Thursday, August 06, 2009

reBlog from Wal-Mart Knocks Off the Girl Scouts

The perils of Capitalism, as experienced in its own home - America.

I found this fascinating quote today:

Just when you think your opinion about Wal-mart might be changing… Just when you think that maybe, just maybe, Wal-mart was learning to be a better citizen…
Wal-mart turns around and does something really …, Wal-Mart Knocks Off the Girl Scouts, Aug 2009

You should read the whole article.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Festive Occasions Make Me Miss India the Most

The annual Indian (Hindu) festival season begins in July with the Varamahalakshmi Vratha and then continues on till November where there is the big bang of Diwali and then there is a brief lull in celebrations. Then again in January the festival season begins with Sankranti or Pongal and continues on to Rathasapthami, Shivrathri, and on to Ugadi.
Hindus in the United states celebrate these festivals in a different manner adapted to suit the local circumstances. Deep inside every ardent Hindu's heart is this longing to go back to India and I am pretty sure this feeling doubles or triples or even quadruples during festivals. At least for me it happens, there is a general feeling of being lost in an alien land, where money matters more than people, materialistic possessions are more important than your ethics, where individual freedom and happiness is paramount and everything can be sacrificed/ given up to attain it.
Tomorrow is twin festivals of Raksha Bandhan and Upakarma. The former celebrates the brother-sister bond and the latter is when my dad always gave me nuggets of spiritual wisdom. Living in the US I don't have either for the second consecutive time. I guess there will be several more times to come...

Canadians, Get ready for New Sweepstakes and Contests

How would you like to have an additional $10,000 spending money? I am pretty certain 99 percent of us would answer this question with a big, resounding YES, I'd love it. You know what if you are a resident of Canada, you could be eligible to win this $10,000. In this economy $10,000 would be of great help to most of us.

Let me tell you about the contest which will enable to win fantastic prizes. I am pretty sure you have heard about Stouffers-panini, the ultimately tasteful snack/ meal from Nestle. Well as part of their promotion campaign to launch new globally-inspired tastes they are conducting this online contest. The grand prize is $10,000 and three winners are going to walk with this money. There are other prizes which include cash, prizes and Panini products. All you need to do to be eligible to win is to register here and wait for the prize intimation.

The four new flavors being launched include the Bistro Meatballs & Peppers, Bistro Chicken Souvlaki, Lean Cuisine Grilled Vegetable & Goat Cheese, and Lean Cuisine Mango Chiken Tikka. If you are already a Stouffer's Panini fan then I'd say just go ahead and try the new flavors. If you are new to this product I would say there has been no better time than now to try the product. Enjoy the delectable taste of Stouffer's Panini and participate in the contest that will enable you to win one of three $10,000 cash prizes, Sony Digital Camcorders and loads of other prizes.


Storm Water Drain, Plano, Texas

I am sure you are wondering about the title of this blog post and why I chose to write about something as mundane as a Storm Water Drain. Well there is a reason why I chose to write on this subject. First and foremost storm water drains in India as well as in the US usually are converted creeks/ streams. That is the only similarity that exists between India and the US drainage.
In India this would probably also take the role of a regular sewage line and within no time it will be stinking and full of trash. Here the creeks are maintained and given adequate space to expand during thunder storms and showers. Of course there is trash here too, there are dirty people in the US too. These people throw plastic wrappers, metal cans, and other wastes into creeks and drains and pollute them.
This particular drain is located in Plano city in Texas and I was passing by and thought I'd take a picture of the way the creek has been maintained with stone walls on either side. I wish that Indian civic planners will learn and start preserving our natural resources for the future.

Branson, Missouri - The most exotic summer getaway

I have been in Dallas, Texas, US for nearly two years, during this time I have taken short and long trips mainly going west towards New Mexico, Arizona and California. I am yet to explore the attractions of other parts of this continent-sized nation. Most of my friends have told me about Branson, Missourie and its shows. Everyone is of the opinion that Summer is best enjoyed by visiting Branson and taking in the shows, culture, theatre, golf, and other attractions of the city.

