Saturday, June 29, 2013

The world of Idioms-2

I bet that you may have someone where you work that acts like they know more than the owner of the company how to handle things. There is a reason of why one is the owner and the other one is the employee. Nobody can be more loyal than the owner but some people are always out there showing their loyalty to the level of obnoxiousness and then they become very unpopular among their colleagues. I know they may harbor good intensions but there is a reason this idiom is created and you can flip it sideways and say that they can be Teachers' pet, although in this case, they become the favorite of the teacher not become one. And then there are others which can be equally applied to the work place or any other activity if you want. They are "bored to death” and "sick and tired". Bored to death means you have nothing to do, well you can use it if you are at work, at home or anywhere else where you don’t really know how to kill your time. Sick and tired means that you are completed done with one task and don’t want to do it anymore and again it can be applied at home or at work or even when you receive bills. One more is " I am so hungry I can eat a horse" which means you are extremely hungry and have build up a good appetite to eat much more. I know that everybody have this kind of feeling from time to time. And I use this quite often. There are many more idioms which I can write about but you get the idea about what the world of idiom is.

The world of Idioms

I must admit that I don’t know very many idioms but I do love them and use it frequently whenever the need arises. Idioms are a fun way to express what one feels about a person without offending them in the process but they still get the message and also to say it in a way that is not insulting for anybody. I use the one called "Birds of a feather flock together" meaning people of the same kind or view or race or whatever is common among them stay together. Another one is “don’t cry over spilt milk" meaning that if something is done mistakenly, don’t cry over it and get out with your lives. "The grass is greener on the other side of the pasture" it means that one always feel that something is always better than what they have now. The same goes with "all that glitters is not gold" which is not all things seems to be worth the gold they look. One of my favorite ones is "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" as it states that what you have in hand in certainty is worth more than two with uncertainty. The best one of all (and I sure there are others which I may not have heard or not use it that often) is "more loyal than the king". It just means that who can be more loyal than the king to his kingdom and it can equally applied in these times since I have had bosses who are really fiercely more loyal than the management of the company and who sometimes questions the motive of the managers like they own the place or they know more than the owner or the manager of the company.

Religion is a personal matter

I have been writing about religion and how it is being used wrongly and by personal interpretation of the scripture for their own needs good or evil. And really apart from the United States and some other secular countries, most of the countries try to impose the majority views (even if they are in the wrong) of religion on minorities. This religious tool of the government becomes a kind of propaganda and terror tool to harass the minorities and anybody who does not agree with the state view of religion. It is this state imposition along with the propaganda that is creating so much tension in many countries of the world. I really hate the fact somebody may try to impose their religious views on me as I don’t impose it on them. I really try to avoid all sorts of religions conversations with my friends, family members and anybody who I have known for a long time as religion is a very sensitive subject and you don’t want to get into an argument that may result in hurting somebody's religious beliefs. There are some states who just want cohesion in the name of religion and they try to see the other way while their majority uses violence to either convert the rest of the minority or just kill them. And this I don’t understand. Why is a state and the majority feel so afraid of the minority religion that they become intolerable which is completely opposite to what the religion preaches (whichever religion that be). Religion should be a personal matter and nobody should impose their views and if they are so intolerable about it than they should facilitate the migration of the minorities to countries where this hypocrisy not practiced or preached.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The things you do for your job

We all know how the job market works (or we think we do anyway) and if you have a job or a looking for one, you know how you bend over backwards to make sure you keep your job and please your boss in whatever dignified way you can. And if you have been unemployed some point in your life and got another one, you know how much you appreciate to even have a job (I have been unemployed two times and so I know how appreciative I am to have the current one). Now I have read and experienced the way people go out of their way to make their bosses happy (even if they don’t want to) helping and not saying a word about work or work load (sometimes) and doing extra work. Even coming early in the morning before your boss is in the office and leaving the office after he/she is long gone. You and your family who have gone through a lot during your unemployment period make sure now that you don’t do anything that will jeopardize your current job even sometimes your legitimate right at your job becomes like an issue as you don’t want to be seen as being lazy or not willing to go to that extra mile. When you are looking for a job, you want to look your best in terms of a perfect resume, outstanding cloths, unmatched etiquettes and manners just to impress the employer that you are the one who will contribute immensely to their company. And it goes on that although we don’t want to come off as being desperate to get a job but with all the perfection or near perfection we do in preparing for an interview, we do show that we are desperate and willing to get hands on that elusive checkbook and I believe that it not only happens in the U.S. but throughout the world that the things you do for your work that sometimes (but not always) you don’t do even for your family (although the job you are pursuing or wanting to pursue is also for your family).

