From the late 19th century through to the mid-20th century the phrase Banned in Boston was used to refer to artworks, be they books, plays, paintings, or films that the city council of Boston, Massachusetts found objectionable. The city officials were invested with wide-ranging powers to ban anything they felt the good folks of Boston might, or should, find offensive. The list of banned works is long and by our modern standards nothing short of silly when you consider the Everly Brothers’ Wake Up Little Susie was banned in Boston! One can only imagine the field day the councilors would have with Miley Cyrus.
We still ban things, but usually provide a reason
No explanation was required to ban a book or play, the fact that the council didn’t like it was plenty good enough. The phrase may still be heard every so often,but of course we don’t do that anymore. Not that things aren’t banned but usually an explanation of why something was banned is provided; we ban child pornography for obvious reasons, we ban certain pesticides for health reasons. However if you’re dealing with the Huffington Post it seems they can ban your account on a whim without any reason given.
I had been a reader of and commenter on Huffington Post for a couple of years; during that time I didn’t receive a single negative reply to any comments I posted, I even had a handful of ‘fans’ as they call them. So it was a surprise to me when I recently attempted to log in only to have the image above appear on my screen.
No explanation offered for banned account
They have my coordinates, couldn’t they have sent me an email explaining my banning and outlining how I could launch an appeal? Nope. Just this very rude notice splashed across my monitor. No note saying “We’ve banned you because your comments were level-headed and thoughtful whereas we prefer drooling moronic blather on our forums”. Could it have been because I included a link to my blog at the end of my level-headed thoughtful comments? Isn’t that what the internet is all about? InterNET as in NETwork, links, ping backs, shares whatever you want to call them the idea is to promote interaction and exchange.
There are those out there who seem to get a kick out of playing the role of Internet Police. Some moderators on Reddit and other overly zealous administrators of Facebook groups are among those who attempt to stifle the flow of ideas – good, bad or otherwise – that make up the Internet.
Oh well, I’ll not moan too much. Considering all those who were Banned in Boston, I’m in pretty good company, and at about the same time the Huffington Post was banning me CNN was linking to me. I’ll take that any day.
Here’s a little Saturday mystery that’s been scrambling my brain for a week or so. With two eggs left in a carton we bought a new dozen and piled the two cartons in the refrigerator. On the bottom the full dozen, atop it the carton with the remaining two.
This is no yolking matter; I shelled out for protective packaging and had to discard it after a few days. Has this ever happened to anyone else? What gives?
A few days later when I went to take an egg I noticed that both cartons, not the squeaky foam type, but the cardboard ones, were soaking wet. I figured one or both of the top eggs had somehow broken and oozed down into the lower carton. Nope. In fact all 14 eggs were in perfect condition. Next I thought the water pitcher on the shelf above the eggs must have been leaking. Nope. The Brita is in ship-shape. The entire refrigerator was dry, walls sides and top but somehow my egg cartons had to be tossed out in a sopping mess.
This is no yolking matter; I shelled out for protective packaging and had to discard it after a few days. Has this ever happened to anyone else? What gives? Is my refrigerator to blame? Do I have gremlins?
Below is a statement from a 30-year old Venezuelan currently living abroad. His disgust with his home, in the wake of recent events, is evident from his comments. The murder of former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear has focused the world’s attention on Venezuela’s sky-rocketing crime rate. The young ex-patriot laments the fact that on a daily basis many Venezuelans who have not attained Ms. Spear’s level of fame suffer a similar fate and nobody seems to care. He fears there is no respect for life.
What happened to Monica Spear in Venezuela is really a shitty situation. A year ago, the same thing happened to the baseball player, something that also happens to thousands of Venezuelans who sadly are not famous so nobody will know. What’s left from all these? NOTHING. Another dead person, a number, a statistic, another destroyed family, children without parents, parents without children. Each day that passes I have less desire to step a foot in Venezuela and each day that passes I feel less and less proud of saying that I am Venezuelan. The reality is I’m saying that I come from a place where there is no respect for life. I wish I was wrong and that I could change my thoughts and once again feel proud of being Venezuelan.
