Wednesday, November 24, 2004

100 Greatest Poems ever written

Top 10 are
[The doubt of future foes exiles my present joy]
Queen Elizabeth I

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

A Daughter of Eve
Christina Rossetti

A Nocturnal Reverie
Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea

A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General
Jonathan Swift

A Vision upon the Fairy Queen
Sir Walter Raleigh

Adam Posed
Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea

Grace Cavalieri

Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms
Thomas Moore

Check out the poems themselves and the remaining 90 on

How the Million bucks on Reality shows actually works out

From its first publicity release regarding For Love Or Money, NBC has played up the angle that the winning bachelorette will collect a Survivor-sized $1 million prize if she chooses money instead of love. However, astute viewers on the Reality TV World message boards have discovered that NBC's claim, like bachelor Rob Campos' claim that there was "absolutely nothing irregular" about his service in the Marines, is seriously misleading.

NBC will indeed pay the selected bachelorette $1 million ... but only at the state-lottery-like rate of $25,000 per year over 40 years (if, indeed, she's still alive 40 years from now). NBC is offering a lump-sum option to the lucky lady, if she prefers to get the present value of her winnings now, but it has not revealed the anticipated future interest rate at which NBC would discount the winnings to determine the lump sum.

If the rate was similar to the current level of interest rates -- say, 5% -- then the winner would still be able to abandon Rob on the altar and make off with about $450,000 -- less than half of the reported million, but still comparable to other reality shows. However, if NBC not unreasonably figures that future interest rates would bounce back to historic levels and used a higher rate -- say, 8% -- the winner would come out with less than $325,000 -- less than a third of the million. And, if NBC is really chintzy, it might pick an even-higher discount rate -- say, 10% or 11%.

In other words, the winner won't get a million dollars, regardless of NBC's claims to the contrary. She won't even get a half-million. She may be lucky to get a quarter-million. On the other hand, if she chooses the cash, however little it is, she won't get stuck with Rob. Therefore, we think the "hard choice" is still an easy call, even if the cash prize were only a U.S. savings bond.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

For Love or Money 4 - Spoiler


R u like me ?

do u watch just the last 5 minutes of reality shows, just to see who gets eliminated or fired ?

If so, then heres the spoiler for Season 4 of "For Love or Money" (Its true because this comes from the US where its already been aired, ages ago. - aah, the wonders of internet)

Rachel & Amanda are both brought back for Part 4. No major fireworks on screen, so if thats what u were going to watch it for, avoid!

At the end of first episode the 15 guys have to chose between the 2. 8 choos Rachel, 7 choose Amanda, so Amanda has to leave with the 7 guys who chose her. They are eliminated.

Last episode Rachel chooses Caleb, who also chooses her. His cheque is worth $1. She again choses Caleb over the money.

But apparently one month after the show screened in the US, they split up and Rachel is currently considering posing for Playboy.

Preston and PJ are supposedly still going around.

Now arent you Indian viewers, glad abt this info. Now u save at least 10 hours of watching this inane show, just because u have to know who got thrown out this time. Use this extra time productively to cook up a special something for dinner.


Inside Scoop on "the Simple Life"

It sounds like such an easy thing to do: take two pampered, spoiled, beautiful young women to rural America and film them living "The Simple Life." However, as Fox and Bunim-Murray Productions are learning, there is nothing simple about it ... and keeping it a secret isn't simple either. has been told some exclusive details of events during filming of the upcoming Fox reality TV show The Simple Life, starring the socialite team of 22-year-old hotel heiress Paris Hilton and 21-year-old music heiress Nicole RIchie.

to make sure that a local family would welcome them, Fox built an addition onto the house of the people with whom they were staying, at Fox's expense. No mobile homes for Paris and Nicole!

Paris and Nicole's skimpy attire has certainly drawn attention ... and criticism, although mostly behind their backs. One local referred to them as the "nearly naked models." Apparently, many of the locals are giving them a wide berth -- but at least their looks impress the teenage boys (and their underlying wealth doesn't hurt any, either). Needless to say, the teenage girls are jealous.

Paris and Nicole have been stuck with an old blue truck for use when they are being filmed. The truck is a piece of junk and has broken down several times. However, when they aren't being filmed, the two vixens apparently have use of an SUV. Not exactly the simple life, after all. In fact, another local referred to the entire venture as "bogus bullsh--."

Fox's The Simple Life, starring Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie -- a show which may have pushed the boundaries of reality TV too far. Under closer examination, some of the sequences on The Simple Life seem to be nothing more than improvisational comedy, no different from a Whose Line Is It Anyway? set in the Ozarks with two amateur comediennes.