One of the most important considerations while travelling is where to stay. So before I researched the attractions of Branson I searched for the hotels. I am quite finicky about the type of hotel I would like to stay and finally zeroed in on two hotels, Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing and the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel. I chose these two hotels for my accommodation because of several reasons. The first and most important being the location, all the major attractions are within easy reach from here. Then of course the second and equally important reason for staying at the Hilton would be its fantastic service, luxurious rooms, and great restaurants.

Hotel finalized I did my research about Branson and what it has to offer to me. Indeed Branson is one of the most happening places in the US and if one doesn't visit this place he/ she is missing out on some great fun activities. I am completely enamoured by several of the attractions of Branson and have made up my mind to get there as soon as possible. While at Branson I would take a day off to visit the Track Family Fun Parks and enjoy go-karting, bumper cars, arcades, mini golf, and several other offerings. Then I would probably take in the Branson Ball Knocker which offers a superb down hill ride while strapped in the inside chamber of the 12 ft ball. After these hectic activities I'd of course visit Dino's Karrot Cake Company & Cafe to enjoy a scrumptuous meal of cakes, pastries and rolls. Feeling heavy after the meal I'd head straight to Branson's IMAX entertainment complex to catch a movie.

A visit to Branson would come to naught if one didn't visit some of Branson's 49 live entertainment theaters and enjoy the shows. These theaters are all located within walking distance from the Hilton hotels so all the more better that I stay there. Then of course for other member of the family there is loads of shopping opportunity at the numerous antique shops, specialty boutiques and outlet malls close to the hotels.

Of course after a busy day of sight seeing, shopping, and activities one would love to grab a cocktail and relax to good music. This can be done at the Trofi Restaurant within the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel, so one wouldn't have to walk or drive after getting drunk.

My suggestion is just go ahead and take a trip to Branson, this summer or plan a trip for the next. It would prove to be a very memorable getaway with your loved ones or alone.


Ethnic Identity Crisis for the original inhabitants of the US

I have been cribbing about the fact that the original inhabitants of Continental America are being erroneously referred to as "Indians" leading to lot of confusion and humiliation to us the people who truly have right for this ethnic identity title. Recently for my class project I took up this subject and reviewed three scholarly literature sources. I thought I would share it with the readers of my blog and elicit your opinions on the subject.

Indian, American Indian, Native American, and Alaska Native: Which Is The Right Ethnic Identity For The Indigenous Peoples Of Continental America?

