Anyone who spends a lot of time on boats likely spends a fair amount of time on docks. Relatively speaking, that is, as the dock is usually just a transit point for getting from land to boat. But along with being an important junction point between land and boat, docks offer plenty of opportunities for recreation on their own merit, with fishing and swimming quickly coming to mind. Indeed, a dock’s utility can go well beyond its purported uses and some docks can also develop distinct characteristics, such as romantic, haunting, or full of life, to name a few.
My favorite dock of all time based on inherent recreational components and other distinct characteristics was the U.S. Coast Guard pier at Cape Lookout, North Carolina. It is also, by far, the largest dock I have ever had the pleasure of becoming intimately familiar with, thanks in large part to the Coast Guard’s abandonment of its facilities on that island in 1982.
The dock was located in front of a house that my family shared with three others as as vacation and weekend getaway spot. My father had spent significant time at that house during his childhood and teen years and, when given the opportunity to buy a share in the 1970s, jumped in with cash and several years of hard work to bring it back from the brink of dilapidation. It was his slice of heaven on earth, a slice I was blessed to enjoy, too.
The dock served as a convenient amenity, but our usage of it was dependent upon the good nature of the Coast Guard station’s captain, who generally changed each year. “By the book” captains generally prohibited our use of the dock, which meant multiple long slogs through the salt marsh to get from our boat to the house with our attendant coolers, luggage and assorted gear. This also meant that I could not use the dock as my personal playground and swimming/fishing platform.
The few captains with a more-laid-back attitude would grant us permission to unload at the dock, which also gave me leeway to fish and swim from it. And in the latter years of the Coast Guard’s tenure there, my sisters had reached an age at which the Coast Guard sailors would “look the other way” when by-the-book captains were shoreside, and were more than happy to help us bring our gear to the house.
That annual worry about whether or not we would be able to use the dock came to an end in 1982, and the dock, while still property of the U.S. government, started to feel like ours. And we used it like it was ours. No more slogging through the salt marsh, and I was able to fish and swim from it with impunity. For a while, anyhow….
The island had fallen under U.S. Park Service Control, and it seemed to take them a few years to get the place up and running as a park. They also didn’t utilize the Coast Guard pier, as it was across the bight from where they had set up their facilities. Nevertheless, starting in about 1989 we started to get push back from the park superintendent. U.S. Government issue “No Trespassing” signs went up on the dock and Park Service personnel started kicking us off the dock and warning us that we were breaking the law. As with Coast Guard captains, the park superintendents generally changed year by year, and that year’s was the only one that proved to be of the “strictly-by-the-book” variety. After she was shipped off to Alaska, the signs stayed up, but succeeding superintendents looked the other way and park rangers generally ignored our use of the dock.
And use it we did. It was our go-to for the basics of docking, unloading gear, swimming, and fishing. In fact, even though I have not cast a line from that dock since 2007, I have undoubtedly caught more fish from that dock than from all of my other fishing forays combined. Spot, pinfish, hogfish, croakers, bluefish, skate and dogfish by the thousands; flounder, sea bass, pompano, mackerel, sheepshead, puffer, trout, sharks and snapper by the hundreds; and a wide variety of other fish–known and unknown–by the dozens. It was a fishing paradise. If nothing was biting on the surf, and no hits while trolling, I could always count on catching something off that dock. And more often than not, something substantial. My dad’s biggest flounder and King Mackerel ever were both caught off that dock, and all of my 20-plus pound bluefish were caught there. It’s the only place I have ever caught a hammerhead shark, and a place where I’ve caught plenty of “the one that got away.” And while some of those “got aways” were undoubtedly sharks, others were definitely of the game fish variety, as evidenced by great leaps from the water, or up-close views before a last lunge and breaking of the line.
That dock also served as a perfect walkway for morning and evening strolls, as well as a perfect spot for sundown cocktail hour. While on that dock I have experienced countless magical moments brought forth by various elements—big and small—of nature putting on shows. And that dock as been the site of great bonding with friends, romance, and, sadly, even mourning.
The view is magical, too, with all of Cape Lookout’s bight before you, along with the black and white diamonds of the state’s most beautiful lighthouse. Along with the house, the dock was truly a magical place and my most favorite spot in the world. But it’s all gone now.
The Park Service took possession of the house in 2007 and, with no maintenance over the years, was finally claimed by a storm in 2020. Likewise neglected by the government, the old Coast Guard dock is being claimed by the sea and will soon consist of nothing but some old wooden pilings . . . and some wonderful memories.
Even though George Thorogood is Yankee-born, we’d likely accept him as an honorary Southerner due to two songs that speak to our Southern culture. When George growls out “one bourbon, one Scotch, one beer,” or croons about staying home with “just me and my pal Johnny Walker and his brothers Black and Red,” he almost sounds Southern. He’s also waxing poetic about the alcoholic beverages most closely aligned with our Southern heritage. In particular, whiskey and, more specifically, bourbon. Beer is undoubtedly beloved, but bourbon (and its Tennessee offshoot) is to the South what coffee (and cocaine) is to Columbia. As for Scotch, it’s essentially the direct ascendant of bourbon and thus holds a distinguished, yet amorphous, position within the South’s drinking heritage annals. To put this another way, them that don’t favor bourbon tend to savor Scotch.
No matter what your whiskey of choice—bourbon, Scotch, Irish, Canadian, Tennessee—they all share something in common. That is, the bulk of their existence entails curing in a wooden barrel to help each attain the unique characteristics and flavors that will make it your whiskey of choice.
If your choice is Jim Beam Original, it spent four years in a new charred-oak barrel prior to bottling. If your choice is a bit more highfalutin, with perhaps a taste for Pappy Van Winkle (no relation to “Rip”), then your liquid gold spent 15, 20, or 23 years in a barrel before you shelled out big bucks for that fifth of a gallon bottle. If you’re into fine Scotch and perhaps favor Lagavulin, the distillery offers varieties that have been barrel-aged anywhere from eight to 37 years.
Bottom line is that you probably give little thought to the long life your favorite whiskey enjoyed before you and your buddies settle into a bottle during poker night or some other good-times-with-good-friends event. Of course, we here at the Southern Drinking Club like to educate and entertain our fans, so please read on to learn more about how vital barreling is to your favorite whiskey. Heck, you might never look at the humble barrel the same way again.
A Little Historical Perspective
Even absent barreling, whiskey proved to be a hit with consumers back when its precursor was first distilled by European Christian churches sometime in the Dark-Age years of 500-1000 AD. While initially distilled as, ahem, “medicine,” its intoxicating popularity had spurred huge demand throughout Europe by the onset of the Renaissance. In fact, the name “whiskey” evolved from the Celtic “usquebaugh” and Gaelic “usige beatha,” which were translations of the Latin “aqua vitae,” which literally means “water of life.” Whiskey’s first appearance in written history comes to us from the 1405 “Irish Annals of Clonmacnoise,” which included reference to a clan head dying from excessive consumption of aqua vitae while celebrating Christmas—any sense of irony apparently lost in the translation.
While distillation methods on the European continent utilized fermented grapes (AKA “wine”), Scottish and Irish monasteries lacked vineyards and so turned to the distillation of fermenting grain mash. Good thing, because they started producing and perfecting the spirits that we refer to as whiskey today. Whiskey production in Scotland and Ireland got a further boost when King Henry VIII dissolved the kingdom’s monasteries in the late 1530s, which moved whiskey distillation into the public sphere. This created more competition, which spurred efforts by distillers to improve its taste and, at some point, a distiller discovered that letting the potion age in a wooden cask dramatically did just that.
Barrel Aging of Whiskey as a Standard
Thus, barrel aging became the final touch in giving every whiskey its distinct flavor, with curing time dictating the final product’s chemical composition and taste. During the aging process, the whiskey extracts flavors and coloration from the wood. The flavoring is also influenced by other organic chemical reactions relating to evaporation and oxidation. For an added taste sensation, some distillers age their whiskey in barrels that had originally been used to age other spirits, such as sherry, brandy, or wine.
Barrel aging is such an essential component of whiskey making that governments have long regulated it. According to their respective country production laws, Scotch, Irish, and Canadian (Rye) whiskies must be aged in barrels for a minimum of three years. U.S. laws mandate that bourbon must be aged in “new, charred oak barrels,” though there is no mandated duration. That said, labeling requirements and foreign laws influence the barrel-aging of bourbon. “Straight” bourbon must age for a minimum of two years and display the age if under four years. Additionally, bourbon that ages less than three years cannot be legally referred to or labeled as “whiskey” in Europe. Corn whiskey, a bourbon offshoot typically modeled on moonshine concoctions, is the only whiskey that is often sold without any barrel aging at all.
Know that the aging process ends with bottling and, unlike with many wines, the whiskey’s taste will not improve or mature over the ensuing years and decades. In short, that 12-year-old bourbon or Scotch will always be a 12-year-old whiskey no matter how many years or decades you store the bottle.
Barrel Making’s Long History
Also known as cooperage, barrel making has been an important business since at least ancient Egyptian times, with a tomb wall painting dating to 2600 BC showing a wooden barrel-like tub being used to measure wheat. Another ancient Egyptian tomb painting shows a similar barrel-like container used to hold grapes.
Roman historian Pliny the Elder provided some of the first written descriptions of barrel making by reporting that European cooperage originated in Alpine Gaul. His descriptions identified three different kinds of Gallic cooperage, and subsequent historians have determined that the art was heartily adopted by the Romans, as well as most other civilizations that followed. These early wooden barrels were constructed in similar fashion to today’s wooden barrels, with perhaps the most significant difference being that the barrel staves were girded with wooden hoops and/or rope rather than metal hoops. Metal hoop girders, which are much more robust and take up less space, came into widespread use starting in the 1800s.
As a storage container, barrels have been historically used to hold and transport a wide variety of goods, from food and beverage items to gunpowder to nails and other fittings. They were even used to transport bodies, with British Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson being among the most famous people to be so transported—preserved in a barrel of brandy for shipment home after falling during the Battle of Trafalgar. While for more ignoble purposes today, similar storage and transport are practiced by Mexican drug cartels, though they tend to use plastic or steel barrels for such use.
Beverage Maturing Naturally Came of Age
Given a wooden barrel’s utility in transporting and storing liquids, it was only a matter of time before people discovered that such storage could affect the taste of beverages. Not only does the wood impart compounds such as tannins and vanillin into beverages, but it also stimulates chemical reactions that further influence flavor. Winemakers discovered that some grapes could be fermented in barrels and that different flavors could be created depending upon the type of wooden barrels used for storage and the duration of storage periods.
Naturally, other spirit makers experimented with different wood types and storage times, which turned barrel aging of spirits into an art of sorts. Today, barrel aging is a crucial component in the production of:
Some beer (stouts, in particular)
Without this modern-day barrel aging, cooperage as we know it would likely no longer exist, and wooden barrels would be a relic from the past.
Barrel Making Numbers
Due to international production and a lack of any centralized cooperage information portal, figuring out how many whiskey barrels are produced every year is a tall order. But we do know that the state of Kentucky, which produces more than 90 percent of the world’s bourbon, fills just over two million barrels per year and has about nine million filled barrels currently in storage for aging.
With between 52 and 53 gallons per barrel, that comes out to a production rate of about 106 million gallons of Kentucky bourbon per year and almost a half-billion gallons currently in the maturation stage. Somehow, that just doesn’t seem like it would be enough to meet worldwide, let alone Southern, demand. Then again it does add up to about 530 million fifth bottles per year, of which we only need a few dozen per year to sate our local collective tastes.
After bottling, many of these used Kentucky bourbon barrels will be shipped worldwide for future barrel aging of other spirits such as Scotch. However, this used-barrel market does not satisfy the need for additional barrel-making worldwide due to volumes and the need for barrel wood type variations to produce different flavors. Thus, there are likely more than 100 other barrel-making operations worldwide producing millions of additional barrels to ensure that all our favorite beverages are perfectly aged.
For example, there are more than 40 cooperages in California that specifically handle that state’s wine production, and likely similar numbers in other major wine-making regions around the world. There are at least a dozen cooperages in Scotland and Ireland, with four major Scotch distilleries having their own on-site barrel-making operations. And India, which is one of the world leaders in whiskey production (who knew?), must have a robust cooperage industry. That said, India reportedly lacks any significant production regulations, and some of what passes for whiskey in that country might not pass the smell test in the rest of the world. Thus, a portion of their non-export “whiskey” may not even undergo aging—Punjabi rotgut, anyone?