Different cultures, different work ethics

You see you cannot assume that all the cultures have the same work ethics as that of the United States. We know that all countries want to work hard and strive for economic prosperity but they want to achieve it in a different way that reflects their cultural and traditional ways and not be imposed from outside. For example the U.S. and some other developed countries have stringent rules regarding bribery in obtaining trade contracts in many countries but it is acceptable and expected in some countries where they don’t see it as bribe and the trade seeking businesses also see as cost of business. It maybe called some other thing but it is definitely expected if you want to get that contract or you are left out. I am not condoning bribery but I am saying that if you want to do business in other countries. Same thing goes for the pace of work that goes on different countries. Whereas in the U.S. we want to close a deal as soon as possible, other countries may take their own sweet time and time may not be essence in their cases. Same thing goes on with greeting when you are in a business meeting since some cultures mix both business and other non-business activities together. Then there is the matter of timing and it is sometimes usual that the parties in other countries come late to work and leave early frustrating even the most patient people who are used to being on time. So before you jump to the conclusion that every works like the Americans, you need to travel to some of the countries to find out how they do business.

Looking for Perfection

We are not perfect human beings and even far from it, the world is not perfect and neither are our lives. We think that we are doing a perfect job, but we do not and we think highly of our kids and believe that they are the perfect kids that anybody could have but it is also not true. So why do we keep on striving to achieve everything which seems to in our control and then we become proud of a job well done. I have seen many people trying to achieve something with so much perfection that it wastes not only their time and resources but other peoples' time too (although not their resources since if you are paying them they will be happy to go along with it). Sometimes there are people who even if others thing that they did a perfect job don’t think that way and thus become miserable because in their minds they have not done the perfect job. And this perfection leads to obsession in some cases and the time you should spent on other important things is diverted to achieving perfection on one thing and then this quest for perfection becomes a recipe for time management disaster. I know that perfection is good but if I am in a time constraint situation, I would rather have things done faster and accurately than ponder over some imperfection which should be understood as a slight oversight. Perfection can achieve success or destroys life because you should be able to manage your time judiciously and understand that perfection does not mean that you have become perfect only that what you lack in yourself you are trying to have it in inanimate objects.

Seeking immortality

Recently one of the executives of a tech company said that with technology, human beings are going to achieve immortality. And as usual it got me thinking, why is that human beings have always wanted to achieve immortality but could never be able to achieve one. Consider this since the beginning of time, human have tried to achieve the secret of immortality and you can read countless stories about how the humans have failed to achieve anything even closer to immortality. In the modern times, many movies and art culture have their share of vampires and werewolves and even zombies where they have depict immortality for thousands of years but have to succumb to death at some point in time. There have been many people in the past and now in the present who arrogantly believed that they can achieve eternal life but have failed miserably. But the quest continuous with absurd claims that in the future, human would live forever and I take that as a grain of salt. How would today's scientist claim that in the future we would live forever when they would not be around to see this claim fail or succeed. And if all the great Prophets have their resting place and they passed away, how can us ordinary folk intend survive forever. We cannot fight the natural process of dying and leaving this earth as the day we are born, we are closer to death. So stop making impossible claim which one will never see the light of day.

Medical Insurance is no joke

I have been writing about medical insurance for a long time now and it is getting no better. The premiums are getting much higher with deductible and co pays killing whatever money you have in your pocket as discretionary income. Recently another report came out stating that people even with insurance can face bankruptcy due to rising premiums, deductible and other expenses not covered by the insurance and I have been witnessing this first hand. One time, my daughter went to hospital and I had to keep on paying the different deductible and co pays and other expenses which the insurance refuses to cover and the funny part is that if you think that you have paid all the bills, another one comes out not right away but months apart which makes you mad and then you have to readjust your budget. And I have a generous insurance package too (as compared with other companies which I know of). And with the new health care reform, people might get health insurance but the cost have not been calculated as of yet. Although the government is claiming that it will subsidize the average people who want to get health insurance but the deductibles and co pays will be a burden that the government has not announced. The health care maybe more accessible although the cost factor needs to be seen and if it is prohibitive than most people would rather go into the government health care rather than buy their own insurance. Only time will tell when this new healthcare comes into force next year.

Government surveillance

Which was supposed to be a secret but was not came finally out that the U.S. government conducts surveillance over its citizens and international countries. Now is that surprising? We have known this for long that some spying was going on and what country on earth does not spy on its citizens and also wants to know what their rivals are doing in terms of military capabilities, espionage and harmful activities. In this day and age, even the best flourishing democracies do surveillance and it would be rather impossible for them to stop it. And this espionage has been going on forever in history. If you recall that in World War II, German were spying and also the U.S, British and other nations were spying on each other to gain upper hand in the war. And before that if you were not using technology, you were using human spies to get vital information from the enemies. Now with threats to a nation's security and well being increasing each day not be nations but by rouge and terrorist organizations who are increasingly relying on technology to communicate with their recruits, this news should not come as a shocker that despite needing a warrant to tap somebody's phone or listen to the conversation, the government is spying on its citizens in the name of security. I know it is not right for the governments to spy on their citizens and other countries but that is the new reality and even if we protest vehemently, we can never finish off this surveillance because we don’t know if we are being spied on or being monitored.

