Arquivo da categoria: Humor

E o que é engraçado Fedro, eo que não é engraçado — precisa que pedir a alguém para nos dizer essas coisas?

Outra Pen Story of Tough Love

Uma vez que um tio favorito meu me deu uma caneta. Esse tio era um soldado do Exército indiano na época. Soldados costumava chegar em casa por um par de meses a cada ano ou assim, e dar presentes para todos na família alargada. Havia um sentimento de direito sobre a coisa toda, e nunca ocorreu para os tomadores de presente que eles poderiam, talvez, dar algo de volta, bem. Durante o último par de décadas, as coisas mudaram. Os compradores de presentes se reuniriam em torno do rico “Golfo Malayalees” (Keralite trabalhadores migrantes no Oriente Médio) assim diminuindo severamente a posição social dos pobres soldados.

De qualquer maneira, esta caneta que eu recebi do meu tio era um espécime considerável fosco de ouro de uma marca chamada Crest, possivelmente contrabandeados através da fronteira com a China, no sopé dos Himalaias e adquiridos pelo meu tio. Eu estava muito orgulhoso deste bem mais valioso da mina, como eu acho que eu tenho sido de todos os meus bens em anos posteriores. Mas a pena não durar muito tempo — ele foi roubado por um rapaz mais velho, com quem eu tinha que compartilhar uma mesa durante um teste no verão de 1977.

Fiquei arrasada pela perda. Mais do que isso, Eu morria de medo de deixar minha mãe sabe porque eu sabia que ela não ia ter a amabilidade de que. Acho que eu deveria ter sido mais cuidadoso e manteve a pena na minha pessoa em todos os momentos. Com certeza, minha mãe estava lívido de raiva com a perda deste presente de seu irmão. Um defensor do amor duro, ela me disse para ir encontrar o pen, e não voltar sem ele. Agora, que foi uma jogada perigosa. O que a minha mãe não gostou foi que eu tomei a maioria das directivas literalmente. Eu continuo a fazer. Já era tarde da noite quando eu parti em minha desesperada errante, e era improvável que eu teria retornado em tudo desde que eu não devia, não sem a caneta.

Meu pai chegou em casa um par de horas mais tarde, e fiquei chocado com o rumo dos acontecimentos. Ele certamente não acreditava em amor dura, longe disso. Ou talvez ele tinha um senso de minha disposição literal, ter sido vítima do mesmo mais cedo. De qualquer maneira, ele veio me procurar e me encontrou vagando sem rumo em torno de minha escola trancada alguns 10 km de casa.

Paciência é um ato de equilíbrio. Você tem que exercer o amor dura, para que seu filho não deve ser preparado para o mundo cruel mais tarde na vida. Você tem que mostrar amor e carinho, bem assim que a criança pode sentir-se emocionalmente segura. Você tem que fornecer para o seu o seu filho sem ser overindulgent, ou você iria acabar estragando-los. Você tem que dar-lhes liberdade e espaço para crescer, mas você não deve se destaquem e indiferente. Sintonizar o seu comportamento em campo à direita na tantas dimensões é o que faz parentalidade uma arte difícil de dominar. O que o torna realmente assustador é o fato de que você só tem uma chance de ele. Se você errar, as ondulações de seus erros podem durar muito mais tempo do que você pode imaginar. Uma vez, quando eu ficou chateado com ele, meu filho (muito mais sábio do que seus seis anos depois) me disse que eu tinha que ter cuidado, para ele seria o tratamento de seus filhos do jeito que eu o tratava. Mas, então,, já sabemos isso, não nós?

Minha mãe me preparar para um mundo implacável reais, e meu pai nutria simpatia suficiente em mim. A combinação não é, talvez, muito ruim. Mas todos nós gostaríamos de fazer melhor do que os nossos pais. No meu caso, Eu uso um truque simples para modular o meu comportamento e de tratamento dos meus filhos. Eu tento me imaginar no final de recebimento do referido tratamento. Se eu deveria me sentir cerva ou tratados de forma injusta, o comportamento precisa de fine-tuning.

Esse truque não funciona o tempo todo, porque geralmente vem depois do fato. Nós primeira agir em resposta a uma situação, antes que tenhamos tempo para fazer uma análise racional de custo-benefício. Deve haver outra maneira de fazê-lo direito. Pode ser que é apenas uma questão de desenvolver um monte de paciência e bondade. Você sabe, Há momentos em que Eu desejo que eu poderia pedir ao meu pai.

