The Gulabi Gang – The Fearless Women in Pink


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Sampat Pal Devi and her Gulabi Gang members  (Source: i.facebook.com/pages/Sampat-Pal-Devi)

Sampat Pal Devi and her Gulabi Gang members (Source: facebook.com/pages/Sampat-Pal-Devi)

These women dressed in pink and with laathi (bamboo stick) in their hands are fearless!

Their leader Sampat Pal Devi is a mother of five children and a former government health worker. She has a long list of criminal charges against her: unlawful assembly, rioting, attacking government employees, obstructing officers in the discharge of duty, beating a policeman for abusing her, and so on. Once she even went underground to hide from the law. However, her actions have secured notable victories for the community.

Sampat Pal Devi (Source: facebook.com/pages/Sampat-Pal-Devi

Sampat Pal Devi (Source: facebook.com/pages/Sampat-Pal-Devi

Sampat Pal Devi (born 1960) is a tough woman with a commanding personality. She hails from the Bundelkhand area in the state of Uttar Pradesh - one of the poorest region in India and notorious for its rebels-turned-armed bandits. Sampat is a vigilante and activist fighting for the rights of women in the villages.

She was given in marriage to an ice-cream vendor at the tender age of 12. She bore her first child, a girl, at 15.

In 2006, responding to widespread domestic abuse and other violence against women, Sampat Pal Devi formed the Gulabi Gang (Hindi गुलाबी gulabī, “pink”), a group of Indian women vigilantes. Most Gulabi members dress in pink and carry laathis in their hand.

Despite being born into a traditional family and married off early, Sampat evolved into a charismatic leader who acts as judge and jury for girls and women who are being abused by outlawed patriarchal traditions and the caste system.

Sampat and her gang are constantly on the move fighting causes for the betterment of the community. They crusade against child marriages, dowry, and female illiteracy.

To demand their rights, the rebellious women gang submits petitions and verbally attacks corrupt officials, sneering policemen and complaisant bureaucrats. They visit abusive husbands and beat them up with laathis and warn them to stop abusing their wives in the future.

They usually travel by cart and tractor. At times, they undertake long journeys by bus and train, to fight for justice for women and dalits and other untouchable people.

In 2008, when her village was deprived of electricity because the officials of the department expected to extract bribes and sexual favours from the women, she and her stick-wielding Gulabi Gang stormed the premises of the electricity department, locked the concerned officials in a room until they cried for mercy. An hour after they left the premises, the power was on in their village.

In 2008, the group was reported to have 20,000 members as well as a chapter in Paris, France. Now, the Gulabi Gang has taken root in Banda, Mahoba, Chitrakot, Fatehpur, Farrukhabad, Kanpur, Allahabad, Etawah and Bijnore and has about 300,000 women members.

The Gulabi gang is the subject of the 2010 movie Pink Saris by Kim Longinotto as is the 2012 documentary Gulabi Gang by Nishtha Jain.

Initially, it was reported that the Bollywood film, Gulaab Gang, starring Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla as leads, is based on Sampat Pal’s life, but the director denied this, saying that he recognizes the work done by Sampat, but his movie is not based on her life.

Gulabi Gang's esrtwhile leader Sampat Pal (Source: indiatoday.intoday.in)

Gulabi Gang’s esrtwhile leader Sampat Pal (Source: indiatoday.intoday.in)

Now, the all-women Gulabi Gang is heading for a split as there is a tussle in leadership. On Sunday, March 2, 2014, six years after its inception, the group’s founder commander Sampat Pal Devi was dethroned by the Maharashtra based national convener of Gulabi gang Jayprakash Shivhare at a meeting in Banda following allegations of financial irregularities - “taking money for resolving the problems of poor and suffering women,” and “involvement in self promotion” at the cost of the organization’s mission.

The national convener of Gulabi Gang, Jayprakash Shivhare said:

“There is huge resentment in the organization against Pal. She had been playing in the hands of the Congress party… She had stopped holding meetings of the group and used to take decisions autocratically. She contested Assembly elections on
Congress ticket without taking any suggestion from other members of the group… Later, she decided to visit Rae Bareli along with other members and campaign in support of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and against Aam Aadmi Party.”

“She also went to TV reality show Bigg Boss without consulting the working committee of the group. She had gradually become extremely selfish and minting money at the cost of the organization… Removing her from all posts was the only option left with us. Since she has been defying decisions of the group, it was decided that she would no longer be its primary member.”

Suman Singh Chauhan, commander of Mahoba unit has been appointed as interim commander of the group and a seven-member committee has been constituted to run the organization as of now. A meeting of the group has been convened on March 23 to elect a full-time commander.

However, Sampat Pal Devi, asserted her authority saying she was still the leader of the Gulabi Gang.

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February 14 is Saint Valentine’s Day!


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Valentine's Day gifts

The feast of Saint Valentine falls on February 14 each year. This day popularly known as Valentine’s Day is celebrated by most people in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, and in many countries around the world, this centuries-old holiday remains a working day in most of the countries.

For centuries the month of February has been cherished as a month for romance and has vestiges of both pagan Roman and Christian traditions.

The pagan Roman youths and maidens were accustomed to select partners, on February 14. A festival said to be Juno Februata or Juno Februa was described by Alban Butler, author of Lives of the Saints. Butler presented an aspect of the Roman Lupercalia as a festival of a “Juno Februata,” under the heading of February 14:

To abolish the heathens’ lewd, superstitious custom of boys drawing the names of girls in honour of their goddess, Februata Juno, on the 15th of the month, several zealous pastors substituted the names of saints in billets given on this day.”

On February 14 lovers exchange sweets, candy, chocolates, flowers and other gifts in the name of a mysterious Christian saint named Valentine though no one knows for sure who the real patron saint of the day is. Why? Because no one is sure of how many St. Valentines there were - it remains a mystery. Whoever he was, Valentine really existed because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. The Catholic Church, however, recognizes at least three different martyred saints named Valentinus.

Statue of St Valentine, Whitefriar Street Church, Dublin. (Source: shanepedia.wordpress.com)

Statue of St Valentine, Whitefriar Street Church, Dublin. (Source: shanepedia.wordpress.com)

According to the most popular legend, Valentinus was a holy priest in Rome. With St. Marius and his family, Valentinus helped the martyrs during the persecution of early Christians. Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young soldiers as he reckoned that single men made better soldiers than those married and having a family. The holy priest Valentinus thought the emperor’s decree was not just, and decided to defy it. He performed marriages for young lovers in secret. Eventually, the Emperor became aware of the marriages performed by the priest, and his ministry among Christians and ordered the arrest of Valentinus. The prefect of Rome, on finding Valentinus not ready to renounce his faith had him beaten with clubs, and then beheaded him on February 14, about the year 269.

Like all other saints, St. Valentine too is said to have performed miracles. The legends say that during his imprisonment Valentinus healed the daughter of his Roman jailer named Asterius and converted 46 members of his family to Christianity. The legends further say that Valentinus fell in love with the girl who visited him during his confinement, and before his execution wrote her a farewell letter and signed it: “From your Valentine.”

Pope Julius I built a church near Ponte Mole to honour the martyr. A large part of the saint’s relics is now in the church of St. Praxedes.

In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14 to observe the martyrdom of St. Valentine said to have died in 269 AD. So, the Catholics are now celebrating February 14 as the feast day of St. Valentine – patron of love, young people, and happy marriages.

These somber legends portray Valentinus as a sympathetic, heroic, and a romantic person. In the Middle Ages, as a result of the reputation created as a legendary hero Valentinus became one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Now, the word “Valentine”, denotes a card or letter expressing one’s love and affection for a person of the opposite sex. Sending a valentine may also involve flowers, candy, and other gifts.