The Film Critics are not always right

Well I was reading some critics bashing a film and I started to think that some of the most successful films have some critics bashing them for not being that great and you know what the viewers than go out and decide if that is true. The film critics sometimes are on the spot when they pane a movie so much that people stay away or agree with them and there are so movies, usually a good number of horror movies which the critics don’t like for a variety of reasons like too much violence, no originality, weak acting and then those movies make a bunch load of money because the viewers are the ultimate critics since they are the one who have to pay with their wallets to watch the movie. So does this mean that the viewers are the best critics? No but by a long chance but give them credit for ignoring flaws in some movies and making it successful. I have watched many movies and I admit that I am not a critic since some of the movies endorsed by critics did not make much sense to me and some which is not liked by any critic makes an enjoyable fare to watch. Movie watching experience is somewhat depends upon an individual's mood at the time of watching a movie and sometimes it depends upon the critics and their peers review and recommendations but mostly the synopsis that you read about the movie makes for the bulk of what to watch. Sometimes the critics are right and sometimes they are wrong as they are all human beings and they can sometimes misinterpret a commercial success of a movie. So rely on your own mood and instinct and give a small percentage to the critics review sometimes because you are the paying to watch a movie not them it is just their job.

A Birthday Party attended

Last Saturday I attended the birthday part of my brother in laws daughter who turned one. As the party was in a small kids club and the timing was 4.30 p.m. We decided to be out of the house by 4.00 but as with all these occasions where you are rushing things, we left at about 5.00 and reached there by 5.30 but thankfully the party had just started. The party was taking place in a warehouse kind of setting with huge ceilings and game rooms and others but the main hall was cordoned off for this birthday. There were a few relatives who had arrived earlier but after a while the hall became full and appetizers were served. With music blasting aloud and pictures were being taken, the party was in full swing. And after a little while the dinner was served. There was a pop corn stand and a cotton candy stand for the kids and adults alike. During all this eating and picture taking Elmo® came out and entertained kids with different kinds of music and when all was said and done then it was time to cut the cake. During all this time, music kept blaring out loud and slowly and steady friends of the family started to leave the party and then it was the relatives' time to leave and ultimately the remaining family started to gather the gifts and the balloon and left over souvenirs and the party came to a conclusion at around 10.30 P.M. and we all headed to our respective homes.

The Elementary School Graduation Ceremony

A week ago, I attended my daughter's elementary school graduation from which she finished her 4th grade (different school systems have different cutoff where the elementary school ends and middle school starts). We just reached in the nick of time, because when we reached there, we already saw a huge line of parents waiting to get into the gym where the graduation ceremony was about to take place. And we were almost last in line. After the gym was opened, parents, guardians and siblings streamed in to be seated at whatever place they wanted to sit, cameras and video cameras in hand to capture an important milestone in their child's education. There were caps plastered on the wall along with a huge cloth bearing the hand prints of all the students who were going to graduate. And also a banner stating Class of 2013. I took some pictures of both the cap and the hand prints and the ceremony started not long after that. The Kids started coming one by one and when they were all in standing in line against the wall, the Pledge of allegiance was recited. And then a few songs were sang and then the principal of the school gave an inspirational speech for the kids and the parents and then names were called to give diplomas to the graduating class of 2013. After that we took some pictures and gave hug to our daughter for achieving this milestone and then the kids were send back to their classes to have some more fun activities and the parents went home.

On the lighter side-Movies-Phantom (2013)-Ed Harris, David Duchovny

Cold war era about a Soviet Submarine sent on a mysterious mission unknown to the crew and the radical elements that are abroad that submarine who try to seize control of it in order to start a nuclear war. Tense atmosphere and good acting but ultimately unsatisfying and slow. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)-Steve Carell, Jim Carrey

Unfunny movie despite the presence of two comedians about an arrogant magician who has fallen onto hard times when he splits up with this work partner and has to contend with a fast rising street magician. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Red Lights (2012)-Robert De Niro, Sigourney Weaver

Two Psychic investigators try to debunk a world famous Psychic who has reappeared after a long time after one of his fiercest critics dies under mysterious circumstances. Enjoyable movie but maybe boring to others. Great to see two legendary actors against each other. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Call (2013) - Halle Berry

Good movie about a 911 dispatcher who is determined to save a kidnapping victim after she lost the first one on her watch. Suspenseful with excellent acting by Halle Berry. Recommended

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hunger in America

I was just reading an article about how a small minority in America goes to bed hungry and it broke my heart. I know that many more people around the world go to hungry every night more than the Americans (and that will be for another topic), but America which boasts itself to be the wealthiest country on earth, it seems strange that its population can go hungry with this type of boasting in place. It is not that surprising since we have been reading this news but I don’t see much being discussed in the political arena. I know that there are many charities and organizations that continuously help the hunger but still the number of hungry people keeps on going up. I don’t know what is going on but in order for us to claim ourselves being the land of opportunity; we need to at least eliminate this scourge from our society. You know that times are tough and everybody is trying to look for their own financial well being but an effective campaign to help the poor and hungry gain recognition can accomplish a lot. We know that picture is worth a thousand words and if documentaries are produced to highlight the hunger problem in America (in addition to the one that highlight hunger generally around the world) will have a much high impact and will give more exposure to this problem. It is time that this problem should be made more prominent for everybody because we cannot claim to be the world's wealthiest country and then find that some of our citizens don’t have enough money to feed themselves each day.