How Barrels are Made
Whether for whiskey, wine, or some other beverage, barrel making entails the same process and delivers similar barrels, though sometimes differentiated by size. The 53-gallon charred white oak barrel is standard for bourbon producers, a size that has become the standard with other whiskey producers worldwide. That said, whiskey barrels can be found in sizes ranging from 50 to 60 gallons and, as previously noted, some whiskies are aged in barrels once used for other spirits or wine. Oak is typically the wood of choice, though its treatment with regard to drying, cutting, sanding, and charring can differ in relation to specific flavorings sought. This is most noticeable when comparing a wine barrel with a whiskey barrel, as wine barrels are typically given a much smoother finish inside and out.
Barrels are made out of staves, hoops, and heads (each end of the barrel). After appropriate treatment, short planks of oak are dowelled together into squares, which are then cut into perfect circles with rounded edges. Longer planks are cut and planed to create a trapezoid cross-section to account for the inside barrel circumference being smaller than the outside. The staves are also cut with a convex curve in the middle section to account for the barrel’s expanding midsection circumference. Between 31 to 33 staves are placed into a temporary steel ring that holds them in place. The managing cooper makes sure that staves are evenly distributed and then applies steam to the wood to make it more pliable, while a machine bends the staves at the other end to create its unique shape. After further treatment, such as charring, is conducted, the nascent barrel is allowed to cool before the heads are inserted into the ends and the temporary rings are replaced by the steel hoops, which are then riveted into place. After a bunghole is drilled, the barrel is tested for leaks and, upon passing inspection, ready to begin working its magic on whiskey curing.
How’d You Like to Be in a Barrel?
Climbing into one of today’s standard-size whiskey barrels would prove quite uncomfortable, if not impossible for some of us. A hundred years or so ago, though, when larger-size whiskey barrels were more common, a few folks decided that taking a ride downriver in a barrel might be fun. And not just any river, but the Niagara River, which culminates with its plunge down Niagara Falls into Lake Ontario.
Retired school teacher Annie Edson Taylor took the first-known barrel-ride down Niagara falls in 1901, though apparently more in a bid for retirement money than it was for the joy ride. Lord knows, you’d think a 63-year-old schoolteacher could find a more innovative way to make money, but she was a Yankee (New Yorker, no less) and, as such, probably a touch light in receipt of hereditary common-sense genes. To give her credit, stuffed in that barrel with an improvised mattress and her lucky, heart-shaped pillow, she survived the plunge with just a gash on the head. As a money-making scheme, though, the stunt was a flop as her memoir failed to spur interest from publishers, and the little money she earned from a speaking tour was used to hire private detectives to chase down her wayward manager who had absconded with her famous barrel.
Nineteen years later, the second person to make the attempt in a wooden barrel became the first Niagara thrill seeker to die. Rather than mattress material and a lucky pillow, Englishman Charles Stephens brought along an anvil to provide ballast. Attached to his leg, the anvil burst through the bottom of the barrel during the plunge and took poor Charles with him, leaving only an arm left in the remains of the barrel’s safety harness.
We’ll close by saying that this just serves up more proof that a barrel is best used for whiskey and other libations. The thought of one containing the equivalent of 265 fifths of Maker’s Mark is far more appealing than considering what a human body—dead or alive—might look like in one.
Originally Published by The Southern Drinking Club.
Christmas has far more traditional elements to keep track of than any other holiday. Think about it, you’ve got your Christmas tree, wreath, ornaments, lights, carols, stockings, gifts, advent calendar, charitable giving, candy canes, gingerbread houses and people, and a dozen or so other traditional food items. And let’s not forget Santa Claus, flying reindeer, and some dwarves—wait, we mean elves.
No doubt we’ve neglected a Christmas traditional element or two, but among the strangest—come on, flying reindeer?—of Christmas traditions must be the hanging of a parasitic weed, under which anyone inadvertently or purposely standing is susceptible to sexual advances from others in the room. And by susceptible, tradition has long held that a woman under the mistletoe is supposed to allow a man to kiss her, with noncompliance leading to potential bad luck, lack of Christmas presents, a life of spinsterhood, future infertility, or some other woe depending upon the country or region.
Frankly, we’re a bit surprised that the “Me Too” movement hasn’t jumped all over this one, with calls to ban its sale or maybe get it regulated as a Schedule 1 date rape drug.
So how did this strange tradition come about? Well, for some reason several ancient cultures, including Greeks, Celts, Druids, and Vikings, associated mistletoe with fertility and used it in fertility related rituals. While historians aren’t exactly sure how these varied folks actually utilized the plant, when the English incorporated it into their Christmas celebrations in the 1700s they couldn’t exactly promote it as “great for fucking” or some such, given the propriety of the times. Thus, it’s association with kissing, which, as everyone certainly knew back then, often leads to fucking.
Anyhow, the hanging of mistletoe during Christmas has endured, and kissing a girl/woman under the mistletoe is almost a rite of passage of sorts. And for those lucky ones among us, that mistletoe-inspired kiss has led to some passionate lovemaking with one’s wife or girlfriend, or, for singletons, perhaps a memorable, all-night fuck-a-thon with a co-worker you hooked up with—Barb from accounting?—at the office Christmas party thanks to a little bit of mistletoe initiation.
But how did this weed become such an enduring Christmas tradition and a harbinger of what can become tidings of great joy? And what is its connection to fertility?
Perhaps it has something to do with the parasitic nature of the plant. As a parasite, mistletoe latches on to trees and shrubs and then leaches out whatever nutrition it needs from the host plant. Some mistletoe species even go so far as to letting the host plant take care of their photosynthesis needs.
With this in mind, one could posit that the tradition may have evolved to let men act like mistletoe to their host plant women….
But don’t share this bit of intel with the Me Too Movement. Little doubt that plenty of letches have taken advantage of mistletoe to steal a kiss and try for more, but we would suggest that mistletoe has inspired far more sweet kisses, passionate lovemaking, awesome fucking, and overall joy than it has sexual assault. And with that, we wish you a Merry Christmas and tidings of getting lucky under the mistletoe!
—Similar version originally published December 2019 by Sleazy Greetings.
Do you have world conqueror genes coursing through your blood? Let’s consider the possibility:
Alexander the Great?—While his only legitimate child died at age 13, it is possible that he sired some illegitimate children during his extensive travels.
Julius Caesar?—Same, with no known legitimate children, but perhaps some seed spreading while on any number of expeditions.
Napoleon Bonaparte—while his one legitimate child—Napoleon II—died childless (Napoleon III being a cousin), Bonaparte did have at least two acknowledged illegitimate sons, both of whom have a few living descendants. Thus, there is a slight chance that you could be a direct descendant from one of these Bonaparte trysts.
Look East for Your Possible World Conquering Ancestor?
That all said, Napoleon’s blood line, as well as that of just about all other historically significant figures, has got nothing on Genghis Kahn. In fact, about one out of every 200 men alive today are descended from the Great Khan—that is, about 19.5 million men around the world (though most live in Mongolia and surrounding countries).
With six Mongolian wives and more than 500 concubines, the Mongol terror was a baby making machine. Researchers have identified a Y-chromosome sequence believed to be from the Great Khan that is present in 8% of men in 16 population groups spanning Asia. If you’re not from Asia, there’s still hope, though, as the sequence is found in about 0.5% of men in the rest of the word. And your odds of having that world-conquering blood may be enhanced should you have red hair and green eyes, as a Persian chronicler described Super G with those distinctive characteristics, which were present among the ethnically diverse Mongols of that time.
What Was Your Potential Ancestor Like?
Born around 1162, young G had a rough childhood that included the murder of his father, his family’s exile from his tribe, and a stint as a slave for a rival tribe. But by his early 20s, he had established himself as a strong warrior and leader, and by 1206 had confederated the Mongol steppe tribes under his leadership. He quickly set about meeting the neighbors, and, up until his death in 1227 introduced himself to people from as far east as Korea to as far west as Kiev Russia (his son, Kublai, would subsequently say hello to Europeans proper).
Not that anyone in his path wanted to say hello to the Great Khan and his horde, as historians believe his world tour may have been responsible for the deaths of up to 40 million people, or more than 10 percent of the world’s population at the time (guess he needed to make room for his offspring). But Super G wasn’t all badness. Those who did not resist and gave freely of their possessions generally kept their lives. An early proponent of religious tolerance, he passed religious freedom laws and tax exemptions for places of worship. He brought order, stability, and free trade to the silk road, and developed an extensive postal system, an early form of the Pony Express.
Of course, any interest you might have in being a Genghis Kahn descendent is likely stoked more by his world conquering creds than that of perhaps being the world’s first Postmaster General.
Along with celebrating life’s best moments with drinks and friends, we here at the Southern Drinking Club thoroughly enjoy learning about history, especially when it focuses on the South and/or drinking. When one considers the history of drinking in the U.S., however, nothing captures the public’s imagination more than America’s failed 1920-1933 effort to ban it—that is, Prohibition.
While Prohibition represents a broad-based story, with components touching upon just about every aspect of American life at that time, the first thoughts that come to most people’s minds when the word is mentioned today are Chicago gangsters, bootleggers, rumrunners, and speakeasies. In short, Prohibition tends to be billed primarily as a northern history, with scant participation from, or impact on, the South. Part of this is undoubtedly due to the fact that much of the South was already “dry” when Prohibition was enacted, though it’s also likely due in some part to Yankee propensity to co-opt history.
And sure, Yankee big-city gangsters of that time, along with border-crossing bootleggers and rumrunners, make for exciting history, but the South’s Prohibition history was equally exciting, and perhaps more relevant in its impact on America’s overall historical evolution. Not only did many big Southern cities have their own bootlegging gangsters—plenty of gangster-style shootouts and the like in New Orleans, Houston, Mobile, Tampa, and Tallahassee during Prohibition—but Southern moonshiners and bootleggers had been battling state and local government agents for years prior to the enactment of national Prohibition.
We Southerners just don’t like being told what to do, and long resorted to moonshining in the face of local, state, and then national efforts to stop us from enjoying a drink. And while rumrunning is historically associated with running it down from Canada, rumrunning from the Caribbean into Southern ports had been turning Southern entrepreneurs into millionaires for decades before that form of smuggling was needed up north.
In short, while more and more cities, towns, counties and states in the South went dry in the decades before Prohibition, that level of aridness was dry in name only. The only thing national Prohibition did was enhance the Southern moonshine business and number of Southern entrepreneurs engaged in it. Oh, and it also brought about the rise of the great Southern sport of stock car racing,which is now watched by millions around the world under the banner of NASCAR.
With national Prohibition leading to such an increase in business, Southern moonshiners had to spend more and more time on the road getting their fine product to market. And while they had long had to contend with local and state efforts to stop them, this only intensified with the addition of the Feds. Southern moonshiners got a big edge in the cat and mouse game with Ford Motor Company’s introduction of the V-8 engine. which provided moonshiners with the “perfect moonshine deliver vehicle.” As noted by Neal Thompson, author of “Driving with the Devil: Moonshine, Detroit Wheels, and the Birth of NASCAR, a V-8-mounted Ford “was fast enough to stay one step ahead of the law, rugged enough for the mountain roads, and had a big enough trunk and back seat to squeeze in the moonshine.”
That Ford V-8 may have been an innovative Yankee invention, but Southern boys love to tinker and moonshiners across the South put their ingenuity into V-8 modifications that would give them even more speed to elude Johnny Law during deliveries. These deliveries undoubtedly became easier with the end of national prohibition in 1933, though they were still needed as many state and local governments opted to remain arid with regard to booze.
Southerners also liked to compete, and at some point in the mid-1930s moonshiners started racing their delivery vehicles against each other at local fairgrounds and improvised tracks. These early stock car races drew in the crowds, which led local entrepreneurs to start planning races with paid attendance and cash purses for the winners. By 1938, stock car racing was pretty much established across the South, with numerous dedicated racing tracks that drew in crowds by the thousands.
Not only had many of these pre-NASCAR drivers trained by running moonshine, but “a large percentage of the early mechanics, car owners, promoters, and track owners had deep ties to the illegal alcohol business,” say Daniel S. Pierce, in his book, “Real NASCAR: White Lightening, Red Clay and Big Bill France.” In fact, Raymond Parks, the first person to establish a professional stock car racing team, had made a fortune in running moonshine in Georgia andhis investment in a professional team was likely used in part to launder some of his ill-gotten gains. His racing team drivers were some of the top moonshine runners in North Georgia, and his primary mechanic was known as “the bootleggers’ mechanic.”