Ridiculous, Annoying and Embarrassing

Now it is official — we become embarrassing, ridiculous and annoying when our first-born turns thirteen. The best we can hope to do, evidently, is to negotiate a better deal. If we can get our thirteen year old to drop one of the three unflattering epithets, we should count ourselves lucky. We can try, “I may embarrass you a bit, but I do não annoy you and I am certainly not ridiculous!” This apparently was the deal this friend of mine made with his daughter. Now he has to drop her a block away from her school (so that her friends don’t have to see him, duh!), but he smiles the smile of a man who knows he is neither annoying nor ridiculous.

I did a bit worse, Eu acho que. “You are not que annoying; you are not always ridiculous and you are not totalmente embarrassing. Bem, not always,” was the best I could get my daughter to concede, giving me a 50% pass grade. My wife fared even worse though. “Ó, she is SOOO ridiculous and always annoys me. Drives me nuts!” making it a miserable 33% fail grade for her. To be fair though, I have to admit that she wasn’t around when I administered the test; her presence may have improved her performance quite a bit.

Mas, falando sério, why do our children lose their unquestioning faith in our infallibility the moment they are old enough to think for themselves? I don’t remember such a drastic change in my attitude toward my parents when I turned thirteen. It is not as though I am more fallible than my parents. Bem, may be I am, but I don’t think the teenager’s reevaluation of her stance is a commentary on my parenting skills. May be in the current social system of nuclear families, we pay too much attention to our little ones. We see little images of ourselves in them and try to make them as perfect as we possibly can. Perhaps all this well-meaning attention sometimes smothers them so much that they have to rebel at some stage, and point out how ridiculously annoying and embarrassing our efforts are.

May be my theory doesn’t hold much water — afinal, this teenage phase change vis-a-vis parents is a universal phenomenon. And I am sure the degree of nuclear isolation of families and the level of freedom accorded to the kids are not universal. Perhaps all we can do is to tune our own attitude toward the teenagers’ attitude change. Ei, I can laugh with my kids at my ridiculous embarrassments. But I do wish I had been a bit less annoying though…

Speak Your Language

The French are famous for their fierce attachment to their language. I got a taste of this attachment long time ago when I was in France. I had been there for a couple of years, and my French skills were passable. I was working as a research engineer for CNRS, a coveted “fonctionnaire” position, and was assigned to this lab called CPPM next to the insanely beautiful callanques on the Mediterranean. Then this new colleague of ours joined CPPM, from Imperial College. He was Greek, e, being new to France, had very little French in him. I took this as a god-given opportunity to show off my French connection and decided to take him under my wing.

One of the first things he wanted to do was to buy a car. I suggested a used Peugeot 307, which I thought was a swanky car. But this guy, being a EU scholar, was a lot richer than I had imagined. He decided to buy a brand-new Renault Megane. So I took him to one of the dealers in Marseille (on Blvd Michelet, se a memória). The salesman, a natty little French dude with ingratiating manners, welcomed us eagerly. The Greek friend of mine spoke to me in English, and I did my best to convey the gist to the French dude. The whole transaction probably took about 15 minutes or so, and the Greek friend decided buy the car. After the deal was all done, and as we were about to leave, the Frenchman says, “Assim, where are you guys from, and how come you speak in English?” in flawless English. Bem, if not flawless, much more serviceable than my French was at that point. We chatted for a few minutes in English, and I asked him why he didn’t let it on that he spoke English. It could’ve save me a world of bother. He said it was best to do business in French. For him, certainly, I thought to myself.

Thinking about it a bit more, I realized that it is always best to do business in whatever language that you are most comfortable in, especially if the nature of the transaction is confrontational. Caso contrário, you are yielding an undue advantage to your adversary. Assim, next time you are in Paris, and that cabbie wants 45 euros for a trip when the meter reads 25, switch to English and berrate him before settling the issue. It softens the target, at the very least.

Everything and Nothing

I once attended a spiritual self-help kind of course. Toward the end of the course, there was this exercise where the teacher would ask the question, “O que você é?” Whatever answer the participant came up with, the teacher would tear it apart. Por exemplo, if I said, “I work for a bank as a quantitative finance professional,” she would say, “Sim, that’s what you do, but what are you?” If I said, “I am Manoj,” she would say, “Sim, that’s only your name, what are you?” You get the idea. To the extent that it is a hard question to answer, the teacher always gets the upper hand.

