Saturday, February 27, 2010

“Experienced” Lawyer

Shon Hopwood was an ordinary bank robber. In 1997 he robbed 5 banks in Nebraska and stole almost $200,000. He was caught by the police and sentenced for 13 years in prison.

Shon told the sentencing judge that he would change his lifestyle and pleaded for an easier sentence. The judge did not believe his promise. The judge said: We will know in 13 years if you mean what you say.

He was locked in the federal prison in Perkin, Illinois.

The prison’s law library changed his life. He spent much of the time there. He suddenly realized he was able to understand the laws very quickly and very clearly. He turned himself into a Supreme Court practitioner.

In 2002, Shon prepared his first petition for certiorari. This is a formal request to the Supreme Court to hear a case. He did this on behalf of his friend in jail, John Fellers. John was sentenced on a drug related case. Since Shon was not a lawyer, his name did not appear on the brief. That year, more than 7,200 such requests were received by the U.S. Supreme Court. It agreed to hear only 8 of them. One was Fellers v. United States.

Seth Waxman, a former U.S. Solicitor General, agreed to argue this case in the Supreme Court. He said this certiorari was one of the best he has ever read. He had one condition to Fellers. Shon should be involved in this case and decide how to frame the arguments, decide on strategy, and anticipate questions from the justices.

The Supreme Court unanimously (9-0) decided in favor of John Fellers.

Shon helped several prisoners in many states and got their sentences reduced from lower courts. He was released from prison in 2008. He is now working on many Supreme Court petitions. He recently wrote a petition for a prisoner, who says his Miranda Rights were violated.

What is a “Miranda Right”? In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court mandated (Miranda vs Arizona) that arresting police officer must tell the criminal suspect his/her fundamental rights at the time of arrest. The police officer should inform the suspect with the following words:

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you”.

If the suspect does not know English, the above statement must be told to him/her in his/her mother tongue.

If the arresting police officer fails to tell the suspect his Miranda Rights, the judge will dismiss the case even if the arrest was made for premeditated murder committed in front 100 witnesses.

Shon is interested to go to law school and get a law degree. A law professor at the University of Michigan, who is working with Shon on various cases, has already secured a seat for him.

I know couple of lawyers (one in Mumbai and another one in Delhi) is looking for a talented assistant.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Don't Visit

Recently I read an article about a guy who was struggling in his mind how to tell a friend not to visit him. He could not come up with a believable excuse.

Since my full time job is to assist people in distress, here are some of the excuses I could think of on his behalf.

“Oh you are coming during the third week of April? I am sorry we have already made reservations and bought plane tickets to visit Peru that week”.

“Oh you are coming during the third week of May? I have to go out of town for a wedding that week. I am the Best Man for the groom. I cannot avoid it”.

“Oh you are coming during the third week of June? I am scheduled for a surgery for my back problem during that week”.

“Oh you are coming during the third week of July? I have a major relicensing/certification exam that week. I must spend all my free time studying for it”.

“Oh you are coming during the third week of August? Due to my emotional problems and chemical dependencies, I don’t think I can be a good host”.

“Oh you are coming during the third week of September? We are having some serious issues in the town and thus all the new comers to the city are being investigated. So please postpone your trip. I am telling you this secret as I don’t want you to face any problem”.

“Oh you are coming during the third week of October? I'd love to have you over. I need an alibi anyway. You can vouch for me right?”

“Oh you are coming during the third week of November? We are having a huge fund raising event that week for world peace. I hope you will be able to contribute generously and also volunteer to work”.

You can go more bizarre with the excuses. If someone wants to visit you in San Francisco, then you can say:

“Oh you are coming during the third week of December? Actually, there is nothing to see in San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge has been moved to Nevada for security reasons. The Bay Bridge, which was broken during the 1989 earthquake, is still not repaired. Because of the bad weather, this year’s harvest of grapes is destroyed. Therefore, Napa Valley is closed. The Cable Car employees are on strike. They have actually transferred prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to the Alcatraz Prison. Therefore, tourists are not allowed there. On top of it, severe snow is expected that week”.

If you know of any other excuses, believable like the above, please let me know.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray is a famous chef in USA. She has her own TV show called “30 Minute Meals”. For those who have little time to cook, she shows how to cook full meals under 30 minutes from scratch to finish. She has a huge audience. But she never had a formal education or training to become a chef.

