Monthly Archives: December 2006

Mixed metaphor bhath

Shane Warne‘s announcement of his retirement from the game has seen cricket writers employ every adjective known to man and beast to describe the beauty of his bowling. And Nirmal Shekar in The Hindu takes the cake and the bakery by talking of Mozart, Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Yeti in the same breath as the Sheikh of Tweak. Read the full piece.


Shane Warne has “a brain in which the neurons fired away as in a hungry cheetah’s on a dinner run behind a springbuck.”

“There may be quite a few instances of such awe-inspiring tango featuring the human hand and an inanimate object in life itself Van Gogh and the paint-brush, Pandit Ravi Shankar and the strings of a sitar …”

“Warne virtually redefined the game at a time when world class leg-spinners were about as easy to find in cricket as the Yeti in the Himalayas”

“A raging cyclone of energy”

“To judge the Aussie genius on the basis of such numbers would be as big a folly as attempting to determine Mozart‘s place in the history of western classical music on the basis of the number of symphonies he wrote.”


How Britney Spears “K-fed up”

Slate is one of the more exciting webzines around, and The Explainer—a daily feature in which some mystery or the other is explained, like “Does the US President have to carry a passport when he goes abroad?”—is one of its most readable features.

But there are some questions from readers which even the whizes at The Explainer find it difficult to explain, and a few of the mystifying ones have been compiled on the site as part of its coverage of the year gone by.

Sample some of these—and go to Slate to enjoy the rest:

1) Why do train whistles at night always sound lonely and mournful? Not so in the daytime.

2) How clean is the bar of soap in a public bathroom? Is it “self-cleaning” since it’s soap?

3) When we are approaching another person, like in a hallway, why do we step to our left? That is, try and pass right-shoulder to right-shoulder?

4) If a group of passengers on a hijacked plane wanted to, cold they bring a plane down by all of them using their cellphones at the same time?

5) How can I tell if I was the first person to use the term “K-fed-up” in relation to Britney Spears‘ divorce?

6) Can you tell me how long it will take if you eat rat poison to see if it is going to affect? Please e-mail me back. Because my neice ate some.

7) Why did Zidane head-butt his opponent in the World Cup final? Do the French not fight with their fists?

8) What comes after 999 trillion?

9) Can someone be forced to masturbate?

If you don’t get this, you know…

Everyone thinks he knows how dumb President George W Bush is, but had anybody suspected he would be as dumb as the American stand-up comedian Conan O’Brien makes him out to be?


“Today at the White House, President Bush signed a deal that would send nuclear fuel and know-how to India.

When asked about the Indian deal, President Bush said, “It’s the least we can do after stealing their land.”

Nieman Fellowship in Global Health Reporting

Bharat Kumar H alerts us to the Nieman Fellowship in Global Health Reporting.

The Nieman foundation will award three fellowships for the 2007-2008 academic year: one to a U.S. journalist, one to a European journalist and one to a journalist from a developing country.

During their Nieman year, the global health reporting fellows will be part of the 2008 Class of Nieman Fellows and will participate in weekly activities at the Nieman Foundation. They will pursue a concentrated course of study at Harvard’s School of Public Health and will have access to faculty and courses across the university through the Harvard Initiative for Global Health.

At the conclusion of their academic year at Harvard, the fellows will begin four months of journalistic field work in a developing country. At the conclusion of their field work, the fellows will be expected to produce work based on this experience and their academic studies.

For more information about these fellowships and an application, go to the Nieman Foundation’s Web site:
Applications must be postmarked by Jan. 31, 2007.

Really, really short stories

Can we tell a story in 50 words? A story—not a report, not an assignment—a real story, a work of fiction.

Some people are trying, and here are some fine examples of very, very short stories which are exactly 50 words long.

SALMAN RUSHDIE/ Another Ulysees: Ulysses comes home after a lifetime’s wandering. His old wife, Penelope, has remarried, and has a beautiful daughter, Telemacha, whom the warrior soon seduces. Old Penelope bursts into their love-nest and kills herself. Telemacha steps over the dead body, comes towards the appalled hero and opens her cruel young arms.

JOHN LE CARRE/ The Eye of the Needle: A rich man died and asked God, “How as I?” God scratched his beard thoughtfully, but made no answer. “I strove,” the rich man protested, “I savaged my competitors! I gave millions to charity! Are you saying you’ve never heard of me?” God sighed, “Only from your competitors,” he said.

MURIEL SPARK/ An ordeal: Strange that the dog should give his emergency bark which normally he reserved for the night-prowling fox. This was daylight. Out of the car stepped our visitors. Three days later, Emma lay fatally stabbed on the kitchen floor. They stepped back into their car. The dog leapt with joy.