Thursday, August 31, 2017

Henwood Memes

Someone on Facebook decided the world needs Henwood Memes. It's more goofy than pointedly critical. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

More about my trip around Nova Scotia

I did more driving then seeing the sights - I drove about 400 miles with my rental car. But I did take a few good pix.

I got a photo of the Canada 150 flag in situ.

The Nova Scotia harbor, where allegedly my maternal ancestors spent some time.

I seriously thought, at first, this was some kind of feminist sci-fi book store. 

The entrance to the gorgeous Public Gardens of Halifax.

Siri m'aide. I wasn't exactly sure where I had just parked in Halifax and the most efficient way to find out was to ask "Dis Siri nous sommes ou" ("Tell me Siri, we are where") and she told me. Tres bien.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Nova Scotia wines are amazing

At the Stubborn Goat
Before I saw Brooke Johnson's TRUDEAU STORIES in Wolfville Nova Scotia I stopped to have dinner at The Library Pub & Wine bar. I ordered the Nova Scotia wine in order to be polite - I had no idea it would be so amazing. I asked my server for a recommendation and she brought me this (I think) and no wonder it's a favo(u)rite - it was really great.
L’Acadie Blanc, Domaine de Grand Prè A local full-bodied favourite of complex character with pleasant aromas of fresh cut hay and herbal notes that is complemented by a rich, lively grapefruit acidity. By the glass 7 

But I might have had this instead:
Ortega, Domaine de Grand Prè This is a brilliant wine with intense aromas of pear, dried apricot and honey, layered with delicate floral notes and rose petal. Produced in an off-dry style, the pronounced nose leads to an elegant, balanced and complex palate. By the glass 9
And notice the prices - those are in Canadian dollars which means the L'Acadie Blanc was actually $5.60 and the Ortega was 7.20. Wow, what a contrast to New York prices for top-quality wine - or really any wine.

The next day when I was in Halifax at the Stubborn Goat Gastropub, just off the Halifax waterfront for lunch I ordered some more Nova Scotia wine. Also great. I liked the white better than the red but both were great. Once again I asked the server for a suggestion and forget what she brought me, but I'm pretty sure it was Nelly's Goat Nova Scotia White which is their house blend. Truly delicious.

I've been trying to find Nova Scotia wine in the US and so far no luck. It looks like I will have to order direct from the winery if I want it. Which I plan to do ASAP from Domaine de Grand Pre.

Dude in London discovered Nova Scotia wine too.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Canada trip - what I learned

Acadian flag
It's been two weeks since my trip to Nova Scotia and I've hardly had a chance to blog since returning thanks to my 2-week French intensive class which started right when I got back, and other things.

So now that I have a moment, here are some things I got out of my second foray into Canada:

  • I drove 400 miles around Nova Scotia and I literally did not see a single police car. 
  • The roads in Nova Scotia are scary - they only have highways into and out of big cities like Halifax. Everywhere else it's two lane roads, which is a nightmare if you don't want to drive much over the speed limit and there is no-passing. Those Canadian drivers will drive right up your ass, well above the speed limit including at night in dense fog. Which I unfortunately did drive in. I assume this speed-limit scofflaw situation is associated somehow with the scarcity of state troopers (or I guess province troopers.)
  • Nova Scotia is not really Frenchy except for the south-west section I drove through where I saw many homes flying the Acadian flag.   
  • Nova Scotia wine is ah-maze-ing. More about that in the next blog post. 
  • Thank god for funky college town coffee houses - in the US and Canada. Starbucks is OK, but college town coffee houses have a better vibe, are usually larger and much more relaxed. You can sit in a coffee house charging your cell phone for hours while drinking a single cup of cappuccino and the kids at the counter don't care the least little bit. The coffee houses I hung out in during my trip:

Coffee by Design on India Street  in Portland Maine - I hung out here while waiting several hours between my train from Boston and the ferry to Nova Scotia. They had tiny lil bagels but the prices were reasonable.

I neglected to take a photo so I used the one from their web site.

 Just Us Coffee in Wolfville Nova Scotia - I had breakfast here on Sunday before my drive from Wolfville to Halifax. The window looking out onto the street isn't actually a window, it's just a big opening. It looks like the coffee house was once a garage.

