Friday, November 30, 2012

Mad Man's History Lessons: Timeline 9

In 1939, the world was at war. Just when people were busy preparing for the 20th anniversary of end of the war that ended all wars. As always, it's blamed on the absence of a local area network that would have allowed a handful of leaders like Hitler, Mussolini, Churchill, Stalin, Roosevelt, etc. to play a few hours of Counterstrike and settle it like gentlemen. Instead, they all forced young men, who were preoccupied with countless hours of playing battleships in bathtubs, to various battlefields across the world. As one radio announcer famously said, “In times like these, it's helpful to remember that there have always been times like these.” So let’s go back in time to try and laugh at what was arguably the worst joke on mankind. 

September, 1939: Hitler’s army invades Poland. The Poles cry foul about not being intimated of the same. Hitler says, “It’s a postal delay. Not my fault.” and continues his march.

November, 1939: Russians try and enter Finland when the rest of Europe fights Hitler. Only to be greeted by a particularly potent round of Molatov Cocktail by the Finns. The Russians find the cocktail a little too hard to digest.

June, 1940: Hitler wants a Patel snap taken in front of the Eiffel Tower. So he only bombs the rest of France.

September, 1940: Italians surprise Egypt and invade it. The Egyptians crib, stating that they were only warned about a roman outfit. But they were thoroughly confused when none of the soldiers were seen in togas.

1941: Germany, Italy, and Japan enforce the Tripartite Pact on the rest of the world, and decide to sell their cars all over the world.

December, 1941: Going against their turn, the Japanese tag the Americans at Pearl Harbor. Now the yanks are forced to enter the field and play.

June, 1942: The Americans finally catch up with the Japanese in the Pacific, in an obscure atoll in the middle of nowhere called Midway.(Duh!)

November, 1942: The Americans finally stop the Japanese from hop-scotching their way into Australia by cutting them off at Solomon Islands

January, 1943: Soviets attack Germans in Stalingrad

July, 1943: British attack Germans in Hamburg

October, 1943: Confused Italians attack Germans. Not really. Turns out some idiot didn’t realise they were playing with Friendly Fire on.

June, 1944: D-Day landings successfully carried out. German failure is blamed on the inability to expand D-Day.

December, 1944: Nearly 300,000 men participate in a German offensive called “Battle of the Bulge”. The Japanese feel offended at not being invited on account of not being suitably endowed.

April, 1945: Hitler marries Eva Braun. A few days later, he shoots himself.

August, 1945: The world finally realizes that the Atom Bomb is more than just a noisy cracker from Sivakasi.

Following the 6 year war that would kill millions of people, the world finally realised that at the end of  the war, it really didn’t matter who was right. What mattered was who was left. And that’s who we’ll discuss in the next history lesson. A generation that tried rather unsuccessfully to prevent war, while being committed to prepare for it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mad Man's History Lessons: Timeline 8

We often wonder what History is really meant to teach civilization. If there's one trend that we've noticed in every lesson of the timeline series, it's that 'nothing' is often the best thing to do and the cleverest thing to say when you're in doubt. It's a trend we may spot again in the first half of the 20th century:

1903: The Wright brothers invent the aeroplane. And 12 minutes later, the first plane crash.

1904: Trans-Siberian railway is completed. After completeing the 8-day train journey, passengers realise that Vladivostok is not a swear word.

1908: The Ford Motor Company invents the assembly line. In the most bizarre cases of coincidence, Boy Scouts Movement begins, to help pedestrians cross the road.

1911: Roald Amundsen reaches the South Pole. Somehow, he suspects he's reached North Pole.

1912: The Titanic sinks. The captain is heard saying, " All I wanted with this whiskey was some ice. This is definitely not what I asked for."

1916: Daylight saving time is employed by German forces in the Great War. The soldiers ended up spending more time waiting for action when they could have easily slept for another hour more.

1920: Drinking alcohol was banned in the United States. This was probably designed to stop Europeans from migrating to the west.

1922: James Joyce publishes Ulysses. Literature students all over the world realize they were better of taking sciences. 

1925: Hitler writes Mein Kamph in prison. The few literature students who endured James Joyce now give up literature to turn to Engineering.

1929: The Great Depression begins, when running an illegal racket becomes fashionable.

1933: Hitler watches his first Charlie Chaplin flick. He's a changed man after his next visit to the barber.

1938: Time Magazine calls Hitler the Time Man of the Year, perhaps for impersonating Charlie Chaplin; the April fool prank on Britain in making them believe that there would be no war, and for being the masterchef who created several Jewish cooking recipes.