Not in my case though. Luckily for me, I was the last one to answer the question, and I had the benefit of seeing how this exercise evolved. Since I had time, I decided to cook up something substantial. So when my turn came, here was my response that pretty much floored the teacher. I said, “I am a little droplet of consciousness so tiny that I’m nothing, yet part of something so big that I’m everything.” As I surmised, she couldn’t very well say, “Sim, Certifique-se, but what are you?” De fato, she could’ve said, “That’s just some serious bullshit, homem, what the heck are you?” which is probably what I would’ve done. But my teacher, being the kind and gentle soul she is, decided to thank me gravely and move on.

Now I want to pick up on that theme and point out that there is more to that response than something impressive that I made up that day to sound really cool in front of a bunch of spiritualites. The tininess part is easy. Our station in this universe is so mindbogglingly tiny that a sense of proportion is the one thing we cannot afford to have, if we are to keep our sanity — as Douglas Adams puts it in one of his books. What goes for the physical near-nothingness of our existence in terms of space also applies to the temporal dimension. We exist for a mere fleeing instant when put in the context of any geological or cosmological timescale. So when I called myself a “little” droplet, I was being kind, if anything.

But being part of something so vast — de, that is the interesting bit. Fisicamente, there is not an atom in my body that wasn’t part of a star somewhere sometime ago. We are all made up of stardust, from the ashes of dead stars. (Interesting they say from dust to dust and from ashes to ashes, isn’t it?) Assim, those sappy scenes in sentimental flicks, where the dad points to the star and says, “Your mother is up there sweetheart, watching over you,” have a bit of scientific truth to them. All the particles in my body will end up in a star (a red giant, in our case); the only stretch is that it will take another four and half billion years. But it does mean that the dust will live forever and end up practically everywhere through some supernova explosion, if our current understanding of how it all works is correct (which it is not, na minha opinião, but that is another story). This eternal existence of a the purely physical kind is what Schopenhauer tried to draw consolation from, Acredito, but it really is no consolation, if you ask me. Não obstante, we are all part of something much bigger, spatially and temporally – in a purely physical sense.

At a deeper level, my being part of everything comes from the fact that we are both the inside and the outside of things. I know it sounds like I smoked something I wouldn’t like my children to smoke. Deixe-me explicar; this will take a few words. Entende, when we look at a star, we of course see a star. But what we mean by “see a star” is just that there are some neurons in our brain firing in a particular pattern. We assume that there is a star out there causing some photons to fall on our retina and create neuronal firing, which results in a cognitive model of what we call night sky and stars. We further assume that what we see (night sky and star) is a faithful representation of what is out there. But why should it be? Think of how we hear stuff. When we listen to music, we hear tonality, loudness etc, but these are only cognitive models for the frequency and amplitude of the pressure waves in the air, as we understand sound right now. Frequency and amplitude are very different beasts compared to tonality and loudness — the former are physical causes, the latter are perceptual experiences. Take away the brain, there is no experience, ergo there is no sound — which is the gist of the overused cocktail conundrum of the falling tree in a deserted forest. If you force yourself to think along these lines for a while, you will have to admit that whatever is “lá fora” as you perceive it is only in your brain as cognitive constructs. Hence my hazy statement about we are both the inside and the outside of things. Assim, from the perspective of cognitive neuroscience, we can argue that we are everything — the whole universe and our knowledge of it is all are patterns in our brain. Não há mais nada.

Want to go even deeper? Bem, the brain itself is part of the reality (which is a cognitive construct) created by the brain. So are the air pressure waves, photons, retina, Neurociência Cognitiva etc. All convenient models in our brains. That, claro, is an infinite regression, from which there is no escape. It is a logical abyss where we can find no rational foothold to anchor our thoughts and crawl out, which naturally leads to what we call the infinite, the unknowable, o absoluto, the eternal — Brahman.

I was, claro, thinking of Brahman ( and the notion that we are all part of that major oneness) when I cooked up that everything-and-nothing response. But it is all the same, isn’t it, whichever way you look at it? Bem, may be not; may be it is just that I see it that way. If the only tool you have is a hammer, all the problems in the world look like nails to you. May be I’m just hammering in the metaphysical nails whenever and wherever I get a chance. Para mim, all schools of thought seem to converge to similar notions. Reminds of that French girl I was trying impress long time ago. I said to her, rather optimistically, “Você sabe, you and I think alike, that’s what I like about you.” She replied, “Bem, there is only one way to think, if you think at all. So no big deal!” Needless to say I didn’t get anywhere with her.