Prayer to Saint Valentine

Dear Lord, who art high in the Heavens,
Giver of Love and Passion,
And He who strings the heart’s cords,
Lead the Lovers this day, February ten plus four.
The day during the month of two,
When the date is the perfect number of God
Greater two souls and two hearts.
Some Loves are fleeting ,
But that which is built on you will never fail.
So guide the Lovers to know what is to be.
Your truths the Lovers’ mouths should speak,
For Your truth is that which is honest to the heart.
Only this, then, should pass over the red lips of the Lovers.
Your art, the Lovers simply a medium.
It is only with True Hearts that You can create a Masterpiece,
So let the Lovers remember that their Soul’s Desire
Is the one for which You light their Fire.
And let it be You who creates the Art of the Lovers;
The art of two into one.

Amen.

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The Pallikaranai Wetland: Part 2 – The Once Pristine Idyllic Wetland Is Now a Wasteland cum Concrete Jungle!


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
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Why am I interested in wetlands? Because I am concerned. My home in Jalladianpet is just 2.5 miles (4 km) from the Pallikaranai wetland in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India.

 My home in Jalladianpet is just 2.5 miles (4 km) from the Pallikaranai marsh.

My home in Jalladianpet is just 2.5 miles (4 km) from the Pallikaranai marsh.

Pallikaranai marshland (Photo : T.V. Antony Raj)

Pallikaranai marshland (Photo : T.V. Antony Raj)

Four decades ago, this pristine idyllic wetland had a water spread of approximately 5,500 hectares estimated on the basis of the Survey of India toposheets (1972) and CORONA aerial photographs (1965). It serves as nature’s primary aquifer recharge system for Chennai city. It harvests rain water and the flood water during monsoons and thereby mitigates the desolation and suffering that floods could cause in low-lying areas in Chennai.

A large area of the Pallikaranai marshland is now a dump yard (Photo:  anidiotstraveldiaries.blogspot.in)

A large area of the Pallikaranai marshland is now a dump yard (Photo: anidiotstraveldiaries.blogspot.in)

Lamentably, over the years, the Chennai Metropolitan authorities without giving any thought to the future recklessly chose to dump over one-third of the garbage, almost 2,600 tonnes per day, of the ever-growing metropolis here in this climactic wetland.

Pallikaranai marsh (Photo: Simply CVR)

Pallikaranai marsh (Photo: Simply CVR)

At present the water spread has shrunk to one-tenth its size due to indiscriminate dumping of city refuse; discharging of sewage; disgorging toxic waste products, etc.

Many nature lovers have photographed the current palpable and saddening state of the Pallikaranai wetland. On June 8, 2013, The Hindu published the article The mired marshby Shaju John. This article was augmented by photographs  captured by him in the post Photo file: The mired marsh.

A significant chunk of non-biodegradable waste is lost in the heaps.( (Photo: Shaju John/thehindu.com)

A significant chunk of non-biodegradable waste is lost in the heaps.( (Photo: Shaju John/thehindu.com)

Thousands of tonnes of trash of all sorts containing non-biodegradable waste find their way to the wetland amidst the dumped refuse.

Fires, lit to dispose off the garbage, are a regular and major health hazard.  (Photo: Shaju John/thehindu.com)

Fires, lit to dispose off the garbage, are a regular and major health hazard. (Photo: Shaju John/thehindu.com)

While traveling along the roads around the Velachery wetland one encounters the unbearable stench emanating from the decaying garbage hillock. Despite the widespread clamour to stop burning rubbish in the dump yard that stifles the air and impairs visibility of commuters, the incessant burning goes on.

The smoke from the garbage heaps chokes the air for miles around.  (Photo: Shaju John/thehindu.com)

The smoke from the garbage heaps chokes the air for miles around. (Photo: Shaju John/thehindu.com)

Despite the toxic smoke rag-pickers, mostly children living in inhospitable slums frequent the garbage dump.

The burning continues despite widespread clamour for alternatives. (Photo: Shaju John/thehindu.com)

The burning continues despite widespread clamour for alternatives. (Photo: Shaju John/thehindu.com)

Continual inhaling of the ever-present malodorous germ and virus bound air, the stifling smoke, polluted and poisoned ground water subject the people living miles around the Pallikaranai wetland to major wheezing and carcinogenic health hazards.

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The incredible rate of development, such as the rampant construction of sanctioned IT parks, the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) campus, Hospitals, Colleges, high-rise office and residential buildings, the Velachery MRTS railway station, the flyovers, the road connecting old Mahabhalipuram Road (OMR) and Pallavaram, etc., in the midst of the marshland also have immensely contributed to the shrinking of the water spread.

A high rise building (Cognizant Technology) on Velachery Tambaram Road.  (Photo - T.V. Antony Raj)

A high rise building (Cognizant Technology) on Velachery Tambaram Road. (Photo – T.V. Antony Raj)

One of the flyovers constructed  in the midst of the marshland (Photo credit: N. Lalitha and C.R .Sivapradha)

One of the flyovers constructed in the midst of the marshland (Photo credit: N. Lalitha and C.R .Sivapradha)

Velachery MRTS Railway station (Photo - Simply CVR)

Velachery MRTS Railway station (Photo – Simply CVR)

With policies in place to crackdown on poaching, encroachment and illegal waste disposal, there is yet hope for the Pallikaranai wetland.

Pallikaranai marsh, which was once a scenic wetland has lost its charm, mainly on account of rapid urbanisation. (Photo:  M. Karunakaran)

Pallikaranai marsh, which was once a scenic wetland has lost its charm, mainly on account of rapid urbanisation. (Photo: M. Karunakaran)

In 2007, to protect the remaining wetland from shrinking further, 317 hectares of the marsh were declared by notification as a reserve forest by the State of Tamilnadu.

Road connecting old Mahabhalipuram Road (OMR) and Pallavaram over Pallikaranai Marshland, Chennai, (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

Road connecting old Mahabhalipuram Road (OMR) and Pallavaram over Pallikaranai Marshland, Chennai, (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve  showing the road connecting old Mahabhalipuram Road (OMR) and Pallavaram that bisects the marsh

Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve showing the road connecting old Mahabhalipuram Road (OMR) and Pallavaram that bisects the marsh

Nevertheless, it is the opinion of the scientists and researchers involved in the study of the wetland that an additional 150 hectares of undeveloped region located on both sides of the road connecting old Mahabhalipuram Road (OMR) and Pallavaram that bisects the marsh should also be declared a forest reserve.

However, even now, dumping of garbage by the Chennai metropolitan authorities goes on unabated.

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The Pallikaranai Wetland: Part 1 – Flora and Fauna


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
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Last Sunday I posted an article titled “February 2, 2014 is World Wetlands Day.”

Why am I interested in wetlands? Because I am concerned. My home in Jalladianpet is just 2.5 miles (4 km) from the Pallikaranai wetland in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India.

A wetland is technically defined as:

“An ecosystem that arises when inundation by water produces soils dominated by anaerobic processes, which, in turn, forces the biota, particularly rooted plants, to adapt to flooding.”

The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation that adapts to its unique soil conditions. Primarily, wetlands consist of hydric soil, which supports aquatic plants

There are four main kinds of wetlands: marsh, swamp, bog and fen. Sub-types include mangrove, carr, pocosin, and varzea. Some experts also include wet meadows and aquatic ecosystems as additional wetland types.

The Pallikaranai Wetland 

City in the background of Pallikaranai wetland (Photo:  anidiotstraveldiaries.blogspot.in)

City in the background of Pallikaranai wetland (Photo: anidiotstraveldiaries.blogspot.in)

Historically, a large part of South Chennai was a flood plain composed of the large Pallikaranai wetland, smaller satellite wetlands, large tracts of pasture land and patches of dry forest.

The Pallikaranai wetland is a freshwater marshland spanning 31 square miles (80 sq Km). It is the Chennai city’s natural primary aquifer recharge system.

Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR)

The original expanse of the marsh, estimated on the basis of the Survey of India toposheets (1972) and CORONA aerial photographs (1965) was about 5,500 hectares, which has now been reduced to about 600 hectares. Situated next to the Bay of Bengal, about 12.5 miles (20 Km) south of the city centre, it is bounded by Velachery (north), Kovilambakkam (west), Okkiyam Thuraipakkam (east), and Medavakkam (south). It is the only surviving wetland ecosystem of the city and is among the few and last remaining natural wetlands of South India. It is one of the three in the state of Tamilnadu, the other two being Point Calimere and Kazhuveli.

Map of Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve Forest.

Map of Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve Forest.

The Pallikaranai wetland is one of the 94 identified wetlands in India under the National Wetland Conservation and Management Programme (NWCMP) of the Government of India that came into operation in 1985–86.

The terrain consists of fresh/saline water bodies, reed beds, mud flats and floating vegetation.

Flora and Fauna

This wetland is literally a treasury of bio-diversity that is almost four times that of Vedanthangal bird sanctuary in the Kancheepuram District of the state of Tamil Nadu, India, 47 miles (75 km) from Chennai where more than 40,000 birds (including 26 rare species), from various parts of the world visit during the migratory season every year.

The Pallikaranai wetland contains several rare and endangered species of plants and animals. It acts as a forage and breeding ground for thousands of migratory birds from various places within and outside the country. Bird watchers opine that the number of bird species sighted in the wetland is definitely more than in the Vedanthangal bird sanctuary.

Figures of the number of fauna and flora found in the Pallikaranai wetland differ among scholars conducting research here.

Among the many quiet contributors to the mapping of India’s natural treasures is Dr. Jayashree Vencatesan, Smithsonian Fellow and researcher, and managing trustee of Care Earth Trust. She obtained a Ph.D. in Biodiversity and Biotechnology from the University of Madras. She is best-known for her research work on biodiversity, and studies wetland ecology.

Dr. Jayashree Vencatesan

Dr. Jayashree Vencatesan

In 2003, the Tamilnadu State Pollution Control Board assigned her the task of conducting a detailed study of Chennai’s last remaining wetland – the Pallikaranai marsh, which is suffering from degradation caused by human impact. The study had two components — to document the biodiversity and to map the extent of the marsh to define or identify a viable unit of management.

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In her work “Protecting wetlands” published on August 10, 2007, Current Science 93 (3): 288–290, she states that the heterogeneous ecosystem of the Pallikaranai marshland supports about 337 species of floras and faunas:

GROUP NUMBER OF SPECIES
Birds 115
Plants 114
Fishes 46
Reptiles 21
Mammals 10
Amphibians 10
Molluscs 9
Butterflies 7
Crustaceans 5
Total 337

Birds, fishes and reptiles are the most prominent of the faunal groups.

Dr. K .Venkataraman, Director of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)

Dr. K. Venkataraman

However, on August 9, 2013, P. Oppili reported in The Hindu that Dr. K. Venkataraman, Director of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) while discussing the diversity of species in the marshland, as nine species of amphibians, 21 species of reptiles, 72 species of birds, five species of mammals, 38 species of fish, nine species of shells and 59 species of aquatic and terrestrial insects had been recorded, besides a good number of plankton.

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The Pallikaranai wetland is the home to some of the most endangered birds such as the glossy ibis, gray-headed Lapwings and pheasant-tailed Jacana.

Pheasant-tailed Jacana spotted in Pallikaranai Wetland, Chennai (Photo: Sudharsun Jayaraj)

Pheasant-tailed Jacana spotted in Pallikaranai Wetland, Chennai (Photo: Sudharsun Jayaraj)

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Purple Swamphen-Moorhen in Pallikaranai wetland, Chennai (Photo - Sudharsun Jayaraj)

Purple Swamphen-Moorhen in Pallikaranai wetland, Chennai (Photo – Sudharsun Jayaraj)

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FulvourWhistlingDucks (Photo: GnanaskandanK)

FulvourWhistlingDucks (Photo: GnanaskandanK)

Cormorants, darters, herons, egrets, open-billed storks, spoonbills, white ibis, little grebe, Indian moorhen, Black-winged Stilts, purple moorhens, warblers, coots and dabchicks have been spotted in large numbers in the marshland.

Russel's Viper (Source:  umich.edu)

Russel’s Viper (Source: umich.edu)

The Pallikaranai wetland is also home to some of the most endangered reptiles such as the Russell’s viper.

About 114 species of plants are found in the wetland, including 29 species of grass. These plant species include some exotic floating vegetation such as water hyacinth and water lettuce.

Since 2002,  presence of new plants and  reptiles have been recorded.

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Next → The Pallikaranai Wetland: Part 2 – The Once Pristine Idyllic Wetland Is Now a Wasteland cum Concrete Jungle!

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View of the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls from Luna Island.


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Niagara Falls as seen from the observation deck at Prospect Point. (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

Niagara Falls as seen from the observation deck at Prospect Point. (Photo: T.V. Antony Raj)

Niagara Falls is one of the most beautiful places in the world I have ever seen.

Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that sprawl the international border between the United States and Canada. It is located between the international twin cities of Niagara Falls, in the state of New York, United States, and Niagara Falls, in the province of Ontario, Canada. These falls form the southern end of the Niagara Gorge where Lake Erie drains into Lake Ontario.

The international boundary line separating the United States and Canada was originally drawn through Horseshoe Falls in 1819 has long been in dispute due to natural erosion and construction.

Panoramic View of Niagara Falls (Source: niagarafallslive.com)

Panoramic View of Niagara Falls (Source: niagarafallslive.com)

From the largest to the smallest, the three waterfalls are:

On the Canadian side:
the Horseshoe Falls (also known as the Canadian Falls) on the right between Goat Island and Table Rock.

On the American side:
The American Falls on the far left between Prospect Point and Luna Island, and the Bridal Veil Falls mid left between Luna Island and Goat Island.

On board the Maid of the Mist. The American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls in the background. (Photo - T.V. Antony Raj)

On board the Maid of the Mist. The American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls in the background. (Photo – T.V. Antony Raj)

The breathtaking bluish-green colour of the Niagara River is caused by

  1. refraction of sunlight and reflection of the blue sky
  2. dissolved minerals picked up primarily from the limestone bed
  3. from the shale and sandstone under the limestone cap at the falls
  4. microscopic plants such as algae and plankton in the water.

Around 60 tons of dissolved minerals are swept over Niagara Falls every minute.

At Luna Island located between American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. (Photo - T.V. Antony Raj)

At Luna Island located between American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. (Photo – T.V. Antony Raj)

Though these three falls are not exceptionally high, they are very wide. The American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls have a crest line of 1,100 feet (335 meters) and a height of 176 feet (54 meters).

Crest of the Bridal Veil Falls as seen from Luna Island. (Photo - T.V. Antony Raj)

Crest of the Bridal Veil Falls as seen from Luna Island. (Photo – T.V. Antony Raj)

Crest of the Bridal Veil Falls as seen from Luna Island. (Photo - T.V. Antony Raj)

Crest of the Bridal Veil Falls as seen from Luna Island. (Photo – T.V. Antony Raj)

More than six million cubic feet (168,000 cubic meters) of water fall over the crest line every minute in high flow, and almost four million cubic feet (110,000 cubic meters) on average. The summer daytime flow at the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls is 75,000 gal/Sec (285,000 Liters/Sec).

About eight million tourists visit the American side and about 20 million tourists visit the Canadian side of Niagara Falls every year.

On August 2, 2012, our son Subas Raj took me and my wife to Niagara Falls, in the state of New York. We were there for three days. We enjoyed the magnificent views of the three falls.

Here is a short video of the breathtaking view of the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls from Luna Island.