Ever since Christopher Columbus landed in Continental America in 1492 in his search for India and erroneously called the indigenous peoples of this continent as Indians, the racial and ethnic identity label has persisted (Robert F Berkhofer Jr. 4 quoted by Bird 5). Though it has been five centuries since and the world has become aware of Columbus’ erroneous perception of the real identity of indigenous peoples of continental America, the federal and state governments, media, and academia in the US continue to refer to them as Indians. In fact there is a Bureau of Indian Affairs under the US Department of Interior to provide services to the people of indigenous descent. Over time this identity label has evolved to include terms such as American Indian, Native American, Amerindian, Alaska Native, among others, but none of them are correct. This persistent erroneous nomenclature of the indigenous peoples of US by everyone including the government has led to great deal of confusion. In this conundrum of identities the fact that people from India are the rightful owners of the identity title Indian, Indian American and American Indian (the last two refer to Indians who have immigrated to the United States) has been totally ignored.
To learn more about this ethnic identity crises and understand what the indigenous peoples of continental America feel about being referred to as Indians, I have chosen three scholarly journal articles on this subject. These articles attempt to resolve the identity crises of the indigenous populations of continental America and arrive at a suitable acceptable ethnic identity label. In the first paper titled What We Want To Be Called: Indigenous Peoples’ Perspectives on Racial and Ethnic Identity Labels, Michael Yellow Bird attempts to define the right ethnic identity title for the entire population of indigenous peoples. In Renaming Ourselves On Our Own Terms: Race, Tribal Nations, and Representation in Education, Cornel Pewewardy makes a strong case for self determination of identity for indigenous peoples and moving away from titles thrust upon them by colonizing Europeans. Carole L. Seyfrit, Lawrence C. Hamilton, Cynthia M. Duncan and Jody Grimes discuss how ethnic identity influences the aspirations of youth of indigenous populations in Alaska in their journal article Ethnic Identity and Aspirations among Rural Alaska Youth.
What We Want to Be Called: Indigenous Peoples' Perspectives on Racial and Ethnic Identity Labels, focuses on the fact that the terms “First Nations Peoples” or “Indigenous Peoples” should be the new ethnic identity labels of the indigenous populations of United States. The article rues the fact that the terms “Indian” and “American Indian” are the current identity labels simply because they were “uncritically imposed” upon them by colonizing Europeans (Bird 3). Further in the article the author explains why it is difficult to group the entire indigenous population under one identity and makes a serious attempt to arrive at a consensus about the type of nomenclature that would appropriate to refer to the unified mass of indigenous peoples of continental America.
The title of the article suggests that there are several members of the indigenous peoples speaking out in favor of self determination of their ethnic identity. Given that there were more than “560” unique groups of indigenous peoples each with their own ethnic identity label before the colonizing Europeans arrived it is understandable that they do not wish to be placed under a blanket ethnic identity label. Moreover current terminologies in use including “Indian”, “Native American”, and “American Indian” are colonized identities (Bird 6). The authors feels that there is a dire need to move away from these stereotyped identities and define their own unique and empowering ethnic identity label. The title also indicates that the author is quite unhappy with the current terminology used to identify him and his community and wants to change this identity perception.
A clear problem statement with a detailed explanation about the social, economic, and historical context is made right at the beginning. The fact that the First Nations people or indigenous people are not a uniform group but belong to over “560 distinct tribes, including 233 Alaska Native villages” is one of the strong reasons given by the author to prove that they should not be grouped under one ethnic identity label (Bird 4). Popular media has also used the terms “Indian”, “American Indian”, “redskins”, “savages” in demeaning manner (Bird 6). He rues the fact that this kind of labeling creates stereotypes which has led to the people of First Nations being frowned upon as those who are not ready for modern civilization. “Because these labels have an overwhelming negative effect on the identity of all Indigenous Peoples and can institutionalize feelings of racism and discrimination toward these groups, many Indigenous Peoples have spearheaded efforts to call for the end of using these labels” (Bird 5).
One of the popularly accepted ethnic identity label which has become prevalent during the second half of the 20th century is Native American. This identity would include anyone born in continental US and as such not acceptable. Speaking about this identity label, the author successfully argues against it. “While the label ‘Native American’ may not have the baggage of stereotypes associated with the term ‘Indian’ it still reflects a monolithic identity of Indigenous Peoples and gives the impression that these lands were referred to as ‘America’ by its Indigenous Peoples, which, of course, they were not,” (Bird 5).
Reading this article I get the impression that there have been several attempts by educated people of indigenous heritage to get rid of the racially discriminating and demeaning ethnic identity label imposed by colonizing Europeans and Americans. One of them has been spearheaded by the author himself. He cites his experiences of using different identities in order to resist the designs of colonial powers to impose an oppressive identity upon all the indigenous peoples. He feels that the terms “First Nations Peoples” and “Indigenous Peoples” can be used to replace the racially demeaning identity labels (Bird 7).
