Friday, May 30, 2008


One of the prime features that a good film or cartoon (or even sometimes a bad one) offers us, and a feature which a good deal of the people although appreciate, seldom consider it consequential enough in wholesome entertain, is the one-liners or punchlines. Witty remarks that could otherwise have impressed a panel of interviewers if not used already in the film, not only catch our attention but also add flavour to the scene, if not anything else. The one line satire may be hardly helpful in reviewing the film, but it definitely is loads better than lousy sardar and blonde jokes. Along with them we do have a lot of occasional jokes and punchlines to make films and cartoons worth watching. Here is a list of all my favourite punchlines(as far as i can remember; there may be more but just can't recall them all right now). You are free to add ones that I have missed. The dialogues may be different in words in movies actually, as I am writing them down from sheer memory. Spare any mistakes.

1. The Cliffhanger
A group of criminals are on a plane which has no pilots and is about to crash. One of their member is badly injured by a bullet hit. When the plane is losing altitude in is about to fall in rocky mountains, another gang member asks the leader,"What do we do about him? He is not gonna make it"
Just when the plane is nearing the crash the boss replies, "How about taking him to a hospital".

2. Jingle all the way
When Arnold Schwarzenegger is mistaken for the Turbo man actor, and as is being dressed up, he notices Turbo man's comarade 'Booster' already in his costume, and says," Hey I know you. you're Booster".
And Booster replies,"Oh yeah. And who the hell do you think you are. Mary Poppins?"

3. A few good men
When Tom Cruise compells Jack Nicholson to confess his crime in front of the jury, and as Nicholson is being taken in custody, he says," You fucking people. You don't know how to defend a country. You put peoples' lives in danger. Sweet dreams son."
Cruise replies," Don't call me son, you son-of-a-bitch"

4. I can't really remember the name of the movie, which I viewed long time back on HBO. But it was based on a group of aliens who after bieng stranded on earth, decide to live alongside other humans, expecting to pass a humans. They look just like humans except their elongated and tapering heads, and they also have a ridiculously high IQ. When the alien female goes shopping in a mall with her human neighbour, and while having a chat, her neighbor tells her, referring to her own husband, "Men are really pigs."
The alien female says," Pig? You mean a domesticated animal which excretes the same place where it consumes?"

5. Shrek 2
Shrek wakes up to find himself in human form, and realizes that he needs to kiss 'his true love' before midnight if the change is to be made permanent. But a group of three horny girls surround him, and try to seduce him.
First girl : I'll be your true love.
Second girl : No, I'll be you true love.
Third girl : No, I'll be your true love....umm...true enough.

6. Eurotrip
a) Jamie is excited about his forthcoming trip to Europe with is twin sister, and tells Cooper, "...I can hardly wait. We have already packed. You wanna see my artillery?"
Cooper spontaneously replies, "You wanna see my balls?"

b) Cooper notices Candy sitting nude inside the swimming pool, and takes a dive in the pool. The girl is taken aback by his sudden appearance, ask him, "What are you doing here?"
Cooper says,"Oops, I guess this isn't where I parked my car"

7. Pirates of the Carribean, the legend of the black pearl
Johnny Depp is imprisoned along with other pirates, when the pirate ship Black Pearl attacks the harbour. Other prisoners are frightened and say,"Its the black pearl. Stories say it leaves no survivors."
Depp replies,"No survivors! Where do the stories come from, I wonder."

8. Tea with Mussolini
This scene is not exactly funny, but rather, emotional in the way things turned out. The film is based in an era just before the second world war. When Mussolini and Hitler begin their mutual friendship, and two powerful nations form an leviathan coalition, the Englanders living in Italy suffer. Although the Italian have no feud whatsoever with the English families settled in Italy, they realize that its only a matter of years before Italy would be drawn in a war with England. And so just to be cautious of the secret service they citizens of Italy begin distancing themselves with their English friends.
A rich Italian businessman fires his personal assistant, and says that he is sorry to do so, but is compelled due to the way things had gone. Realizing the truth in his words,the Englishwoman leaves without arguing. Just as she is leaving he says to her,"Don't go back to England. Instead move to USA. The way I see it, England is finished. In a few years probably, England would cease to exist."
The English woman says, " I wouldn't be too sure of that".

9. The Island
Evan McGregor is a clone who is brought up in a facility owned by a company which manufactures clones of rich people for medical replacements.Which goes to say, he doesn't know anything about the world we live in, neither the human civilization. He has no proper education either.
Once, while talking to Steve Buschemi, who is a worker at the facility, Buschemi mentions the word 'God'. And McGregor ask him, "What is God?"
Buschemi replies,"Oh god... you know, when you want something very badly, and you close your eyes and wish that you would get it... God is the guy who ignores you"

These are all I can think of at the moment. There may be many more of course. Perhaps you can help me remember.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Against the odds (..Continued)