On the lighter side-Travel-Chicago, Illinois-8

Since after eating so much good food, we were stuffed so we decided to take a stroll before leaving and headed to a dollar store nearby. It had lots of stuff and so we took some junk food for the road and some for our house and then headed back to the car. Since I was going to drive the most way and I had slept but not enough I started the journey excitedly so that my family could rest along the way. After hitting some weekday traffic, we hit the I-80 east towards Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania and towards New Jersey. As usual we stopped (mostly I) stopped at the rest areas to get the tank filled and get some coffee. Since I am from New Jersey, one of the two states where it is unlawful to pump your own gas, I had a good experience with pumping my gas in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. I am sure in other countries, there will be a mix of pumping your own gas or have employee of the gas station pump it for you. I prefer a mix of both so that the people have choice between the two. Anyway pumping gas is not fun when you see your credit card get charged by the second. I got some regular coffee along the way and after a long drive, my wife took over for about two hours so that I could rest. But I slept little during that time so when took over it was okay but as the home became nearer, I had a bout of heavy sleepiness which I tried to shake off me (not good) but ultimately we reached home at about 2.30 A.M. in the morning and went straight to bed thankfully reaching safely. I don’t know if I will do another long trip again but if I ever did I will surely break it into half so that I can get a good rest before resuming my journey.

On the lighter side-Travel-Chicago, Illinois-7

As it happens with out plans when we are on vacation or have to go somewhere, this one was no exception. We were so tired from the wedding when we went to sleep at about 2.00 A.M in the morning that we were not going to be awake by six even if we had put up our alarm and that is exactly what happened. We woke up around 10 in the morning still tired but had to go and packed out stuff and were out by around 11. Now before going on the journey back home, we had to eat breakfast and we decided to a big fast food chain and were completely surprised to find that they stop serving breakfast at 10.30 since the lunch time starts at that time. We thought it was 11.00 but this was ridiculous, who wants to eat lunch at 10.30 in the morning even if you have taken your breakfast at 5.00 in the morning. But to each his/her own. Well after a little search we decided on a small diner and ordered our breakfast of coffee, pan cakes, hash browns and to our surprise found them to be great food. I Don’t know the town but it is near Bloomingdale near Chicago and it is called Bentley's Pan cakes ( Disclosure: I am not promoting the diner and I am not getting paid to promote them, just voicing my opinion). These small diners should be checked out from time to time since they may have some hidden gem that you could miss and sometimes they are better than the fast food chains that so many people frequent.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

On the lighter side-Travel-Chicago, Illinois-6

Well we thought that the final day of the wedding would be quiet since it was at night but no my cousin whose daughter lives in a suburb of Chicago invited us to have pizza at her house and again new area means we never reach there on time. But after eating pizza, we went back to the hotel to take a rest and start preparation for the final wedding ceremony and in this case the suit, shirt and tie that I brought it from Macys® in an emergency came in handy (that was the purpose anyway) and after getting prepared, we went to the reception hall. This was easy as it was just on the first floor of the hotel in which we were staying. The Bride groom party came late as they were not also from the Chicago area and they I believe got lost on their way or were just running late, whatever was the reason, they finally came and then the dinner started. Then during the dinner, the brides and grooms family and friends had to take individual pictures with the groom and bride and then a cake was cut and given to all the people at the reception. After only the family members remain to see off the bride and bridegroom on their next phase of their lives and wish them well and happy and prosper. Teary eyes along with smile sent them off. And we went to the hotel room again since we had to start early in the morning for the journey back to New Jersey.

On the lighter side-Travel-Chicago, Illinois-5

The next in a simple ceremony my niece got wed in Muslim religious center and treats and congratulations got traded and then we had a small lunch because in the evening we had a playful ceremony (can't describe how it can be called in English but I will try to explain) which has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with having fun in a decent way (you can call it a combined bachelor/bachelorette party). As I was in a strange city and my GPS was acting up, we got lost on the way to the venue of the party but luckily it was not off the mark and we reached there on time before the guests started to arrive. I had a glass of coke and just settled down in my chair for a few minutes before the arrival of the soon to be groom's party. The men were lined up with garlands to be put on the groom's family and the women were there with loose rose petals to shower over them. The DJ was playing different songs and the music was not loud enough to drown your conversation if you happen to have one. And then the groom party came attired in traditional dress and garlands were given to them and rose petals thrown over them. After they sat, it was time for some dancing and entertainment along with some dessert and coffee. One of the ladies danced a classical dance of the sub continent and was enthusiastically clapped at the end of it. Gifts were exchanged and we head back to the hotel but as our GPS was acting up, we got lost on the streets of a small town near Streamwood, IL. After several turns, we were able to reach the hotel in the dead of night and went straight to bed as the next day was the actually wedding reception at night.