You have to walk through Just Us Coffee to get into the Acadia theater which of course is a great idea since theater-goers can get stuff before or after the show.

Just Us! Coffee House and Acadia theater from across the street.

Humanit-T in Downtown Halifax - may be the greatest coffee house I've ever charged my cellphone in. Just look at this - it has all the best things about a college town coffee house but takes it to the next level.

It has the standard painting by a local but it's actually a pretty good painting. It has a comfy canapé sofa with throw pillow and serviceable coffee table in front - beat up so that if you spill any coffee you don't feel guilty. And an outlet - right there above the sofa.

This is the perfect coffee house set-up especially for a traveller. I was there on a Sunday afternoon while it rained for a couple of hours and although it was somewhat busy I always had a place to sit - this spot opened up during hour two and I was ecstatic. It's the little things when you've driven 200 miles in the last 24 hours on crazy scary Nova Scotia roads.

Humani-T in downtown Halifax -  center of the college town coffee house universe

The exterior of the mighty Humani-T Cafe.

The Works, Portland Maine - I wasn't here very long, it was a quick stop between the Portland ferry and the bus station on my way home - yes I had to take a bus instead of a train between Portland and Boston. But I got to spend a little time in this cozy spot so they fully deserve to be on this list. Much better than being forced to hang out in a Dunkin' Donuts across the street.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Yes Marie-Claire, this is exactly what my play is about.

Thanks to years of sexist stereotypes, "Marilyn Monroe" and "feminism" rarely appear in the same sentence. But a closer look at her life reveals a thoughtful, progressive woman years ahead of her time. In fact, she once challenged Hollywood in an epic battle, shattering boundaries and changing the course of American cinema along the way. 
Monroe rose to fame in the early 1950s, the zenith of Hollywood's Studio System. Back then there was one way to make it as an actor: Sign with one of the "Big Five" (MGM, Paramount, Warner Brothers, RKO, or, in Monroe's case, Twentieth Century Fox) and resign yourself to years of glamorous indentured servitude. Forget about talent, creativity, or even free will—the studio controlled your every move, from the roles you accepted to the directors you worked with to how often you went to the bathroom and occasionally even whom you married. The Big Five all owned theater chains, virtually ensuring that their films would be bought, regardless of quality. Actors and directors were mere cogs in the wheel, forced to churn out formulaic trash against their will for decades. No one dared to defy the studio moguls—except for Monroe, who, in 1955, rattled the system to its brittle core.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Apparently William Shatner is alt-right now

Apparently people have been talking about it for awhile but I only just noticed this tweet from Shatner today.

My response.

Five minutes later.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Snarky Siri

I was trying to ask Siri something, in French, the other night. I have her set to speak French. I forget what I was trying to ask her now, but it definitely wasn't "Who is in the train for them pocket Easter me" - it was a matter of my bad French pronunciation.

Well Siri decided I was drunk and said something which my French teacher confirmed for me is a French saying: 

One glass (of wine) fine, two glasses OK, three glasses hello disaster.

Then she offered me a link to call a taxi. Wise-ass.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Maddow is on it

Nobody follows the Russian collusion story like Maddow.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ezra Levant is not having a good month

Supposedly Faith Goldy was fired from Rebel Media
because she was interviewed by an even 
more extremist media outlet, Daily Stormer

While I was in Canada last week it seems that the leading alt-right media outlet in Canada Rebel Media, created by Ezra Levant, has been melting down, not only because of blowback from Charlottesville and Rebel's connection with alt-right wackos (I discussed its promotion of Milo Yianoppolous, Gavin McInness and Jack Posobiec a couple of months ago) but because of alt-right in-fighting and blackmail.

First the Charlottesville blowback. 

