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Sunday, 24 October 2010

Sweet on you

I failed to blog about this last week, but Saturday 16th October was a very special day. It was sweetness day. That's right. Sweetness day. As if that wasn't enough, it was also Boss Day.

Two major celebrations for the price of one.

The two celebrations are coincidental. If they weren't we could call it sucking up to you boss day. ... Actually, that is boss day all by itself.

As far as I can tell there is no point for either of these celebrations. According to Wikipedia (yes I know) Sweetness day was started by the confectionery industry. The evidence for Boss Day is less numerous by it is clear that retailers like selling Boss Day gifts and cards.

It's bad enough that traditional festivals such as Christmas are besieged by commercialism without inventing new ones solely for the purpose of selling more stuff. In theory, Sweetness Day is meant to be a day where you give confectionery (not health care) to the poor. However, it's promoted like Valentines Day, but we already have one of those.

I can't imagine giving my boss a present. That would just look suspicious, unless it came from the whole group of employees.

I better go now. You see, Return Day is coming up on November 4th and I've got lots to prepare.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Coming into the light

I can't imagine what life must have been like for the 32 Chilean miners and 1 Bolivian miner trapped 623m beneath the surface of the earth for 69 days. I've been watching coverage of their rescue today. The whole thing is pretty remarkable really. The fact that they're all still alive is amazing. When do you normally hear about mining disasters that have a 100% survival rate? When I think of mining disasters around the world, including here in the US, you would have to bank on some fatalities.

But for 17 days they survived on a small cup of milk and a mouthful of tuna per day (so BBC news told me) before being discovered. The foreman, Luis Urzua, deserves a lot of credit for their survival. He seemed to keep the miners in order and keep up morale. He was the captain of the ship, if you like.

The most astonishing thing for me was the video footage. I'm used to 24 hour news and I'm used to live broadcasts, but to have live footage of the miners whilst still stuck in the mine is incredible. I can comprehend seeing people rescued on the news, but it's a bit surreal to see them still in their tomb waiting for rescue.

Of course, it's not over for the miners. They will have various things to deal with, possibly lung and skin infections and post-traumatic stress disorder. Let's hope that stage is not too much of an ordeal.

One final note: My wife made a comment that she read on a blog that the response by the Chileans was refreshingly un-American. I can only assume that means that it was less hysterical.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Hail to the Chief and other autumn matters

On Tuesday, President Obama came to give a speech to a rally in the city, ostensibly about education. What it actually is, is a boost to the Democrat Party during election season.

That's right, it's autumn and as sure as the leaves will turn red, yellow and brown, then there will be an election. In even years anyway. The House of Representatives is elected every two years, though that does not get much coverage. A third of the Senate is changed every two years. We have one here and that's getting some coverage time. There's also a gubernatorial election here this year. Not to mention various state and local elections.

Unfortunately, election season seems to last many months. It's also accompanied by incredibly irritating adverts on TV. There' are adverts by the candidates themselves, advocating their policies. Then there are adverts by the candidates saying something adverse about the other candidate (because there are never more than two candidates - not ones that count, anyway). Then there are rebuttal adverts responding to said adverts. Finally, there are adverts by "independent" groups who come out against certain candidates and normally have quite strong things to say.

The difficult thing is trying to work out what is true and what's not true. If one advert says that so and so didn't follow up on election promises, is it because they failed or were blocked by the actions of the opposing party. Either way, I'm looking forward to 2011. There should be no elections next year, giving me a much more pleasant TV viewing experience, apart from the 2012 election speculation of course.