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The Daily Rhino
Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Things you probably won't be showing your kids: Part III

White backed vulture#6 A Parsi Funeral

PARSIS may themselves one day be added to this depressing list as they are estimated to number only about 50,000 in Mumbai. However, right now it is the days of their traditional funerals that are numbered.

Zoroastrianism, founded in Persia by Zarathustra, had been in existence for over 2 millenia before the 7th century Arab invasion. Burial, burning or dumping into the sea are forbidden in the religion, so as not to pollute the elements of earth, fire or water. Hence bodies are left high in Towers of Silence, lying on marble to be fed upon by vultures until nothing but sun-bleached bones remain. The vulture population, especially that of the white-backed vulture (pictured), in India has been drastically reduced as a result of cattle carcasses becoming toxic due to widespread use of an anti-inflammatory called Diclofenac. The drug causes renal failure and death when it gets into the bodies of carrion-eating birds. The white-backed vulture population is estimated to have been slashed by an astounding 99.7% in a decade.

Captive breeding programmes have been started and attempts to ban the veterinarian form of Diclofenac (used for arthritis in humans) have been made. Parsis themselves have turned to solar power in order to accelerate the decomposition process and an engineer has even created an ozone-producing machine to quell the stench. Mark Twain visited Bombay in 1897 and observed a Parsi funeral:

"it disseminates no corruption, no impurities of any sort, no disease-germs; that no wrap, no garment which has touched the dead is allowed to touch the living afterward; that from the Towers of Silence nothing proceeds which can carry harm to the outside world."

Sadly, the outside world has not returned the favour.

#7 The Roma

The word gypsy has become somewhat corrupted now; used to describe just about anyone with a caravan or hoop earrings. The traditional Romany gypsy came to central-east Europe about 1000 years ago, from Rajasthan in India. Oft erroneously portrayed as hook-nosed fortune-tellers, the number of Romany themselves is stable, but the traditional culture is on the wane.

Land shortage and European Human Rights legislation (creating incentive to be assimilated into other communities) is creating an increasing trend of the Romany ditching their age-old way of life and settling down.

#8 The Tiger

Tigers aren't like pandas. Pandas are notorious for their embarrassing lack of libido, but tigers breed very successfully in captivity. I like to think the Bengal Tiger breeds most vigorously, but he probably sits around talking about lion/tiger politics and how Bengal Tigers are more intelligent than others. Texas alone boasts over 10,000 caged tigers, but in the tiger's home of Asia, only four thousand are left. Three and a half thousand of these are in India, with most of the rest in Russia and Sumatra. Without wanting to sound like a long-playing record, as in the case of the Javan Rhino, Chinese medicine has a lot of answer for, still the chief drive of poaching in India. Fucking shitheads.

Yet threats to the tiger's livelihood are legion. Poaching occurs not only for medicinal demands, but tiger hides remain popular. Man also hunts tiger prey – hoofed animals – widely. Deforestation and mining rob the tiger of its natural habitat.

Ruth Padel, the author of Tigers in Red Weather, states that India is the only country likely or able to do anything to stop tigers vanishing forever. In The Independent, Padel quoted from the Mahabharata:

"Do not cut down the forest with its tigers, do not banish the tigers from the forest.
The tiger perishes without the forest, the forest perishes without its tigers.
The tiger should stand guard over the forest and the forest should protect its tigers."

She commented on a recent survey which named tigers the "world's favourite animal". Padel feels it's because tigers represent the wild itself. The world desperately needs the symbol of the wild, wildlife and wilderness to survive. If only so that we can remain civilised.

#9 The Flower Valley at Bhyundar Gorge

Few countries can match India's biodiversity. A foray into the foothills of the mighty Himalaya reveals India's alpine beauty. A carpet of lilies, primulas, poppies and anemones bursts into life as the snow recedes. Towering snowy mountains provide a spectacular backdrop to a symphony of colour.

Over-grazing seems to have caused bracken to overrun the flowers. But as with the Three Gorges project, a new dam will divert water from the area and a busy new road will change the peaceful garden forever.

Things you probably won't be showing your kids: Part I
Things you probably won't be showing your kids: Part II



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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sanjay Gupta Rip Off Merchant

ZINDA will be shit. Chiefly because its maker, Sanjay Gupta, is a talentless fuckwit and a Rip Off Merchant.