In the hours and minutes leading up to that moment, however, (Faith) Goldy had spent her live Periscope broadcasts rationalizing the rally organized by white nationalist Jason Kessler — an “extremist” to whom the Rebel once paid the revenues from a video that contained material plagiarized from him — and complaining about what she saw as the unfair treatment of the alt-right by authorities. In particular, she expressed the (wildly incorrect) view that American police are more generous toward Black protesters than white ones. 
Goldy — a proponent of the concept of “white genocide,” who thinks that most Jews are “giant Democrat-donor losers,” and also believes there should be a new Crusade to expel Muslims from the Holy Land — was a popular presence at the event, occasionally interrupting her broadcasts to oblige selfie requests.
The Rebel tried to distance itself, suddenly, from the alt-right as Vice reported here, but it was not enough and too late. The Norwegian Cruise Lines cancelled the Rebel's cruise (another Levant cruise was written up by The Walrus recently) and Canada's Conservative party leader Andrew Scheer has (finally) distanced himself from Levant. Anti-racist Canada has a whole handy list right of various controversies right here. And now this:
The move to disable The Rebel’s domain comes after Silicon Valley firms like GoDaddy Inc. and Google disabled the domain for neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, forcing the website offline. Cloudflare, which hosts caches of websites, also terminated their relationship with the website for its political content. The Daily Stormer was also denied hosting by a Russian service provider following an attempt to relocate the domain
However, even more interesting is the way the far right is turning against him, in part because of a blackmail story.
Ezra Levant, co-founder of right-wing Rebel Media, has had a lot of bad days recently. In a dramatic video released on August 17, the Canadian activist/lawyer/vlogger detailed the sordid saga involving a former employee who had allegedly been blackmailing him with threats of releasing sensitive information unless he got paid off. “And I don’t really know how to say it, other than to just say it,” said Levant. “And I can’t believe it, but here goes. I’m being blackmailed. I’m being extorted.” 
The alleged blackmailer is 22-year-old Caolan Robertson, who Levant had hired to work with one of his star reporters, British anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson. Levant’s emotional mea culpa was in response to Robertson’s August 17 video in which he announced that he was leaving Rebel while also levying some serious charges of financial impropriety and editorial ineptitude against his former boss. As it turns out, Robertson had been secretly recording all of his conversations with Levant. He’s got Levant talking about the “hush money” he’ll pay his employee.
Nobody seems to know exactly what Levant was being blackmailed over. My money is on something to do with Levant's (I suspect) closeted homosexuality. The two men Levant accuses of blackmailing him are a gay couple. Levant mentioned they were a couple and said "but I don't care about that." I should think not since he was a promoter of the career of Milo Yiannopoulous and even provided a video of Milo and Gavin McInness french kissing because (they claimed) they wanted to upset conservative Muslims.

It's thanks to Rebel Media that my impression of the Canadian right is that it's about 50% gay. 

Many have observed that Levant can't be anti-Semitic because he's Jewish. But as many on the alt-right seem to be figuring out, Levant is involved in right-wing media mostly to fleece the gullible rightwing extremists through a variety of methods. Anybody who spends any time examining the career of Levant will quickly realize he has no personal integrity.

One of things that seems to really annoy the right-wingers is that Levant was shown to be creating a fund-raising campaign to pay for the legal bills for the idiot who jumped on the Public Theater's stage - even before she jumped onto the stage and was arrested. I blogged about it in June.

Mike Cernovich, incredible asshole who promoted Pizzagate, defends Rebel Media.

Gerry Butts, political advisor to Justin Trudeau, tweeted his take on the Levant meltdown.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Amber A'Lee Frost gets another excuse to attack liberals

Because of course there's no reason for Amber A'Lee Frost to write an article, even if it's about Nazis, unless she can attack liberals

I will not be at all surprised if it turns out that the Mercers or some other right-wing plutocrats are funding the Dirtbag Left expressly to attack liberals & feminists.

Frost recently published a piece in Current Affairs "against domesticity" -  which she no doubt wrote to bolster her dude-bro bona fides and let them know she isn't weak and girly (although the males of the Dirtbag Left don't write about such things, content to let their moms or a cleaning service handle household chores while they are busy revolutionizing.)

After the de rigueur blaming of "neoliberals" for everything, Frost goes on to quote Rosa Luxemberg:
“The bourgeois woman has no real interest in political rights, because she exercises no economic function in society, because she enjoys the finished fruits of class rule. The demand for equal women’s rights is, where it arises with bourgeois women, the pure ideology of weak groups of individuals, without material roots, a phantom of the contrast between woman and man, a quirk. Thence the farcical character of the suffragette movement.”

