Saturday, January 07, 2006


India is the new Tuscany

January is the new March

Hey is the new Hi

AM is the new FM

9PM is the new Midnight

Bikram is the new Lilias

Deadwood is the new Sopranos

David Milch is the new David Chase

Altoids* are the new Tic-Tacs

Ribbon Magnets are the new Baby on Board placards

Camouflage is the new Paisley

Coach is the new Steerage

The 2005 Chicago Bears are the new '85 Chicago Bears

Airborne is the new Emer'gen-C

War is the new Peace

Cliff Bars are the new Space Food Sticks

Oligarchy is the new Democracy

DJs are the new Rock Stars

Bronze is the new Tan

Earl is the new Seinfeld

Flip-flops are the new Heels

Bubble Tea is the new Milkshake

Streaked is the new Blonde

Thai is the new Chinese

Courtney Love is the new Bette Midler**

SUV is the new Station Wagon

The Daily Show is the new SNL

Cell Phones are the new Walkie-Talkies

Nextel is the new CB

Backwards is the new Sideways

Iraq is the new Vietnam

Green Day is the new Beach Boys

Three is the new Two***

60 is the new 40

200,000 is the new 100,000

Andre 3000 is the new Prince****

Yoga is the new Aerobics

Blogging is the new Circle Jerk.

Chutney is the new Salsa

Family Guy is the new Simpsons

iPod is the new Walkman

Philadelphia is the new Brooklyn

Bridgeport is the new Wicker Park

The Dalai Lama is the new Maharishi

Blue Man Group is the new Shields and Yarnell / Mummenschanz

The Memoir is the new Novel

Rap is the new Punk

Pamela Lee is the new Dolly Parton

Sangria is the new Mojito

The Interweb is the new Telegraph

Pilates is the new Yoga

Poker is the new Poker

Tibetan Monks are the new Horses*****


*Altoids contain gelatin, which is made of boiled bones, skin, connective tissue, hooves and other unsavory animal parts. Gelatin is also hidden in Starburst chews, Skittles candies, Lucky Charms cereal, marshmallows, Jello, Kellogg's and Trader Joe's Frosted Mini Wheats, candy corn, and some margarines and nonfat yogurts, among other things.

**When she's not impersonating Nancy Spungen, that is.

***3 = the new 2 when it comes to child-bearing, at least among my set.

****Andre 3000 was voted sexiest male vegetarian, 2004. Both he and Price are vegan. So is that theatrical c*cksucker, Ian McShane! And Pamela Anderson. And Bill Maher, Dennis Kucinich, Alice Walker, Alicia Silverstone, Lindsay Wagner******, Carl Lewis, k.d. lang, Weird Al and many others.

*****Women of a Certain Age seem to flock to and collect these smiling, traveling, oppressed monks with much the same tireless enthusiasm and devotion they once expressed towards those long-limbed equine creatures.

******Not that it aids The Bionic Woman's slumber, if her ads for The Sleep Number Bed are any indication.


Dear Readers (all two of you):
Feel free to weigh in with your own contributions


  1. Anonymous2:44 PM


    I am a regular reader of your blog (if you do not beleive me, please check the ISP, LOL). This is by far the best entry of yours. I am curious to know what's the relationship between tuscany and India? I wish to hear from you. Thank you and Keep up your blog. By the way, I would like to read some of your published (books?). I will be happy to buy them.


  2. Give me your e-mail address and I'll send you a URL where you can find more.

  3. PS
    India is so user-friendly (bottled water, internet, Lonely Planet entries, etc) that people (esp. women) travel there much like how they used to go to Tuscany.
    It follows of course that Vietnam is the new Hawaii.

  4. how about...
    dvr is the new vcr?
    my friends and i say "broken up is the new married." but thats kind of an inside joke. btw, i didnt know anyone other than me remembers *shields and yarnell.* i laughed so hard coffee came out of my nose.

  5. Anonymous4:55 PM


    Thanks for the prompt response. My email is (thats just half my name! blame my parents.

    Did you says, India is user friendly?I always thought it was the other way around. I have read your archives witten from mysore, and many other saying just the opposite.Maybe you are being sarcastic?

    In continuation of current blog entry, I wonder if yogis are the new hippies?(no offense!!)


  6. Anonymous7:51 PM

    Is Pat Robertson the new Jerry Falwell?

    Is G. Bush the new Hitler?

    Is the US the new Rome? IE: near collapse.

  7. Dreyfuss8:01 PM

    chai is the new $4 a glass scotch

  8. Dreyfuss8:11 PM

    You right about India is the new Tuscany.
    There is a big story with many pics about India in the current issue of Business Week.

    JANUARY 16, 2006


    Subcontinental Drift
    More Westerners are beefing up their résumés with a stint in India

    After a year answering phones for Swiss International Air Lines Ltd. in a Geneva call center, Myriam Vock was eager to see something of the world. So she packed her bags and hopped a plane to India. Two and a half years later she's still there, sharing a five-bedroom apartment in an upscale New Delhi suburb with four other foreigners.