We will get back to the roman era again in the next post. But first let us take a peep into the period when the French revolution was at its peek. Yes guys, French revolution has a lot more to contribute to history than just some angry mob of psychopaths roaming around the streets and beheading every aristocratic organism they could find. The battle which I am going to tell you about now, occured in time when French revolution was at its zenith. Just like the battle of Alesia, even the battle of Tuileries is not among the most well known. Yet, to best describe it, if Battle of Alesia paved way for Caesar to become the most powerful man in the world, then Battle of Tuileries as good as placed Napolean Bonaparte at the helm of Revolutionary command. Moreover this battle is described in a completely erroneous way on Wikipedia, in just eight lines. Not only does it deserve a lot more emphasis, but also, the guys on Wikipedia have mentioned that " Bonaparte was serving in Paris and was given command of the improvised forces defending the Convention in the Tuileries Palace". This is totally bullshit. Technically, the whole sentence is correct. But they haven't written anything about the circumstances under which he was given command, nor about the importance of this battle. The person who wrote this probably forgot to include that if the Royalist would have won, the French Revolution would have ended then and there and that few hours before being given command Napolean was working near the palace as a librarian. From a librarian to a commander of 'National guards'(the term is explain later in this post), in a matter of hours, is really a feat only the greatest can perform. Which is why this battle must be given the attention it deserves(not on my blog). But yet this is for those who would like to read about such extraordinary feats.

Battle two

Battle of Tuileries : "Citizen Bonaparte knows the best"

Napolean was truly a hero made out of persistent hardwork right from youth. There was a time once when he couldn't work out a math problem in school, but reluctant to admit to anyone he can't solve it, he spent 72 hours working on it till he finally craked the nut. Imagine, three days one one problem. I can't spend more than an hour on a problem before I call up my pals for the solution. Much of todays warfare techniques and tactics like building bunkers and trenches, cover fire, gas bombs for cover, and even the concept of a sniper, were all a brainchild of this young man.

Few years after the French Revolution began, England made a desperate bid to attack France to help all the aristocrats being murdered there. They decided to attack from the south, and advanced in the Toulon region. Napolean then was hardly out of his teenage, and yet he was given command of the troops to drive the english out of Toulon, which he successfully did with along with the assistance of a young soldier named Junot(who later became the Duke of Abrantes). This was his first major battle in charge. Yet somehow the credit of victory was never given to Napolean since he was junior and of lower ranks, and people never knew the real mastermind behind the defeat of English. Nevertheless, the truth could not be hidden from the army and he became a celebrity among all the high ranking officers.

Toulon ; English ships hit by French artillery

But the celebrations were short lived as he was soon caught in an attempt to help an aristocrat escape out of the country. His reputation was the only thing that saved him from guillotine, and he went on to loose his place in the army. Later on he was overwhelmed with frustration, and unemployment didn't appeal to him at all. He said in his biography that he even considered suicide for some time. After a certain time he managed to get a job of a librarian in the capital of the Revolution and was working there.

Then ame the day when fortunes turned for both France and Napolean. The French army was engaged in war with Prussia, who just like england were trying to save the monarchy. All the major armed forced were on the battle front. Realizing this, the Royalist made their last and even their least attempt to save the kingdom. They managed to gather about forty thousand troops including supporters of monarchy and laid a siege on the capital. Citizen Robespierre was long dead then along with Danton and Marat. The country was then run by the "Committee of Public Safety', and was then gathered at the Tuileries palace. The Royalists planned to wipe out the committee, and end the godforsaken revolution. The capital had mere 4000 national guards, who hardly had any first hand combat experience, and were a sort of people used against local criminals and for arresting aristocrats. There were all the committee had to protect themselves.

On their first assault, the national guards were almost halved in numbers by the royalists. The Committee decided to hand over the command of the guards to General Menou, who was a well respected officer, and had never lost a battle in his entire career. But Menou refused the appointment, saying it was impossible to win, and that he didn't want to be the man responsible to end the revolution. The committee had then given up all hope and were waiting for the doom.

Just hours later, Menou while making his way out of the palace noticed Napolean around who had finished his library duties. He recognised him to be the man who drove the English out of Toulon, and greeted him. He then apprised Napolean of the circumstances, and Napolean said "Let me handle it". General Menou was an experienced man and he believed that if anyone could save the revolution now, Napolean would be that man. He then went on to introduce Napolean to the Committee, and told them he was the man they were looking for. At first glance the committee looked at Menou as if he had lost his mind. Napolean never had the features of a soldier, including his short height and feminine looks, along his record for helping an aristo. But realising they had no choice, they agreed to Menou's terms and appointed Napolean as the Commander of the guards.

On being appointed Napolean struck a 'commando operation' along with fellow soldier Joachim Murat, and captured all the royalist artillery(cannons). Adding this the the stockpile of cannons at the palace, he set up a number of booby traps withing the city for approaching royalist forces. Spending the whole afternoon setting up troops in the capital, he positioned the guards in such a manner as to create an ambush in every street, with help of the captured artillery.

Joachim Murat

An then there was the great battle. The royalist, who were already in half mind to celebrate victory, went in head first in the capital only to be shot like ducks. And they went on to save the revolution. Over twenty thousand were killed, and the survivors fled into the country. Napolean had hardly lost any men or any street in this whole battle. Two thousand men against forty thousand attackers. Not exactly a desirable ratio for the defending side. The odd are still the largest among all the battles fought, earlier and later.

