Sunday, October 16, 2016

Bob Dylan: Most Unseemly Nobel Literature Laureate Ever?

Even though it is undeniable that Bob Dylan is one of the greatest songwriters in the great American songwriting tradition, but does this make the “old hippie” the most unseemly Nobel Literature laureate ever?

By: Ringo Bones 

When the news first broke out that Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize for 2016, many of my “audio-buddies” immediately quipped “who will the Nobel Committee award for next year’s Nobel Literature Prize – Tori Amos, Liz Phair?” Despite of the inextricably unprecedented move, the Nobel Committee did state their justification for awarding the 2016 Nobel Literature Prize to Bob Dylan – but is Bob Dylan, despite his great musical achievements since the 1960s, truly deserving of the Nobel Literature Prize? 

Bob Dylan’s place as one of the world’s greatest artistic figures was further elevated on Thursday, October 13, 2016 when Dylan was named the surprise winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. After the announcement, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Sara Danius, said it had “not been a difficult decision” and he hoped the Swedish Academy would not be criticized for its choice. 

On Bob Dylan’s 2016 Nobel Literature Prize win, Swedish Academy secretary Sara Danius advised those unfamiliar with the works of Dylan to start with the 1966 album Blonde on Blonde in which she said “I’s an extraordinary example of his brilliant way of rhyming, putting together refrains, and his pictorial way of thinking.” Though to me at least, Bob Dylan’s 1975 album The Basement Tapes is the one that faithfully captures Dylan as a singer songwriter. 

Whether or not Bob Dylan is truly deserving of the 2016 Nobel Literature Prize could be down to how the Swedish Academy interpreted Alfred Nobel’s original will governing the rules of awarding the Nobel Literature Prize. Originally interpreted as embracing not only writings in the field of belles-lettres (i.e. beautiful writing of artistic merit), but also of other works provided they possessed literary merit. Given this rather still-ambiguous clarification, Bob Dylan winning the 2016 Nobel Literature Prize could be justified – but should Tori Amos and Liz Phair or other great singer-songwriters should be in the running for the Nobel Literature Prize? 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Did Some Joker Just Nominated Donald J. Trump For The Nobel Peace Prize?

As if his bid for the U.S. Republican Party wasn’t yet enough of a joke, did you know that some joker just nominated Donald J. Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize?

By: Ringo Bones 

When the new year began, the roster for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize included residents of the Greek island of Lesbos who aided the Syrian refugees washed up on their shores, an escaped sex slave of the so-called Islamic State turned women’s rights activist, the negotiators who ended five decades of civil war in Colombia, National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and them some joker just nominated the U.S. Republican Party’s presidential joke candidate Donald J. Trump. The social media is indeed alight of comments of “W.T.F.?!!!” indeed. But is Donald J. Trump a valid nominee for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize? 

A respected Nobel watcher and director of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo named Kristian Berg Harpviken told CNN back in February 3, 2016 that a “mystery patron” nominated Donald J. Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. Even though Harpviken made a promise / deal not to reveal the nominator’s name, Harpviken did reveal the reasons on why the mystery patron nominated Donald J. Trump for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize as the mystery patron cited Donald J. Trump’s Ronald Reagan influenced “Peace Through Strength” ideology and using the U.S. Armed Forces as a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, the so-called Islamic State, Iran’s iffy nuclear deal and Mainland China’s undermining of the United States’ economic well-being. More famous as a brash reality show host and as a billionaire with a somewhat cavalier attitude towards women’s issues back in the 1980s and the 1990s, Donald J. Trump is indeed an odd nominee for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize given the current political outlook of the new generation of so-called millennials.  

The Nobel Committee, which does not reveal the details of its decision-making process, typically offers thousands of people opportunity to nominate notable organizations and individuals for the award, which counts among its notable recipients Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Red Cross and in 2009, U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama. Donald J. Trump, however, is not on Harpviken’s shortlist, which is currently topped by Edward Snowden and two U.S. and Iranian nuclear negotiators. Others that were nominated in the past but did not receive their Nobel Peace Prize include Mahatma Gandhi, Pope Francis, Adolf Hitler and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. Given his disparaging comments on Mexicans and Muslims on U.S. soil – many cite Donald J. Trump is more akin to the reasons why Adolf Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Should The Residents Of The Greek Island of Lesbos Receive The 2016 Nobel Peace Prize?

Given that they’ve been helping Syrian and Iraqi war refugees fleeing from the onslaught of the so-called Islamic State, should Lesbians receive the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Ever since the flood of war refugees, mostly from Syria and Iraq fleeing from the onslaught of the so-called Islamic State and Syrian strongman Bashar Al Assad’s ill-advised military adventurism to rid of his country of his “political enemies” started to arrive on the shores of the Greek island of Lesbos, it seems that the island’s residents have gone out of there way to help these needy people who just want a safe haven for themselves and their families until the peace and order situation of their respective home countries improve. But unbeknown to the rest of the world, the central government in Athens had been threatening jail time to Lesbians who give aid to the arriving refugees citing the countries seldom-enforced anti-mendicancy laws. Despite of this, the residents of the Greek island of Lesbos continued to give aid to the tide of refugees for several years now and given their unrelenting show of humanity, should the residents of the Greek island of Lesbos who give aid to arriving refugees be awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize? 