    And how does she pay the bills? She works in a call center, getting paid a fraction of what she did back home. "I'm not earning much, but there is enough to live well and travel," says Vock, 21, who answers queries from French-speaking callers for Tecnovate eSolutions, a Delhi arm of London-based online travel agency eBookers PLC. "I don't pay taxes here, and life is so much cheaper," she says. For fun, she and her roommates take in a Bollywood flick a couple of times a week and cook at home or order in pizza when they tire of spicier Indian fare. She has already visited exotic spots such as the spiritual haven Hrishikesh in northern India and is now charting itineraries for the next year or so.

    Worried about your job fleeing to India? One strategy is to chase it -- an option a growing number of twentysomething Westerners are choosing. Sure, the trend will never make up for the thousands of positions lost back home, but for adventurous young people, a spell in a call center in Bangalore or Bombay can help defray the costs of a grand tour of the subcontinent and beyond.

    Of course, firangis -- or foreigners -- have always been part of the Indian outsourcing scene. But until recently, they were mostly highly paid experts from companies that were sending their work abroad, helping the new Indian team learn the processes.

    Those folks are still coming to India, but they're being joined by less-experienced people who make little more than the rock-bottom wages paid to locals that are a key draw for multinationals. They typically earn about $350 a month and work the phones for six months to a year before chilling on the beaches of Goa, trekking in the Himalayas, or visiting the palaces of Rajasthan. They often get their airfare to India paid by their new employer, live for free in a company flat with other foreigners, and receive free transportation to the office. "It's a win-win situation," says Sreeram Iyer, chief executive of Scope International, the Chennai-based human resources and software development outsourcing operation of Standard Chartered Bank. "We're not looking for tenure at all," he says.

    Despite India's seemingly limitless pool of workers, these foreigners make up for talent shortages faced by the outsourcing industry. Even as call centers are the first job choice for millions of young Indians, employers are getting choosier about the people they hire, and it's tough to train Indians to speak the kind of colloquial English, French, Spanish, German, or Dutch that customers want. Although no one knows for sure how many young foreigners are answering phones in India, some 30,000 expats today work for Indian tech and outsourcing companies, about triple the number two years ago, says the National Association of Software & Services Companies, the industry trade association.

    And that's just the start. The country's outsourcers will need some 160,000 workers with top-notch foreign-language skills by 2010, estimates Evalueserve, a Delhi-based company that provides research services to corporate clients worldwide. But in the next five years, Indian schools will only produce 40,000 or so grads with the proficiency needed for those jobs. Evalueserve expects foreigners to make up the difference.

    Evalueserve is helping to kick-start the trend. It employs 40 foreigners on a staff of 900 serving clients in 65 countries, and plans to add another 150 firangis this year. "It is important to have cultural contact and language skills to enhance our offerings," says CEO Ashish Gupta. As an affiliate of eBookers -- which serves clients from across Europe -- Tecnovate is also leading the way. More than half its workers, 40 out of 70, are Europeans. Next year the company wants to add another dozen or so. And Pune-based outsourcer GTL Ltd. hired a London employment agency to recruit 11 young people when it won a contract to provide customer service for a British company. "It helped us to benchmark our people doing the same job," says GTL's human resources chief, Anand Desai.

    The trend is also being fueled by the changing customer base of India's outsourcing shops. Traditionally, they focused on serving companies with customers in the U.S. and Britain. But now they're looking to boost their business from Europe. In 2004, 64% of all outsourcing contracts came from the U.S. and Britain. Just 29% came from the rest of Europe, but that number could jump to 40% within five years, Nasscom says.

    Some companies are getting creative to keep the pipeline filled with new recruits. Obtaining work visas for foreigners in India requires hours of standing in line for permits. And visas are only given for a year, so anyone wanting to stay longer has to repeat the process. To get around those hassles, eBookers hires recruits in Europe and then transfers them to India. While it takes a week or two in Europe to process a visa, getting a work permit on the ground in India takes three or four months.

    There's even a new group of service providers to help supply India's outsourcers with hires from overseas. In October, 2004, Tim Bond -- a 32-year-old consultant to offshoring companies in Britain -- set up Launch Offshore, a London recruitment firm that caters to Indian call centers. He has found jobs for 100 workers, and this year expects to place 200 more. Headhunters India, a leading tech staffing company, says it gets about 300 unsolicited foreign résumés every month, and has found jobs for about 100 expats in the past two years. "Call it reverse brain drain," says Managing Director Kris Lakshmikanth. At Team Lease Ltd., India's largest temp agency, résumés pour in from Africa, Japan, Poland, and Latin America. Although many are from travelers looking for quick cash while visiting India, Team Lease has placed some recruits with the likes of IBM () and Dell ().

    The workers don't come only for adventure. Many have had trouble getting jobs in their native land. Nine months ago, Kenny Rooney, a 28-year-old Scotsman, moved to India to answer phones for GTL in Pune, and quickly advanced to become a trainer and team leader. "India provided me a growth opportunity that wasn't there back home," he says.

