overt similarities such as the ‘different’ dude with southern drawls, the first-sight love interest that is won-lost-won-lost-again-won, brushes with major historical events, the strong mother figure etc, but even much of  the folksey dialogues  and symbolisms had parallels.

Of course, I am not the first person to think of this similarity. Apparently, it has been quite an internet meme as you can see for yourself by checking this video (unfortunately the Youtube version of the video has been yanked by the studio for obvious reasons, and WordPress does nnot allow me to embed Flash).

Benjamin Button is not a bad film, Brad Pitt has done a wonderful job of portraying a man aging in reverse, and a it should win an Oscar at least for the make-up and/or special effects. But it is certainly not the most remarkable film of recent times.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

January 25, 2009 at 8:05 am

A Quiz

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A relatively obscure question, but if you know and share my literary taste, the answer jumps out:

What is the link between the following words:  “phthisis, psychic, and ptarmigan” (apart from obvious) ?

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

January 20, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Posted in Fun, LOL, Trivia

Pretty Woman and Seinfeld

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With very little to do last night, I ended up watching a TV re-run of Pretty Woman. Of course, the story felt quite corny and contrived compared compared to the experience when I first watched it almost 20 years ago  [1] – although Julia Roberts’ gorgeous and breathtaking looks seemed timeless.

Anyway, watching the movie now, its really tough to imagine Jason Alexander – who plays the slimy lawyer associate of Richard Gere in the movie – as any character other than George Costanza (of Seinfeld, for  those who have been sleeping under rocks for the last two decades). Every time he made an appearance, I would unconsciously expect him to do/say something very George-like – humorous, amoral, and insecure.

But there is at least another small Seinfeld connection with Pretty Woman: in the initial scenes when Julia Roberts is starting to go out and then backtracks as she hears the landlord – the landlord, although seen very briefly, is the same actor who is cast as Kramer in the Seinfeld episodes where George and Seinfeld are making a pilot for NBC.

Also seen in a brief scene – Hank Azaria as a LA police detective.


[1]: I think it was during the extended summer break after our 10th, and my mom had initially refused to let me watch the film due to the “A” rating – finally had her convinced somehow; another friend never even managed a permission, and bunked some tuition class to watch it with us, while I covered for him. Good old, innocent days 🙂  !.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

September 7, 2008 at 4:37 am

This Nano doesn’t shuffle

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But it can carry you from point A to point B. The Tata Nano.

The much anticipated Nano (a name I don’t really care for much) was unveiled today amidst much fan-fare. Touted by Tata as ‘the people’s car’, it is the world’s cheapest automobile. Additionally, if you are so inclined to think such manners, it is an ‘environmental nightmare’ (even though there seems to be evidence to the contrary) and an assertion of India’s growing economic might [1].

Speaking of global might, it is possible that in addition to the cheapest car, Tata will also own some of the most expensive brands if their bid to buy Jaguar and LandRover goes through. Talk about a spectrum.

[1]: Check the link – even while talking about cars, there is a sly dig at the recent cricket controversies. 🙂


Jaguar’s potential sale to Tata, however, hasn’t made everyone happy. US car dealers apparently think it will dilute the brand value (of Jagaurs).

“I don’t believe the U.S. public is ready for ownership out of India of a luxury car make,” Ken Gorin, chairman of the Jaguar Business Operations Council, told the Wall Street Journal. “And I believe it would severely throw a tremendous cast of doubt over the viability of the brand.” (link)

Hmmm…..I can imagine the before and after scenes. Pre-takeover:

Customer: I want to buy a luxury car.

Dealer (showing a Jaguar): How about this one. It will break down often, cost you high maintainence, and is generally unreliable. But ….oooooh look……. it is a Jaguar, the Brits make it and Ford owns it.

Customer: hmmmm…..

Dealer: it is enormously expensive and a great status symbol.

Customer: Yay-diddly-doo – thats the one I want then. Where do I sign?

Post Tata takeover of the brands:

Customer: I want to buy a luxury car.
Dealer (showing a Jaguar): How about this one. It will break down often, cost you high maintainence, and is generally unreliable. But ….oooooh….. look it is a Jaguar, the Brits make it and errrr…an Indian company called TATA owns it.

Customer: hmmmm…..

Dealer: it is enormously expensi-

Customer (interrupting): ….wait did you say – India ? Dammit – I don’t know how to drive an elephant.!! And I really wanted something faster……..

Dealer: ….but sir, its still a car, in fact the same car as before – not an eleph-

Customer (interrupting again): and do I have to wear one of them turbans ? I can’t do that – everyone’ll think I am Osama !!!

Dealer: sigh ! forget about it.

PS – here is an even worse piece on Tata’s takeover bid: dripping with post-colonial angst. Will rant about it separately.


Written by BongoP'o'ndit

January 11, 2008 at 1:14 am