Haven't heard of Zinda? Well I hope you've heard of the simply fantastic Oldboy. Being a Rip Off Merchant is somewhat de rigeur in the world of Bollywood, but Zinda, directed by Rip Off Merchant rchant Sanjay Gupta, looks like it's going to take the cake. Watching the trailers speaks louder than anything I can say.

The trailer for Oldboy

The trailer for Zinda

He's even eating Chinese fried dumplings! I'm not the first to point this out by any means, the Internet has been atwitter on both sides of Asia, as Korean and Indian film fans get a distinct feeling of deja vu. What troubles the DR is the widespread acceptance of this Rip Off Merchant behaviour, which is thoroughly endemic in India. It's condoned. Indian music is frequently lifted bar-for-bar from the West (step forward Anu Malik) and few complain. In a somewhat similar vein to copying from Korea, music is also pilfered from Asia, such as in the soundtrack to Mann which tea-leafed music from Malaysia and the Middle East, or Chocolate which looked as close as Pakistan for 'inspiration'.

Rip Off Merchant Sanjay Gupta of course has a track record. His previous films, Kaante and Musafir were Reservoir Dogs and U-Turn respectively. For some unfathomable reason he is looked upon as one of Bollywood's most stylish directors. Fuck knows why.

Websites and magazines are entirely culpable when it comes to this embarrassing trend of Indian knock-offs. They acknowledge that Sanjay Gupta Rip Off Merchant is a Rip Off Merchant, but end their articles with mindless bullshit like

"Never mind Mr. Gupta, as long as you continue to serve slick products, which is your forte, we don't mind watching your movies - even if they are inspired/remakes!" [link]

I have no idea why plagiarism is so roundly welcomed. Indians may bleat on about Truth Hurts and Dr Dre, but that's pissing into a hurricane of intellectual property theft going the other way.

Naachgaana hits the nail on the head:

"I'm totally guessing he's banking that no one in Bollywood has seen the film at all, even though it was the Grand Prix at Cannes not so long ago (oh wait the year Aish was on the jury)."

The only language Indian artists filmmakers understand is money and the only way this trend can be curtailed is when Rip Off Merchants like Sanjay Gupta get sued. AsiaFinest has more:

"Oldboy producers Show East talked with the press today, saying that the only remake rights contract they ever signed was with Universal in the US, and with no one else, including India. The company announced that after looking at the finished product they will make their decision, which might have legal ramifications, if the film is as similar to Park Chan-Wook's hit as it's been claimed.

A PR from Show East announced: "We're looking at the similarities between the two films, but since we don't have a final product we can judge, we'll just have to investigate a little more into what kind of relation the films will have. Since we never experienced something like this, we couldn't really set up a concrete plan. But if we find out there's indeed a strong similarity between the two, it looks like we'll have to talk with our lawyers."

Having said all this, I do wonder what changes he'll make to the film's conclusion. There is no way Bollywood is ready for the Korean twist in the tail. Although...


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Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita, 1932-2005

"My life is all the richer for having known him. I will miss his genuine friendship... Forever my Sensei."
Daniel-san (Ralph Macchio)


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Star Dust

WHEN my girlfriend was reading Shobhaa Dé's biography a few years ago, she seemed little more to me than a glamorously toothsome model-turned-hack. Shobhaa Dé, not my girlfriend. But watching an old Koffee with Karan re-run I realised I love this woman.

Karan: Which is the worst Indian film of recent times?
Shobhaa: Bride and Prejudice.

Karan: Who is the worst dressed Indian woman?
Shobhaa: Aishwariya Rai.

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

A lovely faith school
BBC Radio 4 recently concluded a season entitled 'Koran and Country' and the last programme was Inside a Muslim School. Read more here or listen to the programme here (until the end of November).

The programme visited the all-girls Al-Islah school in Lancashire, where the girls are required to have all hair covered at all times.

"At GCSE the girls do Arabic and Urdu rather than modern European languages and Islamic studies rather than religious education (RE).

Music is seen as un-Islamic and there are no subjects you might recognise from a state secondary school curriculum like technology, drama or sociology."

Prayer punctuates the timetable and if a girl is caught committing the heinous crime of having long nails by a prefect, they can receive a detention. The girls said that bags are checked daily to make sure none of the pupils are carrying CDs or walkmans. If you are caught with a mobile phone, you are suspended for two weeks. Only sandwiches and one packet of crisps are allowed in a lunchbox. No sweets and no chocolate.

Girls are not forced to cover their faces, but they are rewarded if they do. The presenter asked what sort of reward to which she received the answer "if you cover your face you will go to heaven."

