Pick Your Garage — the 25 Top Cars of all Time

OK, here are the rules. If you had unlimited money and space, which 25 cars (or jeeps, buses or whatever — 4 wheelers) of all time would you pick to own. You don’t have to pick 25, but what’s crucial is that you can only pick one from each marque (or badge), so if you pick an Audi TT, that’s it; no more Audi’s. All cars must be street legal production cars, so no race cars or concept cars or one-offs built in a shed. So think it through and have fun. You can add your 25 in the comments section, or write your own blog post and tag me and anyone else you think would enjoy this little game.


Lamborghini Murcielago LP-670-4 SV

Engine: 661bhp 6.5ltr mid-mounted V12 Transmission: 6-speed semi-automatic paddle shift Performance: 0-100kmph in 2.7 seconds, 342kmph top speed Designer: Luc Donckerwolke




Ferrari 599 GTO

Engine: 661bhp 6.0ltr front mid-mounted V12 Transmission: 6-speed F1 sequential Performance: 0-100kmph in 3.3 seconds, 335kmph top speed Designer: Frank Stephenson of Pininfarina




Porsche Carrera GT

Engine: 612bhp 5.7ltr mid-mounted V10 Transmission: 6-speed manual Performance: 0-100kmph in 3.8 seconds, 330kmph top speed Continue reading “Pick Your Garage — the 25 Top Cars of all Time”

Blacklight Manual BM-9876 “Counter Guerrilla Intellectual Operations”

"Guerrilla Board" by Golpeavisa/Deviant Art

Often when participating in heated online discussions we see commentators engaging in is what I like to call “guerrilla intellectualism”. This intellectualism is to true intellectualism what guerrilla warfare is to true conventional warfare — a sort of bastard little brother. However, while there is nothing dishonourable in guerrilla warfare, since it is necessitated by a lack of strength and not a lack of morality, the opposite is true with guerrilla intellectualism. While warfare is a clash of arms, the balance of which is irrelevant to morality or the idea behind it, in debate it is a direct clash of ideas. Therefore guerrilla intellectualism is a strategy grasped at by those who are lacking the intellect and/or morality to face off against an opposing idea on equal footing, just as guerrilla warfare is grasped at by forces who lack the force of arms to directly confront a more powerful enemy.

So as in guerrilla warfare, the guerrilla intellectual (not to be confused with the intellectual guerrilla) must flee when confronted with a direct assault (ie a direct question), he must avoid exposure and encirclement by superior numbers (ie a paraphrasing or outlining of his argument in order to give it clarity and reveal its failings), he must extricate himself from the battlefield when casualties mount (ie abandon the debate when proven wrong), choosing instead to return and make pinprick attacks in other engagements or launch totally new attacks in areas of his choosing, to give the impression of overall victory and frustrate the more powerful enemy who will begin to wonder why his superior arms and numbers (ie facts, stats, and historical evidence) cannot defeat the guerrilla intellectual.

Like the guerrilla soldier, the guerrilla intellectual cannot hope to defeat his more powerful enemy’s superior intellect (weapons and numbers) and morality (idea). His only hope is to demoralise the stronger enemy (ie break down his focus on his true idea) and entice him into committing his troops to small battles on the guerrilla intellectual’s territory where devoid of his true strengths his troops will be whittled away piecemeal.

Guerrilla intellectuals enter into this form of debate in several ways, but there are two most common paths. The first is born of necessity; I call this the Prabhakaran Model. Here the keyboard warrior initially believes his idea is strong enough to defeat an opposing idea in open battle; a battle that he has chosen by attacking an idea he disagrees with or by having his own idea attacked by an opponent. After several defeats at the hands of his superior opponent, he realises the weakness of his idea and is forced to resort to guerrilla intellectualism to avoid total defeat. Another path is what I call the Viet Cong Model. In this the keyboard warrior realises right from the outset that his idea stands no chance in direct combat, but he still decides to attack his opponent’s idea, choosing guerrilla intellectualism deliberately. While the Prabakharan Model user often honestly believes that his ideas are powerful, and that it’s simply his own inarticulateness that prevents him from being victorious in conventional debate, the user of the VC Model is quite aware that it is his idea that is flawed. He will only increase the intensity of his attacks if he sees that the true intellectual is prone to fall into ambushes and other traps. Continue reading “Blacklight Manual BM-9876 “Counter Guerrilla Intellectual Operations””

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health: The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow. Crunchy numbers About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 44,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it. In 2010, there were 11 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 81 posts. There were 61 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 10mb. That’s about 1 … Continue reading 2010 in review

What the Fuck is This???

I caught this dude in my shower cubicle a couple of weeks ago, in Tissamaharama. Anyone know what kind of a spider it is? It was about two thirds the size of my hand, and each leg is about the length of one of my fingers (the pic above’s about life-size or a bit larger). What is really weird — and which I’ve never seen before — is its front pair of legs. As you can see in the pic, these legs are folded, and if not, would be much longer than the other legs. There’s also some sort of … Continue reading What the Fuck is This???

From Kilinochchi to Puthukkudiyiruppu

Part 2 of the UTHR(J) Special Report No 34: From Kilinochchi to Puthukkudiyiruppu (continued from Part 1)

The fall of Kilinochchi and After

Soon after Kilinochchi fell on 1st January 2009, senior LTTE leaders conferred in Visuamadu. While several of the senior leaders reportedly believed that the war could no longer be won and that it was time for a new approach, none was in a position to tell Prabhakaran, who had acquired a reputation of invincibility to live up to.

Sources who had access to senior leaders said that the counsel of men like V. Rudrakumaran and K. Pathmanathan would have been of little consequence because they were not on the ground and it was often easy for those like Castro and Nadesan to discredit them by dropping innuendos suggesting they were agents of outfits like CIA or RAW. If a difference was to be made it need have come from persons like the late Anton Balasingham or Shankar who had the capacity to force the leader’s attention and carry through an argument to its end. The talk got around among the people that Prabhakaran had become mentally unbalanced after the fall of Killinochchi. Other reports said that he was refusing to meet groups like the Christian clergy and intellectuals, who were pressing for course change. Continue reading “From Kilinochchi to Puthukkudiyiruppu”

Drinking with Myself

illustration by Rory Kurtz

Yes, I’m you. Never mind the hair, you’ll get tired of losing that comb in it soon enough. I know the only bald guys you know are old buggers and Buddhist priests, but believe me, in about twenty years, it’ll be cool. Perfect timing.

This letter to 16-year-old-self shit would never have worked. I know you still write letters, but I don’t. The most is an email or sms. Yes, dude, I know you’ve never heard of these things, but you will in about ten years. Don’t worry about it now, it’s too complicated to explain. So let’s go for a drink instead. Why? ‘Cos I got tagged by DD and so here I am. DD’s a friend, you’ll meet him in ’99 when you’re in advertising. Oh yes, you’re gonna be in advertising, believe it or not, you’ll never be RSM of the Commandos, sorry to break it to you. Don’t worry, you’ll take to it like RD to Lamprais. RD’s a blogger and– what–? A blogger is someone who has a blog which is a sort of– Look, will you shut the fuck up and get in the car? Yes, of course it’s mine. Jeez, what a twit.

This is the Sapphire, and that’s the Rosewood Bar. You’d have discovered it soon enough in a couple of years, so no harm done. Yes, it’s not cheap, but I’m paying. Remember this place. You’re gonna have a lot of fun here in about fifteen years.

I know you drink gin, and yes, I still do. But you’re gonna discover whisky when you can afford it, which won’t be very often, believe me. And no, you’re never gonna be rich unless you’re smarter with your money. Don’t ask me how that works, ‘cos if I knew I wouldn’t be drinking fucking gin.

OK, so I’m gonna give you some advice. I know you’re not gonna listen, but here it is, take it or leave it. Continue reading “Drinking with Myself”

Lies and a Tiger — How a Diaspora is Killing its Own

Pro-LTTE demonstrations in Sydney (tamilsydneydotcom31/flickr)
Pro-LTTE demonstrations in Sydney (tamilsydneydotcom31/flickr)

As the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam grinds inexorably towards certain defeat for the self-proclaimed representatives of the Tamil nation, there seems to be no great fanfare, no glorious last stands. This revolution dies not with a bang, but with whimpers and cowardice. And lies.

For a year the Tamil diaspora, spread from Tamil Nadu to Toronto, watched open-mouthed with disbelief as the iron fist of the Sri Lankan infantry divisions cut the Tiger formations to pieces, hammering them back into a tiny pocket close to Mullaitivu on the island’s northeastern coast. Now, as the world watches, a mortally wounded Tiger cowers behind the very people it claims to defend, mauling them as it dies.

As the pace of the offensive slows down in the heavily populated Mullaitivu District, the Tamil diaspora has finally found its voice, and a cause worthy of its outrage – the Tamil population of the Wanni, trapped in the fighting and suffering horribly. They lack everything human beings have a right to expect – food, shelter, clothing, security, life itself. If anything in the northeast is worthy of our attention, it is these people, held hostage by their proclaimed protectors, forced to face the guns and tanks of the SL Army in the cynical hope that if enough of them are killed or maimed, the world might step in and save the LTTE.

