Friday, February 23, 2007


CNN scapegoating

Note I sent to CNN regarding their Paula Zahn special titled "Hip-Hop: Art or Poison?"

The title of the segment made me angry inside, but actually watching it made me super irritated.

"Why is hip-hop being singled out for violent images and degradation of women? Why don't we ask the same questions of rock? Why isn't death-metal being targeted as being violent? What about degrading images of women in Playboy, Victoria's Secret, or CNN's very own Sports Illustrated magazine? In fact, if you look through a magazine like Vogue, most of the high-fashion ads show women in very passive, sexual positions. Yet, I can't imagine seeing Isaack Mizrahi or Donna Karen being asked these same questions. If there is one thing to be learned from this its that the degradation of women and violence somehow sells in this country. Its sad and disturbing. There is no reason to single out a single art form for this. As a respected news organization, I feel that CNN should move beyond this type of racially-biased scapegoating. "

Sunday, February 04, 2007


My Hurcrux Theory (that mugglenet won't have...)

When Dumbledore tells Harry that Voldemort found nothing of value when he returned to Hogwarts to make his request [page 506], he was wrong. Voldemort indeed found, or had something very useful and hid it in within the halls of Hogwarts itself. Harry actually comes very close to finding it in “Sectumsempre,” chapter of book 6. The sixth and last Horcrux is in the version of the Room of Requirements that appears when one asks “I need a place to hide a book..” [page 525, book 6].

When Harry uses the Sectumsempre curse on Malfoy, Snape orders him to fetch his schoolbag. Harry, not wanting to return the Prince’s potion’s, gets Ron’s book instead. Then, he runs to the Room of Requirements to hide the Prince’s book. It is there that he comes across several old and decrepit objects including a bloody axe and a cabinet with an animal skeleton [page 526, book 6]. However, Rowling pauses on one conspicuous artifact, the bust of an “old ugly wizard,” on top of which he sees a tiara [page 527, book 6]. A wizard would obviously not sport a tiara, so it must simply be placed on top of the bust. The tiara, in fact belongs to Ruina Ravenclaw and has to be the missing Horcrux. Rowling’s emphasis on this “Unknowable Room” in book 6 and on Voldemort’s attachment to the castle further make the point that this is indeed the Horcrux.


Reasons why I've decided to be a colts fan

Now I'm not an NFL fan. I'm a Wolverine, I hate the Buckeyes and so forth. But I'll make an exception just this ones.
1. Peyton Manning > Rex Grossman:
I absolutely hate Rex Grossman. I watched him in the '03 outback bowl and seriously John Navarre looked better than him. He makes very poor quarterbacking decisions. The fact that he's from hated Florida only makes him that much worse.
Peyton Manning on the other hand, how can you not love him with those goofy commercials, that gee-whiz type of accent and that killer arm? I've also always held a special place for the Volunteers in my heart. I lived in Knoxville while my dad when there until I was 3 or 4 so some of my faintest first memoris are from there.

2. Marlon Jackson:
Best saftey I've seen so far at Michigan. I liked how the conference championship ended with some Wolverine on Wolverine action, Jackson intercepty Brady!

3. Offense vs Defense:
Yeah I know defense is supposed to win games, but this time they're going to have to play both defense and offense with how badly the Bears offense has been looking. Meanwhile the Colts defense is not as bad as people say they are. We'll see the colts beating the bears offense like a dirty rug.

4. Tony Dungee:
I think he's a really good coach whose time has come. He finally got over the Patriots hurdle. I also feel pretty bad about his son and that whole tragedy.

5. Adam Viniteri:

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Tall, dark and leafy...

I never cease to be amused by the absurdity of my native culture. I guess nothing beats perpetual paganism in terms of the sheer ridiculousness and variety of "religious rituals". Apparently, Aishwarya Rai (a famous Bollywood actress) married a peepal tree in Varanasi, a banana tree in Bangalore and a god's idol in Ayodhya. What causes a modern, intelligent woman to marry not one but two trees?! Apparently it is being a "manglik" or having Mars in certain places on your astrological chart. When I sought out any type of rational explanation, I saw this in Wikipedia:

"Mangal Dosha
is an astrological condition that occurs if Mars is in the 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th, or 12th house of the Vedic astrology lunar chart. A person born in the presence of this condition is termed a manglik. This condition is believed by some to be devastating for marriage, causing discomfort and tension in relationship, leading to seperation and divorce, and in some cases, it is believed to cause untimely death of one spouse. This is attributed to the "fiery" nature of this planet. "

Of course, when two manglik's marry they cancel each other's bad effects out, much like two negative numbers being multiplied creating a positive condition.