Luxemburg, idiotically, fails to make the connection between being denied the right to vote and being denied an independent economic function in society. As if bourgeois women were just naturally inclined to be dependent on men. And so, like the Dirtbag Left's own ladies auxiliary, she makes "bourgeois" women the bad guys in contrast to the good hard-working proletariate women.

The far Left worships Rosa Luxemberg - Frost is the only woman to contribute to their collection of essays about her -  and this gives you an excellent sense of their attitude - as they see it, women need to focus on the Revolution, not their own selfish political advancement, which they consider bourgeois. Luxemburg even mocked the suffragettes, much like the Dirtbags mock Clinton supporters.

The manly Left likes Frost for the same reason they like Luxemberg - she can be counted on to attack women's political aspirations as an upperclass luxury while promoting the manly Revolution.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Mercer Family: subverting our democracy with big wads of cash

Robert Mercer the patriarch of the Mercer alt-right family is a nut job.

According to the March 2017 article in the New Yorker by Jane Mayer (also the scourge of the Koch brothers):
During Bill Clinton’s Presidency... Mercer insisted at a staff luncheon that Clinton had participated in a secret drug-running scheme with the C.I.A. The plot supposedly operated out of an airport in Mena, Arkansas. “Bob told me he believed that the Clintons were involved in murders connected to it,” Patterson said... 
Two other sources told me that, in recent years, they had heard Mercer claim that the Clintons have had opponents murdered. 
...Mercer arguing that, during the Gulf War, the U.S. should simply have taken Iraq’s oil, “since it was there.”  
...Mercer, speaking of the atomic bombs that the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, argued that, outside of the immediate blast zones, the radiation actually made Japanese citizens healthier.  
...Mercer, for his part, has argued that the Civil Rights Act, in 1964, was a major mistake. According to the onetime Renaissance employee, Mercer has asserted repeatedly that African-Americans were better off economically before the civil-rights movement. (Few scholars agree.)  
...Mercer proclaim(ed) that there are no white racists in America today, only black racists.  
...Mercer said that concerns about (global warming) were overblown. After Patterson shared with him a scientific paper on the subject, Mercer and his brother, Randall, who also worked at the hedge fund, sent him a paper by a scientist named Arthur Robinson, who is a biochemist, not a climate expert. “It looked like a scientific paper, but it was completely loaded with selective and biased information,” Patterson recalled. The paper argued that, if climate change were real, future generations would “enjoy an Earth with far more plant and animal life.”  
...Mercer’s political opinions “show contempt for the social safety net that he doesn’t need, but many Americans do.” He also said that Mercer wants the U.S. government to be “shrunk down to the size of a pinhead.” 
Several former colleagues of Mercer’s said that his views are akin to Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Magerman told me, “Bob believes that human beings have no inherent value other than how much money they make. A cat has value, he’s said, because it provides pleasure to humans. But if someone is on welfare they have negative value. If he earns a thousand times more than a schoolteacher, then he’s a thousand times more valuable.”  
...Another former high-level Renaissance employee said, “Bob thinks the less government the better. He’s happy if people don’t trust the government. And if the President’s a bozo? He’s fine with that. He wants it to all fall down.”
The notion that Mercer is fine if the government fell down makes him the perfect donor for Trump, and that is what he is.

I was surprised that Mercer wasn't quoted as actually being a devotee of Ayn Rand since his views align perfectly with hers.

