Monday, February 28, 2011

How Do You Spell Relief?

JACKASS OF THE MONTH – Our Jackass this month is Moammar El-Gadhafi, like all hair coloring, money stealing dictators he continues to hang on while his country suffers. You may have noticed reading the news recently, that there is no agreed upon way to spell the name of the current Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi. The controversy is well illustrated by a May 1986 letter to Minnesota second graders; the leader signed his name in English "Moammar El-Gadhafi." The AP reported the event, "Second-Graders Get Letter From Khadafy." In 2009, ABC News listed 112 different ways to spell Gaddafi, which have appeared in various news outlets. The leader's name was even the topic of a 1981 Saturday Night Live sketch, offering the most creative spelling a one-way ticket to Tripoli.

The explanation, you may have read, is due to discrepancies transliterating Arabic. While true, this is not the whole story. Gaddafi (Google's most frequent spelling) is spelled القذافي in Arabic. The first letter "ق," qoph, is pronounced as a "k" sound and usually transliterated as a "q." Likewise, the second letter of his name, thal, "ذ," is pronounced as a deep "d" or "th" ("the" not "with") and transliterated "dh." Given these standardized spellings, the Libyan leader's name should be spelled "Qadhafi."

The reason the most common spelling of Gaddafi begins with a "g" is due to the Libyan dialect, which pronounces qoph like a "g" sound. English translations of Arabic leaders names generally are consistent with their local dialects, rather than standard translation. The best example of this would be late Egyptian leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser. His first name beginning with a jim "‫ج‬" would be traditionally transliterated Jamal. Instead, the Egyptian pronunciation of his name is the norm for English transliteration.

But please just get out.

HOW TO AVOID A REVOLT: COLD HARD CASH - "King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia announced financial support measures, worth an estimated SR135bn ($36bn), in a bid to avert the kind of popular unrest that has toppled leaders across the region. ... The measures include a 15 per cent salary rise for public employees to offset inflation, reprieves for imprisoned debtors, and financial aid for students and the unemployed."

ANOTHER WAY TO SPELL RELIEF (FUNDRAISING) – Certain 3 ½ day work week administrators should take note of this instead of borrowing money to keep up with the times: $172.1 million raised in St. Lawrence University’s seven year Momentum Campaign.

Over seven years, gifts to Momentum St. Lawrence made possible:
- Creation of 45 new endowed scholarships for students
- Funding for 28 University Fellows, students selected to pursue independent research with faculty mentors
- Six new endowed professorships
- Additions and enhancements to facilities, including the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Johnson Hall of Science; the Sullivan Student Center; the Diana B. Torrey '82 Health and Counseling Center; Steiner Senior Townhouse residences for students; Pub 56, a social gathering space; new space for student radio station KSLU and performance venue Java; arts facilities throughout the Noble University Center, Peterson-Kermani Performance Hall most notably; athletic facilities, such as North Country Field, Leet-Hall Stadium and locker/meeting rooms for football.

A new program still being developed is the New York City Semester, designed to allow students interested in finance or arts management to study and live in New York. Fund-raising is still in progress for the program, with an anticipated start date in the spring 2012 semester.

Specifically, Momentum St. Lawrence raised:
- $51.5 million for the University's endowment; $41.1 million for facilities; $20.9 million for program enhancements; $37.2 in support of the St. Lawrence Fund; and $21.4 million in undesignated bequests or trusts; unrestricted gifts; gifts-in-kind; and miscellaneous gifts.

Congratulations, all higher education institutions should take note, this was accomplished during a recession.

