A Day on the Water, Alone, Just Me and My Mistress

A Day on the Water, Alone, Just Me and My Mistress

While many people love the autumn season with its colorful fall foliage and cooler temperatures, it is my least favorite season and one that provokes increasing melancholy with each day of its passing and inevitable approach of the first days of November. And that first week in November is generally the worst week of the season—nay, of the year—as that is when I normally have to take leave of my mistress so that she can go into hibernation for the five long months of our winter. Five long months without my beloved Ontario 32 sloop, a 1979 vintage sailboat who has given me far more joy in life than has any other inanimate object.

But really, to speak of her, my mistress, as “inanimate” is nonsense, on par with calling her a blow-up doll. She lives, she breathes, she whispers sweet nothings to me on beautiful moonlit night watches, and her absence doth make my heart ache.

Named after the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius, “Antares” has taken me, my family and friends on numerous adventures along the Nova Scotia coastline from the Bras d’Or Lakes to Ingomar. Along with these

Tanner’s Pass

longer expeditions, she serves as the perfect summer cottage on the water, with weekend jaunts to beautiful hideaways such as Rogue’s Roost, Tanner’s Pass, Cross Island, East Point Gut, and pretty much anywhere you can drop an anchor between Halifax’s Northwest Arm to the LaHave Islands. Day sails, island picnics, sunset dinner cruises, midnight full-moon cruises, and any other excuse to sail are legion. While she’s ostensibly a “cruising” sailboat, she has also served me well on the race course, with five or so third-place finishes over the years. And while all of these ventures on her, big and small, represent boundless moments of fun, merriment, beauty, and among the best times of my life, I also experience great joy just being with her when she’s at our dock or on her mooring in Chester’s Back Harbour.

My mistress has also played a role in many of life’s most meaningful moments. She hosted our wedding and reception, complete with lobster thermidor; and served as a limo to deliver another bride to her wedding, after which she served as the honeymoon suite for the happy couple’s first night of wedded bliss. My newborn son was at her helm three days after his birth, and while he didn’t quite know what he was doing, his grip was strong and true—naturally, she rocked him to sleep soon after. And yes, my girl has helped us during times of mourning, and aided us in saying goodbye to the dearly departed.

Now, with the end of the season, it feels like she is the dearly departed. But really, as my wife says, “this happens every year—you’ll get over it.” And I try to. In fact, I try to get over it by taking certain steps in the fall to prepare for her annual departure from my life. While these steps have become almost ritualistic, like the weather they change, and every year seems to present variations to the usual procedures. The culmination of these rites includes a solo trip when I take her over to South Shore Marine to get hauled, but there’s no joy in that short voyage. In fact, more often than not, I just motor her over. Like my mood, the skies on this day always seem to be dark, the temperatures cold; and there’s so much final detail work needed that there’s no real time for “pleasure” sailing.

That said, I had to end the season with a sail-over to the marina a few years back, as her engine had pretty much sputtered its last diesel-fueled cough and wheeze. On the appointed day, though, there wasn’t even a whisper of a breeze in the Back Harbour. I would’ve waited for a more favorable day, but a major cold front approached; and, I could have called a friend for a tow, but that would have gone against the just-me-and-my-love grain of the ritual. So I took a chance. When the tide turned, I released the mooring line with the belief that the outgoing tide would take us to the harbour’s mouth, where I discerned a wisp of wind. Lo and behold the tide worked for us, and we caught a wind that sailed us to the marina. However, shortly before arrival, got knocked down by a sudden squall that came out of nowhere and then left just as quickly, taking the wind with it. Made it to a marina mooring ball with what felt like the last eighth-of-a-knot puff.         

While that proved to be among the most memorable end-of-season sails to the marina, the much more important part of my end-of-season ritual is my annual solo goodbye sail. Starting the first week of October I monitor the weather to determine a perfect day to spend the day sailing. My goal is to sail what I call the Mahone Bay loop, which basically takes you around a large part of the bay’s perimeter. This reversible loop entails a course southeast from Chester Harbour to around the ocean side of the Tancook Islands, west to the Town of Mahone Bay, north through the Islands around Indian Point, a short dogleg northeast past Round Island, then back north to cut between Oak and Frog Islands, and then east for home.

Naturally, the course is determined in large part by the wind, which dictates whether we attempt the loop in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. The wind also plays a role in the success of the voyage, as too little leads to a shortening of the loop. In fact, more often than not the loop is not transited in its entirety, and we’ve ended up motoring for home with a setting sun. That was the case this year, as a dying wind prevented us from completing the Tancook portion of the counterclockwise loop. However, last year we completed the entire loop in record time, and with plenty of daylight left, dallied around the islands abutting Chester before heading into the harbour.

This solo day trip always proves quite cathartic in preparing for the annual impending goodbye, and provides me intimate memories that help ease the slow passing of each dark and dreary winter day. A day on the water, alone, just me and my beloved boat….

—Originally Published in The MacDonald Notebook November 11.

2017’s Word of the Year Announced—“Fascist!”

2017’s Word of the Year Announced—“Fascist!”

—October 24, 2017

Well, kids, things haven’t changed much since 2016’s Word of the Year was announced, because once again the lexical honoree of the year is being recognized in part because of its use as a tool for shutting down debate. As you may recall, last year’s word of the year was “racist” based on its excessive use by social justice warriors and black activists who used it to shut down any debate whatsoever with regard to race relations in the U.S.

As I pointed out during last year’s announcement:

“From what I can tell, everyone is either a “racist” or declaring someone else to be “racist.” It is, without a doubt, 2016’s catchall word that defines exactly who one is. If you’ve been called racist, then you must assuredly be one. And if you’ve called somebody a racist, then it obviously (logical fallacy aside) must be assumed that you are not a racist.

“So, go ahead, make sure you’re not tagged with 2016’s epithet of disdain and launch a pre-emptive strike by calling me a racist. Hell, I’m questioning the usage of the word, so by golly-gee I must be one.”

And, now, you can just supplant the word “racist” in the above passage with the word “fascist,” because it is, without a doubt, 2017’s catchall word that defines exactly who one is….

That is, according to the dictates of those on the Left wing of the political spectrum.

“Fascist” and its affiliate term, “Nazi,” are utilized so much by those on the Left that the actual word(s) have lost their original meaning. Which is another way of pointing out that many on the Left don’t actually even know what fascism is, or, for that matter, what “Nazi” stands for. And this is evidenced by how the Loony Left—and even many of the more moderate Left-leaners—bark out these words with casual disregard for their true meaning whenever someone says something they don’t like.

But I digress. Let’s make sure that you’re not tagged with 2017’s epithet of disdain with a few simple questions:

  • Voted for Trump?—Fascist!
  • Thought about voting for Trump?—Fascist!
  • Republican?—Fascist!
  • Watch Fox News?—Fascist!
  • Oppose sanctuary for “undocumented citizens?”—Fascist!
  • Believe there are only two genders?—Fascist!
  • Believe “Blue Lives Matter?”—Fascist!
  • Don’t believe Islam is the “Religion of Peace?”—Fascist!
  • Think third-wave feminism is bonkers?—Fascist!
  • Oppose “take a knee?”—Fascist!
  • Question multiculturalism?—Fascist!
  • Support free speech?—Fascist!
  • Work in any capacity whatsoever that might support the Trump Administration?—Nazi!

Naturally, you answered “no” to all of the above and have not been outed as a fascist. And, Psst, even if you did answer yes, or considered a “yes” or two, not to worry, because you’re not really a fascist, or for that matter, a Nazi.

Let’s examine the word a bit closer. Simply put a fascist is a person who believes in or sympathizes with fascism. In turn, fascism is a “form of radical authoritarian nationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and control of industry and commerce.”

In other words, generally absent the “nationalism” component, fascism is represented by just about every communist government that’s (violently) come into power over the past 100 years. And, yeah, this also describes the fascist regimes of Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain and a few other European countries during the dark years of the 1930s and ‘40s. But really, different sides of the same coin….

So, is Trump a fascist, or even a Nazi? Based on the official definition(s), any reasonable person would have to say no. Just break the definition down into its distinct parts:

  • Radical?—In his unique (if that’s the right word) way…uh, yeah.
  • Authoritarian?—Seems to be, due to speed with which he’s trying to undo Obama initiatives; however, he hasn’t tried to exceed his authority any more than Obama actually did (and thus far, Obama proved far more effective at it).
  • Dictatorial Power?—No realistic indications that he’s actually seeking it.
  • Forcible Suppression of Opposition?—Heck, he hasn’t even thrown Hillary in prison yet (and, tick-tock…tick-tock, day-by-day it becomes ever more evident that she deserves it).
  • Control of Industry and Commerce?—Hah! Try “less control.”
  • Nationalism (saved it for last)?—What do you think? How about, “Make America Great Again!”

But really, is Trump’s nationalism any different from that expressed by America’s other “nationalist” president of recent times? The one who said, “America First!” You know, Ronald Reagan?

Ironically, the Left is acting far more fascist than Trump, or anyone who might be tempted to say “yes” to my earlier list of simple fascist-identifying questions. In fact, the Far Left, and its militant-arm “Antifa,” is the epidemy of modern-day fascism, though absent the “nationalist” component. Just consider my second set of questions:

  • Radical?—Absolutely!
  • Authoritarian?—Well, I’d call them sanctimonious busy-bodies who think they know what’s best for everybody, and are currently incensed because they’re not able to dictate their will on the rest of us. Try expressing a conservative thought in their presence and see what happens (you’ll hear “fascist” in a nano-second and any efforts to express yourself will be shouted down and drowned out)—and please note that suppression of free speech and thought is usually the first noticeable evidence of….
  • Forcible Suppression of Opposition?—See previous.
  • Control of Industry and Commerce?—You betcha! Haven’t you heard, “Capitalism doesn’t work?”
  • Nationalism?—As previously noted, this is the absent component. However, to answer the question, “Hah!” Try “open borders” and enforced multiculturalism (though I’m not sure how they’re going to meld the latter with their proscription against cultural appropriation).    
  • Dictatorial Power?—God help us all should they ever get in power.

tSPJyvg

Johnnie Walker Upstaged by Chinese Liquid Razor Blades

Johnnie Walker Upstaged by Chinese Liquid Razor Blades

Being that we here at the Southern Drinking Club try to keep abreast of all news related to alcohol and its consumption, we were shocked to recently learn that a Chinese firm has overtaken the maker of Johnnie Walker as the “world’s most valuable liquor maker.”

But then again, being that we are American—and perhaps more importantly, Southern—we don’t tend to spend a lot of time worrying about news from far-out-of-the-way places such as China, Myanmar, California, Point Nemo and the like.

Nevertheless, it was a bit disconcerting to learn that as of early April, Kweichow Moutai became the largest liquor company in the world, with a value of $71.5 billion.

$71.5 billion—now that’s a lot of shots worth!

But what exactly is Kweichow Moutai? And, perhaps more to the point, how’s your favorite bartender going to react when you belly up to the bar and ask for three Pinot Grigios for the ladies, three Live Oak ales for the menfolk, and an accompanying round of Kweichow Moutai for the table?

Chances are that your bartender is not going to know WTF you are on about, but Kweichow Moutai was actually first introduced (conceptually, anyhow) to America in 1972, when the Chinese feted President Richard Nixon with their national drink during his famous official State Visit (during which aides reportedly worked overtime trying to limit the presidential intake).

Despite that early introduction—and perhaps because CBS News Anchor at the time, Dan Rather, described it “like liquid razor blades,”— Kweichow Moutai has never really taken off in the states, or anywhere but China, for that matter.

Its current success as the world’s leading liquor brand has more to do with demographics than anything else. While the American and European markets continue to favor Johnnie Walker by a wide margin over Kweichow Moutai, the overall potential market from both combined is less than the 1.4 billion population potential market in China. As it stands now, 95 percent of Kweichow Moutai sales are generated from within China, with less than 5 percent coming from the U.S. and Europe. Johnnie Walker, meanwhile, generates most of its sales from Europe and the U.S., though at a lower price point and smaller potential market.

You can find Kweichow Moutai, and other Chinese variants throughout America, but at an average price topping $200 per bottle, it has not proven to be an in-demand product. But you can help change that by asking your favorite bartender to carry it.

Do us a favor though, and let us know what your bartender tells you. Oh, and please fully describe the flavor of liquid razor blades.

—Originally published July 12 by the Southern Drinking Club 

Political Correctness Bites . . . Me in the Ass!

Political Correctness Bites . . . Me in the Ass!

—March 24, 2017

OK, so I experienced a first yesterday. Or perhaps I have experienced this before, but was just never aware of it. The “this” being rejection from a potential job due to my political leanings and/or politically incorrect postings made on social media.

In short, a potential client emailed me to request samples of my work because she could not open the original samples I had sent along with my initial proposal/application. A request like this is akin to getting a nibble on a fish hook, but I didn’t get super excited or bother to second guess the original samples I sent, but just resent those originals. I am confident in my skills, tend to get a fair number of bites in my constant fishing expedition for freelance editorial gigs, and felt that I had provided the client with enough initial information with which to gauge my skill set and ability to handle the job.

Not to say that there wasn’t a bit of excitement, as the job—content development for a large website dealing with subject matter I find quite interesting—would have brought in some fairly decent coin and what I believed to be likely work satisfaction.

I went about my business after responding to the request and received this email response about an hour later: “I am no longer considering you for the position. Thanks for applying.”

Rejection is a standard part of the freelance process, but in this game rejection often comes without any notice—one just never hears back from the potential client.

I appreciated that she had taken a moment to inform me that I was no longer in consideration, and so answered the email by thanking her for the politeness of letting me know. Perhaps I even let out slight sigh of dejection as I turned my attention back to other work, but within a few minutes noticed I had eight new notifications on my Twitter feed.

This seemed odd as I had not posted anything in a couple of days. Lo and behold, it was my potential client, vigorously taking issue in 140-characters-or-less with various comments I had posted over the past few months. It was quite apparent that my posts irritated her and that she heartily disagreed with them, but I will not claim that she was overly aggressive or obnoxious (though I imagine that I could easily respond in a manner that would provoke her into the screeching illogical rage that seems to be coming from so many on the Left these days).

Speaking of “logic,” most of my former-potential client’s posts were noteworthy for their lack of it. Some of her responses served as non sequiturs as they weren’t really addressing the issues I was originally posting about, and a couple of others relied on the oft-used-by-the-Left “red herring” and “strawman” fallacies. And one just served as a non-sensical sarcastic rant.

Now, to give my former-potential client a touch of leeway, she was responding to my 140-characters-or-less with her own 140-characters-or-less. It is difficult to make a succinct argument in 140 characters or less; nuances, sarcasm and humor can often be missed; and the point of such postings can easily be misinterpreted.

Anyhow, upon realizing that I had perhaps been rejected due to my Tweets, I sent her another email message stating that “I now understand that perhaps the rejection is politically motivated. And apparently you now plan on trolling me. Interesting!”

And it is interesting on so many different levels. I would like to examine her actions and other posts more at length, but the narcissist in me is telling me to bring the focus back to me, me and I.

So, my first thought upon realizing the likely reason for my rejection was, wow, do I need to be more careful with what I Tweet? And then, when I determined that she had spent a fair amount of time reviewing my website (first-time play in Oak Creek, baby!), I briefly thought, wow, maybe I should be more careful with what I put down on my website?            

….Yeah, no. Fuck that!—much like I’m not about to start checking my alleged “privilege,” I am not about to start checking my writing due to political/political correct considerations. 

Bottom line is I am who I am, believe what I believe, and will stand firmly for both (though always willing to question and debate aforementioned beliefs). And these days, with the country so significantly divided on so many different issues, it doesn’t matter where one stands on the political spectrum, as roughly 50 percent of the population stands in opposition.

And judging from today’s job rejection, I guess this pretty much means that folks should just assume that 50 percent of a given job market may be closed to them. Of course, that assumption would be a gross generalization and illogical conclusion.

Wouldn’t it?

How to Contend With Those Dreaded Words—“Winter is Coming!”

How to Contend With Those Dreaded Words—“Winter is Coming!”

—February 25, 2017

It’s winter!

It’s winter, and we don’t really care whether that over-glorified February-the-second rodent saw his shadow or not, because all realistic indications point to winter being with us for many weeks to come. And, as lovers of all things nautical, we at Getting Nauti get kind of depressed during thegroundhog-in-snow-812159 depths of winter because this season puts a damper on maritime fun.

Sure, you folks who live in southern California or Florida pretty much enjoy the nautical lifestyle for 12 months of the year. However, the rest of us schmucks have to endure what seems to be an annual eternity of cold temperatures, freezing water, dark skies, ice, and—for those of us in the northern climes—that white stuff that looks oh-so-pretty-when-it-first-blankets-the-ground but after lingering for weeks on end starts looking like the frozen crust of nuclear fallout.

Winter—Blah!    

Just the thought of it in late summer made us quit watching Game of Thrones so we wouldn’t have to images-1hear that annoying catch-phrase “Winter is coming!” That harbinger of winter, that first frost, brings tears to our eyes as it marks the end of the nautical season. And that first snowfall, the one in which just about everyone exclaims, “Oh, how pretty!,” has us envisioning a flamethrower melting the white spawn of Satan before it can touch the ground.

OK, OK, so we’re getting a bit melodramatic here….

But we can’t help it because by mid-February we are so done with winter, and so ready to get back to getting nauti! Not gonna happen, though, because we’ve got endless weeks and weeks to go, no matter how that aforementioned rodent calls it.

So this got us thinking: what kind of nautical-minded fun can we have in spite of winter’s ravages? Lo and behold, after a bit of research we discovered that there are all kinds of winter-time maritime activities one can enjoy. Maybe winter doesn’t suck after all. Let’s check them out:

Frostbite Sailing— Heck, we thought everyone up north pulled their sailboats out of the water in the fall, but it turns out that a dozen or so northern communities from Boston to Maryland engage in sailboat racing all year. “Frostbiting,” they call it with good reason. And yeah, we can just imagine the joys of sailing into 20-knot subzero winds, sleet and snow; moving about on frozen decks while dressed in so many layers one can hardly move; and handling lines so cold that they feel like they’re about to cut through your gloves and into your flesh.

Ice Diving— Everyone pretty much pictures tropical coral reefs when thinking about SCUBA diving, but some hard-core divers take it to the extreme by diving through a hole in the ice during the depths of winter. In fact, some divers are so gung-ho that they pay big bucks to break through arctic ice to explore the coldest underwater environments. Don’t try this at home, though kids, as ice diving requires specialized equipment and probably a bit of training to account for unfamiliar cold water considerations. You know, like how to successfully do it without freezing to death. 

Surf Fishing the Freeze— Many die-hard surf fishermen swear that they can pull in just as many game fish in February as they can during spring or fall runs. On beaches from Massachusetts to North Carolina you can find these brave fishermen facing the freezing onshore wind and sleet while angling for a striper, blue, drum, flounder or any number of other prime catches. If you meet one of these eager anglers try to take note of how many fingers he has as he waxes poetic about the 20-pound striper he caught off Cape May during the height of last winter’s blizzard.

Cold Weather Surfing— Cowabunga! Piping Hot! Surf’s Up, Baby…. Especially in the winter when “gnarly” waves might take on a whole new meaning when you add some baby icebergs. But get amped, because surfers who live in eskimo-like climates swear winter surfing is the best. Just ask the locals who live near Windmill Bight, Newfoundland; Tofino, British Columbia; Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia; Higgins Beach, Maine; Lofoten, Norway; or Punta de Lobos, Chile. They don’t let a bit of snow, wind, ice or frostbite snake their waves.   

Polar Bear Swimming— Those crazy neighbours of ours to the north in the land of ice, moose, beavers, Mounties and Eskimos, have engaged in this traditional activity for more than a hundred years as a fun way to ring in the New Year. And while some American groups have adopted this hypothermic pastime for charitable purposes, those crazy Canucks just do it for the fun of it, to the point where just about any winter holiday or event marks a good reason to jump into the frozen ocean. Heck, they probably jump into the ocean on Feb. 2, to honor that stupid overgrown gerbil.    

Well that pretty much wraps up our research findings of winter-time nautical fun. What d’ya think, can any of these pastimes cure the winter blues for those of us dreaming of a nautical summer?

Yeah, no! Winter still sucks….     

—Written for and published by “Getting Nauti” Feb. 20. And yeah, been a bit limited on my own personal writing of late…. Stay tuned—I’ll rant again, soon. 

Always In Search of Waterways and a Boat With Which to Ply Them

Always In Search of Waterways and a Boat With Which to Ply Them

—January 26, 2017

Whenever I travel to an unfamiliar area I always try to get out on the water. It’s not enough to just feel a sea breeze on my face while taking a walk along a city’s waterfront or by strolling barefoot on a beach. I need to experience the feel of water passing under a boat’s hull. I need to experience the area from the perspective of a sailor, and take regard of the shoreline from the sea instead of regarding the sea from the shoreline. I want to get a feel for the lay of the waterways, a sense of what it might be like to ply these unexplored waters on a regular basis. There is also my sense that “adventure” is much more likely to be found on the water than on land.    

And it’s not just ocean water that attracts me, as I’ve always been drawn to lakes, ponds and rivers, as well. If there is water, I look for boats and/or the means to get on one. Take this long-ago away-game, for example:

Shortly after my first stint in university, I visited my friend, Lee—Mister X—Perkins, in Sacramento. Not much water to speak of there, but after he mentioned a whitewater rafting trip he’d recently taken down the American River, I convinced him that we needed to explore the river further. So we packed a lunch, filled a cooler with beer, bought a cheap blow-up raft at WalMart and drove an hour or so northeast to a known launching area. Lee made arrangements for someone to pick us up at the end of the day at the take out some 20 miles downriver and we proceeded to blow up that raft with a foot pump.

ptru1-5341453enh-z6A few people hanging about at the put-in spot gave us quizzical looks, and one man asked, “do you boys know what you’re doing?”

“Of course we do,” we replied. After all, Lee had recently rafted this river…with a guide and on a sturdy, hard-bottomed raft specifically made for white water rafting.

The man shook his head as if to say, fools rush in where angels fear to tread, and off we went, full of excessive bravado and confidence so common in 20-something-year-old men.

A half mile down the river we entered the first rapids—appropriately named “Meatgrinder,”—as our first impact with an unseen rock punched me in the left butt cheek making me howl out in pain. A couple of more strikes quickly followed, letting us know that perhaps our cheap raft wasn’t made for white water. And then we turned a corner to enter the frothing water of the actual rapids and were quickly upended—bye-bye beer, lunch and the first paddle…

…And only 19 more miles and about 30 named rapids to go!south-fork-river

Somehow we made it. We drifted into the take-out at dusk clinging to the last of the raft’s four air pockets that hadn’t yet been punctured, our bodies covered from head to toe in bruises and gashes. Our driver looked with incredulity at us and the remains of the raft and said, “what were you boys thinking?”

“What?” we replied, our bravado still intact. “That was great!”

On the ride back to our car, we did admit to a bit of discomfort, and agreed that we needed a more robust raft for any such future rafting adventures. We also bemoaned the loss of our beer, lunch and paddles. One small saving grace was that we had inverted our life vests to wear them around our mid-sections like diapers, thus providing a bit of protection to the more sensitive parts of our bodies.

And no, we did not have helmets. But it did not seem to matter much, as apparently we had more bone up there in our noggins than we did brains.       

—Originally published January 17 in slidemoor.com    

Losing the Political War?—Blame the Russians!

Losing the Political War?—Blame the Russians!

—December 2, 2016

In case you haven’t been following the news of late I can tell you: “The Russians did it!”

Yep, it’s clear, Russian machinations are behind all the bad things happening in the world today.

At least, that’s what the Democrats and mainstream media (MSM) outlets such as CNN (Clinton News Network), The New York Times, and (especially) The Washington Post want you to believe.

Hillary Clinton lost the election— Russians colluded with Trump; hacked the Democratic National Committee and Hillary campaign manager John Podesta’s emails; disseminated fake news via hundreds of complicit or unaware Internet-based news sites; and had in-country operatives trying to disrupt the election.

Syria is a hellhole— Russian bombing!

Unmanned spaceship carrying supplies to International Space Station Crashes— Yep, Russians (never mind that it was a Russian spaceship).

Netflix went down again— Russians!

