Highlights of July

July 2008

World:

On the whole,  July was a busy month with work so I didn’t manage to blog all that regularly; to cheer meself up, I posted some funny kitty pics.

While browsing for Irish language websites on the internet, I came across a link to a 6-episode programme called In the Name of the Fada. It was shown on RTE in March and April this year and documents the experiences of Irish-American comedian Des Bishop, a native of New York, who spent a year living in Connemara Gaeltacht (an Irish language speaking area). His goal was to do a one-hour stand-up comedy gig entirely as Gaeilge (in Irish) by the end of the year. It was a very funny series, though richly peppered with expletives. Sadly, I did not manage to watch all the episodes, because RTE’s website only makes them temporarily available! Definitely a shortcoming, I’d say! (I suppose they want you to buy the stuff…)

A friend who knows my love of words sent me the results of a competition which asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. My personal favourite is “Caterpallor: The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.” The same friend kindly supplemented my vocabulary further with some words that you might not find in the Oxford English Dictionary either. For an exquisitely beautiful poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge that asks “What if…”, read this.

When I received two almost identical video clips from a friend, of a group of people using their cellphones to make popcorn, my first thought was “Oh wow! Didn’t know that would work!” Sadly, a bit of searching via Google revealed that this was a viral marketing campaign conducted by a company called Cardo Systems to sell their wireless products. Paradox? Methinks so.

On Sunday, 27 July, a new search engine by the name of Cuil.com – pronounced ‘cool’ – was launched. As its name is supposedly the old Irish word for knowledge, and as I am a little obsessed about all things Irish (as you well know!), this announcement immediately aroused my interest. Unfortunately it hasn’t yet managed to live up to all the hype or – as it promises – to rival Google, but I have bookmarked it and will keep checking it out.

Nation:

South Africans tend to whinge and whine about pretty much everything quite a lot. Admittedly things aren’t all that rosy, and it doesn’t help when our political and community leaders face criminal and civil charges, and when they lie, steal, and cheat to stay in power. It’s also rather disturbing when you hear of policemen being shot and killed in the line of duty.

So I was intrigued when I saw an amazing article about the power of positive thinking on the SA Good News website about an initiative that was to be launched on Leaders Day. At 10:00am on 18 July 2008 (my own birthday as well as that of Nelson Mandela) all South Africans were urged to stop for 30 seconds in silence, prayer or agreement to show all the country’s leaders (not just political) that we are committed to being positive.

I wonder what the outcome has been? Unfortunately the Leaders Day website has not been updated since 18 July, apart from a handful of people leaving none-too-encouraging comments. Is that a sign that there wasn’t much of a shift in consciousness?

Neighbourhood:

It’s remarkable how sunshine can lift one’s spirits. After 7 days of bucketing rain and gusting wind (well, it IS winter in July after all, and it’s good to have the dams filling up again), we finally had a sunny day. I went for a walk around the neighbourhood, soaking up the not-that-warm rays of the sun, and took some close-up photos of bees zooming from one flower to the next, collecting pollen and sipping nectar.  

Home:

On the home front, I bought a fleece-lined ‘snuggle stocking’ for our cat in order to tempt her off our bed. After initially apprehensive sniffing and pawing, she curled up inside it for a couple of days in a row, clearly a sign of approval. Alas, by the end of the month, she was back on the pillow in front of the oil-heater during the evening… and on our bed during the night. Sigh… Confirming yet again that CATS HAVE MINDS OF THEIR OWN!

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