The primary sources of information for this article are members of the members of Association of American Indian and Alaska Natives Professors (AAIANP), who are professors, graduate students or faculty members of various universities in the US. I think this makes the article unique because all respondents are of indigenous heritage. The respondents were asked four discussion questions by electronic mail and their responses analyzed to arrive at the conclusion. According to the author though the questions were sent to 107 members out of a total of 345, only 19 responded (Bird 8).
In matters such as this it is important that a large number of people are interviewed to find out the collective opinion. This particular research paper’s main weakness is that there are too few respondents and as such it is difficult to establish credibility to the findings. Since the number of respondents is so low, this research runs the risk of not being taken seriously. A point the author also concedes: “The opinions reported in this paper have several limitations and cannot be generalized to the general population of Indigenous Peoples or members of the AAIAN” (Bird 8).
At the very end of the article the author comes to the conclusion that the identity label “Indian” rightfully belongs to the people of India as corroborated by a large majority of the respondents. Though many of his primary sources accept being called Indians or American Indians just because it is a term used since several hundred years and has become an accepted norm, the author concludes the article by saying that the “what is most important in the struggle to define racial and ethnic labels are representative of Indigenous Peoples is that these groups do not lose their identities as the First Nations of these lands.” (Bird 19)
I feel that this article is a significant work in the realm of ethnic identity of the indigenous peoples of continental America. The author has successfully defined who is a member of the First Nations and who is a Native American and why these people should not be called Indians or American Indians. This is a pioneering attempt to involve indigenous peoples to define their ethnic identity and will serve as a reference to academics, researchers, minority groups of first nations and true Indians living in the United States.
In the article titled Renaming Ourselves On Our Own Terms: Race, Tribal Nations, and Representation in Education, Cornel Pewewardy uses quotations from several eminent people of indigenous heritage to drive home the point that self determination of identity and moving away from racially demeaning stereotypical titles thrust upon them by colonizing Europeans is the only way forward. This treatise is written more like a personal memoir interspersed with serious facts and quotations. The author starts the article by stating that Columbus not only started the process of colonization of continental America but also represents the legacy of suffering inflicted upon indigenous populations and destruction of their cultures (Smith cited by Pewewardy par. 1).
The mechanics of European colonization of continental America lead to imposition of racially demeaning identities to cover the entire mass of indigenous peoples of the continent. In a bid to completely subjugate the indigenous populations the colonizers resorted to dilution and sometimes destruction of their heritage and culture by imposing foreign identities and ways of life. Within the first few paragraphs the author makes it clear that this article has been written to discuss the themes of linguistic imperialism, race, tribal nations and their representation in education, and tribal identity (Pewewardy par. 3).
Like Bird in the previously cited article, Pewewardy also toys with the several different identity labels used in popular media to define the indigenous peoples of America and comes to the same conclusion that none of the ascribed terms, Indian, American Indian, Native American and Amerindian were right and gave the impression “as if we had no power to define other choices” (Pewewardy par. 4). He successfully argues that these identities denote nothing but negativism. As if on retrospective thought the author seems to praise the fact that some academics have evolved identity labels which such as “First Nations People” and “Indigenous peoples” which denote positive meanings and respectable identity. The author expresses happiness that “some tribal nations have started to tribal nations have started to take back their original names for themselves: Diné (formerly Navajo); Ho-Chunk (formerly Winnebago);” (Pewewardy par. 5).
The next section of the article starts off with a number of quotes on the subject from academics of indigenous heritage. I feel that Pewewardy is using these quotes to try and make his case stronger. If the author had have limited himself to quote only the most significant ones, it would have a made a better impact. Further on the author rues the fact that most indigenous peoples seem to have forgotten that they had distinct names, based on history, heritage, cultural bonds and thousands of years of tribal learning. All of them destroyed by influx of colonizing Europeans who with their implicit and explicit superiority complex subjugated and oppressed the indigenous populations. “many tribes forgot the origin of their names and also how, as Indigenous Peoples, we came to be given alien English names by people outside our tribes” (Pewewardy par. 16).
There seems to be some kind of a discrepancy between the title of the article and the subjects covered within. When I read the title I expected the article to deliberate about ways and means of how indigenous peoples of the United States can arrive at an acceptable identity labels for their race, nation and how the same can be represented in education. While the bulk of the article deals with the subject of defining racial and tribal identities, there are large sections which discuss things such as linguistic imperialism, cultural hegemony and racism. I feel the article should have been titled better to reflect these subjects too. Discussing the difference between race and ethnicity the author emphasizes that “Ethnicity implies history, culture, location, creativity” (Obinga quoted by Pewewardy par. 48). On the other hand the author rues the fact that oppressive European powers have confused the indigenous populations with the concept of race and color and made them forget their ethnicity and tribal identity.