And of course we can blame the ability of the Mercers to do so much evil on Citizens United. As the article notes:
After the Citizens United decision, in 2010, the Mercers were among the first people to take advantage of the opportunity to spend more money on politics. 
The Mercers, being a bunch of nuts, of course support other nuts besides Trump:
DeFazio’s Republican opponent was Arthur Robinson—the biochemist, sheep rancher, and climate-change denialist. The Mercers became his devoted supporters after reading Access to Energy, an offbeat scientific newsletter that he writes. The family has given at least $1.6 million in donations to Robinson’s Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. Some of the money was used to buy freezers in which Robinson is storing some fourteen thousand samples of human urine. Robinson has said that, by studying the urine, he will find new ways of extending the human life span.
And of course the Mercers are in league with the Kochs. At least the Koch brothers will have company when going down in history as the people most responsible for killing the planet with their science denialism and money.
By 2011, the Mercers had joined forces with Charles and David Koch, who own Koch Industries, and who have run a powerful political machine for decades. The Mercers attended the Kochs’ semiannual seminars, which provide a structure for right-wing millionaires looking for effective ways to channel their cash. The Mercers admired the savviness of the Kochs’ plan, which called for attendees to pool their contributions in a fund run by Koch operatives. The fund would strategically deploy the money in races across the country, although, at the time, the Kochs’ chief aim was to defeat Barack Obama in 2012. The Kochs will not reveal the identities of their donors, or the size of contributions, but the Mercers reportedly began giving at least a million dollars a year to the Kochs’ fund. Eventually, they contributed more than twenty-five million.
Possibly the biggest monster in the Mercer family is Robert's daughter Rebekah and her ties to the neo-Nazi monstrosity Breitbart:
Rebekah Mercer is highly engaged with Breitbart’s content. An insider there said, “She reads every story, and calls when there are grammatical errors or typos.” Though she doesn’t dictate a political line to the editors, she often points out areas of coverage that she thinks require more attention. Her views about the Washington establishment, including the Republican leadership, are scathing. “She was at the avant-garde of shuttering both political parties,” the insider at Breitbart said. “She went a long way toward the redefinition of American politics."

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

MUST WATCH: Rachel Maddow on Trump's deliberate support for white supremacy

Maddow provides perspective on the history of US white supremacism, including Fred Trump's arrest for participating in a KKK riot in Queens in 1927. Maddow makes a convincing case that Trump is not "screwing up" but is instead making a deliberate attempt to bolster white supremacy in the US.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Trudeau Stories

So the reason I went to Nova Scotia was to see Brooke Johnson perform her TRUDEAU STORIES - Brooke began a friendship with Pierre Trudeau (father of Justin) when she was in college and she turned it into a one-woman show.

It was very good - if I have one critique I would say it was too short - Brooke referred to hiking and canoeing with Trudeau but didn't provide any details.

She should also add more about Justin Trudeau, I think, to make the story more relatable to people under 50. 

But overall a fascinating piece.

I took Brooke out for drinks afterwards, hence the very Canadian photo below.

A very Canadian photo

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Yay I am in Canada

I've been too busy traveling to blog. But I finally made it to Canada. Yay!

Going through New Hampshire via Amtrak

CAT ferry to Nova Scotia

They freaking LOVE Tim Hortons in Canada. I haven't seen a single Starbucks - it's all Tim.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Off to Justin Trudeau Land

At long last!

Colbert provides a new Canadian national anthem

The Daily Show looks at Canada's open-door immigration policy. 

John Oliver looks at "elbowgate."

Trudeau handles hecklers

Trudeau can eat my poutine any time.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A Mari Usque ad Mare

1. The Canadian motto, A Mari Usque ad Mare, means “From sea to sea."

2. For more than 40 years, scientists have tried to figure out what's causing large parts of Canada, particularly the Hudson Bay region, to be "missing" gravity.

3. In 2010, an actuarial study determined that, on average, a strategic reserve of 40 million pounds would be necessary to avoid stock shortfalls due to poor harvests. Slightly more than 36 million pounds of maple syrup are currently stored in three different locations in Quebec. Last year, the Federation had to rent additional storage space to cater for the harvest surplus. The new Laurierville warehouse will now provide the required space to fulfil the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve.

4. When you think of French in Canada you probably think of Quebec, and most of the French speakers in Canada do live there and speak what is known as Quebecois. But there is another dialect, Acadian French, which is largely spoken in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. The two varieties differ in accent and certain words and phrases. Acadian French uses more terms derived from seafaring, and a number of old words now obsolete in France. The two varieties developed differently as the languages of separate 17th century French colonies (Canada and Acadia) with separate administrations.

5. The 1 800 O-Canada service provides general information on Government of Canada programs, services and initiatives and guidance on how to access them.
The service also provides information on alternative formats of reports and publications.
Telephone: 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232)
TTY: 1-800-926-9105
Within Canada, you can call toll-free from Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., local time.
If you are outside of Canada, go to Calling 1 800 O-Canada from abroad.

