May the 4th

 To be sung to tune of The Imperial March.


Make way for Lord of Men, Darth Vader.
Darth Vader -- here he comes, make a bow.
He has scarcely a lower jaw,
But once froze his son-in-law --
You all rather be well-behaved.
Unless you are a mannequin,
You don't call him Anakin,
And then your windpipe may be saved. 

Casting 19th Century Scientists


Walls Have Mouths

 Sometimes the universe folds in on itself.

Some time later he sent the mural.

Parse under the yoke

Walruses that foxes tease taunt ostriches in their turn.
Walruses foxes tease taunt ostriches.
Fish that deer tease taunt sheep in their turn.
Fish deer tease taunt sheep.
Berlin fish Tokyo deer tease taunt Cairo sheep.
Berlin fish Tokyo deer tease tease Cairo sheep.
Berlin fish Tokyo deer buffalo buffalo Cairo sheep.
Berlin buffalo Tokyo buffalo buffalo buffalo Cairo buffalo.
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

You're welcome.

Missive to Morpheus

As written a few years back. 

Dear dream-making studio in my brain,

 (a) Yes, I spent 14 years at SBOA. But it's been 14 years since. I no longer need to worry about preparing for XII Std board exams. Every stressful life situation is not some sequel to that dumb event.

  (b) If I make a friend, don't dress them in blue uniform and put them in my class.

  (c) The school never gets so much rain that the football field turns into a giant swimming pool. Be more realistic.

  (d) Floating over the Sports Day parade was amazing! More of these!

   (e) Perhaps not your department, but please tell whoever's responsible that when I reminisce about school they do not have to play morning assembly music in the background.

Yours sincerely,

Neeraj Chopra Cricket Facts

We all know that Usain Bolt was a cricketer first before his coach, noting his manic running on the field, suggested a change of career. Much less known is how Neeraj Chopra took a similar, er, trajectory. Here were the early signs for all to see.

+ As a fielder, he often gave away overthrows, which sometimes went for a six. Once whilst fielding by the ropes someone from the top-most stand threw a water bottle at him. He threw it right back at them.

+ As a bowler, he insisted on everyone calling him the "spearhead" of the attack. He was obsessed with hitting the 90 mark. He often fell down upon releasing the ball. Only once in his career did he bowl a no-ball, not because he overstepped, but because he delivered it from outside the 30-yard circle, violating fielding restrictions.

+ As a batsman, his stance was side-on, he often charged down the track, and just as often let the bat slip and fly over the bowler. Needless to say, he tried to hit every ball for a six. This usually resulted in him getting out first ball, but he liked to say that "if you're out there to make a duck, might as well make it golden."

+ Outside cricket, his favourite dressing-room activity was darts. Favourite video game, Angry Birds. Favourite song, Paper Planes. Favourite movies, American Sniper and Million Dollar Arm. He had a girlfriend, long-distance. He told his coach that his apartment was "literally a stone's throw" from where the coach lived;  they lived two blocks apart.

+ His favourite cricketers were Javed Miandad and Chris Lynn.

+ Once he was made the stand-in captain. At the toss he misunderstood the term and flung the coin out of the stadium.

+ At the end of every match he used to take a stump as souvenir. Even when his team lost. 


Inspired by the classics

சி   வா ஜி
வா யி  லே
ஜி  லே பி


க ர டி
ர யி ல்
டி ல் லி,

I added these to the Tamil wiktionary -- 


Old out, new in.

ம  ர  பு
ர  த்  து
பு து மை


Reaction on learning about the Hindustani raga "gara".

ஓ! க ரா
க  ம க
ரா க மோ?



தூ சு வே
சு    த் த
வே த னை


A political statement?

ம   னி   த
னி  ல்   லை
த   லை வி


Prescription to learn Tamil.

ப  ழ  கு
ழ  க  ர
கு  ர லை

Forked Flicks

The missus and I noticed that movie titles in Tamil and English reflect each other. Often in a well-polished mirror --

Azhagi : Pretty Woman,

Mugamoodi : The Mask,

Aaranya Kaandam : Animal Kingdom (both out in 2010),

Minsaara Kanavu : Electric Dreams,

Arangetra Velai : Showtime,

but just as often in one slightly cracked --

Mudhalvan : First Man,

Alaipayudhe : Surf's Up,

Apoorva Raagangal : Looney Tunes,

Irandaam Ulagam : Another Earth,

Iruvar : Duel,

Gouravam : The Prestige,

Moodar Koodam : Idiocracy,

Naan Ee : A Bug's Life,

Vishwaroopam : Avatar,

Kaatru Veliyidai : Up in the Air.