Rachael is famous for making up words. One of her invention, EVOO, has been included in the Oxford American College Dictionary. Here are some of her words:

EVOO = Extra Virgin Olive Oil

G.B = Garbage Bowl

DELISH = Delicious

ENTREETIZER = Entrée-sized Appetizer

STOUP = Cross between a Stew and Soup

EVERYBODY NEEDS A LITTLE R AND R. = Every one should watch Rachael Ray Show

Yum-o = Yummy



SAMMIES = Sandwiches

BBLD Dish = This dish can be prepared for any time of the day – Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch or Dinner

S and P action = Need to add some more Salt and Pepper

SPOONULA = A kitchen tool that can be used as a Spoon and a Spatula at the same time

CHOP AND DROP = Place the cutting board near the stove and you can chop and drop in the pan

SHIMMY SHAKE = Seal the bag and give it a good shimmy shake to coat the chicken.

MOPPIE = Dish towel

GH = Grownup helper

There is a Rachael Ray Drinking Game in USA. When you watch her 30 minute TV show, you must have a drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) in your hand. Each of her famous word has number of sips against it. Whenever she uses any of her famous word during the show, you have to take the number of sips allotted for that word. For example: If she says EVOO, you have to take one sip. If she says Spoonula, you have to take two sips.

In addition, some of her other actions or sentences call for sips. For example, whenever she drops something on the floor, you have to take 3 sips.

If she comes with a new word, you have to gulp and finish the whole drink immediately.

One person who does not like the word “EVOO” wrote the following recently:

“What's going to be next for Rachael Ray? Is she going to start referring to her employer as TVFN (TV Food Network)? We should just tell her to STHU (Shut the heck up!)”.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Photo Credit: Yahoo

I am not talking vector calculus here, where the curl is a vector operator. I am not also talking about curling hair or curling iron. The guy in this picture is an excellent example to vouch for me.

Curling is a sports event in the Winter Olympics. I did not know this until this morning when I was watching the 2010 Winter Olympics now being held in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

It is a team sport. Two teams compete against each other. Each team has four players. Each player slides heavy polished granite stones down the ice. There is a circle marked at the far end called the house.

The purpose for each team is to slide 16 stones. Whichever team’s stones are closer to the center of the house is the winner. When the stones are sliding in the ice, there are 2 players broom or brushes the ice to direct the movement of these stones.

This has some similarities to lawn bowling or shuffleboard. The commentator was telling that this game was invented in Scotland. It became an official sport in the Winter Olympic games since 1998. Canada won the Gold in the 2006 Olympics.

My impression of this sport? It was as thrilling and exciting as watching grass grow or watching paint dry.

I think Figure Skating and Slalom are very exciting and interesting to watch in Winter Olympics. What do you think? Please don't say the Opening Ceremony and the Closing Ceremony. They are always very exciting and interesting to watch in any Olympics.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Four months ago, one day I was going on Interstate-80 Freeway to San Francisco. I have to cross the Bay Bridge. There was a long line of cars waiting to pay for the toll charge. Very slowly the cars moved toward the toll booths. The drivers paid the toll charge and drove in the Bay Bridge.

When my turn came to pay the toll charge, the guy who was taking the money in the booth said that the driver in front of me paid for my car also. I was stunned. I had no idea why a complete stranger would pay for my toll charge.

This was on my mind for couple of days. I was talking to some friends. They said some people surprise fellow human beings like this. They think giving a surprise gift to an unknown person is therapeutic. It is one of the best things we can do. It is the thought that counts. Money value does not. The toll charge was only $4.00. I would remember this incident until the day I die.

I am not talking here about helping poor people or handicapped people. I am also not talking about a passenger in train sharing whatever he bought at the station with fellow passengers. I am talking here about surprising an unknown fellow human being and making that person happy. The recipient will not know he received this gift until the giver has gone.

I learned something new that day.

Last week we were having dinner in a restaurant. There was an elderly couple dining in that restaurant. They were two tables away from our table. When our bill came we paid our bill and also that couple’s bill. This included their drinks, dinner, and tips. We quietly left the restaurant. We were very happy.

We all have read stories about how Elvis Presley liked to surprise his friends and strangers by presenting them with brand new cars. I am sure it will be a wonderful feeling for me if I am also able to leave a brand new BMW (with keys and ownership documents) in front of someone’s house and quietly leave.