The next chapter will be dedicated to all the idiocy that took place in the various theatres of the World War. Until then, have a blast.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mad Man's History Lessons: Timeline 7

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.” Some how, the generations that followed never agreed with him. Why, just take some more time to read the posts on this trail, which began here, and you’ll agree that we may never be able to agree with one another in the matters concerning History.  On these terms of agreement, we’ll revisit the 19th century:

1804 AD: The world population touches one billion. The team assigned to take a roll call for the planet is still on the job.

1807 AD: Britain declares the Slave Trade illegal. But only after the last shipment of Indian farmers reach the shores of Guyana.

1812 AD: For some weird reason, Napoleon believed he could simply walk into Russia with half a million soldiers and scare the Russians into submission. The Russians invited the visitors to play a game of hide and seek in winter, and beat them.

1824 AD: Beethoven performs his 9th symphony to receive a deafening applause from the audience. But in what was the cruelest case of irony, Beethoven could hear none of it.

1836 AD: After his earlier ideas of arm making were shot down, Samuel Colt comes prepared with his latest invention, the revolver. With the firearm’s ability to shoot a round of six bullets without manual reload, Colt now knows he’ll at least get a second shot.

1837 AD: Charles Dickens publishes Oliver Twist. Critics dismiss it for the lack of a twist.

1849 AD: The Austrians try to bomb Venice with the help of unmanned balloons filled with explosives. However, strong winds ensured that the balloons flew back to Austria.

1859 AD: Charles Darwin writes the first draft of “Planet of the Apes”.

1869 AD: The Suez Canal opens. Somalian pirates suddenly find new job openings.

1872 AD: The first international football match is played between England and Scotland, is played. The Scots realize very early in the match that wearing kilts did not help.

1889 AD: Aspirin patented. Husbands around the world find a solution to wives’ headaches.

1894 AD: Thomas Edison demonstrates motion picture. However, some of the audience missed the movie entirely because they’d stepped out to buy popcorn.

If you thought man became more intelligent as he evolved, wait until you realize what’s to follow in the 20th century. So until the next class, try reading some History without ever trying to enter it yourself. Take care. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mad Man's History Lessons: Timeline 6

In school, I was told that those who don't learn history are doomed to repeat it. In college, I learnt that the same was true for Linear Integrated Circuit System (LICS), Digital Signal Processing (DESPO) and Electronic Power Instrumentation Circuits (EPIC) too. On this serious note, we begin our study of 18th Century's most significant events.

1705 AD: The Norwich Post becomes the first daily newspaper in England. The first page was dedicated to the falling standards of football in Norwich County, which lost 5-0 to one financially modest team from Manchester.

1714 AD: The Mercury thermometer was invented by Daniel Fahrenheit. The doctors of the day ask him to shove it up his A#@E.

1715 AD: The Rectal Thermometer wins the Innovation of the Year Award.

1726 AD: Jonathan Swift writes Gulliver’s Travels. The book banned by the midget community.

1736 AD: Rubber discovered by Charles-Marie de la Condamine while on expedition in South America. He uses it to make bands that hold his hair in place.

1752 AD: Benjamin Franklin shocks the world with a lightning rod.

1757 AD: Following the victory in the Battle of Plassey, several young Englishmen enroll for employment with the East India Company, so as to explore a country that’s a “few years behind” the western world. They reach India only to realize that it’s five and a half hours ahead of Britain.

1770 AD: Captain James Cook is commissioned to observe and record the transit of Venus across the Sun. He discovers Australia instead, and leaves behind a bunch of inmates who stole some beer from the crew's kitchens.

1773 AD: Colonists gate crash into a tea party and dump tea into Boston Harbor. British call the act "barbaric," because that’s not how they liked their tea

1776 AD: United States Declaration of Independence adopted by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Schools there celebrate their first holiday ever.

1784 AD: Benjamin Franklin is the first visionary ever to sport the bifocals, which he'd invented the previous night.

1798 AD: The Irish Rebellion failed to overthrow British rule in Ireland. The three Irishmen who bunked the rebellion walked into a bar. Those three remain the most popular Irishmen till date.

I’m sure it’ll take you a while to read up on all the above information. Especially the adventures of the three Irishmen who walked into a bar. So we’ll resume our history lessons and study about the Europeans empires that started conquering nations only to introduce them to cricket and football and justify the organization of a “World Cup”. So long!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mad Man's History Lessons: Timeline 5

Karl Marx once said History repeats twice. First as a tragedy, then as a farce. Inevitably, the latter half of History is forgotten. Not so in these lessons, which only addresses the farcical bits. Here's a list of the greatest(?) events of the 17th century.

1605 AD: Gunpowder Plot fails.

1606 AD: For some inexplicable reason, the English start celebrating the Gunpowder Plot failure by blaimg it on Guy Fawkes, and blowing up thousands of tonnes of gunpowder every year.