Tamil family sit by a trench in the LTTE-occupied "No Fire Zone" (Human Rights Watch)
Tamil family sit by a trench in the LTTE-occupied No Fire Zone (Human Rights Watch)

The diaspora, organized and spurred by LTTE front organizations, chants its mantra of concentration camps and Sri Lankan government genocide of the Tamils, ignoring the fact that it is the LTTE, and not the government, that is holding the Wanni Tamils in these inhuman conditions. And like all human catastrophies, this one too, has spawned its celebrity hangers-on. First, Sri Lankan-born British rapper MIA, and now at the eleventh hour, Booker Prize-winning Indian author Arundhati Roy. These two individuals more or less represent the two strongest tones of voice we hear calling for a cessation of the Sri Lankan military offensive against the Tigers. Continue reading “Lies and a Tiger — How a Diaspora is Killing its Own”

For This All that Blood was Shed

SL Army infantry in the Wanni (Defence.lk)
SL Army infantry in the Wanni (Defence.lk)

In the closing days of March and the first week of this month, April, the SL Army outflanked, cut off, and destroyed the Charles Anthony Regiment of the LTTE, in one of the most decisive battles of the war. For almost a year, the SL Army, sweeping across the Wanni from west to east, had attempted to pin down the LTTE and cause it significantly large casualties. However, the ever elusive Tigers have always prefered to slip away when outflanked, rarely allowing themselves to be trapped in large numbers, sacrificing rearguard units so that the larger forces could escape. While the casualties came in trickles, the jugular sought by the military high command was not forthcoming. Thus, the encirclement and destruction of the Charles Anthony at Aanandapuram, east of Puthukkudiyiruppu, could be celebrated as a memorable victory for the SL Army.

However, what makes this defeat a catastrophic one for the LTTE is the fact that along with the Charles Anthony went almost every remaining unit commander of the LTTE, and many of their deputies as well. In a stroke, the Tigers have been virtually emasculated. The fact that the GoSL has now declared a 48-hour ceasefire over the Buddhist and Hindu New Year, is indicative of the SL Army’s confidence in defeating the LTTE in a matter of weeks rather than months.

On March 30th, elements of the SL Army’s 53rd and 58th divisions and Task Force 8 advanced out of Puthukkudiyiruppu in a pincer movement intended to outflank the Charles Anthony Regiment which held the eastward-running Puthukkudiyiruppu-Iranappaalai-Puthumaathalan road. A brigade of the 58th Division swung east and then south, while another from the 53rd, along with TF8, commanded by Col GV Ravipriya, attacked east and then north; both pincers meeting at Pachaipullumottai junction in the rear of the Charles Anthony. The Tigers fought fiercely to prevent the encirclement, but were overwhelmed. Lt Col Gopith, CO of the Charles Anthony and his 2/ic Amuthab were killed on the 31st, and demoralised and leaderless, the Tiger troops were encircled. Outnumbered nearly ten to one, over a thousand Tigers faced almost 10,000 troops of the 4th, 6th, 8th, 12th, 14th and 20th Gajabas, the 11th and 20th Light Infantry, the 5th Vijayabahu Infantry, and the 9th Gemunu Watch. Also in action was the SL Army’s elite special operations forces — elements of the 2nd Commandos and the 1st Special Forces. Continue reading “For This All that Blood was Shed”

Secret Agent Needle Bawa 006.5

I normally can’t be arsed blogging about the idiots I come across daily in the SL blogosphere. But in this case, I think I’ll make an exception, mostly because it’s a sort of public service. I noticed quite a few bloggers seem to be worried at the Bond-like abilities of Nibras Bawa. He doesn’t seem to have any of Bond’s charms, and only half the wit, but his all-seeing gaze, via the London Met, seems to have scared the crap out of a lot of you. Well, fear not, Bawa’s just got his bawa in a knot. You see, ol’ … Continue reading Secret Agent Needle Bawa 006.5

Silver Dagger

The beautiful off-the-cuff rendition of the old ballad Silver Dagger was the final punch of a strange evening. I had stood there for about an hour, before she came on, feeling intensely out of place, drinking arrack and beer, and smoking to keep my hands occupied.

I listened to the people at the mike, laughed with some, and laughed at others, wondering why. I didn’t disagree with their words, just with them. There was something slick about it all, like a revolution with no plan. Like a silver dagger. I wanted to give in to the anger then, the Spartan shield I’d used for many years, shake my head and walk away. But I couldn’t. I didn’t think they were wrong. But they didn’t understand, and frankly, neither did I. Maybe that was why someone suggested I should take the mike and say something on behalf of MR, and another that I should read out a bit of the constitution. It pissed me off, but I laughed it away. Fuck ’em. They were Sri Lankan, but they weren’t Sri Lanka. And again, just like me.

It reminded me once more that I was still an outsider, that I’d stepped out of this world for a short time, years ago, and somehow, my spot had filled in again while I was away, like footprints in the surf, and I couldn’t get back in. I was born here, in this city, like most of them. I spoke Sinhalese better than a lot of them, and English better than many of them. I liked music, and pretended I understood art. Just like them. I wanted change in my country, just like they did. But I wasn’t them, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be again. Continue reading “Silver Dagger”