Wednesday, August 23, 2017

In case you missed it . . .


Some items from yesterday’s newspapers.

A minute’s silence:

Fernando Alvarez, aged 57, from Cadiz, Spain, is a competitor in the 17th FINA Masters World Championships being held in Budapest, Hungary. Having made it into the 200m breaststroke final, he asked the International Swimming Federation (FINA) to hold a minute’s silence before his race as a mark of respect and solidarity for those 16 killed and the many injured in the terrorist attacks in Barcelona, Spain. No, said the officials, they didn’t have the time to spare. When the start for his race sounded and his fellow competitors all dived off the start blocks, Fernando stayed put and observed his own minute’s silence. When that was done, he dived in and completed his race. 

Commented Fernando afterwards:
'They told me that it was not possible [to have a minute's silence] because neither a minute could be wasted, so I started a minute later. But I do not mind, I have a feeling worth more than if I win all the gold medals in the world.' 
The schedule ended up being one minute late and . . . nothing happened. Funny that.

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The eclipse:

The U S of A experienced a solar eclipse yesterday, observed by many. 

As even schoolkids know, you do not directly look at an eclipse. Doing so can fry your retinas, causing you to be in your own private Day of the Triffids scenario. To observe an eclipse, either wear protective eyewear or use a pinhole method where a piece of paper with a hole is held over another piece: 

The Pres, along with Melania and Barron, watched the eclipse with protective eyewear:

For reasons not explained and with cameras clicking away, the Pres then took off the protective eyewear and stared at the eclipse:

I have my own theory on why he did it.

Over 1,000 years ago, King Canute tried to turn back the tide. The true story is that he did so to show his flattering courtiers that he had no control over the elements (the incoming tide), explaining that secular power is vain compared to the supreme power of God.

I think Trump tried to reverse the eclipse.

Call it fake news if you want but it’s as good a theory as any.

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By the way:

Bonnie Tyler, 66, picked up some $$$ by singing her 1983 hit Total Eclipse of the Heart on board the cruise ship Oasis of the Seas during the actual eclipse as part of the Total Eclipse Cruise that sailed from Orlando, Florida to the Caribbean.  The eclipse also boosted sales of her hit and pushed it into No 1 on the US iTunes list.

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Dumping Australia Day:

For many years, indigenous Australians have protested Australia Day as a day of mourning, that it signified the start of invasion and dispossession. Australia Day is celebrated on 26th January, the date that the Brit flag was formally unfurled on Oz soil. For indigenous Australians and supporters it has become known as Invasion day.

Traditionally Australia Day has been used as a date for citizenship ceremonies. A week ago Yarra Council in Melbourne dumped Australia Day as the date for such ceremonies, causing the Federal Government to remove its authority to hold citizenship ceremonies. 

Now Darebin Council in Melbourne, after surveying 81 people (!) has followed suit, determining to replace the ceremony with a “culturally appropriate event” that would be respectful to indigenous Australians. The Council will drop all references to Australia Day, including renaming its Australia Day Awards the “Darebin Community Awards”. According to the Mayor, Kim Le Cerf, if Australians were better educated they would “feel ashamed to be celebrating on January 26”. It has been proposed that the alternative celebrations be held on 25th January instead of the 26th, some others have suggested 1 January.

Mayor Kim Le Cerf

I have previously written about Australia Day, including mentioning that when Captain Cook explored Botany Bay in 1770, his party shot an indigenous male for throwing stones at them, thereby setting the tenor of relations for the next 247 years. See:

Like Voltaire, I respect the right of others to hold an opinion different to mine, but what I find crazy is this concept of an alternative to Australia Day. In Orwell’s book 1984, Big Brother removed words from the language and removed historical accounts about events, thereby removing the thing itself. Take away the word “democracy” and all references to it, and democracy ceases to exist, so the theory goes. But is also puts me In mind of something Abraham Lincoln once said:

"How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn't make it a leg."

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