Take, for instance, the scene in the show's second episode where Paris and Nicole, while working at a dairy, fill glass milk bottles with a hose, while Danny Council, the dairy farmer who owns "Danny's Dairy Farm," pushes them to get more bottles completed for a rapidly-approaching shipment on a delivery truck. Ultimately, according to the sequence as aired, Paris and Nicole were pouring water from a bucket into the bottles to deceive Danny and fill their quota.

Our summary of the episode notes that Paris and Nicole were told by Danny that the milk was unpasteurized and asks whether it's legal to sell unpasteurized milk in Arkansas. The answer? No.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, all cow's milk sold in the state must be pasteurized. A dairy can sell up to 100 gallons of unpasteurized goat's milk in a month, but customers for that milk must come to the farm to buy it. Thus, there is no way that unpasteurized milk could be bottled for delivery ... and, anyway, this dairy farm just had cows, so all of its milk would have to be pasteurized before sale. Under state law, either Danny should be in jail, or the only thing "real" about this scene was that it "really" aired on TV.

One of our favorite writers, Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Sun-Times, noted that People magazine talked to dairyman Danny Council. Should Danny be in jail? No, because the scene was completely staged. Said Danny, "None of that [milk] meets health department standards. It was totally for the show." In fact, even the presence of the glass bottles that Paris and Nicole filled was fake -- the show supplied them, apparently because glass bottles are more in keeping with the "look" that the producers wanted for rural Arkansas.

So ... the bottle-filling, the delivery deadline, the devious filling of the bottles with water ... every bit of the scene ... was all play-acting by Paris, Nicole and Danny. We fail to see how this is different from improvisational acting.

Although most of the show's participants are bound by confidentiality agreements and aren't talking, we find it difficult to believe that many of the other events portrayed in the show so far are any more "real" than this scene was. In fact, although The Simple Life was billed as a reality-sitcom, it more closely resembles scripted comedy, since even such choices about what activities to perform and what type of props to use seem to be made by the producers ... and, perhaps, the writers.

Now we know why the local teenage girls were jealous of Paris Hilton during her stay in Altus, Arkansas to film Fox's The Simple Life.

The New York Post reports that, during filming, 22-year-old Paris had a "fling" with 18-year-old Trae Lindley, at the time a high-school senior. Only problem: Trae, who ranked third in his high-school class and had been named homecoming king, had a long-time steady girlfriend: Carolyn Cains, the homecoming queen. However, to Trae, the choice between the two was easy; he wanted to see Paris in the springtime.

Paris met Trae during one of her early "day jobs" for the show (which was largely filmed in May 2003): working in the Lakeside Food Mart. She picked him out of a crowd of kids in the store and asked him to "'stay here and talk awhile,'" he said. "I was too nervous at the time to remember what I was talking about. I couldn't even remember what was said after I was done talking to her." But Paris had enough wits about her to ask for his phone number before he left.

Almost immediately thereafter, Trae and Paris were having two-hour phone conversations, and, in his words, "people knew she had the hots for me and I had the hots for her." Exit Carolyn, enter Paris.

During filming, Trae took Paris to the movies, the mall and the bowling alley ... ending up with plenty of camera time while locking lips with the hotel heiress. Paris came to his high school graduation, sparking a near-brawl with Carolyn and her friends, and went out with him to local restaurants.

A manager of Fat Tuesday's decribed Trae and Paris as "really cute," calling their relationship "more of an innocent, teenage-type relationship." In other words, except for the fight with the "other woman," it had little in common with Paris' much more public relationship with Rick Salomon, the married owner of "Beverly Hills Pimps & Hos" and Paris' sexual partner on the infamous sex tape on the Internet.

While this characterization may be hard to believe, even Trae's parents have nice things to say about Paris and her co-star Nicole Richie, whom they entertained for dinner. Trae's father George, who owns a real-estate company in nearby Ozark, said that "they were very well-mannered. Paris was very nice, very sweet and not like she is portrayed in magazines." Trae's mother Tammy added that "they were very normal when they came to dinner. They thanked us." Nice to know that Paris and Nicole still retain a semblance of good manners when not on videotape or drugs.

Ultimately, Trae had to make a choice. When Paris returned to L.A., she offered to take Trae with her and to find him work as a model. But Trae, who would have been giving up a full scholarship to the University of Arkansas and doesn't have a multi-million dollar trust fund to fall back on, showed that his parents raised him with good sense by turning her down and heading for college instead.

Trae has remained in contact with Paris, although contact has become harder since the sex-tape scandal broke. Says Trae, "When I did speak to her, she was really stressed out and said she can't leave the house anymore, she can't have fun. I feel embarrassed for her. I feel like she got a lot of crap from it and I feel sorry for a lot of what she's going through."