0This whole “blame the Russians” effort seems to have started after Donald Trump jokingly said in July that he hoped the Russians could find Hillary’s missing 30,000 emails. Leftist MSM outlets jumped all over it with frothing hissy-fit stories ranging from how it made Trump unfit for office to how he should be tried for treason.

It didn’t take long for both the Democratic campaign of Hillary Clinton and President-himself Obama to start pointing the finger at Russia for all kinds of nefarious workings designed to undermine the election. At one point Obama even threatened—no, promised!—massive retaliation for alleged Russian hacking.

But gee, despite all that Presidential anti-Russian pontification back in September and October, there have been no signs of any retaliation, nor has the President (let alone Hillary and company) released one shred of evidence tying the Russians to any hacking or other activities that were detrimental to the electoral process. In fact, Obama seems to have gone completely silent on the issue*.

Meanwhile, the MSM is upping the ante, with The Washington Post leading the charge Nov. 24, with the feature story, “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say.” The story was based largely on research conducted by “The PropOrNot Team,” an anonymous group of researchers reputedly “dedicated to identifying propaganda—particularly Russian propaganda targeting a U.S. audience.” In short, PropOrNot identified about 200 websites—primarily those on the Right-wing of the Political spectrum—that were knowingly, or not, disseminating fake news stories crafted by Russians. The Washington Post story was quickly picked up by much of the rest of the MSM, accepted as the Gospel Truth and is now leading to a massive drive by the Left to shut down in whatever way possible the listed “Russian propaganda machines.”cccp-red-close-600x600

As an aside I’ll just note how ironic it is that the Far Left is trying to shut down purported nefarious activity emanating from its erstwhile idol and icon of Leftist ideology.     

Fortunately, not every Left-leaning media maven is buying this horse-feathered tale. The New Yorker yesterday released a critique of the PropOrNot list and those MSM outlets that accepted and spread its findings. The New Yorker story—“The Propaganda About Russian Propaganda”—essentially rips the PropOrNot findings apart by pointing out how the anonymous group’s broad criteria and methodologies are so utterly subjective that any news organization, including The Washington Post itself, could be dragged onto the list at the whim of the researchers. As quoted in the New Yorker critique by one well-respected researcher of fake news, “I think [The Washington Post story] should have never been an article on any news site of any note.”

All-in-all, when I consider how the Leftist Mainstream Media has reported on this alleged propaganda coming from the Right, I’d have to say that, Russia aside, it is definitely a case of the “pot calling the kettle black.”

In closing I’ll just say: Привет русских. Нравится ли вам мой рассказ? Если это так, то, пожалуйста, нажмите на кнопку “как” ниже.

*Postscript: On December 9 President Obama ordered a full-scale U.S. Intelligence investigation into the alleged Russian Hacking, which begs the question as to why he was running his mouth prior to any investigation. In related news, The Washington Post has issued a partial retraction of its Nov. 24 Russian Hacking story in which it stated that it could not vouch for the veracity of PropOrNot’s Russian hacking allegations.

**Postscript II: As of January 3, the Obama Administration had not released any conclusive intelligence proving Russian complicity in the hacks; though MSM outlets such as CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, etc. keep releasing news stories that suggest the intelligence information released by Obama does prove complicity. A close inspection of Obama intelligence releases and MSM stories about the intelligence has many outside experts doubting the veracity of the intelligence and of the media’s reporting of it.

Meanwhile, Julian Assange continues to insist that the “Russians” were not the source for either the DNC nor John Podesta hacked emails. Given WikiLieaks’ 10-plus-year history of releasing only “true” information, I am certainly inclined to believe Assange over Obama.

***Postscript III: Boy did I call this one correctly. As of November 12, 2017, there is still no evidence supporting allegations that Trump colluded with the Russians. However, all indications point to Hillary and her campaign being deeply involved with Russia on two different nefarious, if not illegal, schemes. Stay tuned!   

“Suck It Up, Pussies!” Construed as “Hate Crime”

“Suck It Up, Pussies!” Construed as “Hate Crime”

—November 23, 2016

Well kids, we’ve got another one of those “are-you-fucking-kidding-me?” stories to put in the “Gone Batshit Crazy” book. But I suppose the surprise election of Donald Trump for president has triggered the Loony Left to such a degree that all of its inane and illogical thinking is being exposed for the world to see.

The relatively benign “Suck it up, buttercup!” has served as just one popular (and apt) rebuttal to dismayed and outraged Liberal supporters of Hillary Clinton who just can’t wrap their head around the fact that perhaps their Queen may have been a touch flawed…. Or just can’t understand why a significant portion of the U.S. population is thoroughly fed up with the attempted Lefty imposition of various sanctimonious, hypocritical, politically correct ideologies on just about every facet of American life.

edgewoodcollege-note“Suck it up, pussies!” is another such rebuttal, as recently offered to the delicate snowflake Leftist students and faculty at Edgewood College in Wisconsin. The Post-It note message, accompanied by a winking, tongue-out, smiley face drawing, was stuck to the window of the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion in response to a campus invite for students to express their feelings about the election on Post-It notes that they were supposed to attach to a nearby “designated” table.

“Designated” for what, I’m not sure, but universities these days have designated cuddly bear rooms and a variety of other similar “safe spaces” where students’ delicate constitutions can be soothed from all the horrible stresses of life—you know, like Donald Trump, described by many on the Far Left as “Literally Hitler.” And, as an aside, how is it that this popular Lefty sentiment is not deemed “hate speech?” Is not calling someone the equivalent of a horrible mass murderer more “hateful” than calling someone a coward, that is, a “pussy?”

Anyhow, Vice President for Student Development Tony Chambers, with the full support of a “group of cross-functional college staff representing campus security, student conduct, human resources, Title IX enforcement, and diversity and inclusion measures,” deemed the Post-It note a “hate crime” and reported it to the Madison, Wisconsin Police Department.

In a lengthy bloviation to the campus, Vice President Chambers alleged that the Post-It note elicited a “great deal of fear, sadness and anger” among students, faculty and staff, and all but suggested that the perpetrator should be tarred and feathered. OK, perhaps not that far sanctioned, but clearly indicated that the perpetrator’s academic dreams should be shattered, and, if the long-arm-of-the-law can be successfully invoked, he or she should suffer a severe criminal justice system smack-down.

Are you fucking kidding me!!!

Sorry, I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one: one of this college’s top dogs, and his lackeys, asked the police to investigate a non-threatening message with a smiley face that happened to be posted at the wrong space, and is seeking to impose every punitive measure possible on the perpetrator of the missive?  

OK, OK…posted at the wrong place on purpose. Still, is this a matter for the police? Is this an issue that really deserves the full attention of the college administration? Don’t they have more important issues to be concerned about? This begs the question of what Tony Chambers and his ilk would do were they to find something like “Blow Me!” written on a bathroom stall wall? Call out the National Guard?

Hey, Tony Chambers—and to be absolutely clear which Tony Chambers—yeah you, Edgewood College vice president forbatman-pussy student development….

You, Sir, are a complete and utter fucking dipshit!

Now “them’s fighting words,” but do they also constitute a “hate crime,” and are you, Tony Chambers, going to call the cops on me?

I believe my statement is an opinion, not “hate speech,” and I’d be more than happy to engage in public debate (or perhaps a little cage fighting?) about my opinion of you and your support for politically correct petty grievance mongering.   

Whad’ya think? Can you “suck it up, pussy?” Or will you react like most on the Far Left and just resort to calling everything you don’t like a “hate crime,” and every person you don’t agree with a “racist,” “misogynist,” “homophobe,” “islamaphobe,” or whatever epithet serves the purpose of shutting down any logical debate?

Yeah . . . I already know your answer, but is anyone else willing to argue on behalf of Tony Chambers?

Bring it on!

What’d Ya Think: MSM Ignore News that Doesn’t Fit Liberal Agenda?

What’d Ya Think: MSM Ignore News that Doesn’t Fit Liberal Agenda?

—November 18, 2016

Breitbart News Texas earlier this week reported that Mexican authorities had arrested the former mayor of a rural community in the border state of Coahuila in connection with the extermination of hundreds of victims by the Los Zetas cartel. This followed several months of investigative reporting by Breitbart News Texas detailing the 2011-2013 murder and incineration of more than 300 victims—including women and children—with complicity and help covering up the crime by elements in the Mexican government.

loszetas-logo-1This news is noteworthy for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, criminal activity such as this is all too common in Mexico, and most normal Americans do not want to see such butchery become commonplace in our country. Thus, many Americans’ support for President-Elect Donald Trump’s wall, or at the least, a much more stringent vetting process to better ensure that such criminal elements do not become our next-door neighbors. Given that perhaps a million or so illegal aliens have criminal records—with at least a few undoubtedly being prone to gruesome criminal activity as reported by Breitbart—the news lends further support to Trump’s recent suggestion that his immigration priority is to remove “criminal” illegal aliens first, and worry later about how to address those who’ve been illegally living and working here for years.

The news also is quite interesting because, well, the complete and utter lack of any interest in it from the U.S. mainstream media. Sure, the murders themselves are a couple of years dated, but even Aljazeera thinks the story is still worth reporting on, as it has been doing since March 2015 in a three-part detailed series, “Terror in Coahuila.”

Guess, the “terror” just wasn’t considered a big deal by CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, and others in the liberal mainstream media, as none ever provided the American public with even a whisper about the crimes.

Or perhaps, as we suspect, it was too much of a big deal. The story would have horrified Americans and perhaps led more of lame-streamthem to support Donald Trump’s ideas about controlling the border. And the MSM certainly wasn’t going to report on something that might support a Trump position—kind of like how they purposely avoided mentioning “Islamic” or “Muslim” with any reported acts of U.S.-based terrorism over the past year.

But the emerging details of Mexican government complicity in the Coahuila mass murder must surely be newsworthy now?

CNN’s Jake Tapper thought so a couple of days ago when he Tweeted: “Shocking story by @brandondarby [Breitbart reporter] about a cartel that used a network of ovens to cover-up mass murder in Coahuila.”

But other than that brief mention of the story, we only received the typical “crickets” from a liberal press that remains quite adept at ignoring news that doesn’t fit their liberal agenda for how the world should work.

Yeah, but Trump ditching the press pool to enjoy a quiet steak dinner with relatives and friends sure fit their narrative. Yeah boy, it obviously represents a prime example of why Trump is unfit to hold the presidential office.       

—Written for Monday-Monday Network, but may not have run….

I’ll Take the Projectile Vomiting, Thank You!

I’ll Take the Projectile Vomiting, Thank You!

—November 4, 2016

OK, kids, here I go again. But to clarify, first of all let me please point out that it is not so much that I am Pro-Trump, but that I am Anti-Hillary. If this election is a choice between projectile vomiting and long-term bloody diarrhea then I choose vomiting—that is Trump. Once the dry heaves are over, I honestly believe that Trump will prove to be far more reasonable and effective than most people believe, especially if he can draw good people into his cabinet. With regard to the diarrhea that is representative of Hillary, I feel that it’s just a sign of a much deeper illness, and one that would prove especially cancerous.

Second, and most important with regard to this writing, no one has ever been able to call “Bullshit” on anything WikiLeaks has ever released—nothing released has ever been proven to be a forgery or fabrication construed by WikiLeaks itself.

Third, especially for my “Lefty” friends, let me remind you that when WikiLeaks first started exposing the “truth” 10 years ago, the Left was in full support, especially given that WikiLeaks exposed some of the more nefarious elements of Bush’s Iraq War. Thus, WikiLeaks is a non-partisan, equal-opportunity exposer of truth—that is, if what was originally written down or filmed and then exposed by Wiki was truthful to begin with. 


main-qimg-277003af4d8a73d0290d5ed804618193-c
Now that WikiLeaks is inconveniently exposing “Truth” about one of your [supposedly] Leftist idols—Hillary Clinton—you have determined that WikiLeaks is full of crap and, ironically, a tool of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

While most of you on the Left ignore WikiLeaks because the mainstream media refuses to report on it, and because CNN (Clinton News Network) told you that it’s illegal and just a Russian-Hack tool, it is an eye-opener with regard to the inner workings of the Clinton Campaign. I’ve been reading WikiLeaks every day, and as a writer, Iv’e got to say you can’t make this shit up.

Let’s just ignore the fact that out of the 100-thousand or so emails released so far, not one, to my knowledge, displays any hint of altruistic motive or desire to do good for America, the world and/or its people. Instead, these inner-campaign communications focus on the machinations of this political machine. Granted, this political machine is all about getting Hillary Rodham Clinton elected as President, so perhaps one shouldn’t expect that positive discussion about “how we’re going to make America great again” would be part of the day-to-day exchange of ideas among staff. 

But the amount of apparent sleazy back-room dealings, slimy smear jobs, launder the dirty money, manipulate the gullible, hide the truth, planned pandering, and outright insults to just about everyone outside the campaign’s inner circle is beyond belief. While perhaps there is nothing contained in these emails that could lead to an outright conviction for any number of insinuated-within-the-content criminal activities, most of these writings come from obviously corrupt, narcissistic, power-hungry, greedy, outright despicable excuses for human beings. Based on their words, I cannot imagine sharing a dinner table with them…and I’m pretty much game for sitting down for dinner and wine with most folks.

To add to the surrealism of these narcissistic interchanges, we get to learn about some of the Clinton staff’s peccadilloes. For example, we now know that John Podesta is a fervent believer in UFOs and Area 51, and can’t wait until he gets White House powers via Hillary so that he can force the military to give up its secrets about crashed alien spacecraft and the recovered remains of dead extraterrestrials.

And from today’s batch of released emails we learn that he might be into some pretty warped meal planning. “Spirit Cooking,” to be exact. I don’t know enough about the said cuisine to make a comment, but Paul Joseph Watson provides a good explanation in his latest video:

***Postscript (as of 11-5-16): I need to point out that the WikiLeaks emails concerning John Podesta and his alleged participation with “Spirit Cooking” only include those “inviting” John Podesta to participate in the said cuisine. No WikiLeaks emails released thus far provide a response from John Podesta or anyone else that indicate he actually attended any such feast as portrayed in the ensuing video. Thus, unless a future WikiLeaks email proves otherwise, please consider this video as being for  “entertainment” purposes only.   

For the record, Paul is prone to hyperbole and I question whether Podesta is as warped as insinuated in this video. In fact, I’m not buying some of the latest email interpretations* that suggest a pedophilia ring within the campaign cabal. Nevertheless, there is usually a bit of truth in any hyperbole, and any truths that may get exposed within this hyperbole would be more than I could stomach….

Anyhow, judge for yourself, and try to objectively consider all truths that may be exposed by WikiLeaks.

*WikiLeaks does not “interpret” the information it exposes/adamantly denies that Clinton-related emails were “hacked by the Russians/and during its 10-plus “expose-the-truth” years, has never falsified any of its leaked documents. 

It’s Fast Becoming Official: “Two Plus Two Does Make Five!”

It’s Fast Becoming Official: “Two Plus Two Does Make Five!”

—November 1, 2016

Who would have ever thought that George Orwell’s dystopian “1984” vision of a government-mandated belief that “two plus two makes five” would be first borne by sexual deviance of a sort?

That is: “transgenderism.”

And it is “deviance,” all of you politically correct adherents poised to eviscerate me for the apparent abject insensitivity of my words.

Look up “deviance” in the dictionary, and you will see it defined as “deviating from the norm,” and/or “different from what is considered to be normal or morally correct.” And please note that, as so defined, transgenderism is “deviant” even if not speaking about the issue from a moral viewpoint.

But let’s push those semantics aside, as I am far more concerned about how the transgender movement is successfully pushing governments and universities to adopt the first officially sanctioned efforts to force the populace to believe that two plus two does in fact make five.

How so, you ask?

Well, for what appears to be the first-time ever with modern democracies, governments and schools across North America are starting to pass measures that mandate how you speak to transgendered folks by forcing the citizenry—under various penalties for non-compliance—to use the preferred pronouns as requested by individual transgendered people. Under the most simple construct this means identifying transgendered folks as either “he,” “she,” or “they,” as so requested. But the ever-expanding ideals of the transgender movement are not so simple, as it has created and adopted dozens of made-up pronouns, such as “xer,” “faer,” “aer,” “per,” “xem,” “hir,” “xe,” “xyr,” that have not yet even been accepted for usage by any lexicon.

It’s almost like governments and learning institutions are getting ahead of themselves. I mean, isn’t there something in western society’s legal canon that insists that any laws or regulations promulgated must utilize words that actually exist? Does this now mean that our governments and schools can pass laws and rules based on the “Klingon” language and culture?

But think beyond the language component of these measures and realize that they are designed to manipulate thought. You might be like most people and believe in the traditional binary gender system in which about 98 percent of people are either male or female, with another 1 percent of indeterminate gender due to biological factors beyond their control, and the other 1 percent just confused. Or perhaps you’re an adherent to this new “gender spectrum” way of thinking in which you believe the idea of “male” and “female” is a modern construct that wrongly “assigns” one’s gender at birth, and that there are 25, 50 or maybe even more than 100 different gender expressions.

If you want to believe in the latter, fill your boots! It’s not up to me to tell you what to believe. But when a government or institution of higher learning and critical thought tells me—under threat of penalty—that I have to use words describing something I don’t believe in, then we have a serious problem.

Hypothetically, you might think that you are a “firegender demiboy,” or some other gender expression of the 70 or so identified and named by the movement, and thus proclaim your preferred pronoun is “xir,” but I should not be forced to follow suit. If the government by mandate tells me I have to refer to you as “xir,” then it is forcing me to accept your belief, even though I believe you to be just a woman with serious psychological problems.

“Two plus two does not make five.”

285813_1But no, refusing to recognize transgenderism’s “two plus two makes five” is fast becoming North America’s first officially sanctioned Thoughtcrime, with the Thought Police poised to drag transgressors such as myself to the Ministry of Love. And actually, Thought Police prototypes, referred to euphemistically as “bias-response panels” and “bias-incident-reporting teams,” are already quite active on university and college campuses, where they subjectively monitor and sanction students and faculty for offensive “Hate Speech.” And now dozens of campuses are wholeheartedly adopting the transgender pronoun usage guidelines, and will consider the failure to abide by the guidelines as a form of Hate Speech.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s New York City is the first jurisdiction in America to adopt laws that require all employers, landlords, businesses and professionals to use whatever identity, name and pronoun requested by employees, tenants, customers or clients. Failure to abide by this directive can subject violators to legal sanctions based on the city’s amorphous gender-based harassment laws, which can apply civil penalties of up to $150,000 for standard violations, rising to $250,000 for violations considered “willful,” wanton,” or “malicious.”     

As written, legislation—Bill C-16—introduced by Canadian Premiere Justin Trudeau can reportedly be interpreted to mean that failure to use correct transgender pronouns is harassment and discrimination, and would thus be subject to “hate speech” satwo-plus-two-equals-fournction by the Canadian Government’s powerful Human Rights Commission, another Thought Police prototype.

To my knowledge no other group of people in modern democratic history has ever been accorded such deference in mandated language usage. And while transgendered folks are certainly entitled to civil rights protections afforded to all people, it should not come at the cost of limiting everyone else’s freedom of thought and speech.

In short, anyone should be allowed to believe that two plus two makes five, but no one should be forced to accept that belief.

North American Campuses: Bastions of Batshit Crazy!

North American Campuses: Bastions of Batshit Crazy!

—October 27, 2016

Well, Kids, we’re more than halfway through the semester, so we’d better take stock of the level of Left-Wing battiness roiling North American university and college campuses to see if Loony-Left students, professors, and administrators are going even more bat-shit crazy than last year. All indications point to one big “yes,” which is hard to believe given the utter absurdity of many of their actions and pronouncements from last year. But then again, they’re probably feeling empowered as the mainstream Left seems to be adopting some of the inane belief systems and political correct ideals coming out of universities these days. Moreover, professors and administrators seem more emboldened and open about their Leftist tendencies and their influence on the behaviour and thoughts of their students.

To recap last year’s inanity, just recall the terms “Social Justice Warrior,” “cultural appropriation,” “self-identification,” “non-binary genders,” “trigger warnings,” “safe spaces,” “hate speech,” “micro-aggressions,” “patriarchal,” “white privilege,” and a host of other “privileges,” among other pertinent Leftist catch words. Or you can check out my blogs from the last school year such as “Free Speech Imperilled by Campus Political Correctness,” “Political Correct Absurdities of the Week,” “Better Put a Trigger Warning on This One,” “PC Potentates Declare Yoga ‘Culturally Insensitive,’” and “The Patients Have Taken Over the Asylum,” to name a few.

And without further ado, and in no particular order, here is a partial run-down of this school year’s campus follies to date:

freespeechzoneForget the campus establishment of “safe spaces,” as the new drive appears to be “free-speech zones.” This supports the ideal of making a campus one big safe space where speech that may be construed as harmful, inciting, triggering, or in any way controversial is prohibited except in specially designated free-speech zones.

You know, like that small parking lot behind the cafeteria next to the dumpsters.

A few universities have also experimented with “free speech walls” where students are free to post or write whatever they want without fear of retribution from the campus thought police. However, ever-so-tolerant members of the Left tend to destroy or erase comments they don’t agree with. These Lefties seem to take great umbrage at any mention of “Donald Trump,” and his slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Speaking of which, the “chalking” of Trumpisms continues to be reported and investigated as a hate speech crime in campuses across America.

While considering such as “hate speech” is ludicrous enough, I’ve got to ask, “when did college kids start playing with chalk?”

Conservative speakers on campus? Hah! I’ve lost count of the number of conservative speakers who have had their speaking engagements cancelled by administrators over the past few months. Another trick to keep such harmful thinking off their campuses is to insist upon outrageous fees for security purposes.

Conservative speaking in general is frowned upon on college campuses with numerous campus conservative groups reporting incidents in which their meetings get disrupted by angry Social Justice Warriors. Of course, administrators take no action against the agitators, as the disruption  represents the exercise of their First Amendment rights.    

Overall, when a majority of university students polled say that the ideals of freedom of speech are over-rated or that the First Amendment should be repealed, I’d say we have a serious problem.

Campus bias-incident tribunals—or whatever names these campus Thought-Police prototype groups go under—seem to have become even more powerful in just the few short months since the end of the 2016 Spring semester. Instead of just waiting for students and professors to anonymously report their peers for possible acts of bias and dissemination of hate speech, these shadowy groups—whether composed of administrators, students, professors or some mixture thereof—are actively seeking out thoughtcrime. For example, dozens of these bias-incident groups have warned students at their respective schools not to wear Halloween costumes that may be offensive, with most threatening administrative action against potential transgressors. Tufts University in Boston even went so far as to warn the student body that campus police will be actively looking for potential violators.

My response to this is beautifully summed up by Paul Joseph Watson in this video:  

 “Inclusive language” policies seem to be an even bigger hit with administrators this year, with dozens of campuses launching new Thought-Police-like campaigns to discourage students from using words and phrases that may perhaps offend someone. This year’s policies are going way beyond the old-school PC efforts to to replace potentially offensive words with sugar-coated euphemisms that rely on soft catchwords like “challenged.” No, these policies—most of which suggest punishment for non-compliance—are going after those really hatful terms and phrases such as “hey guys,”“man up,” “mankind,” “man-made,” “color-blind,” and just about any word that might suggest exclusivity to a particular gender, race, sexual orientation or “ability” (or lack thereof).

And remember what I said about the Mainstream Left adopting emerging campus ideals? Well, the Obama Administration recently dictated that all those kind folks doing time in federal prison shouldn’t be stigmatized by being called “prisoners,” “inmates,” “convicts,” or “criminals,” and must now be referred to as “Justice Involved Individuals.”

It appears that last year’s identifying and shaming of potential “cultural appropriation” was just a warm up. Consider that fraternity and sorority members at the University of California Merced have been “instructed” not to use the terms “Greek,” “rush,” or “pledge” because they “appropriate Greek culture” and are “non-inclusive.”

Guess we’re going to have to change the name of the “Olympics,” so as not to offend those delicate Greek sensibilities.

Canoes, yoga, a whole range of food items, and a massive expansion of “inappropriate” Halloween costumes are also increasingly under the campus cultural appropriation gun.

Canoes? Yeah, how dare we white privileged Mo-Fos enjoy paddling in the native people’s traditional conveyance. Tell you what, we’ll give up our canoes if SJWs quit appropriating our modern transportation and communications systems.