6.  One of the Articles of Confederation of the U.S. states that if Canada asked to become a state, (they) would be automatically accepted into statehood.

7.  Winterlude is an annual festival held in Ottawa, where Canadians celebrate the freezing temperatures and snow by throwing a winter themed party. The festival includes ice skating, ice sculptures, snow playgrounds and outdoor concerts.

8. Newfoundland and Labrador harvest icebergs that float over from Greenland to produce beer, vodka, wine, and beauty products.

9. But the most idiosyncratic menu item — and the one Americans might consider most far-fetched for McDonald's — was the McLobster. I ordered one. For diplomacy. For a better understanding of our friendly neighbors to the north. Even the Canadian government calls lobsters Canada's "most valuable seafood export." So ordering a McLobster apparently transports you to the pages of The Shipping News. "Tap your toes to the sound of the fiddle and embrace the salty sea air of the east coast," the ad copy reads. A vicarious trip will set you back $7.99 Canadian, about $6.51 U.S.

10. Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

  • To ensure that your rights are respected: In Canada, the Official Languages Act establishes the equality of English and French and grants you language rights. It is perfectly normal to insist that these rights be respected.
  • To find solutions: As an ombudsman, the Commissioner of Official Languages uses persuasion and constructive dialogue with federal institutions to find appropriate, fair and long-term solutions.
  • To report a problem: Complaints are an indicator of what’s happening in federal institutions. They help the Office of the Commissioner work with federal institutions to find solutions to problems.
  • To raise awareness in federal institutions: A lack of familiarity with or a misunderstanding of the requirements of the Official Languages Act is often the reason for non-compliance with language obligations. By filing a complaint, you are helping to make federal institutions aware of these issues and promoting a change in corporate culture.

11, Justin Trudeau’s French-only responses at town hall under investigation by commissioner

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Worlds collide: P. T. Cloutier & mon premier ministre d'amour

One of my first French-related blog posts was about Quebecois P. T. Cloutier, a mere week after the US presidential election.

And then I discovered le premiere ministre de mon coeur, mon premier ministre d'amour...

And here they are together!

Organisation internationale de la Francophonie

Voila - la drapeau du Frenchie frenchness!
Canada is a member of Organisation internationale de la Francophone,

"an international organization representing countries and regions where French is the first ("mother") or customary language, where a significant proportion of the population are francophones (French speakers) or where there is a notable affiliation with French culture."

French and Quebecois culture is a political lightening rod still in Canada as you can tell by the second half of this interview of Justin Trudeau. Voices are raised. Unfortunately I still can't translate the video more than about 40% - I have some idea what they are talking about and their general feelings, but the specifics ellude me even with auto-generated French captions and Google Translate. Alors!

The General Secretary of OIDLF was hanging out with Macron recently:
« Avec le Président de la République, nous partageons cette vision commune d’un espace francophone associant stabilité politique et dynamisme économique, dans le respect des valeurs universelles que nous avons en partage » à déclaré Michaëlle Jean à l’issue de la rencontre. « Cela implique de travailler ensemble sur les causes profondes des crises actuelles qui affectent notre communauté comme le reste du monde, en luttant contre la radicalisation et le terrorisme, en soutenant les transitions démocratiques et en construisant un modèle de développement fondé sur l’innovation et le respect de l’environnement ».
I will translate:

We share with the President a vision of political stability and a dynamic economy, in respect of the universal values which we share." said Michaelle Jeane said at the end of the meeting.  "We will work together for the important causes and problems that affect our community, as the rest of the world, and fight against radicalization and terrorism, and support transitioning democracies and create a development model for innovation and respect for the environment."

Pas mal.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Ta-Nehisi Coates and the anti-art, anti-intellectual fundamentalism of Social Justice Warriors

Social Justice Warriors mean well. But their methods to achieve social justice are contrary to actual justice.

One of the methods used by Social Justice Warriors is to prevent others from speaking, and from producing art,  even if the speech and the art are only theoretical. 

