Archive for May, 2009

I have been away in California for awhile and so did not post for almost two weeks. We spent three days with family in Los Angeles and then went up the coast to Santa Barbara , Solvang, Big Sur and Monterey before striking out across the Central Valley to Yosemite National Park. A wonderful, wonderful trip and it all began with attending our nephew’s graduation at Harvey Mudd College in Duarte just outside of Los Angeles.

Harvey Mudd  is a small engineering college , one of the Claremont Group of Colleges ( along with Pomona, Claremont-McKenna, Scripps and Pfitzer). It is an exclusive college with high admission standards  and a challenging curriculum . The total enrollment at Mudd is only about 800 and the entire graduating class of 2009 consisted of just 170 students. The commencement exercises took place outdoors under a huge , white , opensided tent in the California sunshine.

Sitting there along with other parents and relatives on a golden California day, I reflected on how much I love attending such events . I enjoy a commencement even more than I do a wedding. Both weddings and commencements mark  the start of  a new phase of life but many, many more people are affected by a commencement.It’s not just those who are about to graduate and begin their careers .There are also all the parents who made it possible, the relatives who are there to share in the joy, and the professors for whom it must be a bitter-sweet moment as they see their charges about to venture out on their own. I love to peek at the faces of the family members and see the look of love and pride as the students file in and take their seats. In not a few  cases, it is apparent that the grad-to-be is the first in his family to attend college and is a shining example for his younger cousins to emulate. The grads themselves are a very interesting lot and even though they are all dressed in ceremonial robes they manage to add individual touches. Some wear leis around their necks, others have messages written on top of their mortarboards. At Mudd, most of the grads to be wore highly polished dress shoes, some were clad  sneakers or sandals and one free spirit chose to come barefoot! They exhibited a wide variety of emotions as they received their diplomas. Most were solemn and dignified, some exuberant and one threw up his arms and let out a Tarzan yell as he walked off the stage.

Some people may feel that the ceremony , the traditional robes, the custom of the newly minted grads turning around the tassels on their mortarboards after they have received their diplomas is antiquated and unnecessary.I don’t agree. All these little touches and rituals invest the occasion with a solemnity befitting one of the important passages of a young person’s life. Without them, the whole exercise might be more efficient but it would not be as meaningful or memorable.

There are some who find the commencement speeches boring . Not me. I find them interesting and , sometimes, exhilarating. It is true , as Meghan Daum writes in the Los Angeles Times , that many commencement addresses are ” heavy on motivational sanctimony” and filled with platitudes. Among the examples she offers : 

” This really is your moment. History is yours to bend.” ( Joe Biden @ Wake Forest University) 

” You really haven’t completed the circle of success unless you can help somebody else move forward.” ( Oprah Winfrey @ Duke University)

” There is no way to stop change ;change will come. Go out and give us a future worthy of the world we all wish to create together.” ( Hilary Clinton @ New York University).

Big name speakers are not a guarantee of memorable commencement speeches. When my son graduated from Wharton six years ago, the speaker was Archbishop Desmond Tutu who unfortunately chose to delve into politics and a criticism of U.S foreign policy before a closing exhortation to the graduates to usher in a new world. This day should have been all about the graduating seniors, a day of joy and hope, a day of recognition of the sacrifices that people had made to reach that moment. Instead, it was politics as usual and it was deflating.Archbishop Tutu was completely overshadowed by the previous speaker , a Japanese lady whose name I forget. She had spent more than twenty years tackling refugee problems all over the world and , listening to her, it was apparent that she had walked the walk, that she was not merely spouting platitudes. Without pontificating, she evoked in her listeners a sense of what they could achieve if they put their mind to it.

Sometimes, speakers tend to forget the students and get too wrapped up in their bombast. I remember attending my nephew’s high school graduation four years ago. The commencement address was given by a senior teacher and it was based on some obscure and exceedingly dark poem which he quoted from at great length. It had something to do with a group of black clad creatures ( teachers?)cutting open the skulls and altering the brains of people ( students?). It was somber, gloomy , creepy and, to me , not at all appropriate for what was a joyous occasion.

