Archive for November, 2008

Old new faces

November 22nd, 2008 2 comments

Hillary Clinton accepts Obama’s offer of the Secretaryship (word?) of State. Reading through the list of appointees, I saw a lot of familiar names. If, like me, you are an interested amateur when it comes to US politics, the following might help.

Name: Hillary Clinton
Appointed: Secretary of State
You may remember her from: Married to former President Bill Clinton, first lady 1993-2001. Wellesley College, Yale Law School, parnter of Rose Law Firm. Senator for New York state since 2000.
Quote: “We are the president” – according to James B Stewart

Name: David Axelrod
Appointed: Senior Adviser
You may remember him from: Nothing, but he has an Autobot surname (a more introspective variation of Hotrod?) and a moustache that makes him look like he’s still living in 1984.

Name: Gregory Craig
Appointed: White House Counsel
You may remember him from: special counsel to Bill Clinton, defending him against impeachment. A reversible name. Yale law schoolmate of Hillary and Bill.

Name: Ron Klain
Appointed: Chief of Staff to the Vice-President
You may remember him from: Chief of Staff to the Vice-President (Al Gore). Supreme Court tipstaff.

Name: Tom Daschle
Appointed: Secretary of Health
You may remember him from: “Senator Tom Daschle (D)”, from his days as Senate Majority Leader. Wikipedia says of Daschle: “Daschle became a brother of Alpha Phi Omega”. The article does not explain how Daschele’s brother acquired such a quirky name, and whether the surname Omega indicates that said brother was adopted from Greece.

To be continued.

New internationalism

November 20th, 2008 No comments

Yesterday, London’s Telegraph carried a piece about how iPhone’s new voice-recognising Googling tool fails to recognise British accents. Then today, its antipodean and tabloidal namesake tells us that the iPhone gets confused by Australian accents.

I bet the same thing is happening across the world: every paper puts a local spin on what is really the same story (“iPhone’s new voice-recognising Googling tool is crap”). Just imagine it:

“US English accent confuses iPhone” — the Seattle Bugle.

“Vaticano Latin too much for iPhone – Cardinal warns against playing God” — the Vatican City Bull.

“iPhone refuses to understand Korean – Comrade Kim Jung-il denounces evil imperialist plot.” — the Pyongyang Times.

November 20th, 2008 3 comments

I was walking down the long, dark valley of the shadow of death that is Phillip Street (and not in a particularly elated mood, as you can probably tell) when I looked up, and saw – sapphire blue sky reflected in the windows of Chifley Tower, and behind, Governor Phillip Tower, its roof foils gleaming in the sun, against a brilliant sky dotted with whispy clouds. I was happy.

Sometimes, you just have to look up.