There has already been a petition on the major social media networks calling for the awarding of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize to the Lesbians who aid the arriving refugees. Even though awarding groups who performed exemplary acts worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize is nothing new – i.e. during the mid 1980s, they have been calls to give the Afghan Mujahedin the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in resisting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan back then – the “compassion” shown by the residents of the Greek island of Lesbos towards the Iraqi, Syrian and other war refugees arriving on their shores is more “Nobel Peace Prize worthy” by today’s standards. While the right-wing Evangelical portion of America have been calling a temporary ban of Arab Muslim refugees fleeing the ongoing conflict of Syria and Iraq requesting for asylum in the United States as a pledge of allegiance to their White Supremacist Jesus or something, the Lesbians seem to be more pragmatic when it comes to showing their humanity to the refugees. Sometimes, I wonder if the residents of the Greek island of Lesbos helping refugees is what inspired Egyptian telecommunications billionaire Naguib Sawiris to spend his own money to do his own part in helping refugees fleeing from the onslaught of the so-called Islamic State form Syria and Iraq.    

Saturday, July 18, 2015

John Kerry: Desperate For A Nobel Peace Prize?

With the Iran Nuclear Deal almost becoming his personal crusade, is US Secretary of State John Kerry really desperate to win the Nobel Peace Prize?

By: Ringo Bones 

Ever since being appointed as the 68th State Secretary of the United States, it seems that John Kerry’s failed bid for the US presidency back in 2004 no longer registers on the consciousness of the general public. But as of late, the Iran Nuclear Deal seems to become John Kerry’s cause célèbre / stepping stone to winning the Nobel Peace Prize by setting it into overdrive during the last few months. With the US Republican Party’s foreign policy forever based on that Orson Wells Nostradamus documentary only saw the current Iran Nuclear Deal as “disastrous” for the future of the United States. 

Three deadlines have already passed yet Kerry is not giving up given that the sanctions issues are what is primarily holding up the deal. Despite the state of Israel’s (or is it the Netanyahu administration’s?) assessment that Iran is only 3 months away from building its own nuclear device, it seems that the rest of the world is on John Kerry’s side when it comes to formulating the latest Iran Nuclear Deal. 

Is a potential nuclear deal a bitter pill for Iran’s supreme leader or should Iran’s mullahs maintain separation of their religious ideology with the pragmatic nature of the deal? Well, if the latest deal comes to pass – which it just recently did a few days ago – Iran will gain access to billions of dollars worth of trade deals which it was currently denied due to sanctions. Hours after the approval of the deal, global crude oil prices dropped in anticipation of a greater access to Iranian crude. According to US President Barack Obama, the recently approved deal has already cut-off Iran’s pathway to acquire a nuclear device for military use. As a safeguard, sanctions will automatically be reinstated whenever proofs of violations are found by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Maybe John Kerry will win his Nobel Peace Prize after all.     

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Farewell Dr. John Nash....

As the world mourns of his recent tragic car crash, will the world be a sadder place without mathematician Dr. John Nash?

By: Ringo Bones

He’s probably more famous to the world at large via the 2001 movie A Beautiful Mind as he’s portrayed by actor Russell Crowe than by his works on game theory during the height of the Cold War and his being a 1994 Nobel Economics Prize laureate, but back in Saturday, May 23, 2015, mathematician Dr. John Nash together with his wife Alicia tragically dies in a car crash in the New Jersey Turnpike. The whole world – and not just the mathematicians’ corner – will be a sadder place without him. 

His work on noncooperative games, published in 1950 and known as the Nash equilibrium is considered as his most influential work of the 20th Century. It provided a conceptually simple but powerful mathematical tool for analyzing a wide range of competitive situations, from cooperative rivalries to legislative decision making. His theories are used in economics, computing, evolutionary biology, artificial intelligence, accounting, politics and military theory. Dr. Nash also made contributions to pure mathematics that many mathematicians view as more significant than his Nobel-winning work on game theory, including solving an intractable problem in differential geometry derived from the work of the 19th century mathematician G.F.B. Riemann. His achievements were more remarkable, colleagues say, for being contained in a small handful of papers published before he was 30.  

Given his lifelong struggle with depression and paranoid schizophrenia, it is quite remarkable feat indeed that Dr. Nash managed to communicate his mathematical brilliance to the whole world and managed to get recognition for it – the 1994 Nobel Economics Prize and a fitting multi-Academy Award winning biopic, A Beautiful Mind, back in 2001. Looks like Russell Crowe’s Tweet back in Sunday, May 24, 2015 is indeed both a touching and fitting tribute of Dr. Nash’s mathematical legacy.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Should There Be A Nobel Prize For Teachers?

Given that the Nobel Prize has been awarded to those who had done very well tin the field of science, literature, peace and economics – should there be one for teachers?

