A Political History Quiz Question (Not Icy's, Again)
Posted 5 Days Ago
Here's a political history quiz for you:
What election was this?
The most controversial candidate made negative statements about women and minorities.
The same candidate advocated extreme measures to remove minorities from the country and limit citizenship for 'undesirable foreigners'.
This candidates' supporters engaged in violent confrontations with opponents' supporters at rallies and campaign functions.
While some media outlets labeled the candidate a clown, and made fun of him, others admired his forthrightness and predicted that he would 'shake things up'.
Unemployment was high that year, and national production was down. People were unhappy about the economic situation.
The candidate appealed to popular values shared by voters, such as patriotism and a sense of victimization.
The candidate was definitely NOT 'politically correct'. He insulted just about everybody.
The candidate was mocked by the elite for being vulgar, tasteless, and uneducated, but some of them secretly thought he might be a useful tool for controlling the masses.
All right, what year was this? And what country?
And what happened next?
Genderbending and politics
Posted 3 Weeks Ago
I do NOT mean to open up a discussion of the political chaos in my country. I mean it, I will ignore comments relating to who's running, who's winning, why, or the insanity involved. Historical comparisons are also odious, and cannot be made without skirting far too closely to Godwin's Law for comfort. (You may quote Bertolt Brecht if you like.)
But I cannot forebear from sharing this piece of work from 'The Nation' with you. It's by a writer named Rebecca Solnit. I know nothing about her beyond what's on the page, and I don't even usually read this journal. But the essay was so good as a *piece of fiction* that I felt like passing it on. It's called 'If Donald Trump Were a Woman and If Hillary Clinton Were a Man.'
The background to the tale: a short time ago, Mr Trump made baffling statements in public to the effect that Ms Clinton was only playing the 'woman card' (whatever that was supposed to be) and that, if she were a man, she wouldn't get 5% of the vote. His somewhat incoherent comments apparently inspired this clever piece of writing:
I laughed myself silly. Think about it: it's practically a flash-fiction alternate history tale. Like all good alternate history, it makes us thoughtful.
Oh, how I hope it makes somebody thoughtful...
Remember: I will not reply to a discussion of the election, only your comments about this essay and what it says about gender and politics. (Or the usual instant topic drift, just add water.)
And quotes from Bertolt Brecht, such as:
'Wäre es da nicht doch einfacher, die Regierung löste das Volk auf und wählte ein anderes?' (Wouldn't it be simpler for the government to dissolve the people and elect a new one?)
Posted 4 Weeks Ago
Ah, spring. When we can finally look forward to fresh veg, locally grown, rather than the hothouse stuff. And when we can replace the Youtube vids of cute housepets for the real deal outside...nature in all its glory...
Be afraid. Be very afraid. If you get your ideas of nature from 'Wake Up, Baby Bunnies':
You will be well shocked by the Western Pennsylvania Audubon Society's webcam. It's located in a bald eagle eyrie. Watching bald eagles may be patriotic, but it is not the feel-good exercise most armchair nature lovers imagined.
The bald eagles have baby bald eagles. And they feed them. What, you ask, do they feed them?
Well, er, baby bunnies and other titbits. But the flying predators went too far the other day. They brought home a kitteh. (Oh, noes!)
The Society director did point out that the cat in question appeared already to be dead, though Pittsburgh's bald eagles are now on the 'ewww!' list for many viewers.
On the home front, Elektra announced last night that we have to keep an eye on Doglet. Doglet loves to hang around campus - she prefers her walks over there, mainly because the students all miss their cats and dogs at home and give her lots of welcome loving.
At least, we THOUGHT that was why...
Elektra's always watching to make sure Doglet doesn't pick up any more chewing gum. There's strange-coloured chewing gum on the sidewalks over there. But last evening, apparently, there was worse. Much worse...
'She picked up a joint,' said Elektra.
'I'm assuming you don't mean mutton?' I replied.
'I yelled 'Drop that right now!' and she did.'
Ah, modern life....what's worse, nature, science, or college students? Clean up your acts, you're a bad influence on my dog.
Jackson Quiz (Not Icy's)
Posted 5 Weeks Ago
Just thought I'd warn you that it was a duffer quiz, not an expert's.
But you may or may not be aware of the controversy over here about replacing Andrew Jackson's picture on the $20 bill with a likeness of Harriet Tubman. (Yay!) Good news for casinos and ATMs with Native American clientele: they won't use 'Jacksons', anyway.
David Crockett was a contemporary, and frankly, he didn't like Jackson at all. Lots of people didn't like Jackson, for lots of reasons. But what do you know about the US president from the Tennessee frontier? Are these statements true or false? Feel free to expand on your answers. I'll help out with 'fun facts' about Old Hickory, who might have said, 'By the Eternal, y'all better git this raight!'
1. Andrew Jackson's parents came from Yorkshire.
2. Andrew Jackson was not a citizen of the United States when he was born.
3. Andrew Jackson killed a man in a duel.
4. Andrew Jackson won the popular vote for president three times.
5. The term 'Old Hickory' referred to the hardness of Jackson's head.
6. Jackson is not the only president to have been targeted for assassination. He is, however, the only president who retaliated by beating up his would-be assassin.
7. Jackson's wife committed bigamy when she married him.
8. Andrew Jackson was the only US president to have been a POW.
9. Andrew Jackson's first inauguration was very dignified.
10. Andrew Jackson's picture should stay on the $20 bill because he was instrumental in creating a sound national currency.
Freebie Film Tip: Spying 101
Posted 6 Weeks Ago
Here's a freebie film tip for you. Would you like to know how to be a spy in World War II? Here's the introductory course from the OSS:
Filmmaker John Ford (who once staged the Pearl Harbor attack in a big tub of water with toy boats) appears in his own work here, as an agent handler who backs the wrong horse.
They say Peter Lorre is in it, but I couldn't spot him. If you do, let me know.
Many things you can do wrong are covered. Don't flirt too much. Don't attract attention. Don't pass bad currency. Learn your slang. And don't litter. Very dangerous, this littering.
Anyway, this is a lovely film. For an 'industrial', it's truly riveting. Enjoy.
For extra credit, compare it to the CIA film on the Russian spy villages:
'The Americans' isn't nearly as entertaining as this.