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Gamut of emotions?

中国日报网 2013-05-21 11:08

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Reader question:

Please explain “gamut of emotions” in this passage (Sir Alex Ferguson: reaching 1,500 Manchester United games is ‘incredible’, Guardian.co.uk, May 17, 2013):

Ferguson was asked whether any single thing stood out as he steps down from a job he took in 1986. He said: “Twenty-six years at Manchester United is fantastic, so just the whole thing. The day I came here was a privilege and the day I left I’ve been honoured. You run the gamut of emotions of course, it's such a great football club and I’ve been lucky to be here that time. The whole being here is something to be proud of.”

My comments:If you run the gamut of emotions, you experience every kind of emotion there is.

If Sir Alex Ferguson were Chinese, he could’ve used a food analogy, saying that 26 years at United has let him taste all the sour, the sweet, the bitter and the hot spicy of managerial life.

Run the gamut, instead, is a musical analogy, gamut referring to a complete scale of musical notes, or the whole range of sound an instrument makes. Simply put, if you run your fingers through all the keys of the piano one by one, from the left to right, you will be running the gamut of all sounds the piano can make – and if done in rapid succession, you will hear a ringing sound resembling a tinkling stream of water.

Anyways, for Ferguson to say that he’d “run the gamut of emotions” in the 26 years at the helms of Manchester United, one of the best football clubs in the English Premiership, is to say he’s experienced all the feelings one can feel, from good to bad, from happy to sad.

Anything, you name it.

As we can imagine, when one has been that long at a great club as United, which itself is a miracle, one certainly will have seen it all.

First of all, when you’re that long in coaching, you must have won some and lose some. Actually Ferguson won a lot – 17 Premiere League titles, among others. When he wins, he’s happy. No doubt about that.

When he loses a match, he’s mad, as any competitive coach will be. And Ferguson isn’t just any competitive coach, of course. The fact that he mostly wins only helps make losing so much more miserable to him – that’s a law of nature. When Ferguson is angry, he sometimes gives his players what is widely known in soccer circles as a hairdryer treatment.

Hairdryer treatment?

Yeah, he shouts at you right in your face, his breaths on you so clear and wholesome that they resembles the wind from the hairdryer that quickly dries your wet hair after a shower.

Sir Alex Ferguson is like that when he’s mad.

All right. What other emotions do you have in mind? Joy (from winning a match)?

Frustration (over drawing a winnable game or losing a draw-able one)?

Love (from the fans)?

Hatred (ditto above)?

Elation (over winning the European Cup)?

Depression (from losing three games in a row)?

Surprise?

Well, perhaps nothing surprises Sir Alex any more, but you get the picture. Whatever it is, he has experienced it. The man says so. After being in the manager’s hot seat of United for so long, he’s covered the full spectrum of human emotions.

In short and to sum up, if you run the gamut, you experience a whole range or scope of something.

Here are recent media examples:

1. At Tuesday’s State of the Union Address, President Obama devoted much time in his address to clean technology, infrastructure upgrades and initiatives to tackle climate change. Of course, this is all great news for smart grid and related technologies, however, what surprised many was Obama’s reference to “self-healing power grids” – a term not widely used outside the power industry.

“Ask any CEO where they’d rather locate and hire: a country with deteriorating roads and bridges, or one with high-speed rail and internet; high-tech schools, self-healing power grids, said Obama. “The CEO of Siemens America -- a company that brought hundreds of new jobs to North Carolina -- said that if we upgrade our infrastructure, they’ll bring even more jobs. And that’s the attitude of a lot of companies all around the world. And I know you want these job-creating projects in your district. I’ve seen all those ribbon-cuttings.”

The term “self-healing grid” refers to the ability for the grid to anticipate, respond and to isolate damage that could speed recovery during the time of natural disasters and severe weather. The moment he mentioned self-healing grids, we at GTM Research took to Twitter to gauge public reaction.

What we found were literally hundreds of tweets that ran the gamut of confusion, negative reactions and some support. What this small exercise pointed to overwhelmingly, however, was a broader customer engagement issue. It’s great news that Obama is willing talk about smart grid during an event like the State of the Union and, specifically, to mention solutions such as self-healing power grids. However, at the same time, we need to balance this with proactive customer engagement. As the smart grid becomes more mainstream and impacts customer choices, the ways that customers consume energy and engage with their providers are going to be become a pressing area to address.