By: Ringo Bones

A wise person once said that without teachers, scientists, literary geniuses, peace negotiators and economists would be in very, very short supply – it is quite a shame that the Nobel Committee doesn’t honor the contribution of teachers to the betterment of mankind. Though we might blame Alfred Nobel for that given he didn’t mention awards for teachers in his will. Given the circumstance, should there be an equivalent of a “Nobel Prize for teachers”?

Luckily there is and it is called the “Global Teacher Prize”. The Varkey Foundation launched the Global Teacher Prize back in March 2014 to celebrate the best teachers around the world, those who inspire students and the communities around them. The Global Teacher Prize seeks to do for education what the Nobel Prize has done for the sciences, literature, peace and economics. The focus is to uplift the valuable contributions that teachers make everyday to establish a flourishing global society.

This 2015, the winner is Nancy Atwell from the U.S. state of Maine receiving her Global Teacher Prize award from Sunny Varkey of the Varkey Foundation. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai and the former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Applications will be judged by the Global Teacher Prize Academy and the winner will be chosen by the prominent Global Teacher Prize Academy made up of head-teachers, educational experts, commentators, journalists, public officials, tech entrepreneurs, company directors and scientists from around the world. Even though only a fortunate few would win, all of which could mean recognition for the hard work done every day by teachers the world over.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Winston Churchill: The Only Head Of State To Win The Nobel Literature Prize?

Even though he’s more famous for his exemplary statesmanship and leadership during the darkest days of World War II – did you also know that Winston Churchill is, so far, the only incumbent head-of-state who was awarded the Nobel Literature Prize? 

By: Ringo Bones 

To most of us, Winston Churchill is better known for his exemplary statesmanship that not only prevented the whole of the U.K. from falling into the clutches of Adolf Hitler’s NAZIs during World War II, but also for his leadership that eventually made freedom and the rule of law reign again across Europe that resulted in an Allied victory during the Second World War. But did you also know that Winston Churchill is, so far, the only incumbent head-of-state that won the Nobel Literature Prize? 

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, English statesman and writer was born at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England on November 30, 1874, the son of Lord Randolph Churchill and his American wife, Jennie, Jerome. Educated at Harrow at Sandhurst, Winston Churchill entered the British Army as a subaltern in the Fourth Hussars in 1895. Soon afterwards while on leave, he participated in the Spanish campaign against Cuban insurrectionists as a correspondent; then, after a peaceful term of garrison life in the south of India, he attached himself, again as a correspondent, to a British force operating on the Northwest Frontier.
Returning to England in 1897, Churchill wanted to go to go to the Balkans where hostilities were under way, but instead made his way to Egypt and joined a Lancers regiment in Lord Kitchener’s army. Though Kitchener disliked Churchill because of his practice of combining journalism with soldiering, the young officer was not dismayed. He took a distinguished part in a famous cavalry charge at Omdurman and at the close of field operations resigned from the army to devote himself to politics, making an unsuccessful attempt to enter Parliament. 

Even though the Dardanelles Campaign / Gallipoli Campaign eventually became his “Waterloo” during his stint as the First Lord of the Admiralty in the British Royal Navy, Winston Churchill nonetheless became the Conservative Prime Minister of U.K. after defeating then U.K. PM Neville Chamberlain. Though the Dunkirk evacuation of May 27 to June 4, 1940 – code-named Operation Dynamo – seems like the “darkest hour” of World War II, Britain stood by Winston Churchill in lieu of his blood, toil, sweat and tears speech.
Even though the July 10 to October 31, 1940 Battle of Britain became Britain’s  “Finest Hour” of World War II after the 3 months and 3 weeks long battle for air superiority of the British airspace resulted in a decisive British victory, the “Battle of Britain” has an unusual distinction in that it gained its name prior to being fought. The name is derived from a famous speech delivered by the then Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the House of Commons more than three weeks prior to the generally accepted date for the start of the battle. Nevertheless, the decisive victory of the Battle of Britain eventually bolstered the statesmanship of Winston Churchill that led to the success of the D-Day landings in June 6, 1944, 4 years and 2 days after the last day of the Dunkirk evacuation. 

By July 1945, the British people elected a majority of Labour Party members to the House of Commons and Clement Attlee became Prime Minister. After his defeat in the polls, Churchill resumed his position as a leader of the opposition. He visited the United States in 1946 and in a speech at Fulton, Missouri, gave wide currency to the term “Iron Curtain” as describing the wall of secrecy behind which the then Soviet government operated. 

With a narrow Conservative Party victory in the general elections of October 1951, Winston Churchill once more became Prime Minister. Not only was Churchill knighted by Queen Elizabeth II back in 1953, Churchill was also awarded the Nobel Literature Prize on that year on his “historical and biographical description and brilliant oratory, making him the only incumbent head-of-state so far that was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. 

In April 1955, after more than 50 years of a distinguished political career, Sir Winston Churchill tendered to the queen his resignation as Prime Minister. He died in London on January 24, 1964. Following a state funeral service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, he was buried near Blenheim Palace.