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Since 1925, every evening beginning at dusk, the Niagara Falls are lit in the colours of the rainbow, financed and operated by The Niagara Falls Illumination Board. Also, year after year, the Niagara Parks Commission, an agency of government of Ontario which maintains the Ontario shoreline of the Niagara River, hosts Canada’s longest-running fireworks series in Queen Victoria Park in Niagara Falls in the province of Ontario, Canada.

The unmatched beauty of the Niagara Falls at night illuminated by strobe lights from the Canadian side, and the spectacular fireworks display before an unforgettable backdrop captivated us. I captured this video “Niagara Falls by Night – Illuminations & Fireworks” using my Canon Powershot camera from Prospect Point in Niagara Falls, New York. I regret that I did not have a high-end camera with high-resolution to capture the unmatched beauty of the Niagara Falls at night.

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Ever wondered what the falls on the American side would look like when dry?

Dry Niagara - This photo shows the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls in Niagara Falls during the preservation work carried out in 1969 (Photo: Wikipedia)

Dry Niagara – This photo shows the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls in Niagara Falls during the preservation work carried out in 1969 (Photo: Wikipedia)

The above photo shows the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls in Niagara Falls during the preservation work carried out in 1969.

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Dr. Bill Cosby’s “Pound Cake” / “We can’t blame white people” Speech


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Dr. William Henry "Bill" Cosby Jr. (born July 12, 1937)

Dr. William Henry “Bill” Cosby Jr. (born July 12, 1937)

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is an African American civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909 with the mission:

“To ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.”

On May 17, 2004, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision on Brown vs Topeka Board of Education that struck down school segregation. At this gala event, Dr. Bill Cosby, the American comedian, actor, author, television producer, educator, musician and activist gave a speech on the theme of blacks in America taking responsibility for their own lives.

In this speech, Bill Cosby said that African Americans should no longer blame discrimination, segregation, governmental institutions, or others for higher unemployment rates among Blacks or the racial achievement gap; rather, they have their own culture of poverty to blame.

While Cosby’s speech was much appreciated, it also evoked severe criticism from various quarters.

Michael Eric Dyson - American academic, author, and radio host.

Michael Eric Dyson – American academic, author, and radio host.

In his book “Is Bill Cosby Right?: Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?“, published in 2005, sociologist Michael Eric Dyson criticized Bill Cosby. Dyson said that Cosby, who built up years of mainstream credibility by ignoring race in his comedy routines and in his television programs, had chosen to address the issues of race by chastising poor Blacks instead of defending them.

On May 19, 2004, a write up in the “Reliable Source” column of the Washington Post, that was reprinted in several news media in the United States, overlooked a significant part of the information from Cosby’s statements. The article in the Post failed to point out that Cosby’s statements were explicitly in the context of focusing on the epidemic of nearly 50% of African American males in the inner city, dropping out of school. The Post article incorrectly ascertained Cosby’s statements as an overall assessment of the lower economic classes of the Blacks.

Bill Cosby explained that his comments were intended to be a call to action, to “turn the mirror around on ourselves.”

“I think that it is time for concerned African Americans to march, galvanize and raise the awareness about this epidemic to transform our helplessness, frustration and righteous indignation into a sense of shared responsibility and action.”

“I travel the country and see these patterns in every community-stories of 12-year-old children killed in the crossfire between knuckleheads selling drugs, the 14-year-olds with a sealed envelope as their first step into the criminal justice system, the young males who become fathers and not held responsible, the young women having children and moving back in with their mothers and grandmothers, and the young people who choose not to learn standard English.”

Since 2004, this famous “Pound Cake Speech” also known as “We can’t blame white people” speech has frequently surfaced on the internet and many times important pieces of information from the speech had been left out. There is a version on Snopes.com, and today I came across another version on Facebook.

Here is a version (edited) of the “Pound Cake Speech” I found on YouTube:

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I searched the net for the original version and found the following transcript provided by Bill Cosby’s public relations representatives. Due to audio to text software resolution issues there may be some minor typographical inaccuracies.

Ladies and gentlemen, I really have to ask you to seriously consider what you’ve heard, and now this is the end of the evening so to speak. I heard a prize fight manager say to his fellow who was losing badly, “David, listen to me. It’s not what’s he’s doing to you. It’s what you’re not doing.”

Ladies and gentlemen, these people set — they opened the doors, they gave us the right, and today, ladies and gentlemen, in our cities and public schools we have 50% drop out. In our own neighborhood, we have men in prison. No longer is a person embarrassed because they’re pregnant without a husband. No longer is a boy considered an embarrassment if he tries to run away from being the father of the unmarried child.

Ladies and gentlemen, the lower economic and lower middle economic people are not holding their end in this deal. In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on. In the old days, you couldn’t hooky school because every drawn shade was an eye. And before your mother got off the bus and to the house, she knew exactly where you had gone, who had gone into the house, and where you got on whatever you had one and where you got it from. Parents don’t know that today.

I’m talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was two? Where were you when he was twelve? Where were you when he was eighteen, and how come you don’t know he had a pistol? And where is his father, and why don’t you know where he is? And why doesn’t the father show up to talk to this boy?

The church is only open on Sunday. And you can’t keep asking Jesus to ask doing things for you. You can’t keep asking that God will find a way. God is tired of you. God was there when they won all those cases — fifty in a row. That’s where God was because these people were doing something. And God said, “I’m going to find a way.” I wasn’t there when God said it — I’m making this up. But it sounds like what God would do.

We cannot blame white people. White people — White people don’t live over there. They close up the shop early. The Korean ones still don’t know us as well — they stay open 24 hours.

I’m looking and I see a man named Kenneth Clark, he and his wife Mamie. Kenneth’s still alive. I have to apologize to him for these people because Kenneth said it straight. He said you have to strengthen yourselves, and we’ve got to have that black doll. And everybody said it. Julian Bond said it. Dick Gregory said it. All these lawyers said it. And you wouldn’t know that anybody had done a damned thing. 

Fifty percent drop out rate, I’m telling you, and people in jail, and women having children by five, six different men. Under what excuse? I want somebody to love me. And as soon as you have it, you forget to parent. Grandmother, mother, and great grandmother in the same room, raising children, and the child knows nothing about love or respect of any one of the three of them. All this child knows is “gimme, gimme, gimme.” These people want to buy the friendship of a child, and the child couldn’t care less. Those of us sitting out here who have gone on to some college or whatever we’ve done, we still fear our parents. And these people are not parenting. They’re buying things for the kid — $500 sneakers — for what? They won’t buy or spend $250 on Hooked on Phonics. 

Kenneth Clark, somewhere in his home in upstate New York — just looking ahead. Thank God he doesn’t know what’s going on. Thank God. But these people — the ones up here in the balcony fought so hard. Looking at the incarcerated, these are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! Then we all run out and are outraged: “The cops shouldn’t have shot him.” What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand? I wanted a piece of pound cake just as bad as anybody else. And I looked at it and I had no money. And something called parenting said if you get caught with it you’re going to embarrass your mother.” Not, “You’re going to get your butt kicked.” No. “You’re going to embarrass your mother.” “You’re going to embarrass your family.” If you knock that girl up, you’re going to have to run away because it’s going to be too embarrassing for your family. In the old days, a girl getting pregnant had to go down South, and then her mother would go down to get her. But the mother had the baby. I said the mother had the baby. The girl didn’t have a baby. The mother had the baby in two weeks. We are not parenting.

Ladies and gentlemen, listen to these people. They are showing you what’s wrong. People putting their clothes on backwards. Isn’t that a sign of something going on wrong? Are you not paying attention? People with their hat on backwards, pants down around the crack. Isn’t that a sign of something or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up? Isn’t it a sign of something when she’s got her dress all the way up to the crack — and got all kinds of needles and things going through her body. What part of Africa did this come from? We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don’t know a damned thing about Africa. With names like Shaniqua, Shaligua, Mohammed and all that crap and all of them are in jail. (When we give these kinds names to our children, we give them the strength and inspiration in the meaning of those names. What’s the point of giving them strong names if there is not parenting and values backing it up).

