Remembering Myself, Travestying Time…and Phonying towards Perfection



Quote #107

M. Adam and his fellow apothecaries sold Perpetual Pills of metallic antimony. These were swallowed, irritated the mucous membrane as they passed through the intestine, thus acting as a purgative, and could be recovered from the chamber pot, washed and used again, indefinitely. After the first capital outlay, there was no further need for spending money on cathartics. [….] Perpetual Pills were treated as heirlooms and after passing through one generation were passed on to the next.

(On 17th century France)

Aldous Huxley. The Devils of Loudun. 1952.


Thus Spake Luftmensch, Ep. 7: Lombroso and the Art of Spotting Uggos

When Cesare Lombroso, the 19th century Italian, the “father of criminal anthropology”, made the astounding statement that you could measure criminality based on a person’s looks, the world (his world) rolled on to its side, clutching its stomach, peeling with laughter. A person’s head was the repository of malignant, murderous secrets, secrets which could be excavated without prying open his skull but merely by looking. Among the telltale signs of the criminal were the enormous jaw, large ears, thin upper lip, tattooing, gambling, idling, and so forth.

Lombroso faced ridicule and opposition from various quarters of academia, explicitly on grounds of the pseudoscientific footing, obviously subjective data collection, and prejudicial assumptions, although secretly they worried about the Lombrosian yardstick of perfect form. The critics feared, with sufficient cause, that they themselves were not exempt from censure when it came to looks.

Continue reading “Thus Spake Luftmensch, Ep. 7: Lombroso and the Art of Spotting Uggos”

Thus Spake Luftmensch, Ep. 6: Problems of Mathematics

Being a Rant on the Gross Pretensions of School-book Mathematics.

I dreaded mathematics in school. One of the reasons was that it was a language insufferably alien to me. Another was that there could only be a single right answer (derived along a single path) to a Maths problem atleast for the ones we got in school. Confronted by the quintessential maths problem, the one involving workers and the days they took to build a drasted wall, I would be flummoxed trying to unravel the mysterious solution to this clearly rather taciturn question.

If a worker works 6 hours per day and takes 20 days to finish a wall all by himself, how many days will it take to finish if 3 more workers join him and they work 4 hours a day?

I don’t even know if this is a real question but that’s not the point. The point is I know nothing about those workers. If that single worker was me, I’d probably do less work when in company with three others who’d possibly be yapping politics and gossip as they worked together as a solid team.

Continue reading “Thus Spake Luftmensch, Ep. 6: Problems of Mathematics”

Quote #100

You will learn as you get older, just as I learned that autumn, that no father is perfect. Grown-ups are complicated creatures, full of quirks and secrets. Some have quirkier quirks and deeper secrets than others, but all of them, including one’s own parents, have two or three private habits hidden up their sleeves that would probably make you gasp if you knew about them.

Danny the Champion of the World. Roald Dahl.

Quote #99

Do not do unto others as you would have they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.

George Bernard Shaw. The Collected Works.

Quote #96

The story of the whale swallowing Jonah, though a whale is large enough to do it, borders greatly on the marvelous; but it would have approached nearer to the idea of miracle if Jonah had swallowed the whale.


Thomas Paine. The Age of Reason. 1796.

“To err…”

“It’s our basic right to be fuck-ups. This civilization was founded on fuck-ups. And you know what? That makes me proud.”

“A..and me.”

“What is it they say — to err is…?”

“To err is human.”

“To err is human. So, er…”

(Gary King and Andy)
from The World’s End. Directed by Edgar Wright.

Formulaic yet Surprising: MOANA (2016)

moanaWell, I must say I approached the film with the old misgivings and contempt I’ve specially reserved for Disney (and of that kind) products. The change of setting, though, is welcome. The bodies of the characters broke stereotypes yet crafted new ones. For a start, the protagonist looked healthy. And the delineation of the hair, achieving milestones ever since Brave, was dazzling here. The deranged rooster as sidekick is hilarious, and especially so since I knew one of its kind, unbelievably daft and unfathomable. The story of the young adult girl having a ‘dream’ and pursuing it no matter what her father says or any stick-in-the-mud detractors might say, and finally achieving success and glory — same-old theme — is predictably boring.

That is, until Maui aka Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson started to sing “You’re Welcome”. The quirky animation, the genius of the “animated” tattoos (the only hand drawn animation in the film, ref. Wikipedia), and the cheeky suavity of the lyrics, found me actually, unconsciously enjoying it. I soon retained my composure, however, and was back at nit-picking, when alas! Continue reading “Formulaic yet Surprising: MOANA (2016)”

Ali G to Buzz Aldrin

“Are you upset that Michael Jackson gets all the credit for the moonwalk but you were the first geezer to actually do it?”

Sacha Baron Cohen

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