"If two mangliks marry, the negative effects are believed to cancel each other out. The term manglik is a search criteria on some Indian and UAE dating and matrimonial websites."

It also goes on to tell you the recommended remedy for such a horrible condition :).

"There is also a belief that the negative consequences for a single-manglik marriage can be resolved if the manglik first performs a ceremony called a kumbh vivah, in which the manglik "marries" a banana tree, a peepal tree, or an icon of Vishnu.[1]"

I guess just to be on the safe-side Ash decided to do all three!
Seriously, you've gotta give them points for creativity.

Friday, February 02, 2007


the best that poetry has to offer


asian travels

1) Slinkies (only metallic) - What else makes that satisfying clinking sound as it elegently cascades down the stairs? What else can leave you mesmerised in a vicariously kinetic state filled with optical illusions? In short, they are perfect.

2) Samurai swords (only the long ones) - What action is bolder then someone drawing out a samurai sword, the blinding light reflected in their eyes? And if you're me, you can balance it on your head, on the soft flat part right in the middle, as you practice your next bellydance.

3) Jasmine tea - What else has that subtle aroma and delicate flavor that even sugar ruin and milk can devastate?

4) Tiger balm - What else embodies so perfectly the good sort of pain that comes with healing. What else teeters between cold and the hot teetering, averaging in, but not allowing comfort.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


You don't say?

Inspired by my 1000-year-old advisor with the stiff upper lip, I am thinking of writing a book called "Talking in Tautologies." This man makes an art of slowly stating the obvious repeatedly. As a result, no one gets offended, no one learns anything about his opinion and no one can really argue with anything he says. A fabulous consequence of this is that the man falls asleep while hetalks. I kid you not.. the man has fallen asleep during his own lectures.
At any rate it can be really frustrating for someone seeking some actual information. I proposed my thesis last year and my thesis timeline (which he suggested) has me graduating in 08 but my departmental funding runs out at the end of this academic year. I just wanted to ask him if he would fund me or if I should teach.. so the man responds
"The departmental funding is given for the expected length of time that the program takes. If this runs out then it means that you have exceeded that length of time."
Wow Professor, you are so smart!
"Normally if a student is making good progress towards their PH.D, they continue to be funded by their advisor or through teaching,"
I'm not asking about Normally, I'm asking about me.
I feel like somewhere in this art of tautology lies a very specific type of torture technique...

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Borders 0, Tyra Banks and other nonsense

I was just at my favorite bookstore. Ground ZERO Borders - by this I mean the first Borders ever - right around the corner from my apartment in Ann Arbor.
My uncle has gotten me and Esha[sister] gift certificates for undisclosed amounts.
Knowing his frugal nature we think... $10 ...
I'm going in there thinking I really want to buy, "The Inheritence of Loss", this year's Booker Prize winning, fellow-desi-supporting, serious read. But then, one gets bored of stuffy old Indian novels about colonial-complexes.
That stays on the shelf.
I buy a book called "YOU" a user's manual for your body. I bought an "Owner's manual for the brain once." I loved it.
Then as I go near the checkout counter I see, People Magazine with an airbrushed image of Tyra Banks on the cover. "Do you call this fat?" it says next to Tyra wearing a red bathing suit. I don't really call her fat, but I call her a damn hypocrite!
Why is it that Tyra was completely fine with the shallow people of the world giving her superficial attention for about the last 15 years? Why is she throwing a hissy fit now?
Does she think she got on the cover of Sports Illustrated for her cellulite? Or maybe it was her brains? She was fine with people's obsession with thinness and appearance to the point of making millions of dollars off of it for years, but now that those same people call her "fat" she can't understand it. Come off it! As the biggest proponent of American Models, you need to thank people for noticing how you look.


Trials and tribulations

Hi I'm Smita.
This blog may be about
0. my opinions on everything I hear called "head chatter" or "thalaharte" in my native language
[incidentally thats meant as an insult]
1. my two lives, I'll call them "smeeee" and "taaah"
[by the way my name is pronouced [smi-taaaa]
10. how they hate each other when they come together
[unlike yin and yang]
11. my attempts at being a scholar and life as a 5th year graduate student
[more drama than one would think]

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