Brown versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person’s problem. We’ve got to take the neighborhood back. We’ve got to go in there. Just forget telling your child to go to the Peace Corps. It’s right around the corner. It’s standing on the corner. It can’t speak English. It doesn’t want to speak English. I can’t even talk the way these people talk: “Why you ain’t where you is go ra?” I don’t know who these people are. And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. Then I heard the father talk. This is all in the house. You used to talk a certain way on the corner and you got into the house and switched to English. Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can’t land a plane with, “Why you ain’t…” You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth. There is no Bible that has that kind of language. Where did these people get the idea that they’re moving ahead on this. Well, they know they’re not; they’re just hanging out in the same place, five or six generations sitting in the projects when you’re just supposed to stay there long enough to get a job and move out.

Now, look, I’m telling you. It’s not what they’re doing to us. It’s what we’re not doing. 50 percent drop out. Look, we’re raising our own ingrown immigrants. These people are fighting hard to be ignorant. There’s no English being spoken, and they’re walking and they’re angry. Oh God, they’re angry and they have pistols and they shoot and they do stupid things. And after they kill somebody, they don’t have a plan. Just murder somebody. Boom. Over what? A pizza? And then run to the poor cousin’s house.

They sit there and the cousin says, “What are you doing here?”

“I just killed somebody, man.”

“What?”

“I just killed somebody; I’ve got to stay here.”

“No, you don’t.”

“Well, give me some money, I’ll go….”

 “Where are you going?”

“North Carolina.”

Everybody wanted to go to North Carolina. But the police know where you’re going because your cousin has a record.

Five or six different children — same woman, eight, ten different husbands or whatever. Pretty soon you’re going to have to have DNA cards so you can tell who you’re making love to. You don’t who this is. It might be your grandmother. I’m telling you, they’re young enough. Hey, you have a baby when you’re twelve. Your baby turns thirteen and has a baby, how old are you? Huh? Grandmother. By the time you’re twelve, you could have sex with your grandmother, you keep those numbers coming. I’m just predicting.

I’m saying Brown versus the Board of Education. We’ve got to hit the streets, ladies and gentlemen. I’m winding up, now — no more applause. I’m saying, look at the Black Muslims. There are Black Muslims standing on the street corners and they say so forth and so on, and we’re laughing at them because they have bean pies and all that, but you don’t read, “Black Muslim gunned down while chastising drug dealer.” You don’t read that. They don’t shoot down Black Muslims. You understand me. Muslims tell you to get out of the neighborhood. When you want to clear your neighborhood out, first thing you do is go get the Black Muslims, bean pies and all. And your neighborhood is then clear. The police can’t do it.

I’m telling you Christians, what’s wrong with you? Why can’t you hit the streets? Why can’t you clean it out yourselves? It’s our time now, ladies and gentlemen. It is our time. And I’ve got good news for you. It’s not about money. It’s about you doing something ordinarily that we do — get in somebody else’s business. It’s time for you to not accept the language that these people are speaking, which will take them nowhere. What the hell good is Brown v. Board of Education if nobody wants it? 

What is it with young girls getting after some girl who wants to still remain a virgin. Who are these sick black people and where did they come from and why haven’t they been parented to shut up? To go up to girls and try to get a club where “you are nobody….” This is a sickness, ladies and gentlemen, and we are not paying attention to these children. These are children. They don’t know anything. They don’t have anything. They’re homeless people. All they know how to do is beg. And you give it to them, trying to win their friendship. And what are they good for? And then they stand there in an orange suit and you drop to your knees: “He didn’t do anything. He didn’t do anything.” Yes, he did do it. And you need to have an orange suit on, too.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for the award — and giving me an opportunity to speak because, I mean, this is the future, and all of these people who lined up and done — they’ve got to be wondering what the hell happened. Brown V. Board of Education — these people who marched and were hit in the face with rocks and punched in the face to get an education and we got these knuckleheads walking around who don’t want to learn English. I know that you all know it. I just want to get you as angry that you ought to be. When you walk around the neighborhood and you see this stuff, that stuff’s not funny. These people are not funny anymore. And that‘s not my brother. And that’s not my sister. They’re faking and they’re dragging me way down because the state, the city, and all these people have to pick up the tab on them because they don’t want to accept that they have to study to get an education.

We have to begin to build in the neighborhood, have restaurants, have cleaners, have pharmacies, have real estate, have medical buildings instead of trying to rob them all. And so, ladies and gentlemen, please, Dorothy Height, where ever she’s sitting, she didn’t do all that stuff so that she could hear somebody say “I can’t stand algebra, I can’t stand…” and “what you is.” It’s horrible.

Basketball players — multimillionaires can’t write a paragraph. Football players, multimillionaires, can’t read. Yes. Multimillionaires. Well, Brown v. Board of Education, where are we today? It’s there. They paved the way. What did we do with it? The White Man, he’s laughing — got to be laughing. 50 percent drop out — rest of them in prison.

You got to tell me that if there was parenting — help me — if there was parenting, he wouldn’t have picked up the Coca Cola bottle and walked out with it to get shot in the back of the head. He wouldn’t have. Not if he loved his parents. And not if they were parenting! Not if the father would come home. Not if the boy hadn’t dropped the sperm cell inside of the girl and the girl had said, “No, you have to come back here and be the father of this child.” Not ..“I don’t have to.”

Therefore, you have the pile up of these sweet beautiful things born by nature — raised by no one. Give them presents. You’re raising pimps. That’s what a pimp is. A pimp will act nasty to you so you have to go out and get them something. And then you bring it back and maybe he or she hugs you. And that’s why pimp is so famous. They’ve got a drink called the “Pimp-something.” You all wonder what that’s about, don’t you? Well, you’re probably going to let Jesus figure it out for you. Well, I’ve got something to tell you about Jesus. When you go to the church, look at the stained glass things of Jesus. Look at them. Is Jesus smiling? Not in one picture. So, tell your friends. Let’s try to do something. Let’s try to make Jesus smile. Let’s start parenting. Thank you, thank you.

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This is Communal Harmony in My Beloved India


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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United We StandTHIS IS MY BELOVED INDIA!

Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis …

” And peace on Earth to people of good will …”

This is India - Merry Christmas!

This is India – Merry Christmas!

I came across the above fabulous photo on the internet. Do you like it? What message does it convey?

Here is a collection of photographs I came across while surfing the net. 

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The vow of Hindu-Muslim unity

Talking about communal harmony on April 8, 1919, Mahatma Gandhi said:

“If the Hindu-Muslim communities could be united in one bond of mutual friendship and if each could act towards the other as children of the same mother, it would be a consumation devoutely to be wished. But before this unity becomes a reality, both the communities will have to give up a good deal, and will have to make radical changes in ideas held herefore. Members of one community when talking about those of the other at times indulge in terms so vulgar that they but acerbate the relations between the two. In Hindu society we do not hesitate to indulge in unbecoming language when talking of the Mohomedans and vice-versa. Many believe that an ingrained and ineradicable animosity exists between the Hindus and
Mohomedans.

“When both are inspired by the spirit of sacrifice, when both try to do their duty towards one another instead of pressing their rights, then and then only would the long standing differences between the two communities cease. Each must respect the other’s religion, must refrain from even secretly thinking ill of the other. We must politely dissuade members of both communities from indulging in bad language against one another. Only a serious endeavour in this direction can remove the estrangement between us.” (25:201-202)

He made the members present take a vow as under:

“With God as witness we Hindus and Mohomedans declare that we shall behave towards one another as children of the same parents, that we shall have no differences, that the sorrows of each shall be the sorrows of the other and that each shall help the other in removing them. We shall respect each other’s religion and religious feelings and shall not stand in the way of our respective religious practices. We shall always refrain from violence to each other in the name of religion.”