The intersection of moonshine running and stock car racing is perhaps best evidenced by a stock car race held at Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway in September 1945, when police intervened to ban five drivers from racing due to their prior moonshine running convictions. The 30,000 fans did not take kindly to this police action, and in the face of what was about to be an ugly riot, the police relented and a top moonshine runner won the race.
Bill France, the founder of what was to become NASCAR in 1947, did not have a background in moonshining, though he was an avid recruiter of moonshine runners during his initial efforts to standardize stock car racing. In fact, many of the teams involved in the first official NASCAR races in the late 1940s had deep ties to moonshining. According to the aforementioned Neal Thompson, moonshine money was instrumental in sustaining NASCAR through its early years.
In the early 1950s, though, France made a concerted effort to bury NASCAR’s moonshine connections as part of an ultimately successful effort to make NASCAR more family friendly. Any connection between NASCAR and booze was pretty much then lost until 1972, when Canadian-based Carling Brewery sponsored a rookie driver with its Black Label brand. And, since then, NASCAR’s association with alcohol has primarily revolved around beer, but now you know that NASCAR was initially fueled by moonshine and driven by Prohibition.
In honor of the South’s Prohibition-related heritage that led to the rise of NASCAR, we suppose we should offer a NASCAR-themed cocktail recipe . . . .
Easy! Grab a beer and bottom’s up. OK, but for those of you with more refined tastes, we offer the following:
The Green Flag
Fill a tall glass with ice and add:
2 Oz premium vodka
1/4th Oz melon liqueur (or any green-tinted liqueur, really)
1 Oz white cranberry juice
1 Oz Sprite
1//2 Oz lime juice
Garnish with lime and enjoy!
The Red Flag
Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add:
1 Oz premium vodka
1 Oz white rum
1/2 Oz Red Bull
1/2 cup of cranberry juice
Mix for 30 seconds, pour into a chilled Martini glass, and savor!
—Originally published in March by the Southern Drinking Club
—March 1, 2018
Left-wing pundit and CNN commentator Van Jones is being pilloried by the Liberal social media outrage mob for stating some inconvenient truths during a panel session at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). The reaction to Van Jones’ Feb. 28th commentary lays bare the utter intolerance by many on the Left for giving Conservatives credit for doing anything good or for trying to work in a bipartisan manner to make meaningful changes.
Van Jones’ invitation to CPAC was inspired by his role in working on behalf of Democrats to push the White House’s support of the First Step Act, which passed Congress and was signed by the President in December. Jones reportedly worked closely with White House advisor Jared Kushner to successfully rally all-around support for the legislation, which the New York Times called the “most significant changes to the criminal justice system in a generation.” In essence, the bill is designed to unwind “tough-on-crime” federal policies that were initiated in large part by the Clinton Administration as part of its “War on Drugs,” which led to what is believed to be a disproportionate incarceration of Black Americans over White Americans. The legislation will lead to the early release of thousands of federal prisoners and ensure that future sentencing is fairer and geared towards rehabilitation rather than punishment. It is also designed to significantly improve prison conditions and the lives of prisoners.
Whatever the merits of the legislation and Jones’s role in getting it passed, his mere attendance at the annual conservative conference was enough to stir up Left-wing social media outrage before he had even spoken, with people on Twitter and other social media calling him a “sellout,” “traitor,” “Uncle Tom,” and other related epithets. But the social media outrage erupted in force and great numbers after Jones gave Conservatives credit for leading the nation’s push for criminal justice reform, citing both recent federal legislation and reform efforts by at least 19 Republican-led states.
In praising the recent bipartisan passage of the “First Step Act,” the most comprehensive criminal justice reform legislation in decades, Jones said, “the conservative movement in this country, unfortunately, from my point of view, is now the leader on this issue of reform,” adding that Conservatives are “stealing my issue.” Jones said that on the state level, Republican governors are being “tough on the dollar, tough on crime, and shrinking prison populations.” He also said that Conservatives need to “take some dadgum credit for being smart—take some dadgum credit for getting it right.” Jones also lent his support for more bipartisanship efforts in Congress by stating, “I’ve never seen a bird fly with only a left wing—we need each other.”
Spurred on in part by Leftist media—such as Vox’s Aaron Rupar—live-tweeting the event, social media commentary immediately started pillorying Jones for his statements. Jones’s CPAC commentary spurred thousands of Tweets within an hour, and even 24 hours later #Van Jones was generating a new tweet every few seconds. Overall, the ratio trends heavily to the negative, with only about two out of every 10 offering support for Jones. The commentary and memes run the gamut from incredulity to outright hatred and everything in between, with sentiment suggesting that Jones needs to be excommunicated from the Democratic Party, if not worse. Commentary also tended to strongly disparage Jones for suggesting the need for more bipartisanship, with sentiment suggesting that the idea itself was treasonous.
The intolerance from the Left for all three of Jones’s alleged transgressions—attending CPAC in the first place, giving credit to Conservatives, and encouraging bipartisanship—is utterly appalling and does not bode well for finding common ground between our sharply divided country. In fairness it should be noted that some on the Right also chastised Jones for his statement that illegal immigrants commit fewer crimes than U.S. citizens. However, Right-wing negative commentary on Twitter only amounted to about one out of every 50 or so tweets. In short, the majority of the social media lynch mob was comprised of his erstwhile Liberal comrades.
The Left prides itself on “tolerance,” and yet their actions continue to prove that the only tolerance they have is for those who strictly follow their dictates—Woe be unto anyone who strays from the party line, gives any credit to the enemy, or suggests that perhaps working with that enemy might just lead to progressive results.
Truth has been a moving target ever since the Chicago Police were called to the home of Hollywood actor Jussie Smollett on Jan. 29, to investigate the report that two white men had attacked him at 2 a.m. on what was one of the coldest nights in that city of the last 100 years. Not to question that there are racist and homophobic Americans who might be prone to engaging in the violent behavior as described by the gay, black actor in his account to police, but that such might be a rare one-out-of-a-million exception rather than the norm.
In fact, when was the last time a black or gay man (or woman) ended up with a noose around their neck or had bleach thrown on them as the result of a racist or homophobic attack? This author would suggest that such attacks are exceptionally rare in modern American times, and that the vast majority of straight, white Americans (and pretty much everyone else, too) are appalled that such could happen in today’s enlightened times.
Nevertheless, and despite the apparent horse feathers weaved into Jussie’s account of the alleged attack, numerous politicians, members of the mainstream media, and celebrities of all stripes jumped on the hash-tag “Justice for Jussie” bandwagon to decry the rampant racism and homophobia that is reputedly roiling our country. Decry the alleged rampant racism and homophobia while obliquely and directly ascribing a significant portion of blame for the attack on President Donald Trump and anyone who supports him.
Easy to do, as the attackers were described by Jussie as shouting “this is MAGA (acronym for Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” slogan) country,” and many in the media initially reported that the attackers were wearing MAGA hats. In fact, the addition of those MAGA details to the alleged attack is likely the only reason that the story went viral, given that Jussie is only a B-list celebrity, and one that many Americans had never heard of until the alleged attack became A-list news.
And perhaps the alleged details regarding MAGA are why so many mainstream media journalists, politicians, and celebrities were willing to overlook some questionable details about the attack that belied the truthfulness of Jussie’s account:
—Given the extreme temperatures that night, Jussie and his alleged assailants were probably the only people out on Chicago’s streets that night.
—Chicago is definitely not MAGA country, and one would be far more likely to run into an attacker in that area claiming that it was “Obama country.”
—Hard to believe that Jussie held on to his Subway sandwich during and after the attack, especially when it might have been tainted by the bleach thrown on him.
—Why did Jussie leave the “noose” (reportedly, a clothesline) around his neck long after the alleged attack?
—Jussie’s unwillingness to provide police with complete access to evidence that could be gleaned from his cell phone.
As Commentary Magazine editor Noah Rothman noted in a New York Times op-ed, despite details of the alleged account that “strained credulity from the very start,” numerous “politicians and journalists seemed to suspend all critical thought in a campaign to indict not just Mr. Smollett’s attackers but the country as a whole.” Furthermore, and as suggested by Rothman, in their rush to judgement many within this campaign doubled down against those who started to question the original narrative, insinuating that such questioning was just bigoted salt being poured into Jussie’s wounds. Jussie himself said as much when he publicly discussed the attack for the first time on Good Morning America, noting that those who doubt his account of the attack are causing him as much pain as the actual assault.
Ironically, Jussie’s narrative started to formally collapse as the Good Morning America episode aired on Feb. 14, at the same time news was emerging that Chicago Police had arrested two suspects who may have been involved in the attack. Two “black” suspects who were later released along with a police statement that the scope of the investigation “had shifted.”
Chicago Police detectives were reportedly skeptical about the alleged attack from the get go, and, with some good due-diligence investigating, have apparently determined that the entire incident was likely a hoax constructed in great detail—complete with rehearsals with the paid attackers—by Jussie himself. Chicago Police are now seeking a follow-up interview with Jussie, but the actor’s defense attorneys say that Jussie has no intention of speaking to police, and that the attorneys will speak to the police on his behalf. In a statement released over the weekend, Jussie’s attorneys also said that the actor has been further victimized by claims that he played a role in his own attack. “Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”
We will just have to wait for the Chicago Police to discern this truth, or lack thereof.
In the meantime, what of real hate crimes that occur in America? Is it at epidemic levels as suggested by the mainstream media and others? And, more specifically, what of hate crimes that can be directly linked—as with the alleged Jussie attack—to Donald Trump and/or his supporters?
Well, a progressive group called America’s Voice has an online “Trump Hate Map” that purportedly tracks all Trump-inspired hate crimes against immigrants, minority groups and other marginalized people. Initiated with Trump’s campaign launch in June 2015, the map highlights less than 100 Trump-inspired hate incidents. While some of the incidents include murder and assault, most involve vandalism and/or harassment, with some not even rising to the level of an arrestable offense.
The relative low numbers of Trump Hate Map incidents must be a bit disappointing to progressive activists who are convinced that the millions of Americans who supported Donald Trump for president are rabid racists and homophobes. And this lack of substantial evidence supporting the notion that Trump supporters in general are racist homophobes leads some folks—such as Jussie Smollett—to manufacture their own hate crime incidents. In fact, the number of Trump-inspired hate crime hoaxes since 2015 might even outnumber actual Trump-inspired hate crimes.
Among factors that make Nova Scotia “Canada’s Ocean Playground” is the Village of Chester, which effectively serves as eastern Canada’s Mecca of sailing. Not only is Chester perfectly positioned at the head of Mahone Bay with sweeping views and access to its beautiful waters and 365 islands, but is host of Chester Race Week, the largest keelboat regatta in Canada, and second-largest in all of North America. Recreational sailing has been a primary component of Chester’s heritage for well over 100 years, and many full-time and seasonal residents call Chester home distinctly because of the sailing.
Given this focus on sailing, a fair question to ask is what is the ultimate Chester sailboat? A question that could serve as an apt topic for debate among Chester sailors during the long sailing-free months ahead. Little doubt that every sailor has an opinion, so I’ll get the debate rolling by rendering my own experiences with various contenders for the title of “ultimate Chester sailboat.”
I am fairly certain that I took my first sail ever on my parent’s Bluenose, hull number 46 and then named Kaila. I was five or six years old at the time and can report that I did not enjoy the experience at all. She leaked heartily, had to be bailed constantly, and totally freaked me out despite forewarning from my parents when she went atilt to heel—I just knew that we were gonna flip over and sink! I did eventually get over my fear of flipping, but can’t say that I took to sailing during those early years. The water was cold, the directions regarding what to do next confusing, and the heat and passion of the few races I went on a bit too much for my sensitive nature at that young age.
Which is too bad, as the Bluenose is definitely in the running as the “ultimate Chester sailboat.” Designed in 1946 by William J. Roué, the same guy who designed and built the iconic Bluenose schooner as featured on Canada’s dime, the first dozen or so 23-foot one-design class sloops were built at the Barkhouse Boatyard in East Chester. Other local builders, including the Stevens Boatyard in Chester, also began producing Bluenoses, with a total of 77 wooden versions of the boat produced in the 1940s and 1950s. In 1968, Roué granted rights to produce a fibreglass version of the boat to McVay Yachts out of Mahone Bay, and since then another 100 or so fibreglass versions have been produced, first by McVay, and then by other builders such as Herring Cove Marine, and two other boat builders in Ontario.