Es una real putada lo que ha pasado con Monica Spear en Venezuela. Lo mismo pasó con el jugador de béisbol hace un año y lo mismo pasa con miles de venezolanos que tristemente no son famosos y nadie se entera. ¿En que queda todo esto?en NADA. Un muerto más, un número, una estadística, una familia más destruida, niños sin padres, padres sin hijos. Cada día me quedan menos ganas de pisar Venezuela y cada día siento menos orgullo de decir que soy venezolano, decir que vengo del mismo sitio donde se perdió el respeto por la vida. Ojala me equivoque y logre devolver este pensamiento y volver a sentirme venezolano. Es una real putada lo que ha pasado con Monica Spear en Venezuela. Lo mismo pasó con el jugador de béisbol hace un año y lo mismo pasa con miles de venezolanos que tristemente no son famosos y nadie se entera. ¿En que queda todo esto?en NADA. Un muerto más, un número, una estadística, una familia más destruida, niños sin padres, padres sin hijos. Cada día me quedan menos ganas de pisar Venezuela y cada día siento menos orgullo de decir que soy venezolano, decir que vengo del mismo sitio donde se perdió el respeto por la vida. Ojala me equivoque y logre devolver este pensamiento y volver a sentirme venezolano.
Today’s Daily Prompt is about being outside and looking in. As a Venezuelan who has left his home the young man who made the above statement is certainly outside looking in, but with a vested interest.
Reach out and touch somebody’s hand
Make this world a better place, if you can
– Diana Ross
Reach out come on girl reach on out for me
Reach out reach out for me
– Four Tops
Reach out and touch me
– Hilary Duff
Once upon a time people called, approached, telephoned, wrote, faced, asked, interfaced, or just plain spoke to each other. Now they ‘reach out’ to one another. The concept of people reaching out isn’t new as the song lyrics above show, but using the phrase has become common to refer to the initiation of any sort of human contact.
From president Obama asking those on either side of the congressional aisle to reach out to each other over any number of issues, to journalists claiming to have reached out to so-and-so for a statement. There’s a whole lot of reaching out going on these days. Sales reps no longer busy themselves making the dreaded cold calls, now they reach out to potential customers. The homeless have been reaching out for years, but sadly in their case they are actually reaching out for a few bucks in their hand.
Always ahead of his time, even Jesus was doing it: “So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it!”
Always ahead of his time, even Jesus was doing it: “So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it!”(Romans 15:7-17). I can’t imagine – So give them a call and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus texted them; now you do it!
But perhaps the most poignant use of the phrase ‘reaching out’ was as the title of photographer Larry Burrows’ 1966 shot of Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah Purdie actually reaching out to a wounded comrade in Vietnam. The photo appeared in LIFE magazine and has become a classic. Perhaps it’s this image that colors my opinion of the phrase, but I can’t help but feel there is something desperate about ‘reaching out’ as opposed to getting in touch with. In desperation a person reaches out of a burning building for help, but opposing sides in a political debate should just stick to trying to make contact.
This weekend yet another large winter storm, a nor’easter in fact, made its way, appropriately, both north and east causing much havoc to holiday travelers. At one point CNN reported that 100 million people were in the storm’s path. Although we are in the north-east of North America, here in Montreal we were spared all but a dusting of snow.
I dug out this parking spot so it’s mine … forever!
Watching the news coverage of the storm and its aftereffects I was struck by a report of the unwritten rule in South Boston that once you dig your car out of the snow if you place a marker in its stead, your parking spot is deemed to be off-limits to others. Huh?!?
One often hears people saying that Canada is a more civilized nation that the US given our socialized medicine and attitude toward guns. But this parking spot respect knocked me for a loop. Way up here north of the 49th parallel – where snow was invented – once you vacate a parking spot, it’s up for grabs. Regardless of whether you have placed a construction cone, a chair with a shovel, or your grandparents sitting at a kitchen table quaffing tea, once you’re out, you relinquish all claims to the spot. The logic being everyone digs out once; if I dig out my car I then look for dug-out parking spots and the driver who shoveled out my new spot does likewise. I’ve seen arguments break out between drivers attempting to pull in behind my just cleared spot.
The photo above from the Boston Globe must be a set-up. First the cleared and reserved parking spot appears to be beside a hydrant and secondly there isn’t enough snow to warrant digging, assuming you are using snow tires!
As much as I admire the sentiment I think the current way of doing things is entrenched in our minds and people here would no sooner respect a cone in a parking spot than they would a guy ‘holding’ a table for four by himself in a crowded bar.
All-season tires may work in all Florida seasons, but …
Trying to drive in snow with all-seasons is like trying to go deep-sea diving with a snorkel; it works up to a point, but to really get the job done better equipment is required.
