Donald J. Trump, the outgoing President of the United States had thought of running for president in 1988, 2004, and 2012, and for Governor of New York in 2006 and 2014, but did not enter any of those races. In 1988, considered as a potential running mate for George H. W. Bush, he lost to Vice President Dan Quayle.
Donald Trump has always voiced whatever caustic thoughts he has. To him, the Mexicans were “rapists” and “anchor babies“. He has used adjectives such as “bimbo” and “fat pig” to describe women.
For months he preoccupied himself with mocking Kamala Devi Harris, the vice president-elect of the United States.
Earlier Trump had mocked Senator Elizabeth Ann Warren, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts. He called her “the Indian” and “Pocahontas“, and insisted that she was a racist for having listed her heritage while on the faculty of Harvard Law School.
By the way, Donald Trump has his own share of bullshit thrown at him. The following is a snippet about Native Americans tagging a pandering self-conceited Donald Trump with the name “Walking Eagle”.
Donald Trump received an invitation to address a significant gathering of leaders of the American Indian Tribes. At the meeting, he spoke for almost an hour about his plans for increasing every Native American’s standard of living. Though vague in detail, he spoke about his ideas for helping his “red sisters and brothers“.
After he concluded his eloquent speech, the Chiefs of the American Indian Tribes presented him a plaque inscribed with his new Indian name, “Walking Eagle” which a proud pompous Trump accepted.
After Trump left the venue, a reporter asked the group of Chiefs how they came to select the specific name “Walking Eagle” for Trump. The Chiefs explained that it is the name given to a bird so full of shit it can no longer ﬂy.
Brothers Donald John Trump Jr (born December 31, 1977) and Eric Frederick Trump (born January 6, 1984) are the first and the third sons of former US President Donald J Trump and his first wife, Ivana Trump, a former Czech-American model.
The brothers are former reality television personalities and fourth-generation businessmen following their great-grandmother Elizabeth Christ Trump who founded what became the Trump Organization, grandfather Fred Trump, and father Donald John Trump. Currently, both are trustees and executive vice presidents of the Trump Organization.
In 2000, after graduating with a BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Donald Trump Jr moved to Aspen, Colorado. There, he lived in a truck and worked as a bartender for a year. He skied, fished, and hunted before returning to New York to join the Trump Organization.
In 2002, Eric Trump graduated from the Hill School, a coeducational preparatory boarding school located on a 200-acre campus in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Later, he graduated with a degree in finance and management from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. According to Eri Trump, in his youth, he accompanied his father to job sites, mowed lawns, laid tile, and did other menial work on his father’s properties. Though Eric briefly considered other careers he decided to join the family business.
There is nothing valorous to boast about these sons of Donald Trump, except that they are adventurous big-game trophy hunters.
Donald Trump Sr told TMZ, a tabloid news website:
“My sons love hunting. They’re hunters and they’ve become good at it. I am not a believer in hunting and I’m surprised they like it.”
In 2012, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump went on a big-game hunting expedition in Zimbabwe.
Controversy erupted in 2012 when photos of the two Trump brothers posing with the carcasses of dead animals hunted by them in 2010 surfaced. American actress and activist Mia Farrow re-posted them in 2015.
When the photos went viral online, Donald Trump Jr tweeted (and then deleted):
“Not a PR move I didn’t give the pics but I have no shame about them either. I HUNT & EAT game.” (sic)
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) criticized and condemned the Trump brothers for killing buffaloes, elephants, leopards, crocodiles and many exotic wild animals. A spokeswoman for PETA told the Daily News:
“If the young Trumps are looking for a thrill, perhaps they should consider skydiving, bungee jumping, or even following in their anti-hunting father’s footsteps and taking down competing businesses—not wild animals… Like all animals, elephants, buffalo, and crocodiles deserve better than to be killed and hacked apart for two young millionaires’ grisly photo opportunity. If the Trumps want to help villagers, they have plenty of resources at their disposal.” (sic)
The Zimbabwean animal conservation groups who investigated the hunting expedition deemed it legal. V. Chandenga, the director-general of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, released an official statement defending the Trump brothers and calling any allegations of illegality “false” and “baseless”.