And then in funhouse mirrors --

Thambikku Endha Ooru : O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Kizhakke Pogum Rayil : (Murder on) the Orient Express,

Papanasam : Sin City,

Naduvula Konjam Pakkattha Kaanom : The Notebook,

24 : 42 Up,

Vietnam Veedu : The Fight Club,

Kalyana Samayal Saadham : Eat Pray Love,

Kalki : Rocky,

Kaakaa Muttai : One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. 

(a better pairing would've been Kuyil Muttai : One Flew Over the Crow's Nest).

We also note that Pesum Padam never talks whereas The Silent Movie has a single word of dialogue, and that while The Sixth Sense did precede Ezhaam Arivu, Catch Me If You Can must be a prequel to Unnaal Mudiyum Thambi. Vaayai Moodi Pesavum and Eyes Wide Shut must be a double feature. Kaadhalikka Neramillai and No Time to Die are unified by Bharathi's appeal: "Kaadhal poyin saadhal". 


Double Couple

A shy cry is a meek shriek, and a fast mast is a quick stick. Then again, a rum bum is a queer rear. If to dine fine is to eat neat, then to feign pain is to fake ache. A tight fight is a stiff tiff -- different from a bright fight, which is a flashing clashing. Whereas a wide stride in a straight gait makes a racing pacing, a rose nose can detect a pink stink. 

[h/t to Sriram for the title.]


Little Mortinsen

Now Mortinsen saw an octopus
She behaved very odd
Pray, boy, and make no fuss,
Said the cephalopod
See the pistol in this tentacle?
You, young man, I've been sentacle
Mortinsen scowled, Mortinsen sighed 
Mortinsen stood there glassy-eyed 
His head was elsewhere, his eyes saw through she 
He absently picked the gun and made some sushi
Mortinsen met a tramp whose vapours
With everyone disagreed
He walked about reading newspapers
They called him Encyclopede
Do you know about, Mortinsen, sneered he,
What are your thoughts on and heard of the?
Mortinsen stretched, Mortinsen bent
Mortinsen did not know where he went
He removed his earphones and asked for directions
And healed the poor tramp of his omniscience 
Mortinsen encountered a pterodactyl
It alighted on his bed
Apparently, sir, I'm a fossil,
The angry reptile said
Every time I take a nap a few million years pass
This time I wake to find me displayed under glass
Mortinsen squinted, Mortinsen yawned
The pterodactyl Mortinsen gazed beyond
When at last he saw it he once or twice blinked,
Fed it some birdseed and made it extinked

Mortinsen dashed into a troika of dots
Their talk was elliptic
They had no more than two or three thoughts
All apocalyptic
The planet, they cried, is becoming ovoid,
It'll hatch one morning that none can avoid
Mortinsen grunted, Mortinsen scratched
The bombast of the dots he hadn't catched 
He leaned forward, put his lips near 'em,
Whispered So? and disproved their theorem
Mortinsen came upon four little boys
They looked just as him
They had even his coiffure and voice
Three of them were dim
"Mortinsen, I your doppelgänger", "Mortinsen, you my clone",
"Our time machine works, Morty!", "Ich? Ein tzwin of your own"
Mortinsen mumbled, Mortinsen frowned
Mortinsen smiled and jot something downed
He pranced home with joy, his soul blithe as bubbles
And cut off his big toe to tell him from his doubles




The G.P.S. that Misdirects

(Just some grammatically correct sentences.)

With Monty Pythonesque airspeed velocity, the unladen swallow shoots supplied by the knights. 

The elf who sees the inconsolable snake shedding tears it.

In the garden of blooming buds and blood-red blossoms, the beautiful rose to go.

Catch the northbound train huskies.

At the china shop we saw the pretty Taiwanese mug and the shiny Japanese bowl to the same person.

Unlike the introverted kind, the outgoing type single-handedly.

Light years from now may bend round a star. 