As a snow person my heart has always gone out to those who are not familiar with the white stuff but who occasionally have to deal with it. Boston, New York, Chicago all have the wherewithal to cope with winter. Washington, D.C. on the other hand is not a winter city and therefore even a small amount of snow can cause chaos. The sight of people trying to navigate slippery icy sidewalks using the best available footwear is nothing short of pathetic (if sometimes just a wee bit funny).
But when it comes to driving in snowy conditions without proper tires there is nothing funny about it. And when I say proper tires I mean snow tires, not all-seasons. Trying to drive in snow with all-seasons is like trying to go deep-sea diving with a snorkel; it works up to a point, but to really get the job done better equipment is required. A few years ago the province of Quebec enacted a law making it mandatory to have snow tires on your car from December 15 to March 15. Too many motorists were trying to save the cost and hassle of using two sets of tires by installing all-seasons, unfortunately they must have been referring to all the seasons in Missouri when they made those tires.
… what I’m asking is that whether you live in Minnesota or Nevada, if there is sufficient snow on the road surface and you don’t have snow tires don’t, for everybody’s sake, drive!
Many folks – men for the most part I believe – claim to be able to drive just fine on their all-season tires in any condition. Not only is this more bravado than fact, it doesn’t stop the lesser talented driver from spinning out of control and into your vehicle. Yep, socialist Canada, we all use the roads so let’s do so in the safest way possible for everybody. Am I suggesting everyone in the United States be required to have snow tires just in case? Of course not, what I’m asking is that whether you live in Minnesota or Nevada, if there is sufficient snow on the road surface and you don’t have snow tires don’t, for everybody’s sake, drive!
Almost as fun as the putting up and decorating is the jettisoning of the Christmas tree for recycling. No more big plastic bags that always ripped halfway down the three flights of stairs and had me sweeping up needles. I now use the express tree portal, also known as my dinning-room window, to drop the tree to the recycling pick-up point. Of course for safety reasons a person is in position to assure me the area is clear and I can drop the tree without fear of clobbering anyone.
And so for your viewing pleasure here’s this year’s version of the Christmas Tree Drop!
In the German town of Euskirchen, situated in North Rhine-Westphalia, a construction worker using a digger unearthed one of the many unexploded bombs that were dropped during World War Two. Sadly this one exploded, killing the driver and seriously injuring two of his colleagues. The blast blew out windows and caused damage to streets in the area as well.
According to the article in The Telegraph, the North Rhine-Westphalia’s interior ministry said it defused 706 bombs in 2012. Experts increasingly use Allies’ war-time aerial photographs to find unexploded bombs, although many are also uncovered accidentally during construction work.
I wonder if the poor driver’s family will get a pension?
… just for God’s sake don’t indulge your curiosity in the old “I wonder if your tongue really does stick to a lamppost”! It does … really, it does!
Colder than a witch’s tit! Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey! The list goes on but one thing remains the same, it is cold here in Montreal. But then it is January and we are in Canada so this deep freeze shouldn’t come as a surprise. Dress in layers and remember that exposed skin can freeze in very little time; don’t go out unless you have to; if you have to go out try to avoid long periods of exposure (believe me, you’ll know what constitutes a long period). These are all standard warnings when it comes to a blast of Arctic air, but the most important one is often omitted. Always check the wind-chill feels-like temperature (a term soon to be replaced with Extreme Cold) .
According to Blair Morrow, an Environment Canada meteorologist, this past December 6, Environment Canada issued a wind chill warning for an area when the temperature dipped to -30 Celsius and winds hit 19 km/h, producing a face-numbing wind chill of -42 Celsius.
Under the current system, no warning would have been issued had the temperature plunged to -42 Celsius and the winds been light, even though the threat of frostbite or hypothermia would have been just as high (keep in mind the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales meet at -40).
In the graphic below from The Weather Network I have highlighted the “feels like” row. It doesn’t matter what the actual temperature is, what counts is what, with wind and other aspects factored in, it feels like on your skin. Currently the temperature outside my window is -25 degrees Celsius (about -11 Fahrenheit), yet I know it will feel significantly colder than that because the “feels like” temperature is -38.
The extreme cold sky is a washed-out white and the sound of airplanes passing overhead is amplified in an eerie way. The street surface is also white as things freeze up. People dart about not wasting time and small talk is limited to indoors. The photo below of my trusty electronic thermometer indicates the -25C without the wind wind a toasty +23C inside making for a 48 degree swing!
But don’t let this scare you off if you are planning a vacation in Canada this winter, just for God’s sake don’t indulge your curiosity in the old “I wonder if your tongue really does stick to a lamppost”! It does … really, it does!