    More important, time spent answering phones in India can also work wonders on résumés. Kati Koivukangas, for instance, was working at a travel agency in her native Finland when she heard that an outsourcing company in New Delhi was hiring. Koivukangas, a 28-year-old graduate in tourism and hotel management from University of Helsinki, jumped at the chance and has been in India for more than two years. She has worked her way up the ladder, now overseeing a dozen other Finns who answer calls. "I'll hang on for another six months and then make a call on what to do," she says. "Not only do I get to see the country, but the Indian experience looks good on my CV."

    By Nandini Lakshman

  9. Accord is the new Prizm, right?

    What will you name her?

  10. Look at all of these India maps!

  11. W. Mark Felt is the new Linda Lovelace, both aka as DEEP THROAT

    Read the link, informative for you younger pups.
    There is an FBI tie in with both deep throats, btw.

  12. Clinton watcher, Bill & Hill1:08 PM

    Students were assigned to read 2 books, "Titanic" &"My Life" by Bill
    Clinton. One smart ass student turned in the following book report, with
    the proposition that they were nearly identical stories ! His cool
    professor gave him an A+ for this report:

    Titanic: $29.99
    Clinton: $29.99

    Titanic: Over 3 hours to read
    Clinton: Over 3 hours to read

    Titanic: The story of Jack and Rose, their forbidden love, and
    subsequent catastrophe.

    Clinton: The story of Bill and Monica, their forbidden love, and
    subsequent catastrophe.

    Titanic: Jack is a starving artist.
    Clinton: Bill is a bullshit artist.

    Titanic: In one scene, Jack enjoys a good cigar.
    Clinton: Ditto for Bill.

    Titanic: During ordeal, Rose's dress gets ruined.
    Clinton: Ditto for Monica.

    Titanic: Jack teaches Rose to spit.
    Clinton: Let's not go there.

    Titanic: Rose gets to keep her jewelry.
    Clinton: Monica's forced to return her gifts.

    Titanic: Rose remembers Jack for the rest of her life.
    Clinton: Clinton doesn't remember Jack.

    Titanic: Rose goes down on a vessel full of seamen.
    Clinton: Monica...ooh, let's not go there, either.

    Titanic: Jack surrenders to an icy death.
    Clinton: Bill goes home to Hilary...basically the same thing.

  13. frozen yogi9:43 AM

    NEW DELHI - The Indian capital Sunday saw its first winter frost in 70 years as a cold wave sweeping in from the Himalayas killed more people in northern India overnight, officials said.

    The capital city of 14 million people ordered schools shut for three days from Monday as the mercury for the first time since 1935 fell to 0.2 degrees Celsius (32.36 Fahrenheit), leaving mounds of ice on parked cars.

    White-laced streets greeted early risers, but any novelty value brought by the cold soon died as frost on power cables sparked partial power cuts across large swathes of New Delhi, said the privately-run BSES utility provider.

    On January 16, 1935, Delhi recorded minus 0.6 degrees Celsius.

    "I was born in New Delhi and this is the first time we are seeing ice on grass," said Supriya Singh, a fashion designer. "It's just like snow ... It's heavenly."

    Her jubilation was not shared by the homeless thousands.

    The city municipality late Sunday rushed to set up community shelters for some of the city's 150,000 homeless people as the weather office warned the severe chill would continue.

    "The indications are that these conditions would continue for the next two days before the temperatures rise," a spokesman for New Delhi's meteorological department told AFP.

    Haryana state's Karnal city, which adjoins New Delhi, also shivered at 0.1 degrees Celsius, eight degrees below normal for this time of year, he said.

    Overseas visitors received a taste of the cold snap in the popular desert resort of Pushkar in Rajasthan state, where a Hindu priest succumbed to the bitter cold overnight, the United News of India reported.

    Nearby Churu felt the icy sting as the mercury tumbled six degrees Celsius to minus three degrees Celsius (26.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in the remote desert township, the weather office reported, adding that it was last this cold in 1974.

    The army evacuated troops from their insulated bunkers on the Siachen glacier as temperatures dipped below minus 40 degrees Celsius in parts of the 6,969 metre (23,000 foot) high Himalayan wasteland, defence ministry sources said.

    The cold death toll, meanwhile, rose by another nine to a total of 146 since early December as eight more people died in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, and one in distant West Bengal province.

    Uttar Pradesh so far accounts for 112 of the deaths, police spokesman Avinash Mehrotra said in the state capital Lucknow.

    Ten people have died in adjoining Bihar state while the bad weather has claimed 18 lives in the northern state of Punjab, four in Haryana, one in Rajasthan and another in West Bengal state, officials said in separate reports.

    Also on Sunday, two men and four women were killed in Punjab when a truck rammed their car on a highway in dense fog, which has sowed havoc with air, rail and road traffic in northern India, the police said.

    Last year, some 420 people died from cold in Uttar Pradesh alone.