Tuesday, November 23, 2004

If ur a Tintin fan ....

Captain Haddock's Insults
I've always admired Captain Haddock, since I got "The Secret of the Unicorn," way back when I was seven. People say it's because I take after him so much... I especially admire his tickling turn of phrase: the way he states his thoughts: " By rights it should be black as the inside of a cow!" ("Flight 714"); "Wait till I get my hands on the miserable molecule of mildew who dreamed up this balderdash!." Click here for more of his idiomatic idiosyncrasies.

His abuses also are the most wonderful collection I've ever had the fortune to read... and actually use. They sound so hilarious...But they're not only funny, but also very informative. Some are simple (saucy tramp, poor loon, etc.), but others like anthropophagus, phylloxera, nyctalop...not so easy. With my favorite ones first, I have collected as many possible, and defined them to the best of my ability...

Almost all the definitions are adapted from: New Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus of the English Language, simply the best encyclopedic dictionary ever.

Dictatorial duck-billed diplodocus!
Wonderful! One of my best reigning aces! Click here for the individual definitions: duck-billed platypus and diplodocus.

Macrocephalic baboon!
Macrocephalic is anything with an abnormally large head. (A favorite of favorites!)

Two-timing Tartar Twisters!
Tartars were fierce mounted warriors, who conquered like a tornado.

A young, under-sized boy who behaves with more self-importance than proper.

Prattling porpoise!
Small- to medium-sized whales, having a rounded rather than a beaked snout.

Scoffing braggart!
Squawking popinjay!
A silly, conceited, but mannered fop.

A soldier or old Turkey's (the Ottoman Empire's) irregular armies, notorious for cruelty and plundering.

Ectoplasmic by-product!
Fuzzy on this, but it sure sounds funny!

Miserable blundering barbequed blister!
Oh, ho! ho! ho! This is hilairious! Read it "Tintin and the Picaros!"

Infernal mileage merchants!

Sounds hilairious... Grammatical phrase, where a grammatical construction is abandoned at the middle of a sentence for another.

Genus of now extinct primitive humanoids with small skulls and apelike faces.

Odd-toed ungulate!
Ungulate is a hoof of an animal.

Bottled bilge-water!
Bilge-water is foul water collected in a ship's bilge (the bottom of a ship from the keel to where the sides begin to rise).

Carpathian caterpillar!
The larva of a moth or butterfly, with no distinct body parts, and a voracious eater.

Freshwater spaceman!

Interplanetary goat!

Genus of gigantic herbivorous dinosaurs. Growing up to 80 ft in length, it had a very small brain...

Thundering misguided missile!

Guano gatherer!
Guano: droppings of seabirds, valuable as fertilizer. Usually found off Peru.

Colossal dinosaurs, growing up to 65 feet in length.

A sub-class of protozoan, small single-celled or colonial organisms, usually restricted to water.

Anamorphic aardvark!
"Anamorphic" means genuine, and an aardvark is a large, heavy ant-eater.

The Captain is referring to the supportors of General Alcazar's archrival: General Tapioca.

Sub-tropical sea-louse!
A louse is a small, wingless parasitic insect, with a mouth adapted for biting and sucking.

One who knows only the basics of everything.

Abominable Snowman!

A native, usually in the derogatory sense.

Use of something in the wrong time context (like Julius Caesar smoking).

Form of coal, carbon-rich & very hard.

Sorry... pass.

A cannibal.

Plant, closely related to the sunflower, with edible tubers (like potatoes).

An absolute ruler, despot, or dictator.

A race which ruled Central Africa in splendor, before European contact.

General term for a monkey.


Balkan beetle!


Beastly things!


A squid-like creature, extinct since the Mesezioc Era.

Black marketeers!
Someone who illegally sells goods.

No idea!



An utterly unscrupulous person.


A kidnapper, often referred to in alien abduction.

A post on a ship's deck or to the quayside to which mooring ropes are tied.

Bone-idle builder!

Import of goods without paying legal import duty or tariff.

An Italian family of Spanish origin. Their creulty, crimes, profligancy, bad faith, and ambition made many Borgias despised by Italians.

Genus of luxuriant tropical creepers.

A portable device which measures a person's alcohol consumption by his breath.

A member of a band of looters; bandits.


A pirate, historically from the Anglo-French confederation, pirating against Spain in the Caribbean.



Person who eats other people.

A seller of carpets, of course!

Voracious and predatory arthropods, some which grow up to a foot long.

Genus of long-tailed African monkeys: baboon, rhesus, etc.


Clever dick!

The shell of a cockle, edible mollusks found in Europe.


