Singing.

A friend sent this clip to me with much enthusiasm hoping that this advice will keep me amongst his gang for some more time,

I responded to him with “The problem is that I can’t sing anymore. I croak like a frog.”

In his inevitable style he came back with “24/7 News Channel Reports Breaking News. There are many formats of singing like Qawwwalis, Classical, Jazz, Pop etc. Mr. RR has now introduced Croak Singing which is getting to be very popular in Western India.”

Unemployed.

I received this image as a forward in WhatsApp from a friend who felt that I should get some printed like this for myself.

I did not think that this would serve any purpose for me but, on seeing it as a forward from me, another friend who has the necessary infrastructure of an office with staff suggested that he order for a hundred cards with my name and with some modifications.

I agreed and when it gets printed, I shall write another blog post on it.

In the meanwhile, the “Unemployed” description on the card took me to one of my favourite exchange of letters in The Economist between a reader and The Undercover Economist.

The Letter.

AUGUST 6, 2005

Dear Economist,

My son-in-law has been unemployed for a couple of months now. As far as I can make out, he’s enjoying a PlayStation lifestyle while being supported by the state and by my daughter, who has had to find a temporary job. What concerns me is that he’ll get used to this. Should I tell my daughter to apply pressure by quitting her job?

Yours sincerely,

Godfrey Pickens, via email

The Response.

Dear Mr. Pickens,

The issue here is whether your son-in-law’s preferences will change over time—will he “get used” to a life of leisure, and so be less likely to work?

There are two competing views here. One is that he will become hooked on leisure (the welfare trap hypothesis) and will work less in the future, even if his wife quits her job. The other, equally plausible in theory, is that he will become addicted to the extra income provided by his wife’s new job, and if she quits, he will go on to work harder than before.

Such competing hypotheses have been hard to test in the past. But economist John Kagel has succeeded in running a series of experiments that shed light on the matter.

Kagel first forces his subjects to work for their income. Then, for a while, he provides them a substantial unearned income—a kind of welfare, if you will. Unsurprisingly, they slack off at once. Later, he withdraws the welfare and observes whether they work more or less than before welfare had ever been paid. The answer: the interlude on welfare makes very little difference.

This implies that your daughter should keep working for a while and see what happens. No harm will result. The only question for you is whether Kagel’s findings apply to your son-in-law.

Kagel’s subjects were rats. Do you think the parallel with your
son-in-law is close enough?

Yours experimentally,

The Undercover Economist

Arguments.

discussion
/dɪˈskʌʃ(ə)n/

noun
the action or process of talking about something in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas.
“the committee acts as a forum for discussion”
a conversation or debate about a specific topic.
plural noun: discussions
“discussions about environmental improvement”

debate
/dɪˈbeɪt/

noun
a formal discussion on a particular matter in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward and which usually ends with a vote.
“last night’s debate on the Education Bill”

conversation
/kɒnvəˈseɪʃ(ə)n/

noun
a talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged.
“she picked up the phone and held a conversation in French”

argument
/ˈɑːɡjʊm(ə)nt/

1.
an exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one.
“I’ve had an argument with my father”

2.
a reason or set of reasons given in support of an idea, action or theory.
“there is a strong argument for submitting a formal appeal”

I would rather have one of the first three than the last. By nature I have been made like that and I have always been like that.  Now that I am a Senior Citizen, I am forgiven for being like that.

I came up with this topic for this week’s Two On One Friday blog post where Shackman and I post on the same topic. Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say on the topic.

Writing.

A well wisher who, I am sure, would rather not be publicly acknowledged, sent me a link to a remarkable article on writing. I am sending that link in this post to my readers most of whom are writers of blogs too.

The main take away for writers from the article, which are part of the article are:

i. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

ii. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

iii. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

iv. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

v. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

vi. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

My sincere gratitude to the well wisher.

Happy writing!

Much Ado About Nothing.

KAKVI is a dark, thick liquid extracted during the process of refining sugar cane into table sugar. KAKVI is obtained during the third boiling of the cane syrup and contains a unique concentration of many important vitamins and minerals left over after the sugar’s sucrose is crystallized. I use this instead of sugar.

I ordered two bottles of kakvi online after visiting this page.

I received a carton weighing about three kilograms containing two tiny bottles. Most of the carton contained bubble wraps and some cardboard fillers. Agreed that the glass bottles needed to be protected so that they don’t break in transit but, this, in my opinion is over kill.

What packaging!