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Am I a Wise Moron?


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Recently I came across the following in Facebook:

Oxymorons

An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines ostensibly contradictory terms. Appropriately, the word oxymoron is itself oxymoronic because it is formed from two Greek roots of opposite meaning: ὀξύς (oxus, “sharp, keen”) + μωρός (mōros, “dull, stupid”). Moros is the root of the word moron.

Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott in his worl A Greek-English Lexicon illustrates an example of the Greek compound word ὀξύς-μωρος (English: pointedly foolish):

τὸ ὀξύμωρον” – a witty saying, the more pointed from being paradoxical or seemingly absurd, such as insaniens sapientia, strenua inertia, splendide mendax.

So, oxymoron is a single-word oxymoron consisting of two morphemes that are dependent in English similar to sophomore (literally “wise fool”). There are indeed many sophomoric sophomores.

Plural of oxymoron is oxymorons or oxymora. However, I prefer the word oxymora for the plural form.

In our daily life we use oxymora in many contexts, including inadvertent errors such as: open secret, clearly confused, act naturally, alone together and so on.

Many literary works contain literary oxymora. The 17th century literary work “Idylls of the King” by Lord Alfred Tennyson, Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland, has two oxymora:

And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true.”

Some oxymora are crafted to show a paradox. On April 26, 2012, DiaNuke.org published an article titled:

Lessons of Chernobyl and Fukushima: Nuclear Safety is an Oxymoron

The most common form of an oxymoron involves an adjective–noun combination of two words.

dark light, living dead, guest host, little while, mad wisdom, mournful optimist, violent relaxation

Noun-verb combinations of two words also appear infrequently. For example: the line “The silence whistles” from Nathan Alterman’s Summer Night, and the title of a music record album – “Sounds of Silence“.

There are single-word oxymora composed of dependent morphemes:

pianoforte (“soft-loud”), preposterous (“before-after”), superette (“big-small”), etc.

Also, many single-word oxymora are composed of independent morphemes – two meaning-bearing elements that could each be a word in itself joined together to
form a single word:

ballpoint, bittersweet, bridegroom, firewater, kickstand, someone, speechwriting, spendthrift, wholesome,etc.

Many oxymora are a pair of words:

awful(ly) good, barely clothed, benevolent despot, benign neglect, build-down, building wrecking, clearly obfuscating, damned good, deliberate speed, elevated
subway, exactly wrong, far nearer, final draft, freezer burn, fresh frozen, growing small, hardly easy, idiot savant, industrial park, inside out, light heavyweight, little big, loyal opposition, mobile home, negative growth, old boy, one-man band, open secret, original copy, painfully beautiful, press release, random order, recorded live, sight unseen, small fortune, standard deviation, student teacher, terribly good, working vacation.

For a longer list of oxymora see my article titled “List of Some of the Many Oxymora I Have Come Across.

An oxymoron is not always a pair of words; they can also be devised in the semantics of sentences or phrases:

  • Andy Warhol: “I am a deeply superficial person.”
  • Anthony Haden-Guest: “Of course I can keep secrets. It’s the people I tell them to that can’t keep them.”
  • Arthur Baer: “She used to diet on any kind of food she could lay her hands on.”
  • Charles Lamb: “I like a smuggler. He is the only honest thief.”
  • Clara Barton: “I distinctly remember forgetting that.”
  • Dolly Parton: “You’d be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap.”
  • Donald Trump: “The budget was unlimited, but I exceeded it.”
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay: “I like humanity, but I loathe persons.”
  • George Bernard Shaw: “Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history.”
  • Henry Ford: “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.”
  • Irene Peter: “Always be sincere, even though you do not necessarily mean it.”
  • Isaac B. Singer: “We must believe in free will. We have no choice.”
  • Josh Billings: “Live within your income, even if you have to borrow to do so.”
  • Lord Alfred Tennyson: “And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true.”
  • Mark Twain: “I can resist everything but temptation.”
  • Mark Twain: “It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”
  • Oscar Wilde: “I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible.”
  • Oscar Wilde: “I can resist anything, except temptation.”
  • P.G. Wodehouse: “I generally advise persons never ever to present assistance.”
  • Samuel Goldwyn: “Modern dancing is so old fashioned.”
  • W.C. Fields: “The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.”
  • Winston Churchill: “A joke is actually an extremely really serious issue.”
  • Winston Churchill: “I always avoid prophesying beforehand because it is much better to prophesy after the event has already taken place.”
  • Yogi Berra: “I never said most of the things I said.”
  • Yogi Berra: “Why don’t you pair ‘em up in threes?”

Here are some brightly forged oxymora penned by great English writers:

  • Byron: melancholy merriment
  • Chaucer: hateful good
  • Hemingway: scalding coolness
  • Milton: darkness visible
  • Pope: damn with faint praise
  • Shakespeare: parting is such sweet sorrow
  • Spenser: proud humility
  • Tennyson: falsely true
  • Thomson: expressive silence
Samuel Goldwyn

Samuel Goldwyn

Polish-born American film producer Samuel Goldwyn (born Szmuel Gelbfisz c. July 1879 – January 31, 1974) was famous for his quick wit and humor. In 1913, Goldwyn along with his brother-in-law Jesse L. Lasky, Cecil B. DeMille, and Arthur Friend formed a partnership, The Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company, the first feature motion picture company on the West Coast. to produce feature length motion pictures.

Once, Samuel Goldwyn commented: “Pictures are for entertainment, messages should be delivered by Western Union.

When asked about his autobiography, Goldwyn replied: “I don’t think anybody should write his autobiography until after he’s dead.

When told his son was getting married, he quipped: “Thank heaven. A bachelor’s life is no life for a single man.

Here are a few of Goldwyn’s funny oxymora:

  • A hospital is no place to be sick.
  • A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
  • Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.
  • Click the ‘Start’ button to shut down the computer.
  • Don’t worry about the war. It’s all over but the shooting.
  • Gentlemen, I want you to know that I am not always right, but I am never wrong.
  • Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day.
  • I can give you a definite perhaps.
  • I don’t think anyone should write their autobiography until after they’re dead.
  • I never liked you, and I always will.
  • I never put on a pair of shoes until I’ve worn them five years.
  • I paid too much for it, but its worth it.
  • I was always an independent, even when I had partners.
  • I’ll give you a definite maybe.
  • If I could drop dead right now, I’d be the happiest man alive!
  • If you fall and break your legs, don’t come running to me.
  • If Roosevelt were alive, he’d turn over in his grave.
  • Include me out.
  • It’s absolutely impossible, but it has possibilities.
  • It’s more than magnificent – it’s mediocre.
  • Our comedies are not to be laughed at.
  • Spare no expense to save money on this one.
  • Tell them to stand closer apart.
  • The scene is dull. Tell him to put more life into his dying.
  • We’re overpaying him, but he’s worth it.

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List of Some of the Many Oxymora I Have Come Across


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Genuine Fake Watches

An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines ostensibly contradictory terms. Appropriately, the word oxymoron is itself oxymoronic because it is formed from two Greek roots of opposite meaning: ὀξύς (oxus, “sharp, keen”) + μωρός (mōros, “dull, stupid”).

The most common form of oxymoron involves an adjective–noun combination of two words.

dark light, living dead, guest host, little while, mad wisdom, mournful optimist, violent relaxation

Plural of oxymoron is oxymorons or oxymora.

Why do writers use phrases that do not seem to be logical?

  1. To Create a Dramatic Effect: To call attention to a picture or a scenery the writer calls it “painfully beautiful!” or uses any such oxymoron to show that the object has two different qualities at the same time.
  2. To Add Flavour to Speech: A writer finds a new way to describe an individual by using an oxymoron such as “unpopular celebrity” or describes an object by using the oxymoron “naturally weird.”
  3. To Entertain: When the writer wants to be witty, he uses words that make people laugh. Oscar Wilde comically writes “I can resist anything, except temptation.”

