Tag Archives: Common Sense

How to Freeze a American Credit Card

It is very difficult to be a very SMART credit card user.

About 12 years ago when I returned from sojourn abroad and decided not to go back in spite of the many risks involved (including losing my life on public transport or in a public place like Central Bank of Ceylon-now it is no more public, it is almost private where few cronies make all the decisions, or while watching a cricket match) in Ceylon. 

I had six credit cards and a small saving abroad.

Unfortunately those cards were international and one can use it in this country in spite of the war.

I was without a job and was not hunting for a job wanting to take a welcome respite since the sojourn abroad was lot of work covering for three local doctors who did not want to work where I worked but was a beautiful, place now almost wretched by the recent earth quake.

I was enjoying the welcome respite but I could not resit the indulgence with the credit cards.

One day when I looked at the credit balance abroad and the amount of money I owed and the interest accumulated, and it dawned on me I may not survive even a year.

That night I took all the cards and cut them in half and went to sleep.

I have made a few smart decisions in my life and very many structurally poor decisions (including returning to my mother Lanka and watching absolute corruption at all level including schools, health sector (both public and private) and electioneering.

But this was one of those SMART decisions.

I could foresee the credit market collapse (but not so soon though) even though I was not a financier.

The decision was to live within my means and not bloated like the mega politicians on credit loans from abroad.

I have some information for you how to FREEZE your Credit Card that you got the other day, thanks to the Lifehacker International for sharing their wealth of financial advice with me.

They are as follows

1. Take the card in your hand and oil it with some Sri-Lankan butter and wrap it with a tin foil. It may be useful to swipe a strong magnet over it to demagnetize the inner foil.

2. Buy 12 plastic containers that fit in inside the other and gradually become smaller that would have the capacity to hold a small piece of fish cake sold at Rs.100/= in a super market food stall-For example Majestic City.

3. Now put the credit card nicely foil covered in the inner most container and place other containers on top of it. By doing this you are going to save on the electricity, bill .
The innermost will have the coolest air trapped which cannot escape and the outermost will have the warmest air.

4. Now switch on the freezer and put the lowest cooling rate and place the credit card containing cartooned cartoon deep inside the freezer compartment and put all the reused or rotten food you eat on top with few onions and garlic to sanitize the rotten food.

5. Now you have to pay your electricity bill with cash and not by credit card.

This way you can Freeze your card till you become old enough to say good bye to this world.

Do not forget to put a note inside stating that “I do not owe the bank any money”.

This will stay put and a STATUS SYMBOL for your name since you may the only one under the hot Sun in Sri-Lanka who does not owe anything when you died.

All the rest are pawned for another 60 to 100 years by our caretaker politicians.

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The Gadgetmania or a Matter of Choice

There is a Gadget Mania going on unabated in the West.

While in some developing countries having a square meal for a kid is something wanting, the craze for gadgets is something evident, like in the West.

It is not the work the gadget does but it is the status symbol that carry with it that matters.

 

For a fancy iPod or a laptop may costs a lot. The money spent can be better utilized to buy some school equipment to help children’s education but again the money somehow get channeled out.

For example money spent on a flashy Apple Macintosh computer could have been converted to about 25 to 30 OLPS (one laptop per child) but what matters again is the profit per each item sold but not the number of uses or users the item provides,.

This is true in the developing world too, unfortunately.

Following is a summary of gadget mania, I once suffered but somehow I transmigrated this phenomenon.

I have gone through this phase of mania in a mild and moderate manner as a young one.

I had to buy the correct brand , when I buy something new, say a camera.

Then when the camera prices came down I had several and found that if one has a “good camera eye” it does not matter what camera one uses.

One can always catch the moment in a snapshot with any makeshift camera if one is prepared.

In came the video camera, the whole ball game changed.

This was the time I was a bachelor.

The money and choice were not a problem then.

Then came the computer.

They were expensive but I had to buy (Commodore 64-128, Amiga, Atari) what was available.

When the notebooks of old era came I could not afford them.

I thank god for that.

I lost interest in them till Windows came into existence.

We were hooked to it and trapped beyond our control till I discovered Linux and meaning of freedom and correct choice.