Luckily, the Commencement address at Harvey Mudd 2009 was given by the inventor and engineering genius , Dean Kamen . It was wonderful. It was everything such an address should be : meaningful but not sanctimonious, fresh not cliched,laced with humor,full of hope and possibilities for the future. Kamen is known to the public as the inventor of the Segway human transporter which did not quite live up to it’s hype but he has a number of other inventions to his credit: a portable insulin pump, an all-terrain prototype wheelchair ( iBot), a water purification system etc. Not for nothing is he  called the modern Edison.A passionate advocate of science , Dean Kamen is also the founder of FIRST ( For the Inspiration and Recognition of Technology).

Kamen began his address by giving us an overview of his background and how happy he was to be invited to speak at Mudd. While acknowledging that the world was in a heap of trouble , he said that there would be a need for big, fundamental changes. He urged students to be optimistic about the future and to see themselves as agents for change. Declaring that the era of financial engineering was over, he said there was a need for true engineering solutions and that it would be easier to implement innovative ideas than ever before in a world that was desperate for them.He closed by offering one hundred tips for success. First , he said , find something that you are passionate about and work hard at it. Second,don’t give up even when you hit a roadblock. The other ninety-eight tips , he continued, don’t matter as long as you follow the first two.

Reading what I’ve just written doesn’t do justice to the speech. The synopsis makes it sound trite but it was not. Its appeal lay in the passion and conviction which it  was delivered. Listening to Kamen speak, you knew that he meant every word of what he was saying and that he himself was engaged in the sort of dedicated life that he was recommending to students.I know I was moved and I think the students were too.

In her L.A Times article, Meghan Daum is quite negative about commencement addresses likening them to wedding toasts. She imagines that students listening to them are thinking about how hot and uncomfortable it is under their graduation robes, bothered by their too tight shoes, wondering about how soon the ceremonies will end  so that they can text their friends and go out and get drunk. These are the cogitations of a newspaper reporter taking a dispassionate, even cynical, view of things. No doubt some students may have such feelings but , in later years, they will have forgotten such trivia.What they will remember when they think back to this day , the culmination of their college career, is the joy and pleasure of one of the great days of their lives and perhaps a whiff of nostalgia for the carefree days of their youth. And perhaps, just perhaps, one or more of those who listened , really listened to Dean Kamen’s speech will take his words to heart and go on to make a real difference in the world.

Read Full Post »

The World T20 Tournament begins in early June and  last week India  announced the side that will wear their colors. It is as follows:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni ( Captain and wicketkeeper), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir,Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma,Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, R.P.Singh, Ravindra Jadeja , Pragyan Ojha and Irfan Pathan. 

This represents only two changes from the side that played  two T20 matches against New Zealand in April. R.P.Singh returns in place of Munaf Patel while al-rounder Irfan Pathan replaces reserve wicket keeper Dinesh Kartik. Indian fans are rarely 100% pleased with the team selection but , this time , there is little they can find fault with. R.P Singh was a big part of the pace attack two years ago but his career had been sidetracked by injuries and a sudden loss of form. His performances in the IPL indicate that he ‘s all the way back . His inclusion is doubly welcome because he replaces the lackadaisical Munaf. About Irfan Pathan, I am of  two minds. In the recent IPL matches, Irfan has turned in some great performances and an equal number of indifferent displays. He just cannot be relied upon because one never knows which Irfan will turn up on a given day.Let’s hope he makes the most of his opportunity. The selectors have taken a huge gamble in dropping Dinesh Karthik as this leaves M.S. Dhoni as the lone wicketkeeper . There  isn’t anyone else in the side who can keep wickets in case of injury. Dhoni has so far been an Iron Man but all Indian cricket fans will be keeping their fingers crossed that nothing untoward happens to him. One other selection I’m ambivalent about is Rohit Sharma who, it seems to me , is more suited to the Test arena rather than the crash -bang-wallop of  T20. Anyway, here’s wishing the side the best of luck as they try to retain the World T20 title that they won in such thrilling fashion two years ago in South Africa.

The Indian side appears to be quite a formidable outfit. Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Gautam Gambhir and Dhoni himself are all capable of taking any attack apart, Jadeja  and Irfan Pathan are good if erratic allrounders and the bowling attack headed by Zaheer and Harbhajan should be upto the task. In addition,Dhoni is probably one of the two best captains in the world. How far the team goes will depend on how well it fields. Inspite of all the efforts of Robin Singh, the fielding , while slightly improved, is still the team’s weak point. If only they can hold on to their catches and look sharp with their ground fielding, they should be able to beat back the challenge South Africa and Australia, the main threats to win it all.