Social Justice Warriors don't want to be accused of censorship no matter how censorious they are and so Coates has to jump through some hoops in order to try to defend against what he is attempting to do: shut down a TV show based on what Coates guesses it might be like, per his piece in The Atlantic

First Coates admits that it's a good idea to reserve judgment until you actually see a thing. 

But then he explains why this must be an exception:
But HBO does not actually want the public to reserve judgment so much as it wants the public to make a positive judgment.
But of course promoting its shows is what any production company does. So why should this be an exception?

Then Coates argues that because others have made pro-Confederate art (Birth of a Nation included) nobody can be trusted.

Then he pointlessly quibbles on terminology - the promotional text is "what if the South had won the Civil War"? Everybody knows this means the Confederate army. 

Then Coates says it's not the same as with The Man in the High Castle which is about what if the Nazis had won. Coates says it's a bad comparison because the Nazis are more thoroughly reviled than the Confederacy.

But this is a matter of degree. It's certainly true that the Confederacy has been given far too much respect for an organization that committed treason in defense of human bondage. But the Confederacy did lose. And furthermore, the reason that Nazi Germany committed atrocities was primarily due to anti-Semitism - and anti-Semitism still exists.

And Coates ignores "A Handmaid's Tale" which posits religious zealots controlling women's bodies. And we still have that going on today. Obviously not as much as the dystopia presented in Handmaid. But again this is a matter of degree - African Americans are still the victims of systemic racism but things have gotten better since they were slaves. 

But I don't remember anybody making a big stink about "A Handmaid's Tale" on the grounds that patriarchy has not been completely obliterated.

Then Coates goes on to say that even though the show is probably anti-racist, it's not good enough because, since there is still systemic racism there's no point in asking what would have happened if the Confederacy won.

He then admits the show has two black writers but suggests that black writers would not ever want to write a show with such a premise on their own.

As always, Social Justice Warriors presume to speak for all non-whites.

Coates then complains that the idea of the show is not original. Which begs the question, so why is he making such a big deal out of it?

I knew the idea is not original because I remember seeing the "mockumentary" CSA thirteen years ago. 

Although maybe it's just as well Social Justice Warriors don't know about CSA - since they are all utterly irony deficient they will probably think that CSA is pro-Confederacy.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Oh Canada

Marijuana in Canada - not legal yet
I'm heading for Nova Scotia on Friday, the first time I've been to Canada in twelve years. So I will be doing lots of Canada-flavored blogging in the next week or so.

And I will be reviewing the Visit Canada information on the official Canada web site.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Tourists in New York in August

Why, tourists WHY?
I just do not understand tourists who come to New York City in August. People who live in NYC just want to go somewhere else in August, and do, when they can afford it. I especially don't understand Europeans - cities in Europe (and Canada for that matter) are a good ten degrees cooler on average than New York, where temperatures are usually in the mid-80s at least during the day. It's horrible and I hate it.

If I do move to Canada one thing I will really like is the cooler summers. Oh but the winters are colder? That's FINE.

Meanwhile the NYTimes identifies where people in the US go in the summer.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Discutons le mot plus interdit en anglais avec un video en francais

Voila un video tres amuse qui discute les utilises de mot "fuck."

Le mot "fuck" c'est le plus interdit des gros mots dans la langue anglais.

Je vais traduire pour vous.