Then followed the period of transition in my mind along with struggling with money matters.

When there are money matters there is no choice left, one has to survive preserving only a few of one’s favorite hobbies that included computers to me.

Common sense, pragmatism and rationalization take precedence over the trends, emotions an attachment.

When the comparatively cheap laptops hit the market, I had to make a choice.

My calculations told me I can have there desktops for the price of one laptop. One for me in office, one at home for me and one for the kids, all assembled to my specification with the hardware available at the time.

Now I have 6 out of 7 old computers all doings (thanks to Linux) some useful function at home.

One computer busted while recording Cricket World Cup in 2007.

The rationalization that was, I don’t have to carry any heavy luggage (laptop) on the move.

Then I bought the first laptop (I needed one to test Linux distributions) IBM of course, one third the price in Singapore without an operating system and booted it with Linux at the airport on my return home.

Another second hand laptop (for testing Linux) and new netbook (for my daughter) were added to my armoury without feeling the pinch.

This is my rationalization going berserk.

I carry a cell phone (it is a hindrance to my peace and wellbeing) only when I travel abroad and feel like dropping it into a dustbin in the airport but resisted and gave it to my wife instead.

I boil my transmigration to 3 phases.

1. Choice with lot of spare money in hand

2. Pragmatism with barely enough money in hand to survive

3. Rationalization while enjoying all the intellectual freedom that one get with Linux.

If Linux did not come into existence I would not have known what I mean by freedom of choice.

If I am made a Judge – Judgment-01

If I am made a judge in an imaginary Court some of my Judgments may look like this.

Complainant

One who lost his gold crown on one of his teeth.

How did you lose your gold crown?

He smashed my face and I lost my gold tooth.

My Lord,
He took it.

Sir he is lying.
My Lord.
He swallowed his tooth and put the blame on me.

Is it a gold tooth.
Yes sir.

Can you prove it with your dentist.

Yes, My Lord.

Take him to protective custody and observe all his excreta and see where the gold tooth is and reports back to me soon.

Keep custody of all the productions intact.

Next hearing.
The case about the gold tooth Sir.
We did not find the gold tooth and we through the productions away.

They were smelly. I thought it might offend you in courts, Sir.

Did I ask you to bring the productions?

No Sir.

Did I ask you to throw the productions away?

No Sir.

Contempt of Court.

Take him to custody now.

Turning to the defense lawyer.
Are you happy with the policeman’s report.
Yes Sir.
I are you pleading for lesser offense of theft?
Or are you defending grievous hurt?
Judging by his mood and tone, the lawyer pleaded for lesser offense.

Turning to the lawyer representing the complainant.

I want to see the dentist next time.

Next hearing
Dentist appearing in court in professional attire.

Are you the dentist who attended to case No-001?

Yes My Lord.

Is it a gold tooth?

No it is a gold Crown?

What you mean it is not the whole tooth?

No Sir, it is the top most part.

This man says he lost a gold tooth.

What you call the bottom part.

We call it the root Sir.

Have you ever made a gold tooth.

No Sir.

Why?

In cosmetic surgery people are only worried about the external appearance.

The root is hidden and we put a different amalgam there to save costs.

What is the cost of the gold?

After some pause he gives an estimate.

Now tell me your charges for this case.

He gives the charges for the case.

Gold costs less than your charges?

Sir, we charge for the cosmetics and not for the gold.

Isn’t it a fabrication?

Dentist was lost for words.

Aren’t you ethically bound to tell the patient the procedure in simple terms.

You are warned this time.
Next time i will report the matter to the Medical Council.
Thank you for your time in courts.

Judgments were postponed for the next hearing.
The dentist was sweating by the time he left the courts.

Myths, Mirage and Marriage

The 3Ms here have common ancestry.

None of can be achievable and each one of them is shrouded in mystery.

For example one who is lost and disorientated in desert sand would not know for certain he is arriving at a water hole or not.

 

Myths of can be expanded to any direction or dimension one who is seeking the miracle go to any extent to believe what in reality is not achievable and there the reality is the major casualty.

 

Some common practices and beliefs merge into day to day life sometimes almost imperceptible to reality.