“Toxic Masculinity” appears to be a new academic buzzword on several campuses, and is being taught as the primary reason for many of North American society’s ills, including mass shootings and violence in general. Orientation for incoming Gettysburg College students “who identified as male” included movies, lectures and group discussions on the subject, with one student reporting that the effort seemed to be driven to teach students that “masculinity is an unacceptable human trait.” Professors at the previously mentioned U of C—Merced lectured students that an Islamic student’s knife attack that seriously wounded four other students was driven by toxic masculinity and not radical ideology, despite his ISIS flag and hand-written radical manifesto. Students at this school seem to be already fully indoctrinated as all indications—Facebook postings, memorials, “teach-ins”—point to the stabber (killed by police) receiving far more sympathy and accolades than his four victims. And last, for the purpose of this blog, a Dartmouth professor is reportedly teaching a course that relates the Orlando shooting to toxic masculinity.

Yeah, my son’s definitely not going to any of those schools.

In the “irony of ironies” department, the pro-life, Catholic DePaul University banned public display of a campus pro-life group’s “Unborn Lives Matter” poster because the message is rooted in “bigotry” by theoretically mocking the Black Lives Matter movement, and might “provoke” other students….

You know, provoke those pro-choice students who probably have no business going to a pro-life school to begin with.  

And while this incident happened last year, a Columbia University student this month provided a Kafkaesque account of his experiences with the “Gender-Based Misconduct Office” after being accused by an anonymous student of referring to himself as “handsome” in Chinese during his Chinese language class. The Gender Misconduct administrator apparently told the student that his actions were likely the result of “white male privilege,” but the student refused to admit any wrongdoing, and after an hour or so of apparent “re-education” efforts the administrator gave up.

Like the student, I’m not quite sure what the offence was, but this just goes to show that SJW, Loony-Left culture on campuses is poised to find just about everything offensive.

And I could go on and on and on, but getting into it so deep is making me howl-at-the-moon crazy. I’ll just close by relating the latest Loony-Left campus story to hit my news feed: The University of Denver hasFree Speech wall placed “content restrictions” on what can be placed or written on the university’s “free speech wall.” Because the university has a “zero tolerance policy for discrimination, harassment and gender-based violence,” any form of hate speech put on the wall will be considered a violation. Not only is the university’s definition of “hate speech” described with especially broad strokes, but a camera has been installed to monitor what people put on the wall.

Oh, and the language that instigated the restrictions included the following (and is construed by the university as prosecutable hate speech): “I’m Sorry for Something I Didn’t Do/Lynched Somebody, But I Didn’t Know Who” and “GUILTY OF BEING WHITE/GUILTY OF BEING RIGHT!”    

“ARH-WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

The Necromancy, Artistry and Beauty of Traditional Paper Charts

The Necromancy, Artistry and Beauty of Traditional Paper Charts

—October 14, 2016

I have long been enamoured of nautical charts, by far my favorite navigational tool. And sure, I enjoy the convenience of navigating by GPS chart plotter, but there is no art or romance in it. A chart plotter is all push button and cursor with any resultant specific details available in whatever scale or format you desire. In this age of computerized instant gratification, the paper chart takes a bit of work, but you get to look and touch an artistic canvas, discern subtle details by your own eyes, and use the chart as a backdrop to mentally visualize the transit from point A to B.    

Give me a paper chart, compass, parallel rules, close approximation of the starting point and average speed, and I canChester Harbour guide a boat via dead reckoning (DR) to just about any point on a chart’s navigable waters, even in the face of a thick blanket of fog or shroud of night. To those unfamiliar with the art of traditional navigation methods it can seem like necromancy, and perhaps to some extent it is.

My friends were certainly amazed the first time I navigated a complete voyage by dead reckoning, taking them almost 40 nautical miles through thick fog via an unseen narrow channel and then over open ocean to meet up with another narrow channel at voyage’s end. It was wondrous enough that I got us to our destination without ever seeing land except at departure and arrival, but I was also able to successfully gain visual sight of all five sea buoys on the route. Mind you, I must confess to being lucky, or under Poseidon’s watch, because that navigation was just too perfect, and I’ve yet to make another DR voyage that perfectly on course.

Charts are magical. GPS chart plotters are just plastic viewing screens with a bunch of interior computer chips and a need for electricity. Charts might get inconveniently wet (or worse, blown overboard should you bring one topsides), but chart plotters can just quit working. My nine-year-old Raymarine chart plotter gave up the ghost the other day. A bit annoying, but no big deal cause I’ve always got the paper charts in reserve. I’m not so sure that such an event would be “no big deal” with the rest of the world’s recreational boating public.

My grandfather and stepfather, both of whom contributed to the evolution of my nautical skills, used to joke about the pandemonium on the water that would ensue should a GPS satellite or two go on the blink. That was back during the emergence of GPS chart plotters when most mariners—professional and recreational—still learned traditional navigation. Now it seems that few up-and-coming recreational mariners even bother with the traditional methods. Woe be unto them should a satellite, or even just their individual ship-borne GPS unit, give out on a cold, dark, stormy night.   

Cape Cod to Nova Scotia ChartBut enough of any such “doom and gloom” scenarios, as I was vying to speak of the “beauty” and “artistry” of nautical paper charts. And the subject matter of “nautical paper charts” only came to me earlier this week, when I opened a box containing a treasure trove of nautical charts.

They were my above-mentioned step-father’s charts—collected, I assume, over the past 60 years or so, and representing all of his voyages, both those actually travelled and those only dreamt of.

The former, covering the seas bounding Nova Scotia, Maine, Massachusetts, Belize, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Turkey, are obvious. I long heard his sea tales, and his handwriting lightly adorns these charts, giving me visual representation of his thought process as he navigated from each Point A to Point B.

The latter—Newfoundland, West Indies, Venezuela, Brazil, and quite a few places I have yet to identify—are notable for their lack of written adornment.

I can only assume that they are places he longed to navigate and explore. I see this art and want to navigate and explore these places, too. 

—Originally published by Slidemoor.

Time To Talk About the “P” Word!

Time To Talk About the “P” Word!

—October 9, 2016

OK, kids, let’s just cut to the chase: “I love pussy!”

Whoa!

If you’ve been reading the news media lately, you’ll know that I just used a word equated with “vile,” “disgusting,” “revolting,” “lewd,” and “shocking,” among other excessively negative descriptions. The press and political establishment’s “shock and revulsion” reaction to Donald Trump’s use of the word seems akin to how the Muslim world might react should the ayatollah or other high-ranking Islamic clergyman refer to Muhammad as a dog.

Frankly, I’m finding it all a bit overdone.

But, for the record, The Donald’s banter with Billy Bush was downright moronic.

Don, you don’t just “grab ‘em by the pussy”—you’ve got to warm “‘em” up with foreplay first.

And yes, Donald Trump’s statements as recorded in 2005—and in all likelihood expressed at othertrump-cat1 times during his life—were definitely chauvinistic, misogynistic, sexist, demeaning to women, immature, and totally disrespectful to his then-new wife, Melania. In fact, she, more than anyone, should be taking him behind the woodshed for a beating. And yes, women across America (and beyond) have every right to heap scorn upon him and refer to him as a “pig.”

But all those male holier-than-thou politicians disavowing themselves from Trump for his remarks—as well as just about any other straight man calling for The Donald’s head on a stake for this latest transgression—need to shut their hypocritical selves the fuck up.

Because we men are “pigs,” and the vast majority of we straight ones talked about “pussy” all the time in our youth. In fact, from about the ages of 15 to 24 “pussy” is right up there with sports as a primary topic of conversation among men. With age, marriage, children and responsibility, the topic becomes far less discussed, but if you don’t think it comes up from time to time on the golf course, fishing boat or anywhere two or more men are congregating in the absence of women, you are seriously deluded.

Mind you, Trump’s braggadocio was quite a bit over the top, but would you expect anything less from his overinflated ego? So, no, most men don’t think that we can just “grab ‘em by the pussy,” or that women—and their pussies—are just objects for our enjoyment, but sometimes our “pussy talk” might make it sound that way.

In fact, we revere “pussy.” And in this reverence and banter we do generally talk about the entire female package, but “pussy” is akin to the “Holy Grail.”

And why not? What’s not to love about it?

Without “pussy” life just wouldn’t be as joyful.

Without “pussy,” I would have to use “Vagina,” which just doesn’t roll of the tongue as smoothly—or, have to resort to that “C-word” that rhymes with “runt.”

Without “pussy” I would not be writing this blog, and you would not be reading it.

So let’s lose those unearned vulgar connotations of the word and apply reverence to it instead. And yes, if you are female, you can chastise The Donald for how he used it, but let’s not vilify the word itself more than it already unjustifiably is. 

“Pussy”—C’est la joie et le catalyseur de vivre!

Announcing 2016’s “Word of the Year”—“Racist!”

Announcing 2016’s “Word of the Year”—“Racist!”

—September 26, 2016

If “Word of the Year” nominations by the various entities that name such are based on usage, then 2016’s Word of the Year has got to be “racist.” From what I can tell, everyone is either a “racist” or declaring someone else to be “racist.” It is, without a doubt, 2016’s catchall word that defines exactly who one is. If you’ve been called racist, then you must assuredly be one. And if you’ve called somebody a racist, then it obviously (logical fallacy aside) must be assumed that you are not a racist.

So, go ahead, make sure you’re not tagged with 2016’s epithet of disdain and launch a pre-emptive strike by calling me a racist. Hell, I’m questioning the usage of the word, so by golly-gee I must be one.

Still hesitating?

OK, well, I think Black Lives Matter is a flawed organization that has way overstepped its original point of being and led by a group that relies on the promotion of logical fallacies to inject the idea of “racism” into just about every facet of Black American life (Black Life Difficulty Equals Whiteys’ Fault).

Consider: Black cop under tutelage of Black chief o’ police kills Black man who may or may not have been armed and BLM helps incite two nights of rioting over what it deems yet another case of “systemic, institutionalized racism.”

Yeah, that makes sense….

Call me racist, but I believe the BLM mantra that there is widespread systemic, institutionalized racism in America is horseshit. No doubt that pockets of it exist here and there, but if it was in any way “widespread” or “systemic” there is no way that Barack Obama would have been elected to serve as the President of the United States of America for not just one…but two terms in office. Think about it, Black folks only make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population, which means that we supposedly widespread systemically institutionalized racist Mofos put him into office…twice.

Awkward (yeah, the phrasing, too)…

Can’t dwell on that fact now, can we? So guess you’d better shout out “racist” so as to stifle this line of thinking. 

What, still hesitating? Can’t call me racist quite yet because there just might be some element of truth in my argument?   

OK, “All Lives Matter!”

That usually works. According the BLM and its supporters that statement marginalizes and tries to co-opt the BLM cause and is thus racist.

If you still haven’t called me racist, let me try one more incitement: “Black Lives Matter is Racist!”

Tch-Tch-Tch!

From what I understand that’s a big no-no. According to BLM proponents, People of Color cannot be racists—only Whitey can. Being a dumb Cracker I don’t quite understand the logical reasoning behind this, but it has something to do with “White Privilege” and the belief that “oppressed” people can’t be racist.

check-logicI believe the whole political correct construct of “privilege” represents an ad hominem fallacy, or, to put it more plainly, is donkeyshit squared. As for being oppressed, well, if there truly is widespread, systemic institutionalized oppression of American Black folks, you’re just going to have to blame that Black guy living in the White House, cause he’s been in charge of the institutions for almost eight years now.

—M.J. Moye, likely now deemed a “racist,” but personally believes otherwise….

YouTube Censorship Conspiracy Theory Joins the Cult of the Alt.-Right

YouTube Censorship Conspiracy Theory Joins the Cult of the Alt.-Right

—September 1, 2015

Well kids, the popular social media site YouTube seems to have joined the Leftish movement to stifle freedom of speech, what with today’s announcement that it would “demonetize” a wide range of videos if they are deemed unfriendly to advertising. While YouTube claims that the release of its “advertiser-friendly content guidelines” represents clarification of existing rules, YouTube video producers beg to differ. In fact, until the past week or so “demonetization” was a rarity and those supposed “existing” rules were essentially unknown to video producers. YouTube censors started clamping down over the past 10 days, with many popular YouTubers recently receiving official notification from the company that specific videos had been demonized—ahem, I mean “demonetized”—for breaking the rules.

And while the move by the company does not represent outright censorship, it will certainly prove stifling, as thousands—perhaps 10s of thousands—of video producers make money from YouTube based on the number of hits their videos receive. Consider PewDiePie, with 40 million subscribers and Forbes-reported earnings of $12 million from his YouTube videos that teach viewers how to play various video games. If YouTube were to apply its guidelines fairly and evenly then all of PewDiePie’s vids should be demonetized as they definitely break the (new) guidelines against profanity.

Perhaps needless to say, but I highly doubt that YouTube will shut down its number one star for breaking the rules. No, undoubtedly the rules are going to be subjectively applied and initial indications suggest that this is, in fact, the case. As of this writing, PewDiePie vids are up and running with swearing intact and advertising still very much in place. Other producers though, especially those whose subject matter seems to lean to the Right, and/or those slagging political correctness, appear to be getting hit with demonetization.

images-2Interestingly, I first became aware of YouTube’s demonetization of vids yesterday, prior to the release of the new guidelines, and immediately equated it with attempted censorship. At issue was a video originally released by Lauren Southern, a YouTuber with about 85,000 subscribers who definitely leans to the Right. The video—SJW Berates Lyft Driver—essentially shows a crazy social justice warrior berating a Lyft driver for displaying a bobblehead hula girl on his dashboard. The SJW goes on a profanity laced postal rant on the Lyft driver after he refuses to remove what she believes is an offensive icon of cultural appropriation. Other than the utterly obnoxious SJW, the only thing offensive about the video is her profanity. That video has been reposted by other prominent and not-so prominent producers, and all indications point to it being on the list of demonetized vids. 

Well, I don’t believe YouTube is that worried about the profanity given that plenty of other vids with profanity are still up and running with advertising, and would posit that the company is more concerned about how the video makes a SJW look bad (which it does). Thus, from what I can tell from this and other demonetized vids, YouTube seems to be especially interested in protecting the Left and demonizing the Right.

In fact, the language in the new guidelines would effectively demonetize something along the lines of at least 50 percent of all YouTube vids if applied in a fair and consistent manner, and subsequently ruin the company’s business model. As company officials can’t be that stupid, they’re obviously up to something else….

Can you spell: “selective censorship?” 

Naturally this is all speculation on my part, but consider that some of the guidelines are quite specific, yet thus far are not being applied in a fair and consistent manner, while other guidelines are completely subjective and open to interpretation by YouTube’s ministry of propaganda. “Inappropriate language, including harassment, swearing and vulgar language” are verboten, as are sexual humour, partial nudity, violence and promotion of drugs. But from everything I can see the company seems to be targeting certain YouTubers and completely ignoring similar transgressions committed by others.

“Harassment” can be considered especially subjective, as YouTube may decide that a video in opposition to Hillary constitutes “harassment,” while a similar one opposing Donald is fine. Likewise, the most disturbing subjective portion of the guidelines deems “[c]ontroversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown” as being subject to demonetization.

imgresWhat the fuck, Goebbels—I mean, YouTube—talk about giving yourself free reign to shut down anything you might not like….

With the official release of the guidelines, “#youtubeisoverparty” became the number one trending topic on Twitter today, with hundreds of new Tweets per minute decrying YouTube’s new censorship. As of this posting the topic was still generating about 60 Tweets per minute, and yet it is no longer trending at all (and number one Tweet, “#AppState,” is only generating about 25 tweets per minute). Of course, if you follow freedom of speech issues you are likely aware that Twitter seems to play with its “trending” algorithms so as to bury trends it doesn’t agree with. And that CNN (Clinton News Network) is hard pressed to ever release any negative news about Hillary. Ditto, MSNBC, New York Times, Washington Post, etc.

But of course maybe I’m just paranoid. You know, a conspiracy theorist, racist, misogynist, white supremacist, Islamaphobe, homophobe and every other …ist and …phobe connected to that nefarious and secretive Alt.-Right movement.

Yeah, that must be me. So be sure to check out all of my Alt.-Right vids on YouTube….

Oh, wait a minute, they’ve all been demonetized, and thus effectively pulled from circulation.

Fathoming the Mysteries of “Ghost” Docks and Finding a Bit of Hollywood

Fathoming the Mysteries of “Ghost” Docks and Finding a Bit of Hollywood

—August 14, 2016

I discovered the strangest dock I have ever encountered several decades ago just outside of Greenville, North Carolina in a small pond deep in the woods near my step-grandmother’s farm. And when I say “small” I’m talking quarter acre at most. So small that you could traverse its length in a canoe with a couple of strokes of the paddle. So small that the dock, which only extended about seven feet over the water, seemed like it ended right in the middle of the pond. And ended to what purpose would be the question, as the pond was too small for boating and one could easily fish every part of it by casting from any one spot on the shore—that is, if that dock hadn’t been in the way.

The dock essentially proved to be a complete nuisance to fishing the pond, as its apparent age and dilapidation precluded any thought of walking out on it to drop a line. Thus, it was in the way, and its possible role as serving as cover for a lunker bass or two also proved worthless, as the only bites I got that afternoon were from the herds of deerflies that assaulted me in successive, increasing waves. Given the difficulty of reaching the pond, apparent lack of any fish, and abundance of hungry deerflies I never went back.

While I did not have a term for such structures back then, I now call docks that serve no readily apparent purpose “ghost docks.” And the only purpose I have been able to come up with for that particular dock is that perhaps it had been a good fishing hole at one time, but whoever fished it had been especially afraid of snakes. That notion only came to me in hindsight when I gained a healthy respect for snakes after coming face to face with a mating pair while fishing a different pond…but that’s another story. 

In my adopted home up here in Nova Scotia I have encountered quite a few ghost docks over the years. With more than 4,600 miles of coastline and at least 3,800 coastal islands we have a lot of docks. Generally, wherever one sees a dock there is a nearby or adjacent house, cottage, boathouse, seafood processing facility, or some other variety of human construction. But sometimes there is just simply a dock.

These ghost docks are usually found on remote islands or out-of-the-way, hard-to-reach sections of the shore, and cause seafarers such as myself to wonder, what is the purpose of that dock? Why is that dock there when it seems to serve no other purpose than to provide easy access to a deserted island or barren stretch of rocky seashore?

These are rhetorical questions because I do not know the answers, but I always speculate as to the purpose. I generally assume that newer looking docks built in especially picturesque locations have been built by landowners who dream of eventually building a cottage at the site. I tend to believe that older looking ghost docks were built by coastal fishermen as perhaps a waypoint at which to take a break or clean fish between home port and the fishing grounds. And the really ancient looking structures in the remotest waters call to mind the rum-running that significantly bolstered the local fishing industry’s earnings in the 1920s and ‘30s.

A ghost dock at one of my favorite anchorages along the coast morphed over the years from “spirit” to “working.” The anchorage is located in a gut between Taylor and Moore’s Islands roughly 20 nautical miles northeast of my home waters, a perfect distance for an overnight stay when cruising for a two-day voyage, or as a first-night stop for an extended voyage up to Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. The gut provides excellent protection from wind and waves, and despite being only about four miles from the tourist-trap destination of Peggy’s Cove, feels “ends-of-the-earth” remote—the granite cliffs, boulders, spruce strands, wildflower fields and scrub brush seemingly showing little change from 2,000 years ago. We generally see few other boats when there, and have never had to share the anchorage overnight with other boats, excepting friends cruising in company on their own boat. And while Taylor Island has become quite popular with rock climbers in recent years, their occasional presence is unobtrusive and they are hardly noticed during our walks around the island. 

The ghost dock was present on my first “discovery” of the anchorage back in 2003. It was almost more platform than dock, and rather unremarkable other than the fact that it was not connected to anything else related to man. It was also located on the much smaller and much less interesting Moore’s Island. I assumed that it was just a place for local fishermen to rest or wait out a storm, though we never saw anyone tie up to it.

Nothing changed about the dock until we arrived five years ago to find that it had been rebuilt or refurbished, and seemed more like a dock than a platform on stilts in the water. But again, I did not give much thought to it.

The next year found the dock connected to a staircase ascending the granite slabs some 100 feet to the island’s primary plateau. Ah, now this was interesting, and so, for the first time ever we landed on Moore’s Island. The stairs were well built and sturdy, and someone had been willing to spend some serious coin to ease access to the plateau, which, while having nice views over Dover Harbor, had nothing over the views from the ridges and plateaus of Taylor Island. It seemed like a nice picnic spot, but other than that we hardly gave the dock and stairs another thought after returning to our boat.

Until the next year, when we saw that the stairs ascended now to a small house. While I was slightly put off by the thought of a house looming over one of our favorite anchorages, its placement and design made it seem inconspicuous. As I had an architect friend on board with me, we had to do some snooping, and he was especially impressed by the quality of the home’s design, build and materials, all of which he deemed of “European” style and exceptionally expensive.

I’ve been back five times since it was built, and the home does not mar our enjoyment of the anchorage. It’s owners are always absent and the house seems to be receding into the landscape.

There’s a last bit of information I can convey regarding the evolution of this particular ghost dock: A year ago I started doing movie reviews of films shot on location in Nova Scotia. While1920x1920 watching the movie “The Weight of Water” I was struck by one particular scene featuring Sean Penn cavorting with a bikini-clad Elizabeth Hurley on a 50-foot sailboat anchored in a gut between two ruggedly beautiful islands. While Ms. Hurley in a bikini was definitely worth the re-watch, during that second viewing I realized that the action was taking place at my Taylor Island anchorage. Sure enough, a little research proved the film crew spent quite a bit of time there, and I now believe that the original ghost dock I found when I first went there had been built by the film crew, perhaps as a camera platform and/or for use by a supply boat.

I suppose that I will next have to figure out the mystery of the absent homeowners…but then again, I’ll be just as happy if I never meet them there.

—Published August 4th by Slidemoor.com

“Can We All Just Get Along?”—Absent Debate Apparently Not!

“Can We All Just Get Along?”—Absent Debate Apparently Not!

—June 22, 2016

“Can we all just get along?” Great words from a man seeking calm in the midst of a tempest. This from a Black man who had received an unjustified severe beating from a gang of white cops. A man who likely had every right to harbor hatred and thoughts of revenge, but instead urged peace during the Los Angeles riots of 1992.

A man who, like all of us, was flawed. But, apologies, I digress. I just re-watched the video of the Rodney King beating and want to sidetrack into the minutia of his story—examine its nuances and fathom its meaning. But not now. No, let’s stick with:

“Can we all just get along?”

Given the current levels of animosity between all of the different competing factions—whether Democrat versus Republican, Left versus Right, Black versus White, Christian versus Muslim, Gay versus Straight, Pro-gun versus Anti-Gun, etc., etc., etc.—Probably not. Especially given that the extreme wings of each side are so intransigent and full of venomous abhorrence towards their respective opposition.

In fact, I don’t believe the level of anger between the various competing factions has ever been so high, as it seems to have reached “Defcon 1,” or the former Homeland Security “Code Red.” In short, too many of us, no matter from which faction, are one insult away from throwing that first punch. And, as seen in Orlando last week, the crazies among us might resort to bullets rather than a fist. 

But we should be able to get along…. 

So, it’s time to figure out how to get along.

Let’s start with a basic premise: We are all human, and thus deeply flawed.

Yeah, that’s a tough one. I mean, sure, I can see the flaws in everyone else’s positions, mindset, lifestyle, beliefs, etc. but I’m pretty much perfect…don’t ya know?

Wrong! I am human and deeply flawed. As are we all. It’s just very difficult to perceive one’s own limitations.

Try it right now. Can you pick yourself apart and honestly detail your deficiencies? And I’m not talking about what might make you mildly irritating, I’m talking about what might make you unsuitable for whatever heaven your chosen God lords over. 

Not easy is it? Keep trying, though, because unless you’re of the “Mother Theresa,” “Gandhi” or “Jesus” ilk, then you, too, are most likely deeply flawed.

So perhaps Step One in getting along while “arguing” with the competition, whoever they might be, would be to always keep in mind the fact that: “We are all human, and thus deeply flawed.”