The Bluenose is a great daysailer, but it’s primarily known for its racing pedigree, which has been a staple in both Chester and Halifax since 1949. In fact, the Chester Bluenose fleet is the largest one-design keelboat fleet in Atlantic Canada, and the Chester Yacht Club hosts an active racing schedule from June to September, and alternates with Halifax the hosting of the annual Maritime Bluenose Championship. With such a large fleet, and an exceptionally robust Chester community of Bluenose sailors, the Bluenose would undoubtedly be named the “ultimate Chester sailboat” if the designation was based strictly on local sailor polling.
Many Chester old-timers might argue that the Chester C-Class sloops represent the “ultimate Chester sailboat.” Built starting in the mid-1930s in Heisler’s Boat Yard in Chester’s Back Harbour, these sleek, beautiful racer-cruisers—Eclipse, Ripple, Ohop, Mistral, Restless and Whim—quickly joined Chester’s other Universal Class wooden sailboats such as Hayseed and High Tide in winning numerous races for their owners. Even with the rise of faster plastic boats in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, the Chester C Class boats were considered the grande dames of Chester’s sailing season, and would continue to bring home the glory well into the first years of this century.
While Ben Heisler famously said that “if God had wanted fibreglass boats, he would have made fibreglass trees,” none of Chester’s iconic C Class boats were on the water this year. Fibreglass boats have definitely been dominating the waters of Chester of late, though there is a small fleet of “Classics,” along with the wooden Bluenoses, and a half dozen IODs (International One Design class), all of which continue to stir the souls of the old timers and anyone else who appreciates the beautiful lines and craftsmanship of these old wooden boats.
My own personal experience with Chester C Class racing was short lived. I was probably eight or nine years old when my parents decided to expose me to the joys of big boat racing and offered my services to Danny Blain, skipper of the Eclipse. Danny, who wrongly assumed that I must know something about sailing, put me on foredeck duty where not only was I scared to death that I’d be swept overboard—Eclipse had no lifelines—but I promptly screwed up every command given. I did not last long on foredeck, and wasn’t much better at following commands anywhere else he put me, either. While I didn’t gain any new appreciation for sailing during my short-lived apprenticeship, I pretty much learned every curse word in the book that I hadn’t already known, being the recipient or cause of the many he expressed that day. I did sail on Eclipse on rare occasions in subsequent seasons, though only as a last resort when Danny couldn’t find anyone else.
Despite the early setbacks in my sailing career, I did eventually garner a love and passion for sailing. I also found what for me is the “ultimate Chester sailboat.” That is an Ontario 32. Built starting in 1977 as a collaboration between Ontario Yachts and C&C Yachts, the Ontario 32 was designed as a rugged yet comfortable performance cruiser, and adopted many design elements considered novel for that time. With 11 feet of beam, she was one of the beamiest production cruising sailboats being built in her size. Combined with six feet and four inches of headroom, this gave her an expansive amount of below-deck space, and allowed for exceptional comfort down below that is enhanced by an inordinate amount of teak in the joinery work, as well as a cozy miniature wood stove.
The boat yard built 158 Ontario 32s between 1977 and 1986, and, up until a couple of years ago, there were four of them in the Chester area. Not sure where the others went, but I still love mine. With four and a half feet of shoal draft I can enjoy up-close and personal exploration of the coastline. And all that space and comfort means I can share the beauty of Nova Scotia’s coastline for extended periods with my family and friends, something I do on a regular basis. Perhaps the most notable expedition was marked by a week in the Bras d’Or Lakes with another couple and three kids in total, during which the kids managed to play hide-and-seek on board for hours one rainy day.
My boat is no slouch on the race course, either, with a half dozen third place finishes in various races, and a third overall in the Cruising Class for one Race Week. And, in what I consider an important bonus feature not available with many larger sailboats, she is easy to handle, which allows me to take her out solo without the need for crew.
All in all, she is my ultimate Chester sailboat. And sure, the Bluenose class truly deserves the designation, and the Chester C Class honorary mention, but I wouldn’t trade my Ontario 32 for either of them.
—November 6, 2018
While most Americans’ political attention is focused on the midterm elections, a few potential Democratic candidates appear to be positioning themselves for entering the 2020 presidential election. Consider that Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) was on a plane for Iowa within hours of the Oct. 6, vote to confirm Brett Kavaunaugh to the Supreme Court, and has pretty much been spending more time in key early voting Democratic primary states for the past few weeks than he has in his own state. While Booker’s stints in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina were ostensibly related to helping secure Democratic midterm wins in those states, there seems little doubt that Booker is stirring the waters for an impending run for the presidency. In fact, some pundits are already calling the self-proclaimed “Spartacus” a “top-tier contender” for the Democratic nomination.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), another pundit-described “potential top-tier contender,” wasn’t as quick to jump into key early voting primary states, but is starting to catch up to Booker with a recent multi-stop visit to Iowa and trips to New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and Wisconsin. For her part, Ms. Harris told the press that the visits were strictly designed to support Democratic candidates in the midterm election, and had absolutely nothing to do with any presidential aspirations.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has made multiple trips to Iowa in the past couple of months, while Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) has focused most of his attention on South Carolina. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who recently released DNA test results in a botched effort to settle her disputed claims of Native American ancestry, has reportedly “deployed staffers” to both Iowa and New Hampshire. Rounding out potential presidential candidates from the Senate, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), has recently been making the rounds in New Hampshire. As with Harris and Booker, these potential presidential aspirants claim that they are strictly trying to get out the Democratic vote in the midterms.
Several Democratic governors and a couple of Democratic House members who are presumably considering a run for the office have also been making recent rounds in Iowa.
However, out of all of the above-mentioned politicians, only one—Rep. John Delany (D-MD)—has officially announced his candidacy and filed an official Notice of Candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. The seriousness of Delany’s candidacy is perhaps marked more by his presence in Iowa—ABC News reported that he “has practically moved” to the state—than the official notice with the elections commission, given that more than 440 other potential candidates have filed notices with the commission.
While most of these official candidates for the highest office in the land may not have the name recognition of the above-mentioned already-in-office politicians, in America anything is possible. After all, who would’ve ever guessed that a billionaire reality-TV show host would become president?
So, who are these 440-plus official candidates? Well, let’s take a look at a few Statements of Candidacy and see if we can discern whether any of these candidates have what it takes to unseat the Oval Office’s current occupant. Here goes:
Sexy Vegan—hailing from West Hollywood, CA, Ms. Vegan affiliates with the “Freedom” party. The candidate included supplementary information including a picture of her legal ID, and informed the commission that her legal name was a “topic on the Dr. Phil Show.”
Not sure if that level of name recognition will get her into the Oval Office, but. . . .
John Edward “Kingtamer” D’Aura—with a designated Henderson, Nevada campaign committee called “Committee for Saner Government with John Kingtamer,” Mr. D’Aura affiliates himself with the “Making America Even Greater” party.
Jackson R. Sweet—this Texas native affiliating himself with the Republican Party may be jumping the gun, but deserves credit for his optimistic long-range planning. Supplementary to his filing, Mr. Sweet informed the commission that the filing is for the 2036 and 2040 presidential election years, as he will not reach the 35-year-old age of eligibility for the office until 2036.
Mr. Bub Squeal Bubbington Sr.—an “Independent,” Mr. Bubbington’s officially named campaign committee is “Bub 2020.”
Bub for Prez!—It’s got a nice ring to it.
Grapelton Monroe Feret—an early filer from Philadelphia, Mr. Feret affiliates himself with the Democratic Party and has designated “Deez Nutz” as his principal campaign committee.
It should be noted that at least one “Deez Nuts” filed for candidacy in the 2016 election. Little doubt that a candidate with that name will file during this election cycle. In fact, the elections committee is only just getting started with the filings, which will likely get up into the many thousands before election day . . . and likely include a much wider assortment of “nuts.”
Of course, only one will ultimately be elected into the highest office of the land.
As much as the Left-leaning mainstream media claims Pres. Trump uses it, I have yet to see it. I’ve been watching him on television during many of his recent rallies, and reviewed some old footage, but have yet to see the president blow on that dog whistle. Same with many of the various Republican Senate, House and Gubernatorial candidates accused of blowing the whistle. Given that Left-wing pundits tend to claim on a daily basis that Trump and other Republicans use the dog whistle to send coded messages to specific constituents, you’d think that we’d be able to see those whistles dangling from around their necks like government ID badges.
And this leads to another observation: because dog whistles are silent, how can these pundits be so good at interpreting all those alleged coded messages being sent out by Trump and other Republicans?
The short answer is that they can’t. The longer answer is that Left-wing pundits have had to resort to accusing Trump and other Republicans of using dog whistles because they have limited distinct proof to back up their accusations of racism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, misogyny, Islamophobia, Fascism, Nazism, or whatever else they want to accuse Republican politicians of fomenting.
By utilizing the dog whistle tool, pundits can shape the narrative in whatever manner they want through their interpretation of what song is being whistled. Because that dog whistle is silent, a pundit can say whatever he wants—the candidate’s words might be exactly what they mean at face value, but the pundit can claim it’s a dog whistle whistling “Dixie.”
How convenient . . . .
Trump: “There are likely criminal elements within the migrant horde; they have no legal basis to enter America; I am not going to let them enter our country; they represent another example of our broken immigration system.”
Left-wing pundits: “It’s a dog whistle to the racist, white supremacist component of his base.”
Not only can a pundit easily utilize the dog whistle analogy to smear a Republican politician, but to also cast dispersions on the politician’s supporters. And, it is such an intellectually lazy tool—the pundit doesn’t have to offer up any proof or supporting evidence to back up his interpretation of what the politician is “really saying”—nope, it’s a dog whistle and that candidate who just said “America First!” was really singing “Deutschland Uber Alles.”
According to Merriam-Webster, “dog whistle,” as utilized of late by political pundits, is “a coded message communicated through words or phrases commonly understood by a particular group of people, but not by others.” While the “dog whistle” in referencing a high-pitched whistle that humans cannot hear, but dogs can, has been around for at least 200 years, it’s use as a term to describe political speech only emerged to any real extent in the 1990s. The online dictionary cites a quote from the Ottawa Citizen in October 1995 as the earliest recorded figurative use: “It’s an all-purpose dog-whistle that those fed up with feminists, minorities, the undeserving poor hear loud and clear.”
That could be a pundit in 2018 talking about Trump or any number of Republican politicians. In fact, not a day goes by that some element of what a Republican says is not automatically referred to as a dog whistle. CNN’s Chris Cillizza today accused Trump of multiple racist dog whistles based on Trump’s use of former Pres. Barack Obama’s middle name (Hussein); calling Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum “not equipped to do the job;” and saying that Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is “not qualified,” for the office.
Maybe Cillizza is right, and all three of these examples represent coded messages sent out by Trump to his hard-core racist supporters. Or maybe Trump truly does believe that the two Democratic gubernatorial candidates are not qualified for the job. After all, he’d probably say the same thing if the candidates were white.
As for Trump’s use of Obama’s middle name being a case of “playing on racial animus,” I’d say that Cillizza might be correct if he were reminded that Muslim is not a race, and was then to substitute “racial” for “Islamic.” And, unless Cillizza has some kind of secret political dog whistle de-coder, it’s anyone’s guess as to what kind of dog whistle, if any, Pres. Trump was blowing in reference to the former president.
And then we’ve got Trump and the Republican Party’s recent campaign ad featuring cop-killing, illegal immigrant Luis Bracamontes, and a message blaming Democrats for letting him into the country and then letting him stay. One big racist dog whistle advert according to the Left-leaning pundits—an “outrage” and the most racist advertisement since the notorious “Willie Horton” campaign ad used by the Republicans during the 1988 Bush-Dukakis battle for the White House.
While pundits may claim “racist dog whistle advert,” at least half the U.S. population probably sees it as a justified warning against unfettered illegal immigration. Unfettered illegal immigration that seems to receive significant support (sanctuary cities, open borders, etc.) from the Democrats.
So, call that one a dog whistle all you want, pundits—We’ll just call it a clarion call to secure the border and enact meaningful immigration reform.
Campus Reform, a Right-leaning news organization that focuses on college-related news, sent a reporter to Texas A&M University to determine student-body voter sentiment about what is perhaps the most talked-about Senate election race of the fast-approaching midterms—that is the Texas Senate election between incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz and his Democratic candidate counterpart, Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke. While the fact that most students interviewed expressed support for Beto over Cruz was not surprising, of interest was the fact that none of the students could name a single accomplishment achieved by the three-term congressman. One student, obviously lacking any sense of irony, suggested that Beto “resonates with young people because we are more aware.”
Hundreds of pundits have already weighed in on Beto, with commentary on the Right generally positing that the “remarkably unremarkable” Beto has never “offered any substantively impressive policy ideas,” nor “led on any notable issues in the House,” while commentary from the Left argues that Beto delivers “substance,” far beyond the “calculatingly cool” charisma that his detractors claim is all he offers.
