Saturday, January 19, 2013

I’m Sorry – Yeah, Right

So Lance Armstrong has been interviewed by Oprah and sorta said sorry for being the bad boy of international cycling. The sadist in me did enjoy watching an alpha male squirm as he tried to sound contrite. But let’s face it,  the only thing Lance Armstrong is really sorry about is being caught.

And I really can’t see what all the fuss is about. It is completely permissible for science to be used to enhance sports equipment for any advantage it may give. Why can’t the athletes stick stuff in their veins for any advantage the cocktails they consume may give? Surely advancing their use by date by a decade or two compared to their contemporaries is their decision. 

Jackson Pollock was a drunkard, Dash Snow was a junkie but their value to society is predicated on the work they produced not the stimulants they took. Why can’t athletes be given the same leeway?

Perhaps it is because athletes don’t really produce anything of lasting value. But that is the subject of another post.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

What's in a name?

“What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet;” So mused Juliet about her Romeo in the William Shakespeare’s best known play. And we all know how badly that ended for the heroine and her beau. 

The importance of names came home to me recently from the naming of the tropical cyclones that ravage the Philippines in general and Bopha/Pablo in particular. For some reason that I have been unable to fathom the Philippines has their own list of names for these oft devastating events that are applied once they come under auspices of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.  The international name is scrapped and a new name applied and used locally whilst the rest of the world continues to use the original name.

For my sister, who lives in Australia, the Philippines has come onto her radar since her baby brother became a resident. She heard about the devastation wrought by Tropical Cyclone Bopha and she decided she would like to help out. Her visit to the Philippine Red Cross website was unhelpful as there was no mention of Tropical Cyclone Bopha although there were quite a few mentions of a Tropical Cyclone Pablo, about which she knew nothing. 

One cannot help but wonder if the same confusion could be hampering the United Nations $65 million global appeal which was recently reported as struggling with only $12 million odd having been raised. With the Philippines having a world wide reputation for corruption, having two names for the same event does little to instill confidence.

The Shakespearean phrase, in its misquoted version, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet", is often used to argue for the lack of importance in the naming of things whereas the original, when read in context, is a rhetorical device used to argue for their importance. For the sake of clarity it may well behoove the Philippines to swallow its national pride and join the rest of world for tropical cyclone nomenclature.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Only in The Philippines

The Christmas season in general and New Years in particular is a noisy affair in the Philippines, supposedly all the noise is to keep evil spirits at bay. (Catholic Church eat your heart out)  I wrote about it a few years ago after my first year’s experience here.
The plastic cannon featured back then has been abandoned. It’s been replaced by black market sales of the piccolo, the judas belt, the pillbox, the big bawang, the goodbye earth and the goodbye Philippines, all of which provide a powerful bang for your buck and all of which have been banned by The Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Health.  
Al Jazeera English’s “World welcomes 2013 with wave of fireworks” reported on the celebrations from Sydney to London, from Thailand to North Korea and their pyrotechnic exuberance. (Global warming anyone?) The Philippines mention in the article related to hospital’s being put on high alert to deal with injuries from home made (illegal) fireworks.
With 413 injuries that required hospitalization and one death in Metro Manila alone it was what the MSM daily, The Inquirer, described as “typically rowdy New Year celebrations”.