April 26, 2015

Why is the Tenderloin Called the Tenderloin?

Me: Look... Here is a map marking all the places people poop on the streets in San Francisco.
Friend: You live right in middle of the large brown spot!

My friend had correctly identified that the large brown spot was the Tenderloin, my residential neighbourhood in the land of the free and the home of the brave. The filthy downtown district consists of historical buildings, good nightlife and dining options, and a community of homeless (but not hopeless) people, drug addicts, nutcases who had been released from asylums and left to fend for themselves without any societal support, and other maladjusted individuals.

More loin than tender, I wondered how the area had earned its moniker and did some investigation. It seems the original Tenderloin referred to a seedy section of New York in the 19th century that shared many of the same characteristics as its present day San Francisco namesake.

Dirty cops earned so much money for looking the other way at the sinful activities taking place in their precincts, that they could now afford to eat expensive tenderloin steaks rather than the cheapest hunks of meat that their meagre salaries would otherwise allow for if they had not engaged in graft and bribery. The San Francisco version had borrowed the name as 'the Tenderloin' became a more generic term for crime-infested red light districts across America.

April 12, 2015

Life After Pox

Friend: I can barely see anything. Your face looks fine. I don't know what you worry about. I can literally see nothing other than a tiny thing on your forehead.

Me: Before the pox my skin was very smooth, with no blemishes. Now there are holes on my forehead, cheek, and nose.

Friend: Dude... I was expecting something way worse.

Me: Sorry to disappoint.

Friend: Yes! shame on you! You can't even get proper chickenpox. Useless. Completely useless.

Me: Now I look like a normal human with blemishes.

Friend: It gives your perfection a human touch. It makes you more relatable for other people.

Me: That's a good way to look at it.

Friend: It's the only way to look at it.

March 30, 2015

Thirty Years A Hunk

I suffered a terrible bout of adult chicken pox, leaving my previously unblemished skin tarnished. Once I was no longer contagious I returned to work.

Coworker: How's your chicken pox? All recovered?

Me: There are scars and holes all over my face. It's horrible. I had smooth skin for 30 years.

Coworker: I hadn't noticed all the scars till you mentioned them.

Me: I noticed the scars.

Coworker: But honey... you're vain.

March 09, 2015

A Goodly Woman for a Goodly Man

I received an interesting email today:
Hey. My name is Ekaterina :) I'm from Kirghizia and very goodly woman! and I'm trying to find goodly Man ;) If You are interested ;) reply me ;) I can send You my photo attached, good bye)
Unluckily for her, this goodly man has already found his goodly woman.

January 11, 2015

The Living Root Bridges of Cherrapunjee

We walked down the rough path leading to the river by the village of Mawlynnong. As we approached an jaw-dropping sight awaited - the living root bridges of Cherrapunjee. It takes a lot to impress me, considering what I see in the mirror each day, but I was truly in awe.

Before I could explore it further I was asked to partake in a Bollywood-style photo shoot, heroically posing with my driver’s girlfriend as he captured the magic on camera. After quite a few pictures had been taken, the couple wandered off and I made my way to the bridge to explore it in detail.

Often compared to something that came straight out of Tolkien’s Middle Earth, the fantastical living root bridges of Cherrapunjee are in fact a harmonious collaboration between the forces of nature and humanity.

The roots of living banyan trees on one side of the river banks are guided towards the other side using a tree shaping mechanism developed by the indigenous (and ingenious) Khasi people. Betel nut trunks that point in the desired direction that the banyan tree should grow provide a skeletal structure for the roots to wrap themselves around. When the roots reach the other side of the river they take take hold in the soil.

Ever strengthening, the roots grow thicker and thicker as the years pass. The suspension bridges can support up to 50 pedestrians. They have lifespans that can extend to over 500 years. There is even a double decker bridge with two trees stacked on top of each other. It is unknown when the first such bridge was constructed or whose brainchild it was, but the living roots remain one of the world’s most renewable and remarkable constructs.


In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.
~ Aristotle