Hi, what's up, I am Remi Blacc and today we are going to see how to use the word "fuck" the best-known English word throughout the world or the word that American kids call "the F word" to avoid punishment. 
"Fuck this! Fuck that! Fuck" is used in so many ways. The reason you hear it everywhere is because it is one of the most versatile and interesting words in the English language. Yes! You are going to see. Yes! 
So many ask me: 'is fuck the profanity to absolutely avoid? Ummm no! Although it is better to use it sparingly, it gives strength and passion to your ideas.
Obviously you are not an idiot so you are not going to use "Fuck" in a job interview, for example: "I want this fucking job" or when you met your in-laws for the first time or even the tenth time: "I fucking love your daughter."
"Fuck" may be used to describe a wide variety of emotions. This tiny little word can express depending on your intonation: pleasure, hate, love, anger or pain. Fuck is truly a grammatical chameleon and you can use it as a verb, adverb, adjective, noun et cetera.
As a transitive verb which means it is followed by a person or thing: "Mike fucked Ashley. Ashley fucked Mike." or "They fucked each other." Ultimately we don't care who fucks who. As a transitive verb "we fucked like crazy."
It is important to understand that "fuck" does not necessarily have a sexual connotation. For example as an adverb: "I ate way too fucking much!; I fucking love Paris."
Fuck is often used to give more color and intensity to an adjective: "Brittany is fucking gorgeous."
Don't say "fuckingggg" it's not Marseillais in Los Angeles. The "g" is silent and you say "fuckin'" 
Pay close attention because the placement of "fucking" is super important. For example to describe your best friend you could say "I fucking like him." But don't say "I like fucking him." instead of "I fucking like him" If you say "I like fucking him" you have said you like to have sex with your buddy and therefore you are gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that, to each their own. But if you don't want to reveal a hidden homosexuality say instead "I fucking like him." 
Speaking of the placement of "fuck" you can also put it between two parts of a particle verb: verb plus "the fuck" plus the particle:
Shut up -> Shut the fuck up
You need to wake up -> You need to wake the fuck up
More on -> Move the fuck on
Fuck can also be a noun: "I don't give a fuck!"
You can also graft "fuck" onto an existing word. Absolutely plus fuck becomes Absofuckinglutely. 
Fuck is a Swiss Army knife you can take out for any situation imaginable. For example if you want to say you were taken advantage of you can say "I got fucked on this deal." 
When you want to say you're in trouble and you want to express despair: "I am sooooo fucked..."
If you want to be intimidating: "Don't fuck with me!"
When you are perplexed: "What the fuck." 
"Fuck" gives force and intensity to your questions: "Who the fuck is he? Where the fuck is the bus?" 
You can express dissatisfaction: "What the fuck is going on?" 
When you want to tell someone bluntly to go away: "Hey, why don't you fuck off?" 
Or simply when you are trying to think of a word: "Yesterday I was fucking... at the mall." 
Fuck can also express joy: "I fucking did it!" 
You see "Fuck" is a very practical and useful word, when you know how to use it. 
A little game to play: who can translate the following phrases?
"Stop being a fuck up and fucking around all day."
"Don't fuck with me or I'll fuck you up."
"Now fuck off."

The rest is him asking you to follow him and leave comments. Some items of note - I have no idea what the expression it's not Marseillais in Los Angeles means in this context. And I find it annoying that the viewer of the video is assumed to be a man, so if you say you love fucking your buddy it means you are gay.

Here is an English language video discussing the same word.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Le bon rosé de Provence

Over twenty years ago (is it possible?) I took four co-workers out for dinner in Philadelphia. This was before I had a credit card so I was entirely dependent on my checking account for payment and during dinner I realized I was going to be short unless I cut back on some things - so I ordered the cheapest bottle of wine, a rosé - and one of my co-workers made a slighting remark about rosé.

Well now rosé is in vogue baby. They are really pushing it all over Manhattan with big displays in most liquor stores.

So I got me this bottle from Aix-en-Provence and I have to say I am loving it. There's absolutely nothing wrong with rosé - this article discusses its rehabilitation.

The gender stereotyping that once ghettoised pink wine as a drink for girls and big girls’ blouses is long gone. Rosé is everywhere. In France, sales have exceeded those of white wine for several years now. Over here, rosé is drunk winter and summer and goes stratospheric every time the sun shines. The colour helps; a glass of rosé or crowd of bottles glowing different hues of pink is attractive. With the rehabilitation of a wine once considered too frivolous and lightweight to be worthy of proper attention has come another phenomenon: the rise of Posh Pink.
Rosé is now a status symbol – an expensive, aspirational, incredibly desirable drink that comes in ego-boosting sizes, not just magnums but also jeroboams, imperials and six-litre methuselahs. As with yachts and Porsches, size is not everything. It is, of course, imperative to have the right sort. Trying to be flash with a glass of sweet, raspberry-coloured Californian blush zinfandel is about as smart as gluing “go faster” stripes to the side of a Ford Mondeo and entering it in the Monaco Grand Prix.
First rule of posh rosé (there are a few derogations, but not many): it must come from Provence.