5237fa14ca758cf188c479a15c3ad311Step Two might be to keep in mind that as “humans” we all have more similarities than differences. Consider your lifetime interactions with the “opposition,” whoever that might be. Do not the positive interactions outweigh the negative ones? Of all the competing groups I am most likely to have had a difference of opinion with, I have historically experienced more positive interactions than negative. Consider:

  • I am White, and the majority of personal interactions I have had with Black folks has been positive. Ditto with Hispanics, Asians, and people of all other races and ethnicities I’ve met over the years. 
  • I am Straight, and the majority of personal interactions I have had with LGBT folks has been positive.
  • I am Pro-Gun, and the majority of personal experiences I have had with Anti-Gun folks has been positive (and no, not because I was packing .357 caliber worth of heat).
  • I am Christian, and the majority of personal interactions I have had with people of other faiths has been positive (though would probably sing a different tune were I to visit Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria).
  • I am Male, and the majority of personal experiences I have had with Feminists has been positive (though I have yet to personally encounter any “ThirdWave” Feminists).
  • I lean to the Right, and the majority of personal interactions I have had with people on the Left has been positive, though I cannot state the same in relation to those on the far end of the spectrum.
  • When I leaned to the Left during my youth the majority of personal experiences I had with those on the Right was positive. Perhaps of note, interactions I had with the Far Left encouraged my movement to the Right.

Bottom line is that on a personal basis It seems that I can pretty much get along with most of these folks. Granted, this may not hold true for everyone else, but I trust—or perhaps, hope—that it holds true for most of us.    

Step Three would be to acknowledge that we all have grievances. Black folks have plenty of reasons to be pissed off. As do Native Americans. Muslims?—no doubt! Hispanics?—Yep! LGBT?—sure, they still have legitimate gripes. Feminists?—OK. And I could go on and on and on….

And as a Straight, White, Privileged, Conservative Male, I’m kind of pissed off that so many of you Far Left mo-fos spend so much energy blaming me and my cohorts for all the problems of the world instead of trying to address your own contribution to the problem(s). I am also fearful that proposed Far Left solutions for addressing their grievances lead to an Orwellian future.

At this juncture it would be easy to get into a pissing contest to see who has been most egregiously aggrieved, but I don’t think we want to go there as it would undoubtedly just exacerbate the animosity. 

We do, however, need to listen to and acknowledge each others grievances, as well as be willing to debate their significance and potential remedies. And yes, some grievances are petty and some ludicrous, but many are fully legitimate and worthy of being addressed.

Unfortunately, Step Three appears to be a zero-sum game with many of the issues that divide the Right from the Left. Pardon me while I turn completely partisan in order to explain:

Folks on the Far Left are unwilling to debate…period! As soon as anyone starts saying anything thatFree Speech conflicts with their creed regarding feminism, race, LGBT, multiculturalism, religion and other pet issues, they do everything in their power to shut it down immediately. They bully the opposition with cries of “Racist,” “Homophobe,” “Misogynist,” “Islamophobe,” “Hate Speech,” etc., and then shout louder and louder to drown out the words they find so threatening despite in many cases not even having heard what they might be. They refuse to listen to anyone who’s opinion might differ from their worldview and label most such opinions expressed as “Hate Speech.” Social Justice Warrior (SJW) Lefties are the most censorship-prone gang of political activists America has ever seen, far surpassing the 1980s/‘90s Moral Majority activists in their disdain for free speech and the First Amendment. This makes Step Three a non-starter because those on the Right are certainly not going to listen to the grievances from the Far Left absent some hint of quid pro quo. 

As for my friends on the Far Right, I suggest that they need to tone down the vitriol in their rhetoric, as some of it clearly does come out as hateful “Hate Speech.” While humor serves as a good foil of refutation within the context of debate, personal insults do not add validity to the points of view. There is no valid reason or excuse to use the “N” word, nor any need to disparage other marginalized groups with the many epithets used to insult them (yeah, I know, I’m sounding like a nagging old school marm).

For example, while I believe the transgender movement with its delusional beliefs about what comprises “gender” is full of goatshit, I will try to refrain from personal attacks on them as people, say by referring to them as “Its” or “Trannies.” I will even use whatever personal name a transgendered person might want to be called, though will continue to assert that because Kaitlyn Jenner still sports a Johnson and the Twins he remains very much a man. Also, there is absolutely no way I’m going to use one of those made-up pronouns like “Ze” or “Vre.” Thus, while I’ve toned down the vitriol, my argument remains intact and hopefully I have expressed it with a touch of humor.

Speaking of which, I am sorry dear Lefties but those of us on the Right are going to continue to make fun of you. And no, making you the butt of a joke does not constitute “Hate Speech.” Unlike you, many on the Right have a sense of humor, and Left-Wing antics, ludicrous demands and avoidance of legitimate debate opens you up to deserved ridicule. 

And for clarification, here’s a real-world example of the difference between “Hate Speech” and “Humor:” The current SJW poster child is Cora Segal, who was aptly named “Trigglypuff” after she tried to disrupt a Conservative panel—Milo Yiannopoulos, Steven Crowder and Christina H. Sommers— of speakers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who, ironically enough, were discussing censorship.

The numerous memes, videos, Tweets, and satirical write-ups making fun of “Trigglypuff” constitute humor, and Cora is 100 percent responsible for making herself the butt of the joke. The numerous Tweets, Facebook posts and other comments calling for Cora to “kill herself,” “die,” “get raped,” etc. constitute “Hate Speech.” The latter is not cool, not funny, and totally unnecessary.   

OK, So, there you have it, the nascent MJM code for how to get along. Perhaps not as succinct as Rodney King’s plea, but it’s a start. Unfortunately, that pesky Step Three appears to be a sticking point. I believe that those on the Right would be willing to acknowledge and listen to grievances coming from the Left; however, SJW Lefties are unwilling to debate or compromise and thus will continue their attacks on free speech. In turn, those of us on the Right will undoubtedly continue making fun of them.

Complaining About the Weather While Awaiting the Season’s Start

Complaining About the Weather While Awaiting the Season’s Start

—June 7, 2016

It has been a strange and slow-starting season. Already getting deep into June and I’ve only sailed once, one quick sail to bring the boat around from the marina to my dock.

Unheard of…. Well, at least in the fourteen years I’ve been living up here on the coast of Canada’s “Ocean Playground.” Normally I would have been out on the water at least a half-dozen times by now, and some years it was more than a dozen.

Heck, I haven’t even done my annual spring every-inch clean of the cabin’s interior, oiled the teak, washed the cushions or stowed the two truckloads of gear. In short, the boat might as well be up on the hard.

I could blame it on my especially heavy workload, but that would be a stretch as I’ve never let work keep me from slipping out on a fine day for an afternoon’s sail. No, it’s been the elusiveness of any such fine days hitting the shoreline. I think there have been a grand total of two this spring.

One was the day I brought my boat over from the marina, a rather quick and hurried journey due to having to spend most of that day trying to jury rig a fix for the floating dock in the hopes of getting one more season out of it. A jury rig that is now looking doubtful and will undoubtedly require more precious time away from sailing.

The other perfect day was devoted to the yard. Neglected all season due to work and weather—the grass was reaching near knee high. Sailing or yard work? It was a tough call, and yard work won out as the grounds have never looked so unsightly. Good timing as we’ve had nothing but rain and thick fog since, and the yard is already due another mowing.

Rain, fog and high winds. Oh, and cold. Very cold. So cold that the heating oil truck is still making the rounds. So cold that freshly planted annuals have been taken by frost. So cold that some of the hardy sailors who braved the foul weather of the first of the season’s Thursday evening racing series said it was the coldest inshore race they’d ever sailed. It was warmer here on Christmas day, a record-breaker by at least two dozen degrees, and a day truly suggestive of climate change.

But we should be used to the rain, fog and cold temperatures. Nova Scotia is known for them. Nevertheless, Nova Scotia is also known for the expression, “If you don’t like the weather wait five minutes,” because the weather generally changes so frequently. And yes, I’ve heard the expression claimed by New Englanders, too, but the weather here truly changes quite frequently at an instant.

Just not lately….

Seven-day forecast calls for six days of clouds, rain and showers with temperatures warming up a bit with a range between the mid-40s to one day in the low-60s; and one potentially sunny day with a possible high nearing 70 degrees.

Anyhow, don’t listen to me. My wife would tell you that I bitch about the weather every season and always claim that I don’t get enough sailing time.

I’ll admit to complaining about the weather too much, but truly do not get enough sailing time. I mean, there’s no such thing as too much sailing…that is, unless it’s blowing a prolonged cold rainy gale right on the nose. 

—This was supposed to have been published by slidemoor.com, but guess their southern readers didn’t want to hear about cold-weather boating. Oh, and am pleased to report that the weather has now turned beautiful and finally had a great day of sailing.

Nation’s Moral Fabric, Very Soul, in Peril

Nation’s Moral Fabric, Very Soul, in Peril

Ed. Note: The below blog is a piece I originally wrote in the 1990s when I worked for a small-town newspaper in North Carolina. As you can probably surmise from its tone and sarcastic content I leaned more to the left of the political spectrum at that time. I believed that the extreme right and adherents to the “Moral Majority” were a bunch of nutcases, and, to some extent, still believe this to be true. However, today, some 26 years later, I find the extreme left wing to be far more scary and apt to do irreparable harm to the country of my birth, as well as the world at large.

What I also find interesting is how prescient (albeit by accident) some of my thoughts were back then—the moral fabric of America is truly getting torn asunder….

—Originally published in the Johnstonian-Sun, Circa 1992. 

According to all right-wing radical groups, many conservative groups, the “Moral Majority” (which is neither), many religious leaders, Jesse Helms and most other Republican politicians, the moral fabric of our nation is under attack by various enemies and is in danger of being torn asunder.

Do you know what will happen if the nation’s moral fabric is torn asunder?

Well, depending upon whom you listen to, the following scenarios are likely to result from a torn-asunder moral fabric:

—Communism

That’s right, Communism! Once the moral fabric gets ripped up America will become a nation of Godless Communists. Half of us will be working on the collective farm and the other half in the collective factory. Red will be the predominant colour of our nation and Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Fidel will be the equivalent of Gods. This and all other newspapers will carry only Communist theology and official news releases from our great Politburo up in Leninton (the former Washington, DC).

—Sex-Crazed Deviance

You betcha! We’re gonna become a nation of sex-crazed deviants. Once that moral fabric that has protected us for so long is shredded, sexual deviation will become the norm. We will all indulge in sadomasochism, fetishism, pedophilia, necrophilia, bondage, homosexuality, bisexuality, voyeurism, bestiality, cross dressing, sodomy, incest and a host of other warped sexual acts that would make even the most hard-core porno dealer cringe. 

—Godless Heathenism

Once the moral fabric is gone we’ll become a nation of Devil-worshipping Satanists and other religious deviants. Those of us who aren’t worshiping Satan will be bowing down to the altar of Belial, Beelzebub, Eros, Dionysus, Bacchus, Odin, Vulcan, Isis, Thor, Spock, Batman, Anubis, Captain Crunch, Ishtar, The Bagwhan Shree Rajneesh, Apollo, Zeus, Tribbles, Golden Calves, Silver Goats, Aluminum Kangaroos or any number of other Gods and Idols.

—Foreignerism

Once that moral fabric is torn up this nation will lose its white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant heritage and culture and become a nation of Nigerians, Vietnamese, Mexicans, Sudanese, Albanians, Algerians, Chinese, Japanese, Palestinians, Israelis, Bolivians, Burundians, Burmese, Cambodians, Columbians, Cubans, Gabonese, Turks, Gambians, Hondurans, Haitians, Indians, Iraqis, Koreans, Lebanese, Liberians, Malaysians, Mongolians, Nepalese, Pakistanis, Omanians, Senegalese, Vulcans, Somalians, Taiwanese, Tunisians, Arabians, Yemenese, and every other un-American non-white, non-Anglo-Saxon, non-Protestant race infesting God’s great earth.

—Drug-Crazed Lunatism

Yep, once the moral fabric is all in pieces we will be a nation of druggies. Yeah boy, we’re gonna be popping pills, smoking crack, toking dope, shooting heroin, snorting coke, freebasing embalming fluid, smoking banana peels, shooting speed, snorting tranquilizers, popping downers, eating quaaludes and ingesting all kinds of chemicals and substances not lawfully prescribed by a doctor.

—All-of-the-Abovism

That’s right, all of the above. Some folks are convinced, heaven forbid, that once the ol’ moral fabric gets torn asunder all of the above will come true. Of course, the majority of these folks relate the destruction of the nation’s moral fabric with Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ.

Now that we all know what will happen if the moral fabric of this great nation gets torn asunder, we need to determine who, or what, is responsible for this dire threat to national security.

The list of potential moral fabric destroyers is long, and the roster of enemies entirely contingent uponimgres which purveyor of “Right” you might be listening to.

Most right-wing, Moral Majority, conservative and religious leaders would undoubtedly put a scissors-wielding Bart Simpson high on the list.

Heck, Bart could probably shred the fabric in record time.

So, there’s one for the roster! A complete list of potential moral fabric enemies will be included in next week’s Biting the Bullet.

Closing Ed. Note: Not sure if I’ll be able to find that follow-up column, but sure would be interesting to see who I listed.

Better Learn How to Speak Transgender!

Better Learn How to Speak Transgender!

—May 19, 2016

The rise of the transgendered movement has occurred so quickly that some people remain clueless as to exactly what this whole “trans” business is all about. In less than a year the issue has become a media darling and you can hardly read a daily newspaper, watch network news, or follow an online news feed without seeing mention of “trans”-something.

This movement has become the primary love-child of the Far Left, which has instigated the federal government, along with many state and local governments, to pass rules and regulations designed to ensure that transgendered folks of all stripes, colors and identities enjoy all of the civil rights accrued to the rest of us. A noble and appropriate gesture; however, in their rush to protect the rights of this marginalized group, governments are passing measures that sometimes make the rights of all us normal people subservient to theirs.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 12.28.20 AMAnd, oops, I just made a politically incorrect faux pas by suggesting that transgendered folks aren’t “normal.” Apologies but transgenderism represents a deviation from the norm. Most folks looking at this photo of what appears to be a member of the trans-movement would heartedly agree that he/she ain’t normal. And while the LGBT community and many on the Far Left assert that it is “Normal,” you folks are definitely in the minority.

But hey, freedom of speech and thought are supposed to be the law of the land, so think (and promote) whatever you want—however, please extend that same courtesy to the majority of us who might disagree with you.

The primary tenets of this transgender movement seem to be that biological determinants of one’s sex are meaningless and that people should be allowed to “self identify” their gender. Or to put it another way, even though Bruce Jenner was born with Johnson and the twins, fathered multiple children and still retains his child-making Johnson and the twins, the rest of the world now has to accept him as a woman because he self identifies as such.

Likewise, should a woman who was born with a honeypot decide she is now sporting a John Holmes-size Johnson, the rest of the world should just accept her belief because she self identifies as such. The fact that she has no Johnson, can still give birth, and is biologically a woman is absolutely meaningless, according to those in support of the movement.

And while some in the transgendered community undergo various surgical procedures designed to make themselves more manly or womanly, whichever the desired case may be, any such efforts also mean nothing in the grand scheme of transgenderism, as self-identity trumps all else.

The federal government is certainly buying into this BS, given that the Obama Administration has determined that all public schools must now allow students to self identify their gender without consideration of biological factors, and—even more disturbing—parental knowledge or input.

And then we have New York City, which now requires all employers, landlords, businesses and professionals to use whatever identity, name and pronoun requested by employees, tenants, customers or clients. Failure to abide by this directive will subject violators to legal sanctions based on the city’s amorphous gender-based harassment laws. Such sanctions can include civil penalties of up to $150,000 for standard violations, rising to $250,000 for violations considered “willful,” “wanton,” or “malicious.”

Can you spell “Un-Fucking Real?”

Little doubt that Obama Administration bureaucrats are now working on the Federal Transgender Newspeak regulations.

And kids, we are so fucked! 

It’s bad enough that a large number of transgendered folks consider themselves “gender fluid,” and thus can change their minds at will about exactly what gender they are at a moment’s notice, but the whole movement believes that one’s gender identity can be chosen from a broad “gender spectrum.” Most of us are familiar with “man,” woman” “androgynous,” and “hermaphrodite,” but the transgendered folks have reportedly identified 50-some gender identities on the spectrum.

Even worse, though, is that aforementioned gender-fluid trans folks have come up with more than 70 (and rising) terms to describe the basis for, and reasons behind, their ever-changing gender identities. So instead of identifying as a “non-binary demigirl,” a gender-fluid trans might identify as a “contigender demigirl” one moment, and then switch over to a “firegender demiboy” the next.

Thus, in order to speak transgender we’re going to need to learn all the various gender identities and then learn the pronouns that go with them.

Heck, I can’t keep straight whether a “transgender man” is a woman who used to be a man, or a man who used to be a woman, and am befuddled by what exactly “cisgender” is supposed to mean.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 12.19.49 AMSo how in the hell am I going to figure out the more-than 100 different transgender identities and then try to fit them with the appropriate made-up and yet-to-be-adopted-by-major-lexicon pronoun?

Anyone?

Or should I ask faer, aer, em, per, ver, xem or hir?

Self-Identifying as My Former 19-Year-Old Self in Order to Rant on Behalf of Those Under 21

Self-Identifying as My Former 19-Year-Old Self in Order to Rant on Behalf of Those Under 21

—May 15, 2016

If I were under the age of 21 I would be one pissed-off mother-fucker.

So, bear with me for a moment while I turn 19-years-old.

There.

Done.

I am now politically correct (not!) and can therefore self identify. As such I am now 19-years-old.

Got it? I am 19.

And don’t fuckin’ argue with me, because that will force me to pull out all kinds of political correct bullshit such as self identification and other fallacies designed to force you to concede to my viewpoint or shut the fuck up. And if you don’t concede to my viewpoint or shut the fuck up I will shout louder than you and drown out any of your pithy arguments. And trust me, we folks of the politically correct persuasion know how to drown out the opposition with noise….

Wow, I’m feeling kind of powerful in my new, politically correct, 19-year-old skin!

And for just this moment…for this ensuing rant, I’m going to really enjoy the specific “self identification” perk of being politically correct.

Here goes:

The governor of California earlier this month signed into law legislation that makes it illegal for me and everyone else under the age of 21 to enjoy tobacco products, whether smoked, dipped, chewed or vaped. This follows on the heels of Hawaii, which made such acts illegal for those under 21 in April.

R U F’ing Kidding Me!!!

You technically make me an adult at age 18 by giving me the vote and forcing me to file (and perhaps—eeek!—pay) tax returns. And you’re willing to send me off to foreign countries where I might be forced to blow a man’s head off, or where my head could be detached from my body by the crazy people you are expecting me to subdue on your behalf…..

And you are telling me that I am not legally allowed to enjoy partaking in activities that the rest of you allowed-to-vote clowns can partake in at whim???

Yeah, well fuck you!!!

OK, that’s it. Rant over. Boy, that was fun!

For the record I don’t even smoke (any more), but that’s pretty much the same rant I made back in my youth when states started raising the drinking age to 21. Of course, as I grew older and became able to legally drown my ire, I lost my passion for fighting what was such an obviously hypocritical and unjust legal construct.

And yes, these laws governing “underage” drinking and smoking admittedly save lives; however, they still fall under the rubric of “tyranny.”

Perhaps a couple of years of tyranny is worth it. Still, I am truly glad that I am no longer under the age of 21 and under the thumb of such….

—Originally published May 6 on behalf of Hash It Out!

The Patients Have Taken Over the Asylum!

The Patients Have Taken Over the Asylum!

—May 14, 2016

Well kids, the level of political correct lunacy appears to be reaching all-time highs this month, with the recent antics of the Loony Left leaving me gobsmacked and thinking that the world is truly going crazy.

I mean, President Obama has determined that children can “self-identify” whether they are male or female independent of any biological determinants or parental input. Crazy or what?

Pee AnywhereIf “self identification” is going to be the law of the land then I choose to self identify as a dog so that I can shit and piss wherever I please, bathrooms be damned. Of course, as self identification is a PC construct its use will undoubtedly be restricted to marginalized peoples and off-limits to straight, white, privileged folks such as myself. 

Anyhow, Obama’s PC-related gambit is just one small sample of this month’s lunacy. Social justice warriors (SJWs) across the land seem to be working overtime in pursuit of enacting their various PC-oriented agenda. It seems like a concerted effort, almost as if the SJWs have been triggered into mass activism.

Perhaps it’s because one of their activists was taken down a notch or two late last month after she tried to disrupt a panel discussion at the University of Massachusetts on whether political correctness has gone too far. The insightful and humorous panel discussion, featuring Christina Hoff Sommers, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Steven Crowder, can be seen here: The Triggering: Has Political Correctness Gone Too Far?

If you have the time the video is well worth watching, as the panel totally rips into the nonsense and hypocrisy that is today’s political correctness.

Cora Segal, the social justice warrior who aggressively tried to disrupt the discussion, has become the new face of political correctness. While “Trigglypuff,” as Cora has been aptly renamed on social media, wasn’t the only SJW in attendance, her lunacy was perfectly captured by student journalist Kassy Dillon, who is helping chronicle and publicize the rise of censorship on North American campuses. Kassy’s video has made Trigglypuff (and the bemused attendee in front of her)  a You Tube sensation and you can watch a short clip of it below:

While I doubt the public downfall of SJW Trigglypuff, and subsequent publicity given to the common-sense panel discussion, is the actual trigger for some kind of mass effort by the PC holy warrior faithful, they sure have been especially active ever since. Consider the following:

Student activists at Seattle University’s Matteo Ricci College have taken over the dean’s office and threaten prolonged occupation unless a lengthy list of demands is met. The bloviated manifesto—MRC Student Coalition Demands—is so poorly written that I could have as much fun eviscerating it editorially as I could ripping apart its ludicrous demands.

Consider the second sentence: “We consider it an ethical matter to name the disturbing experiences we have lived while in this college,f_grade while also noting that we are not the first students in this college to express these concerns, as they reflect a long-standing history of oppression and resistance in cohorts long since graduated.”

I know, “huh?” And the writer(s) never do get around to specifically “naming” the “disturbing experiences,” so I guess we’ll just have to call them “Bill,” “Ted” and “Alice.”

Anyhow, from what I can construe from the bloviation, key among the dozens of “demands” are the firing of the dean, hiring of gay and minority professors, and a teaching of “non-Eurocentric” humanities courses that “decentralize whiteness” but focus on white oppression and aggression. As noted in the manifesto, the “current curriculum does not reflect the kind of education we expected nor want,” which begs the question as to why they applied to the college to begin with.

The demands also seek far more student power within the professor-student relationship and the silencing of voices and ideology that do not conform to the students’ own beliefs. The stifling of “microaggressions” and “triggers,” as well as creation of “safe spaces,” along with other means for latent censorship of voices and ideology the students don’t like, play a key role throughout the list of demands.

I sincerely hope that Seattle University does not put up with this nonsense for much longer. I mean, tear gas and billy clubs will certainly not be needed, as the delicate snowflakes will undoubtedly collapse in tears at the sight of handcuffs. 

And then we’ve got the Chicago Public School system, responsible for almost 400,000 children. It rolled out new rules last week that require students and teachers to address transgendered students and school employees by their preferred name and pronouns. According to the rules, transgendered students and employees can choose their preferred bathroom, locker room, name and pronouns, and everyone is required to conform to their new chosen identities.

Not sure what the penalties for non-compliance are, but the whole PC “gender identity” movement is filled with all kinds of confusing and constantly-evolving terminology. I mean, “Ze?” Really? What the fuck is that supposed to mean? And “gender-fluid” seems to be especially popular with the PC transgender movement. Students identifying as such will certainly have fun getting their classmates in trouble.

Student “Black Lives Matter” activists at Dartmouth College tore down a display honoring police officers who had fallen in the line of duty because the display was “offensive,” “white supremacist,” and allegedly “promoted violence against black people.” The activists replaced the display with dozens of flyers that stated: “YOU CANNOT CO-OPT THE MOVEMENT AGAINST STATE VIOLENCE TO MEMORIALIZE THE PERPETRATORS.”

My message to Black Lives Matter: “YES, BLACK LIVES MATTER; HOWEVER, THE BIGGEST KILLER OF BLACK LIVES IS OTHER BLACK FOLKS, NOT THE OCCASIONAL ROGUE COP—FOR EVERY ONE WRONGFUL MURDER COMMITTED BY A POLICE OFFICER (MANY OF WHOM ARE “BLACK”) THOUSANDS ARE COMMITTED BY YOUR OWN PEOPLE.”

