August 27, 2006

Mousetrap - 68

Hitting the write note
Rock Bottom Remainders
Everybody wants to be a rock star. No matter how much you achieve in other aspects of your life—or whether you have any musical talent—you still would love to strut the stage, spotlight following you, guitar slung low, hitting just that chord while the groupies scream your name. Why should some of the best-loved writers of our time be immune? Like who? Try Dave Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Simpsons creator Matt Groening and others. The band’s name comes from the book industry's name for cut-price books, or “remainders.” How well do they play? Well, Bruce Springsteen once played them. He said: “Your band's not too bad. It's not too good either. Don't let it get any better, otherwise you'll just be another lousy band.” They play for charity, by the way.


Listless?
43 Things
Need goals? Simple. Make a list. Up to 43 items. Why 43? “More is too much,” the site says, and also, “Everything needs a name.” Right. What were we thinking? Anyway. Here, aside from creating your own list, you can browse through other people’s lists and use their items, and, if you see an item that you’ve accomplished, you can leave some helpful advice for the person who posted it. The rationale: writing down your goals helps you clarify your thoughts; you can get inspiration for your goals list from others; and you can share your experiences with others, and learn from them.

Making Tracks
National Rail Museum
Bet you didn’t know that five out of seven of the longest railway platforms in the world are in India? Including the Number One, Sonepur’s 2,415 foot platform. The Rail Museum site, an online presence for the real-world museum in Delhi, has heaps of facts like that. And some nice pictures too. The text is rather clumsily written, but not incomprehensible. A nice site to visit for the buff or out of casual curiosity.


Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to http://o3.indiatimes.com/mousetrap for past columns, and to comment, or mail inthemousetrap@indiatimes.com. The writer blogs at http://zigzackly.blogspot.com.

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 27th August, 2006.

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