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Mar 222011

We love it.

Just love it.

One of our favorite Indian e-zines Tehelka has torn into Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK leader M.Karunanidhi and his family.

That Tamil Nadu has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the extended Karunanidhi clan with its grasping finger thrusting into every pie – politics, business, newspapers, cable TV, newspapers, TV channels, movie production and distribution, state contracts and more – is no secret to the hapless denizens of the state.

But few articles have provided as good a summary as the Tehelka piece in providing both a historic perspective and insights into the current dystopian nightmare that has made life difficult for so many millions.

Titled How the K-Family Colonized a State – K Klutch Klan, the article is a blistering attack on the tactics adopted by Karuinanidhi, his sons M.K.Azhagiri and heir apparent M.K.Stalin and other members of the extended family such as the businessman Kalanidhi Maran and his politician brother Dayanidhi Maran to entrench their power and grow their clout and wealth:

Here’s an excerpt from the Tehelka piece:

[I]n the last decade, especially in the current term of the DMK government, members of the first family have graduated from legislators to ministers, party members to party strategists, and most visibly, local politicians to national-level netas. The rules that bind every other politician in TN do not apply to them. It is not a mere matter of privilege, but of the kind of personal and financial takeover of a party and a state that breaks the limits of politics, and becomes simply about absolute control. Today, every time a person in Tamil Nadu switches on his television, reads the paper, buys groceries, purchases land, or watches a film, he has in some way engaged with one of Karunanidhi’s relatives. The family is inescapable. And its influence does not even depend on whether or not it is in power.

Must read piece, folks. Continue reading »

Mar 222011

Internet retailer launched its Appstore for Android devices today in a move that could whittle away some of the advantages Apple has enjoyed with its hugely successful AppStore and overcome the disadvantages of Google’s Android Marketplace.

Amazon Appstore

Amazon’s new store can be accessed at and comes with a novel feature called “Test Drive” that lets users test apps on a simulated Android phone before buying them.

Currently, there are about 3,800 apps on the Amazon Appstore, a number that’s likely to grow as Android developers flock to the store.

While developers can suggest the retail price for their apps, Amazon will have the last word on the price. The split between developers and Amazon is said to be 70-30, with the higher number in favor of the app publisher.

The Amazon Appstore will include personalized recommendations, customer reviews, 1-Click payment options and video content that shows apps in action.

The much anticipated Angry Birds Rio for Android debuted on the Amazon Appstore today.

Screened, Tested Apps
Amazon said it would screen all app submissions from developers for known viruses and malware and test them to check that it actually does what it claims to do, and test whether the app affects the stability of the other functions of the Android phone.

Amazon’s tests are supposed to include:

  • Installation: To ensure that the application installs and opens, upgrades can be installed and the application can be uninstalled by following the phone’s regular uninstall method.
  • Functionality: To ensure that the application doesn’t crash and the description of the application matches the application’s description.
  • Usability: To ensure that graphics, videos, animation, and text within the app are clear and readable to the user
  • Technical: To ensure that the application doesn’t interfere with, or stop working when, a user receives calls or text messages while the application is running.

A big disadvantage of the Google Android Marketplace is that the apps are not tested before they are offered to users.

A few weeks back, 58 malware apps were discovered on the Android Marketplace. They had been downloaded by as many as 200,000 users to their Android phones before the rogue apps were killed. Continue reading »

Mar 222011

Since some folks on this fine blog have been dropping the Blue Moon name, our curiosity was piqued enough to take a dekko at the beer and check out what the fuss was all about.

To our surprise, we found more than one variety of Blue Moon in the cooler of our local liquor store.

There’s the Blue Moon Belgian White, Pale Moon and Blue Moon Spring Blonde Wheat Ale (from the Seasonal Collection).

We found a variety pack ($14.99) containing four bottles of each and grabbed it.

Blue Moon Beers Review

Blue Moon Belgian White

Touted as a Belgian-style wheat ale, this one is not that foamy a beer as you pour it into the glass.

Like Namaste, the Blue Moon Belgian White too is brewed with coriander and orange peel. But the coriander and orange peel flavor seemed milder with the Blue Moon. Continue reading »

Mar 222011

All pizzas are not made equal.

Some are sadistically worse than the others.

Longing for a break from our usual Idli, Vada, Dosa, Pongal, Bisi-Bele Bath Indian fare, we headed to Uno Chicago Grill the other day to try, what else, one of their hallmark deep-dish pizzas

Uno Chicago Grill Farmers Market Deep Dish Pizza

According to the folks at Wiki, deep dish pizzas do:

not include thin crusts or delicate toppings, but rather it is made with a heavy, thick crust and large amounts of cheese, sauce and ingredients.

The pizza begins with a thick layer of dough made with olive oil and cornmeal laid into a deep round pan and pulled up by the sides, then parbaked before the toppings are added to give it greater spring; the pan is oiled heavily in order to create a fried effect on the outside of the crust. The crust is covered with cheese (generally sliced mozzarella) and meats, usually in a solid layer or patty, just above the crust. Italian sausage (a Chicago staple), as well as vegetables such as onions, mushrooms and bell peppers are also used. A sauce, usually uncooked, made from shredded or puréed tomatoes is added.

When we eat pizza, we almost always go for the thin-crust in an effort to reduce cheese consumption. Plus, most of the chains like Domino’s, Pizza Hut or Papa John use really crappy cheese. So, our logic is the less cheese the better.

But at Uno we were in an adventurous, game-for-anything’ mood and so we picked the Farmer’s Market Pie deep dish veggie pizza.

The Farmer’s Market Pie comes with caramelized onions, spinach, sun-dried and plum tomatoes, eggplant, pesto, feta, mozzarella and grated Romano.

We also ordered some house salads and fries but for some inexplicable reason skipped the booze although Uno offers several varieties of beer, wine and all the standard cocktails.

As we were wolfing down the salad in our perennially famished state, our Farmer’s Market Pie deep dish veggie pizza arrived on a pan with the cautionary advice from our elderly waitress Helen to watch out for the hot pan.

Quickly putting aside the salad, we fell upon the Farmer’s Market Pie veggie pizza with gusto.

The first bite, and our feeling was like, hmmmm, this pizza is good.

Real good.

About three times the thickness of a thin-crust, the Uno deep-dish crust tastes slightly buttery and packs a wonderful flavor that has you hankering for another bite and another…..

The cheese is of superior quality (than what yours truly is used to at other chain stores). A thick whitish layer of Mozzarella is nicely married to the top of the crust. On top of the cheese, you have caramelized onion and eggplant cooked to a blackish brown hue, spinach and small juicy tomatoes pieces.Yummy!

The onions, eggplant, tomato and spinach were well-cooked and bonded firmly to the cheese/crust layer. No chance of them getting dislodged.

One could easily get addicted to the Uno deep-dish veggie pizza.

After gorging on the salad, fries and dessert, we couldn’t finish the pizza and the thoughtful waitress offered us a box without our having to ask for it.

Boy, several hours after we returned home, the pizza still tasted good (unheated). Now, that is something you can never, ever say about pizza from Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Papa John and many other small pizza places.

Disgustingly Bad Fries
When we go to a non-Indian place to eat, we start craving French Fries.

It’s kind of a Pavlovian response.
Uno French Fries

So, not surprisingly we ordered French Fries at Uno too.

Bad move. Continue reading »