Acentos

Indians pronounce the word “poem” as poyem. Today, my daughter wrote one for her friend’s birthday and she told me about her “poyem”. So I corrected her and asked her to say it as po-em, despite the fact that I also say it the Indian way during my unguarded moments. That got me thinking — why do we say it that way? I guess it is because certain diphthongs are unnatural in Indian languages. “OE” is not a natural thing to say, so we invent a consonant in between.

The French also do this. I had this funny conversation with a French colleague of mine at Geneva airport long time ago during my CERN days. Waiting at the airport lounge, we were making small talk. The conversation turned to food, as French conversations often do (although we were speaking in English at that time). My colleague made a strange statement, “I hate chicken.” I expressed my surprise told her that I was rather fond of white meat. Ela disse, “Non, non, I hate chicken for lunch.” I found it even stranger. Was it okay for dinner then? Poultry improved its appeal after sunset? She clarified further, “Non, non, non. I hate chicken for lunch today.”

Eu disse a mim mesmo, “Relaxe, you can solve this mystery. You are a smart fellow, CERN scientist and whatnot,” and set to work. Com certeza, a couple of minutes of deep thinking revealed the truth behind the French conundrum. She had chicken for lunch that day. O “IA” as in “I ate” is not a natural diphthong for the French, and they insert an H in between, which is totally strange because the French never say H (or the last fourteen letters of any given word, for that matter.) H is a particularly shunned sound — they refuse to say it even when they are asked to. The best they can do is to aspirate it as in the textbook example of “les haricots”. But when they shouldn’t say it, they do it with surprising alacrity. I guess alacrity is something we all readily find when it comes to things that we shouldn’t be doing.

Belle Piece

Here is a French joke that is funny only in French. I present it here as a puzzle to my English-speaking readers.

This colonel in the French army was in the restroom. As he was midway through the business of relieving his bladder, he becomes aware of this tall general standing next to him, and realizes that it is none other than Charles De Gaulle. Agora, what do you do when you find yourself a sort of captive audience next to your big boss for a couple of minutes? Bem, you have to make smalltalk. So this colonel racks his brain for a suitable subject. Noticing that the restroom is a classy tip-top joint, he ventures:

“Belle piece!” (“Nice room!”)

CDG’s ice-cold tone indicates to him the enormity of the professional error he has just committed:

“Regardez devant vous.” (“Don’t peek!”)

Inglês como língua oficial da Europa,en

The European Union commissioners have announced that agreement has been reached to adopt English as the preferred language for European communications, rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has been accepted a five year phased plan for what will be known as EuroEnglish (Euro for short).

In the first year, “s” will be used instead of the soft “c”. Sertainly, sivil servants will reseive this news with joy. Também, the hard “c” will be replaced with “a”. Not only will this klear up konfusion, but typewriters kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesomephwill be replased by “f”. This will make words likefotograf” 20 persent shorter. In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expected to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Também, al wil agre that the horible mes of silent “e”s in the language is disgrasful, and they would go.

By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” por “z” e “w” por “v”. During ze fifz year, ze unesesary “0” kan be dropd from vords kontainingou”, and similar changes vud, of kors, be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German lik zey vunted in ze forst plas

A Crazy Language

This crazy language, Inglês, is the most widely used language in the history of our planet. One in every seven humans can speak it. More than half of the world’s books and three quarters of international mail is in English. Of all the languages, it has the largest vocabulary perhaps as many as two MILLION words. Não obstante, vamos enfrentá-lo, English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, two geese. So one moose, two meese?

Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb thru annals of history but not a single annal? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn’t preacher praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?

Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who are spring chickens or who would actually hurt a fly?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm clock goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (que, claro, isn’t a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it.

[Unknown source]

Ioanna’s Aisles

During my graduate school years at Syracuse, I used to know Ioanna — a Greek girl of sweet disposition and inexplicable hair. When I met her, she had just moved from her native land of Crete and was only beginning to learn English. So she used to start her sentences with “Eh La Re” and affectionately address all her friends “Malaka” and was generally trying stay afloat in this total English immersion experience that is a small university town in the US of A.

