Sunday, 8 October 2006

Mousetrap - 73

Sync or swim
Got a digicam? Think you can make better music videos than the pros? This is for you. Gidol (originally called Google Idol, if memory serves, but not connected with either Google or any of the various country-name-here franchises of American Idol) is a global contest where anyone can post amateur videos set to well-known music. Members vote on entries in the contests, and winners get inducted into the hall of fame. Which may not be much, but hey, it’s better than putting up with the sneering of whoever’s been cast as the Bad Guy judge. (Incentive? The lads behind one video got an advertising contract from a cola MNC.) By the time you read this, entries will have closed on Gidol’s first Bollywood-themed contest, but you’ll be just in time to check out the results.

Attention-deficit stories
55 word fiction
Flash stories, also called short-shorts, are very short stories, usually not more than 500 words, frequently less. Micro-flash specifies far lower word counts, and fifty-fivers are even tighter: not more (and, the purists insist, no less) than 55 words. Here, you’ll find attempts from the blog world. Not one of them longer than this paragraph. (Which was 55 words precisely. Not including the contents of this parenthetic statement. Gah. Now I’ve ruined it.)

Edward Lear would be so proud
The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form
This rather unusual lexicographer;
His online word finder is half a
standard dictionary,
but it’s extraordinary,
’Cause the definitions are all perfect limericks, unlike this one.

How does your garden grow?
Great site for the amateur gardener who fell asleep in Biology class back in school. No, really. It lists plants not just by scientific names, but also by common names, including quite a few in Indian languages. Each one has a picture, description, and basic care instructions. There are also some articles and features worth reading, whether you have a proper garden or just a window box. The database isn’t perfect; family names aren’t clickable, but have to be scrolled through, for instance. I guess that’s because it’s still “under construction” (which it has been for ages). Should have been “still being planted” or something like that, no?

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to for past columns, and to comment, or mail The writer blogs at

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 8th October, 2006.

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