I always wanted to be a detective because I thought they get to meet criminals who confess to the crime which provides closure and you come home feeling satisfied. Detectives drive big cars with the flashing light bulb, as they drive through fruit stalls chasing a puzzle. We see them eating delicious hot dogs while gathering information from a street vendor.

John Luther represents the other side of this life. So he is brilliant enough to figure out who the murderer is, and he is emotional enough to confront the murderer, however, he can’t gather enough evidence to put the killer in prison. So now we have a situation where the killer is stalking Luther. The killer is very good at google and has dug up some dirt on Luther and constantly calls Luther on the cell phone. Luther must awkwardly excuse himself from meetings to take these weird phone calls. It’s very different from the confident hot dog eating happy detective life style.

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Colloseum, A Gladiator’s Story

The BBC documentary is based on some new facts uncovered about ancient Rome. They show the life of Verus, a celebrated gladiator who was initially enslaved by Roman soldiers to break stones all day under the hot sun. He is about to give up on life, when an owner of a gladiator school, visits them and picks out Verus and some other slaves for training. They are taken to Rome, and given nice apartments with bath tubs and good clean water. Their training includes bathing which they considered a very healthy thing for body building.

For a few months, they are trained in strength only; lifting heavy logs, jumping on one leg while looking ferocious, pull-ups, hanging upside down while showing anger etc. Even after all this, they don’t even get to touch weapons. Trainers watch their every move and make corrections. Rich and royal people observe them as they lift heavy weights, chains…Only after they have reached a peak physical condition, are they allowed to touch a wooden sword. Not even a real sword. The idea was that you had to be ready. You had to earn it in the extreme sense. The training with the wooden swords was very detailed and they were tested and could easily be rejected at this important stage. Verus fails the first time, but through determination and focus, masters the wooden sword. Then the real sword, then two swords using both hands, then boxing, kicking, shield defense. He becomes the ultimate killer.

But there was a strange side to this brutal world. They formed a fraternity of gladiators, taking care of each other’s families, even showing respect at a fellow gladiator’s funeral. Not all gladiators were slaves. Some were rich men seeking excitement, others were in debt and seeking money. One victory over an opponent could earn a year of a Roman soldier’s pay. Rome also had a lot of wealthy free women, divorced women liberated from restrictions. These women paid gladiators to spend time with them. The gladiator was also considered a kind of super man but may suddenly be called to a party to entertain rich drunk Romans. Verus is invited one evening to a luxurious villa. He might be thinking ‘okay this is nice, I’m going to eat some great food.’ Guess what? They want him to fight someone right there in the living room with everyone watching. And so he does. It was a weird, brutal and fascinating world. I highly recommend this documentary if you are planning to travel back in time to become a gladiator.

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American Hustle is a winner!

Everyone wants something! The FBI agent wants respect and recognition. The mayor wants his city to prosper. The con artists want to avoid prison. The politicians want money. Everyone wants Jennifer Lawrence. Let the chaos begin. Treat yourself to this movie.

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Is this Karachi Sea View? No, its Mumbai but they do look similar.

On a breezy summer night, a car is cruising on a beachside road in Mumbai which is very similar to the famous seaview area in Karachi. Suddenly it makes a sharp screeching turn, breaks through a barrier of rocks and crashes into the sea. The next morning the car is pulled out along with the dripping body of the driver. The cops immediately recognize the body; Armaan Kapoor, a famous film actor. The serious inspector Singh arrives at the scene and the investigation begins.

Believe me, things are about to get weird. Inspector Singh is a serious man because his young son drowned in a lake some years ago. He and his wife have moved to a new place, perhaps trying to put the past behind them. His wife is clearly depressed, and the couple is barely talking at home. One morning, the inspector’s wife, gets a visit from a chirpy, lady, who brings a cheese cake to welcome them to the neighborhood. But this lady is more than just a friendly neighbor. She claims that dead people speak through her and she can connect the inspector’s wife with her dead son. The inspector’s wife reluctantly accepts and soon they are sitting in a candle lit room attempting to make contact with the spirit world.

The clever, tormented, Temur is a complicated man, and worth watching.

Meanwhile, inspector Singh is making good progress on the case as he discovers that the married film star had some kind of arrangement with prostitutes. Blackmail was involved. Inspector Singh enters the complicated red light area, and starts to unravel the mystery, by following some very interesting, characters. Among them, is a beautiful and alluring call girl, Simran. The inspector asks her questions, and she is surprisingly helpful in this world of shadows and shame. Then there is the intriguing Temur, who is trying to play his own risky game. I really liked how easily a police inspector can move through different kinds of societies. In the mornings, he is sitting in a plush, white apartment, talking to the glamorous, rich wife of the dead movie star. In the evenings, he walks in the dirty streets, where sex is a trade.

