Summit Up 3-1-11: Live from Tristan da Cunha! |

Summit Up 3-1-11: Live from Tristan da Cunha!

A Filipino student puts the finishing touches of their costume while they wait to perform during the annual "Caracol" festival at the financial district of Makati, south of Manila, Philippines, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011. The event aims to promote public awareness on environmental issues and cultural heritage. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that’s ready for March, the month that comes in like an ocelot and goes out like a reticulated python. Allow us to explain:

(sound of brain working hard)

So an ocelot is a kind of mountain lion, so here in the mountains it makes more sense to say “comes in like an ocelot” in March than a regular lion. (Granted, if we were really going for the local thing we’d go with “lynx,” but it’s just not as funny a word as “ocelot.”) We think the month will go out like a reticulated python because by the time April rolls around, we’re all ready to slither off to Cabo and lie in the sun – much like pythons do after they’ve ingested, say, a lamb or a goat or even an ocelot. We went with the reticulated version of python because, of course, it just sounds funnier.

For the more curious among you, “reticulated” simply refers to the pattern of the snake. There are also reticulated giraffes (most of them, we believe) with similar square-like patterns on their hides. And while “reticulated giraffe” is also pretty funny, there’s no doubt the image of a python doing its slithery thing, especially in Cabo, is even funnier.

Sheesh. We’re over-explaining! Moving quickly on …


Parents out there, have you ever noticed how much kids hate having lip balm put on? We know we’ve talked in this column before about how kids abhor the application of sunscreen, and it may well trump their lack of desire to be lip-balmed, but there’s definitely a lot of resistance on the old lip protection thing, we’ve found. One third-grader we happen to know could be walking around with lips that look like they’re about to fall off; with lips that look like those cracked patches of desert in the dry season photos you see in National Geographic specials; with lips that could easily form the basis of a “wear your lip balm!” public service campaign – and he still will act like you’re trying to apply poison if you come near him with the lip stuff. He thinks it’s “girly,” apparently, no matter how many times we assure him that good lip health is as manly as, uh, marching off to war or refusing to stop and ask for directions or (insert manly cliche here).

So, we came across this photo above, which is actually a Filipino student putting the finishing touches on a costume to perform this past Sunday in the annual Caracol festival. Says here the event aims to promote public awareness on environmental issues and cultural heritage, but we can’t help but think that if you had lip balm that looked as cool as this, kids would be lining up to put it on. And if you could make ski and bike helmets that looked as outrageous as this student’s headgear, why, you’d never hear any whining about wearing the ol’ brain bucket. (Not that kids around here really do; they were pretty much born wearing helmets, weren’t they?)

Speaking of which, one of the Summit Up Central Staffers is seriously considering making the move to a ski helmet after years of scoffing at them as unnecessary because, as he says, “I never hit my head skiing.” And then someone said “it only takes once” and he thought, well, maybe it’s not such a bad idea.

Anyway, how do you pick one of these damn things! The Staffer went in the store to look at helmets – a sort of preliminary scouting expedition in advance of the actual purchase – and while it seemed from looking at helmets out on the hill that they came in one or two flavors, once confronted with the astounding array of choices it was like, well, bewildering. You could compare it to trying to navigate the cereal aisle in an American grocery store having just arrived here from Tristan da Cunha and never before having chosen or consumed cereal.

Daunting. But no doubt the Staffer will eventually figure it out. Even so, if anyone has any suggestions for the kind of helmet that’s best to get, shoot us an e-mail at We just don’t want one of those helmets that looks like it was pried off the head of a German soldier …

BTW: Tristan da Cunhah is an archipelago in the South Atlantic said to be the most remote inhabited places on Earth – population of only 275 and 1,750 miles from the nearest land. We’re pretty sure they don’t have a store where you can pick up a box of Count Chocula.

Whew! That’s enough of whatever this was for one day!

We out.

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