So, substance or fluff, which is it? Perhaps we should turn to the historic record to determine what, exactly, Beto has accomplished as a legislator. If nothing else, Beto has proven to be an accomplished fundraiser, having raised the most money—more than $38 million—in one quarter of any Senate candidate in history, and on track to raising the most money ever in a Senate campaign.
All that money—more than $60 million and rising—has presumably been donated in support of Beto’s official platform and what he’s said on the campaign trail, because his official legislative record certainly does not lend itself to that level of support. Not that Beto doesn’t take his Congressional job seriously, but his legislative record just doesn’t seem all that impressive. During his almost three terms in office he has sponsored 75 bills and co-sponsored 1,034. Of these only one of his own bills has passed into law, while only 44 of the bills he co-sponsored are now law. Thus, if his own legislation serves as a barometer of success, the pinnacle of his Congressional career is marked by the 114th Congress’s H.R. 5873, which “designate[s] the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 511 East San Antonio Avenue in El Paso, Texas, as the ‘R.E. Thomason Federal Building and United States Courthouse.’”
As for co-sponsored legislation, perhaps the most impressive bills he supported that became law included one which prohibits the manufacturing or importing of multi-line telephone systems that aren’t preconfigured for direct 9-1-1- calls—H.R.582—and a provision which improves U.S. Veteran’s Administration mental health services for veterans—H.R.203. Speaking of veterans, Beto deserves credit for his legislative efforts on their behalf, given that two-thirds of the passed-into-law cosponsored legislation involves veteran’s issues, while more than one-third of his own legislation is designed to support veterans.
Perhaps Beto’s lack of legislative success can’t be held against him given that Republicans have held control of the House of Representatives during his terms of office. Nevertheless, it still calls into question why he receives so much support, financial and otherwise. Part of it is undoubtedly inspired by the Left’s desire to unseat Ted Cruz at all costs. Beto also has that charisma—“Kennedyesque,” as described by many in the media—that Democrats tend to revere in their candidates. Beto’s charisma is such that there is even speculation regarding a future run for the White House by Beto, including talk that he could play a role in the 2020 election if he loses in the midterms.
Beto’s lack of legislative accomplishment reminds us of another charismatic politician who rode into the White House despite a distinct lack of such. But at least three of the four pieces of successful legislation bearing then-Sen. Barak Obama’s name as primary sponsor were a bit more substantial than re-naming a federal building.
—October 22, 2018
A biological male took first place and a gold medal in the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Masters Track Cycling World Championship for women in the age 35-44 division last weekend, making him (her?) the first transgender woman to win a gender-specific world sports championship. While the LGBTQetc. community is celebrating the victory as another major step in the recognition of transgender rights, women should be rightfully concerned that this marks the demise of true female sports competition, as naturally born women will not be able to engage in fair competition against transgendered women or those men who otherwise decide to identify as female.
Rachel McKinnon, an assistant professor at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, was born a male, but decided to transition into a female at age 29. McKinnon has not undergone any surgeries in his/her transition, and as far as can be determined, only takes hormone-blocking drugs to drop testosterone levels below the required threshold for competition.
Policies regarding transgender women in sports have been changing in recent years, leading with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which now allows transgender women to compete in Olympic sports provided they suppress naturally occurring testosterone levels below a specific limit (10 nanomoles per liter) for more than one year before competing. The IOC’s standards for transgender female sports participation have been adopted by those organizations, such as the Boston Marathon, now accepting transgender women athletes in competition. McKinnon’s participation in the UCI championship was made possible after that organization lifted restrictions against transgender female competitors following a Canadian Human Rights Commission settlement between another transgender female cyclist and Cycling Canada.
Despite any reduction in testosterone levels, McKinnon, and presumably other transgender women athletes, have benefited from years of male biological privilege that provided them athletic advantages over naturally born females through natural differences in muscle mass, bone density, height, coordination, and numerous other biological and physiological factors.
For his/her part, McKinnon doesn’t believe biological, physiological and hormonal factors should play a role in transgender women participation in women’s sports. In fact, McKinnon believes that hormone suppression is against human rights and that testosterone testing is “insensitive” and should not be a factor in competing. “Focusing on performance advantage is largely irrelevant because this is a rights issue. We shouldn’t be worried about trans people taking over the Olympics. We should be worried about their fairness and human rights instead,” he/she told USA Today.
Like many in the transgender movement, McKinnon believes that the only determinant of what it means to be female or male is one’s self identification. Never mind the obvious biological and physiological differences between the genders, it’s all in the mind. By that measure McKinnon is just going to have to imagine menstruation, childbirth, menopause, and other intrinsically unique female experiences because they are just not going to happen for him/her under any circumstances.
Winning an international sports championship as a woman, though . . . despite the obvious unfairness, is now a reality, and one which may mark the death knell for female sports competition. Perhaps saner minds will step in and put an end to this nonsense, but rational thinking tends to be discouraged in relation to the transgender movement—their beliefs trump reality.
Not to say that gender dysphoria and related conditions do not actually exist, or that those choosing to identify as transgendered whatever-they-want-to-be should be prohibited from doing so. But the rights and beliefs of the transgendered should not come at the expense of everyone else’s reality.
Anyone should be allowed to believe that “two plus two makes five,” but no one should be forced to accept that belief nor have their own “two plus two makes four” reality compromised because of it.
A team of self-proclaimed, Left-leaning academics this month released results from an experiment they conducted that suggests “pervasive political corruption” in U.S. university humanities departments. This corruption is broad-based and inherently entrenched in many academic disciplines, including women’s and gender studies, feminist studies, race studies, sexuality studies, fat studies, queer studies, and cultural studies, they say. While these are niche study areas in most university humanities programs, many universities now force students to take such classes as part of “diversity” requirements to graduate. The ideas promulgated by these studies are also increasingly being injected into the curriculum of more mainstream fields, such as psychology, history, sociology, and even the STEM fields.
Additionally, these postmodernist ideas are also being adopted by other cultural institutions, elements of the media, and some companies. Google, a prime example of the latter, has incorporated postmodernist thinking into employee training, and sanctions employees who don’t adhere to its dictates. Consider James Damore, the Google engineer who was fired last year after suggesting that fewer women worked in technology fields because men and women “think differently” due to natural biological and physiological differences. So much for Google’s “foundational premise for employees” that they have “the freedom to speak up about anything and everything.”
Bottom line is that these niche university academics are the driving force behind today’s politically correct climate and many of the inane concepts adopted by the far Left as key components of their social justice ideal. When you hear terms such as “toxic masculinity,” “privilege,” “cis-gender,” “non-binary,” “white fragility,” “safe spaces,” “cultural appropriation,” “social construct,” “heteronormative,” “intersectionality,” and related PC terminology, know that they emanated from postmodernist-influenced academia.
The problem is, as exposed in part by the aforementioned experiment, such concepts and the thinking behind it are not supported by rigorous research and objective truth, but instead from subjective dogma. Dogma that its adherents defend without question and insist upon foisting upon the rest of us as irrefutable truth.
“A culture has developed in which only certain conclusions are allowed, like those that make ‘whiteness’ and ‘masculinity’ problematic,” said project collaborator James Lindsay. “The fields we’re concerned about put social grievances ahead of objective truth. So as a simple summary, we call the problem ‘grievance studies.’”
To test the extent of this problem, Lindsay and his fellow collaborators devoted themselves to seeing how many nonsensical articles they could get published in top peer-reviewed “grievance study” academic journals. They crafted each hoax article by developing politically correct conclusions that were usually absurd or morally repellent, and then utilized the “existing canon” of the study area, along with citations and quotations from already published studies and papers to support them.
The first published hoax paper—“Human Reactions to Rape Culture and Queer Performativity in Urban Dog Parks in Portland, Oregon”—was not only published, but received accolades from the feminist journal, Gender, Place, and Culture. “Arguably [the team’s] most absurd paper,” its purpose in the experiment was to show that academic journals “will accept arguments which should be clearly ludicrous and unethical if they provide (an unfalsifiable) way to perpetuate notions of toxic masculinity, heteronormativity, and implicit bias.”
Another published paper—“Going in through the Back Door: Challenging Straight Male Homohysteria and Transphobia through Repetitive Penetrative Sex Toy Use”—was designed to prove that academic journals will “accept ludicrous arguments if they support (unfalsifiable) claims that common (and harmless) sexual choices made by straight men are actually homophobic, transphobic, and anti-feminist.”
“Our Struggle is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism,” was accepted for publication, which means that Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, has accepted for publication, in part, a rewrite of chapter 12 in Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” (“My Struggle”). The collaborators basically crafted this one to prove that they could get anything published as long as it was put in “terms of politically fashionable arguments and existing scholarship.”
Another accepted paper—no surprise here—argues that social justice activists have the right to make fun of others, but no one is allowed to make fun of social justice. Ironically titled “When the Joke Is on You,” reviewers called it an excellent contribution to feminist philosophy and the topic of social justice pedagogy.
Perhaps the most disturbing paper—“The Progressive Stack: An Intersectional Feminist Approach to Pedagogy”—was rejected, though with significant praise and suggestion that its premise is worthy of additional research. The premise being that “Patently unfair, inhumane, and abusive treatment of students [should] be acceptable in educational theory if it is framed as an opportunity to teach them about the problem of privilege.” Among treatment considered in the paper was that privileged students should not be allowed to speak in class, and that those students with “high levels of privilege” should be subjected to “experiential reparations,” such as by having to “sit
on the floor in chains.” Reviewers expressed concerns that the paper approached the topic with “too much compassion” for privileged students and suggested the need for crueler forms of experiential reparations.
And just think, these reviewers are likely teaching in university classrooms today!
With seven of 20 papers accepted for publication, four already published, almost all making it to the peer-review process, and glowing commentary from journal editors and academic peer reviewers, the experiment, which was exposed in early October by the media, has been deemed a success by the collaborators.
As noted by the Project Fact Sheet: “We conclude the problem we have identified in grievance studies, which has taken over large sectors of the humanities and social sciences, is real and significant. That problem is that a political bias which intentionally blends activism into scholarship (sometimes described as ‘academic leftism’) has become dominant and entrenched in varying degrees within those fields it has successfully corrupted. Moreover, it aims to spread its assumptions and methods into other fields, including the hard sciences. This, in turn, delegitimizes this scholarship and casts serious doubt upon its conclusions and results.
“Because the scholarship we infiltrated represents a view that currently has a great deal of cultural power, and because that power is nearly absolute within the universities (and seems to be going that way in media and many businesses, including large corporations), one conclusion this project provides is a permission slip for academics and others to openly doubt the scholarship that seems to legitimize and institutionalize these conclusions as factual.”
By exposing this rot in North American universities, the three project collaborators have likely ended any hopes of furthering their academic careers, but all feel the outcome of their work is worth it. “For us, the risk of letting biased research continue to influence education, media, policy and culture is far greater than anything that will happen to us for having done this,” said Lindsay, who also noted that “No one tolerates this sort of corruption when they find out an industry is funding biased research to make itself look a certain way. The same should apply to [university research].”
—September 11, 2018
A 94-year-old Broadway legend this past weekend became the latest celebrity to suggest that the assassination of Pres. Donald Trump might be a good thing. Carole Cook, who’s been a Broadway, film, and television actress for more than a half century, replied “Where’s John Wilkes Booth when you need him?” after a TMZ photographer asked for her opinion about Trump as she was leaving a Hollywood restaurant. When further queried about whether she meant that Trump should be assassinated she responded, “Why not?”
Ms. Cooke joins Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Johnny Depp, Snoop Dogg, Kathy Griffin, Anthony Bourdain, Marilyn Manson, and a number of other left-leaning celebrities who have publicly suggested that the president should be assassinated or otherwise deprived of life. She also joins fifty thousand or so apparently left-leaning social media users who have publicly called for assassination or related violence to be meted out to the president.
This raises some interesting questions because publicly calling for someone’s violent death is generally considered fairly extreme. So extreme, that the U.S. Secret Service is reportedly planning to have a little chat with Ms. Cook to ascertain whether her words have any links with intentions.
My first question for Ms. Cook, and others encouraging or calling for the president’s assassination is “why?” What exactly has Pres. Trump done that warrants what is in effect the “death penalty?”
Is it because he’s a bully? He Tweets mean things? He’s crass and obnoxious? An embarrassment to the country? Lacks any sense of decorum?
It would be hard to argue Pres. Trump’s innocence on any of the above charges, but do any rise to the level of a death penalty offense?
