G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sherpas Can Put Even Homer Simpson on the Everest

Lukas Eberle:

"Since the first ascent on May 29, 1953, by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, some 3,836 people have climbed Mount Everest, with almost three quarters of them making the ascent in the last 10 years. The Himalayan peak has become "an amusement park," says top Italian alpinist Simone Moro, who has summited Everest four times."

(Spiegel Online International, Oct 5 2012)


I never liked the disclosure by Tenzing Norgay that it was Sir Edmund Hillary who put the first step on the Everest.

Why couldn't it be that both of them did it together?

MICHAEL J. YBARRA writes in his review of 'Buried in the Sky' By Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan:

"The real climbing isn't done by the publicity-seeking adventurers with corporate sponsorships who lug satellite telephones up the mountain so they can blog about their exploits while relying on fixed lines to lead them upward."

(WSJ, June 21 2012)

[p.s. Mr. Ybarra was killed on June 30- July 1 2012 in a fall during a weekend mountain-climbing trip in the Sierra Nevada. The area where Mr. Ybarra is believed to have been climbing doesn't have trails and is used mostly by experienced mountain climbers.]

It is done by either Nepalese Sherpas or the Pakistani equivalent.

"It has become fashionable among the adventurers who attempt K2 to link their efforts to a worthwhile cause, however far-fetched, such as bringing attention to water conservation. The Nepalese and Pakistani climbers who help them also have a good cause: feeding their families. Given that the average worker in Pakistan earns the equivalent of less than $3 a day, the mountain work is enticing. A porter carrying loads to base camp makes $9 a day, and the high-altitude workers rake in much more: Climbers who make it to the summit customarily pay a $1,000 bonus. "When your family needs that money," Pasang Lama tells the authors, "sometimes you don't insist a weak climber turn back."

The money means little to the 8-year-old son of Jehan Baig, a Pakistani porter who died in the K2 tragedy when his son was 4. "I hate foreigners," the boy says. "Why do they come to climb mountains and kill our fathers?" K2 used to be known as the mountaineer's mountain. Sadly, that doesn't seem to be true anymore..."

There was a lot of noise on Marathi TV channels when a few Pune based climbers came back after climbing the Everest. I wonder if any of them- surely part of the 350 people mentioned below- spoke about the Sherpas.

"On Everest—where about 350 people reached the summit over two days this spring—Sherpas do virtually all the work, fixing lines to the top and sometimes even attaching the clients' ascenders (a metal device that clamps onto the line) so that they don't have to remove their mitts."

TV can be so shallow.

Sherpas always bring to my mind "King of the Hill", 23rd episode of the ninth season of "The Simpsons" first aired on 3-May-1998.

Homer agrees to climb the tallest mountain in Springfield, "The Murderhorn". He is aided by two Sherpas as guides. They drag Homer up the mountain as he sleeps. During one of these nights, Homer wakes up to discover that he is being secretly dragged, and fires the two Sherpas.

courtesy: The Simpsons

Bart: Oh, Dad's gonna die and it's all my fault!
Marge: Don't worry, kids, your father will be just fine as long as he's with those Sherpas.

Marge doesn't know so far that he's NOT with those Sherpas.

Lucky those who are!

And when they are, the climb is as smooth as an escalator like in the picture below:

Artist: Gahan Wilson, The New Yorker, July 3 2000