On the lighter side-Travel-Chicago, Illinois-4

After finding the suit that fitted me and the shirt, tie and socks, we proceeded to the checkout counter and there I was shocked to see that I got charged 8.75 percent sales tax on clothing. As you already know that I am from New Jersey and despite all the jokes about it (and some notoriety) about how the highest insurance and property taxes in the country, it still does not charge any taxes on clothing and shoes and also the gas prices are one of the lowest in the country and at this time, I missed New Jersey a lot. I cannot understand that after charging so many taxes on everything where does the money go? As one of the worst states to pay their vendors last and a big hole in their budget deficit, where does all this sales taxes goes is beyond me. At New Jersey if they don’t charge sales taxes and low gas taxes, we can say that they will have budget deficit but why is the case with Illinois and where does all this money goes is a big mystery (even if they explain it to me). Well as they say that is life when you screw up and have to last minute emergency shopping and get penalized heavily. We paid the cashier and went back to our hotel room and started preparing for the reception dinner for my niece's in laws who were coming for a informal get together at a relative's place. After reaching the reception wedding at the residence, I met up with my mother and was happy to see that her fractured arm was recovering but not as fast as I was expecting. We just chatted among the relatives and the soon to be in laws of my niece's and had nice dinner and then went home since we had to get up in the morning for the official religious ceremony which was rather small.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

On the lighter side-Travel-Chicago, Illinois-3

After driving through the night, I decided I had to take a quick nap so we stopped at a service area to fill up the tank, get coffee and switch seats. After drinking my coffee, I took a nap for a hour, not the greatest nap if you have ever slept in the car seat for an hour or so, but I had too otherwise I would not have been functional enough to drive all the way to Illinois. When we hit the Chicago area, the traffic became a little busy and since we reached the city way before our check time like maybe around 12.30 P.M. (Chicago 11.30 P.M-central time), we called in the hotel to find out if we can have an early check in. After reaching the hotel in a nice suburb of Chicago called Bloomingdale, my wife went inside to find out if we were lucky enough to have an early check in and with only one room available we were lucky to get in. So after driving all the way to our destination, we found out that we had not brought my suit that I had eagerly bought was left back in New Jersey and now we had to buy another suit and shirt and a tie. Since I was too tired to go shopping right away, I took a nap and went to a nearby Macys® store before our expected departure for a home dinner at about 6.00 P.M. It was a nice mall and I started looking and putting the suits on as the shirt and tie were easy to pick up. After going through three suits I decided to get one which fitted me well.

On the lighter side-Travel-Chicago, Illinois-2

I love driving but it was the first time that I drove during the night and although there is less traffic (except for a few tractor trailers), it was dark outside. My car tank was full so I need not have to worry about it for a while. Along the way, I had to pass through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana and then reach Illinois. It was all through Route Interstate 80 (I-80) straight to Illinois. Driving the occasionally lonely roads was my radio, since my family went to sleep right away. Stopping by to get gas and some coffee, we occasionally encountered short length of fog which I had to slow down the car to see what is in front of me. The pleasant surprise I encountered was that after Pennsylvania, I-80 speed limit became 70 with occasional slowdowns in between due to constructions of the roads along the way. The speed limit was decent enough for me to drive as I was not about to risk going beyond it in unfamiliar states. Since I am from New Jersey where the gas is cheap, I encountered various rates of gas depending upon which state I was in. After Pennsylvania, the rate of gas started to go up and I was not happy about it culminating in Illinois where the rate was a dollar more per gallon than in New Jersey. Anyway I had to take gas as it sometimes became too low for comfort and the rest areas became few and far between. Along the journey I saw vast areas of land empty with occasional farmlands with livestock on it.

On the lighter side-Travel-Chicago, Illinois

Actually to the suburbs of Chicago but it is still Chicago. Well as it was my niece's wedding, we decided to take a road trip instead of a plane trip to save money to Chicago. We had never had this more than thirteen hour trip by road before and we were not that excited about it either but if you want to save money and enjoy the scenery (mostly money), nothing beats a road trip. Well anyway our stays was at the Hilton® Hotel in Bloomingdale, a suburb of Chicago (please note that I am not here to promote the hotel, just telling you the facts), and since my niece's wedding was also to be solemnized there, we were given a discount (along with other guest of the wedding party). And since our checking time was around 4.00 P.M on Sunday, we decided to be as near to that time and started our journey at midnight. But before that I had a three hour nap so that I can navigate and drive my vehicle in the dead of night. My wife did all the packing and to keep us all fed put some takeout food and other snacks in the car so that we can eat while driving. Packing is really the fun part that I outsource to my wife since I don’t have the patience to think about what to pack (although I do put my own stuff in the bags). I woke up at about 10.30 P.M. and after putting the two bags in the car, we started our long journey at about 12.15 P.M.