The IPL : is more than halfway through but somehow, I cannot summon up much interest. One reason is that I’m on cricket overload what with the almost non-stop schedule of the Indian team. The other is that I cannot get interested in these multi-national teams. As a result I haven’t signed up with Willow TV for the IPL coverage and am merely following it desultorily on CricInfo. I will be signing up for the World T20 Tv coverage because that’s something I can get enthused about.

About Dhoni’s captaincy I can’t say enough. In addition to getting the best out of his players and setting an example with his sterling play ( he switches gears effortlessly depending on what the situation demands) , Dhoni has the happy knack of making exactly the right move at the right time. The latest example was his tossing the ball to Suresh Raina, a part time spinner, at a crucial juncture in the match against the Rajasthan Royals. This after Rajasthan had pasted the regular bowlers, Albie Morkel and Mutthiah Muralitharan, and were threatening to run away with the match. Raina proceeded to bowl two economical overs conceeding only 8 runs and Chennai squeaked out a win. Another feather in Dhoni’s cap !

Read Full Post »

Yesterday, I was at the supermarket to pick up a loaf of bread and found myself there just as the shelves were being restocked. As I watched , the man from the bakery arranged loaves of 7-Grain , 12–grain , Double fiber, Oatmeal Bran, Whole Wheat, Health Nut,Pumpernickel, Potato, Country White, White, and Rye ( with and without seeds) on the shelves. I remember there was a total of 14 different types so I ‘m missing a couple. These were the varieties offered by one brand. Competing brands offered similar choices so that the customer was confronted by as many as 40 or 50 different varieties to choose from.

 Before I could say anything, another customer who had been waiting alongside me articulated what I’d been thinking. ” Do we really need so many different types of bread ?” she demanded of no one in particular.

” I agree with you , lady” responded the deliveryman. ” It ain’t my decision; I just deliver the stuff. ”

As I made my choice (Whole Wheat), I couldn’t help wondering ” With having to make all these different products, do the manufacturers really sell that many more loaves ? ” I guess sales must be at least marginally higher or they wouldn’t continue to do so. Still, is there all that much difference between , say, 7-grain and 12 -grain and 15- grain bread ?  Do customers really demand this much choice ? For myself, I know that I’d be perfectly happy having to choose from Country White, Whole Wheat, Multigrain,Rye and Potato bread . As it was, I spent a minute or two extra before I settled on Whole Wheat.

Last week, I had to spend considerably more time at Walmart before I chose my multivitamins. There were shelves and shelves of multivitamins and ,even though I knew the particular brand I wanted, it took me awhile to settle on one among their many products.This story is repeated over and over again every time I shop. For instance, why are there so many different types of Robitussin ? Are they all that different from each other? Since they are all meant to treat cough, why can’t there be one type which is good for all types of coughs ?

I do like some choice in what I buy and I know that competition is good because it keeps prices down . However,at a certain point the multiplicity of choices becomes redundant. It seems to me that having to offer so much choice must at some point reduce efficiency and drive prices up.

A couple of years ago, New York magazine had an article listing 20 tips for Happiness. One of the things the article mentioned was that having too much choice can cause stress . At the time I didn’t agree . Now I’m not so sure. To say that too much choice causes stress may be a bit of an exaggeration but certainly it’s unnecessary and wasteful.

P.S. Today’s edition(6/26/09) of the Wall Street Journal had an article that began thus:

“For years, supermarkets, drugstores and discount retailers packed their shelves with an ever-expanding array of products in different brands, sizes, colors, flavors, fragrances and prices. Now, though, they believe less is more.Pharmacy chain Walgreen Co. is cutting the types of superglues it carries to 11 from 25. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has decided that 24 different tape measures is 20 too many. Kroger Co. has tested stripping out about 30% of its cereal varieties.”

Looks like I was on the money…

Read Full Post »

Some of my friends think that I am a gourmet but, much as I would like to be agree with them, I cannot. I am NOT a gourmet.