In August 2012, in an interview with Deer & Hunting magazine, Donald Trump Jr explained his views on the big-game hunting expedition:
“I think what made it sort of a bigger story and kind of national and even global news was that I didn’t do what a lot of other people do, which is immediately start apologizing for what I am and that I’m a hunter and all this,” (sic)
Again in April 2012, Donald Trump Jr gave an interview to Forbes magazine. He explained that at the age of 12 he learned to hunt from his Czechoslovakian maternal grandfather, Miloš Zelníček and that his father “really doesn’t understand why Eric and I hunt. However, he is open-minded and so always allowed us to go hunting.” (sic)
He also explained how hunting helps people to become conservationists.
“Anyone who thinks hunters are just ‘bloodthirsty morons’ hasn’t looked into hunting. If you wait through long, cold hours in the November woods with a bow in your hands hoping a buck will show or if you spend days walking in the African bush trailing Cape buffalo while listening to lions roar, you’re sure to learn hunting isn’t about killing. Nature actually humbles you. Hunting forces a person to endure, to master themselves, even to truly get to know the wild environment. Actually, along the way, hunting and fishing make you fall in love with the natural world. This is why hunters so often give back by contributing to conservation.” (sic)
The following photos say a lot about the Trump brothers.
A few days ago, I posted an article How do you call a group of fish? My friend Amir Ganesan Amirthalingam posed the question “What do you call a group of crows?” And I answered him ”Murder”.
There are different collective nouns to describe large groups of different birds. Most of them are descriptive of the group of birds and their behaviour or personalities. Some collective nouns such as flock, colony, fleet, can apply to all bird species.
Other flock names used include cloud, mass, collection, throng, murmuration, parcel, or dissimulation. This list is not exhaustive.
Some flock names are rare, obsolete and seldom-used. A few that I have come across are plain silly but are familiar to ornithologists.
Murder of crows
Crows are members of the Corvidae family which includes ravens, magpies, and blue jays. They are noisy, precocious, smart, and their intelligence never ceases to amaze us. Farmers consider the crows as pests and try to protect their crops and seedlings from them. Crows are most often associated with a long tradition of fear and paranoia. The black feathers of the crow frighten some people who associate them with death.
New research proves crows are gregarious, caring and one among the smartest creatures on the planet.
Here is a list of collective nouns used rarely for a flock of crows: horde, hover, mob, muster, parcel, storytelling and murder.
For most of the year, the crows are affable, wary and intelligent. . They are territorial, especially during the nesting season. They roost as a community consisting of hundreds of birds usually on large trees. They gather in large numbers at food sources and attractive dumpsters.
In 1486 AD, St Albans Press in England printed The Book of Saint Albans(or Boke of Seynt Albans). It is also known by the title “The Book of Hawking, Hunting, and Blasing of Arms“. In the 15th century, there was a fad for terms of venery (an archaic word for hunting) or names for groups of game animals. This book contains a long list of collective nouns for animals, and it has, of course, a murder of crows though without any explanation.
Though there was an obsession for terms of venery in the 15th century, most of them fell out of use in the 16th century including the murder of crows.
There are several explanations for the origin of this term, based on old folktales and superstitions.
According to one folktale, a flock of crows will gather to decide the fate of a crow that encroaches their turf. If the crow is guilty, the group will execute (that is, “murder”) the defendant. This is based on the fact that flock of crows will kill a dying crow which doesn’t belong to their territory. The crows are sometimes prone to cannibalism and feed on carcasses of already dead crows.
