Thursday, June 29, 2006

Football - a matter of life or death?

Its 3am and you are sleeping in bed. All of a sudden, you wake up and smell smoke. Your instincts kick in - oh my gosh, there's a fire! Whats the first thing you grab?

a) your kids
b) your coat
c) your wallet
d) none of the above

Well if your a "die"-hard Beijing soccer fan, the answer is none of the above. As reported on Reuters today: (see link -

"When the neighbors shouted 'fire!', I took my little baby and ran out in my nightclothes," the man's wife told the paper. "My husband paid no attention to the danger, just grabbed the television and put it under his arm. After getting out of the house, he then set about finding an electric socket to plug in and continue watching his game."

If only we had that much dedication to the more important things in our life

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Another case of misrepresentation?

Here is a picture posted by Reuters today with the following caption:

"Israeli soldiers sing and dance as they prepare to enter the Gaza Strip at the Rafah border crossing area on the Israeli-Gaza border June 28, 2006. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis (ISRAEL)"

Three questions:

1) Is this caption accurate? I.e. Was this photo really taken of soldiers celebrating their return to Gaza?

2) Guess which newspaper/news agencies will probably post this picture in their online/print editions today and tomorrow?

3) What is your reaction to such a picture?

Here are my thoughts:

1) Whether the caption is accurate or not - I can easily see this picture being labeled with a different more deceptive caption. For example, "Israeli soldiers fire into the air after Israel's destruction of Gaza's only power station throwing millions of innocent Palestinians into darkness".

2) Perhaps a certain newspaper that was recently rebuked by the president of the US for leaking a certain story?

3) I think this picture is dangerous whether I can justify it or not.

Your thoughts?

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Lighter side of Flag Burning

Photo courtesy of

Ok - this is a "hot" topic of the moment in the United States. The US government is proposing a constitutional amendment to make it illegal to burn the United States flag. At the center of this "burning" issue is whether or not flag burning falls under the right of free speech.

Personally, I am not sure why this is currently such a hot topic and deserves more attention than lets say, the environment, poverty, AIDS, reliance on oil, etc. Does this issue really matter to the now close to 300 million americans living in this country? To take a phrase from Billy Joel - "We didnt start the fire". I would bet that the reason why this issue has hit home lately, is because outside the US, flag burning is a common form of expression against democracy, and against countries that depicted a certain "prophet" in a form that is sacreligious to a certain religion. When the media splashes pictures and video feeds of flag burning in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and other countries outside of the US, people take personal offense and making it illegal is the only way to counter these acts.

Or just maybe the elders in the Senate and the House are having their "elderly moments"
- see

In my humble opinion, we have lost focus. I dont deny that this is an important issue and I am not taking sides but honestly, why are we wasting time and money on an issue that does not physically effect us and not on the issues that do? Is this really the "R" Factor in our life?

Your thoughts?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The "Toilet Specialist"

The world's most germaphobic and probably cleanest country, Singapore, has stepped up its campaign against filth and garbage. This campaign is not taking place on its streets but rather in its bathrooms, yes thats right, its bathrooms.

As reported by the Associated Press today, Singapore's National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore-based World Toilet College have created a training program to boost the status and skills of the city-state's toilet cleaners. The aim of the program is to boost the image and wages of professional toilet cleaners by training them to do more on the job. The World Toilet College is flying in three Japanese experts to teach the rigorous three day course. Completion of the course will guarantee the cleaners a pay raise and a new title, Toilet Specialist. As quoted in the article in Singapore's "Straits Times":

"Cleaners have low morale and low skills," the paper quoted Jack Sim, the World Toilet College's founder, as saying. "We want to professionalize them and teach them to be proud of their jobs."

(see link for verification -

Ok here just a few things I have learned from this story or must comment on (after laughing for a good 5 minutes):

1. Japan is not only the world's super power in technology, but apparantly in toilet cleaning

2. I wonder what the World Toilet College's PR strategy is to attract good talented professionals - here is a suggestion - "We flush out our competition"

3. If word of this story gets out - it will no longer be politically correct to use the word janitor, house-keeper or cleaning lady. The new PC word will be "toilet specialist"

4. "Cleaners have low moral" - thats a shocker - I hope this college is for individuals looking for a second career and not a primary source of education.

The jokes are endless. I hope one of the late night comedies picks up this story.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Germany and Poland - friends again

After 60 years since the end of the last World War, Germany and Poland have finally made amends. Finally the sport of football has promoted peace instead of violence.

Germany's coach Juergen Klinsmann (L) hugs forward Lukas Podolski after he scored the 0-3 against Ecuador during the World Cup 2006 group A football match Ecuador vs Germany, 20 June 2006 at Berlin stadium. Photo courtesy of AFP PHOTO.