The weekly laundrymen sit and read is published Mondays.  

As the cyclone approaches, the powerful wind a watch.

The fat but well-dressed Nepali digests plant a flag in the bookshelf after coming to life. 

In autumn and winter spring summer birds to Vladivostok. 

I spoke in Swahili and the Canadian spoke in the language of Lithuania is 'spindulys'.

The first child in a family is always a joy to hold and behold, but the second children begin to speak more articulately should be taped.

The broad shoulders carried cheerled.

See the wikipedia piece on garden path sentences; browsing through its garden path sentences one to an evening in its honeyed prison.

Tip of the turban to Shyamala for the title.


An Unimperial Union

Ms. Patrick, of pornographic renown, and Mr. Iyer, the travel writer, entered wedlock. They were driving back from their nuptials in a -9 when the vehicle ran over a -2pede. Iyer let a yelp of joy out, much to the disgust of his bride.

'You 6lomaniac!' she cried. 'How can you be so 1dent? What a rotten 18mple you would set our children. I must re-think my -1sion on this marriage. I should've probably accepted when the darling nonagenarian proposed to me.'

'Enough of this 2ring and -6managing already!' he returned. 'I had no idea you were one of those 15 types. You are absolutely right, you should've married the -3onaire instead of me. We can correct the situation yet -- I'm calling my -18rney right away.'

How could their matrimonial bliss have lasted long? She was after all a 12 and he, a -12.

That is why you must cast your connubial vote wisely.


Morse Code Mnemonic

Based on the (auditory) length of each monosyllabic word. Wikipedia lent the idea:

In the United Kingdom many people learned the Morse code by means of a series of words or phrases that have the same rhythm as a Morse character. For instance "Q" in Morse is dah - dah - di - dah, which can be memorized by the phrase "God save the Queen"; and the Morse for "F" is di - di - dah - dit, which can be memorized as "Did she like it."

I decided to go one little step further and make it all as alliterative as possible, in order that I remember the code better. Underposted is my scheme, for your mnemonical pleasure.


Strips II

Mixed Signals


Press Charges
[Excuse the image size]


Sharp Tongue

(Title inadvertently suggested by AJ and Shyamala)


His Advice to Youngsters -- Always Play with Soft Hands. Maintain a Sound Technique.

(Acc. to Durga, a parallelism between the two was previously explored in ARR's Fan Club)

Jayavel recently rang out for a posse to collaborate on a webcomic. I joined him and his friend in the attempt. Please take a gander; if it appeals to you, spread the word.

Here are some fine places to start:


Parting Words

[Words behind an asterisk do not belong to this lexicon, strictly speaking.]

Speech of praise given by a company, directed toward itself, in a commercial break

A situation that, due to one getting charged up, spoils a positive setting

Pharmacist who at any given time has a packet of medical marijuana on him

Settling of a sharing dispute by allotting each party a measure chosen at random

The quality of working your buttocks off. Not one, but both of them

A mixer of drinks who switches off the pub television when the Simpsons show comes on

caprice [economics]
Unpredictability in the MRP of staple grains

castrate [as quoted in The Directors' Manual]
To emasculate a film production company by making a movie with actors demanding astronomical pays

Ecological disaster that ensues by killing large numbers of lions, leopards, &c. in view of turning them into prized possessions

centrally [politics]
With the national government, a policy citizens oppose by gathering in multitudes and contributing copper pennies toward the cause

A variety of cigars threatening to overtake its native counterpart in Cuba. They gained in popularity when Castro revealed that Guevara approved of them.

(1) To restrict a prisoner's movements, causing him or her psychological difficulties
(2) To hold back an optimistic plan by rattling off a long list of demerits in it
(3) To confine to one's residence all day on account of a ceaseless thunderstorm

Scheme to get back at a feudal aristocrat by sabotaging his expensive fur

Reduction to a primitive or savage state

Reduction to complete depravity. Considered ten times malicious as decivilization

Reflected carefully as to the surprise ingredient in the sandwich your impatient customer ordered after directing unflattering remarks towards you

The chemicals that make men loathe to do the laundry

Literally, to speak out against a cat that never leaves its abode. A political metaphor used to protest against a government's refusal to trade.

Find that the music stopped a while back

Supernatural. Doubly creepy.