On the lighter side-Movies-Quartet (2012)-Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly

Funny British movie about a facility for retired musicians and the efforts they put in to stage an annual musical event. Fun to see old timers. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Brass Teapot (2012)

Funny, original and enjoyable movie about a broke couple who stumble upon a magical teapot who gives you money every time they hurt somebody or themselves. The more hurt they create or sustain the more money comes out of the teapot. Highly entertaining movie. Highly recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Stoker (2013)-Nicole Kidman

Slow moving thriller about a girl whose father has recently passed away in an accident and who gets infatuated with her uncle whom she has seen for the first time. Very slow and not for all tastes. I had to drag myself into coming to a conclusion for this movie. Not recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)

Great special effects but dark movie about a simple farm boy who stumble upon some magic seeds which goes to gigantic proportions reaching to the kingdom of giants where his girlfriend is held captive. Although I enjoyed the movie and it has its moments but not enough for a second watch. Recommended with caution. Make your own decision

On the lighter side-Movies-21 & over (2013)

Two friends try to help one of the friends have a birthday party for his 21st year which goes out of control and results in a long night of debauchery and full blown mayhem. Not the best of its class but worth a look. Recommended with caution as it is definitely not for kids.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Refuge behind the Religion-4

It is the minority that has hijacked Islam but the silent majority just also don’t condemn it because either they are reluctant to do so because they are confused since the minority also supposedly confess to follow the same religion or the majority in a secret way accept it since they don’t have the time or the inclination or desire to research the issues that confront Islam. And I believe it is both since they are part of the same religion that they so passionately follow as being peaceful. All religions are peaceful if you read different scriptures, no religion condone violence against other religions if you go deeper into the meaning of them. It is the followers who in order to serve their own personal purpose bend it to their own needs and then propagate that version so much that the mainstream folks who don’t want to read or understand the scripture blindly follow it and they you have this kind of violence. These are the people who take refuge behind the religion to justify their actions since they cannot base their actions on anything else. And these are the most dangerous ones and they are covertly supported by people in the government and other agencies so that they can carry out their agenda with the blessing of people in authority. And the space for counter active narration is becoming smaller and smaller or even nonexistent because the Muslims are unable to come to a final conclusion on religious issues since everybody wants to be a leader and they don’t want to accept the fact that they can also be wrong and the opposition can have a valid or alternative and equally powerful point of view.

On the lighter side-Movies-Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)-Jeremy Renner, Gemma Aterton

Excellent variation of the old Hansel and Gretel story about brother and sisters who hunt witches for a living and revenge. Good special effects and story. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)-James Franco, Mila kunis

Visually stunning sort of prequel to the Wizard of OZ movie of yesteryears of how the wizard came to be who he is in the previous movie. Though a little bit scary for kids but still highly entertaining and enjoyable. Enthusiastically Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Snitch (2013)-Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson stars as a construction company owner whose son gets caught up in drugs and send to jail. He then persuades the DEA and the U.S. attorney to act as an informant to assist in the arrest of a big drug dealer. Essentially a dramatic role for the Rock and pretty good. Recommended

Friday, June 7, 2013

Refuge behind the Religion-3

I am not saying that all Muslims are bad but my point is that there have been some self styled leaders and cleric who think that they have the right or the knowledge to interpret what is written and said in the Holy Book and then they brain wash people to believe that they should follow them. And since the Muslims are sleeping or reluctant to challenge these interpretations, they go along with these misinterpreted narrations. Even when someone thinks that the interpretations are wrong, they are reluctant to present or challenge these notions because they are afraid of being ostracized or worse face life threats because there seems to be no space for dissent or another version of the writings. The so called silent majority is going along with the vocal minority and even if the majority thinks that some act of the minority is not wrong, they keep quiet giving an impression that they condone these acts by certain individuals. Besides being highly ineffective, corruption, inflexible and lack of research and reaching of any kind of consensus have hampered the development of the Muslim world. I know that people will say that why pick on Muslim world and not others who do the same logic and find refuge behind their religion to justify their actions. And I agree with them but the Muslims are the most vocal ones who not only advocate violence against non Muslims also Muslims who don’t agree with their version of Islam and if you don’t believe in their version, instead of reasoning with the opposition, the only solution they find is the silence their critics by killing them.

Refuge behind the Religion-2

Even if you don’t believe my narrative above about the origins of suicide as a weapon (you can check out online about it), this was never used in the early days of Islam or even later on because suicide is actually forbidden in Islam under any circumstances because it is not your choice to end life which has been given to you. And these are the people who use the refuge behind the religion to justify what they do and since the people don’t have the time or the intellectual ability to comprehend what is written in the holy books, they follow the instructions of these so called clerics and lose sight of the meaning of the religion. And since there are 73 sects in Islam, everybody uses their own interpretation of what GOD says or the Prophet did incorporating their own twisted analogies to urge their followers that they are on the right path. But since the right path is as defined as variedly as possible, it is all about how much followers you can gather by your interpretation of the scripture. These suicide bombers are much about the infighting among Muslims than the non-Muslims. Everybody wants to be a leader and the most that can convince people that they know the right interpretation of what is written in the Book, the more influential he will becomes since the Muslims don’t want to do their own research. And it is not just the Suicide bombers but other facts of the life that the Muslims refuse to believe or indulge in.