Go USA!! - we will welcome you home in open arms after you get eliminated in the first round.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Ultimate Irony - Nestle buys Jenny Craig

As reported today on, Switzerland based Nestle bought weight-loss company Jenny Craig for around $600 million expanding Nestle's high-margin nutrition and health business.

While I am sure this acquisition makes sense from a business perspective, let's take a step back and look at what you have here:

A Company devoted to helping its customers lose weight and focus on nutrition, is bought by a Company who sells products that are the source of cravings for and consumption by those same customers and greatly contributes to their weight gain.

Hmm - how does the phrase go "Isnt it ironic. ."

So after getting a nice laugh, I thought what would it be like if:
  • The wife of the Chairman of a beer company were to be appointed as spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
  • A cigarette company were to buy the company that makes the Nicotine patch.

The list could go on and on. Too bad Saturday Night Live is on summer break.

"The greatest form of charity is the gift of one's time"

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sudoku, The Crossword puzzle of the 21st century (ok of 2006)

What is Sudoku?

Pronounced Su doku in Japanese (su - meaning number, doku - translated as single or bechelor) , also known as Number Place, Sudoku has become the latest fad and addiction among all ages of adults.

(sudoku puzzle courtesy of dailysudoku Ltd -

Sudoku is a logic-based placement puzzle. The aim of the puzzle is to enter a numerical digit from 1 through 9 in each cell of a 9×9 grid made up of 3×3 subgrids (called "regions"), starting with various digits given in some cells (the "givens"); each row, column, and region must contain only one instance of each numeral.

Every newspaper in print and on the web has its own Sudoku puzzle. There are millions (literally) of websites that offer puzzles, tips, history of the game, and contests.

What makes Sudoku more appealing than Crossword puzzles is that you dont need a wide based knowledge of books, history, movies, TV, politics, or popular food dishes. All you need to complete the puzzle is patience and some logical ability.

Play against your friend, co-worker, blog buddies, boss, your next door neighbor.

You may actually enjoy it, and make yourself smarter in the process. Studies show that playing Sudoku improves memory, mind clarity, and some people say can even stop and prevent brain illnesses.

So next time before you hit the couch at the end of the day and turn your brain off to the sound of your favorite TV show, pull out a Sudoku puzzle and try it out - you may impress yourself and even find your R Factor.

"The greatest form of charity is the gift of one's time"

Friday, June 16, 2006

Scariest man on TV

Who is the scariest man on TV these days?

1. Henry on "Lost"
2. Donald Trump on "The Apprentice"
3. Simon Cowell on "American Idol"
4. None of the above

The answer is 4. None of the above. That is because the scariest man on
TV today is this man:

(photo courtesy

Who is this man you ask?

It is Ronaldo Martinez.

Ronaldo appears on the latest anti-smoking commercials currently being aired in the New York City area. When Ronaldo appears on TV, viewers either close their eyes, cover their ears or turn the channel. Why you ask?

"I was 39 when I got throat cancer from smoking cigarettes," Martinez says in one commercial. "I almost died. Now there is a permanent hole in my throat." Martinez is shown in the shower with a white bib at his neck. He lifts it to reveal the gaping hole in his throat. He holds an electronic device up to his neck to speak in a weak, robotic monotone.
In another ad, Martinez walks along a pool deck watching children at play. "I never thought that anything could keep me from the water," he says. "Now I have to breathe through a hole in my throat. If water gets inside of me, it will drown me."

The commercials are very effective. Call volume is up at the NYC Health Department hotline (15,000 calls since January up from 5,000 for the same period from 2005)

In my humble opinion, its about time. The Ad Council is currently running a campaign against second hand smoke - here is an ad from their campaign:

(photo courtesy of the

A funny slogan and probably doing a good job spreading awareness of this serious issue. However, targeting the emotions and feelings of the smokers themselves and showing the "cause and effect" in such a graphic manner is, in my opinion, a stronger way to stop this horrible habit.

Ronaldo Martinez has found his "R Factor" - isnt it about time you found yours?

"The greatest form of charity is the gift of one's time"

Top 5 reasons why you know you are going to have a bad day

Have you ever woken up in the morning and just knew you were going to have a bad day? Here are the top 5 ways you know you should have turned off your alarm and gone back to bed.

#5 - It is 10AM, on your third cup of coffee and you realize that you have been drinking DeCaf

#4 - You get on the bus/subway/other form of public transportation, and you are forced to stand next to someone who last took a shower the year in which the USA last qualified for the World Cup

#3 - You turn to say goodbye to your kids/spouse/pet/signficant other, and they go ahead and throw up their breakfast all over your new suit

#2 - After enduring the longest commute of your life, you sit down at your desk, turn on your computer and find out that your internet is down indefinitely

and last but not least:

#1 - Your alarm goes off and the radio is playing - "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter

Thats your R factor - go back to bed - its not worth it.

"The greatest form of charity is the gift of one's time"

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