1614 AD: John Napier invents the Logarithms to simplify calculations. This encourages schools to bring in even more complex mathematical calculations.

1616 AD: Sir Walter Raleigh attempts to write the History of The World when he's imprisoned. Two years later, he loses his head. Literally too.

1623 AD: The first dictionary is published, listing difficult words with definitions. Incidentally, it was titled English Dictionarie.

1632 AD: Construction of the Taj Mahal begins. It was supposedly named after Emperor Shah Jahan's favourite Udupi hotel.

1637 AD: Pierre de Fermat formulates his so-called Last Theorem, which was never solved. Even Napier's Logarithms couldn't help.

1642 AD: Torture outlawed in England. Irish rebellion begins. Historians are still trying to figure if the two are mutually exclusive.

1658 AD: Just after the completion of the Taj Mahal construction, Shah Jahan's son Aurangzeb deposes and imprisons him for exceeding construction budget by over 53 times.

1666 AD: The Great Fire sweeps through the city. Sources claim it all started when one drunk loser thought it was Guy Fawkes day.

1676 AD: Antoni van Leeuwenhoek discovers Bacteria. Students of Medicine reject it, owing to their inability to draw life-size diagrams of something so small.

1684 AD: Sir Issac Newton develops Calculus. For the first time ever, an F grade in introduced in High School Mathematics. 

 1692 AD: Bank of England established. The word on the street is that bankers will never die, but they'll occasionally lose interest.

Much awaits you in the coming years. Where you'll begin understand History's strangest why does History rhyme with mystery. So see you in the 18th century then.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mocking CAT

Students these days are too busy to take up this prehistoric hobby called reading, which is quite understandable. After spending the day watching Virat Kohli scoring a match winning 32 of 18 balls against Pune Warriors India, commenting about it on Facebook, memorizing the lyrics of Gangnam Style and sharing 10 memes that mock Psy, and then heading for their daily game of Tennis on Nintendo Wii, where's the time to read? Sadly for them, they still have to read. Especially if they have to crack the Common Entrance Test (CAT) for pursuing Business studies in India. Not to worry! Just get them to read the following passage once-a-day for a month, and they’ll be driven to read something better for the rest of their lives.   


If you found your way to this post and do not know the author, chances are you are a male student in his final year of Engineering, who is reluctantly toying with the idea of giving the CAT exam. The Author's research suggests that you may also have missed out on a campus placement and may have spent four years acquiring lifestyle skills that aren't exactly marketable in the corporate world. For instance, your strategic skills that helped you master warcraft, your marketing abilities that gets you LIKES for your WHY YOU NO memes, your financial management that helped you acquire hectares of agricultural land on Farmville, your creative spark that won you the 3rd prize in the Inter-course Mad Ads contest in University, or even your dashing personality that got as far as the finals of the Master B.A.I.T.S. (Short for Bokissam Ananthapadmanathan Institute of Technology and Science) pageant, will amount to nothing more than the occasional Rs 100 Gift Vouchers you’ll get from the newly opened Air-conditioned canteen that sells 58-Rupee Espressos (Service Tax + Service Charge not included). It certainly won’t impress the 36-year old HR Manager who still can’t beat his 5-year-old in Angry Birds. 

Soon you’ll he heading home while your student loan interest helps your dad’s banker’s kid get an admission in a prestigious institute like B.A.I.T.S. Soon your dad will say, ‘When I was your age, the biggest concern my parents had was why I didn’t get married? All I’m asking you is why don’t you get a job?’ Soon you’ll have to start looking for one when you realize that your monthly allowance is not good enough to pay the monthly bill of your 3G connection.

Don’t look for a job just to pay your 3G phone bill. Write CAT. Join a B School. Enjoy two more years of college. And then get a job that can help you buy the iPhone 7S

Question 1

What is the essence of the above passage?
a)      The Author never cleared the CAT himself, which is why he knows what happens if you don’t clear CAT yourself.
b)      The Author understands nothing about Smartphones. For all that you know, he’s never even used 3G
c)      Joining B School is a great idea according to the Author. He perhaps works in the marketing department of the MBA department of B.A.I.T.S.
d)      None of the above

Question 2

Which of the following is grammatically incorrect?
a) It’s ‘Warcraft’, not warcraft.
b) It’s intercourse, not inter-course,
c) It’s not WHY YOU NO, it’s Y U NO. Lolz!
d) What Grammar?? You mean gamer?

Question 3

Which of the following can be a title of this passage?
a) Zen and the Art of Belling the CAT (pun intended)
b) To B.A.I.T.S fish withal. If it feed nothing else, it is feed my lolCATs.
c) CAT crack fever?
d) Any geeky cultural reference, with the words CAT being in the correct order and written in upper case, e.g. CATharsis.