OSCAR REPORT: List of 83rd annual Oscar winners - AP: 1. Best Picture: 'The King's Speech.' 2. Actor: Colin Firth, 'The King's Speech.' 3. Actress: Natalie Portman, 'Black Swan.' 4. Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, 'The Fighter.' 5. Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, 'The Fighter.' 6. Directing: Tom Hooper, 'The King's Speech.' 7. Foreign Language Film: 'In a Better World,' Denmark. 8. Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, 'The Social Network.' 9. Original Screenplay: David Seidler, 'The King's Speech.' 10. Animated Feature Film: 'Toy Story 3.' 11. Art Direction: 'Alice in Wonderland.' 12. Cinematography: 'Inception.' 13. Sound Mixing: 'Inception.' 14. Sound Editing: 'Inception.'

15. Original Score: 'The Social Network,' Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. 16. Original Song: 'We Belong Together' from 'Toy Story 3,' Randy Newman. 17. Costume Design: 'Alice in Wonderland.' 18. Documentary Feature: 'Inside Job.' 19. Documentary (short subject): 'Strangers No More.' 20. Film Editing: 'The Social Network.' 21. Makeup: 'The Wolfman.' 22. Animated Short Film: 'The Lost Thing.' 23. Live Action Short Film: 'God of Love.' 24. Visual Effects: 'Inception.' Previously presented honorary Oscars: film historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow, director-producer Francis Ford Coppola, director Jean-Luc Godard and actor Eli Wallach.

SHOW STEALER – Oscar presenter/show stealer Kirk Douglas, St. Lawrence Class of ’39, was one of the few fun moments to Sunday’s Oscar telecast.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Mario Andretti (71), Harry Belafonte (84), Mikhail Gorbachev (80), Peter Jacobsen (57), Madonna (47), Retired Cardinal Roger Mahoney (75).

COLLEGE HOCKEY GAME OF THE WEEK – Friday 3/4, #9 New Hampshire Wildcats (19-7-6) at #2 Boston College Eagles (24-7-1), 7:30 ET, NESN. The playoffs are beginning in the CCHA and ECAC, but in the Big East the regular season continues. Jerry York’s Boston College team, fresh off a Beanpot Tourney victory host the visitors from Durham. We pick the Eagles to win at Chestnut Hill.
Season to date (2-6).

NHL SEASON THREE QUARTERS REPORT: Top five teams at this point in the season: 1). Vancouver Canucks, 2). Detroit Red Wings, 3). Philadelphia Flyers, 4). Tampa Bay Lightning, 5). San Jose Sharks. Top five worst teams at this point: 5). Florida Panthers, 4). Colorado Avalanche, 3). New York Islanders, 2). Ottawa Senators, 1). Edmonton Oilers.

THE LAST ONE - Frank Buckles, the last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I, has died. He was 110. Buckles, who also survived being a civilian POW in the Philippines in World War II, died peacefully of natural causes early Sunday at his home in Charles Town, WV. Buckles lied about his age to join the army at age 16. The Missouri native was among nearly 5 million Americans who served in World War I in 1917 and 1918.

PART III: GRANADA REPORT – Niece Alex B. writes about her studies this term in Granada Spain. Now into her second month we continue her saga.

Another topic of Alex’s is the Alhambra. “It is an old Moorish fortress that we toured. In Arabic it is translated to “the red one” and was used as a small city when the Moors were in power and then later added on to by the Catholics in 1492 when they took over. It was unofficially named the 8th wonder of the world and definitely Granada’s biggest claim to fame (other than being the only Spanish city that still gives free tapas). It is absolutely gigantic and takes about 4 hours to tour completely. Part of it is a palace for the sultan, fortress for the royal family, and living quarters for the public, political, and private sectors. Also there is a summer home for the royal family and gorgeous gardens all around it. The Alhambra was also made very famous from all the literature written about it. Washington Irving wrote a very popular book called “Tales from the Alhambra” and Hemingway has written a ton about it too. Both authors lived in the Alhambra at some point and we actually saw Irving’s room on the tour.”

Alex and her fellow students are now traveling to Barcelona, Madrid and to Carnival in Cadiz. We hope to get further reports of her experiences.

Next week, dining in the desert.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
February 28, 2011

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