OK, how about his policies.
What, his efforts to dismantle Obamacare?
At least half the country would assert that any legislation that needed “to be passed in order to understand what was in it,” should never have come up for a vote to begin with.
A sizeable majority of the country is completely opposed to unfettered immigration, while the country is about evenly split with regard to various other components of immigration policy.
Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and other environmental policy reversals? Renegotiation of Trade Deals? Peace talks with North Korea? Withdrawal from Obama’s nuclear weapons deal with Iran? Any number of other policy initiatives or executive actions….
All of them have mixed levels of support from the American public, but do you, Ms. Cook and others, truly believe Pres. Trump’s policymaking warrants his death?
And, if not his policy making, nor his un-presidential bearing as our leader, then what?
OK, how about he’s a racist, sexist, Islamaphobic, homophobic, xenophobic, nationalistic fascist….
Well, first off, we’ll just note that the Left is overusing some of these epithets to the point at which they are going to become meaningless in our lifetime. Second, though there is some implicit anecdotal evidence suggesting he may carry some of these traits in various measure, none of these claims have been conclusively proven. Third, other than “illegal aliens” and transgendered folks’ bathroom rights and ability to serve in the military, no marginalized group in America has suffered any Trump-related repercussions due to any alleged bigotry on his part. Bottom line is that the President certainly has not done anything to any American that should warrant his execution by assassination.
But this all begs another question of Ms. Cook and others on the Left calling for it: Do you even believe in the death penalty?
Then how in good conscience can you even consider urging such for Pres. Trump?
—August 12, 2018
Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey held a high-level policy meeting Aug. 10, to debate ways to make the social media site “safer for its users.” At least, that’s how two New York Times reporters characterized the meeting. Dorsey reportedly invited the Times reporters to the meeting in an effort to “provide more transparency about Twitter’s decision making.” However, had Dorsey truly wanted to be transparent perhaps he should have also invited a member of the conservative press.
If you happen to be a conservative Twitter user then you can’t be blamed if you might be a bit skeptical about New York Times reporting on the meeting, or, more importantly, on Twitter’s ultimate intentions. If you are a conservative Twitter user, then you are well aware that the social media site, like Facebook, Google, Instagram and others, has been actively trying to stifle conservative voices. In fact, these first days of August have been marked by a significant ramp-up by these Left-leaning sites to purge Right-leaning content from their sites.
At this juncture I could easily go off on multiple tangents to explore this enhanced attack on freedom of speech—the social media ban on Infowars and the Proud Boys, and Sen. Chris Murphy’s (D-CT) demand that social media “take down” more conservative sites, for example—but want to remain focused on the Twitter meeting, as it is so rich with irony, hypocrisy and double standards.
According to the New York Times article, the hour-long meeting primarily focused on “how to rid the site of ‘dehumanizing speech,’ even if it [does] not violate Twitter’s rules, which forbid direct threats of violence and some forms of hate speech.”
Ah yes, those strongly enforced (hah!) Twitter rules forbidding direct threats of violence…. Threaten a liberal, or any of the Left’s sacred cows (illegal immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ et al., Black Lives Matter, feminists, any minority group, etc.), even if in satire, and the Tweet is quickly removed and the author usually penalized with a suspension or other sanction.
However, if you post a Tweet threatening violence against a conservative, it will likely not be removed or sanctioned at all. Just ask President Donald Trump, the recipient of tens of thousands of Tweets threatening his life or otherwise inciting violence against him and/or his supporters. While Twitter administrators occasionally remove such threatening posts, they rarely impose any penalties on the tweets’ authors.
For another great example, “Kill white people” and other tweet themes against white folks tends to be just fine with Twitter. However, Twitter initially made a concerted effort to keep “It’s OK to be White” from trending back in November 2017 after savvy social media pranksters initiated the campaign to show how the otherwise innocuous phrase would be deemed “racist” by the Left. Apparently, it’s not OK to be white, because Twitter suspended some users who used the phrase, deleted some tweets with the phrase, and restricted Twitter users from seeing it in other instances by marking it as “sensitive content.”
And this leads us to Twitter’s Friday discussion about “dehumanizing speech.” The 19 Twitter executives at the meeting, and the two invited New York Times reporters, could easily have found samples of such speech on Twitter by perusing the Twitter history of the New York Times’ own newly named member of its prestigious editorial board—Sarah Jeong, who posted hundreds of tweets disparaging white folks over the past decade.
How about: “Are white people genetically predisposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically being only fit to live underground like groveling goblins” and “Dumbshit Fucking white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants” for just two examples?
What do you think, “dehumanizing?” While the Twitter executives apparently did not discuss Ms. Jeong’s tweets during the meeting, such tweets were recently deemed offensive by the company. Offensive, that is, when astute double-standard exposer Candace Owens reposted some of Ms. Jeong’s more egregious Tweets (including the two above) as her own by substituting “black” and/or “Jewish” for “white.” Those tweets were promptly deleted and Ms. Owens sanctioned with a 12-hour suspension from the site. While Twitter rescinded the suspension when called out for the double-standard, the point had been made.
Made, but perhaps not taken, as evidenced by the apparent lack of the Twitter executives’ discussion of Ms. Yeong’s “dehumanizing” tweets. Either the New York Times reporters chose to not report on any mention that may have been made about Ms. Yeong’s tweet history, or the Twitter executives accept the New York Times’ patently false Aug. 2, assertion that Ms. Yeong’s anti-white tweets were primarily written in reaction to racist comments tweeted at her and made in satire.
Freelance journalist Nick Monroe examined all of Ms. Yeong’s 100s of allegedly racist tweets and determined that only a dozen or so were made in response to any racist or anti-feminist tweets initially made to her. Satire, of course, is highly subjective, but Ms. Yeong’s former nonstop excoriating tweetfest against white folks seems much more of a noxious brew than a mildly intoxicating elixir.
Bottom line is that given the recent newsworthiness surrounding Ms. Yeong’s anti-white tweets (and the controversy over the New York Times hiring of her) how could they not have been part of the Twitter executive discussion about “dehumanizing” speech on their site? The answer seems to be that either the New York Times buried any such details, or Twitter has no intention of making its platform safer for conservative white folks.
Have you ever noticed that when you meet a Yankee who obviously has little to no knowledge about the South, he’ll try to ingratiate himself with you by mentioning some things he loves or knows about the South? Generally these things tend to be our weather, our accents, noteworthy Southern bands, a sports team or two, and a particular Southern alcoholic beverage that makes most normal folks’ stomachs turn.
A few examples:
“I’ve never been South of Baltimore, but I love your climate.”
“When I hear a pretty Southern girl speak, that accent turns my knees to rubber and I just want to melt.”
“Man, you gotta respect ‘Bama, but I think Clemson might be able to take them this year.”
“If you’re talking old school Southern rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd was definitely tops—The Allman Brothers were good, but, man, nothing beats “Freebird.”
“Can you guys still get moonshine? I’d like to try it sometime. I mean, I love Southern Comfort….”
Gag! Pretty much all around.
While some of the other various ingratiating comments I’ve heard over the years also tend to make me want to gag, any purported love for Southern Comfort always makes me want to seek out more interesting company.
What, you think that concoction that tastes like cough syrup and honey infused with a hint of cat piss and battery acid is our national drink, or something? Moron!
I haven’t tried Southern Comfort since my wayward youth, and the lingering memories of the few times I sampled it will undoubtedly continue to keep me away from it. While it never resulted in an abrupt appointment with the porcelain altar, that horrid taste is stored somewhere in the frontal lobe alongside that of spoiled milk and the smell of old-dog farts.
OK, so perhaps I’m being a bit harsh (on Southern Comfort, not Yankees), because apparently some folks enjoy Southern Comfort, given that it’s been around since 1874. However, in every informal poll I’ve conducted nine out of ten people tend to agree with my assessment, and, like me, have not sampled the spirit since their own equally wayward youth.
Nevertheless, Southern Comfort has somehow managed to maintain itself as a prominent brand for almost 150 years, and recently sold to the privately held Sazerac Company, located in Louisiana. This also happens to be the birthplace of Southern Comfort, though the founder moved his operation to Memphis in 1889. All this to say that Southern Comfort is truly a product of the South, though who it provides “comfort” to is a good question for debate.
According to company legend, Martin Wilkes Heron developed Southern Comfort because the Kentucky whiskey that made its way down the Mississippi River had often degraded by the time it reached New Orleans. Thus, Heron started experimenting with various recipes designed to bring flavor back into the compromised Bourbon.
Well, Heron must have been quite the wizard, because by 1889 he was receiving the equivalent of $60 per bottle for his concoction. And, surprise, Heron took Southern Comfort to the 1900 Paris World Exposition where it won a gold medal for fine taste and quality, and then won the same medal again at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
Folks sure were hard up for decent alcohol back in those days….
Don’t know what happened to Southern Comfort during Prohibition, but Heron’s assistant andinheritor of the business, Grant M. Peoples, was set to go when Prohibition ended, and quickly got the product back on the market. In fact, in what was apparently some brilliant marketing, Peoples created the Scarlett O’Hara cocktail to coincide with the 1939 release of “Gone with the Wind.”The cocktail—consisting of Southern Comfort, cranberry juice and lime, with perhaps a bit of peach and sometimes grenadine instead of cranberry—proved popular and kept Southern Comfort on the market.
While the Scarlett O’Hara pretty much went the way of its namesake into retirement, bartenders still receive an order for the cocktail on occasion, and other concoctions, such as the Alabama Slammer, have emerged to keep Southern Comfort relevant.
Overall, I think the fact that it is Southern product, and that its name and marketing efforts evoke the gentile Southern mystique, help the brand maintain its allure. Cause it’s certainly not the taste.
I’d also be willing to bet that Southern Comfort marketing has long targeted those from up north who just wish they could enjoy the much more refined living of the Southern states. I would guess that sales of Southern Comfort predominate from the north, and that the majority of those claiming to love Southern Comfort reside up there, where folks just don’t know any better.
Didn’t P.T. Barnum say that “there’s a sucker born every minute….” and most of them live up north?
Anyway, now that I have thoroughly disparaged this drink that purportedly honors the South, I’ll throw a bone to those few of you who actually enjoy Southern Comfort.
Herein then, I present you with the Southern Hurricane:
1.5 oz Southern Comfort
1.5 oz Sweet and Sour Mix
1.5 oz Orange Juice
1.5 oz Pineapple Juice
splash of Grenadine
Stir all together in an ice filled glass, garnish with an orange wedge and cherry, hold your nose and drink.
Originally published by The Southern Drinking Club
Late last year, French sailor François Gabart set a new world record for sailing solo around the world. Gabart completed his 27,859.7-nautical mile journey in 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds, beating by six days a previous record that had only been set one year before and thought unbeatable.
Little doubt that some intrepid sailors are already starting to strategize the means for breaking the latest “unbreakable record;” however, any sailor trying break such is going to need some serious coin given that Gabart’s boat, a 98-foot maxi-trimaran named “MACIF,” is considered one of the most technically advanced sailing yachts plying the oceans. While the MACIF sailing program has not disclosed the cost of the boat itself, the programs’s annual budget for Gabart’s sailing campaigns is $5 million.
Such known and unknown spending is likely petty change for Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, who backed the building of a 100 foot maxi-trimaran that was launched just a few months prior to Gabart’s departure record-setting voyage departure. Still undergoing sea trials, “Gitana 17” was designed to foil at over 50 knots and cover 900 miles per day. As MACIF averaged 27 knots and had a top one-day distance run of 851 miles, Gitana 17 appears to be a likely challenger to the Gabart/MACIF record. The question remains as to which sailor Rothschild will tap to sail his toy into the record books (Current skipper Sebastian Josse is a likely choice), and whether Rothschild will wait until the next solo around the world race (2019), or seek the record alone.
For those of us of more modest means, there remain at least one solo around-the-world sailing record that can be broken without having to spend millions. That is, the record for sailing the smallest boat around the world without docking on land.
That record is currently held by Alessandro Di Benedetto, an Italian, who successfully completed his voyage on a 21.3-foot boat in 2010. A 78-year-old Swedish sailor, Sven Yrvind, had planned to challenge the record in a boat half that size, but apparently
recently had second thoughts and is now only planning to take his homemade boat from Ireland to New Zealand. A life-long boat builder with ocean crossing experience on exceptionally small boats, Sven certainly had the chops, but perhaps age and health were a growing concern.