A family of ancient fish, existing for 300 million years. It was thought to be extinct, but a number have now been found.

Scientific name of the beetle and it's relatives.

A privateer of the Barbary coast (in and around the Mediterranean.)


Wild apples with a bitter taste.

Crackpot contraption
Brain-child of a mad scientist.

A paleolithic race of tall, long-skulled "men."



Tornado-like, but with violent storms.

A particle-accelerator, usually with protons.

Someone with a morbid craving for alcohol. (Rings a bell!)



I have no idea!

Duck-billed platypus!
A primitive aquatic mammal, native to Australia. It nurses it's young and has fur, but lays eggs.

Dunder-headed Ethelreds!
"Ethelred" was the family name of three English kings who fought against the Danes.

Someone who uses dynamite, or someone who destroys.

I'm not sure, but it has something to do with holding a cell together.

A pompous and selfish person. Fancy-dress facist!

Extravagant dictator.

Fancy-dress Fatima!
Fatima is a common name in Muslim countries: the daughter of Mohammed (SAW).

Fancy-dress freebooters!
Flashy plunderer.


A freebooter, living by looting and plunder.

Flaming Jack-in-a-box!
Someone who is usually still, but suddenly moves violently.


Freshwater swabs!
A swab is a mop used to scrub the deck of a ship.

Anything small and covered with soft fur or hair. (Somewhat affectionate... strange.)

People for who gallows exist.

Gang of thieves!


Gherkin! (sea- !)
Plant yielding fruit like a small cucumber, used mainly for pickling.

Gibbering ghost!

Complex and technical junk talk.


Can't say...

A wheel spinning is a way that the wheel's plane can vary, but it doesn't, because of the Earth's inertia. Useful in navigation.

A buffoon wearing bright colors.

One who advocates heresy.

A horse-mounted robber.


A rowdy youth, usually in a gang.

A large class of organic compounds consisting only of hydrogen and carbon.

A person who destroys religious images, or opposes their use in worship.

Interplanetary pirate!

Any organism without a backbone.

A conceited, impertinent young man or boy.

Jack pudding!

An eel jellied for storage.

You know...

A person with a neurotic urge to steal purposelessly.

In Haddock's sense: anyone who wears the traditional robe and mask of the Ku-Klux-Klan white supremacists.

Liquorice! (now, licorice)
A black extract of a dry root, used for flavoring tobacco.

To diminutize something very large. Technically, a mathematical statement: if a=bn, n is the logarithm of a to b.

Lubbery scum!
A lubber is a clumsy, unskilled sailor wannabe.

From the Muslim sultanate which virtually ruled Egypt. Originally composed of mostly converted Turkish or Circassian slaves.

Meddlesome cabin-boy!

An insane person with delusions of grandeur.

Miserable earthworms!

Miserable molecule of mildew!
Mildew is the white fuzzy growth fungus makes on a plant or other organic matter.


Moth-eaten marmot!
A relative of the woodchuck, thick-bodied short-legged rodents.

A Russian peasant.

A quack who sells "miracle cure" medicines, exploiting public ignorance.


An old, often troublesome, female goat.



Nitwitted nine-pins!
A bottle-shaped pin (usually used in bowling), and dim-witted.


Someone or something with abnormally poor vision in dim light.

Olympic Athlete!

An obsolete musical instrument, like the keyed-bugle.

(now orangutan) A great ape native to the forests on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.

Goths who settled in Ukraine, and were eventually conquered by the Huns.

I'm not sure, but "pachi" is Greek for "thick," and "rhiza" is "root"...

A paranoid person.

Anyone who lives off the earnings of others.

An inhabitant of Patagonia, the southern region of South America.

Pestilential pachyderm!
"Pestilential" is a deadly epidemic disease. A pachyderm is a rhino, an elephant... any hoofed mammal with thick skin.

A genus of destructive plant lice.

A rogue or a pirate; or his ship.

Pickled herrings!

(The Captain never managed to finish this curse. A pity... Read about it in "The Crab with Golden Claws.")

Too simple...

A pit-like scar, on skin, ground, etc.


A lie-detector, use of which is still controversial.

From Polynesia, where people are either fishermen, or coconut farmers.

Poor loon!
A loon is someone very silly, especially after he's done something very silly.

Prize purple jellyfishes!
Someone wihtout self-reliance and firmness of will. Technically, jellyfishes are marine
coelenterates, consisting of a transcluscent umbrelly, and sometimes deadly tentacles attached.

Someone who makes exhorbitant profits, espcially in times of scarcity.

Insane person.