Shooting on Fox's controversial The Simple Life reality show, starring LA socialites-dilletantes Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, in Altus, Arkansas wrapped up a week early, apparently due to troubles between the "stars" and the crew, according to a poster from the area. According to this poster, Paris and Nicole threatened to quit the show after being reprimanded for spending four hours on the phone. Although the show still had planned to shoot for two more weeks, Paris and Nicole spent little time with the locals during the next week, and the production came to an unscheduled end that Friday.

, the producers and the crew clearly seem to have been "loathed" by the locals, for their apparent intent to portray the Ozarks and Arkansas as one step regressed from the Clampett family in The Beverly Hillbillies. The Fort Smith (AR) Times Record reports that the producers, for example, set up a phony "grape-stomping" booth at the Altus Spring Gala for Paris and Nicole (who wisely declined to take part) and filmed unkempt areas around town whenever possible.

Even an 11-year-old girl watching the filming got the point, stating that the producers "are making fun of us. ... They were saying, ‘They’re so totally poor,'" Only the mayor of Altus, who still hoped (forlornly?) that the show would portray Altus in a positive light, seemed comfortable with the filming.

As for Paris and Nicole, yes, they may be beautiful and spoiled, but they at least seemed to be open to trying new things and avoiding rural stereotypes ... certainly more so than the producers and crew were

In The Simple Life, the only thing "real" appears to be the slender, tanned, silicone-free bodies of Paris and Nicole. Will that be enough to compensate for the most unreal "reality" show to ever hit the U.S. airwaves?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The best films you've never seen

The Los Angeles Times film critic was in an L.A.-area bookstore and
stopped by the DVD section. There, prominently featured, was a display
devoted to the films in his new book, "Never Coming to a Theater Near

"It was like they'd made a movie out of my book," he says, still in
wonderment, in a phone interview from his southern California home.

Turan doesn't expect bookstores and video stores to routinely build
shrines to his recommendations. He does hope, however, that "Never
Coming to a Theater Near You" serves as a handbook for curious film
lovers who, in looking for a good film, need a way to tunnel through
heaps of dreck in order to find worthy films that just didn't get much
attention the first time around.

"I envision this book to be a guide for the perplexed -- to be like a
video store in your mind," he says. "People are so hungry for the kind
of films this book represents, entertaining works that don't talk down
to them."

The 150-plus movies Turan writes about in "Never Coming" -- an edited
collection of his reviews of the past decade or so -- are ones he
describes as "indelible ... I would see any of these again in a moment."

The book is organized for easy browsing at a video store, divided into
sections on English-language films, foreign-language films,
documentaries, classics and retrospectives.

Turan isn't necessarily biased against studio films, or in favor of
obscure independent works, complex foreign-language films or
good-for-you documentaries.

Indeed, many of the films he highlights had top-notch casts and earned
good reviews at the time. However, for whatever reason, they simply
slipped through the cracks at the multiplex -- and,even when they
emerged at the video store six months later, were buried under a sea of
blockbuster effluvia.

Among the better-known films reviewed in the book are "Ronin," a
crackling thriller starring Robert De Niro and directed by John
Frankenheimer (with some "impressive car chases," Turan writes with
understatement); "High Fidelity," the John Cusack film based on the Nick
Hornby novel about music and relationships; "Spirited Away," the
already-classic work of Japanese animation; "Theremin: An Electronic
Odyssey," a documentary about the inventor of the strange
electronic instrument; and "The Third Man," director Carol Reed's
classic work, from a script by Graham Greene, set -- and filmed -- in
the bombed-out rubble of postwar Vienna (&featuring Orson Welles' great
"cuckoo clock" speech).

Turan also singles out lesser-known works such as "Pipe Dream" (with
Martin Donovan and Mary-Louise Parker), the French film "Dry Cleaning"
and the documentary "East Side Story" -- the
latter a particular favorite.

"It sounds like parody," says Turan of this film, which is about the
socialist musicals of the USSR and Iron Curtain countries: films with
titles such as "Tractor Drivers" and "No Cheating Darling," made under
the supervision of allegedly humorless apparatchiks. Stalin was actually
a fan of the musicals.

"There is stuff at which your jaw just drops, and yet they were hugely
popular," says Turan. "It's an interesting corner of film history."

Though the book doesn't have any particular theme, one striking thread
is the names that seem to appear over and over, such as writer and
director David Mamet, or now-famous people who were unknown at the
time they made these small films, such as "Lord of the Rings" director
Peter Jackson (represented by "Heavenly Creatures") and Oscar winner
Russell Crowe (who was in the 1992 Australian film "Proof").

"It's great to see talented people have success," says Turan. Moreover,
their films are accessible even to people who don't live near a
well-stocked video store, thanks to Netflix, and other
Web-based services, he says.