But really, in the realm of sailing around the world is the quest for breaking a record really worth it? How much of the world did Gabart or Di Benedetto have the pleasure of enjoying during their respective record breaking, and how comfortable do you suppose they were while doing it? I would surmise “hardly any” for the first, and “not one bit” for the latter.
Bottom line is that achieving a circumnavigation by sailboat—no matter how long it takes or how many stops in port along the way, is the sailor’s equivalent of Mount Everest. In fact, only about 300 people complete a circumnavigation in a given year. Less than 300 people have completed the voyage solo, starting with Nova Scotia native Joshua Slocum, who sailed around the world alone on a 36.9-foot gaff rigged sloop from April 1895-June 1898. Far fewer have done it non-stop.
Given that my wife doesn’t enjoy overnight passage making, it appears that my bucket-list circumnavigation is going to have to be solo. But I could care less about any records, and would thus make it a voyage to see the world and enjoy the sailing—“non-stop” be damned. And I doubt that I’d be solo all the time, as the wife and others have expressed the desire to fly into exotic ports of call to join me on occasion. The biggest challenge might be navigating a course that captures all the natural wonders of the world that I would love to see….
So perhaps there is a record I might be able to break after all. How about, slowest circumnavigation by sail?
The potentates of political correctness scored another victory earlier this month in their ongoing war to ensure that words and imagery do not cause any offense to any marginalized people and their communities. In this particular case, Muslims and anyone else caught up in the religious wars waged between 1095 and 1492 as sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church and historically known as “The Crusades.”
Little doubt that Muslims worldwide are now sleeping more soundly after administrators at the College of the Holy Cross announced that the school will no longer use the image of a knight for its logo and mascot due to the link between “knights” and “the violence of the Crusades.”
Interestingly, and to the apparent dismay of social justice warrior students, administrators in February voted to keep the “Crusader” moniker for the Worcester, Massachusetts-based college after a year-long review of the meaning of the word in relation to the college’s brand (administrators clearly have far too much time on their hands). While some administrators argued that the term is too closely linked to the Christian Crusades against Islamic forces during the Middle Ages, the winning side in the debate argued that the college should “associate itself with the more modern definition of the word crusader,” that is, someone who strives for positive changes and principles.
That decision prompted more than 100 students and faculty to submit a letter of admonishment to the Holy Cross president, stating that the decision to keep the “Crusader” moniker will make the (Jesuit-founded) college seem unwelcoming to non-Christians. The letter further urged that the college drop the knight logo and mascot, arguing that the knight “is a symbol of religious intolerance directly tied to the violent medieval Crusades, not a person pursing peace and justice,” as implied by the college administrators.
Meanwhile, the student-run newspaper preempted the college’s name-change-retention decision by changing its own name from “The Crusader” to “Spire.” As stated by the student editors in announcing the change, “No matter how long ago the Crusades took place, this paper does not wish to be associated with the massacres (i.e., burning synagogues with innocent men, women, and children inside) and conquests that took place therein.”
Ahem, “synagogues?” Apparently, the brilliant minds running the “Holy Cross Spire” have been taught that the Crusades represented a series of wars against the Jews…. Oh, and never mind that the violence of the Crusades was heartily endorsed and practiced by both primary sides of the conflict—that is, Christians and Muslims (yes, Jews and others were caught up in the violence, but likely received such in equal measure from both sides). And that the Crusades only emerged after four Centuries of Islamic attacks on, and incursions into, Europe.
Of further note, just imagine the result had these Holy Cross administrators and students—or similar politically correct ilk—been running things in Europe back during the Middle Ages….
So much for Christianity—instead of magnificent cathedrals and charming chapels, every city, town and hamlet in Europe would be dotted with mosques (oh, wait, isn’t that transition happening now?), and you and I today would, in all likelihood, be bowing down to Allah five times per day in the North American region of the caliphate.
Anyhow, social justice warriors won half their battle as any “knights” officially associated with the College of the Holy Cross are now a thing of the past. Most likely not even relegated to the school’s history, as the school’s PC elite will want any such imagery or written commentary about knighthood eradicated from the history posthaste.
The school’s moniker will undoubtedly come up again on the chopping block in the near future. This is clearly evident by perusing the Holy Cross Spire, which has already done an admirable job of deleting its former name to the extent possible from its pages. In fact, any mention of “knights” or “crusaders” amongst the commentary I viewed on the online version was negative, with utter disdain for the school’s utilization of either.
The drafters of the earlier referenced letter of admonishment to administrators for failing to excise the college’s “Crusader” moniker, plan to keep up the pressure on administrators, though that pressure may remain muted until after a capital campaign targeting alumni ends in 2020. One of the student drafters of the letter surmised that administrators declined to change the moniker due to alumni pressure against the change. While this student admitted that funding from this campaign helped students like him attend the prestigious college, he vowed to keep up the pressure for eliminating the “Crusader” nickname by making sure “dissatisfaction with the name remains a talking point on campus.”
Because adherents to Islam find the Christian cross to be so offensive, and because many adherents to the PC culture espouse the view that Christianity is “oppressive,” I imagine that the College of the Holy Cross will soon have to confront—and most likely have to expunge—its very name. Just consider that the new logo, an interlocking “HC” imposed on a purple shield, has already conveniently served as a means of beginning the exorcism of the Catholic school’s imagery of the cross.
—Originally published March 20 in Discernible Truth.
—Postscript: Right after I posted this on my website, I saw the news that a “distinguished” professor at the College of the Holy Cross had published research suggesting that Jesus was a genderfluid drag king who had sex with men, citing the Last Supper as a “literary striptease” that displays Christ’s transgender nature. Political correctness is truly turning the world batshit crazy.
No doubt you heard about the ill-fated young Colorado couple who sold all of their worldly possessions in order to buy a boat in which to sail about the world, only to watch it capsize and sink two days into their voyage. Capsize and sink in a well-marked navigable channel within sight of the bars and restaurants of Madeira Beach, Florida.
If you’re like me, you read the sad story about Tanner Broadwell and Nikki Walsh, and said something to yourself along the lines of “those morons never should have left the dock.” That was pretty much my initial thought process when I first read about the incident earlier this month. All I had to see were descriptions about their limited sailing experience and purported methodology for attempting to navigate the channel to determine that they were complete idiots perhaps even deserving a Darwin Award. Absent this recognition, I felt that the couple should return to Colorado from whence they had reportedly come, and perhaps take up snowshoeing or some other mountainous activity to keep them away from the water.
My judgmental side is often a bit too harsh when first invoked in situations involving apparent human folly, especially when the folly concerns activity on the water. Thus, I am glad that I did not immediately put my keyboard into action upon hearing this tale of woe. With further reflection, and by learning more details about the couple’s doomed voyage, I have a touch of newfound respect for them, and am now of the opinion that they should follow their original dream of sailing, whether “the Caribbean,” “around the world,” or wherever the fair winds take them. Not that I don’t believe that they may have been a bit boneheaded in their initial pursuit, but they deserve a touch of leeway due to their youth, and, at the same time, some kind of accolade for the bravery shown in actually setting off on their voyage.
Plenty of people make plans to sail around the world or otherwise embark on a grand sailing voyage, but few actually ever leave the dock. The previous owner of my sailboat, an Ontario 32, bought her with the intention of sailing around the world, according to local rumor. She certainly came equipped to tackle such a voyage, but I’ve been told that she spent the two seasons during his ownership moored in the harbor, and that witnessing wind in her sails was an exceptionally rare sight. Perhaps the previous owner determined that he didn’t really like sailing after all, or maybe he figured out that he’d be missing out on too much golf during his retirement. Whatever the case, it appears that his sailing dreams hit reality.
Leaving shore and heading off into the vast expanse of the wide open ocean can be daunting, to say the least. Not only is the voyaging sailor leaving behind many of the comforts and conveniences of modern living, but is embarking on a changed mind set in which hourly and daily focus is primarily attuned to the reduced environs of the boat and surrounding seas. For some people, this latter zen-like notion might sound like heaven; but for others, it would be more akin to hell.
Consider that in the first round-the-world, nonstop solo sailboat race—1968-69 Sunday Times Golden Globe—competitor Bernard Moitessier became so attuned to his life on board that he failed to turn left towards the finish line, and instead tried to sail around the world again. On the other hand, another competitor, Donald Crowhurst, never left the Atlantic, and apparently drifted the ocean aimlessly while descending into madness that culminated in his suicide.
No telling how the ill-fated Tanner and Nikki would have fared had they pulled far enough away from shore, but the fact that they tried shows gumption. And yes, their experience may have been a bit limited, but you don’t learn to sail from books, and you’re not going to learn a whole lot about the art while tied up at the dock. So, given this initial gumption, I now fully wish this couple the best in their efforts to come up with the money to buy another boat and try again. From what I understand, they’re making out pretty well in their crowdfunding efforts. I would advise, though, that they spend a bit more time sailing with experienced sailors, and/or serving as crew on other people’s boats, prior to departing on their next voyage.
—Originally published by Slidemoor, Feb. 22, 2018.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has undergone constant legal challenges since it was enacted back in 1791, though U.S. courts have tended to consistently uphold its underlying principles. Among other things, the courts always seem to recognize that allowing people or entities to take control of the narrative provides them with too much power, and that such power can quickly be abused. As repugnant as it may seem to many Conservatives, even desecration of the flag was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court as a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment. From my understanding of the high court’s rulings on the issue, flag burning and other desecration was considered a form of protest against the government, and its ban by the government represented a slippery slope from which it could then ban other forms of protest. As a long-time free speech/First Amendment absolutist, I personally support the Supreme Court’s decision-making in this regard.
The campus Free Speech Movement which arose at UC Berkeley in 1964 emerged because students realized that university administrators controlled the narrative by prohibiting political activity on campus and by impinging upon other First Amendment principles, such as freedom of association. Had the students taken the school to federal court, they undoubtedly would have won their case. As it was, they won anyway through school administration acquiescence, and their victory seeped onto university and college campuses across the country, giving American youth newfound freedoms that they used to help end the war in Viet Nam and give voice to other important causes.
Not that college administrators totally caved to the students, as free speech on American campuses has been a somewhat constant source of conflict between students and administrators ever since. In the 1980s and first half of the 1990s the establishment of free speech zones and other measures became especially popular as a means of cutting back on student free speech rights. These zones and other measures are adopted under U.S. court decisions that stipulate that the government can regulate the time, place and manner of expression, but not the actual content of forms of speech. Of course, administrators often overreach, and numerous court challenges have forced many to abandon or significantly expand the “zones” and related measures.
Cut to today, though, and the biggest threat to student free speech is not so much administrators but, instead, other students. And ironically, the birthplace of campus free speech—Berkeley—has proven to be one of the most student-driven opponents of campus free speech in the nation.
Of course, we’re not talking about any campus free speech, we’re talking about Conservative campus free speech, which has been under accelerating attack for at least the past eight years, that reached a crescendo with the election of Donald Trump for President. Liberal student activists across the country, and often with support from faculty and administrators, have become aggressive campus censors devoted to shutting down any “speech” supporting Conservative values, and any that is the least bit critical of Liberal progressive sacred cows, such as illegal immigration, Islam, LGBTQ (and whatever other letters they’ve added of late), feminism, climate change, Black Lives Matter, and any and all marginalized minorities who are under alleged oppression by the white male patriarchy.
I’ve probably missed a couple here, but you get my drift.
When I say “speech,” I mean any form thereof, and campus activists want all such tinged with anything Conservative to be obliterated from their campuses. Posters, flyers and other conservative outreach materials generally disappear quickly. Conservative speakers are usually confronted by enraged mobs. Woe be unto college newspaper editors who promote something Conservative or question one of the sacred cows. Well-reasoned scholars with conservative views—forget it! Even the name “Trump” chalked onto campus sidewalks has elicited fits of spontaneous protest from these paradigms of social justice virtue.
Anyhow, the irony of the UC Berkeley protests which shut down the free speech of Milo Yiannapoulas in the very birthplace of campus free speech probably escapes the more than 1,500 protestors who showed up to shut down that speech “by any means necessary.” In fact, it appears that the ideals of free speech are meaningless to a rather large group of college-age students across America. These students feel that the importance of their causes trumps the free speech rights of anyone else, with some willing to spill blood for their believed right to shut down speech that they do not agree with.
How many? Well, hard to know, but a 2016 survey of American college students found that 24 percent of white students and 41 percent of black students supported campus policies that restricted expressions of political views that might be upsetting or offensive to certain groups.
I would guess that these students haven’t bothered to consider that this could shut down their own expression depending upon who arbitrates what constitutes “upsetting” or “offensive.” Nevertheless, the fact that some of these students may eventually be running things doesn’t bode well for free speech. And while they may not represent a majority of students, such a “vocal minority can have a chilling effect on what everyone else thinks and says.”