Refuge behind the Religion

I have been for a quite a while trying to find time to write about this topic but due to other topics coming more currently, I kept on postponing it for an appropriate time and I know that this topic will be appropriate for any time. It is about how the people of a religion justify their actions based on their interpretation of their holy books. It is now being used increasingly in the Muslim world where there are so many interpretations of the holy book and the life of the Prophet that you don’t feel like they are on the same page on the religion. The latest twist that have come recently are the justification of suicide bombers which is as usual not the invention of the Muslims but I believe (and I can be wrong) started long time ago with the Japanese Hari-kari suicide pilots of the world war II and then the Sri Lankan Tamils came along to give it a boost and it may predate that one too but that is what the modern version started with the Muslims taking increasing role in this method. The logic behind the suicide bombers is that since the suicide bombers have less fire power than the enemy, this is the only way to retaliate and if the innocents die than that is their fault. But again although the Muslims are using the holy book of theirs to justify this insane method of killing themselves they are invoking the name of GOD and brain washing people into people that it is a noble way to enter heaven and enjoy the bounties that accompany with being in heaven. The sad part is that Muslims increasingly believe in this narrative without trying to educate themselves about this.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The hypocrites that we are

Oh yes, we all are guilty of this sin. There is nobody out there I believe can say with certainty and surety that he is not a hypocrite. Sometimes we do it without knowing about it and sometimes we do it on purpose because we are all human beings. Preaching something and then doing opposite to it can lead to this kind of sin. But is it sin or just omission that we do it? I don’t know but I as well as the rest of humanity have been doing this for as long as you or I can remember. We teach our kids not to lie or cheat but in the same instant do the same and if our kids say why we did it, we make excuses which confuse the young minds more. And even among our politicians the most trusted of the lot elected to serve the public honestly engage in this from time to time. Can we get rid of this sin that we have become afflicted it from time to time. It is hard because if we preach something, you never know what can come in the future to negate our preaching and then we will have to say something that is opposite to what we were preaching based on the current circumstances. And you know sometimes we do feel that we like being a hypocrite because it is easy to preach than to practice the stuff. Practicing the good stuff is always hard and preaching is just that and you get to feel good about yourself that people think that you are a good person. So there is no escaping the hypocrisy in our lives.

In unity there is strength

We have already heard this one before and still people tend to forget about it when it comes to really apply it to their lives. You have heard about the voices of separation from various small ethnicities to go their own way. This is not because of not believing in Unity but because the majority group ignores the rights of their minorities for such a long time that it creates this atmosphere that they would rather go it alone than to stay in a situation where even if there is unity it is forced upon them. When some people are united for something the enemy has to think twice before creating some sort of mischievousness and they may try to create division among the different people break up this unity. You may have also heard about strength in numbers and that is what exactly I am talking about here. It is also in regard to the voices being heard about how to secede from the U.S. some states like Texas at the top which the proponents argue will be able to have more say in their affairs. But again the argument goes, if they remain in the Union, there are more benefits than to go their separate ways and unlike some other separatist movements around the world who may or may not have grounds to secede due to the injustices rendered to ethnic minorities, every state in the union enjoys right not guaranteed to these minorities. So before you go your separate ways, think about how you can stay together to reap the benefits of unity.

The lack of communication between management and the lower staff

I have been in the corporate world too long to see that there is a lack of communications between management and the rank and file staff when it comes to decision making. Even when it involves your own department the rank and file is kept in the dark until the last minute and then boom the decision is thrust onto them to implement what the management has set out for you. I can understand sometimes that you are in the planning stages for some strategic decision making and you do not know the outcome and you may not want to involve your staff lest the deal falls through, but I have seen that even decisions of less important value is shoved into the rank and file without any kind of mental preparedness. Even the input of the lower staff is not taken into consideration sometimes. I can understand that if a company is huge and you cannot have a face to face meeting with hundreds of staff members, but even having 10 to 15 people are enough for the management to avoid having that meeting lest some kind of resistance or questions arise regarding the proposed decision. Maybe it is because they don’t trust the lower staff, or they don’t want to bother us for important decisions or they don’t think that we are in a position to know important stuff or it is just the style of management that is being practiced across the corporate world, whatever the reason for the management for not involving their staff on the decision affecting them directly. It will be nice and courteous to let the lower staff know in the decision affecting them so that they know where they stand in the company. A simple gesture like this seems to be one of the incentives of the appreciativeness and acknowledgment of the lower staff's effort in contributing their share for the company's success.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

On the lighter side-Movies-A good day to die hard (2013)-Bruce Willis

He is back and he is angry. The former New York City cop travels to Moscow, Russian when he hears that his son is in trouble with the Russian authorities only to find out that he is a highly trained CIA operative trying to prevent nuclear theft. Actions galore and pretty good. Liked the action. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-12 Rounds 2: Reloaded (2013)

An EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) has to complete 12 tasks in order to save his wife from a dangerous deranged man who may have some connection to him. Actions and suspense abound but nothing new to add to the genre. Just for action fans (and even they would want to pass this one). Not Recommended