The film works because inspector Singh appears to be a tough dude. Yes, the world is a dark and cruel place, but our inspector, it seems, is equal to the task. So when he beats up people to rescue a girl from a prostitution ring, or interrogates a pimp’s assistant, (yeah they have those), we get involved.

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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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No eggs for breakfast in Italy

Marie and Christina are happy residents on a farm in Italy. They are pictured bringing tomatoes to the kitchen where I am making a cheese omelette. All three of us are very happy.

I was surprised to learn that Italians don’t eat eggs for breakfast. There was an article on Huffington Post about this. They go with a cappuccino and a pastry. My Syrian neighbour starts her day by eating this tasty khajoor (date) biscuit with tea. There are a lot of people who claim that tea is all they need in the morning. As someone who is spiritually Italian, I disagree with this. I like the energy of a good omelette. I’ll throw in spinach to make it heartier and more delicious. I make these with egg whites, so they are good for you and elongate life span by eighty five percent. I’ll add sharp cheddar from heaven and sliced tomatoes from some dreamy farm probably picked by the beautiful fingers of Marie and Christina who are pure, curvaceous creatures but speak no English, yet their eyes have spoken to me and they have said I can live with them on the farm, rent free. “But what about credit card bills and other boring nonsense?” I ask. “Just live for the moment,” says Marie as Christina gives me a neck massage to relax me further. Now the toasted bread makes sense because it lovingly supports the omelette with crunchiness. The melting cheese and fried tomatoes fall nicely on the tasty toast. Then I do something really controversial. I take out ice cold milk and mix in a spoon of coffee. Yes, I am having cold coffee with all this. I never drink it hot in the morning. I know its weird and brilliant at the same time. I do this because to me the morning represents a time of cool, soothing possibilities.

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What is spirituality?

This is your brain on ice cream.

I remember from my college days, when my roommate’s girlfriend came back from the mall, her face was glowing, as if she had reached a higher level of existence. The reason for the light on her face was that she had found some great deals at Gap. One by one, she took out the items from the shopping bag and grew happier with our approval of this shirt or that jacket. She had reached a spiritual state of contentment and kept saying, “I was lucky to get these.” At that moment, her face belonged in a religious painting or some sacred marble statue.

Yesterday I had a very big and tasty lunch. I sank into the comfortable sofa. Tea was served as I browsed through a large collection of movies on Netflix.  I think that’s what it means to be spiritual. To have eaten so many kababs that you don’t want to eat anymore, and also this feeling of contentment that I have the remote in my hand and I am probably not going anywhere for the next few hours. A sense of peace. So the next time you eat too much, just know this: you are being spiritual.

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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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Escape Plan

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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.

News Source

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More Juice from Sunlight!

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Soitec, CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin have achieved a new world record for the conversion of sunlight into electricity. They used a new kind of solar cell which converted 44.7% sunlight, into electrical energy. More power to them! Literally! Get it? This is great news for a better, cleaner future. Actually it’s great news for all humans. Consider this: Every second, the core of our sun is producing the amount of energy that equals ten billion hydrogen bombs. That means about fifty billion hydrogen bombs just exploded on the sun by the time you finish reading this sentence. How can we ignore that kind of excitement? Are we that rude?
Link to Press Release

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The Circle of Life

The Red Lion: Created on a sunny day in September. The absence of realism is intended to remind the viewer of childhood. I think it works.

Remember that scene when Lion King speaks to his son about the circle of life? Lion King instructs Simba to respect the land and all creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.
“But don’t we eat those animals?”
“Yes,” says Lion King with a smile, “but eventually we also die, we become grass. The antelope eat the grass and so we are all connected.”

This philosophical dialog is accompanied by pleasant scenery and nice music but it never gave me peace. The idea of becoming grass or some kind of blue berry is not comforting. I love the earth but I want to walk on it and eat ice cream as myself.

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McDonald’s is the new Starbucks!


McDonald's looks inviting like Rick's Cafe from Casablanca.

They are really changing their look. The hanging lamps above make the french fries glow, trendy benches where people sit with laptops, walls decorated with large images of sliced oranges and freshly washed lettuce. Some are reading books, while drinking smoothies. Others discuss life, but not in a boring manner, but more in a cool coffee house way, where they blame and criticize someone who is not present. “She knows how to manipulate you,” says a trendy looking girl with pink hair to a serious young man drinking coffee. As I dip my fries in a puddle of ketchup, I try to imagine what that manipulative girl looks like. Probably like Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. Flat screen televisions bring news of the world, stimulating discussion on how Miley Cyrus is reinventing herself. The dark wooden floor shines with a deep gloss, even the trashcan looks elegant. Yet, apple pie and ice cream are still available at very affordable prices. This is it! A new way to exist. It might be over for Starbucks.

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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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