Crows are scavengers and are generally associated with dead bodies and cemeteries. In the medieval period, crows hovered over execution sites, battlefields, hospitals, and cemeteries. They scavenged on human remains. To some, the appearance of crows is an omen of death. So, when a large number of crows circle above a site, they expect someone to die soon.
Medieval peasants feared the sinister-looking crows. They believed the crows came from the Devil or were witches in disguise. To them, a flock of crows would have appeared murderous.
When rediscovered in the early 20th century, authors then posited that the term murder of crows was correct because of the tremendous noise the crows make.
Some etymologists suggest that the association of crows and ravens with death might have led to the use of the word murder.
To me, the term “murder of crows” reflects a time when many animal groups had vivid and poetic names.
Kevin J. McGowan of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology wrote on his website that no scientist would call it a murder of crows. “Scientists would call it a flock,” he wrote.
Every day we use several collective terms such as a herd, a flock, a swarm, a colony etc. And how do you call a group of fish?
An aggregation of fish is the general term used for any collection of fish gathered in a locality. Most fish swim in groups in search of food or to protect themselves from their natural predators.
The collective noun to denote such groups of fish depends on the species of fish. Besides aggregation, the terms school of fish and shoal of fish are most used to refer to fish that travel as a group.
The words ‘school‘ and ‘shoal’ come from Middle Dutch schōle, of West Germanic origin.
So what is the difference between a school of fish and ashoal of fish?
Schooling fish are usually of the same species and the same age. The individual members of the school move and perform complicated manoeuvres in unison.
In the above image, the bluestripe snappers are schooling. They are all swimming in the same direction in a coordinated way.
If several species of fish stay together for social reasons, they are shoaling.
A group of dogfish is a troop, a group of eels is a swarm, a group of angelfish is a host, and a group of flying fish is a glide.
A group of jellyfish is a swarm, or a bloom if there is a sudden increase in their population. Some sources refer to a group of jellyfish as a smack.
Whales, dolphins, porpoises, and seals that live in the sea are aquatic mammals and not fish. The collective noun to use when these aquatic mammals cluster together is a pod. So, we have pods of whales, pods of dolphins, pods of porpoises, and pods of seals. These aquatic mammals live and travel in pods for protection.
The north-eastern monsoon is now in Tamilnadu, and the weathermen are the first people to come to our minds.
Do you think the job of a weatherman is easy?
After listening to the recent weather forecasts on TV, some, like me, think that we, too, can predict the weather by simply tossing a coin.
Do you want to try?
Just toss a coin. If the head comes up, say,: “It’s going to rain in some parts of the country!” and if it is tail say, “It’s going to be cloudy … with intermittent rain.”
Easy isn’t it?
Most of the time a weatherman’s coin stands on the edge without falling flat. That’s why predictions of a weatherman who appears on TV are ambiguous. He would utter statements like, “The woman might give birth to a boy or else to a girl,” and at times use an arrogant pose to imply that it’s raining because he said so.
Rainfall forecasts from satellite data represent an important source of information for monitoring and predicting the weather. However, Dr Robert J. Kuligowski, a Meteorologist at NOAA/NESDIS/STAR says:
Despite the detailed knowledge about precipitation including the complete hydrological cycle (evaporation, water vapour, convection, condensation, clouds, soil moisture, groundwater and the origin of rivers), predicting precipitation accurately is still one of the most difficult tasks in meteorology.
Owing to modern mathematical models and increasingly efficient computers, scientists seem to have a little more luck than they did a decade ago in forecasting weather patterns a month or more in advance. Yet meteorologists accept that their 30-day prediction is only just marginally more reliable than flipping a coin.
Kuligowski, R., & Barros, A. (1998). Localized Precipitation Forecasts from a Numerical Weather Prediction Model Using Artificial Neural Networks Weather and Forecasting, 13 (4), 1194-1204 DOI: 10.1175/1520-0434(1998)0132.0.CO;2
One Sunday morning, during the sermon, the Pastor said, “If anyone with ‘special needs’ wants me to pray for them, please approach the altar.”
