Thursday, July 20, 2006

Black Chilly Powder / Nalla Karam (Telugu)

Rural folk take this with the first meal after a bout of fever. It improves appetite. It goes well with hot steamed rice, and snacks. Ghee/ butter needs to be added lest tongue should be on fire.
1 kg dry red chillies
1 kg crystal salt
250 gms Tamarind
250 gms coriander seeds ( Dhania)
500 gms garlic
250 gms polished black gram
5 tsp Jeera
2 tsp fenugreek seeds ( Menthulu)
5 tsp turmeric powder

Dry the dried red chillies for a day ( 5 to 6 hours) in the Sun. Drying in the Sun is essential as it takes out the moisture and grinding to powder becomes easy.
Fry the dried chillies in 7 to 10 tsp oil till they turn slightly blackish. While the chillies are being fired, tamarind too can be peeled to small thin pieces and fried lightly along with chillies. Powder the chillies.
Fry three handfuls of curry leaves. Powder them.
Fry the coriander seeds on a low heat with in a dry pan for a few minutes. Add jeera a minute before you switch off the heat. After they cool, powder them.
Fry the polished black gram in a dry pan till the aroma reaches your nose. Powder them.
Fry the fenugreek seeds in a dry pan lightly and powder them.
Powder the crystal salt.
Grind the garlic to paste.
Grind the tamarind to powder.

Mix all the pastes and powders well adding the turmeric powder.
A La, you have on hand mouth-watering powder. Transfer the powder to glass / plastic jar.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Birth of a Nation- A Review of Condemnation

The film Birth of a Nation is acclaimed as one of the 100 best Hollywood films ever produced. It was produced by D W Griffith in 1915. With great difficulty and months of search, I finally got hold of a DVD of the film. As I watched the film, I felt revulsion and anguish at the unadulterated racism, portraying the Afro-Americans as lustful rapists and looters and glorifying the Ku Klux Clan.

Birth of a Nation is an adaption of Thomas Dixon’s novel, The Clansman. Technically, the film is a masterpiece considering it was produced in 1915. Griffith’s editing is flawless and his use of camera was very novel. He has alternated close-ups and long-shots from varying camera angles and use of frames gives the film a classic touch. It is a silent film. The film is a testimony to Griffith’s genius, but alas a diabolical genius. Like Nazis, who have used films to raise the anti-semitic feelings of dominant population resulting ultimately in genocide, Griffith too tries to raise the passions of Southerners against the Blacks.

The film begins with the tale of Phil and Tod Stoneman of Pennsylvania who are visiting their school friends, the Camerons of Piedmont, South Carolina. A love affair develops between the Stonemans and the Cameron’s sisters. These love affairs are interrupted by the Civil War. The Camerons boys join the Confederate army while the Stoneman boys join the Union army. It is during the war that the younger Camerons and Tod Stoneman are killed. After the war, the father of the Stoneman’s is elected to Congress and “agitates for the punishment of the South.”
The Reconstruction period starts. From here on Griffith portrays the Negro characters as hooligans, looters and rapists. He tries to convince his audience that the blacks who outnumber the whites in Carolina prevent whites from voting and capture the legislature. The entire portrayal of the Reconstruction days showed the Negro when freed from white domination, as arrogant, lustful, and villainous. Negro Congressmen were pictured drinking heavily, sleeping in Congress with bare feet upon the desks, or lustfully ogling white women. But, in addition to this general attack on the recently freed Negro, The Birth of a Nation depicts in the most graphic terms the individual threat that freed Negro men posed to the South--white women! Griffith’s creation of the character of Gus, the freed Negro servant of the Camerons as a black skinned renegade who pursues Southern women for sexual purposes, represents the arch stereotype of the Negro man as “sexual monster.” These scenes were constructed to justify the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. Through many twists and turns, the film finally reaches its climax when the Klan metes out justice to the Negro militia.
Griffith will be remembered for long as a person who took his Southern Prejudices to a film and tried to instigate the Whites against Blacks.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Best ways to teach housebreaking to Dogs

Ramesh got a cute German Shepherd pup. His entire family was joyous for the first few days. But as days passed, the joy turned out to be frustration as the pup began to pee in every corner of the house. It has also excreted on his beautiful carpet. Ramesh is not alone in facing this frustrating situation. Here are some tips on how to house train a dog:

Right from day one, observe the puppy during times when he is relieving. This will tell a lot about the warning signals and the different signs that dogs are making when they are about to unload it. Make it a point to make the dog feel comfortable outside the house. Let him explore your garden for him to find a comfortable spot to relieve himself. Do this everyday and the dog will eventually be more comfortable in doing this outside the house. The good news is that dogs are quite predictable in their potty habits. Primarily, you will need to keep an eye on your puppy if he is excited, about 15 to 30 minutes after he has eaten or drank water, and after he wakes up. If he is Moving around in circles, Getting into a crouch position, Sniffing the ground, then pick up him up quickly and move him to the potty area that you have set up for him.

When house training your dog, always make sure that you stay with him until he finishes. If you leave him by himself, he will have the tendency to do other things such as explore the garden or chase other animals. Praise him in a cheerful voice when it is relieving ( not after ).
Don't give your dog treats before bedtime or times when he will be left alone for long periods. Many doggy treats cause the dog to emit high levels of waste, and at irregular times.

Never use ammonia-based cleaners
During house training, dog owners should never use ammonia-based cleaners to clean their houses. These substances smell a lot like urine. Dogs will have the tendency of peeing on corners which smell like urine, so avoid using these substances.
There will be times that the dog or puppy will make a mess inside the house and there are cruel dog owners who would punish their dogs too much. Some slap their dogs with newspapers or other things. The most common myth is that if one sticks the dog's nose into his mess, he will not do it again. This is not only false, but it will make your dog confused and fearful of you. Remember that it is not the dog which should automatically know where to relieve, but remember that it is your responsibility to teach the dog where it should relieve.
Do not get frustrated in the first few weeks if accidents happen. They are bound to happen not because the dog has not understood where to relieve but you have failed to understand the signals given by the dog and has not provided the means to the dog to relieve outside. When the dog or pup relieves himself in the house, clean it with water mixed with a few drops of white Vinegar. The Vinegar will take away the smell of urine.