Purple profiteering jellyfish!
Profiteering is demanding outrageous profits.

Pyrography is the art of making pictures with fire or heat.


A reckless driver.

An indefatigable site-seer.


Saucy tramp!

San Theolodite!
Here, the Captain is referring to the Tapiocan politician of the country of San Theodores.



Lice found on the sea.


The words say it all.

God knows...


Anyone, but especially a female, who gets angry very quickly.

A steam-driven vehicle with a heavy roller attached, used to even roads, etc.


Someone who flatters others for self-gain.

Someone who governs by technical details.

An edible fresh-water turtle.


I dunno...


Two-timing troglodyte!
Anyone (prehistoric or otherwise) who lives in or above a cave.



Tribe of savages!


(in the Captain's sense) someone who distorts things.

Wandering, without a fixed home.

Mythical creatures which awake only at night to feed on the blood of humans.

A barbarian people who attacked the Roman Empire. Now, it's someone who destroys for fun.


Very thin threads of dried pasta, often made in soups.


A Western Danubian division of the Goths who, in 410, invaded Italy and sacked Rome.

Someone who dissects animals while they are still alive.

Large birds of prey, which often feeds on carrion.

Any of the big cats in the wild.

Lice existing on wood.


No idea...

Note: these words of art are contrived by a famous ancestor of Captain Haddock, Sir Francis Haddock. He's in "The Secret of the Unicorn."

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Why Yash Chopra makes his movies in Switzerland

After seeing the title, if u are thinking about Yashji'smovies and trying to recreate them through this pile of b******twritten below, there won't be a bigger dumb-ass than you. Just for thesake of the title, I have given a few good points about the beauty ofSwitzerland ( I guess!!).

To begin with, if u are too bored to read the entire story, I candescribe Switzerland in one word: Pure (am being ideal here :)). If ur patient enough, read on...

Was pretty excited about my first Onsite trip, though it was only for2 weeks. That too, if the client location is in Switerland, u havemore reasons to be excited. Well, I did not have the best of journeyswhile going. On the way to the airport, we had a small accident nearBangalore football Stadium with an auto for no fault of ours (auto,obviously!!), at a time when that place was swarming with autos.Somehow the driver made a settlement and dropped us at the airport ontime. Went inside to find that my flight was delayed by an hour. Iguess my mom was starting to get the creeps!! Met a group of softwareEngineers who were going to Zurich in the same flight as mine,befriended them and was with them till we boarded the flight inMumbai. My troubles continued in the flight when Kalpesh, the guysitting next to me in the flight, started talking to me. He was goingto Antwerp to a diamond industry. He asked me if I am going toBrussels. I told him, I am going to Basel, not Brussels. He started talking about Basel, told me he's heard a lot about it, and then askedme…Are u going to Brussels? Somehow explained him again. He kindareminded me of Dori, the fish with short-term memory loss in FindingNemo. He was a strict Jain and started complaining about the food,whatever they got him. Finally, they settled for 2 apples. I feelsorry for the airhostesses! All along, he was explaining some diamond manufacturing, which I never listened to. Morning, before alighting,he asked me, Brussels? My mind was half inclined to kill him, but I just said Basel and came out of the plane. Not the very best of starts for a journey to a place like Switzerland. And to think of that gorgeous Bangalore babe who was in the same flight to Mumbai andZurich and was sitting right in front of me! Anyways, Zurich airport is wonderful, u can never get lost, even if you want to! One thing I observed as soon as I came out was the no. of pet dogs. Every otherperson has a dog, and every third person in the airport gets his/her dog along! And I am really scared of dogs!! So lets forget this.
From Zurich to Basel, the train journey was just awesome! I saw theSwiss countryside for the first time and was really impressed, I had 2 other Indians for company and they were OK. Switzerland on a Sunday looks dead. Nobody comes out of their houses! Basel is a nice littletown, but can get boring after a period of time except summers where nice chicks walk around the Rhine river in bikinis or minis at themost ;-). Sadly, I could not witness that as it is nearing winter there. I wont describe my Office work here as it was hectic. Somehow,I managed to pass off the 5 working days.