The case of curious silence in Pakistan-2

Just how many people Pakistan have to sacrifice before the nation realizes that they have to fight them instead of being enchanted by the slogans of Islam which will not provide them security, food on the table and lights in the houses? If slogans were merely enough then Pakistan would have been the sole superpower as they are an expert in raising slogans without doing anything to improve their lives. People are getting killed in bombs and terrorists attacks and if somebody tries to help them than the question of sovereignty rears its head as if the killing of few hundred or thousand people does not matter to them and only thing that matters is the hatred of the U.S. What about the innocent lives being lost to bombs, terrorists’ attacks and killings that go unabated? Are their lives useless as compared to lives lost to drones and how do we know how many innocents are killed since the Taliban surround the area where the drones are targeted. Very few citizens of Pakistan has ever ventured in those lawless areas so they don’t have any idea what is going on and how many people (innocent and otherwise) are getting killed by Drones. There has been no survey how it impacts the lives of the people living in that area and how much it is beneficial or not to them. All these sovereignty slogans are being raised by those who do not know what is going on and who are just sitting in their living rooms making the figures up provided by the Taliban themselves or by the international news media. They are more concerned by these attacks then by the suicide bombers blowing themselves up in the name of the religion which they have failed to understand. It is the collective failure of the Pakistani nation to come to grips with these attacks and the easier way is to blame the drones for all their troubles. The silence of the Pakistani nation in this regard is troubling and unless it takes control of what is happening in their territory, these attacks will continue for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The case of curious silence in Pakistan

Recently a drone attack killed the No. 2 of the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP for short) on whose head the U.S. has put a bounty of USD 5 million and also there was money from the Pakistan government since apparently he was involved in many terror activities killing many people. Now after this elimination, instead of appreciation and a sigh of relief the Paks have started to complain about the same sovereignty and other claims of interference. And every time a high profile target is eliminated, the Paks have been very sad about the killing. It seems that they are unhappy about the elimination of these targets and I believe that they are acting more like the idiom “the enemy of my enemy is my friend". I have been following this war on terror for a long time, and I suspect that the hatred that the Paks have against the U.S. really supersede anything that is beneficial to them. No matter how much the U.S. helps them, majority of the Paks still believe that they were dragged into this war on terror and once the U.S. is out of Afghanistan or Pak gets out of its involvement, everything will be fine and Pakistan will become an island of peace where the lights will be on 24 hours a day, there will be no terrorism (as the root cause of the U.S. presence that fuels this will be gone) and all will be back to normal. Can the term denial gets any better than this?

On the lighter side-Movies-Warm Bodies (2013)

A different kind of zombie movie about a unique zombie who acts like a human and gets involved with a female human survivor and falls in love with her. More of a romantic than a horror movie with plenty of comedic scenes and action to accompany it. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies- Identity Theft (2013)-Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy

Funny movie about a mild mannered guy whose identity is stolen and who goes after the Identity thief who has made his life upside down. Good movie and Recommended

Monday, June 3, 2013

Everybody goes to heaven then what is hell for?-2

How did the people found out that they are going to heaven and the other sects or religion is going to burn in hell? So the hell is made for people who do not believe in someone else's criteria of what constitutes good deed in order to go to heaven and what may be a good deed to some person may be a bad deed to some other religion. For example, based on the scripture, the Christians eat pork and drink alcohol and the Muslims don’t. Similarly the Jews don’t observe Christmas. And the Hindus and the Sikhs and the Buddhists and countless other religions don’t believe in Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Noah and other prophets. But they all profess to go to heaven even if nobody has gone there and come back to tell us that if their loved ones are in heaven and not hell. Nowadays hell is emphasized less and less and a feel good atmosphere has been created where everybody will be in harmony in heaven that belongs to a particular religion or sect. Like Hell is for the other kind of people and not us. Well when there is heaven then certainly there is hell and some people are going to end up in hell no matter what the feel good attitude that is being preached says otherwise. So as heaven will be populated by people, then hell as well is populated as this is the concept of Justice that has to prevail otherwise what is hell for then?

Everybody goes to heaven then what is hell for?

As everything I write on my website is my personal opinion and I am not making a judgment on anything, this article although extremely sensitive to most people will be laid out in as fairly as possible based on my knowledge. So here it goes, there are more people affiliated with one religion or the other and everybody thinks or knows that they have a fair idea about where they are going. And the first and the last choice of place to go when you die has been Heaven. Every religion on earth thinks of that place where they will enjoy their eternal life in peace and tranquility with no worries and all luxury and everybody has an idea and they are pretty damn sure that they will end up in heaven. This core belief is so fundamental in every religion that all the religions that their followers will end up in heaven and the other followers will be sent to hell. Even the sects in each religion accuse each other of going to hell and assume that they are the rights to interpret the scripture and thus go to heaven. Now here is my question, if every religion (and various sects within that religion) thinks or are pretty damn sure that they are going to heaven so it leaves out only the non believers going to hell and even that is not the case anymore since recently the Pope has said that non believers can also go to heaven. So everybody thinks they are going to heaven then what is hell for? Because in some religion they say that even if you are really a bad person, GOD in his wisdom will forgive you and let you go to heaven (after some kind of punishment).

On the lighter side-Movies-Rurouni Kenshin (2012-Japan)

Based on the Japanese Magna, a Samurai assassin trying to redeem himself gets associated with a simple village girl but can't escape his past deeds. Super charged and ultra violent movie with lots of swordplay and extremely gory. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Azumi (2003-Japan)

Samurai mayhem about a female assassin who along with her fellow assassins are assigned to eliminate warlords responsible for continued bloodshed in Japan. Very violent and brutal but fun to watch for action fans. Recommended