Towards the conclusion of the article I get the impression that the author seems to be confused as to what the future holds for him and his people. He also goes into a preachy mode and exhorts his tribal brethren to “cleanse our thinking of gross error” and apply themselves to appropriate systems and structures and support a healing process for affected tribal families (Pewewardy par. 61). It appears as if the author is trying to make an attempt to bring all the indigenous populations within one umbrella identity but loses his tracks along the way and towards the end tries to regain tracks again. I believe that this article’s strength lies in its effective delineation and discussion of a wide array of tribal issues with a clear focus towards the future. This article is a must read for the 1.6 million indigenous peoples in the United States (BIS par. 1). It could also prove to be a useful resource for researchers, students and faculty members of sociological and anthropological studies departments in universities and colleges.
The third journal article I studied for this paper is titled: Ethnic Identity and Aspirations among Rural Alaska Youth and has been written by four researchers Carole L. Seyfrit, Lawrence C. Hamilton, Cynthia M. Duncan, and Jody Grimes. This article is a result of “survey data from adolescents in 19 rural schools to explore relationships between ethnic identity and students' expectations about moving away or attending college” (Seyfrit 1). What I found unique about this article is that this not only speaks about the ethnic identity of the respondents but successfully links it to their perceptions of life, education and career. The authors of this article seem to view the people of Alaska as “Eskimo, Indian or Aleut” but the respondents define themselves as “mixed, native or non-native”.
The authors begin the article by giving an overview of the socio-geo-economic picture of the arctic state, explaining how difficult life is out there and facts about the sparse population of the region. The authors explain that “although Natives comprise less than 16% of the state's population, they make up 54% in communities having fewer than 1,000 people. Many villages are more than 90% Native” (Seyfrit 3). Here again the authors don’t even attempt to make a distinction between the different groups of indigenous peoples but include them under the umbrella of “Indians”.
In primitive labor-oriented societies it quite natural that native youth prefer to take on their ancestral family occupations and continue to live in the same area. It does not need special education or college degrees to learn their family trade; on the other hand descendents of non-natives would tend to be drawn towards white-dominated urban locales. “That is, ethnic identity might affect youths' image of where they belong and what they should do” (Seyfrit 4).
This article essentially focuses on the educational accomplishments of native versus non-native youth and provides tables and charts to present their findings. The most relevant section of the article to this study is titled Ethnic Identity. This section basically discusses how the construct of self-identity and ethnicity has come about in rural Alaska. “That is, ethnic identity might affect youths' image of where they belong and what they should do” (Seyfrit 9). Like in mainland United States, there exists a great deal of ethnic complexity in rural Alaska. The government has provided individuals with a set of mutually exclusive categories to arrive at their ethnic identity. “An individual might be identified, or asked to self-identify, as either an American Indian/Alaska Native or as a member of some other category such as Hispanic or white. Of course, many people actually have mixed ancestry” (Seyfrit 9). The authors discuss the fact that there have been so many mixed marriages that arriving at the correct ethnic identity of children born out of these unions are very difficult. According to the results of a 1995 survey presented in a well organized table 62% of the respondents identified themselves as Alaska Native (Aleut, Inupiat, Yupik, etc). These identity constructions are quite contrary to what is recorded in the US census records. The author cites instances where several students identified themselves as people of mixed heritage while the records classified them as “Native” (Seyfrit 10). This leads to a lot of confusion in the minds of these youth about who they really are.
The main strength of this article is the fact that the results of the survey conducted among the youth of rural Alaska are presented in a very reader-friendly and easy to understand manner. The authors employ charts, tables and graphs to present their findings and make their observations. The survey results are compared with the official records and the discrepancies in the ethnic identity are exposed to the reader. The title makes one feel that this article is a deliberation about the construct of ethnic identity and how it affects the aspirations about the future of youth of rural Alaska. The article is actually a quantitative study and analysis of the education, career and future aspirations of youth of rural Alaska. The question of ethnic identity is discussed in a very minor form in the article and as such doesn’t do justice to the title of the article.
Reading these three articles I came to the conclusion that the ethnic identity of the indigenous peoples of continental America is indeed a serious issue. The native or indigenous peoples are quite resentful about being branded as Indians, American Indians or any other blanket identity imposed upon them by colonizing Europeans and Americans. It is surprising that I didn’t come across any discordant voices of true Indian academics about the compromising of their ethnic identity. Towards the end of my reading and analysis I understand that both Indians from India and the indigenous peoples of America are unhappy with the fact that the European and American colonizers have held on to the erroneous ethnic identity while referring to the latter. Perhaps the small minority of academic voices is not enough to make the government and media listen and take action to let the indigenous peoples arrive at their own ethnic identity label.