My first day of sightseeing. Had 2 colleagues with me for company. We decided to go to Montreaux and then to Lausanne. Montreaux is a honeymooners paradise, they say. The train route is called Golden Pass route and the journey through the countryside was absolutely breathtaking!! You can see them in the first few photos I have taken from the train. We reached a place called Spiez where we had to change trains. This is one beautiful place! Check out the photo of the hill and the lake with boats and the chapel. The place is much better than what is shown in the photograph. Well, we had a train to catch and we took the train to Montreaux from there. The journey to Montreaux is also very beautiful, particularly as we near the place and get a glimpse of lake Geneva from the top. Montreaux is a nice little town,famous for shopping and the lake. It also has a chateau, where u get proper Swiss cheese. We couldn't go there though. The lake is supposedly 100 km wide and boats start from here to France and also from Lausanne and Geneva. After spending a few hours here, we took the train to Lausanne. This city is much better than Basel and is known for its numerous chapels and old style buildings. It also has an Olympic park. Check out the photos of the churches and the buildings there. By the time, we left Lausanne, it was almost 7.00 PM and the journey back was 4 hrs. Reached Basel and went straight to sleep, in anticipation of the next day's plan. Overall, had a great day.

The plan was to visit the Alps. All of my colleagues were busy and had to go to office, so I went alone. I first went to Interlaken, which is like a main junction to reach the different places in the Alps. I had3 options with me, there is a beautiful place called Lucern and from there, you can go to Mt.Titlis, highly recommended. The 2nd option is to a place called Meringein via Interlaken, a place famous for its deep gorges. The last option and the one I selected was to Jungfraujoch (spelt: Yöngfro), the top of Europe via Interlaken. It is around 3454m above sea level. The reason I selected this was because of the snow. A really beautiful place, u can see it for yourselves in the photos of the snow. The best part of Jungfraujoch was the ice palace. This place is completely made of Ice, the floor, the walls,and the sculptures inside. I went inside the palace wearing a casual shirt, jeans and a jacket. Boy! Did I freeze! The temp. was around1ºC. & my hands were totally numb! After the ice palace, I went out to the snow. It was a wonderful sight, snow everywhere around you.Sadly, there were no sledge rides then. (These are driven by a specific breed of dogs, just like the Eskimos). After a walk in the snow, I went in an elevator whose speed was around 150 kmph (not sure but I heard itsomewhere) that takes you to the topmost point of Europe. Saw almost a 100 Indians there, most of them Northis, but there were a few Kannadigas too! Dunno whether they were a part of a film troupe or something, but there were a few babes in that group. This place has a restaurant called Bollywood, where u get Indian food. Thanks to Yash Chopra for making this place popular.
After roaming around the place, finally, I took a train back to Basel via Berne, the capital of Switzerland. Had an unpleasant journey up to Berne where I was surrounded by ladies on all sides (aunties to be precise, except for two, one okay okay babe and other was a granny). Except for the granny, who slept all along, the others were just staring at me! I thought I am in some ladies compartment or something,but there were other guys also in there. Then I thought something's wrong with my face, nothing was wrong, I found out later. Something wrong with the ladies, I guess their adrenaline started flowing ;-). Another great day came to an end.

I didn't have much to see other than these two places except on Friday nights when I went to the movies with my colleagues. Guess what the names of the theaters are…Rex, Plaza, Kino, Symphony!! There is another theater, Capitol whose balcony is underground!
Gyan: Kino means theater in German.

In Switzerland, the shopkeepers also behave like Office goers and close shops at 5 PM everyday, except on Thursdays (closes at 8 PM),which is shopping day for us. They don't open on Sundays. So, went shopping on Thursday along with friends. There was also a carnival opposite to our office that was quite good. Bought so much chocolates that my bag tore in Mumbai and it had nothing but chocolates! Friday night, we saw the movie 'The Terminal' and we were generally teasing our friend about him getting stuck in Terminal A-67 like Tom Hanks in the movie. Well, the next day, when I was flying back, at the check-in, I found out my terminal to be A-67!! And at the terminal,they had given seat nos. to all except me!! Fortunately, one more Indian came along who gave me company there, as in even he did not have a seat no. still. Finally got in the end, it was a window seat and u can get one of the best views of the Alps from the plane amidst the clouds! I'd pay to see that again.

There are some "interesting" places also in Switzerland. One was opposite to our office, one near my apartment (This I completely missed out, all along till I final day, I was thinking it was a nice little home, saw the signboard on the last day. Damn!). Anyways, TV is boring there with mostly German channels except for CNN and BBC. After 12, it is verygood. ;-). If u have nothing to do, go to the heart of town to a place called Barfüserplatz and enjoy the crowd there with a hot cup of coffee or a cold beer.

Well, by and large, I have explained almost everything I did there.I'd love to go there again, but on a holiday and not from work. Lets hope. Anyways, wake up guys, story over! Get back to work!! but before that, Comments appreciated, either good or bad. Have spent 3 hrs writing this, atleast for the sake of it.

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