Over in Illinois, SJWs at Millikin University’s Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement (OISE) have warned fraternities that they will be punished if they use face paint during their annual frat pledge events. Yeah, OISE warned Tau Kappa Epsilon and other university fraternities that fraternities “are prohibited from wearing black and red paint wigs/and clothing items that mimic or depict an ethnicity or culture,” and threatened them with “student conduct sanctions” should they fail to abide by the warning.

Warrior Face PaintWell, as a direct descendent of ancient Gallic tribes, Nordic Vikings and—yes (not kidding)—even the Powhatan native American tribe, I am offended that OISE is preventing my cultures from being honored by the frat boys who want to paint their faces in ways reminiscent of my various ancestors’ preparations for battle.

I don’t know, do I have some kind of justification for a lawsuit here?

And, while not last among the recent “are-you-fucking-kidding-me” PC news, a teen advocacy organization has reportedly come up with a plan to encourage television animators to fatten up their cartoon characters to protect fat kids from body shaming. Apparently “Project Know” believes that the svelte teenage action hero cartoon characters are demoralizing role models for overweight pre-teens.

I’m sorry, even though there’s way more recent PC bullshit to report, I just can’t handle it anymore. I mean, can you say, “Bark at the moon?” ‘cause we’re getting to that level of crazy.

 

 

 

Want More LGBT Characters and Culture With Your Blockbuster Film?

Want More LGBT Characters and Culture With Your Blockbuster Film?

—May 5, 2015

After being lambasted by Black activists for its failure to adequately reward Black talent in its annual awards program, Hollywood is now facing the wrath of the LGBT community, which is claiming that Gays and Transgendered folk are not adequately represented in major studio releases of mainstream films.

According to the LGBT activist organization GLAAD, of 126 movie releases from the major studios in 2015, only 17.5 percent of them included LGBT characters, the same percentage as recorded by the group in 2014. According to GLAAD’s fourth annual Studio Responsibility Index, three of the seven major studios examined received failing grades while the others only managed to be graded as “adequate” in their representation of LGBT characters.

Along with the alleged lack of Gay characters, GLAAD’s report took issue with the lack of Gay characters of color and lack of “serious” Gay characters. “Too often the few LGBT characters that make it to the big screen are the target of a punchline or token characters,” said GLAAD President Kate Ellis upon releasing the report. “The film industry must embrace new and inclusive stories if it wants to remain competitive and relevant.”

In fact, the report insists that Hollywood must include more LGBT characters in G- and PG-rated family oriented movies, as well as in science fiction movies, noting that only 3 percent of science fiction flicks released in 2015 had any Gay characters. “As sci-fi projects have the special opportunity to create unique worlds whose advanced societies can serve as a commentary on our own, the most obvious place where Disney could include LGBT characters is in the upcoming eighth Star Wars film.”

I guess it should be titled, “The Force Comes Out of the Closet.”

The scathing report concludes that the major studios must do a better job “including LGBT characters in roles directly tied to the plot and which reflect the wide diversity of the LBGT community, including people of colour and those living with disabilities.” Additionally, the report concluded that Hollywood is “shockingly far behind other media” in its depiction of transgendered characters, with only one recorded as having been included in the 126 studio releases examined for the report.

As with the University of Southern California’s School for Communication and Journalism report that lambasted Hollywood for its lack of diversity earlier this year (please see my Feb. 23 blog—Flawed Report Pushes Affirmative Action on Hollywood), I see numerous flaws and misconceptions in this report.

First off, the numbers just aren’t that bad, or indicative of a lack of LGBT representation, as claimed by GLAAD, especially given that LGBT folks only make up about 5 percent of the U.S. population. In fact, the 17.5 percent representation suggests that LGBT characters may be overrepresented in major studio releases.

For the record “equal rights”—which I fully support for all people—do not equate to “equal representation.”

Consider that the U.S. LGBT population is roughly the same size as the U.S. Asian population, and thus the number of Gay characters seen in the major studio releases should be about the same as the number of Asian character seen in these releases. Judging by the numbers presented by GLAAD, Gays are getting more representation than Asians. From the movies I’ve seen, both groups tend to receive fair representation that accords to their respective percentages of the population.

GaydarAnd then there’s the question of identification. Unless there’s a parade or its “Pride Week,” Gay folks for the most part don’t run around shouting “I’m Gay,” or engage in other behavior or antics that identify them as such to the general public. Unless I’m missing something most Gay Folks look and act pretty much like the general population at large. As with the flawed USC report, it appears that GLAAD relied to a large degree on Gaydar to determine exactly which characters were Gay.

Naturally, GLAAD would like to see more Gay themed major releases, but given the 5 percent LGBT representational proportion of the population, should Hollywood go out of its way to produce a set number of “Brokeback Mountain”—style Gay major releases each year?

I would say not, especially given the apparent large number of Indie studio Gay-themed releases each year as evidenced by the “Queer Film Festivals” offered in most of the country’s major cities annually. And if they make it to the major leagues of filmdom, as some do, all power to them.

As for Transgendered representation by the major studios? Well, given that its proportional representation of the population stands at below 0.03 percent of the population at large, one transgendered character portrayal out of 126 movies certainly counts as fair representation.

Plus, who’s to say that more of the characters aren’t transgendered? Shouldn’t an ideal transgendered person be unrecognizable as a trans?

I’ll bet the researchers at GLAAD have probably missed quite a few transgendered characters. I mean, speaking of GLAAD’s desire to enhance the Star Wars franchise with LGBT culture, I’d say it’s already there. Take Jabba the Hut. I’ll bet he’s transgendered. Just by looking at his eyes you can tell he used to be a woman….

So Hash It Out!—Do You Want to See More LGBT Characters and Culture in Major Hollywood Studio Films?

—Originally published in Hash It Out on May 3.

Carly Fiorina Rises From the Crypt of Failed Candidacies

Carly Fiorina Rises From the Crypt of Failed Candidacies

—April 30, 2016

“She’s ba-a-a-a-ck!”

Yes, folks, former presidential candidate, first woman to lead a Fortune top-20 company, and first woman ranked by several entities as the worst American CEO of all time, has risen from the crypt of failed candidacies to be tapped as a running mate for Republican contender Ted Cruz.

Carly “just-look-at-that-face” Fiorina essentially represents a long-shot Hail Mary pass by Cruz, and she will undoubtedly soon return to the crypt of failed candidacies. However, her very presence as VP candidate, not to mention her earlier bid for the presidency, is yet another indication of how absurd American politics has become.

When you look up the word “hubris” in the dictionary, Carly’s face should serve as the image.

The woman has never held political office and yet thinks she has the chops to successfully govern the entire country. This based upon her self-proclaimed success as the first female CEO of a Fortune 20 company—a five-year stint at Hewlett-Packard that resulted in a 50 percent drop in the company’s value, loss of 30,000 jobs and coerced pay cuts to remaining employees.

While promoting the necessity of the layoffs and pay cuts she authorized the purchase of a $30 million Gulfstream IV corporate jet for her personal use. Seems that Carly followed the dictates of the Marie Antoinette school of “Let Them Eat Cake.”

But I suppose her short tenure at HP was successful…for herself, given that her salary tripled while in power, and that she secured a $21 million severance package upon her firing.

Carly’s limited political experience includes a failed 2010 bid for a California U.S. Senate seat, and work as point person on economics and business for Sen. John McCain’s failed 2008 presidential campaign.

She managed to win the Republican primary for the Senate seat, but incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer handily beat her in the general election. Pundits believe that the 30,000 job losses during her tenure at HP were a key factor in her defeat. During the campaign the Los Angeles Times also determined that Carly had failed to vote in most elections throughout her life. Carly’s response was that “people die for the right to vote…so, shame on me.”

As for her work on the McCain campaign, her prominent role came to an abrupt end after she publicly stated that neither John McCain nor his running mate Sarah Palin had the experience needed to run a major company like HP.

But Carly would have us believe that she obviously has the experience needed to run a major country like the USA.

While announcing the pick of Carly as his running mate, Cruz said his number one priority for America is bringing jobs back to America.” If that is his number one priority then why in the hell did he tap a woman famous for destroying 30,000-plus jobs for his second in command?

Absurd, or what?

Snapchat, Curt Schilling in the PC Crosshairs

Snapchat, Curt Schilling in the PC Crosshairs

—April 22, 2016

OK, Kid’s, it’s Friday and you know what that means….

That’s right, time for the MJM weekly rantathon about the latest politically correct idiocy and/or other bullshit afflicting our world like….

I don’t know, like…it’s getting ridiculous. The easily outraged and offended PC crowd seems to be getting more volatile by the week—more touchy about anything that might cause offense, especially if the offense is at all directed in any manner toward any of their sacred cows.

I mean, it sucks to be a comedian these days, cause just about everybody but straight, white, conservative males is off limits. Bust a joke about Blacks, Gays, Chinese, Muslims, Mexicans, females, the mentally unstable, anything “trans,” etc., and the PC righteous will set out to destroy you for your insensitivity.

Begs the question: if the PC crowd refuses to find any humor amidst the foibles of humanity (other than that of straight, White, conservative males), and seem to spend all of their time and energies looking for excuses to wield their self-righteous outrage, do they ever find time to have fun? Do they have a sense of humor? Can they crack a smile? I kind of doubt it….

But I digress. I am supposed to be ranting about the latest politically correct idiocy afflicting our world like…for this week we’ll say “like the fetid puss of a festering boil.”

Heading our list for this week are the usual easily outraged suspects who just had to jump on the PC bandwagon to express their outrage and offense over Snapchat’s use of a Bob Marley filter on 420 Day.  The filter allows users to superimpose the reggae star’s classic dreadlocked Jamaican look over their own or others’ faces on the social media photo-sharing service.

Not only were the PC holy warriors outraged by this alleged cyber “Blackface,” but they felt the use of the iconic musician’s likeness as a Snapchat filter was a case of cultural appropriation and that its use diminished Marley to a stereotype. The release of the filter on 420 Day, an unofficial day to celebrate Marijuana, also incensed the PC righteous because they felt it diminished Marley’s other talents by focusing on his well-known adoration and support of Marijuana.

OK, PC freaks, get over yourselves. Bob Marley was Black. Any image of Marley should be Black, and if a White person superimposes that image over their own it shouldn’t automatically be construed as “racist.” In fact, chances are that 99 percent of people using this filter love Bob Marley, his music and even his love of pot, and in no way are trying to insult his Blackness or anything else for that matter.

In fact, get over the whole “Blackface” thing—the days of the minstrel are long over, and the vast majority of people who utilize Blackface these days as part of a costume are not doing it in any way to purposely insult Black folks.

As for the release of the filter on 420 Day, get over that one, too, because Bob Marley is one of the historical proponents of Marijuana usage and legalization and should be honored on such a day. In no way does this diminish his musical talents or cultural achievements.

Finally, the filter was created in partnership with the Bob Marley estate, so this kind of makes all of the PC crowd’s complaints utterly moot and worthless.

While the above marks yet another case of PC inanity, the politically correct unfortunately managed to score two victories this week.

ESPN caved in to PC pressure and fired baseball analyst Curt Schilling due to a meme andCurt-Schilling-Meme comments he posted on his Facebook page. You can see the meme to the right, and among his comments were: “A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.”

Unreal. If bullshit like this keeps up, no one will feel comfortable expressing his or her opinions about anything anymore….

A PC victory was also scored this week with the U.S. Department of Treasury, which made all the right PC moves in its planned revamping of the $20 bill. That is replacing a racist ex-president with a Black, feminist, abolitionist hero.

Unlike the first PC victory, I don’t really have a problem with this one. While Andrew Jackson was a pretty decent president and war hero, he was also kind of prick and a racist, what with being pro-slavery and the architect behind the Trail of Tears, which resulted in the death of thousands of Indians. And Ms. Tubman was a hero deserving of respect, helping to save thousands from slavery, and working to help secure the right of women to vote.

harriet-tubman2But man, I hope they can find a halfway decent image of her. I mean, talk about a scowl—her visage is the grumpy, outraged face I picture, whether White or Black, whenever I read or hear the pontifications of pompous PC potentates.

—Originally published on behalf of Hash It Out on its Facebook page 

Free Speech Imperilled by Campus Political Correctness

Free Speech Imperilled by Campus Political Correctness

—April 19, 2015

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment is my favorite part of the U.S. Constitution. Not the amendment’s opening part. I mean, I believe in the free exercise of religion, but kind of hope no more religions are “established” as the ones already established cause enough trouble in the world. And that part about petitioning the government is kind of worthless, cause you can petition about your grievances until the cows come home, but good luck receiving any redress.

It’s the “freedom of speech, or of the press,” part of this amendment that stirs my soul, and the one I have actively supported since my rabble-rousing youth. It is the reason I rail against political correctness, which is so often used to furtively stifle free speech and oppress critical thinking.

To this day I believe the U.S. Supreme Court did the right thing by defending flag burning as freedom of expression. While I personally disagree with burning Old Glory, the fact that it is allowed as a form of expression is part of what makes America great.

I also find various garbage proclaimed as “art,” such as works by Robert Maplethorpe and others of his ilk, to be offensive; however, its public display, no matter how loathsome, is worthy of first amendment protection, too.

In my rabble-rousing youth, university and college campuses were bastions of free speech. On just about any given day you were likely to find all points of view expressed on any number of issues, not to mention plenty of public “bad taste” antics and other questionable displays by fraternal organizations and other social groups. All without any real fuss or overt animosity between competing factions or diametrically opposed interest groups. Students tended to discuss divisive issues, but for the most part did not try to suppress ideas and speech they did not agree with.

So I’ve got to ask: What the fuck happened?

How is it that in the span of roughly one generation, the ideal of free speech has been cast aside by most institutions of higher learning, with the apparent full support of a majority of professors and students?

Students aren’t taught about “freedom of speech,” because they are now being taught “freedom from speech.” Universities, colleges and many of their students seem to be focused on limiting just about any speech that might possibly cause offence, and stifling ideas that may run contrary to specific students’ beliefs. And with the emphasis on trigger warnings, safe spaces, microaggressions, speech codes, privilege of various sorts, and other popular politically correct taglines, “debate” is obviously now a foreign concept on campuses. Instead, students are being taught how to engage in “goodthink.”

Consider in just the past 10 days:

DePaul University enacted a ban on students chalking political messages on campus sidewalksTrump-chalk because of the “offensive, hurtful, and divisive” nature of pro-Donald Trump chalking.

The State University of New York at New Paltz abruptly canceled a planned campus debate between a notable left-wing media critic and a notable right-wing media critic on “How the Media Can Sway Votes and Win Elections.” Certainly sounds like a well-balanced debate on an important issue. Unfortunately, one of the debaters had “extreme” right wing views, according to complaints lodged by at least one professor and several unidentified students. Can’t have that, now can we. . . even if balanced out by another speaker on the opposite end of the political spectrum. 

Campus police forced University of Delaware students to censor a giant inflatable “free speech beach ball,” because someone had drawn a picture of a penis on the ball, along with the word “penis.” The students, who were promoting free speech values, were advised that campus speech codes and sexual harassment policies overrode any rights to free expression. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and Young Americans for Liberty both issued protests to university administrators advising them that the campus police were infringing upon the students’ First Amendment rights.

And how about this for complete irony:

About 700 professors and students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison signed letters complaining about racism from campus police and administrators, and demanding that a student arrested for spray-painting graffiti on scores of campus buildings be given clemency for his actions UW Madison Police Graffitiand be allowed to graduate on time this May. The letters allege that police engaged in racism by interrupting an Afro-American studies class when they arrested the student vandal, and that administrators are guilty of promoting racism because they were more interested in protecting campus buildings than students—such as the vandal—who are fighting for social change.

The student vandal’s fight for social change included graffiti on 11 different buildings with such messages as: “THE DEVIL IZ A WHITE MAN,” “DEATH TO PIGZ,” “WHITE SUPREMACY IZ A DISEASE,” AND “FUCK THE POLICE,” among others.

Unbelievably, both the chief of campus police and university chancellor have issued statements of apology over the incident, with both vowing to review police practices. I wouldn’t be surprised if the vandal ends up serving as the university’s valedictorian during the upcoming graduation ceremonies.

So, Hash It Out: Is the politically correct induced dissolution of the First Amendment on campuses turning American universities batshit crazy?

—Published April 19 in Hash It Out!

Just Call Me “Janella!”

Just Call Me “Janella!”

—April 16, 2016

Hallelujah! I have seen the light and now realize the long-term error of my ways….

I will no longer engage in behaviour that diminishes or demeans marginalized people and cultures, and will cleanse my speech of microaggressions that might prove insulting to anyone. I will use trigger warnings on anything I write in the future that could possibly cause undue stress or apprehension to those with fragile constitutions. I will promote and protect “safe spaces” to ensure that marginalized people and groups are not threatened by any streams of thought that might prove contrary to their own beliefs. I will vigorously support the ideals of multiculturalism, and publicly humiliate those who engage in cultural appropriation. And I will strive to only engage in “goodthink,” so as to help foster the social justice ideal of “Ingsoc.”

That’s right folks, I am bound and determined to become a militant, politically correct, social justice warrior. And, yes, from perusing the righteous and socially conscious websites of politically correct organizations and social justice activists, I do realize that it’s an especially tall order to fill.

I mean, how can I ever achieve political correctness with so much “privilege?”

Think about it: I’ve got “Male” privilege, “White” privilege, “Straight” privilege, “Thin” privilege, “Ability” privilege, “Class” privilege, “Western” privilege, “Christian” privilege, “Neurotypical” privilege, “Gender-Clarity” privilege, “Blue-Eyes” privilege, and probably other privileges of which I may not yet even be aware.

In short, I must be the most privileged mo-fo around.

And, as militant social justice folks who strictly follow the dictates of political correctness know, the day-to-day benefits I receive from these unearned privileges result in the day-to-day oppression and disenfranchisement of those who do not have these privileges—my privilege is their living hell!

Thus, in order to become truly politically correct, I must exorcise these privileges from my life. So here’s what I’m going to do:

  1. I am transitioning into a woman (“Janella” is my new name, by the way). There, in one fell swoop I have knocked out a whole bunch of privileges. I no longer have “Male” privilege because I am now a woman (“hear me roar!”). I no longer have “Straight” privilege because I’m just not into boys and will have to be a “lesbian” woman. “Gender-Clarity” privilege is obviously gone. And I’m just going to assume that if I am confused about my gender then I am probably not thinking clearly with regard to other aspects of life, so this serves to nullify the “Neurotypical” privilege, too.
  1. Thanks to the adoption of “self-identification” as a tenet of political correctness, I now identify as “African-American,” eliminating the “White” privilege. And yes, the white skin is a bit of a problem, but guess what? I’m an “albino” African-American,” which I believe obviates the “Ability” privilege because albinism is a disability of sorts. And not only am I African-American, but I am now a Muslim African-American, which takes care of that pesky “Christian” privilege.
  1. Given all of the above, I don’t believe that there’s any way I can still be considered to possess “Class” and “Western” privilege, but I’ll leave that for the PC potentates to decide.
  1. “Blue-Eyes” privilege? Well, I’m thinking I’ll have to go with colored—oops, I mean “tinted”—contact lenses.
  1. And that leaves “Thin” privilege… Not sure how I’m going to handle this one. I thought aboutOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA maybe eating burgers like Wimpy, so as to gain some quick girth and poundage, but eating meat like that just seems so anti-PC. This one is a conundrum, as I certainly don’t want my svelte figure to be the cause of distress to those who may be generously proportioned. Beaucoup tofu, perhaps?

Anyhow, what with now being a Black-Lesbo-Hajihead-Gimped-Tranny, I have clearly eliminated the bulk of my privileges and am definitely on the path to political correct enlightenment.

Just call me “Janella—Social Justice Queen!”

Hitting the Water With Old-School Virtual Reality

Hitting the Water With Old-School Virtual Reality

—April 14, 2016

It snowed over the weekend. Only about four inches, but enough to put a damper on the notion that we might have an early spring this year. The forecast for the coming week does not look promising as far as the boatyard doing much launching this week. Not that it really matters given that it’s the unholy tax filing month, and with my dual American-Canadian status I get double filing detail. Sigh….

Nevertheless, I’m itching to get on the water, anxious to feel the wind across my cheek as I hoist up the sails for the first time of the season. Alas, with no boat in the water, the inclement weather, work and taxes it looks like I will not be on the water until May. Oh well, guess I will need to scratch my sailing itch with a bit of virtual reality.

Yep, nothing like a good nautical book to tide me over while I contend with the symptoms of sailing withdrawal. I am not aware of any recent tales of nautical brilliance, but I love my selection of tried and true reads. And if you love a good nautical book as much as me, then I suggest you peruse my library and try out any one of these fantastic reads:

Godforsaken Sea: The True Story of a Race Through the World’s Most Dangerous Waters

Derek Lundy

This book tried to keep me up all night, but the sun came up before I finished it—oops, I guess it was an all-nighter! Fantastic read that details just about everything one needs to know about what it is like to participate in the Vendee Globe, the round-the-world, single-handed yacht race considered among the most gruelling competitions of all racing sports. If you want to get the sense of what it’s like to sail in the “Roaring 40s” this book is for you. And yes, it was so good that I have read it again during daylight hours.

Northern Lights

Desmond Holdridge

Good luck finding a copy of this book, as it’s been out of print for decades, though a limited edition of some hundred or so was published a few years ago on behalf of the widow of a member of the Cruising Club of America. Somehow a copy ended up in my hands, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that this true story began literally across the harbour from my dock. In short, a young man looking for a last youthful adventure prior to settling down, buys a 30-foot sloop from a local Nova Scotia boat builder, and, with two other adventurers, sets sail with the intention of reaching the top of Labrador. Beautifully written, the tale details the hazards of such a journey, along with the day-to-day difficulties of undertaking such a voyage with the rudimentary gear, supplies and limited nautical knowledge of the crew. Three disparate personalities trapped on such a small space in sometimes dire circumstances plays a role in the tale, too. This book totally needs to be re-published.

The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Man Against the Sea

Sebastian Junger

Yeah, yeah, you probably saw the movie starring George Clooney. The book, which provides a detailed analysis of a massive storm system and its effects on a small New England-based swordfish longliner, puts the movie to shame. It was a up-half-the-night, one-sitting read the first time I read it, and equally enjoyable the second time.

Sailing Alone Around the World

Joshua Slocum

If you love the idea of casting off from your dock to leave your life as you know it for an extended voyage of life at sea while you explore the world, then why haven’t you read this classic book about the first person to sail around the world solo?

To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World

Arthur Herman

If you love nautical history, along with history in general, this tome perfectly describes how Britain’s Royal Navy helped England become a world power and shape the world as we know it today. Another hard-to-put-down read, it pretty much consists of one-seafaring tale after another, combined with insights on how each of the localized incidents at sea reverberated across the oceans to affect the course of other interactions by man and governments.

As I’ve only read this one once, I think I just found my pick. However, my bookshelves are filled with dozens of other great seafaring reads. Guess I’m going to have to revisit this topic in a future blog. Until then, just grab any of the above books—trust me, you’ll feel like you’re on the water.

—Originally published April 13 by Slidemoor

Just Another ‘Assault’ on the Trump Campaign Trail….

Just Another ‘Assault’ on the Trump Campaign Trail….

–April 5, 2016

The word “assault” seems to be a tagline of the Donald Trump campaign of late, as numerous incidents of assault have been alleged over the past month at various campaign events, with the press stirring the pot with overheated reporting on each supposed event. Of the three primary “assault” incidents receiving the most press coverage, only one deserves to be termed “assault,” one is utter bullshit, and the third represents a case in which the alleged “victim” is actually the assailant.

The first one is easy: On March 9, 78-year-old John McGraw sucker punched a protester who was being led out of a Fayetteville, NC Trump campaign rally by law enforcement. Anyone who’s seen the video will have to agree that it was essentially an unprovoked assault and that McGraw should have been (and was) arrested…or—for those who believe one good punch deserves a like-minded rebuttal—been punched right back by the protestor. No doubt about this one whatsoever—it was an assault.

The second assault, and the one receiving the most coverage, concerns Breitbert news reporter Michelle Fields charge that Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski grabbed her by the arm and “nearly threw her to the ground.” And when I say “press coverage,” I mean a ludicrous level of coverage, aided in part by all the other candidates piling on the bandwagon insisting that  Trump should fire the campaign manager for the egregious assault.