Works Cited

Berkhofer Jr. Robert F., The White Man's Indian: Images of American Indians from Columbus to the Present. New York: Vintage, 1968.

Bird Michael Yellow, “What We Want to Be Called: Indigenous Peoples' Perspectives on Racial and Ethnic Identity Labels”. American Indian Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Spring, 1999), pp. 1-21

Pewewardy Cornel, “Renaming Ourselves On Our Own Terms: Race, Tribal Nations, and Representation in Education”. Indigenous Nations Studies Journal, volume 1 No. 1 (Spring 2000).

Seyfrit Carole L., Hamilton Lawrence C., Duncan Cynthia M., Grimes Jody, “Ethnic Identity and Aspirations among Rural Alaska Youth”. Sociological Perspectives, Vol. 41, No. 2 (1998), pp. 343-365.

Smith, L.T. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. New York: Zed Books 1999.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Finding Webhosting Services Made Easy

The internet has changed our lives in every aspect. The way we study, the way we talk and interact with friends, the way we do business, get jobs, find places, get directions, etc have all been influenced by the world wide web. If a business doesn't have a website then people tend to think that they are not in tune with times. Launching a website is not so simple, there are numerous things to be considered.

The most important is the web hosting company which is providing the service. With so many in the market how can we find the best service? Well in my opinion it is simple, all one needs to do is to visit check out the ratings various web hosting companies have got at Web Hosting Rating. These reviews and ratings are provided by experts based on several stringent criteria. When you go through this website you can be rest assured about the providers quality.

This website not only provides ratings of web hosting companies but is also a treasure trove of information. Being a person who uses Frontpage to design web pages I found numerous articles which are very useful to enhance my skills in website design.

In short this website provides complete information about the internet, website hosting, and related services.

Fun Movie for the entire Family

Title:Imagine That
Starring: Eddie Murphy and others
Genre: Family

With nothing much else to do on Saturday night we decided to head out for a movie at the Dollar theater. My feeling is going to a regular theater is just not worth the money ($8-12). Only this movie caught our fancy because of its funny theme.

Well what do I tell you about the movie? My early memories of Eddie Murphy is from his role as a cop in Beverly Hills Cop. He was a serious, no-nonsense policeman busting drug cartels, and beating up thugs. Now he seems to have retired from that role and taken up comedy, and he is doing a darn good job at that.

Imagine That features Eddie Murphy in the role of a single parent grappling with a serious job as an investment banker. He is faced by two major challenges, one at the work place where a competitor calling himself "..... White Feather" is threatening to take his job. At home his daughter is hallucinating about a magical land with three princesses, a queen, and a dragon.

The final message of the movie is delivered by Murphy's estranged wife "You have two jobs, one at the office and the other as a father. You need to give equal importance to both." Whew... I wonder why people in America consider parenting as a "Job". Anyway how he realizes the importance of being a parent and wins the sought after promotion is the gist of the story.

Watch out for some really funny scenes, dialogues, and acting. It is a movie of clean fun and entertainment for the entire family.

Discover Switzerland's Getaways

Whenever I think of a fantastic holiday destination only one place comes to my mind, Switzerland. With its lofty landscapes, rolling countrysides, majestic mountains, and wonderful scenery, this European nation has been one of favorite destinations of travelers. The country's culture has been heavily influenced by French, German and Italian traditions. The most awe inspiring feature of Switzerland in my opinion is its majestic castles and quaint villages.

