Here's a story I just can't substanciate to your satisfaction but I'm going to tell you. It comes from my great-great-grandfather who is 145-years old. Don't be puzzled, we got good genes in my family and we are just keeping this one under wraps from the Guinness Book of Records. He swears to god that in 1913 there was a tender advertised in The Transvaal Gazette which was inviting bidders for branding services for the World Climatological Services (WCS). Now, I know you've never heard of these folks and please don't try to be smart by figuring it out and googling them because you'll end up messing with your brain in vain.
Back then, these were the folks who were responsible for weather forecasts, very much in the light of the First World War, given that some of the bigger thinktanks were pre-occupied with trying to see if really Germany would start a war. The tender was for a simple name-calling activity. Simply put, to give names to hurricane. You've heard them saying 'Hurricane Lorraine, Typhoon Mavis, Cyclone Condi and you've wondered who comes up with the names. Now you know, a company won that 100 year tender in 1913 and has been renewing it ever since.
It's so unfair it's more like the contract for the occupation by the US of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
I can see you are already saying this is not true.
Well, my grandfather who will be turning 150 in 2012 says his company Soothsayers Ltd was one of those that tendered for the contract and lost the bid. Why? Because when they had to supply samples of names he came up with stuff like Hurricane Leswiswi, Cyclone Manqcoba and Typhoon Lerato.
And then the tender went to a US based branding company, not climate watchers - branding. How do they make money? The weather watchers spot, the company gives the disastrous wind a name and makes money everytime the name is mentioned on television, radio, print and online. Now, imagine how many times you heard Hurricane Katrina mentioned since two years ago? Yeah, they make money all the time - they even made some dollars out of the sentence you read before this one. That is why with me everytime I write about the Hurricane that devastated the US South I opt to say 'that Hurricane with the K-name, more like it was the f-word' And then the question is who are the shareholders in this company and who pays?
I argued with my gran when I told him I suspected big television corporations like CNN, ABC, CNBC, Fox, SABC, Sky, BBC and big newspaper companies like Media24 and Naspers. He told me I was far from the truth and should investigate further. Everyone who uses the names they pick which become their copyright pays. You don't know how you do it, ask your local revenue office. They allege that these folks have serious shareholding in oil companies like Texaco and often ignore the signs of greenhouse emissions so that there should be a tragedy. My gran is serious in his allegations that they often cause the tragedies.
Okay; the geist of this story is that that tender is up again in 2013 and I'm thinking of bidding, given the weather changes we are going to experience due to global warming.
I am certain I will be running out of names in no time and will be running out of spaces for the zeros on my cheque book.
Oops! only joking comrade. This is a parody.

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