Saturday, December 16, 2006

A dirty poem

" There once was a lesbian from Cancun
Who took a young man up to her room
where they argued all night as to
who had the right to do what and how much to whom"

Credits: Life of David Gale

Life of David Gale

I watched the movie " The Life of David Gale" starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet last week. I thought the movie was very entertaining with good suspense and kept me guessing until the end. I liked this quote by Kevin Spacey about Lacans philosophy

" Lacan’s point is that fantasies have to be unrealistic because the moment, the second – that you get what you seek, you don’t you cant want it any more.In order to continue to exist, desire must have its objects perpetually absent. Its not the “it” that you want, It’s the fantasy of “it” So desire supports crazy fantasie.

This is what pascal means when he says that we are only truly happy when daydreaming about future happiness or why we say the hunt is sweeter than the kill.

Or be careful what you wish for, not because you will get it but because, you are doomed to not to want it once you do. So the lesson of lacan is living by your wants will never make you happy. What it means to be fully human is to strive to live by ideas and ideals and not to measure your life by what you have attained in terms of your desires, but those small moments of integrity, compassion, rationality, even self-sacrifice. Because in the end, the only way we can measure the significance of our own lives is by valuing the lives of others. "

Monday, December 11, 2006

Meet Robert Fisk this week

The Middle East Children's Alliance presents

Iraq and Lebanon: Pointing the Finger of Guilt

Thursday, December 14, 2006, 7pm
First Presbyterian Church, 2619 Broadway in Oakland
Tickets: $20, no one turned away for lack of funds

Journalist and author Robert Fisk has lived in and written about the Middle East for more than thirty years. He is the Middle East Correspondent for The Independent of London and the winner of numerous journalism and human rights awards, including the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Prize from the Lannan Foundation.

Thursday, December 14, 2006, 9pm
Humanist Hall, 390 27th Street in Oakland (across from the lecture)
$50, includes priority seating at lecture

Buy tickets online at, call 1-800-838-3006 or send a check to MECA, 901 Parker Street, Berkeley, CA 94710

This event will be wheelchair accessible and ASL interpreted.

Co-sponsored by the Armenian National Committee

For info: 510-548-0542 or

Friday, December 08, 2006

God in the words of an athiest

Richard Dawkins, is a celebrated biologist and is well know for his war against fundamentalism in religions. Here is a small video of him describing God in the old testament.

Warning : The following might be offensive for some. So read at your own risk

Richard Dawkins: The God of the old testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction. Jealous and proud of it, apathy, unjust, unforgiving, control freak, a vindictive blood thirsty ethnic cleanser, a masogenistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, philicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasachistic, capriciously melovalent bully.

Here is the video

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The pleasure of finding things out

This video is an excellent 40 min interview with Nobel laurete and physicist Richard Feynman. I liked his answer to the question whether he considered his work worthy enough to win a nobel prize. Here is the text transcript of his answer.

Richard Feynman:

I don’t know . I don’t know anything about the nobel prize and whats worth what. If the people in the Swedish academy decide that x y or z wins a nobel prize, then so be it

I don’t have anything to do with the Nobel prize, It’s a pain in the neck. I don’t like honours. I am appreciated for the work I did and the people who appreciated and I noted other physicists who used my work, I don’t need anything else. I don’t think there is any sense to anything else. I don’t see that it makes a point that some one in the Swedish academy decides that this work is noble enough to receive a prize. I already got the prize, the prize is the pleasure of finding the thing out. The kick in a discovery. The observation of other people use it. Those are the real things. The honors are unreal to me. I don’t believe in honors. That bothers me . Honors bothers me. Honors are epaulets, honors are uniforms, My Pop brought me up this way. I cant stand it. It hurts me.

When I was in High school, one of the first honors I got was to be a member of the arista, which is a group of kids, who got good grades. And everybody wanted to be a member of the Arista. When I got into the arista I discovered is that what they did in their meetings was to sit around to discuss who else was worthy to join the wonderful group we are. This kind of thing bothers me psychologically for one or another reason, I don’t understand myself. Honors from that date to now always bothered me.

Here is the video

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Why socialism fails ?