A gourmet is defined as a connoisseur of food and drink and , while I do know a bit about food , I lack the most important attribute of a true gourmet—a discriminating palate. I cannot taste a dish and tell you all the spices and herbs used in its preparation. Neither can I recall memorable meals I have eaten in the past as some connossieurs routinely do.In short,  I have neither  food memory nor a refined palate. I like food and know a little bit about it and that makes me a foodie, not a gourmet.

In a recent issue of Gourmet magazine, I read an account by Francis Lam of a trip he made to China in search of his roots. Lam writes that Great-Uncle Nine, the last of his grandfather’s brothers , is respected for his seniority as well as  his extra-ordinary sense of taste. Lam’s father tells him ” I’ve seen him eat a piece of fish and tell how long it was out of the water.” And , again, ” He can tell if a chicken’s ever been in a refrigerator.”  So sensitive are his taste buds that , on a visit to a restaurant , he asked the waiter to scoop out rice from a particular place in the pot.WOW !

Then there are wine connoisseurs who can sip a wine and tell you it’s provenance, the bottler and the vintage , Some experts , it is said , can even tell you exactly which part of the vineyard the grapes were from, whether it was an east facing slope or a west facing slope.Double WOW !!  Such a refined palate arouses my unqualified admiration. I envy it just as I might envy other extraordinary attributes such as Charles Goren’s memory for cards.

There is a story about Goren relaxing around the swimming pool with a group of friends one Monday morning after a weekend of bridge. The talk got around to how much Goren could remember of the hands they had played and soon bets were being made. Goren then proceeded to win the bet by exactly recollecting the placement of every card and the bidding and play of all 140 deals that they had played. That’s one hundred and forty deals ! To put it in perspective, duffers like me have difficulty remembering the cards even from a deal that we’ve just played.

And then there are chess players who memorise and retain the details of thousands , even hundreds of thousands of games. Amazing !!

But to get back to the appreciation of food and drink… Not every one really can tell such minute differences. One of my friends claimed to be able to tell the difference between the various brands of Cola. He also claimed that the Coke from a small bottle tasted better than that from a two-liter bottle. Stung by my disbelief, he agreed to a blind tasting. On the appointed day , I poured out equal amounts of Coca Cola, Pepsi and Royal Crown Cola into  three identical  glasses and invited him to tell me which was which. He flunked the test !! Another friend and I both tried a similar test with Scotch whiskey. I would have thought we would be able to distinguish between Chivas Regal, Johnny Walker Black and Johnny Walker Red Label. After all, we had drunk them often enough. Nope. We were able to nail the Chivas but could not distinguish between the other two.Strange, since the Black Label is reputedly much smoother and does cost far more than the Red Label. What then are we to make of those who shell out $ 180 or more for Johnny Walker Blue Label.? Can they really tell the difference or is it just the added cachet of downing something  very expensive ? I suspect it is the latter.

But to get back to the appreciation of food and drink,even the experts can sometimes be fooled. I remember an interesting story about Roy Andries de Groot, a blind food writer who was renowned for his extraordinary sense of taste. Blind he might have been but his other senses were highly developed and he could unerringly judge a dish by the way it smelt and tasted . Once he dined at a Buddhist temple, :I think it was in HongKong . The monks there were famous for the quality of the food they cooked and de Groot was there to taste and write about it. The monks served him course after course and de Groot tasted all kinds of meat, duck and chicken and beef .The meal was extraordinary and de Groot complimented the monks .But how is it , he asked them , that you eat meat ? Aren’t Buddhists supposed to be vegetarians? ” We are,” the monks replied . ” Everything you ate was pure vegetarian.” Using soy bean curd, they had somehow replicated not only the taste but the texture of the various meats.Truly, the food must have been amazing for it to have fooled one such as de Groot.

However, I sometimes think that a refined palate can be a curse. Let’s face it. If one is able to make such minute distinctions in the food that one eats , one is going to be disappointed most of the time. So few dishes are truly flawless. Perhaps the owner of a less discriminating sense of taste is better off since he will be able to enjoy most of what is placed before him.

Read Full Post »

Not only do men and women differ widely in what they read but they prefer to read books written by their own gender. The first part of that statement is pretty well known but the second is something I had only suspected.

