Panem et Circenses

Maradona cheats
Diego Maradona illegally sticks the ball with his left hand in the .
Maradona was not penalised for the cheat, called The Hand of God Goal. He was later awarded the golden ball for best player in the tournament.
I'd certainly rather write about what I love than about what I dislike, but it will not be possible today because, according to the , this blog has to deal with number eleven…. From Brazil to England, from France to Korea, this number immediately conjures up one thing only: football, because eleven is the number of players in a team.

When I was a child, I would play football in the playground during the breaks, as every boy does. It is just normal that children play. Later, I played handball (as a goalkeeper, my thumbs remember it well), then rugby that I loved. Sport as a recreational activity is great thing. Playing in teams is an experience besides the sport itself: it has you learn to socialize, and respect people. Theoretically.

Professional football appears to be just the opposite of this theory. Granted, beautiful play may happen. Dribbles by Zinedine Zidane were pure art sometimes. Yet Zidane was also the man who head butted an Italian player, Marco Materazzi, in the final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup ( dealt with it), probably as an over-reaction to racist callings.

In my eyes, this event summed up professional football: it includes manoeuvre and pretension, racism, insults, and violence. The hidden part of the iceberg is of the same kind: doping, cheats, refereeing 'errors' and corruption, and that's not all.

Such flaws are inherent to many professional sports nowadays, not only football. The reason is always the same: money. It's especially obvious in football though, because it is by far the most popular sport in the world.

    [BbN #11]
Famous football players are millionaires who usually grew up in poverty. Their success makes young poor people dream of a better future. Also, people don't think of economical issues when they look at a match.

Nothing new here. 'Panem et Circenses', the Roman emperors would already say, 2000 years ago, about what a leader should provide to the masses to have them remain quiet: bread and games.

Primidi, 1 Vendémiaire CCXVIII, day of Grapes

French Republican Calendar
The French Republican Calendar – Year III

Today, September 22, is the day of the September , when Autumn begins in the Northern (and Spring in the Southern) hemisphere. It was also the first day of the French Republican Calendar. On September 22, 1792 in France, the First Republic was born, and the new calendar (although it was fully conceived some months later only) started on this very same Equinox day.

The new calendar was part of a plan of rationalizing, standardizing, and secularizing systems of measurements named the Metric System, then the (S.I.). At the time in Europe, you would not have a same value for a French, British, Spanish or Italian league, mile, pound, ounce, gallon, whatever. Values would even change between counties or cities in a same country sometimes. A few years earlier then, French King Louis XVI had commissioned a group of scientists headed by to create a unified and rational system of measures. The Revolutionary Government intensified it.

French scientists decided modern values should be based as much as possible on number 10. Their work led to the present unification and rationalization of measurements, with the development of meter, kilogram, then the second, kelvin, ampere, candela, mole, etc. The metric system/S.I. is of widespread use in science, and it has been progressively adopted  in ordinary life by every country in the world but three: Liberia, Myanmar and the USA.

One attempt was a failure though: the , that lasted for about 13 years only (plus 18 days in 1871 during the Paris Commune) and never spread outside France. Every year was written in Roman letters (year CCXVIII begins today). It had twelve months of 30 days each, that were given new names based on seasons and nature, principally having to do with the prevailing weather in and around Paris. For instance, Vendémiaire that begins today, means "the month of Winds". It obviously made the calendar pretty inaccurate in most countries, and especially in the Southern hemisphere.

Every months was divided into three decades, 'weeks' of 10 days called Primidi (first day), Duodi (second day), Tridi (third day) and so on. One Decadi every ten days instead of one Sunday every seven days was certainly another good reason for the new calendar to fail. Instead of Saints as in the Christian calendar, every day in the year was associated to a plant or a tool (Grape today for example).

    [BbN #10]

At the end of the year, 5 or 6 Complementary Days (or Sansculotides) were respectively called Celebration Day of Virtue, Talent, Labour, Convictions, Honours, and on lap years, Celebration of the Revolution.

Today is Primidi, 1er Vendémiaire CCXVIII, day of Grapes. Happy New Republican Year, everyone.

Nine by nine

Nine By Nine by the John Dummer Famous MusicBand (1970)
Cover of the Nine by Nine 45 rpm record (1970)

I confess that I deliberately waited for nine days since my previous blog, because I wanted to post this entry today 9/9/9, at 9:9 am.

Nine by nine by The
John Dummer Famous Music Band

    [BbN #9]
This piece was a huge hit in France in the 1970s. I still find it great now.

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