Em breve, she found the quirkiness of this eccentric language a bit too much. On one wintry day in Syracuse, Ioanna drove to Wegmans, the local supermarket, presumably looking for feta cheese or eggplants. But she was unable to find it. As with most people not fluent in the language of the land, she wasn’t quite confident enough to approach an employee on the floor for help. I can totally understand her; I don’t approach anybody for help even in my native town. But I digress; coming back to Ioanna at Wegmans, she noticed this little machine where she could type in the item she wanted and get its location. The machine displayed, “Aisle 6.”

Ioanna was floored. She had never seen the word “aisle.” So she fought and overcame her fear of Americans and decided to ask an employee where this thing called Aisle 6 foi. Infelizmente, the way this English word sounds has nothing to do with the way it is spelled. Without the benefit of this knowledge, Ioanna asked a baffled and bemused clerk, “Where is ASSELLE six?”

The American was quick-witted though. He replied politely, “Sinto muito, miss. I am asshole number 3; asshole number 6 is taking a break. Can I help you?”

A Parker Pen de Singapura

Durante a primeira parte do século passado, havia uma migração significativa de chineses e indianos para Cingapura. A maioria dos imigrantes de origem indiana foram tâmeis étnicos, e é por isso Tamil é uma língua oficial aqui. Mas alguns vieram de minha Malayalam-falando terra natal de Kerala. Entre eles estava Natarajan que, 50 anos mais tarde, compartilhariam comigo suas impressões sobre Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose e do Exército Nacional do Índio dos anos quarenta. Natarajan faria, pelo então, ser chamado de vovô Cingapura (Singapore Appuppa), e me ensinar yoga, explicando os aspectos místicos de um pouco, dizendo coisas como, “Um praticante de yoga, mesmo quando ele está em uma multidão, não é bem uma parte dela.” Lembrei-me esta declaração quando um amigo meu no trabalho comentou que eu andei intocado (tipo de como Tim Robbins no Shawshank Redemption) pela agitação corporativa e agitação, que, claro, pode ter sido uma maneira educada de me chamando de preguiçoso.

De qualquer maneira, o vovô Cingapura (um primo de meu avô paterno) gostava muito do meu pai, que estava entre os primeiros formandos da universidade de que parte de Kerala. Ele pegou uma caneta Parker de Singapura como presente de formatura. Cerca de quinze anos depois, esta caneta iria me ensinar uma lição que não foi ainda plenamente aprendeu quatro décadas em.

My father was very proud of his pen, a sua qualidade e resistência, e era de se gabar para seus amigos uma vez. “I wouldn’t be able to break it, even if I wanted to!” ele disse, sem perceber seu filho (com os melhores cumprimentos), tudo de quatro anos depois, com apenas uma compreensão limitada de condicionais hipotéticas desse tipo. Próximo à noite, quando ele voltou do trabalho, Eu estava esperando por ele na porta, radiante de orgulho, segurando sua preciosa caneta completamente esmagado. “Pai, pai, Eu fiz isso! Eu consegui quebrar a caneta para você!”

Como meu pai de coração partido deve ter sido, ele nem sequer levantar a voz. Pediu, “O que você fez isso para, sua?” usando a palavra Malayalam excessivamente carinhosa para “sua”. Eu estava muito ansiosa para explicar. “You said yesterday that you had been trying to break it, mas não conseguiu. Eu fiz isso por você!” Bastante curto sobre as competências linguísticas, Eu já estava um pouco longo demais em física. I had placed the pen near the hinges of a door and used the lever action by closing it to accomplish my mission of crushing it. De fato, Lembrei-me deste incidente, quando eu estava tentando explicar a minha esposa (curto na física) por isso que a rolha de porta colocados perto das dobradiças foi quebrando o piso em vez de parar a porta.

My father tried to fix his Parker pen with scotch tape (que foi chamado de fita de celofane na época) e elásticos. Mais tarde, ele conseguiu substituir o corpo da caneta, embora ele nunca conseguia fixar a tinta vazando. Eu ainda tenho a caneta, e esta lição duradoura na infinita paciência.

Dois anos e meio atrás, meu pai faleceu. Durante a que se seguiu a procura da alma, this close friend of mine asked me, “Bem, agora que você sabe o que é preciso, quão bem você acha que você está fazendo?” Eu não acho que eu estou fazendo isso bem, para algumas lições, mesmo quando totalmente aprendidas, são simplesmente muito difícil de colocar em prática.

Foto por dailylifeofmojo cc