Albert Perera, a businessman and prominent member of the community, stood up and walked to the altar.
The Pastor asked, ” Mr Perera, what do you want me to pray for?”
Perera replied, “Reverend, I need you to pray for my hearing.”
The Pastor placed his right hand on top of Perera’s head and then inserted the middle finger of his left hand into his right ear. He began to pray fervently, and the congregation joined him with enthusiasm.
After a few minutes, the Pastor removed his hands, stood back, looked into Perera’s eyes and asked, “Mr Perera, how is your hearing now?”
Perera replied, “I don’t know yet, reverend. The Criminal Court has scheduled my hearing for next Thursday!”
. In the late 1980s, authors William Strauss and Neil Howe developed The Fourth Turning theory, also known as the Strauss–Howe generational theory or simply the Fourth Turning, describing a theorized recurring generation cycle in American history and global history.
In their book “Generations” published in 1991 which discusses the history of the United States as a succession of generational biographies, the two authors coined the term ‘millennials‘ to describe the generational comradeship of people born between 1982 and 2000. One of the reasons behind the term is the fact that the oldest millennials were graduating high school in the year 2000 – the beginning of the new millennium.
Over time, with more and more young people coming of age, the term millennials has become popular to refer to this generation.
Until 2013, the word ‘millennials’ was not commonly used online and became increasingly popular as psychologists and sociologists sought to understand the millennials as individuals and advertisers targeted them as consumers.
In mass media, newspapers and journals, some people older than the millennials use the term disparagingly to refer to any young person, accusing them of over-sensitivity, an addiction to smartphones, destroying traditional industries, and much more.
Some millennials themselves often use the term as a form of self-deprecation.
Turning 38 this year, the oldest Millennials are well into adulthood.
Prayers recited mainly by Christians are generally brief, rhyming, or have a memorable tune. They are usually said to give thanks before a meal, before bedtime, or as a nursery rhyme. Many of these prayers are either quotation from the Bible or popular traditional texts.
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep; If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen
The following is a recent version of Now I lay me down to sleep:
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep; If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. There are four corners on my bed, There are four angels overhead, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, God bless this bed that I lay on.
Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862), the American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, yogi, historian, and transcendentalist was right when he said that “The modern Christian is a man who has consented to say all the prayers in the liturgy, provided you will let him go straight to bed and sleep quietly afterwards.”
On March 8, 1711, Joseph Addison (May 1, 1672 – June 17, 1719), an English essayist, poet, playwright, and politician wrote an essay that appeared in The Spectator in which he says:
When I lay me down to Sleep, I recommend my self to his Care; when I awake, I give my self up to his Direction.
All the prayers of the modern pious Christians begin with one of the variants of this classic children’s bedtime prayer from the 18th century. This prayer and its adaptations are sometimes combined with the “Black Paternoster”, one version of which goes:
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Bless the bed that I lie on. Four corners to my bed, Four angels round my head; One to watch and one to pray And two to bear my soul away.
Thomas Ady in his witchcraft treatise “A Candle in the Dark, or, a treatise concerning the nature of witches and witchcraft” (1656), tells about a woman in Essex who claimed to have lived in the reign of Mary I (r. 1553-1558) the queen of England, blessed herself every night with the “popish (Roman Catholic) charm”:
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, The Bed be blest that I lye on.
In 1685, George Sinclair, in his”Satan’s Invisible World Discovered” wrote about a witch who used a “Black Paternoster”, at night, similar to Ady’s rhyme:
Four newks (corners) in this house, for haly (holy) Angels, A post in the midst, that’s Christ Jesus, Lucas, Marcus, Matthew, Joannes, God be into this house, and all that belangs (belongs) us.
A year later it was quoted again by John Aubrey, an English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer, but in the form:
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Bless the bed that I lye on. And blessed Guardian-Angel keep Me safe from danger whilst I sleep.