The school has no science lab, art room, PE facilities nor music classes. A former pupil explained how happy she was to leave as her new school had windows you could see out of and "nice qualified teachers". She said:

"I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. At Al-Islah they wanted us to say you're a Muslim first. And then you're British-born. I was confused, I was like 'I'm a human first'. It was like brainwashing."


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True Bengali Fucking Stories
SITE Meter is great. It told me that recent arrivals at The Daily Rhino have ended up here as the result of rather queer searches, such as "Rhino Sex" or "Chocolate Fatboy Sex" but the best has to be TWO google searches for "True Bengali Fucking Stories".

Template update:
3 Quarks Daily
To The Teeth
Global Voices Online
The Golmal Press
Tim Worstall
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Within / Without
Indian Bloggers
Google Blog Search

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Friday, November 25, 2005

"In 1969 I gave up women and alcohol. It was the worst 20 minutes of my life"

George Best, 1946-2005

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Cypher Dies
ALMOST no one will get the title to this post. Only Latin-speaking, Star Wars devotee rap fans.

I was a bit bored today and so were two friends. We were all stuck in front of our computers. Tupac don't have shit on dis yo. Names have been changed to preserve our reputations.

yo, this is Jam from the power of the three
looks like you caught me eating chapati
i farted one day and it smelt vegetarian
i won't shag you, you dress like a librarian

100 miles away and I smell that Jam's farted
It started with my email, what have I started?
I'm bored as fuck and applying for jobs
The only people I get to talk to are you two nobs.

it's a pity shaolin patel's so pithy
quiet and twitchy like a rock junkie
flunky, you need to get in the cypher
cos if you do, Pohin will pipe your piper

The shaolin bong is on deadline
He would rhyme wit us but he ain't got time
What's a cypher? I swear you play tricks
Cos I know he's a character from the Matrix.

a cypher is a circular freestyle
all your mates drunk and spitting bile
shaolin on a deadline i offered my help
it's a pity his willy's covered in welts.

The reason you know about his STD
Is cos you're the reason it pains when he wees
You know how bored is the Pohin?
He ended up going fucking BOWLING.

we're gonna rock we're gonna roll
we're gonna bop we're gonna bowl
i didn't give Babbs his urinary infection
it was from when you fisted his erection

Fisting erect members is what I do
I've done it to Babbs I'll do the same for you
There is no feeling like my action
Apart from sticking your dick in traction

you wanna mess with this potato shaped phallus
you're a transvestite like that guy lily savage
i ravage you with one pin prick you prick
i heart you really you send tingles to my....

Sorry I'm late, but I got stopped at the gate
By an inspector, and it must have been fate
Cos I flashed him a fake one and he walked off
Not a ticket, but a fake cock that I then rammed in an old lady's
mouth and made her cough

It's too early and I'm feeling burly
And all I can say is things to make your toes curly
I love you
you bunch of
I ruin everything.

Ruining it all - on that I agree
Jam's Be-Bop and I'm Rocksteady
But Babbs that fucking Crang who nobody likes
So ameliorate yo' rhyming or be on yo' bike.

haha ha you're like the asian chuckle brothers
to you to me, you're not good enough to be my fluffer
i find your rhymes both quaint and rustic
don't let me get in the way of your homosexual domestic

Ah the gujju turncoat, true to his roots
I compliment him but he pelts me with fruits
You're both a pair of wasters, of that I'm sure
I just can't figure out who's the bigger whore.

you've learnt nothing from me
your degree's made you gayer than liberace
you bum for smack and you eat faeces
Babbs wears odd coloured fleeces

What's tragic, is you're the career rapper
My lyrical style sucks but yours is crapper
I want a word with your fiancée, she has to know
That when you're hitched, she'll be earning all the dough.

doctor, slip me a needle
So I can put a beard on Jam and say: ha ha, jeremy beadle
Drugged to the balls, I'll then say
Doctor are all your nurses male, you gay

Oh my God, I thought Jam's rhyming blew,
But your efforts make me realise a thing or two
You should stick to writing, stick to prose
Stick to boning confused men and skanky hos

You've blogged your life, blagged your career
I can only feel sorry for the little ill dears
It'll be glaringly obvious for them to tell
Harold shipman's reserved a seat for you next to him in hell

Harold Shipman, he's our hero
Gonna take pensioners down to zero
He's my idol, personified
And he's fighting on the government's side.

bass how low can you go
death row what a brother know
once again back is the incredible
rhyme animal the incredible...
behzti how slow can you be
dearth crow
no I'll stop this will be shit

I'm not playing

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Medical Student Teaching #1

ONE of the regular features I've put in the paper over the last year has been Education Corner. They're pretty geeky and not funny to anyone non-medics but I thought I'd put up a few from time to time for any budding doctors to groan at.