Never attending lectures but erupting like a volcano in the exam to end up topping the class on account of having untiringly toiled like a colony insect in the confines of one's hostel room

enterprising [sales and marketing]
Marked by the willingness to embark on imaginative ways of opening one's customers' wallets up by force

A cattle beast that's a cross between a horse and a bovine, which slaves 12 hours a day with its eyes open and 12 hours closed

Outrageously offensive in the way a speech of excessive emotion delivered at Independence/Republic Day meetings is

In a courtly, established manner, aimed to make comrades

A tendon that amateur radio operators often injure by making a quick dash to their transceivers when they beep

Causing deep anguish by making one come to know of current societal tendencies

Characterized by an abundance not easily duplicated

The problems of dealing with children who are at once mischievous and moronic, for which no known solutions exist

Incapable, as construed from a species of astrology involving pushing Scrabble letters around, of issue

An opportunity to exercise the noble deed of uttering what your listener wishes to hear and burying your own opinion

That which cannot be taught in tuition [courtesy: YSP]

Brief in speech, as practised by certain habitants of an otherwise talkative Paris. Such as mentioned are said to be afflicted with eccentricity

The non-definition printed in self-respecting dictionaries owing to plainness of meaning

The murder of several people after putting them all within certain sq. yards of land

He that claims inability to set right his life to defend his beggary

methought [archaic, humourous]
'It struck me that'
Eg.: Methought an amphetamine should do the trick.

(1) [of a person] Catching one's attention for complete want of aptitude
(2) [of a room] Catching one's attention for complete want of furniture

An unexpected Ashes victory by England. The English claim no surprise on an overturn because the container of the original ashes displays, indisputably, the names of only their cricketers.

overlooking [as defined for gentlemen]
Glancing down upon the tile patterns, as an emperor upon his courtiers, while seated on the commode

peeking [as defined for gentlemen]
Glancing down upon the tile patterns, as an emperor upon his courtiers, while not seated on the commode

Making a fruitful search on the Internet in order to go to the depths of some matter

A rough draft of The Raven

To make a second coming as a fruit does upon being plucked

Bring an overfunctioning extraction plant to its original efficiency by pausing the mining process

Adamant about leaving a wikipedia article short after creating it

All sorts of clothes on a line

In a playfully mocking manner
Eg.: To drive home the atrocity of his prices, the three of us teasingly ordered merely one glass of beverage from Nair

Momentary as the reading in a thermometer taken out of your mouth

Describing the three or less casual relationships a person is allowed to have prior to marriage without seriously damaging it

Pertaining to something you would not like to happen to your child

Relating to the destructivity of the Indian top order, a quality it owes to its opener

Collective name for the sounds a lover of the past makes as he enters a WWII museum

An aircraft that, by virtue of flying faster than Superman, causes his girlfriend to lose interest in him

To remove the underperformers from a side in pursuit of an immediate turnover of fortunes




Snap = Jolt

F/2 = E/2 => F = E


Dealing With Me

Inside your idle brain, come shine or come rain,
All work and no play all night and all day
Not even half a moment of sleep, you see!
Look for me in the details (or check in the fai retails)
When you're loathe to decide -- I'll then come stand beside
Whilst over your shoulder looms the deep blue sea

To your petty conceit placate I'll send my advocate
He'd gladly plead your cases with one of many faces
Of which he has thirty-six, like a pair o' dice
If you are lonely and laust, remember Comrade Faust --
You only need to sign on the dashed dotted line
And I give you on this sorry earth a paradise

Yet I seek no gratitude, only purple attitude
So that folk may call your air yours-truly-may-care
How I shall then take care of you dearly!
But I must speak to you b'cause on your soul there is a clause
That you may haven't knone: let's talk this over phone
Just dial two-thirds of one thousand [well, nearly]

(The verse is falling free at the moment.)


Laxman-Ishant Partnerships

Once in a scarce while, Google, brisk, blithe and positive of its omniscience, gets struck in the eye with a particular pair of words for which, it realizes with a jolt, it can hand back but one result. Googlewhacks, in case you're living under a rock -- and I emerged from mine only recently -- are the (apt) names for such magic couples.