So, we find the typical pious Christian does not wish to be bothered. He looks forward to a future of inactivity. Any effort, especially intellectual effort, is distasteful to him and is apt to offend and unsettle him. Hence for him, the intellectual life must not be real but sleep should be real. Sleep seems to be his quest, “and he is forever looking forward to the time when he shall go to his ‘long rest.‘“
During the reign of Henry VIII, the Parliament of England passed The Buggery Act 1533. Thomas Cromwell, the chief minister to the King was the brain behind it.
This Act defined buggery as an unnatural sexual act, “the detestable and abominable Vice of Buggery committed with Mankind or Beast” against the will of God and Man. It was England’s first civil sodomy law. Earlier, the ecclesiastical courts dealt such offences before. This Act was later defined by the courts to include only anal penetration and bestiality.
The Offences against the Person Act 1828 replaced the Buggery Act, but buggery remained a capital offence until 1861.
In 1861, during the British rule, the Indian Penal Code introduced Section 377, modelled on the Buggery Act of 1533. It makes sexual activities “against the order of nature”, illegal
377. Unnatural offences: Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation: Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section
All over the world many still consider homosexuality as taboo and as a “deviant behaviour”. But lesbian, gay, bisexual and the transgender (LGBT) communities want homosexuality decriminalised.
On July 2, 2009, in response to a petition challenging the constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which criminalized consensual sexual activities between homosexual adults conducted in private, the Delhi High Court struck down portions of Section 377 concerning gay sex as unconstitutional. The judgment held that Section 377 infringed upon fundamental rights under Articles 14, 15, 21 of the Constitution of India, and declared the section unconstitutional to the extent that it criminalized private consensual sexual activity between adults.
Some religious bodies challenged this judgment of decriminalizing Section 377 in the Supreme Court of India.
On December 11, 2013, in Suresh Kumar Koushal vs Naz Foundation case, the Supreme Court of India held that Section 377 providing punishment for gay sex was constitutionally valid and overturned the judgement of the Delhi High Court, thereby shutting the small window for gay rights opened by the Delhi High Court. The Supreme Court held that amending or repealing section 377 should be a matter left to Parliament, not the judiciary.
On Saturday, November 28, 2015, speaking at the Times LitFest, late finance minister Arun Jaitley of BJP and his predecessor P Chidambaram of Congress came out in support of gay rights.
Arun Jaitley is the first leader from the BJP to have supported decriminalization of consensual sex among gay adults. Speaking in his capacity, he said, “When millions of people world over are having alternative sexual preferences, it is too late in the day to propound a view that they should be jailed. The Delhi High Court’s view appears more acceptable.”
Speaking just afterwards, Chidambaram, who was also speaking in his capacity, said that the Delhi High Court verdict decriminalizing gay sex was a wonderful one and the Supreme Court should have stayed with it.
On February 6, 2016, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court reviewed curative petitions submitted by the Naz Foundation and others and decided that they would be reviewed by a five-member constitutional bench.
On August 24, 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the right to privacy as a fundamental right under the Constitution in the landmark Puttaswamy judgement. The Court also called for equality and condemned discrimination, stated that the protection of sexual orientation lies at the core of the fundamental rights and that the rights of the LGBT population are real and founded on constitutional doctrine.
This judgement was believed to imply the unconstitutionality of section 377.
In January 2018, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a petition to revisit the 2013 Naz Foundation judgment.
On Thursday, September 6, 2018, in the judgment given by a five judges bench comprising the then Chief Justice of India DipakMisra, Justices R F Nariman, D Y Chandrachud, A M Khanwilkar and InduMalhotra, the Supreme Court of India pronounced the much-awaited verdict on a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of section 377 of the IPC which criminalises consensual gay sex. It ruled unanimously in Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India that Section 377 was unconstitutional “in so far as it criminalises consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex.”
However, other portions of Section 377 relating to sex with minors, non-consensual sexual acts, and bestiality stay in force.