Horse-fucking-feathers, I say…. If that incident constitutes “assault” then that bird that landed on the podium in front of Bernie Sanders last Friday was an assassination attempt.

Anyone looking at the video of the incident can see that the campaign manager pulls the journalist away from Trump with about the same force that she was using on the candidate in an effort to make him stop and answer a question. And this after two clear entreaties were made by the Secret Service to please step back from the candidate. The “nearly thrown to the ground” part of the allegation is equally bogus, as she hardly misses a beat in turning around to continue her pursuit of Trump.

As Donald Trump said, “nothing there,” and yes, if that incident is supposed to be an assault, then Trump should file charges against the reporter for her assault on him. The fact that charges have been laid at all is absurd, and is indicative of how…I don’t know…how America is becoming a nation of whiny crybabies (but I guess I’ll save that for another rant).

Oh, and while unsubstantiated, some (admittedly right wing) news sources are now reporting that the “victim” is a serial filer of assault charges, with charges filed against five different people over the years, but with all being dropped.

The third assault incident seemed to be on the verge of garnering massive press coverage, with initial headlines referring to the poor victim as a “teen” or “15-year-old girl,” who was groped and pepper sprayed at a Trump rally in Wisconsin. The story had all the makings of a press-frenzied black eye for Trump, but seems to have been quickly discarded and forgotten. Perhaps because numerous videos have emerged that show that the alleged victim is actually the aggressor and probably deserved to be pepper sprayed.

The incident was videoed by numerous people in the crowd, and can be viewed as it unfolds from just about every angle. From everything I’ve seen in the videos the girl is aggressively arguing with an older man, gets more and more agitated and starts heaving her girth at him while getting more and more agitated. The man is obviously trying to back away from her, but is stymied by the crowd. The man’s hands are up in the air as if to say I don’t want any part of you, and then she starts screaming about how he had groped her (ahem, “total bullshit!”). And then she hauls off and sucker punches him in the face, and someone else in the crowd (rightfully) nails her with pepper spray.

I say rightfully because all video evidence shows her to be the aggressor, and it’s obvious that the man accused of groping was only trying to get away from the belligerent cow. She sucker punched him and got hit back in return—end of story. At least it should be….

Oh, and for the record, I did not write this in support of Trump, I wrote it in support of “truth.” Something that will undoubtedly get in shorter supply as this race continues to unfold.

—Originally published April 1 in Hash It Out!

The Government Doesn’t Owe You Anything!—So, Earn It Yourself

The Government Doesn’t Owe You Anything!—So, Earn It Yourself

—March 27, 2016

So I’m watching a news blurb on how Millennials are more idealistic than their parents. And, yes, watching because I’m trying to determine whether there’s any substance to the story, because usually such “generational” stories are full of subjective bullshit (please see March 21 blog: “Are You Really A ‘Millennial?’).

And then some weird graphic comes on the screen. I believe it’s the “Spongebob SquarePants” crab character, and he’s getting showered with money. The graphic states: “Many Millennials also believe the government should guarantee jobs and a high standard of living.”

Bing! I’m riled up, pissed right off, and ready to rant!

OK, you spoiled little Millennial twats…exactly why should the government “guarantee” jobs and a “high standard of living?” Why does the government owe you anything? What in your short little, meaningless lives thus far, have the bulk of you contributed to humanity, let alone to the country, state, county and city/town that supported you while you were growing up?

What exactly is it that makes you entitled to a guaranteed job and a high standard of living?

And let me pause here to note that I’m not just ranting at Millennials (and seriously doubt that the stupid graphic I’m referencing represents any “truth”), but am more ranting at anyone who believes that “the government” owes them anything beyond the bare basics as supported by the hard-earned tax dollars provided to the government in return. Those bare basics being:

  • defence (military)
  • security/safety (police/fire)
  • K-12 education
  • a bit of support for those truly in need
  • infrastructure that ensures smooth flow of transportation, energy and communications.
  • and yeah, maybe some help on the healthcare front (I’m kind of half-Canadian now, and partially believe in the merits of socialized medicine).

Anything beyond these basics is “gravy,” and I don’t understand why so many people believe that the government owes them so much more….

OK, so taxes might be a bit on the high side, but most of the people clamouring for “more” tend to be those paying the least. And if you’re not really paying anything into the system, well, then, piss right off and try to show just a bit of gratitude for what you are getting (i.e., the basics).

Let me make one last point: I’m pretty sure that those Millennials and others who might believe that the government should “guarantee jobs and a high standard of living,” also ascribe to the notion that the government should provide free college education to all.

Well, the government already provides support to those wanting a college education…. That is, support for those who’ve earned it. While not a “free ride,” the government provides generous college education support for those who serve in the military.

So, go “earn” your college-level education, and then pursue that job and high standard of living. But please, don’t expect the government to just give it to you.

—Originally published in Hash It Out! March 25 

Be Like Mr. Spock and Hash It Out With Logic in Mind

Be Like Mr. Spock and Hash It Out With Logic in Mind

“If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be truth.”

—Mr. Spock, Science Officer/Second Officer; USS Enterprise

So you’re hashing-it-out with your buddy, who seems to have the upper hand and is poised to win the argument, but then you flatly state, “most illogical,” refute the tenets of his argument with ease, and then counter with your own logical brilliance, which proves beyond reproach and not subject to further dispute.

Sound far-fetched?

Well, it doesn’t have to be. All you have to do is be like Spock, and make sure that your side of the argument is logically structured….

OK, so that may prove to be a a stretch, but at the least you should be able to refute any fallacies within your opponent’s argument, which in turn should makes your position in the argument that much stronger. And guess what, fallacies tend to run rampant within context of most everyone (especially politicians) trying to make a case. The key is in being able to A) recognize a fallacy when utilized by your sparring partner, and B) then being able to swiftly articulate how the fallacy renders their side of the argument moot.

And, you didn’t hear it from me, but…familiarity with fallacies will allow you to utilize them when trying to bolster your own piss-poor excuse for an argument.

A fallacy is the use of “invalid” or otherwise “faulty reasoning in the construction of an argument. While some fallacies are committed intentionally in order to manipulate or deceive, many are construed by accident due to carelessness or ignorance.

Fallacies were originally identified by the ancient Greek philosophers, who basically spent their time drinking Greek wine, chasing peplos and hashing out every topic conceivable, from “what is the meaning of life?” to “does the soul reside in the heart or the mind?” to “what would be the best way to get Aphrodite into bed.” While today we at Hash-It-Out! are arguing about who would win the match up between Superman and Batman, some 2,400 years ago Aristotle and his buddies were undoubtedly arguing about who would win the matchup between Ares and Poseidon.

Fallacies can either be “formal” or informal. An argument based on a formal fallacy is always considered wrong, and can be proved so mathematically, while an informal fallacy may have a valid logical form, but may render the argument unsound due to a false premise. While there are less than two dozen recognized formal fallacies, there are more than 50 informal fallacies and numerous sub-variations of these fallacies.

Perhaps one of the most recognized formal fallacies is that of “affirming the consequent,” which mathematically is represented as:

  1. If X then Y
  2. 2. Y
  3. Therefore X

Or to put it in prose:

  1. If it rains my car will get wet.
  2. My car is wet.
  3. Therefore, it rained.

This represents a logical fallacy because it does not account for other possibilities. While the conclusion is an all likelihood true, something else—say, the neighborhood brat with a water balloon—could have caused the car to get wet.

While formal fallacies crop up in arguments, you are probably more likely to face an informal fallacy while you hash it out. In fact, you are undoubtedly already familiar with quite a few of them. Consider these:

Red herring—irrelevant subject matter inserted into the argument to draw attention away from the true subject of the argument.

 

The straw man—basing an argument on a misrepresentation of an opponent’s position.

Ad hominem (to the man)—attacking the opponent instead of the argument.

Appeal to authority—asserting something as true due to the position or authority of the person who asserted it.

Argument from ignorance—Assuming a truth because it has not been or cannot be proven false, or vice versa.

Begging the question—providing the conclusion of an argument as the premise.

Appeal to emotion—argument through a manipulation of emotions, rather than through valid reasoning (this one’s gotta sound quite familiar to all of you guys with girlfriends and wives—Doh! I’m gonna catch it from the girls for this note!).

Argumentum verbosium (proof by verbosity)—one of my personal favorites, in which the speaker utilizes so much jargon and obscure information that the audience is forced to accept the argument in lieu of admitting ignorance or lack of understanding.

So, know that you have a basic understanding about fallacies and logical reasoning, you might want to study upSpock-s-Brain-mr-spock-29467198-632-468 some more before you try to be like Mister Spock.

You can check out this website—Thoushaltnotcommitlogicalfallacies.com—for a more detailed primer on fallacies, or just Google “fallacy” to see what you come up with.

—Originally published March 22 in Hash It Out! 

Are You Really a Millennial?

Are You Really a Millennial?

—March 21, 2016

Are you a Millennial, a member of what is also referred to as Generation Y?

If you said “yes,” I have to ask, “how can you be sure?”

How do you know that you’re not a Gen. Xer? Or, on the other end of the spectrum, a member of the onrushing Generation Z?

Who or what defined you as Millennial, and under what authority? Or perhaps you “self-identified” (which seems to be quite popular within all matrixes of “identification” in the 21st Century).

I ask because journalists, market researchers and so-called generational experts spout off about “Millennials” ad nauseam, and yet few of them take the time to explain exactly how they determined what constitutes a Millennial, if they bother to delineate the generation at all.

Quick question: what are the Millennial birth years?

Ask 10 different people that question, and I’ll bet you get 10 different answers. You will also find a wide variety of birth-span ranges should you read 25 assorted Gen. Y-related news stories, market research reports or insights into the mind of the “Millennial” by an “expert.”

The same applies to a much greater extent with Generation X, the most maligned U.S. generation of the last 100 years. Let’s see, “Slacker Generation,” “Generation Me,” “Baby Bust,” and other negative monikers are often used to describe this generation. All undeserved, I must add.

For the record, I have the creds to debate this issue, because when I’m not writing for several other web sites and providing editorial consulting for various clients, I work as a demographic researcher.

And let me tell you, most of what you might read about Generations X, Y and Z is fraught with unsubstantiated opinions and likely not based on any substantive objective research.

Why, you ask?

Because few of the so-called experts delineate the generations or, when they do, explain any justification for their delineation. And, absent clearcut, logical delineation, objectivity is essentially rendered moot.

Consider this first in relation to the Baby Boomer generation, which was–for marketing purposes–the most studied generation in American history…up until the advent of Gen. Y.

Pretty much everyone agrees that the Boomers’ birth-year span started in around 1945/46 and ended in 1964/65, and that the generation’s birth range consisted of 20 years, which has historically been accepted as standard for delineating a generation.

But then came the Xers and that axiom was thrown out the door. I have seen Generation X delineated with as few as seven years, and have seen them described as starting in 1960, when most everyone believes that Boomers were still in full-production swing. I have seen more than 50 different delineations of Gen. X, in various articles and reports, with only about 25 percent making any logical sense.

Especially given that so many of the experts compare and contrast the generations. And, if the generations being compared are given different numbers for their birth-year spans then of course the comparisons are going to be flawed. Most of the “experts” talk about how small Gen. X is compared to the Boomers, but most of these “experts” only give the Xers a 10- to 15-year birth span, and sometimes, less.

Duh…. If you’re going to compare 15, 10 or less years of a generation’s births to 20 years of births, the generation in question is going to be comparatively smaller.

But, for the record, the X birth numbers were small. If you give Gen. X the standard 20-years of births and “logically” follow the Boomers by beginning the generation in about 1965, then yes, by births Gen. X was about 9 million smaller than the Baby Boomers. But guess what? Add a little time and a lot of immigrants to the equation and Generation X numbers almost grew as large as those of the boomers.

All this to say that the delineation of Generation Y, the Millennials, is all fucked up because the “experts” played around with Gen. X so much. I’ve seen Generation Y described as being born between 1980 and 2000, or 1985 to 2006, 1990 to 2002, and even 1977 to 1993. But at least they occasionally get a 20-year time span, though usually less, and sometimes more.

And just to complicate things further, the “experts” are already pontificating aboutman-mygeneration-Black-optimized Generation Z, waxing poetic about the characteristics of this still-emerging generation. And these characteristics are all over the map: “Least likely to believe that there is such a thing as the American Dream.” “More risk averse than the Millennials.” “Have a digital bond to the internet.” “Tend to be independent.” “Expect to find a job that will be an expression of their identity.”

A Job! Really…?

According to what would be the most logical delineation based on a sequential following of the Boomer Generation, the oldest members of Gen. Z are only 11-years-old, and I seriously doubt that these 11-year-olds are already pondering their future employment.

Oh, and some of these pundits are also asserting that Gen. Z is the largest generation currently alive in America, and/or the largest American generation ever, but I would surmise that these generational geniuses are either using an especially broad birth range, or just haven’t bothered to actually count the population numbers according to the delineation being used.

I believe that the lack of a universally accepted delineation of the generations is largely due to researchers and marketers liking it that way. It lets them move the goalposts in order to shift populations in order to fit particular preconceived premises, and then absolves them from any blame should their generational theories prove wrong.

So, next time you read an article about Gen. Y, X or Z, take note of whether the author has bothered to delineate them by noting their generational age span or birth-date range. If so, try to determine if it makes sense, and that the given time frames work in relation to other generations. If not, treat the article with the same skepticism you should be giving to the vast majority of 21st Century U.S. Politicians.

Oh, and for the record, the logical delineation of Generations X, Y and Z based upon sequentially following the Boomers with the standard 20-year generational time frame is as follows:

  • Generation X—born between 1965 and 1984 and currently aged 32 to 51 (est. U.S. population of 82.9 million).
  • Generation Y—born Between 1985 and 2004 and currently aged 12 to 31 (est. U.S. population of 86.6 million).
  • Generation Z—born between 2005 and the still-to-come 2024, and currently aged 0 to 11 (est. U.S. population of 40.4 million).

–M.J. Moye

Brilliant Skiing Ruined by Caustic Comment

Brilliant Skiing Ruined by Caustic Comment

So my 12-year-old son and I are on the Marmot chair lift. Not really chatting a lot because my son has reached that pivotal age at which boys figure out that adults are really, really boring.

We are crossing a couloir, which is a deep, snow-filled gully ripe for skiers way braver than I who are eager to take on its 170-degree walls, half-exposed rocks, wayward trees, and natural ramps and jumps. Two relatively tepid and timid snowboarders are making their way down when one aborts a jump by trying to veer off its summit, but ends up in a heap astride its peak—becoming a “Walrus” (a term we use to describe a snowboarder “at rest”).

Our chair passes over them as his companion says something along the lines of “are you OK?” but we can’t make out the muffled reply. The downed walrus seems a bit shaken, but starts shuffling himself off the small peak when we look up the mountain slope to see a skier racing down in a high-speed slalom toward the couloir.

Not even the hint of a pause—and trust me, I would stop at the edge and give long thought before making a descent—and the skier makes 20 feet of ever-so-graceful air before flawlessly dropping into the gully.

His skiing is beautiful and leaves me breathless, and my son and I both pivot in the chair to watch as he speeds underneath us and towards…

…the jump where the still-on-his-knees walrus has half-way scuttled off the bump, but stalled not knowing whether to go right or left because the brilliant skier is heading towards him at light speed. There is enough room for the skier to make the jump but he aborts by skirting the walrus on the other side. And then we hear it:

“Get out of the way, Dickhead!” says the skier, in a loud, nasally voice of spoiled contempt.

The skier is instantly no longer brilliant, no longer among the finest artistry in motion on that mountain.

My son looks at me, mouth wide open, with an expression best described as, well, a “12-year-old’s aghast,” though by no means feigned.

“Dad,” he sputters. “What a— He was… Dad, he was the ‘Dickhead,” he stammers referring to the hotshot skier.

Normally, I might have been inclined to rebuke my son about the use of such inappropriate language, but given that he may have learned it from me to begin with, and I totally agreed with him at that moment, I refrain (though I do have to chastise him later when he re-tells the story to his aunt and calls the Hotshot a “douce bag”).

“I hope he breaks his leg,” my son then adds.

And at this point I’m struggling, because I’m kind of wrestling with similar thoughts. But I pull back and give my son the twin spiels about how two wrongs don’t make a right, and that wishing such thoughts about bad people only brings us down to their level. And I probably did so with a similar lame level of eloquence as displayed here.

I also had to give Hotshot a bit of leeway because A) some skiers despise Walruses; B) Hotshot may not have realized that Walrus had wiped out; and, C) Walruses often flop down right where they shouldn’t.

Anyhow, while I’m not sure whether my words had an impact, that moment has stayed with my son, as it has with me…still dwelling on it two days later.

On several occasions while paused during a descent or waiting in a lift line, my son has nudged me in the ribs to ask, “is that him?”

“Who,” I reply.

“You know, the…’Jerk'” (though he sometimes tests me with the other term).

And I look, spot the indicated target, and determine that it isn’t him (who had been quite distinctive with incredible skiing finesse, red hair {Yeah, Hotshots don’t need helmets}, red bandana and an olive, check-patterned parka).

As for myself, I think I’m dwelling on it because of the utter lack of civility. There was just no cause at all for the Hotshot’s comment. The jump was nothing in the grand scheme of this mountain’s challenges, and puppychow in relation to the air the Hotshot had just caught moments before. Hotshot had the space to take the jump, and plenty of room on the other side of Walrus. And, for all Hotshot knew, Walrus could have been injured.

I don’t know, what had been a brilliant moment turned ugly in an instant with a simple, undeserved utterance. That lack of civility, that stupid caustic comment, was just so unnecessary.

And perhaps such a bellwether of the lack of American grace in the 21st Century….

Whatever Happened to “Black is Beautiful?”

Whatever Happened to “Black is Beautiful?”

—March 4, 2016

What’s with Americans wanting to be outraged all the time? Is it just me or does it seem like Americans across the country are perceiving everything as a possible insult or disparagement.

Black folks seem to be especially touchy of late, what with a light-skinned black actress playing Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic feature film stirring up the latest outrage….

And, oops, I may have just made a major faux pas, as I referred to them as “Black” rather than “African American.” But sorry, I refuse to use “African American,” as most Black Americans are about as “African” as a German Shepard is “German.”

Or to put it another way, if I were insulted by being called “White” and insisted upon being referenced to by a moniker based on my ancestors, then I’d be an English-French-German-Scottish-Spanish-Dutch-Acadian-American-American (please note that the “American-American” part of that description is due to some Native American blood in my line).

And I’m about as English, French, German, Scottish, Spanish, Dutch or Acadian as a German Shepard is “German.”

All in all, pretty ludicrous, eh?

So earlier this week a Black couple stopped into an IHOP restaurant in Texas to pick up a to-go order, and were “stunned” to find the words “BLACK PPL” printed on the receipt, apparently as a means of identifying who the take-out order was for.

The couple took great offense at being called “Black,” raised a ruckus on social media, contacted the news media, and garnered a quick public apology from IHOP and a firing of the wait staff who had erred by identifying the couple as “Black.” Because apparently calling Black folks “Black,” is racist…even if you happen to be Black yourself, which the poor waiter was.

Well, Rolman Sparkman, one-half of the aggrieved couple who contacted the media about the alleged slur, said the most “shocking” thing about the incident was that the waiter was “Black.” Though apparently Sparkman had no qualms about calling the waiter “Black.”

The fired waiter, Dwayne Williams, attributed his use of “BLACK PPL” instead of getting the couple’s actual names to the restaurant being especially busy at that time, and said he certainly did not mean to cause offence, and, “as a Black Prince myself,” was not being racist.

No word yet on whether the couple is planning to file a lawsuit alleging egregious harm and all manner of mental trauma due to the racist insult.

Which begs the question(s), would being called “Black” hold up in court as a racist epithet? Since when has “Black” been considered racist? And, whatever happened to “Black Power” and “Black is Beautiful?”

Kicking Off the Season—Just Me and My Boat!

Kicking Off the Season—Just Me and My Boat!

—March 2, 2016

It is an especially cold mid-winter day. The type day that gave reason to mammalian hibernation, as just trying keep warm in the cold of the open air would rapidly deplete an animal’s fat reserves. So cold that birds are reluctant to fly and the briny water of the harbour has iced over, encasing docks and mooring balls in a steely grip.

Any thoughts of boating quickly turn to thoughts of hypothermia and speculation as to how many minutes—or would that be seconds?—one might survive from an accidental spill overboard into the open waters. Thoughts of boating also quickly bring forth the image of the lonely boatyard, some 300 boats enshrouded in tarps and plastic, that are further covered with a thin layer of crusty snow. The place so still that it seems if the boats have been sitting there for years, like the headstones of a centuries-old cemetery.

But no, life will return to the boatyard, and in just two long months the first of them will be launched and the boating season begin again with the first whisperings of spring.

This idea of a “boating season” is something folks in the deep south and out on the southwest coast don’t have to contend with, as their boating season is year round. And yes, we boaters up here in the cold northern climates are envious. We miss our boats during the long winter season and sometimes wish we lived in a place where it’s possible to jump on one’s boat and take a toot on a warm (what’s that?) February day.

Sometimes….

We relish our short season, and with the annual changing of the seasons get to experience an elation that would be entirely foreign to you deep south and southwest coast boaters. It’s an elation equivalent to that experienced by children on Christmas morning—boundless joy over the promise of all the foreseen and unforeseen boating of the season yet to come.

It happens every year in mid to late April, after I get the call that my boat has been launched, rigged, and is ready to go. As soon as work permits, I load my truck with sails, sheets and the minimum gear needed for safety and comfort, and head to the boatyard. It is always a solo venture, as I like to savour the season’s first outing—that trip from the marina to my dock—alone, just me and my boat.

I am usually just about shaking with excitement by the time I climb onboard. And though the boat always seems quite the mess, what with mold in the cabin and the deck dirty with grit from the rigger’s shoes, discarded tape and broken clevis pins, it doesn’t bother me as my annual cleaning later in the week is just part of the overall spring ritual. I check the rigging and lines and inspect the boat from bow to stern, mentally checking off all the things that will need to be done to prepare for the season’s successful voyaging. The engine and its fluids are checked, and then the starter pushed, which will bring a smile to my face upon hearing the familiar sputter of the Yanmar diesel. The engine tested and ready for action, the sails will be hanked on next, a job much easier with two, but one I do happily alone, just me and my boat.

When all seems ready and I can cast off and head for my harbour, I crack open a beer and pause to enjoy the boat sitting quietly on the mooring. I look around at the few other boats that have been launched, all in various stages of readiness. I try to just relax and enjoy the beer, but the season has begun and I need to feel the boat move. So I cast off and put her into gear and head out of the harbor. If there is a favorable breeze I will unfurl the jib once I’m in open waters, and sail for my harbor, but if not, no bother as I am content to motor with the knowledge that there will be many months of sailing ahead.

It is the best day of the year, and the elation I feel while heading for my harbour—just me and my boat—makes the change of seasons and months-long absence of boating worth it.

—Originally published in February by slidemoor.com.

“Battle of the Bathrooms!”—Where Should Trans Folks be Allowed to Pee?

“Battle of the Bathrooms!”—Where Should Trans Folks be Allowed to Pee?

—February 28, 2016

The “Battle of the Bathrooms” is heating up across the nation, what with two separate, at-odds local and state government measures making the news this week.

In South Dakota the governor is poised to sign a bill that would require public school students to use bathrooms and other facilities that correspond to their biological sex, which the bill defines as “a person’s chromosomes and anatomy as identified at birth.”

Meanwhile, the city of Charlotte, NC this week passed a law allowing transgender folks to choose public bathrooms that correspond to whatever gender they identify with. This measure has drawn the ire of the state’s governor and a majority of state legislators, who are threatening legislative intervention to undue the city ordinance.

These two actions fall on the heels of numerous other related measures making the rounds in states and municipalities across the country, all of which beg the question as to which public bathroom and/or locker room is appropriate for transgendered individuals of either sex…whether former, current or in transition?

Public bathrooms can be inherently awkward as is—adding transgendered usage into the equation ups the potential awkward ante, for both the normal-gendered folks, and the transgendered themselves. And the level of awkwardness is likely dependent upon the extent of transition.

Take Kaitlyn (the former “Bruce”) Jenner. He/she has done some serious work at trying to look like a woman, and now kind of does. But even though she’s lost the adam’s apple and now has breasts, he’s still sporting a Johnson and the twins between his legs. Kaitlyn can sing, “I am woman, hear me roar” until the cows come home, but it must be difficult to feel womanly when he’s in the bathroom.

I imagine that most people, male and female, would feel awkward sharing bathroom/locker room space with him/her. One would think that it’s also awkward for Jenner, and/or anyone else in that situation of being between the sexes.

Consider also the potential bathroom awkwardness of being forced to use the bathroom based on anatomy. A woman transitioning into a man would potentially freak people out when going into the woman’s room looking like a man, and vice versa for the trans woman forced to go into the men’s room.

The easy overall solution, and one which has been pushed by various school districts, municipalities, and stateunisex-bathroom governments is unisex or gender-neutral bathrooms. And while cost is one limiting factor, the greater barrier appears to be the LGBT community itself, which feels that forcing transgendered to use such bathrooms stigmatizes or otherwise marginalizes them. Their argument is that transgendered people should be able to utilize the bathroom/locker room that conforms to the gender they believe themselves to be.

And they’re pushing this argument in most situations in which the compromise solution has been adopted, filing suit in numerous states across the country alleging discrimination and segregation. The U.S. Department of Education has sided with the LGBT community on the issue, asserting that schools must allow students to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender of which they identify, or risk losing federal funding.

OK, so the rights of transgendered are important, but what of everyone else? Should the rights of the few supersede the rights of the many? Should transgendered folks be allowed to pee wherever they please, or should their bathroom usage conform to anatomy?

Hash-It-Out!

—Originally published February 26 in Hash It Out!

Flawed Report Pushes Affirmative Action on Hollywood

Flawed Report Pushes Affirmative Action on Hollywood

—February 23, 2016

Just in time for the 88th Academy Awards, the University of Southern California’s School for Communication and Journalism has released a “scathing” report that proves that Hollywood is a “straight, white, boy’s, club.” Following on the heels of the “Oscars so White” movement inspired by the lack of minority Academy Award nominees, this report strongly suggests that not only is Hollywood a bastion of racists, but also of misogynistic homophobes.

The report—Inclusion or Invisibility? Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity in Entertainment—is designed to quantify the media representation of females, “people of color,” and members of the LGBT community both on screen and behind the camera. The study’s authors hope that the report will push Hollywood studios to make their productions more representative and inclusive of the American population at large, and to make the composition of the studios’ workforce more inclusive. In short, the authors would like to see movie and TV productions reflect or match the demographic composition of the U.S., and see the same for the studio workforce.

The report’s findings were based on 414 “stories,” consisting of 109 full-length motion pictures and a single episode from 305 different broadcast, cable and digital series, all of which were released in 2014. The researchers also examined the composition of gender, race and ethnicity of the directors and writers of each film or episode, as well as the employees and executives at 10 major studios.

The essential conclusion of the report is that white, heterosexual males pretty much dominate every metric of Hollywood, while females, “people of color,” gays and transgendered folks are seriously underrepresented in every metric. And to some degree—especially with regard to gender disparity—the report is undoubtedly true. By other measures the report is seriously flawed.

For starters the report’s methodology provided an open door for cherry picking. While the researchers examined 109 full-length motion pictures, Hollywood generally releases more than 400 per year. Thus, a researcher could probably sort through the films of 2014 and come up with a hundred or so that conclusively proves that white, straight males are seriously underrepresented in Hollywood films.

I also noticed that of the 109 films, the researchers only included five counted by blackamericaweb.com as the “Top 10 Best Black Movies of 2014.” Little doubt that the inclusion of those five missing Black movies would have significantly changed the findings regarding race.

And speaking of race, the report’s findings lead me to believe that the researchers are a bit clueless about U.S. demographics. For example, the report’s narrative stresses how Hollywood vastly under represents racial and ethnic minorities, and bases this partly on a finding that of all 414 “stories,” Blacks only made up 12.2 percent of the speaking roles. I’m not quite sure what the problem is here, given that only 12.6 percent of the U.S. population identifies as black, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

And gee, Asians only represent 5.1 percent of the speaking roles….

Hollywood will obviously need to fire some Asian actors, given that their proportional representation in the country as a whole is only 4.8 percent.

Hispanics only represent 5.8 percent of the speaking roles, according to the report, far below the 16.3 percent of Americans who identify as Hispanic. But the researchers based their counts solely on “visible cues” to ascertain race and ethnicity. And guess what? About 60 percent of the US. Hispanic population identifies as “White,” with most of them looking like any other cracker walking down Main Street USA. Thus, little doubt that the researchers vastly undercounted Hispanic speaking roles.

Overall, while the report’s narrative repeatedly says that Blacks, Asians and Hispanics are “underrepresented” in movies and TV shows, much of the report’s data indicate that Blacks and Asians are, in fact, fairly represented, while the counting of Hispanics is outright flawed.

Take for example the table showing the number of movies and shows without any Black or Asian speaking characters. Out of the 109 films, 18 percent have no Black speaking characters and 50 percent have no speaking Asian characters. But, let’s state that another way: Out of 109 films, 82 percent have Black speaking characters, and 50 percent have speaking Asian characters. Again, given that Blacks only represent about 12.6 percent of the population, and Asians, 4.8 percent, I’d say both groups are getting some pretty decent representation according to that metric. As for Hispanics, let’s just say that the data is so sparse and subjective that any conclusions the researchers (do they understand the difference between race and ethnicity?) draw from it is suspect.

According to the report’s narrative, LGBT characters with speaking roles were far more underrepresented than ethnic and racial minorities. The report concluded that only 2 percent of all speaking characters were LGBT, which is “below the 3.5% of the U.S. population that identifies [as such], as reported by the Williams Institute at UCLA.”

And again, the researchers relied on “visible cues” to determine their sexual orientation. Thus, if a specific movie or scene wasn’t addressing a gay theme or storyline, then a potential speaking gay character might be missed.

Or am I missing something? Do gays and lesbians all wear a specific item of clothing orGaydar jewelry that identifies them as such? Because if not, then we are relying on the researchers’ “Gaydar” to determine the current LGBT representation in Hollywood.

I could continue to thrash this report—expose additional weaknesses, numerous flaws and fallacies—on many levels, but of deeper concern is how the researchers want Hollywood, and its products, to be based upon proportional representation of gender, race, ethnicity and sexual persuasion.

Perhaps a noble idea, but can you just imagine how stilted the story lines would become? How inane some of the plots? Just imagine under this scenario what the eventual remakes of Saving Private Ryan, Selma, and The Revenant would look like.

I mean, do we really want our Hollywood entertainment to be dictated by affirmative action?

—M.J. Moye

What This Sailor Wants for Christmas

What This Sailor Wants for Christmas

Along with my personal blog, I write blogs for several other websites. This is a blog I recently wrote for a boating website client. 

–December 16, 2015

Christmas is in the air and Santa Claus has undoubtedly checked off “who’s naughty and who’s nice” on his annual gift list. And naturally most avid boaters received a “nice” check by their names. But now Santa has to figure out what to get these boater(s).

If the boaters on his list don’t already have one, Santa could always consider surprising them with a SlideMoor docking system. Barring that, the options are almost limitless. Boaters tend to love boating gear and all things “nautical,” and most keep a running list of “gear” they’d love to own. Boating gear is continuously evolving and new gear seems to enter the market throughout the year, as evidenced by boating magazines which tend to feature a “new gear” section in every issue. In short, there’s such a plethora of nautical gift options spanning all price ranges that Santa may feel overwhelmed trying to pick out the perfect gift for each of those boaters on his list.

So, Santa, to give you some inspiration let me tell you what this avid boater would like to find under his Christmas tree (and yes, I’ve been a very good boy this year):

  • SALCA (Sacrificial Anode Line Cutter Assembly)—Overall I don’t tend to run afoul of stray lines that get wrapped around the propeller, say in a mooring field or from wayward lobster or crab traps? But last April, right after launching…well, I got to find out what hypothermia is when I had to free the prop from an unmarked mooring line. Some line cutting systems are rather expensive, but Sea Shield Marine has apparently come up with a cost-effective, easy to install line cutter that is combined with a sacrificial anode to protect against corrosion.
  • Dyson DC34 Cordless Vacuum—A vacuum cleaner? Yes, Santa, most cruising sailboats are filled with nooks, crannies and wonky spaces that make cleaning them more difficult than cleaning the house. I’ve got a cordless vac, but it just doesn’t have enough power to get up all the crud, and from what I hear this Dyson model is one of the most powerful handheld vacuums available.
  • Nokero Solar Light Bulb—Power consumption is always of concern on my sailboat, and I am always pleased to find ways to conserve power. Thus, Nokero’s Solar Light Bulb, which can provide 20 lumens of light for up to four hours (10 lumens for seven hours) on a day’s solar charge, would be a hit. Then again, if you’re feeling really generous, you might consider getting me a complete solar power system for the boat.
  • AIS System—Speaking of generous (and I have been really good this year), I’ve been wanting an Automatic Identification System receiver for some time now. Prices have been coming down, and you’ll have the added satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping keep this sailor safe while he’s offshore.
  • Simrad Autopilot—In case you didn’t know, my autohelm bit the dust this fall. And while the wheel-mounted models work pretty well, Simrad’s AP24 cable-mounted system is reportedly the most sophisticated and efficient small-boat pilot on the market.
  • Inflatable Dinghy—Well, Santa, my Avon rubber Dinghy has been in the family now for more than 40 years and is starting to show her age. Or, more specifically, starting to lose her air….
  • Shannon 43—Speaking of age, my beautiful sailboat is nearing her 40th birthday, and, well, I’m just not sure she has it in her anymore to undertake that circumnavigation we’ve been dreaming about for so long. The Shannon line is the perfect boat for such a circumnavigation, and I’m pretty sure you could find a used one for me for a half-million dollars or so….

Oh, and have I mentioned how exceptionally good I’ve been this year?

Will Canada’s New Leader Impact the U.S.?

Will Canada’s New Leader Impact the U.S.?

–October 26, 2015

Well, kids, there’s a new sheriff in town….

Not here. No, up in that vast cold territory to the north of us–the land of moose, beaver, eskimos and ice hockey known as Canada. The country held a national election last week, in which the incumbent prime minister was ousted by a political dilettante.

Today’s Question: Who is Canada’s prime minister elect?

a.) Steven Harper

b.) Thomas Mulcair

c.) Justin Bieber

d.) Justin Trudeau

Steven Harper is the current long serving incumbent prime minister and leader of Canada’s Conservative Party. But don’t let the party’s moniker fool you, as Canada is a left-leaning country and Harper is about as conservative as Bill Clinton. So, Harper, even though not particularly close to either former Republican President George W. Bush or current Democratic President Barack Obama, managed to toe a middle line and helped maintain reasonable U.S.-Canada relations for the past 10 years.

Thomas Mulcair was the third-place finisher in the election. Leader of the New Democrat Party, Mulcair is about as “left” as one gets in mainstream Canadian politics. In fact, this party’s moniker is also suspect as it should be called the New Socialist Party. Had Mulcair won, his policies and governing style would alienate America and probably lead to a U.S. nickname for him something along the lines of “Hugo Chavez of the North.”

Justin Bieber is a famous pop star from Canada, and sure, had he been on the ballot he undoubtedly would have scored some of the youth vote, but this Justin as Canada’s prime minister would be like Americans voting in Tila Tequila for president.

tumblr_mrxqi5CCjn1qze0z6o1_1280Justin Trudeau is the prime minister elect. A member of Canada’s Liberal Party, he is going to be running that cold territory for at least the next few years, and will in part dictate whether Canadian-U.S. relations continue in good standing. The Liberal Party, which lies pretty much left of center, is where it is supposed to be on the political spectrum, and there’s no reason to believe that Justin will not get along with the Democrats in Washington. The Republicans, though, and a Republican president, should one win the election in 2016, might have some issues with young Justin. Though we trust that any such issues would not be enough to thoroughly trash the long-standing good relations enjoyed by the two countries.

Let’s flesh out what promises Justin made on his road to the prime minister’s office and try to determine how America will feel should he successfully implement them as law.

One of Justin’s first acts will be to pull Canada out of active participation in the U.S. led coalition against Islamic State. While having a close ally pull out of the fight might seem cowardly, it’s not like Canada’s contribution–six obsolete attack jets and a few hundred soldiers–was going to tip the scales either way in the fight. And Canada being Canada, will undoubtedly replace its military commitment with an equal measure of humanitarian aid to those displaced by the war. From what we understand, Obama has already forgiven Justin for pulling out, and any potential future Republicans in power will likely have no problem living with it.

And speaking of humanitarian aid, Justin has already promised to take in thousands and thousands of Syrian refuges. This will not have a direct impact on U.S.-Canadian relations, but the U.S. has been concerned about Canada being both a haven for terrorists, and a back-door entryway for them, since the early days of the War on Terror. Thus, border control issues, which are already sometimes painful with tit-for-tat measures between the countries, could become a source of greater contention.

Actually, due to another Justin promise, the border could get downright ugly….

Justin, you see, has promised to legalize the use and sale of marijuana, a promise, that if kept, would put Canada at significantmarijuana_leaf odds with America’s ongoing War on Drugs. We’re guessing that President Obama, who hasn’t sent the Feds into Washington or Colorado with their marijuana legalization efforts, will keep a low profile on the issue when Canada goes legal. However, should the Republicans gain the White House, things could get very ugly, especially given that most Republicans still maintain a zero tolerance stance.

We’re not trying to debate the pros and cons of marijuana legalization here, we’re just pointing out that Justin Trudeau is taking the debate to a new level, as Canada will likely become the first country in the world to allow nationwide legal use and sale of marijuana. Whether America will be accepting of this or whether it leads to trade sanctions or worse remains to be seen.

This issue then, is likely to be among the biggest determinants of the future of U.S.-Canadian relations.

So, Hash-It-Out! Should Canada legalize marijuana how should America react?

a.) Do nothing at all.

b.) Watch and monitor to see if legalization should be adopted by the U.S.

c.) Close the border and impose sanctions until those dumb, pothead Canucks relent.

or, d.) Use it as a pretext for invasion. The Canucks are almost American anyhow and would welcome us with open arms.

—Originally published by Hash It Out! on October 26, 2015

Please Add Me to the Hit List!

Please Add Me to the Hit List!

–Sept. 29, 2015

Dear Bangladeshi Islamic Extremists (members of Ansarullah Bangla Team and Ansar al Islam Bangladesh): 

I understand that you have expanded your hit list of bloggers to be killed due to their written commentary that you believe to be offensive to Islam. So far this year you have successfully butchered four Bangladeshi bloggers for their writing, and have now expanded your hit list to call for any and all true-faith Muslims to assassinate nine bloggers living in Europe and North America. 

Please add me to this list. While I do not wish to insult your faith or reverence for Allah, Muhammad and Islam in general, I question and take issue with your interpretation of your holy book, the Quran. I believe that any man should be able to question and debate your interpretation without repercussion. I also do not believe that Allah would sanction your killing of other Muslims, or anybody, for that matter, for challenging your interpretation. Nor do I believe that Allah would sanction the killing of anyone for drawing a cartoon of Muhammad or otherwise insulting Islam.

Allah is supposed to be God, for Christ’s sake, and there’s no way his proverbial skin could be that thin. If Allah truly has an issue with people questioning his Godliness, making jokes about Muhammad, or portraying him as a cartoon figure, I am positive that he can deal with the  miscreants in his own Godlike fashion.   

So, in protest of your blatant killing for the sake of religious censorship, I want you to look at this photo. That guy whoseth-4 12.17.01 PM head is in the toilet, I believe that to be Muhammad. Therefore I am obviously guilty of blasphemy and of offending Allah–peace be upon him–and therefore should be hacked to bits.

Come and get me.

Sincerely,

M.J. Moye

Muslims tend to take great offense at those who criticize Islam, question their interpretation of the Quran, or draw images of Muhammad. Many take their self-righteous sense of being offended so severely that they believe killing people who commit these offenses is justified. And while the majority of Muslims do not actively support such action, does not their noticeable lack of opposition to the practice mark them as silent accomplices?

What of the murder of innocent writers and cartoonists? Is that not the far greater offense? Sure the Western world expresses a brief surge of outrage every time writers and cartoonists are killed, but the media is generally loath to reprint or discuss the subject matter that led to the killing. Oh, we don’t want to offend the Muslim community, is the usual excuse.

Worse than that, though, is when the Western media is cowed by Islamic threats and self-censors material that may be deemed offensive to Islam. Remember Episodes 200 and 201 of South Park? Broadcast in 2010, it featured a character in a bear costume named Muhammad. A radical Muslim group sent South Park producers and broadcasters a photo of the nearly decapitated anti-Muslim Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, with a warning that they would meet a similar fate. Muhammad was quickly censored out of the episodes.

Pussies!

In response a woman named Molly Norris organized an “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day” in support of free speech. The effort drew tremendous support, but also drew significant opposition from both Muslims and those of the political correct persuasion who felt the effort was a needless affront to the Muslim community. Meanwhile Ms. Norris was put on an Islamic hit list, and her name was later added to the same hit list that targeted Charlie Hebdo in Paris. She remains in hiding to this day.

Unreal!  

This is America, where freedom of speech is supposed to be sacrosanct. We’re going to let ourselves be bullied into limiting this freedom? We’re going to cave for the sake of Muslim sensibilities, the same sensibilities that believe murder for religious ideals is perfectly OK?

Screw that!

As I said in my letter to the hit-list Muslims, I do not wish to insult their religion. However, if they are going to target innocent writers and cartoonists and mark them for death for offending Islam, then I will join with those same writers and cartoonists. Plain and simply, religious beliefs that invoke murder or other egregious actions do not trump freedom of thought and speech.

And just to make clear that this blog and blogger are not specifically anti-Islam, the above letter would be proffered to any radical Christian groups that target people for insulting Jesus Christ and Christianity. But to my knowledge there aren’t any.

However, if there are any Radical Christians out there advocating death for those who insult Jesus, well, see that photo near the top of the page…that guy getting a swirly is Jesus.

Come and get me!

So, dear reader, what do you think? Are you willing to add your name to the list? Hash it out!

—Originally published Sept. 28, 2015 by Hash It Out!

Pause and Consider the Micro-World that Thrives Around Your Dock

Pause and Consider the Micro-World that Thrives Around Your Dock

While most people consider docks primarily as a platform from which to board a boat, many docks also serve as unique micro ecosystems teeming with marine life.

Take, for example, my own wharf. The T-shaped structure itself is comprised of three rock-filled cribs that support wooden beams and planking from above the high-tide line out 40 feet to end in six-feet of low-tide water where the top of the T provides a brace and anchoring point for a 30-foot wide floating dock.

It’s a nice little piece of wooden real estate above the water. So nice that sea gulls like to use it at times for their dining room table. The local green crab seems to be their favorite dish, but every now and then I guess they dine à la dumpster as I’ll find chicken bones instead of shells. A bit annoying, yes, but they don’t abuse it too much and I keep a push broom under the stairs leading from the embankment to the wharf.

A pair of kingfishers also like the wharf. I believe they and their ascendents live in a large copse of trees on the hill above the wharf. While a bit skittish, they sometimes alight on the top of the pilings as if to survey their hunting grounds before darting over the harbor to scoop up minnows.

A mink, and his likely ascendents, has claimed the wharf as his territory for years, but as a part-time claimant. For whatever reason he normally doesn’t make his presence known until late July or early August. At first his presence is only noticed because of the scat he leaves on the floating dock, usually by the bow of my overturned dingy and near a cleat on the dock’s south end, perhaps a marking of territory. I generally catch my first glimpse of him by mid-August, and by mid-September he will have grown so bold that I’ll often see him slinking through the crib’s rocks, swimming around the pilings, and even prancing down the wharf and up the stairs to explore the embankment’s rock wall. Like the leavings from the seagull, the scat is annoying, especially because it smells so horrific and sometimes gets on a line. Oh well, it’s his home turf and nothing a bucket of water won’t take care of.

As for fish, they seem to come and go. Minnows of various sorts can usually be found flitting about the pilings, some eel-like and translucent, others looking like baby bluefish, and then the most common ones looking like, well, minnows. Every now and then a school of mackerel will come in and do a steady weave around the outer crib and floating dock, individual fish sparkling as refracted rays from the sun capture their silver bellies and dance across their metallic-blue, wavy zebra stripes. A neighbor once caught a large flounder from his dock, but I’ve never seen nor caught one from my dock.

Last week a small school tropical-looking fish hovered off one end of the floating dock by the bow of my boat. I’d never seen them before and can only assume that they were pulled up here by the Gulf Stream, escaped its grip, and somehow made it to the shallow waters of our coast. They seemed lethargic or in shock, perhaps dulled by the icy waters or exhaustion from their journey.

Green crabs would seem to be masters of the wharf’s seabed, and are easily spotted as they pick for food among the rocks. My son used to fill up a bucket within a half hour with just a chunk of hot dog dangled from a string. They’re not tasty like their southern blue crab cousins, though, and thus soon found themselves back in the water. Once my son caught a baseball-sized lumpy looking rock crab. They might be as prolific as the green crab, but one wouldn’t know it because of their perfect camouflage.

Mussels and some kind of sea snail dominate the pilings and crib rocks, though on occasion I will spot a rare starfish. When I was younger, starfish seemed to predominate the pilings, but they seemed to have died off, whether as food for the crabs, or through disease or environmental change, I do not know.

Of algae, seaweed and seagrass, I know nothing, but they make the wharf area their home as well, and add color to the brown hues of the rocks, pilings and crib works.

And then there are the dock spiders. I prefer not to see them, and generally they oblige, but sometimes they seek an upgrade to their accommodations, from the dock to my boat. Oh well, it’s their world, too, so I just have to put up with it.

So, the next time you go boating, pause on the dock, and take time to consider the small world teeming with life that surrounds you.

—Originally published Sept. 9, 2015 by slidemoor.com

Waking a Sleeping Giant?

Waking a Sleeping Giant?

—September 8, 2015

Comedian Nicole Arbour can be considered this past weekend’s Internet provocateur, as her YouTube video “Dear Fat People” roiled the wrath of America’s plus-sized population. Nicole’s video had received more than a half-million views before being shut down on Sunday morning. In response, Arbour Tweeted that she must be “the first comedian in the history of @YouTube to be #censored.” YouTube reinstated the channel later that afternoon, stating that the suspension had been a mistake. The video reportedly had more than 18 million views by Monday.

In her video, Nicole starts of by saying that fat-shaming was made up by fat people, and that “If we offend you so much that you lose weight, I’m OK with that.” She goes on to say, it’s the “race card with no race. There’s a race card, there’s a disability card [and] there’s even a gay card, because gay people are discriminated against, wrongfully so. The gay card is covered in glitter.”

During the six-minute video rant, Nicole continuously encourages the “35 percent of North Americans who are obese” to lose weight with the use of comedic on liners such as, “Obesity is a disease? Yeah, but so is being a shopaholic, but I don’t get a fucking parking pass.”

Perhaps her most controversial–and no-doubt potentially offensive to those of the wider dimension spectrum–comments involve her descriptions of sharing a flight with the “fatest, most obese–I’m talkin’ TLC Special fat” family. Nicole notes that she had dutifully waited in the security line for more than an hour, and yet the fat family was ushered to the front of the line because their knees were hurting because of their weight. She takes further issue with the special treatment they are provided  when transported by golf cart to the boarding gate, and describes them as smelling like sausages, and sweating Crisco oil. Then she finds herself sitting on the plane aside the fat child of the family and describes having to physical push his fat out of her lap.

All-righty, then….  No doubt that this video fat shames. And no doubt that this video can be considered offensive, especially to the millions of North Americans who might be considered over-girthed. But it’s also comedy. Good comedy pushes boundaries, and perhaps as many people found it hilarious as those who found it offensive.

Nicole Arbour obviously knew all this when she made the video, as when she announces its title, “Dear Fat People,” she immediately exclaims how “some people are already really mad at this video,” followed by, “what are you going to do, fat people? What are you going to do? What, are you going to chase me? Really?… I can get away from you by walking at a reasonable pace.”

Well, Nicole might be able to walk away from the angry mob of proportionally challenged; however, she can’t escape their Internet counter-attack. Dozens of YouTube response videos excoriating the comedian and her video have been posted, led by TLC channel’s My Big Fat Fabulous Life star Whitney Way Thore, who calls the Arbour video “heinous,” among other things. “Fat-shaming is a thing; it’s a really big thing, no pun intended,” Thore says. “It is the really nasty spawn of a larger parent problem called body-shaming, which I’m fairly certain everyone on the planet, especially women, has experienced.”

And now the media is wading into the fray and examining fat-shaming and all sorts of day-to-day problems, including discrimination, that are faced by those in the plus-size club. There’s no such thing as “bad publicity,” so this will undoubtedly help Nicole’s career, as well as Thore’s.

The question is, though, has Nicole awakened a sleeping giant? Will the ensuing backlash lead to calls for the government to get involved and protect the dignity of the millions fighting the battle of the bulge? Will the corpulent become the newest marginalized group to seek out hate speech protection and claim that their civil rights are being infringed?

If you thought the Gay Pride movement was big, keep an eye on the Fat Power movement, cause it could become gargantuan.

Is Caitlyn Jenner Costume Justified?

Is Caitlyn Jenner Costume Justified?

—August 29, 2015

Another Hash-It-Out! blog about Caitlyn Jenner? Really?

Yeah, sorry, but he/she is in the news again, and he/she definitely stirs up some significant issues for debate. Like this blog referring to Caitlyn as he/she. How dare we not refer to Caitlyn by his/her self-identification.

The LGBT community insists that self-identification should be all that is required to establish one’s gender; however, biologically, Caitlyn remains very much a man. Meanwhile, on the legal spectrum every state has different laws regarding gender change and the legal definition of male or female. California has among the most liberal laws regarding gender change in the nation, but we don’t know whether Caitlyn has actually taken the steps needed to be legally female.

With the biological transition definitely absent and the legal aspect unclear we will continue to refer to Caitlyn as he/she. As for those staunch defenders of self-identification, we ask: if a man takes rabbit hormones, surgically attaches rabbit ears to his head, and insists he be treated like a rabbit, are you really going to treat him like a rabbit?

But, we digress. The latest Caitlyn Jenner news is the “massive outrage” spurred by the introduction of a Caitlyn Jenner costume. According to dozens of different news organizations, Internet social media sites like Twitter and Facebook erupted in outrage and anger as news of the costume spread. While costume retailer Spirit Halloween was the named perpetrator at the heart of the Internet backlash, it should be noted that several Halloween costume makers are offering Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner costumes of different varieties, not to mention of questionable taste.

There are two issues here: First, is the outrage justified? And second, is the outrage truly “massive?”

Let’s address the second question first. We found it quite interesting how dozens of the news articles regarding the controversial costume were so similar to each other. In fact, most of the articles published the same quotes from both leaders of the LGBT community and supposedly random social media tweeters and commentators. A Tweeter identified as “beki,” who Tweeted, “the caitlyn jenner halloween costumes are disgusting. being trans isn’t a ‘costume’ and treating it as such is ignorant & transphobic,” must be among the most quoted people by the media this week, her tweet being so prevalent among the Caitlyn Halloween costume stories.

Given the reported size of the public outrage, we decided to look for it on the Web. Interestingly, Tweets about Caitlyn Jenner Halloween costumes began back in early June. These early tweeters primarily focused on how Caitlyn Jenner would definitely be one of the most popular costume ideas for 2015, with many Tweeters proclaiming their own intention to don such a costume come Halloween, and only a few Tweeters suggesting that it might be offensive. The first photo of the Spirit Halloween Caitlyn costume was posted on July 24, and yet still, not much sign of outrage….

Then on August 21, a Huffington Post blog came out calling the Caitlyn costume the “worst idea we’ve heard all year.” That article spurred a few negative Tweets, which accelerated coming into this week, but by no means does it appear that this was a mass outcry of fury regarding the costume. In fact, the killing of Cecil the Lion (see Hash-It-Out July 28 blog: Iconic Cecil the Lion Slain by Dentist, Moronic Human Killed by Gator) marked more fury on Twitter by hundreds of thousands of Tweets. Yet by August 25, dozens of news organizations had posted similar stories about the alleged mass social media outrage (LGBT PR machine in high gear, perhaps?). We also looked at other social media sites for commentary on the issue, and sure, found plenty of commentary expressing outrage, dismay and other emotions about the costume, but found equal, and in many cases more, commentary decrying the political correctness of those criticizing the costume and of the news media reporting on it.

Also to be noted is that many of the news stories pointed out that a change.org petition had been started on Monday to demand that Spirit Halloween stop producing and selling the costume. As of Saturday morning about 13,500 apparently outraged people had signed the petition. We wouldn’t call 13,500 mass outrage, and also note that this number is smaller than the more than 15,000 people who have signed the change.org petition demanding the Olympic Committee revoke Caitlyn Jenner’s 1976 gold medal.

As for the first question–is the outrage justified? Well, if you are a member of the “easily offended and outraged” club (i.e., the politically correct) the answer is obviously, “yes.” Caitlyn is the club’s newest sacred cow, joining dozens of other groups and individuals who should be treated with unquestioned reverence (as an aside, we’d like to note that we know of another easily “outraged and offended” club that thinks its ok to execute those who dare insult their sacred cows–scary….).

But why should Caitlyn get the sacred cow treatment? He/she is a self-made, attention-seeking, public figure, and thus should be subject to the general public’s scrutiny and resultant commentary, the latter inclusive of caricature and parody, which would include Halloween costumes.

And frankly, we’re finding this year’s “Dentist and Cecil the Lion” costume far more distasteful, but we’ll certainly withhold our outrage because we don’t believe in sacred cows.

–Originally published August 29, 2015 by Hash It Out!

Iconic Lion Slain by Dentist, Moronic Human Killed by Gator

–July 28, 2015

Cecil is dead.

Who? you ask.

Cecil. Cecil the Lion.

OK….

cecilthelion-e1438117510903Cecil the Lion made international headlines this week after being killed illegally in Zimbabwe by an American dentist who allegedly paid about $55,000 for the privilege. Cecil was Zimbabwe’s most famous lion and a star attraction at Hwange National Park. The 13-year-old lion was also part of an ongoing Oxford University research project and was wearing a GPS collar to trace his movements. The hunter and/or his guides reportedly tried, but failed, to destroy the collar, which researchers used to trace Cecil’s last movements, and ultimately discover his headless and skinned body.

The lion was apparently shot by a crossbow after being lured out of the park at night by the guides who dragged a dead animal from their vehicle. The dentist, Walter Palmer, hit Cecil with a crossbow bolt, but the injured lion managed to get away, only to be tracked down 40 hours later and dispatched with a gun shot. Two Zimbabwean guides have reportedly been arrested, while authorities are still searching for a third. No word yet on whether charges will be laid against the Minnesota dentist.

A spokesperson for Palmer, meanwhile, said that his client is “obviously quite upset over everything.” But we’re not sure if that is just in reference to the flooding of his dental office Facebook page with angry comments and threats, and an online petition demanding justice for Cecil. The petition, which went online this morning, had garnered more than 40,000 signatures by mid day.

The dentist is apparently a well known big game hunter who is in the archery record books for slaying an elk with a bow. He was also reportedly arrested by Wisconsin wildlife officials in 2008 for illegal bear hunting. A Flickr photo album by Trophy Hunt America contains shots of Palmer posing with a variety of dead animals, including a white rhinoceros, of which there are only about 20,000 left in the world.

Conservationists in Zimbabwe and around the world are bemoaning the loss of Cecil, noting that Cecil is the 23 or 24th collared lion to be killed in or near Hwange. Conservationists have pointed out that the dentist paid just $50,000 to kill an animal that was worth millions of dollars in tourism revenues. Along with Cecil, the illegal hunt also likely means the death of Cecil’s six young cubs, as the next Alpha male will probably kill them so as to assert his own bloodline within Cecil’s former pride.

Well, with one (plus six for the cubs) strike against the animal kingdom, I suppose we should balance this out with a strike against the human kingdom. Earlier this month in Texas, 28-year-old Tommie Woodward was killed by a large alligator. Woodward was reportedly killed by the  large gator after jumping into a bayou marked with signs stating: “No Swimming–Alligators!”  Not only did Woodward ignore the signs, but a marina employee reportedly told him to “[p]lease do not go swimming, there’s a big alligator out there. Just stay out of the water.”No_Swimming_sign

Woodward’s last words before screaming for help were reportedly, “Fuck the alligators!”

OK, so this doesn’t even nudge the balance beam, but I tried.

–Originally published by Hash It Out!, July 28, 2015.

Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols Fame Becomes Newest Celebrity Sage

Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols Fame Becomes Newest Celebrity Sage

—July 10, 2015

What’s with this emerging trend of turning celebrities into pundits who pontificate on the economy, politics, international affairs and other important issues as if they had been spending their lives working and studying these disciplines, rather than, well, doing whatever it takes to be a celebrity? The latest such example being Johnny Rotten, who shared his worldly knowledge about Obamacare, the Greek debt crisis, English monarchy, and Confederate flag debate in a July 7, CNBC Market Watch interview. This followed a June 15 Fox Business Network interview with Kiss frontman Gene Simmons, who pontificated about the economy, national debt and 2016 Presidential election (please see my June 26 blog–Big Celebrity Headlines With Little Effort!).

For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Johnny Rotten (nee John Lydon) was the lead singer of the English punk rock band the Sex Pistols, considered by many music aficionados as the vanguard of the short-lived first-wave punk rock movement that flourished from 1975 to 1980. The band, which only produced one studio album and lasted just two-and-a-half years, was known for politically incorrect and profanity-laced lyrics, the promotion of anarchy, and for publicly offensive behaviour such as cursing, spitting vomiting, fighting and related antics, especially during live shows.

While panned by most music critics has having limited to no musical talent, the band drew a massive cult following, their album enjoyed robust sales, and the Sex Pistols and Johnny Rotten became known around the world. Since the band’s break up in 1978, Rotten has been a member of the post-punk band Public Image Ltd, written two memoirs and performed with the surviving members of the Sex Pistols on a few reunion tours. Other than that, his only other real claim to celebrity is an appearance on the British reality show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me out of Here!, and bit roles on a wide variety of shows, including Judge Judy.

And now, apparently, Mr. Rotten is a wise sage, with intricate knowledge about the Greek debt crisis, Obamacare and the controversy over the Confederate flag. Just like Mr. Simmons, has apparently become a respected pundit, well versed in both economic and political issues.

Uh-huh….

Now if these gentlemen had been pontificating on these issues in a celebrity magazine, such as People or Hello, we wouldn’t bat an eye. But, CNBC Market Watch? Fox Business?

What, these media giants couldn’t pull in Warren Buffet? Couldn’t find someone who actually is directly involved with these important national issues?

What’s next, A CNN interview with Paris Hilton, in which she weighs in on the collapse of the Chinese stock market, or perhaps proffers advice on how to curb Russian President Vlad Putin’s Ukrainian ambitions.

Maybe Bloomberg can get a Kardashian (shouldn’t be too hard). No doubt that any one of them could provide crucial input about how to resolve the impasse between the West and Iran over its nuclear program.

And we’re sure Eva Longoria can wax poetic on how to subdue the Islamic State while at the same time toppling Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad, all without causing any additional chaos in the region. Who’s up for this interview? New York Times, perhaps? CNN? Anyone?

–Originally published July 10, 2015 in Hash It Out!

Celebrity Round Up–Patriotic or Not?

Celebrity Round Up–Patriotic or Not?

—July 3, 2015

Hoist the flag, don the red, white and blue, and let those fireworks fly, cause the July 4th weekend is upon us. And in the patriotic spirit of our national holiday, we’ve decided to investigate the patriotism of those people who capture the attention of the American public like Old Glory captures the wind.

Yep, let’s randomly examine some celebrities who may have background history that calls their patriotism into question: Here goes:

Donald Trump–No Doubt! Even though he tends to marry foreign and his hair is of questionable origin, he’s gotta be true blue American. Not only is he running for President (the most patriotic position in the land), his platform includes a proposal to build a wall that will help keep America American.

Arnold Schwarzenegger–Without a Doubt! Born in Austria to a former Nazi, The Terminator started dreaming of moving to America at age 10, and fulfilled that dream 10 years later, adopting his dream with enough fervor to allow the weightlifting champion to become a Hollywood star and then Governor of California. He might still have that German accent and perhaps a yen for Guatemala, but there’s little doubt about his love for this country.

Jane Fonda–Debatable! The Academy Award-winning actress’s patriotism has long been called into question due to her active opposition to the Viet Nam War, which included a visit to the enemy’s capital city and earned her the moniker “Hanoi Jane.” To this day, many veterans and most Americans on the right edge of the political spectrum consider her a traitor (at this juncture it needs to be noted that those on the far right generally consider all leftists to be Godless, un-American heathens). Ms. Fonda has publicly apologized for offending veterans, but stands by her opposition to the war. Those on the left would likely posit that Jane truly does love her country, and that her actions have been a case of going against the “my country right or wrong” stance by adopting a position of my country is doing something wrong, so let’s fix it.

Dave Matthews–Yes! Lead guitarist and frontman for the Grammy Award-winning Dave Matthews Band may have been born and partially raised in South Africa, but he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1980 and proudly calls himself “American.” While active in leftist causes (see Jane Fonda above), Matthews is a vocal advocate for the U.S. democratic process.

Justin Bieber–Not! He’s a Canuck! And Justin’s juvenile delinquent antics led to well over 100,000 true-blue Americans signing a petition asking the President to revoke his Green Card and deport him back to the land of ice, moose and beavers.

Pamela Anderson–Probably! Even though she’s another Canuck, the Baywatch babe became a naturalized U.S. Citizen in 2004, and has publicly stated love for her adopted country…though, while also saying that she is proud to be Canadian. We suppose that we should accept her as American, as Baywatch just wouldn’t have been the same if set in Canada. Lifeguards wearing wetsuits and toques? No thanks.

Christian Bale–Probably Not! What could be more patriotic and American than Batman (OK, Superman), but Christian Bale, current star of the Hollywood “Batman” franchise was Welsh Born and British raised. While he lives in Los Angeles, we could find no evidence that the current Batman has ever sought U.S. citizenship.

Michael J. Fox–Dubious! The Back to the Future star has long come across as the all-American boy type, but he’s another Canuck. While he’s a naturalized U.S. citizen in good standing, he reportedly insists upon being referred to as “Canadian-U.S.” and has been quoted as saying “I am a Canadian first.” Hmmm?

Salma Hayek–Unclear! Oscar-nominated actress Salma Hayek was born and raised in Mexico, and while she’s a naturalized U.S. citizen, for a while she reportedly lived in America as an illegal alien. And then there’s her marriage to French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, which could well sway her allegiance toward his homeland.

Kiefer Sutherland–not likely! Who could be more patriotic than Jack Bauer of Fox’s 24? Well, not Emmy Award-winning actor Kiefer Sutherland who plays the character. Born in England to Canadian parents, Kiefer has played many roles that would suggest that he’s a true blue American; however, we could find no evidence that Kiefer has ever sought U.S. citizenship. And while not necessarily a patriotism deal breaker (see Jane Fonda), Kiefer’s grandfather was an influential New Democratic Party (about as far left as it gets) politician in Canada.

Keanu Reeves–Not! Born in Beirut, and holder of Canadian and British citizenship, the Hollywood actor has a Green Card, but we’ve seen no evidence that he has pursued U.S. citizenship. Perhaps he just feels that citizenship is just another component of The Matrix.

What do you think? Have we nailed the level of patriotism for this crop of celebrities? And, what other celebrities need to be more closely examined to ensure that their allegiance is with the red, white and blue?

—Originally published July 3, 2014 in Hash It Out!

White or black, and why should anyone care?

White or black, and why should anyone care?

June 15, 2015–

Spokane, Washington resident Rachel Dolezal joined the in-the-international-spotlight club last week because of her race. Or, perhaps, because of her lack of race.

Ms. Dolezal is head of the Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), but reportedly might be lacking in the color expected from someone holding that position. In fact, her own parents started the media furor by saying their formerly blonde, blue-eyed baby girl had been falsely portraying herself as “black” for years, and provided a birth certificate and photographic evidence as proof.

A long-time Spokane social activist and part-time African studies college instructor, Ms. Dolezal has been evasive when questioned about her race since the emerging story broke. “That question is not as easy as it seems,” she told the Spokesman-Review newspaper in one of her last known statements to the press on Thursday. “There are a lot of complexities…and I don’t know that everyone would understand that.” She closed the brief interview by noting that “We’re all from the African continent….”

The NAACP on Friday issued a statement in support of Ms. Dolezal, stating that “one’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership. In every corner of this country, the NAACP remains committed to securing political, educational and economic justice for all people.” Ms. Dolezal had stated that she would release a statement regarding her race (or lack thereof) tonight during the local chapter’s regularly scheduled monthly membership meeting, but that meeting has been cancelled upon her request.

Ms. Dolezal is certainly not the first person to disguise her race. Perhaps one of the more famous instances of white-to-black race impersonation in relative modern times is that of John Howard Griffin. Griffin artificially changed his skin colour to black with a combination of drugs and extensive ultraviolet light exposure and travelled the racially segregated southern states for six weeks as a black man. His experiences were chronicled in the international bestselling book–Black Like Me–and helped highlight the day-to-day struggles of being black in the white-dominated southern society of the late 1950s.

While not a color change, a young Jewish boy named Solomon Perel successfully masqueraded as a German of Aryan descent during World War II, after he was captured by German troops during their initial invasion of the Soviet Union. He was so successful that he was incorporated into the army unit that captured him as an interpreter, played a role in the capture of Josef Stalin’s son, and was then sent back to Germany to attend an elite Hitler Youth school. As a circumcised Jew, Perel’s identity was in constant danger of being exposed, but he somehow managed to avoid detection until the end of the war (his story is told in the the book, I was Hitler Youth Solomon, which was adapted into the 1990 Academy Award-nominated film, Europa Europa).

These two impersonators had good reasons behind their race deception. But what of Ms. Dolezal? Should, as is expected, her race prove to be white not black, then why? What was her motivation? And, should we care?

If she was gaming the system for financial gain, then yes, we should care. Ms. Dolezal did receive a full scholarship to the traditionally black Howard University; however, race was evidently not a criteria for the scholarship. Spokane city officials are reportedly investigating whether she lied about her ethnicity when she applied to be on the municipal police board. And the Spokane Police Department has suspended its investigation into racial harassment hate mail she received, reportedly because evidence has surfaced that the alleged mail never passed through the U.S. Postal Service.

So, there doesn’t yet appear to be any evidence that she was outright gaming the system for financial gain, but perhaps playing the system for some kind of personal reason….

Maybe Ms. Dolezal just wants to be black. If that’s the case, should we care?

The Gods Must be Angry With Us…Again!

The Gods Must be Angry With Us…Again!

—June 11, 2015

Why must the Gods always be so angry with us?

Case in point, Gods in Malaysia were apparently angered by a group of western tourists who stripped naked for a photo session on top of Mount Kinabalu late last month. The tourists’ antics evidently angered the mountain’s sacred ancestral spirits, who in response, cast down an earthquake on the area that killed 16 people (OK, so while not technically “Gods,” any spirit that can invoke a God-like cataclysm is pretty much a God in our book).

Four of the tourists have been arrested by Malaysian authorities, who are reportedly on the hunt for six others (no word yet on whether international arrest warrants have been issued). Pending charges center on public indecency, though local citizens and politicians have been calling for charges that could lead to much more severe penalties, with some of the locals requesting the tourists’ heads.

As is generally the case with all-powerful Gods, the mountain’s sacred spirits remain mute on the issue, and are letting theirAngryGod_answer_1_xlarge actions speak for themselves.

And what of Allah (“In sa Allah!”)?

He seems to have kept his anger in relative check for five centuries, but then started getting all pissed off about 50 years ago, sparked in large part by those Jewish folks who had the audacity to call his sacred land theirs. That ire soon expanded to include those who had the nerve support the Jews, and more recently to his own people, who tick him off for a broad range of reasons–Idolatry, blasphemy, apostasy, adultery, listening to western music, looking at women, shaving, flying kites, to name a few. Most recently, Allah has been casting his holy anger on those foolhardy artists who dare attempt to create his holy likeness.

Allah’s not like most Gods, though, as he does not utilize his power over the elements to inveigh his wrath. Instead he invokes his holy ire through the righteous actions of his most devoted followers. And why not? They can certainly be just as effective as a natural disaster, and they’re becoming so media savvy that the depth of Allah’s anger can truly be conveyed to the masses in color and in almost-real-time.

Jesus (“Praise the Lord!”), while relatively quiet these past few centuries, certainly had his moments.

He seems to be an equal-opportunity wrath dispenser, utilizing both the natural elements and his flock to carry out his righteous anger. Everything from the great plague to any number of earthquakes, tempests, volcanoes and other natural disasters have been attributed to his rage, though in recent centuries less and less so. His people have also been quite effective at holy wrath dispensary. Just ask the ancestors of Muslims, North and South American Indians, Africans and any number of the world’s people who have been slaughtered by Christians in the name of Christ.

How about Jeusus’ Dad (also considered to be the young version of the Hebrew God, Yehova, God of Israel, though not father of Christ)–Wrathful?

You betcha! Can you say “Great Flood” or “Sodom” and “Gomorrah?” Heck, the Old Testament is full of natural cataclysms called down upon us for one reason or another.

Roman Gods? Greek Gods? Egyptian Gods?

Sadists!

And they didn’t even have to be angry…. Perhaps they just liked to practice.

Hellfire and brimstone, what Gods don’t get angry with us?

OK so Buddah tends to be fairly benign, and some of the Hindu Gods don’t seem to have anger issues.

But we’d wager that they all have their moments, too.

Bottom line is that we’d love to see what the Gods might do should they ever be happy with us. But we’re not going to hold our breath….

–Originally published by Hash It Out! on June 11, 2015

Keeping Up with the Kardashian’s New Step-Mom

Keeping Up with the Kardashian’s New Step-Mom

—June 7, 2015

The former Bruce Jenner, a 1976 Olympic decathlon gold medal winner and television personality best known for his “father” role in “Keeping Up with the Kardashians, is now probably the most famous transgendered person in the world, thanks to her debut this month as Vanity Fair magazine’s cover story. The story of Caitlyn, as Bruce is now to be known, has pushed the issue of transgendered people into the national spotlight, and, well, raises a whole lot of questions.

Let’s start with Bruce…. Uh, we mean, Caitlyn.

Jenner claims that she suffered from gender identity disorder since childhood, and that “God gave me the soul of a female.” Yet the disorder did nothing to hinder his former complete success at being a man’s man: high school football star, world-record breaking Olympic athlete, race car driver, married to three different hot babes, father of six kids, successful businessman, Hollywood actor….

It begs the question, did he feel like a woman when he scored a touchdown? Did he feel like a woman when he smoked the competition on the track? Did he feel like a women every time he was trying to conceive any of his six kids?

While those questions remain unanswered, Jenner now says “for all intents and purposes, I’m a woman,” and news media is reporting that Jenner is post-transition. And yet, Caitlyn is still walking around with the male bits dangling between her legs. That’s right, Jenner has not undergone sex reassignment surgery. So, how can someone with a penis and testicles be considered a woman?

Can he…. Uh, she?

This is a question that even the transgendered community can’t seem to agree on, with some in the community arguing that successful sex reassignment surgery should be required for consideration as a true post-transitional man or women. Others, Jenner apparently included, feel that it should be based more upon a state of mind.

The question of what constitute’s one’s gender remains a grey area in the U.S. legal system, as the court’s have not really had to address too many cases…yet. The state of Maine’s supreme court did address the issue last year in a decision affirming the right of a transgender male-to-female to use the ladies room of his/her high school.

So which locker room is Jenner going to use, and how is that going to play out? Is Jenner going to be comfortable in either one? As a woman, the men’s room should conceivably make her feel uncomfortable, but the ladies room could be equally awkward for her due to her remaining manhood. And what of those sharing that same locker room space? How would you feel sharing shower space with Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner?

Interestingly, Jenner says he has no interest in men and that he is currently asexual. But what if his–sorry, her–sex drive returns? We suppose Jenner will be chasing the ladies as a lesbian. But how is his lesbian paramour going to feel about her lover having a penis?

And what of that penis? Should Jenner decide to go further into his quest for womanhood does sexual reassignment surgery really work. Does penile inversion–the most common technique for  transgendered male-to-female–create a true approximation of a working vagina?

See–a whole lot of questions, with each question begetting more questions. I think we’d better stop with that last one….

—Originally published June 7, 2015 by Hash It Out!