According to a poll of British readers

* Of the Top 20 life-changing novels chosen by men, only one was written by a woman.

* Of the Top 20 novels chosen by women, only six were penned by men.

Only four novels were common to both lists. They were Catch -22 ( Joseph Heller), To Kill a Mockingbird ( Harper Lee), Heart of Darkness ( Joseph Conrad) and One Hundred Years of Solitude ( Gabriel Garcia Marquez).  In general, men preferred protagonist-centered stories of isolation, redemption and overcoming ( think The Stranger, 1984 and Metamorphosis) while women liked more emotionally rich, relationship oriented works.( Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, The Handmaid’s Tale).The poll also found that women read novels throughout their lives ; men , on the other hand , read novels during their formative years but later switch to non-fiction.

My own experience bears out these findings. Some time ago, I had thought of joining a book reading club at the library but when I checked , I found that the membership was almost exclusively female and the books they discussed were not the type that I would want to read. Women , it seems , read books to connect with the characters, to guess what a character is thinking or feeling. That explains why romances constitute  40 % of popular fiction sales. Men, if at all they read fiction, want a good yarn above all else.

With such widely differing agendas it is no surprise that men and women both prefer books written by their own gender. ( This , of course, applies only to fiction. When it comes to non-fiction there is no gender bias since it is the the subject matter that is of paramount interest and importance ).My preferred reading is mysteries and thrillers and I almost always prefer those written by men. There is a palpable difference in the writing and , if I did not know the gender of the writer, I could tell it from the style. Mysteries written by men are more hard bitten, action packed and focus on plot rather than feelings. Mysteries written by women are somehow softer and not as believable, espescially when they have a female protagonist. At one time , female writers used to find it difficult to get their work read and took to hiding their gender   e.g S.B. Cooper rather than Susan Cooper. That’s all changed in the past half-dozen years and today, more than half the mysteries are written by women. Could it be that the mystery readership today is also heavily feminine ?

Read Full Post »

When a friend heard that we would be visiting Washington D.C she said ” You must visit this new Indian restaurant in D.C. It’s called Rasika. The food is supposed to be fabulous, and  the chef Vivek Sundaram has won several awards . It’s one of the best restaurants in D.C. ” We had wanted to try Burma located in the Chinatown area but it was closed on Sundays . Accordingly, we found ourselves driving to the Penn Quarter with our daughter and our niece to check out the fare  at Rasika. Our experience there proved to be a mixed bag. Rasika is definitely a hip trendy place with nice vibes but the food quality is uneven: some hits but almost as many misses.

Rasika is run by a group that manages at least five other D.C restaurants including that long time favorite The Bombay Club, Ardeo, Bibiana, 701 and the Oak Room.The restaurant is divided into two by a dwarf wall topped by a bead curtain. To the left is a well appointed bar and a sitting area where you can down your drinks as you nibble on munchies. To the right is the dining area with the tables spaced rather closely together . Across the rear  is the grill station where you can watch kababs being prepared and in the wall behind  the grill station are large  glass fronted bins containing an assortment of Indian spices.The other walls have different textures, are painted either in white or a variety of earth tones and sparingly decorated with Indian themed paintings. Overall , Rasika has a very inviting ambience which explains its popularity . Reservations are a must . We went there on a Monday evening and the place was packed and the decibel level very high. This is not the place to go for a quiet intimate meal with your significant other.On the other hand, if you know what to order, you will be able to taste some very unusual dishes . However, it can be a pricey outing.

 Unfortunately, since it was the beginning of the work week, we stayed away from hard drinks. I say ‘unfortunately’ because I found out later that the bar makes some unusual cocktails. One you might want to try is Gin with green chilly and lime. My wife had a Kingfisher beer while my niece had a mocktail that reminded me of a mint julep since it was decorated with sprigs of mint. She liked it so much that my daughter ordered one too .

We began our meal by sharing two appetizers: Crispy tawa fish and red kidney bean tikkis. Both were excellent. The fish was a slice of dourade coated with pressed rice ( poha), shallow fried and served with cilantro mayo. The fish was perfectly cooked and the crisp pressed rice coating was a winner. Tikkis ( cutlets) are usually made with potatoes ; the kidney bean version at Rasika was definitely an improvement . The tikkis were served with what looked like ketchup but proved to  be a tomato -rhubarb chutney. Delicious. Another appetizer that we did not try but which we hear is outstanding is the Spinach Chaat. You might want to give it a shot.