 

Marriage is an institution that has gained such a reputable credence that writing anything against is amounting to desecration and sacrilegious.

 

That is the myth I am going to expose.

 

There is no intention of disrupting any healthy harmony that may exists in any relationship or institution.

 

Healthy relationships can exist and lasting friendships can be developed without this institution existing its power over individuals but when something is institutionalized and when it is bound to the common law and practices and finely tuned with ethical and moral practices of a culture aforesaid myth and mirage also will get entangled with it.

 

Idea here is to disentangle certain myths associated with marriage.

1. Marriage is a perfect union

2. Marriage works because of give and take

3. Marriage is a stable institution

4. There is freedom in marriage

5. It does not grow old but remain live

6. It gives security

7. It has common goals

8. It makes life complete

9. Without this institution human relationships cannot be developed

10. Everyone must commit to this institution at one stage of his or her life

 

This list can go on but suffice is to disentangle the entangled myths.

 

These arguments are not for one who is already entangled since with the wedlock there is a legal deadlock.

 

This is for one who leaps into deep water without addressing his or her own issues.

 

The first casualty in war is truth.

 

Similarly the first casualty in marriage is freedom.

 

If you love freedom and lot of hobbies thinks twice before taking the plunge.

1. The first casualty is your hobbies.

2. The second casualty is your friends.
If you have lot of friends love their company think twice.

3. Third casualty is one’s finance (unless both are bankers with good investment funds for life like the Murdoch).
If you cannot manage finances alone two of you will not mange it better.

4. Fourth myth is the stability and security.
There are no institutions in this world which is stable and secure.
Even the best banks can bust. In marriage finances would bust especially when the kids come home.

5. It makes life complete is the biggest myth of all.
It makes simple life more complicated in marriage life and you never complete the targets or your obligations.

6. In marriage more you give in more you have to give less you have to take. One never get a chance to take in, if you are the giver.
It is like putting water into a bucket with hole in the bottom.

7. Marriage does not get old.
It is not true it is the institution that gets older by the minute.
Moment you tie your nuptials and finishes the honeymoon it is old enough to be called a marriage.

That is why we have so many marriage jubilees from its inception. 

This is written with the impending royal wedding in mind.

As long as you are a commoner please do not do what royals do.

Remain a commoner for life and you may advise the royals (couples) in trouble.

Better still you become a divorce lawyer.

Hope the royal couple reads this one day after the honeymoon (too late by then).

I wish Good Luck to them all the same.

No Entry

World Cup Football (fever) is over and the Maha Brahma (really his assistant) tells me that few of the earthly beings ended up in his salvo with request to change the honour’s list which he declined until such time the inquiry into the head butting is over. He was annoyed that he gave a big brain to the humans expecting them to use it wisely but not in combat as in head butt. He has set up a commission to investigate how to reduce the brain to a size (manageable in sport) needed for the current century that man including politicians can use  prudently.

Maha is also worried about the free entry of politicians including French Presidents to sport events which they do not have a clue in administering let alone enjoying.

Until such time I have to pen down a current story circulating in the heaven.

It is about a Paraya Dog of Sri-Lanka.

This Paraya Dog of course is a resident of Kandy.

He had been frequenting a large temple, a doctor’s clinic and a lawyer’s residence in his active life. In actual fact he was visiting the rubbish heaps of those concerned.

Unfortunately he is terminally ill from a disease he contracted from the doctor’s rubbish dump.

I am not sure whether it was a dog’s dream or in fact a divine story but it goes on like this.

In his deja-vu state he happened to address the Brahma and the Brahma politely asked him what he wants to be in his next life. The Sandy (the adopted name for this canine specimen because of his muddy colour) of course asked can I be a High Priest in my next round.

The Brahma asked why you want to attain high goals?


Sandy promptly said no Sir, judging by the type of food he eats, his likings are no different from mine he said. Then Brahma said that is not what was intended by the Buddha if you want to be a high priest the minimum code is Dasa Sil and higher and listed all the pre-requisites.

Then Sandy declined saying that I was so faithful in my life I cannot do that.

What about a doctor he asked. That is OK but there is a problem. The doctors have a Code of Conduct and they also tell you don’t eat this and that (cholesterol), don’t drink alcohol, don’t smoke and don’t have sex without a condom.


“But my experience is different” by the doctor I was frequenting and Maha promptly said that is typical of Sri-Lankan doctors and they do not practice what they preach just like others.


Then Sandy asked why not a lawyer?


It is OK but there is a hitch. He went on elaborating that lawyers have to frame and pass laws to combat all the vices the doctors and high priests claim and he is inundated with such claims and there are pressure groups claiming that some are violating human as well as animal (if a man want to be an animal like Zidene  Zidane be that so) rights.

Life is not easy on this sunny island he said.


Then Sandy asked can I be your assistant?


Well that is no problem but there is a bit of a problem. As soon as you come here I have to take leave and you are in charge and you have to wait till the Maha comes from his leave of absence.


I thought you are the Maha.


No I am his assistant and I was a Pedigree Dog not worldly wise like you and I promptly accepted his offer as an assistant. Moment I came here he went on vacation but you must know that the vacations here are counted in eons and not in days.


So you are stuck with your faith of the master!

In that case can you cancel my life entry and no entry at all for next round like the next world cup?

It is possible but there is a long waiting queue and you have to wait for at least the next Poya.

Is that OK?


Then Sandy asked why such a delay?


I am in a hurry.


You know I have to check each entry carefully and especially the CVs of all Sri-Lankan applications. There are lot of errors and false declarations it is some what of a dull job. To tell you the truth even my entry had a long list of Pedigree dogs and Maha Brahma had to scrutinize each generation and told me “you not that pure as it claims”.


I told him it is not my fault it is the fault of the master.

He promptly accepted my innocence.


How long is your CV?


Only 4 entries in all Sandy told the Maha’s assistant.


How come?


Paraya, Paraya, Paraya and Faithful are the only entries.

I am sure of my mother but not sure of the father.


Why the hurry?


In a short while the Kandy Perehara is due we would be rounded up and sent to hell by the Kandy Municipality.


Brahma’s assistant asked no more questions and the Sandy’s request was granted promptly and he successfully attained Nibbana.

Who says an intelligent, faithful and trustworthy dog cannot attain Nirvana.

This is not the first in record, the Brahma’s assistant tells me.

PS. Zidane name was incorporated to celebrate the French Independence and no offense to him or France was intended.

14th July 2006
Dr.S.B.Asoka Dissanayake

Granny Award

I intend to award a “Granny Award” in my mother’s name in her early nineties to any person who come with an English Drama based on the stages mentioned below.

The contents are Open Source and are generally under the Linux GPL Convention.

1. Originator Unknown Sri-Lankan Author in his late Nineties (I claim he is not my late father)

2. Recent Rendering by a Bookshop Assistant in Kandy who wishes to be anonymous

3. This Edition is by Me (MINIME VERSION) and BABA (one of my dear friends who is no more with us), SAMBA, BIMBA, ZIMBA, SINHA BAR (Lion BAR), ALI (KANDY ELEPHANTS, THE TWO LEGGED VARIETY) and any HORA-BABA (fatherless baby) or any unborn Sri-Lankan Baba (baby) can participate in future developments of this  humane animal story(copyleft).

Currently the Pothe-Guru (story Teller) is me, the current author.

The big DADDY VERSION (the language  of communication could be from simple to vulgar depending on the alcohol content) is only for private consumption of my friends especially after a suitable beverage except the Sri-Lankan dust TEA (not Tiger Wood’s recent TEE) which I use as manure for ornamental plants.

Evam Mesuthan Ekam Samayam (So, said and so heard).

1. I was a privy to Relay Carnival (passing the bucks relay, really fast, like the hedging deal) in the Animal (they are more humane and eat only when hungry) Kingdom.

I was the only Sri-Lankan selected by an island wide Lottery conducted by the Hela Urumaya (or Karumaya) Surakumu Foundation (HUKU-SUMU for short).

2. I was on holiday in a Forest Reservation (JUNGLE HABITAT).

3. I observe an elderly (prostate enlarged) Peter Rabbit grazing.

4. Jack the Jackal (with financial interests in Sri-Lanka) greedily waiting for an innocent prey.

5. Scene of Jackal (both hip joints and knee joints are replaced (by bionic prosthesis delivered by a Sri-Lankan TELESHOP GIANT on a Plate made of unclaimed Credit Cards-because of his Royal Ancestry) chasing the Rabbit.

6. BLIND forest (Hermen) hermit descend from heaven and lands on a busy Junction (Thun-Man Chinthana Handiya) for free dhana.

7. Rabbit approaching the hermit with break neck speed without a Crash Helmet.

8. Rabbit jumps over hermit visibly shaken up and annoyed.

9. Lands a squirt of Holy (Medical) Water (Urine for short) right on the nose and mouth.


10. Hermit really thinks the water is holy and ascends to a higher Jhana.

11. Jackal approaches the hermit with a bionic speed and put on breaks instantaneously.

12. Jackal licks the nose and face of the hermit.

13. Hermit rudely awakened from his Transient Trance(Transient Ischaemic Attack-TIA).

14. Jackal reprimands the hermit with a nasty comment; Why don’t you stay a few feet above the ground?

15. Well, I was thinking about my Bank Balance of Merit (PIN-Numbers) in Seylan Bank and settled where I ought to be, was his reply.

16. Well then, did you see a rabbit running this way?

17. Yes, Yes I heard some animal running but I cannot say what species he was but I can very well tell you that he was a male.

18. You say you are a hermit and blind.

How can one see the SEX of an animal running fast in a Meditative Mode?

19. Didn’t the Master tells you, it is an illegal task to think about sex in Meditative Trance?

20. We animals think about sex, only when we are in full sexual flow and not otherwise, he proclaimed.

21. Can you tell me how the BLIND HERMIT instantaneously guessed the SEX of the fast moving passerby?

Help;
Nothing to do with his urine or prostate and it is due to some other reason.

Only a Sri-Lankan would be able to guess the ANSWER and it is a common saying when a policeman is chasing a politician who has committed a traffic offense.

Postscript
Purva-Bhava Connections
1. The hermit was a Traffic Warden (an active member of Hela Urumaya) who went to heaven instantaneously when hit by a Guy from the Presidential Escort.

2. The rabbit was a monk who went in search of emancipation in Sri-Lankan Parliament and deposited his hard earned money in a private bank.

The Jackal was a Sri-Lanakan Private Banker, better than an American swindler.

I was of course the CNN Reporter Assistant (only doing the editing) of iReportes, using a stolen mobile telephone.

Corollary
Only a male Jackal with large prostate can squirt a healthy vigorous stream while running, and a man cannot.
The rabbit in this story did it due to fear and the anger (monk standing on his getaway flight).

A female (liberal woman) will never be able to perform this act even when standing, the future Female US President or probable female candidates included.

Asoka with special Urine Test for the prostate and prostrated Sri-Lankans without a fee.

Addiction

There are many addiction in our lives.

An that addiction varies from person to person and my addiction is if not computers it is certainly Linux.

It is based on innovation and knowledge.

It is also has strong political an social motives.

It is the copyright and exploitation. If I say I am not politically motivated it is not true. Any social activity has political roots, so is mine.

It used to be an addiction (not me) of our voters to go and vote and upset the apple cart of power brokers. It is no more.

The area basis and proportional representation has changed the electoral system and body politics upside down..

Almost 48% did not vote at the last general election.

Any many more won’t  turn up this time around allowing the people who manipulate voting system to have a field day including the counters doing the counting.

Even we have and electronic system of voting the followers of the powerful parties will find a way to engineer something marvelous to get the result they anticipate well in advance of the day of the elections.

Even the polling of surveys could be engineered the way one asks the question and present the data.

With all these facts the voters are beginning to ask the question it it worth the exercise?

The answer is in the negative.

Then who is addicted with polling and elections?

There is a very simple answer.

It is the one who is elected,

It is he/she who gets the image bloated.

Voter get deflated soon after and the promises disappear into thin air,

The vicious cycles begins another round.

This time it has come to spoil the Cricket World Cup.

Average voter want some escape route. I am pretty sure it won’t be acceded by the powerful and the one who wields the clout.

It is another “Merry Go Round” in this country in which people have lost humour and ability to laugh at the selfish self- i.e; oneself.