I have listed below some of the many oxymora I have come across in my reading. If you think that any in this list is not an oxymoron, please let me know so that I can drop them. Also, if you do come across any other interesting oxymora other than what I have included in this list, please let me know so that I can add them.

A30

absolutely unsure, abundant poverty, accidentally on purpose, accurate estimate, accurate horoscope, accurate rumors, accurate stereotype, act naturally, active
retirement, actual reenactment, adult children, Advanced BASIC, advanced beginner, all alone, almost exactly, alone together, altogether separate, amateur expert, amazingly awful, American English, amicable divorce, anarchy rules!, anonymous colleague, anti-missile missile, anxious patient, apathetic interest, appear invisible, approximate solution, approximately equal, arrogant humility, artificial grass, artificial intelligence, assistant supervisor, astronomically small, auto pilot, authentic replica, authentic reproduction, awfully good, awfully delicious, awfully lucky, awfully nice, awfully pretty

B30

baby giant, bad health, bad luck, bad sport, balanced insanity, ballpoint, baggy tights, bankrupt millionaire, barely clothed, barely dressed, beautifully painful, benevolent despot, benign neglect, big baby, bipartisan cooperation, birth control, bittersweet, blameless culprit, bland spice, boneless ribs, boring entertainment, born dead, bridegroom, bug fix, build down, building wrecking, bureaucratic efficiencies, buried alive, burning cold, butt head

C30

calculated risk, calm storm, canned fresh, cautiously optimistic, center around, certain risk, certainly unsure, chaotic organization, cheerful pessimist, cheerful undertaker, cheerfully cynical, cheerfully mournful, chilling fever, civil engineer, civilized warfare, clean dirt, clean litter, clean toilet, clearly confused, clearly ambiguous, clearly confused, clearly misunderstood, clearly obfuscating, clever fool, climb down, clogged drain, closer apart, close distance, cluster bomb, co-ed fraternity, co-ed sorority, cold fever, cold hotdog, cold toast, comedic tragedy, comfortable tights, commercial art, common abnormality, common phenomenon, complete separation, completely destroyed, completely unfinished, component parts, compulsory volunteers, concrete pad, confident fear, conscripted volunteer, Conservative Democrat, conservative liberal, consistent discrepancies, consistent uncertainties, consistently inconsistent, conspicuously absent, constant change, constant infrequent, constant variable, constructive criticism, constructive negativity, continuing resolution, contra aid, contra assistance, controlled enthusiasm, controlled chaos, convergent evolution, countless numbers, cowardly lion, crash landing, creative destruction, criminal justice, crisis management, critical acclaim, cruel kindness, current history, curved Line

D30

daily special, damned good, dangerously safe, dark day, dark light, dark star, darkness visible, dead livestock, deaf listener, deafening silence, deeply superficial, defensive strike, deficit spending, definite maybe, definite perhaps, deliberate mistake, deliberate speed, deliberately thoughtless, delicious torment, demanding patient, deregulation law, detailed summary, devilish angel, devout atheist, different pattern, diligent sloth, diminishing growth, diminutive giants, dim light, dim wit, direct circumvention, disgustingly delicious, distant relative, divided unity, doing nothing, double solitaire, doubting believers, droning silence, dry ice, dry lake, dry pond, dry snow, dull knife, dull needle, dull roar, dynamic monotone, dynamic stability

E30

easy labor, educated guess, elevated subway, élite rabble, eloquent silence, energetic exhaustion, enormously small, entertaining sermon, enthusiastic indifference, equally diverse, essential luxury, eternal life, ethical hackers, even odds, exact estimate, exactly wrong, executive assistant, executive secretary, expected surprise, explicitly ambiguous, expressive silence, extinct life, expressive silence, extended deadline, extensive briefing

F30

fail safe, fairly accurate, fairly explicit, fairly obvious, fallout shelter, false fact, falsely true, famous-anonymous, farewell reception, far nearer, fast snail, fast turtle, fast walk, faultily faultless, fearful bravery, female gunman, fiber glass, fictional truth, fictional reality, fiery ice, final draft, finally again, fine mess, firewater, firm maybe, firm pillow, first annual, first conclusions, first deadline, flexible freeze, floppy disk, foreign national, forgotten memories, former native, former President-for-life, forward back, found missing, free credit, free election, free gift, free labor, free love, free prisoner, free purchase, free rent, free trade, freezer burn, fresh cheese, fresh dried-fruit, fresh frozen, friendly advice, friendly argument, friendly competitor, friendly divorce, friendly enemy, friendly fights, friendly fire, frightening comfort, front end, frugal gourmet, full-time hobby, future history, fuzzy logic

G30

gargantuan Lilliputian, gentle turbulence, gentleman bandit, genuine fake, genuine imitation, genuine imitation-leather, giant dwarf, gigantic microorganism, global
village, going nowhere, good garbage, good grief, good junk, goodbye reception, graduate student, great depression, green oranges, gregarious recluse, grotesque
beauty, growing smaller, guest host, gummily brittle

H30

half empty, half full, happily married, happy pessimist, hard cushion, hardly easy, harmless abuse, harmless lie, harmless sin, harmonious discord, hasten slowly, hatefully good, healthy chocolate, heavy diet, heavy gas, Hell’s Angels, high ground, holy hell, home office, honest convict, honest crook, honest liar, honest politician, honest thief, hopeful pessimist, hopelessly optimistic, horribly decent, hot chilli, house boat, huge shortage, human robot, humane robotics

I30

icy hot, idiot savant, idly laborious, ignorant professor, ill fortune, ill-health, impatient patient, important trivia, indifferently attentive, industrial park, inside out, initial conclusion, initial results, initial retirement, innocent criminal, insane logic, insanely normal, increasing declines, incredibly common, inside out, irate patient

J30

joyful trouble, jumbo shrimp, Jump start, junk food, just war

K30

kickstand, known covert-operation, kosher ham

L30

ladies man, larger half, last initial, least favorite, legitimate conspiracy, liberal conservative, liberal fundamentalists, light darkness, light heavyweight, linear curve, liquid crystal, liquid food, liquid gas, liquid metal, liquid smoke, literal interpretation, literary illiterates, little big, little giant, little pregnant, little while, live recording, living dead, local network, long brief, long shorts, loose tights, loud whisper, loud silence, lovers’ quarrel, low altitude, lower inflation, loyal opposition

M30

macro-microorganism, mad wisdom, major minority, man child, mannish woman, marital bliss, massively thin, master slave, mature student, maxi thins, mean smile, meaningful nonsense, meatless meat, medium Large, melancholy merriment, melted Ice, mercy killing, metal woods, mexican american, micro-mainframe, Middle East, midnight sun, mighty weak, mild abrasive, mild interest, militant pacifist, mini jumbo, minor crisis, misanthropic humanitarian, missing present, mobile home, modern tradition, modestly arrogant, more unique, mournful optimist, moving target, muscular fat, mute sound, mutual differences, mutually exclusive

N30

nameless celebrity, nasty politeness, Native American, natural artifact, natural makeup, natural synthetic, naturally strange, near future, near miss, neat mess, necessary evil, negative gain, negative growth, neutral charge, never again, never ever, new archeology, new classic, new cliche, new tradition, noble savage, noiseless sound, noisy mime, non-alcoholic beer, non-alcoholic wine, non-dairy creamer, non-denominational church, non-fat cream, non-stick glue, non-stick gum, non-stick velcro, non-stop flight, non-working mother, normal deviation, nothing much, noticeable absence, now then, nuclear defense, nuclear safety, numb feeling, numbing sensation