- State of the Union Tweets Highlight Consumer Hurdles for Utility Smart Grids, GreenTechMedia.com, February 14, 2013.

2. When it comes to politicians breaking the rules, it’s much worse than you think.

And I’m not talking about the seemingly endless parade of perp walks or corruption charges levied against state lawmakers in recent years.

It’s about New York’s campaign finance system – and the state Board of Elections mostly nonexistent enforcement of the laws.

There were 103,805 violations of New York’s campaign finance laws that went unenforced by the state Board of Elections, according to a report released Tuesday by the New York Public Interest Research Group, an Albany-based good government group.

What’s so staggering about the numbers is that they only covered two years. Imagine if they went back five, or even 10 years.

Violations ran the gamut from corporations giving more than the $5,000 limit (more than 300 instances) to nearly 45,000 examples of candidates not properly listing donors’ addresses in their reports – in some cases not at all.

That’s no way to follow the money. Or police elections, for that matter.

Responding to the report, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo says its proof that the existing “self-policing system” does not work. He called for an independent enforcement entity to enforce election laws. But who that enforcer will be is already bogged down in turf battles.

We can only hope the governor and Legislature get moving on this.

- Board of Elections doesn’t enforce New York’s campaign finance laws, by Gerald McKinstry, Newsday.com, May 7, 2013.

3. Mom, mother, madre, mutter, mama, mum — whatever you call her, everyone has one. While Mother’s Day celebrates human mothers, there are a lot of other moms in the animal kingdom worth a shout-out.

They run the gamut from supremely selfless to downright devious. Here’s a look at some of the wackiest animal mothers.

1. Kangaroo adopters

The roo riding around in a kangaroo's pouch may not be her own. That’s right: Female kangaroos sometimes adopt baby kangaroos, though it might be accidental. Such an accidental adoption doesn't happen often, but when it does, a mother kangaroo will care for a changeling roo for the rest of its “pouch life” and nurse it for several months afterward during the “young-at-foot” stage, when the juvenile kangaroo permanently exits the pouch.

While there have been a few cases of marsupials fostering babies in captivity, such cases are less common in the wild. Still, some animals, such as sea lions, have been known to adopt in the wild.

2. Cuckoo sneak

When it comes to rearing young, female cuckoo birds farm the task out to others. Cuckoo moms lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, which raise them unwittingly. Often, the other birds are a smaller species, and the cuckoo chick hatches first, grows faster and kicks the other chicks out of the nest. The other chicks die, and the cheeky cuckoo receives all of the adoptive mother’s attention.

3. Blood-sucking ants

Count Dracula isn’t the only creature with a taste for bodily fluids: The tiny, endangered Adetomyrma ant from Madagascar drinks the fluids of its own young. After the queen ant gives birth to her larvae, she and the other worker ants gnaw holes in the larvae and suck out the circulatory system fluid known as haemolymph (the insect equivalent of blood). Luckily, the baby ants survive this so-called nondestructive cannibalism, but it can’t be very pleasant. It’s not clear why the behavior exists, but transferring fluids may be a form of social behavior in the ants, scientists say.

4. Monkey baby killers

Some animals head off motherhood before it starts, to spare their babies undue hardship after they’re born. When a male gelada baboon takes over a breeding group from a previous male, he usually kills any babies of the former union. To prevent the bloodshed, pregnant female geladas will often spontaneously have a miscarriage. The phenomenon was first discovered in 1959 in mice, by biologist Hilda Bruce, and is known as the Bruce effect. It has since been reported in other rodent species, but was not known to exist outside the lab until scientists observed it in geladas.

5. Spider cannibals

The female Stegodyphus spider is the ultimate selfless mother. She watches over her egg cocoon until her babies hatch, at which point she starts regurgitating most of her meals to feed her offspring. Once the babies are about a month old, mommy spider rolls onto her back, letting her babies climb aboard. There, they inject venom and digestive enzymes into their mother to kill her, and subsequently feast on the remains. Before leaving the nest, some of the ravenous babies cannibalize each other….

- The Wackiest Moms of the Animal Kingdom, LiveScience.com, May 10, 2013.

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Go to Zhang Xin's column

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About the author:

Zhang Xin(张欣) has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

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