We can start with doing something good to someone when they are least expecting. At least we can start with a friend before moving on to strangers.

If you have any similar incident, please share.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Day

Tomorrow is February 14, Valentine’s Day. I like the following quotes. I thought I would share with you.

Ann Landers (Famous Newspaper Columnist):

“The poor wish to be rich, the rich wish to be happy, the single wish to be married, and the married wish to be dead.”

David Bissonnette (Author):

"I recently read that love is entirely a matter of chemistry. That must be why my wife treats me like toxic waste."

Laurance J. Peter (Educator and Hierarchiologist):

"It's better to have loved and lost than to do forty pounds of laundry a week."

Rosanne Barr (Actress, Comedian, and Writer):

"Women are cursed, and men are the proof."

Groucho Marx (Comedian and Film Star):

"Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like and give her a house.”

Tracy Smith (Comedian):

“I wanted to make it really special on Valentine's day, so I tied my boyfriend up. And for three solid hours I watched whatever I wanted on TV.”

Jules Renard (French Author):

“Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties.”

Plato (Greek Philosopher):

“Love is a grave mental disease.”

Frank Zappa (American Composer):

“I detest 'love lyrics.' I think one of the causes of bad mental health in the United States is that people have been raised on 'love lyrics.”

Mae West (American Actress and Sex Symbol):

“Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.”

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Improving English Spelling

(Just got this important announcement in the email. Thought I should share this with y’all)

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union 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 accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy.

The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

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

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Super Bowl Musicals

Half time musical entertainment was presented by the British rock group The Who.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Game Results and Commercials

A few minutres ago Super Bowl game ended. Indianapolis Colts were favored by 5 points. New Orleans Saints were the underdog. Final Result: Saints not just defeated Colts. They humiliated Colts. The Final Score: New Orleans Saints 31 and Indianapolis Colts 17.

Lot of interesting new commercials. Which are the best? They are polling now and the results will be published on February 18th.

Here is what I think the 5 best commercials:

Google Commercial

Motorola Commercial

Volkswagen Commercial

Bridgestone Tire Commercial

Dockers Commercials

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Super Bowl

Tomorrow, February 7, the Super Bowl will be played in the USA…more specifically it will be played in Miami, Florida. The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League. American Football is not soccer and it is definitely not rugby. It is a unique sport. I am NOT going to explain the basics of American Football today. That will be for a different blog on a different day.

Here is tomorrow's Super Bowl schedule in TV:
12:00 noon (Eastern Time) - Pre-Game Show begins
4:30 PM (Eastern Time) - Interview with President Obama (Live)
4:40 PM (Eastern Time) - Pre-Game Show continues
6:30 PM (Eastern Time) - Actual Game begins

On Super Bowl Sunday, everyone’s attention and interests, including the President of the USA, will be on this game. Streets will be empty. Trains and buses will be empty. Theme parks will be empty. Movie theaters will be empty. The interest and excitement level on Super Bowl Sunday is T20 World Cup Cricket Final plus Soccer World Cup Final multiplied by 50.

Pizza parlors on the other hand will be working overtime to take on the surge in demand for “take out” or “home delivery” orders. Bars with huge television screens will be in “standing room only” mode.

The first Super Bowl was played in 1967. Tomorrow’s game will be the 44th Super Bowl. The teams in this year’s game are the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts. The Super Bowl will have a large television audience and it is often the most watched television program of the year.

The Super Bowl is not just another championship game but a 2 week long event that leads up to the game itself. There are all sorts of betting that occurs for the Super Bowl game. The Las Vegas casinos give odds and accept bets. People who support one team or the other bet with friends. The mayors of the two cities that play in the Super Bowl have a friendly wager with each other. The Governors of the two states where these cities are located also wager with each other. Every year the President is asked which team he thinks will win or which one he wants to win. As always, the President will not take sides.

There is betting that occurs in the work place as well. People who have no idea about American football also participate in betting. It is called “football pool”. Almost everyone gets caught up in some fashion about the game. (Same kind of pool can be made for cricket matches for betting among friends/colleagues. If someone is interested, I will be happy to share with them the know-how.)

On game day, people have super bowl parties. The game would start at 3:30 PM (Pacific Time). Friends and relatives gather at the house and begin the party at 10 AM. Lot of drinks, lot of food, and a lot of shouting. About 10% of these people get drunk before the game even starts and go to bed. Another 25% get drunk before the first half of the game is complete and go to bed.

