Thursday, September 07, 2006

EVER WONDER WHAT PEOPLE ARE THINKING?

I do. All the time. At least once a day I wonder, what the hell was that person thinking? I don't always mean it as a substitute for "why are you a moron?" Sometimes, like in the first article below, I wonder how you parse the issues out and reach a decision if you are in that person's shoes (the daughter, not the father).

First, the Sun-Times reports that a woman was taking her father on "one last train trip." He was 80 and had lung and brain cancer. They boarded an Amtrak train in San Francisco, bound for Chicago. Apparently on Sunday, outside of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, her father died. On a train already headed for Chicago. Which is where (generally) they are from. The woman apparently knew what it would cost to ship her deceased father's remains from Colorado to Chicago, and did not have the money to do it. So she didn't report the death. For 23 hours. Until she got to Chicago.

I know what you are thinking. She killed him and this story is her cover for the homocide. Apparently the Chicago Police Department already thought of that. They say that autopsy results show that the man died of natural causes. So what we have is an apparently well meaning daughter, taking her very ill father on an epic train trip (without delays it is 51 hours, 20 minutes). And he passes away. And now there is nothing to be done, and he is dead anyway, and if he is taken off in Colorado, there is no way to get him home anyway. So, it what do you do?

Next, we have a head-slapping moment from India. The Christian Science Monitor reports on India's ongoing efforts to rename cities to remove the colonial taint from their names. Some of the names are obvious, and frankly for that reason, kind of stupid. For instance: Calcutta becomes Kolkata; Pondicherry becomes Puducherry; Bangalore becomes Bengaluru. However, when Madras becomes Chennai, or Bombay becomes Mumbai, you just have to know the cities. You probably would not guess. Apparently there is even talk of changing the name India, either to Hindustan (in a country with 138 million Muslims (more than 50 million more people than live in Egypt), 24 million Christians (twice the size of the population of Belgium), and 19 millions Sikhs) or Bharat. As a process, disposing of colonial names is a tried and true activity in post-colonial countries. However, India has been free of the British for over 50 years. Furthermore, one of the drivers of India's dynamic growth has been outsourcing activities that make use of the ability of the population to speak English. Going out of your way to remove English names from the geography of the country may not be sending the right message. Indians politicians, what are you thinking?

Finally, in Philadelphia they have decided to put the city's second most important monument in the city to its rightful place outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Apparently there was some sort of argument that a monument to a fictional character played by Sylvester Stallone outside the main art museum in America's fifth largest city was not appropriate. What are they thinking? The real reasons to not have the Rocky monument there are Rocky III (with Hulk Hogan and Mr. T), Rocky IV (with Dolph Lundgren, Brigitte Nielsen, and the line "I must break you"), Rocky V (with Tommy Morrison), and apparently a Rocky VI to be called Rocky Balboa. Each of those is a reason to take the statue down, and melt it down to make pop cans, or something useful.

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