For entrees, we shared four dishes, three non-vegetarian ( Bison Roast, Goan Fish Curry and Maratha Chicken) and one vegetarian ( Baingan Bharta). The Baingan Bharta ( roastedeggplant, peeled , mashed and cooked with onions , tomatoes, ginger and garlic and spices) was the best of the lot. Our niece told us that on a previous visit she had had a bharta made with butternut squash rather than eggplant and that it was outstanding. Alas, the butternut squash option was not available on the day we dined at Rasika or we would have plumped for it.The Bison Roast , an expensive choice, was also very good, the perfectly cooked slices of meat bathed in a thick , slightly sweetish gravy of onions and tomatoes flavored with fennel seeds.We were not as fortunate with our other two choices. The Maratha Chicken was mediocre  and the Goan Fish Curry was ruined by too much tamarind making it almost too sour to be edible. The kitchen seems to have a problem with sourness, since on my niece’s earlier visit she had a similar problem with the Green Masala Chicken. At the next table they had a lamb biryani which looked tantalizing.The meat and the spiced rice had been baked in a pot sealed with a dough covering. The dough sealed in the flavors as the biryani was cooking  and could be eaten much like a naan . Great presentation that had us wondering whether we should have ordered it !

With the dishes we also had a Bread Basket ( a rather skimpy assortment of parathas) , a vegetable pulao and a bowl of plain white rice. Considering the prices, portions were no more than adequate.

The desserts are where Rasika really shines. We shared two of them , a Saffron Panna Cotta and a Date and Toffee Pudding with berries that was delectable in its buttery goodness.Another dessert that caught our eye was Apple Jalebi (beignet) with Orange Cardamom Icecream. We were also intrigued by the Chocolate Sam0sa though we lacked the guts to try it.

 What did I think of the food at Rasika overall ? Well, I thought that there were some very good , innovative dishes but that the quality control left a lot to be desired . There is no excuse for a dish being that sour, particularly since the gravies in Indian restaurants are prepared ahead of time rather than cooked to order. It should be a simple matter to taste them once each evening before the dishes are assembled. Again, one of our appetizers was served with a mound of julienned carrots that were hard and flavorless. It would not have taken much effort to prepare them a little closer to serving time and to sprinkle them with a little salt and lemon juice. It’s little touches like this that raise the food from just OK to memorable.

Considering that  the entrees are so uneven in quality, I have  suggestion for couples or small groups who want to dine at Rasika. Stay away from the entrees and make a meal of the appetizers and desserts. For instance a couple will do well to share share five or six appetizers and three desserts. It may be slightly more expensive but they will be able to taste a cross section of the best items on the menu. It’s a better option than trying one of the tasting menus that Rasika also offers Four course ( Non-veg. $ 55, Veg $ 45) or six course ( Non Veg. $ 75, Veg. $ 60)  .

Like the food, the service at Rasika is also a little uneven.The waiters come from a variety of countries ( our was originally from Eritrea) but they they all very friendly and welcoming and knowledgeable about Indian food.However, though Rasika is not understaffed and even though the waiters are hardworking, there are times when it’s impossible to catch your waiter’s eye as he flits around the tables. In our case there was an unconscionably long wait for dessert though I’m not sure whose fault it was , the kitchen or the wait staff.

Final thought: We had a good time at Rasika and would definitely go there again but I wouldn’t rate it among the Twenty Best Restaurants (2009)in the D.C area as the Washingtonian has done.

Rasika. 633 D StreetNW, Wasington DC 20004. (202) 637-1222.

For details of the menu, timings  and prices , click on   www.rasikarestaurant.com.

Read Full Post »

Mr. & Mrs. 55 - Classic Bollywood Revisited!

Two Harvard students relive the magic and music of old Bollywood cinema

Golden Ripples

About Food, Travel, Sports , Books and other fun things

47 Japanese Farms: Japan Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities -- 47日本の農園

A journey through 47 prefectures to capture the stories of Japan's farmers and rural communities


WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

%d bloggers like this: