I have Never Lost an Imaginary Argument

To this day I have never lost an imaginary argument. Here is how you can win:

Be Confrontational
Stare your opponent in the eyes as you say something clever. Be as loud as possible. Remember this is not reality, so be aggressive.

Take Your Time
Don’t rush. You have all the time to deliver the most dashing and powerful reply. Your opponent has to wait for you to finish. No one can interrupt you.

It’s Completely okay to make mistakes
Even if you don’t get it right the first time, you can always go back and start all over again. Until you get it just right.

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Cary Grant 33: 33 Films of “Original Cool” with Summary, Selected Dialogue, and Trivia

 Cary Grant

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Forget & Enjoy


Scientists managed to erase memory in rats but then they followed these amazing actions by restoring that very memory:

We can cause an animal to have fear and then not have fear and then to have fear again by stimulating the nerves at frequencies that strengthen or weaken the synapses,…


What wonderful things could we do with such brain control? Maybe walk into a restaurant and you are served a Forget Fortified appetizer. FFA. Now you have no memory of what a pancake is. The fragrance of maple syrup, the hot melting taste of it. You are born again as a pancake virgin. Taste it for the first time.

Posted in Humor | 5 Comments

Shakespeare on Writer’s Block

So what is writer’s block? I think it is the loss of meaning. Whatever it is that you are writing should get you excited. It should make you weird; you should be in your own world and people should wonder why you are not moving even though the traffic light is green. They should ask why you are standing in the self checkout counter, staring at an apple, talking to it. Your creation should overwhelm you and others should be irritated by your presence.

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Secrets of the Sun

It is so huge that a million planet earths can fit inside the sun. It takes light hundred thousand years just to leave the core and reach the surface of the sun. And then in eight minutes the light reaches us. Each second, this magnificent giant creates the energy of 10 billion exploding hydrogen bombs. Check out the documentary. Look, you need to do this.

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Aliens Invade Earth During Government Shutdown!

Ambassador Lumon represents the planet Bobotron which has sent an invasion army to earth. Ambassador Lumon has a masters in invasion economics and a doctorate in the field of world domination.

Aliens from the planet Bobotron (pronounced: boh-boh-tron) have invaded earth. The reason for this audacious behavior? Government shutdown.

“Let’s face it. We were looking for an opportunity,” said ambassador Lumon who is a green man with large eyes and a frank attitude. “You can’t keep parks open, even the zoo is closed! We felt this was a good time to step in and present the people with a new option.”

Reports are coming in that Bobotronians were walking around in the malls, entering stores, and simply taking whatever they liked. Store employees were too scared to do anything and quickly announced a 100%  alien discount. When reporters approached ambassador Lumon, he agreed to do a press conference at a local bakery. “Do you come in peace?” was the first question shouted to him. The ambassador smiled and said, “Of course not!”

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There is Water on Mars! Let’s Go There!

Million of miles away, alone on the planet Mars, our friendly robot, the Curiosity Rover scooped some martian soil for analysis. It has been concluded that this soil sample contains water! About 2% of the soil on Mars is made up of the good stuff. Laurie Leshin is the study’s lead author and made some exciting remarks.

“These results have implications for future Mars explorers. We now know there should be abundant, easily accessible water on Mars. When we send people, they could scoop up the soil anywhere on the surface, heat it just a bit, and obtain water.”-Dr. Laurie Leshin, Dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

So would you go to Mars? And what would you pack for this journey? It’s completely different from any other destination. I think the traveller to Mars is someone who wants to shed the past. They would feel lighter on the red planet both literally and at an emotional level. The newness of that place would overwhelm all their regrets. On this new world, they would become very busy with survival. They would focus on growing potatoes and tomatoes in a Martian greenhouse. Maybe they would open an Italian restaurant and it would do really well because chances are slim of finding two Italian restaurants there. Everyone will feel original.

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Chilling on the Moon

I love this image from Apollo 15 mission to the moon. Astronaut James Irvin stands next to his ride. That moon car has personality. If you hangout with astronauts, then you probably shouldn't call it the moon car. The proper name is Lunar Roving Vehicle or LRV. Why couldn't they call it the moon cruiser? Because they are serious people doing serious things. Apollo 15 was the first of the Apollo missions which demonstrated the ability to spend more time on the moon and with greater surface mobility. The LRV is powered by an electric engine, so you don't have to worry about finding a gas station. NASA had four of these LRVs built, with the cost coming to just 38 million dollars. Who are we to complain about our car payments? The LRV was a great succes, allowing astronauts to reach different locations where they did moony things. At approximately 4:46 p.m. on August 7th, Apollo 15 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. It landed 335 miles north of Honolulu. The Apollo flight had lasted for 12 happy days and seven delightful hours. Out of these 12 days, the astronauts spent three days on the moon.- (Image credit to NASA.GOV)

We really need to focus on these kind of adventures instead of fighting stupid wars on earth.

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Mexican Pizza at Taco Bell is the Tastiest Fast Food

The Mexican Pizza at Taco Bell. Observe the three cheese blend and the two crispy pizza shells which combine to create delight

I know the millions of people reading this blog will say that I am wrong. How can Taco Bell make such amazing pizzas? They do. But you have to eat it immediately. The pizza is made in a steaming oven which melts the three cheese blend to tasty perfection. The three cheeses are sprinkled with diced tomatoes so they add a nice chewy texture. All these toppings go very nicely on the crispy pizza shell. I usually replace the meat with beans and the flavor is just as good. I think this is one of the best fast food menu items out there. Sprinkle some fire sauce on it, and believe me, you are in heaven.

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Day 20 of My Vegetarian Life

So I had a realization. I never liked salads and I still don’t. I like things when they are cooked. Eating salads had convinced me that vegetables were a side item or something you had before the “real” meal. As a vegetarian over the last 20 days, I have been forced to make vegetables my main meal. So having a salad and then eating more vegetables did not make sense to me. I like cooked vegetables. So once I had this realization, I look at eggplants and tomatoes differently. Two nights ago I went to a dinner at my friend’s house. His mother is a great cook and she had made some delicious things, like eggplant in yogurt, and a traditional spicy cake which is eaten with a chutney. Once I had these, I had no longing for meat. The trick is to cook the veggies into something tasty, so that you eat lots of it and are satisfied with life and don’t feel like crying.

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Day 14 of Vegetarian Life

So I broiled these veggies. They include squash, brussels sprouts, zucchini, broccoli & tomatoes. See how colorful and scrumptious they look! The cherry tomatoes explode with flavor. That weird thing on the right side is squash which I bought from a local grocery store. I baked that for 20 minutes and it was good with lemon. Was it out of this world? Do I crave it? Of course not! Its's not french fries. Point is that these things fill you up and the pleasure of vegetables is enjoyed even after the meal when you remain alert, feeling light and strong.

In the documentary Vegucated  we meet three regular New Yorkers who agree to go Vegan for six weeks. They are not models but just normal regular folks. The documentary maker shows them how to live a vegan lifestyle. It was fun watching them change their eating habits and one of the participants was under tremendous pressure from her family. She even cried tears of pain but managed to last as a vegan for six weeks. All the participants improved in health. Blood pressure on one of them became perfect. Cholesterol levels dropped more than 20 points. Inspired by their effort, I thought, maybe I should try going vegetarian. I am on day 14 now. Of course its much easier to be a vegetarian than to be a vegan. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary a vegan is:

a strict vegetarian who consumes no animal food or dairy products; also : one who abstains from using animal products (as leather).

So that’s not me! I love dairy products like cheese and chocolate milk and chocolate and chocolate ice cream . But one thing I am bringing to the picture is unhealthy food. Two nights ago I had the cheesy taco pizza at Taco Bell. I am also eating burritos with cheese and sour cream. It helps me forget the meat. My greatest test came at Five Guys where I would become a Jedi.  

Five Guys Employee: Can I take your order?

Minhaj: I’ll have a vegetable sandwich please.

The Devil: Are you crazy? A burger with no meat? What’s the point? Why even try this vegetarian thing?

Minhaj:I am in control.

The Devil: Oh snap!

The veggie burger at Five Guys is almost the same thing without the beef pattie. You get the lettuce, you get tomatoes, you get cheese, you get mushrooms and you get that empty feeling. To compensate for the lack of meat I ate a few hundred peanuts.

Posted in Food, Science | 5 Comments

Is it wrong to slice a bagel? It depends…

More and more I am becoming against the idea of slicing a sesame seed bagel because the upper half always gets all the sesame seeds. The lower half of the bagel is immediately downgraded in our hearts and minds.