O30

obedient defiance, obscene art, obvious secret, obviously concealed, ocean shore, oddly appropriate, oddly natural, old boy, old fashion, old newborn, old news, one-man band, once again, one choice, one-man band, one-person crew, only choice, open lock, open-minded, open secret, open-book test, opposite attraction, orderly confusion, organized anarchy, organized chaos, organized confusion, organized mess, original copy, original reprint, original reproduction, outer core, oven fried, oxymoron, oyster crackers

P30

paid volunteer, painfully beautiful, painless torture, painless dentistry, paper tablecloth, paper towel, parallel connection, Park Drive, partial cease-fire, parting is such sweet sorrow, peace force, partial conclusion, partial success, partly pregnant, passive aggression, passive aggressive, passive confrontation, past prediction, patriotic militia, peace force, peace offensive, peace riot, peaceful protests, Peacekeeper Missile, Peacekeeping Force, PeaceMaker missle, peasant king, perfect idiot, perfect misfit, perfectly awful, perfectly normal, perfectly ridiculous, perfect screw-up, permanent substitute, persistent ambivalence, personal business, petty cash, pianoforte, pious atheist, plain buttered-bagels, planned spontaneity, plastic flowers, plastic glasses, plastic silverware, plastic straw, plastic wood, player coach, pleasant hell, pleasantly confused, pleasing pain, politely insulting, political ethics, political promise, political trust, pool table, poor rich-kid, positively negative, positively wrong, post modern, pretty cruel, pretty ugly, pretty fierce, practice test, precious junk, predictably random, preliminary conclusion, premeditated spontaneity, preposterous, press release, pretty bad, pretty disgusting, priceless junk, problem solved, pro-contra, procrastinate now, progressing backward, Progressive Conservative, proprietary standard, proud humility, public secret, pure evil, pure dirt, pure speculation

Q30

questionable answer, quiet hurricanes, quiet loudspeaker,quiet noise,quiet presence, quiet revolution, quiet riot, quiet scream, quiet storm, quiet tirade, quiet yell

R30

random logic, random orderrandomly organized, random pattern, real fantasy, real magic, real phony, real potential, realistic fantasy, realistic liberal, realistic simulation,
reasonable fees, recent history, recently new, reckless caution, recoilless rifle, recorded live, recycling dump, red licorice, regular special, rehearsed improvisation, relative stranger, remember forgetting, remotely obvious, removable sticker, renegade lawmakers, required donation, required elective, resident alien, resolute ambivalence, restless sleep, retired Worker, rising deficits, roaring silence, rogue cop, rolling stop, round corner, round edges, routine emergency, routine surgery, rubber bones, rubber cement, run slowly, running idle, rush hour, rustic elegance

S30

sad clown, sad joy, sad optimist, sad smile, sadly amused, sadly funny, safe bet, safe guns, safe investment, safe sex, safe weapons, safety hazard, same difference, sanitary napkin, sanitary sewer, scalding coolness, scheduled spontaneity, school vacation, science fiction, scientific speculation, screaming silence, scripted spontaneity, seashore, second best, second initial, secret rumor, sedate sex, semiprecious, serious clown, serious comic, serious fun, serious humor, seriously funny, shabby chic, shared monopoly, sharp curve, short distance, shouting whispers, shyly pompous, sight unseen, silent alarm, silent applause, silent barber, silent cacophony, silent noise, silent scream, silent sound, silent speech, silent testimony, silent women, silent yell, simple calculus, simple procedure, simple plan, simple technology, simply superb, sincere lie, sinfully good, single copy, single diversity, single pair, sit up, slave master, sleep vigorously, slight exaggeration, slight hernia, slightly overweight, slightly pregnant, slow jet, slow jog, slow speed, slow-motion explosion, small crowd, smart fool, smart idiot, small fortune, small giant, smokeless cigarette, snow-white tan, soaring down, sober drunk, social hermit, social outcast, soft thunder, solid rumor, solo concert, solo ensemble, someone, sound of silence, sound-filled silence, specifically vague, spectator sport, speech writing, speed limit, spendthrift, splendidly dull, spoken thought, squared circle, staged accident, standard deviation, start stopping, static variable, stationary orbit, stealth bomber, steel wool, still moving, still wind, stop action, straight angle, straight hook, straight-forward, strangely familiar, student teacher, stunted growth, stupid genius, subtle exaggeration, successful suicide, sugarless candy, sun shade, superette, sure bet, sure guess, sweet pickle, sweet agony, sweet sorrow, sweet tart, synthetic natural-gas, systematic chaos, systematic disorder, systematic variance

T30

talking mime, tame beast, taped live, tense calm, terminal initialization, terribly enjoyable, terribly good, terribly nice, terribly pleased, thunderous silence, tight slacks, timeless moment, tiny mountain, toll free, tomorrow today, top floor, totalitarian democracy, totally partial, traditionally radical, tragic comedy, tranquil fiesta, transient stability, tremendously small, troubled paradise, true counterfeit, true fiction, true gossip, true illusion, true lies, true myth, true story, typically odd, typically weird

U30

unbelievably real, unbiased opinion, unbiased predisposition, uncommonly common, uncommonly normal, uncrowned king, undocumented report, uninvited guest, united anarchist, unique uniforms, unknown identity, unknown knowledge, upcoming downtrend, upside down, unpopular celebrity, unrepeatable pleonasm, unsalted
saltines, unspoken suggestion, unsung hero, unusual routine, unwelcome greetings, usually unusual

V30

valuable junk, vegetarian meatball, venial sin, violent agreement, violent relaxation, virtual reality

W30

waking dream, walking dead, warm ice, waterproof sponge, weak muscle, wedded bliss, weekday, weirdly normal, well-preserved ruins, whole half, whole hemisphere, whole part, whole piece, whole percentage, wholesome, wickedly good, wordless book, working hobby, working holiday, working vacation, worst favorite, worthless gold

Y30

young adult, young sixty

Z30

zero deficit

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preposterous

Black Friday and the United Stupids of America (USA)!


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Last year when I was in the United States, a friend from India called me over the phone a week before Thanksgiving Day. He requested me to buy a laptop for him on Black Friday. He said that he had heard that on Black Friday electronic goods could be bought at bargain prices. Little did he know about the madness that inundates the United Stupids of America (USA) on Black Friday.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November. Also, traditionally, the beginning of the Christmas shopping season starts in the United States on Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving Day.Most major retailers open their sales outlets extremely early on Black Friday to kick off the holiday shopping season and offer promotional sales.

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States and people celebrate the day with religious fervor.

Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner.

Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner.

People get together with their loved ones, invariably devour large amounts of food centered around an enormous roasted turkey, and like angels and saints praise and thank God for all that they have.

Black Friday - People waiting outside a mall.

Black Friday – People waiting outside a mall.

But on the following day, the Black Friday, they become United Stupids of America by transmogrifying from angels to demons. They stubbornly gather outside malls, some from midnight on. They while away their time chattering and shivering, undaunted by the bitter winter cold, and wait for the shops to open.

As soon as the doors open, the stampede begins.

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall (isource)

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall (isource)

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.

Black Friday Shoppers rushing into the mall.

People behave like crazed animals. They barge into the malls like raging bulls. They trample and maul one another to buy more stuff that they already have or absolutely do not need; just 24 hours after offering thanks for how much they have.

That is Black Friday for you in the United States of America. No other country in the world can boast of such a frenzied day.

Though Black Friday is not an official holiday, many non-retail employers give their employees the day off, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers.

Earlier, retailers opened shop on Black Friday at 6 am. However, in the late 2000s, many retailers opened their retail outlets at 5 am, and some opened at 4 am. Big
names including Target, Kohls, Macy’s, Best Buy, etc. open at midnight. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, broke the Black Friday tradition in 2011 by opening its store on Thanksgiving evening.

Here is a video clip depicting the madness of the United Stupids of America for you to decide whether you too want to join these berserk folks and avail bargains on Black Friday.

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