Presenting Complaint - Ankle Swelling

PQ is a 45 year old man who presents to you in clinic with a history of ankle swelling. He gives a gradual progression over several years. He has no specific complaints but you fear the oedema could be quite severe as he has also noticed abdominal and facial swelling.

He has no cardiac history, nor any symptoms of kidney or liver disease, but he has noticed that his appetite has been affected. He is currently not taking any medication. Family history is unremarkable, but in the social history you learn he has increased his trouser size recently and as such you begin to consider endocrine pathology.

Examination is unhelpful. Shifting dullness is negative. No organs are palpable, JVP is normal and no abnormalities are detected.

You run a battery of tests. Nothing is conclusive and you are stumped. You recall that malnutrition can cause abdominal swelling - but an inexplicable hunch tells you that his nutritional status seems intact. As usual, you have no clue as to the diagnosis and are about to run away crying. Luckily a band of wandering minstrels give you a clue. They sing a song suggesting you take a step back and observe the patient from the end of the bed. Suddenly it all becomes clear.

What's the diagnosis?

Your patient is fat.

Chubby fat fat fatboy porker's disease (or as it was previously known, obesity) is a remarkably under-diagnosed condition. This is normally explained by the subtlety of the clinical signs suggestive of fatness, but it is important to rule it out in every patient you see, so be sure to look for it. The pathognomonic finding is a big fat person on examination. If you are unsure as to the diagnosis, do not be afraid to ask "are you fat?"

Fatness afflicts many, spread across all age groups. Symptoms include inability to fit through doors, causing earthquakes, losing small objects between rolls of flab and chronic celibacy. Treatment for fatties (it is impolite to use any other terminology) is a controversial field. Those that insist it's their glands should be punched on sight. This is the cruel-to-be-kind approach which has produced superb results in America, where 1 in 1 people are fat. Others should be shunned and treated as social pariahs. A novel therapy from GlaxoSmithKlineBeechamWellcome is very encouraging. A wet towel is used to 'whip' the tubby wideload's rear-end, as he or she runs around and tries to escape, often shouting "I'm full of chocolate". This fascinating treatment's full name is Liquid-Activated Rear-Driven Ass-Snapping Sequence, abbreviated to LARDASS.

If all else fails, pump them full of steroids, they never do any harm.

Medical Student Teaching #2

Medical Student Teaching #3

Originally published in Medical Student Newspaper

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Free publicity for all!
FIRST up, a friend of mine. There must be four..nah three...actually probably only two people in the world who can dance better than me. Thankfully one of them is a pal called Anthony King, who is officially the best Michael Jackson-style dancer in the UK. He's been hired by Sony and Maverick Media for a Playstation ad for JakX, one of their latest games. The ad is a gentle piss-take of Citroen's Justin Timberlake C5 dancing Transformer commercial and was made using the same motion-capture technology.

Click here to watch the ad, which has currently been viewed over 81,000 times on the Viral Chart.

Next is 2005: Blogged. Tim Worstall, one of the UK's best bloggers, has produced a complete round-up of 2005 as told by the best of the blogosphere. 2005 has been a tumultuous year and Tim (along with The Friday Project) has put together an opinionated and diverse collection of writing from the best journos, ramblers, ranters, ravers, thinkers and hacks the world has to offer. Surely a perfect Christmas present. Just the sort of book to dip into whilst on the train or on the throne. I would be excited about such a book anyway, but the real reason it's so fantastic is cos I'M IN IT, INNIT!

Buy it direct from Amazon. The first review of the book has just gone up here.

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Arrogance pays off

Last night, at the glitteringest of ceremonies, Medical Student proved that arrogance is ALWAYS the way to success. The paper, not even 2 years old, won the Best Small Budget Publication in the UK, at the
National Student Journalism Awards 2005. The Daily Mirror and the NUS sponsor the awards, which were held at the Marriot Hotel in Canary Wharf. Katie Lawler of Big Brother 'fame' hosted and did a very good job. Free booze. Free food (including a chocolate fountain). Great night.


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Remembrance Sunday
Today's procession in Putney.


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