I started planning for a Swiss holiday and started the process to Discover Swiss "Pearls" . The first thing that came to my mind of course is the rafting opportunity across the Rhone. The difference here is that one can explore the city of Geneva along with jumping over the rapids.

After a day on the river I'd love to spend a few hours or even a day in the dairy. Swiss cheese is my all time favorite and I'd love to see how it is made in its authentic settings. This will be an education for me in the art of cheese making.

Being a lover of snow and mountains, I'd take in the 4,000 m climb to the summit of the Allalinhorn. The three-four hour climb would give me a great mountaineering experience and also some of the best panoramic views of snow capped mountains and slopes.

Having climbed the mountain and attained a great height it is time to party. Why not learn how to brew beer and then party with self-made beverage. I'd love to visit Switzerland’s smallest brewery, the Hof Hopfentropfen and learn brewing at the seminar.

Last but not the least I'd like to get healthy and what would I do for that? You guessed it right, I will gather herbs at the flowering meadows above Champéry. This will give me an opportunity to learn about the wild herbs and how these can be used to create a fabulous meal. This would give me one chance to eat something good and which is not off the supermarket shelf.

You know as I write this blog post I am wondering why I haven't packed my bags yet. Well, my Swiss holiday is going to happen soon, probably during the next summer. When is yours going to happen?


Indians or Native Americans or First Nations Peoples

Grand Canyon 057
Originally uploaded by srinidhilv.
One of the biggest confusions which has proved very detrimental to us is the mistaken identity of Christopher Columbus. This mistake has led to the term "Indian" become a derogatory word which refers to an uncouth, savage, violent, dirty, and tribal individual. Though over the centuries the truth has come out that these tribes in continental America are not Indians but they have their own distinct identity, the European White dominated West has obstinately refused to acknowledge their mistake and the US government continues to have a body known as "Bureau of Indian Affairs" which is responsible for the first nations peoples.
This picture is a classic example of how the west is using the term "Indian" to denigrate us, the people from India. There are signages around this ruin which says that this is an "Indian Dwelling". A bunch of stones placed unevenly around is an "Indian Dwelling", they are far from the truth. The truth is in this other picture which is the "Indian Dwelling" in India.

Chandragiri Palace
Originally uploaded by srinidhilv.

I wonder how many centuries it will take for the European-White-Dominated US Government, media and society to realize that Indians are the people from India and the original inhabitants of this continent are "First Nations Peoples".

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Watch TV and win Laptop computers


I have been following Charter Communications and their activities, contests, and giveaways. This is one company which seems like giving its customers several rewards and that too quite frequently. Earlier this year they gave away HDTVs in their daily sweepstakes. Those who didn't win that time have another chance now, the prize is a brand new laptop computer. Their latest promotion is known as Laptop-a-Day Sweepstakes. The best part of this giveaway is that they are giving one laptop (HP 550 Notebook 15-inch with Windows Vista and a NeoTec Compu Backpack) away everyday for two months. That is what I would call a bonanza for Charter customers.

The sweepstakes began on July 15, 2009 and will go on through September 15. That means there are still more than 30 opportunities to win a laptop. Don't worry if you don't win a laptop, there are gift cards of $25-100 value to be won.

To think of it I think the timing of this contest is so right. Students are getting ready to go back to school and if they participate in this contest and win a laptop or gift cards it would a big savings in their back-to-school shopping.

I am sure by now everyone is curious to know how to participate in these giveaways and get their hands on the laptop computer. It is easy just visit Charter website and register to be eligible to win. You could get regular updates on Charters sweepstakes and giveaways by following Charter on Twitter. If you are not on twitter, no sweat, you could access Charter on Facebook and still be in touch.

Don't forget to participate and lose your chance to win a laptop in this promotion.


Plano Fun Ride

I volunteered at the 1st Annual Plano Fun Ride, a bicycle rally organized in aid of few local charities. The short ride (5 & 10 mile) was cut further short due to thunder storm. I was standing at the intersection playing the role of a signpost and directing traffic. Only about 250 riders showed up for the ride and less than 100 people completed the 10 mile ride. Here are some pictures I shot from my vantage point.