Turan, who's been the L.A. Times film critic for more than a decade,
knows his picks are subjective. ("God doesn't talk to me," he says.) If
ticket buyers want to enjoy car-exploding
action films, that's their prerogative.

"I never try to change anyone's mind," he says. "It can't be done. Even
critics don't want to
acknowledge how personal their taste is."

But he can't help being frustrated at most of the fare he's had to watch
over the years. Yes, he gets paid to do it, but the work can be soul
deadening after awhile.

"It's not just that we see bad films, but bad films of a type we've seen
so many times before," says Turan.

The films in "Never Coming to a Theater Near You," he says, make his
profession worthwhile.

"These movies fulfill what films can do," he says. "The films in the
book are ones that saved my life."

Your Hobbit name & your elven name

pretty neat.....

Thanks Nitin for sending this in.

Poems of Donald Rumsfeld

Thanks to Madhukar :

One would have never suspected that this guy has the gift of the Muse, and the heart of a poet!!!
as the Slate site where I discovered this work of art, states:

Rumsfeld's poetry is paradoxical: It uses playful language to address the most somber subjects: war, terrorism, mortality. Much of it is about indirection and evasion: He never faces his subjects head on but weaves away, letting inversions and repetitions confuse and beguile. His work, with its dedication to the fractured rhythms of the plainspoken vernacular, is reminiscent of William Carlos Williams'. Some readers may find that Rumsfeld's gift for offhand, quotidian pronouncements is as entrancing as Frank O'Hara's.


The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.
—Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

Glass Box
You know, it's the old glass box at the—
At the gas station,
Where you're using those little things
Trying to pick up the prize,
And you can't find it.
And it's all these arms are going down in there,
And so you keep dropping it
And picking it up again and moving it,
Some of you are probably too young to remember those—
Those glass boxes,
But they used to have them
At all the gas stations
When I was a kid.
—Dec. 6, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing

A Confession
Once in a while,
I'm standing here, doing something.
And I think,
"What in the world am I doing here?"
It's a big surprise.
—May 16, 2001, interview with the New York Times

You're going to be told lots of things.
You get told things every day that don't happen.
It doesn't seem to bother people, they don't—
It's printed in the press.
The world thinks all these things happen.
They never happened.
Everyone's so eager to get the story
Before in fact the story's there
That the world is constantly being fed
Things that haven't happened.
All I can tell you is,
It hasn't happened.
It's going to happen.
—Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing

The Digital Revolution
Oh my goodness gracious,
What you can buy off the Internet
In terms of overhead photography!

A trained ape can know an awful lot
Of what is going on in this world,
Just by punching on his mouse
For a relatively modest cost!
—June 9, 2001, following European trip

The Situation
Things will not be necessarily continuous.
The fact that they are something other than perfectly continuous
Ought not to be characterized as a pause.

There will be some things that people will see.
There will be some things that people won't see.
And life goes on.
—Oct. 12, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing

I think what you'll find,
I think what you'll find is,
Whatever it is we do substantively,
There will be near-perfect clarity
As to what it is.
And it will be known,
And it will be known to the Congress,
And it will be known to you,
Probably before we decide it,
But it will be known.
—Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Not Just a Mom

Not "Just a Mom"

A woman named Emily renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk's
office was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation. She
hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

"What I mean is," explained the recorder, "do you have a job, or are you
just a...

"Of course I have a job," snapped Emily. "I'm a mother."

"We don't list 'mother' as an occupation... 'housewife' covers it," said
the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same
situation, this time at our own Town Hall. The Clerk was obviously a
career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title
like, "Official Interrogator" or "Town Registrar." "What is your
occupation?" she probed.

What made me say it, I do not know... The words simply popped out. "I'm
a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human
The clerk paused, ballpoint pen frozen in midair, and looked up as
though she had not heard right.

I repeated the title slowly, emphasizing the most significant words.
Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written in bold, black
ink on the official questionnaire.

"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest, "just what you do in
your field?"

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply,
"I have a continuing program of research, (what mother doesn't), in the
laboratory and in the field, (normally I would have said indoors and
out). I'm working for my Masters, (the whole darned family), and already
have four credits, (all daughters). Of course, the job is one of the
most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree?) and I
often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it). But the job is more
challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more
of a satisfaction rather than just money."

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she
completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I
was greeted by my lab assistants - ages 13, 7, and 3. Upstairs I could
hear our new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby), in the
child-development program, testing out a new vocal pattern.

I felt triumphant! I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on
the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to
mankind than "just another mother."

Motherhood...What a glorious career! Especially when there's a title on
the door.

Does this make grandmothers "Senior Research Associates in the field of
Child Development and Human Relations" and great grandmothers "Executive
Senior Research Associates"? I think so!!!

I also think it makes Aunts "Associate Research Assistants".

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