Though perhaps not at the University of Chicago and 30 or so other schools which have recently adopted policies in support of free speech. These policies make it clear that students will not be shielded from “ideas and opinions that they may find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”
Some students at the University of Chicago and like minded schools may end up getting offended, but they will undoubtedly graduate with keen critical thinking skills borne in part by the university’s support of rigorous debate through free speech. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that critical thinking skills of UC Berkeley grads will be in short supply.
—Originally published in Discernible Truth on Feb. 12.
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
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.
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.
“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!
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!
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:
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.
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
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 correctness 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.
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 the 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.
Just the thought of it in late summer made us quit watching Game of Thrones so we wouldn’t have to hear 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.
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.
A 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!
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.
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!
This 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.”
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!
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.
“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 for 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?
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.
This 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 them 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….
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.
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.
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.”
But 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” sanction 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.
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.
And without further ado, and in no particular order, here is a partial run-down of this school year’s campus follies to date:
Forget 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 has 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!”
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 can 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.
But 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.
OK, kids, let’s just cut to the chase: “I love pussy!”
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 other 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.
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.
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!”
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.
I 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….
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.
Interestingly, 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.
What 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.
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.
And, 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.
So 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?
Or should I ask faer, aer, em, per, ver, xem or hir?
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.
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.
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!
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?
If “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, 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.
Well, 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.
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.
And 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?
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 and 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.
But 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
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:
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.
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.
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.
“Blue-Eyes” privilege? Well, I’m thinking I’ll have to go with colored—oops, I mean “tinted”—contact lenses.
And that leaves “Thin” privilege… Not sure how I’m going to handle this one. I thought about 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.
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 state 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?
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?
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.
Justin 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 significant 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.
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 whose 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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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!
Cecil 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.”
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.
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.
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!
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!
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?
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 their 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?
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….
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!
When you reminisce about your personal drinking history, it undoubtedly includes fond memories of enjoying those first drinks with good friends. Those were good times with good friends no matter the drink of choice, right?
Well, thank the Lord for good times, good friends, and short-term memory because if you really think about it, maybe those first drinks consumed during your teens and early twenties weren’t all that great….
I mean, most folks in their teens and early 20s just can’t afford quality spirits and top-end craft beer. If you’re a typical Southern boy (or girl), cheap beer and rotgut booze were your go-to drinks of choice when you first discovered that booze upped the game of enjoying good times with good friends.
Of course, now that you’re an “adult,” you only drink the finest of spirits and best craft beers, right? As a member of the Southern Drinking Club, your current tastes in alcohol bespeak of the distinction appropriate for our refined Southern culture. The very thought of those early drinking experiences must make your stomach turn or some such. How, given the time spent praying to the porcelain gods and/or battling the next morning’s bottle-flu, did we ever drink that stuff?
But let’s return to those blissful days of our youth anyway and contemplate our earliest drinks of choice.
Probably for a good reason….
OK, so I’ll lead the charge by describing my own earliest dalliances with the refined spirits (ahem, “rotgut” and piss brew) that initially charted my own appreciation for drinking, Southern-style or otherwise.
You could almost treat this as a drinking game of sorts. Yep, you’ve got to chug down a shot of your current favorite for every one of the following not-so-fine libations you are personally familiar with.
Oops—that’s right, we are now mature connoisseurs of fine spirits and craft beer and no longer stoop to such bawdry nonsense as “drinking games.”
Moving on, before you join me on my spirit-filled journey, I must confess that my Southern heritage for drinking purposes is somewhat compromised. While I am definitely Southern born—Great State of North Carolina, thank you very much—I am the product of a Southern father and Yankee mother (yeah, that nuptial bliss didn’t last). As such, I spent a few of my formative early drinking years in (gasp!) Massachusetts. But hey, it expanded my nascent experiences with alcohol which in turn helped me eventually better acquire a taste for top-shelf alcohol and beers of distinction.
As an aside, I should also note that I aged through the various state legal drinking age limits right before they were raised from 18 to 21. Thus, I found it easy to procure alcohol at an early age. Heck, I was buying booze with ease at age 16 with or without my fake ID (note to anyone under 21 reading this: the penalties for my youthful transgressions are way stiffer today than they were when I was nabbed—ahem, I mean, “got away” with them).
Also, please note this disclaimer: The following blog describes inane activities conducted by professionals afflicted with delayed-progression-through-adolescence syndrome. The publisher of this blog warns readers not to engage in or try to recreate any of these activities and will not be held responsible for any damages incurred should this warning be ignored.
OK, then, without further ado, I present you with my initial forays into enjoying good times with good friends with…well, piss-poor alcohol.
Haffenreffer Private Stock
While Budweiser was the beer of choice during my teen years, Haffenreffer became a go-to one weekend when my Massachusetts buddies and I wanted to up our fun quotient. Known as “Green Death” because of its distinctive green bottle and robust alcohol content, high school seniors claimed that no one could get through a whole six-pack without calling earl.
Hah! Upon hearing that, my merry band of freshman and sophomores set out to prove them wrong. A Saturday night, four six-packs of the Green Death, and—appropriately enough—Ye Olde Burial Ground as our drinking spot, and we were set.
However, it quickly became apparent that Haffenreffer was a different breed than Budweiser, as we were all feeling especially goofy halfway through the second bottle. By the third bottle, typical adolescent restlessness had kicked in, so we started wrestling and beating the hell out of each other. While this was relatively normal behavior for us at that time, the Haffenreffer upped the aggressive factor by several notches. This led to a broken tooth and far more bruises, scratches, and ripped clothes than usual, though with no lingering hard feelings.
Bottle four represented the beginning of the end. We were sitting around in a circle licking our respective wounds when Blotto suddenly turned to the side and violently spewed out chunks on top of the final resting place of some poor dude who’d passed on some 200 years prior. Naturally, we relocated, and Blotto crawled over to a cleaner spot to rest and recuperate.
Nickles was the next one to go down, but he managed to verbally warn us—“I’m gonna puke”—and made his way to some nearby bushes where he could offer his absolutions in private. T-Bone and I lasted another half bottle or so, but I’m not sure which one of us gacked first. Needless to say, but none of us made it to number six.
Interestingly, I sampled Haffenreffer again shortly before the brand was discontinued in 2013. I didn’t finish the bottle and can’t say that its discontinuation represents a significant loss to the brewing world.
Cut to a hot summer day in Carolina with good friends, a slow-flowing river, and a rope swing. To notch up the good times’ quotient, we tasked Beetle Baily with securing our beer. Not sure how the Beetle ended up with the task, but he failed miserably. When he showed up at the swimming hole on his bike, he pulled three bottles of Boone’s Farm apple wine out of his knapsack rather than our expected beer. As I recall, there was a long moment’s silence, followed quickly by a verbal beating.
Given these politically correct times, I will not repeat much of the verbal thrashing Beetle received, but let’s just say that it primarily referenced his gender and sexual orientation. Those of you who are not easily offended or of the politically correct ilk can easily imagine precisely what sentiments were expressed.
His only defense was that he couldn’t carry much beer in his knapsack and that Boone’s Farm was the perfect drink for a “stinkin’ hot day.” There was talk of stringing him up on the rope swing, but we calmed down, made the best of it, and somehow managed to quaff down that cloying excuse for wine.
That evening I experienced my first-ever wine headache—piercing pain in the frontal lobes—though dehydration and excess sun probably contributed.
As for Boone’s Farm, it hasn’t passed through these lips since . . . and never will.
Picture a beautiful star-filled night sky, a frozen, snow-covered river, three teenage boys, and a bottle of Bacardi 151. Way too frigging cold to drink beer, but we wanted a little something to drink during our cross-country skiing expedition down the Concord River. Nickles came up with the “perfect” solution. As he explained, everyone knows that rum warms you up, so a high-powered 151 proof rum should add twice the heat. Thus, we ended up with Bacardi 151 for our midnight journey, and it did warm us up. . . at least in our minds.
We didn’t get hammered during our trip but definitely got quite silly. The exercise helped keep us warm in those sub-zero degree temperatures, but we convinced ourselves that it was the 151. Feeling so warm, we soon turned to outcompete each other as to who was the warmest. Layers of clothing started coming off and, at some point, we all found ourselves bare chested. Naturally, we each held to our claims of being warm, and it became a competition of endurance—or just idiocy. I don’t recall who broke first, but I believe we lasted about an hour, fortified by periodic hits of 151, which certainly felt warm as it slid down our respective gullets.
I haven’t had 151 since, but must admit that Bacardi was my rum of choice through college, primarily in rum and Coke formation. Blech—talk about sweet-on-sweet! I no longer drink the stuff, even if it’s the only rum available.
If you haven’t tried tequila yet, I highly recommend that you avoid this particular brand, which is the rotgut of tequilas. Heck, it doesn’t even taste like tequila and, as I recall, has a flavor more akin to acetone infused with burnt rubber.
It’s also the drink that— I’m not proud to say—caused my first black-out. It could have caused far worse but, fortunately, I ended up with a designated driver.
It’s not much of a story, but picture 50 or so high school kids partying at a remote reservoir. There’s a keg, car stereos competing to blast out the “best” music, and seniors celebrating their impending graduation with their own special libations. My small gang had brought several bottles of Pepe, and while we initially started with occasional salt-rimmed shots and lemon, by dark we were chugging it straight from the bottle. By 10:30, we were all pretty much blotto, and by 11:00, I was no longer feeling good and it was time to go home. Most of my other friends had gone their separate ways, and it was down to me and Nickles, who was also pickled and a younger kid we called DoubleT, who wasn’t much of a drinker. Drinking just didn’t agree with him and he didn’t find the thought of me driving us home to be agreeable either. So, he insisted that I let him drive. And, despite his lack of a driver’s license, I did.
Good thing, cause I don’t recall much from that drive home. I do know that I passed out on the back seat, but I don’t remember waking up and opening the door so that I could blow chunks out onto the Massachusetts turnpike rather than in my car. DoubleT rousted Nickles from his own slumber just in time to pull me back into the car; claimed the next day that I was within seconds of tumbling out onto the highway. Don’t know about all that, but I sure did have to contend with a mess in my backseat.
Old Mill Stream
This was my bourbon of choice through university, though certainly not a “choice” bourbon. Pretty much the cheapest bourbon in the ABC store, Old Mill Stream was the perfect low-budget option to cover all those important university social needs, that is excepting those involving entertainment of the fairer sex. Women tend to have far better taste (and sense) than men, and the few times it was offered up as a cocktail, it was promptly rejected after just one sip.
Lots of good times with good friends with the Old Mill Stream, and just the mention of its name today will immediately evoke laughter from my old college buddies. Lots of good stories, too, but I think I’ll keep those between my friends and me.
Old Milwaukee and Milwaukee’s Best
The cheap Budweiser alternatives for broke college students, my friends and I drank these brands by the truckload. Naturally, we’d drink Bud (and even fancier beers on occasion) when not feeling so broke, but because these other brews were almost always half-price compared to Bud, they became staples.
No specific stories to tell, as these brews were always within reach, but not sure how we put up with such crappy beer. Tried one not too long ago and marveled at how insipid the flavor was—carbonated yeasty water, and hard water, at that.
Not sure why I never ran across this one during my university days, but I only needed to experience it once to know that once was enough. Shortly after graduating, I met up with a friend in Washington, DC, who took me to a Jägermeister happy hour. The shots flowed freely, and the digestif’s 56 herbs, spices, and other ingredients worked their magic to give me one of the absolute worst cases of bottle-flu ever.
Well, kids, those were the alcoholic drinks that launched my appreciation for fine spirits and top-end beers. It’s a wonder that they didn’t serve to make me never drink again.
If you’re starting to gain an appreciation for alcohol, I’d suggest starting with the good stuff, if possible. In no particular order, some of my personal favorites include:
Maker’s Mark (Bourbon)
Patron Anejo (Tequila)
The Botanist Islay Dry (Gin)
Mount Gay XO (Rum)
Ketel One (Vodka)
Too many craft beers to name (off the shelf, though, I’ll take a Sam Adams)
And remember, drink responsibly. Trust me, nothing ruins the joys of alcohol like a raging case of bottle-flu, a black-out, having to explain yourself to John Law, or dealing with a pissed-off wife or girlfriend who is upset over your alcohol-induced, juvenile behavior.
—Originally not published by The Southern Drinking Club. Publisher loved it, but I guess it was a bit too much for his readers.