Sunday, 31 August 2003

ahoy there, me hearties!

This has to be one of the best ideas to come out of America in years. September 19th this year is world Talk Like a Pirate Day. No really!

Check out the new link at the top right of the screen for all the details, then mark the day in your diary and tell everyone you know about it. Even Hollywood is getting in on the action with the Pirates of the Caribbean flick proving jolly popular this summer. I mean, what could be better than spending a whole day shivering timbers and splicing mainsails? Not much I reckon.


Got a strange email from a lady by the name of Diane Atkinson last week. The general gist was 'thanks for signing up for the course, sseeing as it has now been five months, when are you going to choose what to study and then get going?'. And there was me thinking I had already started...Seems that a piece of paper stipulating which order I want to do the modules in didn't get through to Diane, the mba academic co-ordinator. So she thinks I haven't started yet. Also, they apparently were meant to send me a whole bunch of books when you start each module, but they don't tell you. So there was me, happily buying books from Amazon (and believe me, academic texts are not cheap) and getting down to study whilst the office sat there and wondered when I was going to start...for five months! If it was five weeks I could understand it, but to wait that long, thinking 'wow, this guy has just spent all this money and he's not doing anything, ain't that weird? Well, better let him get on with doing nothing I guess...' And all the while I'm in contact with my tutor, talking about courses and texts and assignments and the like. I makes me wonder. It also makes me wonder about my tutor, who had this document stating the order of the course but didn't pass it onto the academic office. It's enough to make you tear your hair out. Anyway, I am still looking at an end of September submission for my first piece, but they amy not not be expecting it until February. Doh!

And here's a weird thing that I've just remembered but is great. If you remember, back on August 3rd I was holding forth on the old Japanese calender vis-a-vis the western one, with its special days like eel day and the beginning of autumn being August 8th. Anyway, not only do the Japanese use this calender, but, like most things in Japan, why have one when three or four will do? So they also use the Chinese year system when evey year has an animal with it - 1972 year of the rat, that sort of thing. Now, the Japanese are a deeply superstitious people and this manifested itself marvellously in 1966. I was reading an article about the population decline in japan and looking at some of those population/demographic graphs that look like bells (maybe it is a bell graph, who knows? statistics are not my forte, as well you know) and there was a huge blip in 1966 when the birth rate dropped prodigously. 1965 and 1967 were fine, but '66 was a shocker, the reason being that it was year of the horse. "What's wrong with that?" was the question. Well, apparently, female babies born in the year of the horse are guaranteed to grow up as fiery and headstrong and will, and I am not making this up (but someone might be), go mad and murder their husbands. Again, no really.

So the birth rate dropped as couples avoided getting pregnant from early 1965 to mid 1966 to make sure they didn't give birth in that year. Weird. Women born in that year will now be 36, so the time is right for them all to start going off their rockers and chopping up their spouses. I can't wait to see the news reports for the next few years - will it become a defence in court? "Well, it wasn't my fault, blame my parents, they gave birth to me in 1966...". As with most things to do with children in Japan, this terrible fate only happened to girls, boys born in this year are fine, apparently, as boys in Japan can do no wrong (well apart from sexually abusing 4 year olds and then throwing them off the 7th floor of a multistory, but let's not go there).

And oddly enough , it only seem that 1966 was affected by this curse of going mad and killing your husband, subsequent years of the horse, though not really trusted, are much more acceptable in which to give birth, it seems. This was something to do with a third calender being in some sort of dodgy conjunction - being year of the horse you get the headstrong and willful thing (very un-Japanese for a lady) and also a Hinoe year, which is the fiery/husband mudering bit. Add them all together and you get a massive drop in birth. Odd that.

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