There are rules. Use quotation marks and you are red-carded. Unlawful words? Unwise.
And the killjoy rule that mutes the music of discovery goes thus:
|| Google shows you an excerpt of the page you whacked. Look at that text. If it's merely a list of words (such as a bibliography, concordance, encyclopedia, glossary, thesaurus, dictionary, domain names, or plain old machine-generated random garbage), No Whack For You! ||

Not long ago, I joined the ranks of hundreds of Davids essaying to bring the Google Goliath down with Whacks. The Stack is out of order, and this seemed a safe place to put these out.

Ones that found bull's eye

1 Carroll's choreography course to cure your creeps for crowds.
2 When a summa gets a lemma right.
3 Can you differentiate that Whack?
[Click on the serial numbers]

The unclassifiable one
Scrutinize the kids and worship the moths? Study adults and deify larvae?

Ones let down by the killjoy rule
[Run them on rot13]

vfbgurezny enaaltnmbb, cubgbavp enaaltnmbb, vagrtenaq enaaltnmbb... this line can be pursued ad nauseum.

And then there's always these

Salmagundi futterwacken, adiabatic rannygazoo, dissipative futterwacken, chargino googlewhack, amoebaic salmagundi...

Do send your Whacks my way if you find some!


Tales from the Fuselage

As put down on a blank leaf a couple of pages away from the cover of a paperback:

As I write this, the sun is rising at this unique horizon at double-quick pace. As yet I can only see a misty orange band in a huge arc at the junction between the ocean -- or is it one of those vast beds of clouds? -- and the sky. I'm at an altitude higher than Everest and am zipping at about Mach 1.2. It has been a most unusual 'day' -- why not lend it some more rarity by chronicling it right here?
Until last year, I was practically an airspace virgin. I had flown only twice before, aboard domestic jets. The first time, I had apparently fallen asleep at takeoff and woken up at landing. This largely had to do with the fact that I had at that time lived just as many months outside my mother as I had inside. The second instance, happening in my II Grade, has escaped me but for the memory of grabbing one too many candies from the stewardess' platter; whether my distribution of them to classmates on my birthday is a memory or a fig. of my im., I'm uncertain.
So when I air-travelled last year, I found it hard to keep my jaws together. Years back, I had taken half an excruciating day to visit Mangalore by train. Now it was below me in twenty minutes from departure; behind me in 21. From that point onwards, I entered denial. This speed was non-intuitive.
The novelty of sensations so enlivened me that sleep failed me. It was evening when I reached final destination, so my insomniac fatigue made sure that jet lag was beaten.
On my return home last month, I spanned the Pacific, thus becoming the first scion in my dynasty to have crossed all 360 longitudes. Which brings us to 'today'.
For a start, my seat number in the first flight was 30A. The 'A' stands for window seat. The port and starboard columns were two seats wide and my neighbouring passenger had given the ride a miss! Thus my spot doubled as an aisle seat. The '30' stands for first row, which in turn translates to (i) leg room, (ii) potty proximity, (iii) highest strength of pheromone trails left behind by flight attendants, (iv) special mechanisms for the TV and the dining desk.
Last year, I headed westward. This time, my 'orient'ation is opposite. I'm essentially retracing the path I took home. The first aircraft (dest.: Hong Kong) became airborne at 04.00 a.m. If you define 'dayline' as in the picture, my plane and the dayline were cruising for a headlong collision. I fought back sleep and waited to witness this rare glory, and was handsomely rewarded.
My second plane (on which my stern rests this very moment) is a time machine. I embarked upon it at 02.00 p.m. on Sep. 04, I will touch terminus at 11.00 a.m. on Sep. 04. This leg of the voyage turned out to be much more spectacular than I had imagined.
I slid the window down to cut out the sunlight and slipped into slumber. When I rose an hour later and reopened it, I was totally taken aback. It was pitch dark outside. I had simply unaccounted for the fact that in an aeroplane flying east, particularly when the geodesical trajectory is more parallel than perp. to the equator, the durations of dark and light are halved. There was no way I could go across to the other edge of the Pacific without cutting through night. It was obvious once it happened. All these meant I met the dayline a second time in the journey, which is when I began to pen this. Now the window is a splash of divers degrees of blue and white.
36 hours would this day last, two sunrises and two sundowns would it include. An I.D.L. day -- an ideal day.


Keep Typing, Monkeys!