Battle of Tuileries palace: Royalists killed in the ambush

Till morning he was just a librarian and by nightfall Napolean had become the national hero, with is name being pronounced in every corner of Paris. Vicomte de Barras, then the head of the committee, pardoned Napolean for his sympathy towards the aristocrats, and welcomed him on the committee. Within the next five years, Napolean had captured power, and was the undisputed ruler of France.
Vicomte de Barras

Its is to be noted that his achievements weren't sheer luck. He had worked hard than any other soldier, and was a high ranking official before he was dismissed from the army. He never wasted even so much as an hour without study, and was an exceptional academician. He still is the youngest person to be given the rank of a General till this date, which was before the battle of Tuileries took place.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Against the odds (part 1)

After an argument with Onkar lately, who is of the opinion that Moshe Dayan had no part to play in the Six days war (crap), I decided to post about major epoch making battles in history, when great military strategists turned the tables on their enemies by a series of tactical maneuvers in the battlefield, changing the course of military campaigns. Although it is true that luck has indeed played its part in all these battles, I cannot help feeling that the goddess of fortune has justly smiled upon the brave. So what happens when you suddenly find yourself in an ambush, when your enemies aim at you from an elevated position, or you run out of resources with no time left to think, your just a thousand men too short to face your opponents, or perhaps if you have only one bullet left to kill three birds. It my be a Catch 22 situation, but its only in times like these that great heroes are born.

For convenience I will post all the battles in each individual post starting with this one.
Battle ONE
Battle of Alesia: 'Let them eat grass'

This battle paved way for Julius Caesar to become the most powerful man in the world. A feeble version of this is actually included in the first version of Age of Empires pc video game, although it doesn't in any manner recreate the actual battle(apart from the ring shaped double circumvallation).

Caesar had spent his life's worth for his campaign in Gaul (present day nation of France). But the Barbarians in Gaul were united under their leader Vercingetorix. Caesar had to go through great ordeals to reach their capital city of Alesia. On one occasion when his food supplies ran out he ordered his men to feed themselves with grass, eating grass himself for that purpose.

Vercingetorix, the Gaul leader

Julius Caesar... everyone knows who this guy is

But after reaching the city he realized he just had twenty thousand men to attack the capital. To add to his despair a force of over one lac Gauls was right behind him to rescue the city. He did the most unimaginable thing a military commander could do. He first built a circular wall around the capital city to lay a siege. And then he built a second circular wall around the first one to defend themselves from the Gaul force approaching them to get relief to their leader Vercingetorix who occupied the capital. The roman army of twenty thousand men sandwiched between more than one lac bloodthirsty Gauls, occupying a narrow ring shaped wooden wall formation, with limited food supplies, was the scenario then. The fortifications built by Caesar are termed as double circumvallation at Alesia.

The picture shows city of Alesia on the top of the hill along with double circumvallation built by Romans

The Gauls attacked the weakest and the narrowest region of the circumvallation from both inside as well as outside. Romans found it difficult to control the situation. Caesar was right at the center of the battlefield with his men. After some time the Gauls managed to bring down the fortification, and it seemed as if the city's army and the relief force from outside will meet together and combine themselves to wipe out the Romans.

At this instance Caesar knew he had to do something, or he would be facing oblivion. The trick he pulled out then is regarded as the most shrewd military maneuver ever. He sent a small contingent of Romans soldiers out of the battlefield into the forest. These soldiers made their way into the woods and changed their uniforms to brand new one, with gold plated armour. Then they rode back to the battle field with huge pomp.

The Gauls looking at the manner of their arrival, thought that a fresh army of Romans had arrived. (Actually an army was on its way for help to Caesar, and the Gauls knew of its coming, but it was quite far away yet). Remember that the Gaul army comprised of Barbarian and and poorly trained savage militia who were in highly uncouth formation with no proper ranks or order. Mistaking it for the Roman division, fear spread among the fighting savages and the Gauls army was scattered, and the relief force returned to the forest. Vercingetorix retreated back to the city with no choice left and the Romans were saved.

Caesar's fortification around Alesia

The next day Vercingetorix surrendered. He arrived on his horse in the Roman camp, and presented himself to Caesar alone, unarmed and begged him to show mercy towards the citizen of Alesia, and asked Caesar not to kill them, but take them as slaves and let them live. Earlier all roman generals like Pompey, Lucullus and Crassus would usually massacre all their prisoners inhumanly. But Caesar agreed to his terms and took all the Gauls at Alesia as slaves, and war was over following the surrender.

Vercingetorix (on the horse) when he surrendered to Caesar

Vercingetorix was taken to Rome as a slave, and Caesar's generosity to spare the lives of all the Gaul women and children made him popular among Romans and Barbarians alike. It was his campaign in Gaul that provided him a platform for his conquest. He later went on to Rome, Greece and later Egypt. I really don't need to write about the rest of his exploits with Pompey and Cleopatra.