The half-time break lasts for 20 minutes, and every year some famous musical entertainer gives a live performance for 12 minutes. It is the most watched annual music event as well. It involves millions of dollars, thousands of people, and 15 months of preparation…all for just a 12 minutes show. Some of the previous Super Bowl half-time performers include Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Paul McCartney, U2, The Rolling Stones, Prince, and Bruce Springsteen. This year’s performing group will be The Who, a rock band.

Corporations know that this is the most watched event in the USA (and beyond) as 1 billion people watch it annually. Therefore they roll out their newest commercials that are usually clever, catchy, and most times humorous. The cost to get an advertisement played during the Super Bowl is absolutely mind boggling. A 30 second commercial during the game costs $3 million. No, that is not a typo. A 30 second (not 1 minute) commercial costs $3 million. Absolutely outrageous! However, there is a loooong line of companies gladly willing to pay that amount.

The commercials are also part of the attraction as many people watch the Super Bowl just for the entertaining commercials. People love to see the newest advertisements that many times involve famous people and as mentioned before are usually humorous and clever.

The advertisements better be good at $100,000 per second. The day after the Super Bowl people talk about the game and even the commercials and discuss what they liked and disliked.

Enjoy Super Bowl Sunday – no matter where you are. (The next 2 posts will be on Super Bowl Ads.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Annoying Words/Phrases

Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, took out a poll in 2009 regarding words/phrases that annoy the people most. Here is the result:

1. Whatever (47%)
2. You know… (25%)
3. It is what it is (11%)
4. Anyway…(7%)
5. At the end of the day (2%)

Not to be outdone, came with their own top 10 list for 2009. Here it is:

1. Umm …
2. Fine
3. Like …
4. So on and so forth
5. Honestly
6. Uh huh (slang for yes)
7. Ut uh (slang for no)
8. Well …
9. Et cetera, et cetera
10. Anything spoken by an adult in baby talk

Here is my list of most annoying phrases:

1. I am only human
2. Quote unquote
3. No offense, but
4. Bottom line
5. There are no stupid questions
6. Beat around the bush
7. I don’t mean to interrupt
8. New and improved
9. Can we talk?
10. Did I wake you?

Any of your favorite annoying words/phrases is not included here? Be my guest and mention it in your comments. Thanks.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Response to My Post

In response to my post "Bride Selection (Manu's Advice)", a female reader sent her comments through email to me. Since I publish all comments, I am publishing this also. I asked her if I can publish her name. She said she simply wrote an email to me and that is all. Since her comment is kind of a retort, I am publishing her comment as a separate “post”. I like her comments and they are hilarious. Here it is:

Hi SG,
The blog was very funny. In case you're interested in a response, from a woman's perspective, read below and enjoy!

The Harmone Guide
Women will understand this!
Men should memorize this!

After marrying a girl according to guidance set by Manu, all men must carry the following handy guide, like a driver’s license, at all times. This will help them to have safe conversation with their wives. (Men who are not married yet should also carry this to help them have safe conversation with their girl friends.)

DANGEROUS: What’s for dinner?
SAFER: Can I help you with dinner?
SAFEST: Where would you like to go for dinner?
ULTRA SAFE: Here, have some wine

DANGEROUS: Are you wearing that?
SAFER: You sure look good in brown
SAFEST: WOW! Look at you!
ULTRA SAFE: Here, have some wine

DANGEROUS: What are you so worked up about?
SAFER: Could we be over reacting?
SAFEST: Here is my pay check
ULTRA SAFE: Here, have some wine

DANGEROUS: Should you be eating that?
SAFER: You know there a lot of apples left
SAFEST: Can I get you a piece of chocolate with that?
ULTRA SAFE: Here, have some wine

DANGEROUS: What did you DO all day?
SAFER: I hope you didn’t over-do it today
SAFEST: I’ve always loved you in that robe
ULTRA SAFE: Here, have some wine

13 Things PMS Stands For:

1. Pass My Shotgun

2. Psychotic Mood Shift

3. Perpetual Munching Spree

4. Puffy Mid-Section

5. People Make me Sick

6. Provide Me with Sweets

7. Pardon My Sobbing

8. Pimples May Surface

9. Pass My Sweat pants

10. Pissy Mood Syndrome

11. Plainly; Men Suck

12. Pack My Stuff

And my favorite one :

13. Potential Murder Suspect