Sesame seed plants were first grown in Asia or East Africa. Ancient Egyptians were using sesame seeds in making very tasty bread. They had to. They needed a break from building those very large monuments. The Chinese also burned sesame seed oil to make high quality ink blocks.

In the legend of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, sesame seeds are mentioned. They opened the door to a cave filled with riches.

Sesame seeds are mentioned in ancient legend because people believed that sesame seeds possessed magical powers. Some of us still believe it.

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The Curious Case of the Fall in Crime

In the 1990s, 500 armed bank robberies were taking place every year in England and Wales. Last year in 2012, only 69 armed bank robberies were recorded. This huge fall is not limited to bank robbers. Car theft is dramatically down as well. In 1990, in New York, 147,000 cars were stolen. Number of cars stolen in New York in 2012? Less than 10,000! What is going on? Are people becoming nice? People in developed countries are now safer than they ever were since the 1970s.

In the 1990s conservatives predicted that divorce and single parent families would cause a rise in crime. Wild and crazy youth with no sense of humanity would go on a rampage. Some had predicted that as people of different ethnic backgrounds would come together in cities, there would be violence. Blondes would fight with brunettes. We would need Batman. They were wrong. The new generation is better behaved, less likely to get drunk in public and less violent. They do like Batman but only at the movies where the youth eats buttered popcorn in a peaceful manner. Sometimes they text but mostly they comply with expectations of decency.

This growing niceness has held true even as we experience a world recession. So how did we get here? Is it because we throw more people in prison? New York defies this logic, where prison population has fallen by 25 percent since 1999 and the crime rate has fallen faster than many other cities. Netherlands and Germany are reducing their prison population and crime is falling. First time offenders in England and Wales have fallen by a whopping 44 percent since 2007. Why and how you ask? The Economist explores this happy puzzle.

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Robots at Work

Posted in Current Events, Science | 3 Comments

The Goodbye Process

When a guest is leaving your place, do you walk them all the way to the car? Or do you simply walk them to the door and then do the half hanging out wave thing? I usually walk them to the car and sometimes I will even sit in the car to listen to music or have the last few words of conversation. I also continue to wave at them as they reverse and drive away. Sometimes I will keep waving as long as their car is visible. Sometimes I will run after the car to show affection. What is the decent cut off point where a farewell may be considered complete? The answer is that no one really knows.

Posted in Humor | 9 Comments

Star Trek is a Wild Ride!

What a great film! They finally found a villain who has a plan. I was expecting a gloomy suicidal maniac who wants to kill everyone including himself. But instead we were rewarded with scheming charismatic leader striving for a different future, a future in which genetically enhanced beings rule the universe.

A lot of the action is on earth which is a treat to watch, because it is the earth of the future. London of course exists in that future, combining elements of the past with the sleek shiny buildings we will build with our rational minds. There are no signs of poverty as Star Trek dreams of a society beyond money. Vending machines are just nice. They will give you whatever you want because you asked for it. Not like these days when we have to insert many coins and even dollars for chemical infested candy bars and cheese covered chips. I still eat them. In Star Trek future, cars and things of transport don’t have wheels. They float because we have figured that out.

Spock of course is the winner, because his cold logical side is balanced by his entertaining relationship with the attractive Ahura who speaks Klingon and is a valuable asset for any spaceship.

Ahura is romantically involved with Spock and she is fed up with his logic.

The film starts with a magnificent scene on a planet where the inhabitants are still in the hunting gathering phase of development. These people don’t have credit cards, or mortgages and no facebook. They hunt, paint themselves with earthy colors and throw spears. They are also very sensitive because they chase Captain Kirk through a forest of red trees.

One thing they could have done better was the Klingon world. I was expecting gigantic statues of warriors and coliseums where gladiators fight till death. Sadly, they were not able to establish such details for the Klingon civilization. I also wanted to see more of Ahura using her Klingon language skills to operate in their world. I also wanted to see more of Ahura doing nothing. I just want to see her. The film entertains with its touches, like the glass room holding area where the villain is honorably held. It is from here that Khan the villain says classy things to manipulate his captors. We also see some very cool space suits which allow the fearless captain to dive and fly through space. We are getting close to these things because just last year Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner broke the speed of sound by jumping from the edge of space. Star Trek is a postcard from the future, inviting us to invent a better world, and vending machines that have the decency to give things to us without asking for money. And best of all, this film has good old fashioned running, really fast, after the bad guy, in a crowded city of the future. Go see it!

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