4 Ways to spend money. These are the most insightful thougts on I have ever heard on spending money. Clearly explains why socialism has been a failure in the history of man kind. Milton Friedman is a genius.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Globalization of Inequality

P. Sainath, an award winning photo journalist spoke on the issue of globalization of inequality last year. His speech gives insights into some facts about the so called "Tiger economy" of India, that will never make to main stream media. The best part of his speech was the ending, when he speaks of the analogy between us and the guests of Nero's grand party. Nero, a roman emperor, in an attemptto avert the public's attention from the fire that burnt down the roman capital, decided to host the grandest party in the history of Roman Empire. He used wretched prisoners as fuel to generate light during the party. Sainath says, we are like Nero's guests who could not stand up against such an inhuman act, when we ignore hundereds of farmers suicides in India with an idle yawn. The speech has many interesting facts about how the tsunami affected the economy of the countries that it struck. It is definetely worth watching. Here is the video

Monday, October 30, 2006

Grace Personified

I watched Michael J Fox's intervew on CBS in response to Rush Limbaugh mocking him on his talk show. I was amazed at the grace with which he responded to the inhuman criticism by Rush
Limbaugh. He never resorted to mudslinging or any kind of inflammatory language. I was impressed with the amazing clarity of his thought and he did not seem to be annoyed at all. He deserves a great applause for the way he handled the controversy. His civilized attitude is what that is so badly needed in this world.

Here is the video

My attempt at book reading

I am a poor reader and there are hardly a few books, I can claim to have read completely. Most of the books did not make it past the first 25 pages. My attempts to read non technical books started about a couple of years ago . I started with some popular fiction titles. Most of the attempts failed to last longer than 15 min. After buying about 10 books and having failed to read any of them completely, I figured fiction was not something I loved to read. I felt I had a liking for philosophy and tried to my hand at a few books on philosophy. The same disturbing pattern of loosing interest within 15 pages into the book continued. Still, what ever little I understood from the writings of Emerson and Betrand Russell, opened up a new way of perceving my life.

My first claim to reading a book completely came shortly afterwards when I read and reread the "The conquest of happiness " by Bertrand Russell. The book definitely enabled me be more happier than I was, prior to reading the book. My thirst for understanding this human emotion was not satisfied yet. Then I had the fortune of watching Prof Tal's course on Positive Psychology. I think this was one of the best moments in my academic development. This course mentioned Nathaniel Branden and his literature, quite a few times. This prompted me to read Brandens " Psychology of self esteem". I think this book can be the best gift you can give to anyone you care about. Branden's understanding and presentation of the concept of self esteem and the way it is interlinked to our personality demystified a number of false notions and beliefs I carried all my life. I believe, a majority of humanity carry these false beliefs and sabotaging practises and this book is an excellent tool to discover and overcome them.

Since I read this book, I am trying to implement 2 practises, which according to Branden is essential to improve out self esteem.

1) Be Self assertive: For the first time in my life, I am trying to be consciously aware of my desires and feelings. I am trying to spend most of time, being myself instead of trying to be someonelse . I dont feel scared or embarassed no more to say 'I dont know' If didnot know something. I am not scared to say ' I donot agree' if i did not agree with some one's point of view.

2) Be Self Consious : I am trying more than ever to be self conscious of my actions and the events happening as a result of my actions. I am more willing to consciously analyze the reasons of some unfortunate events in my life. I had been avoiding the reality so far and was repressing the rational evaluation of my effort so that I would not feel guilty for the inadequacy in my effort to set things right. Little did I know that, this behavior was a definite recipe for disaster.

I have benifited immensely by reading this book and would recommend to any one who wants to better understand why things happen to him, the way they happen and how he or she can make things happen rather than wait for them to happen.

Thank you Branden for this amazing work

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Federer, the Invincible

I had the fortune to watch the US open finals today between, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. It was amazing to watch Federer play with such ease and finesse. Undoubtedly he must be the best player the game has ever produced. He had some anxious moments in the second and third sets of the game, but he managed to raise his game everytime Roddick seemed to pull off a surprise.

He seemed very calm on the court and rarely vented his emotions. The best part of the game 2 succesive games in the third set when Federer saved 4 break points and Andy followed it up by saving 5 break points. These two great players rivalry is a treat to watch.

Andy had a great serve and good forehand. Roger seemed to be best in every facet of a game. If there is one part that had a considerable amount of improvement, it was his backhand.