When I press the button at the bottom of my mobile phone, the first screen has the time and date at the top and the instruction ‘Swipe screen to unlock’ at the bottom. In the middle are various bits of information, including notifications of missed calls or voice messages, and news from Google. Earlier today, the new was “New LPA to boost rains from habagat”. I have no idea what that means and equally no idea why Google would think I was interested. Some research was necessary.

Searching Google found the article on Inquirer.net, the headline of which had one extra, even more baffling word “New LPA to boost rains from habagat, ‘Falcon’”. The first paragraph makes almost everything clear:

MANILA, Philippines — A new low pressure area west of the Philippines will further enhance the southwest monsoon and Tropical Storm “Falcon” (international name: Danas).

So an LPA is a low pressure area (is this really commonly used in Filipino news headlines?), a/the/- habagat is the south-west monsoon (“characterized by hot and humid weather, frequent heavy rainfall, and a prevailing wind from the west” and lasting May/June to Nov/Dec – Wikipedia), and “Falcon” is an officially named tropical storm. (For the rest of the year, the prevailing weather is the amihan – “moderate temperatures, little or no rainfall, and a prevailing wind from the east”.)

What it doesn’t make clear is why Google thinks I would be interested.

PS I can imagine an Australian news source using “low” and “high” in a headline, but not LPA or HPA.


How will you be remembered?

This morning, one news website had the headline Happy Days star dies, 72. The photo obviously wasn’t Erin Moran (who I remember dying relatively recently, in reduced circumstances) or Marion Ross (whose name I had forgotten and who I was pleased to learn is still with us, aged 90, bless her). It was … Louisa Moritz, who was in … one episode. Other websites refer to her in One flew over the cuckoo’s nest (Wikipedia lists her second last) and/or as of one of the women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault.

Last year, I read a similar headline Doctor Who actress dies. Another website named Jacqueline Pierce, who was the major antagonist in Blake’s 7, and appeared in … one serial, three episodes of Doctor Who.

A few years ago in quick succession were the deaths of ‘David Bowie‘, ‘Eagles guitarist, Glenn Frey‘ and ‘Mr Ed’s human companion‘.

every single day

I try to avoid ‘celebrity’ ‘news’, but this headline was right there on the newspaper’s website:

Khloé Kardashian thinks about having a nose job every single day

I suspect this means she thinks about (having a nose job) (every single day), but I can’t help get the feeling it means she thinks about (having a nose job every single day). The latter scenario would keep her out of the public eye, though, which could only be a good thing.

Court Arena

In 1960, Margaret Smith won the first of her 24 Grand Slam singles titles (alongside 19 in women’s doubles and 21 in mixed doubles). In 1967, she married a man with the appropriately tennis-y surname of Court, and was thereafter known as Margaret Court. (Her husband’s family was/is involved in law and politics – royal courts and law courts came before tennis courts. He successfully courted her, obviously.) When the Melbourne Park tennis complex was built in 1988, two of the major venues were named after Australia’s most successful male and female tennis players, but are not the Rod Laver Court and the Margaret Court Court, but the Rod Laver Arena and the Margaret Court Arena.

Post-tennis, Margaret Court became a minister in a Pentecostal church in 1991, and has publicly maintained a conservative position against homosexuality and LGBT+ rights in general and the current campaign to allow same-sex marriage in Australia in particular. As a result, there have been calls for the arena to be renamed. The latest of these came from a well-known Australian pop singer performing at Tennis Australia’s Newcombe Medal presentation ceremony on Tuesday night. Her name? Tina Arena.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s story has the mixed-metaphor title Tina Arena tackles Margaret Court at the Newcombe Medal, but the url uses the tennis-y metaphor tina-arena-lobs-one-at-margaret-court-at-the-newcombe-medal.


Call me maybe

Kim Jeong-Eun calls Donald Trump ‘mentally deranged’
Kim Jeong-Eun calls Donald Trump a ‘dotard’
Bill Shorten calls Tony Abbott

The first two (slightly adapted) headlines probably need no explanation, but to those of you from places other than Australia, the third (also slightly adapted) probably does. Australia is currently suffering from an unnecessary, expensive and divisive public debate and official survey on the question ‘Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?’. The current (centre-right) prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull is personally in favour, but is being held hostage by a further-right group within his party, which is opposed. A former prime minister, Tony Abbott, is one of this group. The (centre-left) opposition party, led by Bill Shorten, is either officially in favour or willing to allow its members a conscience vote. Yesterday, Tony Abbott was headbutted on a public street by a man wearing a ‘yes’ badge, and suffered ‘slight swelling’ of his upper lip.

(asterisked strong language follows)

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