Showing posts from December, 2016

Breaking The Fishbowl

There has already been whole gallons of printer ink and bandwidth dedicated to trying to understand the massive, intense failure of the Democratic Party to win the election last November. I'm not really interested in rehashing all of that. My opinions are pretty damn clear: if you don't have a message for all 50 states and candidates in all 50 states, you can expect to win in all 50 states. It's that simple. Precious ideological principles don't impress me much. Don't get me wrong: principles are nice things to have, but they don't matter all that much if you can't win. There's two main problems that I think need to be confronted if the creaking, rusted edifice of the Left is to remodel and revitalize itself for the 21st Century. The first is it's basic and deepest flaw: it's fidelity to the idea of equality in a society- whether it's the Democratic-Progressive flavor or the deeper, communist flavor that shook the 20th Century- has to be e

The North Carolina Thing

As irritated as I am right now with the Left and their apparent desire to board The Crazy Train to Tinfoilhatsville and the uncomfortable realization that the Democratic Party really is going to stick it's head up it's ass and wait for the pendulum to swing back their way, because that's a really good idea, I can't ignore Shenanigans and Bullshit from the Right, either. Exhibit A: North Carolina. One of the few bright spots for the Democrats on Election Day, Roy Cooper finally got over the finish line in the North Carolina Governor's race topping Republican Governor Pat McCrory by 10,000 votes or so. In response to this, Republicans in the North Carolina legislature- having been called into special session to pass disaster relief for those affected by Hurricane Matthew, decided to go ahead and pass a series of bills designed to limit the incoming (Democratic) Governor's power. These include weakening the Governor's control over the state Board of Elec

This Week In Vexillology #194: Central Province, Sri Lanka

Well, we're back to Sri Lanka again this week for the Brown Flag Challenge and we've got our first verifiable swing and a miss with the challenge- this time courtesy of the flag of the Central Province. Behold: You know, there are plenty of design folks out there that can't stand State Flags of the United States because they're essentially 'Seals On A Bedsheet'- or a lot of them are, anyway. While it's not a 'Seal On A Bedsheet' this flags is about as disappointing as your average 'Seal On A Bedsheet.' The lion is seen on the national flag of Sri Lanka- it's the lion of Vijaya , who was the first King in Sri Lanka- he arrived in 486 BC, so this has been a national symbol of the island for a long time- and it's been paired with the Sun and the Moon before as well, most notably by King Dutugemunu who fought off invaders from South India in 162 BC. So, the majority of the symbolism isn't entirely out of character for the count

The Russia Thing

Look, I get it. The system sucks. The Democratic Party blew an easy lay-up of an election against a reality show host who has a Tweeting problem and comes across as a buffoon most of the time, but things are starting to get a little scary here. Let's start with the Electoral College: If I'm reading the map on this Wikipedia Page correctly, about 26 states or so have laws against faithless electors. A quick trip over to and some mouse clicks later reveals that those states, all told account for 282 electoral votes. In other words, despite all these petitions for the Electoral College to put Hillary in over Trump, it just isn't going to happen. People like not going to jail or paying fines or whatever. It's also worth noting that the whole 'faithless elector' phenomenon isn't the least bit new. There have been 157 cases over the history of our Republic and not once has it impacted or changed the results of an election. I see no reason to belie

Let's Talk About 'Gilmore Girls'

I think I first stumbled across Gilmore Girls during a ridiculously long marathon that was running on ABC Family over one of my breaks as an undergraduate (I think that was also the Spring Break I watched a metric ton of M*A*S*H reruns.) I had never seen it before. I had never heard of it before. But the writing caught my attention immediately. The dialogue practically crackled at light speed across the screen. Was is it a wee bit soapy, as befit it's presence on The WB? Sure, but it was also brimming with intelligence. This was smart television and all too quickly, I was hooked. So it was with no small amount of delight that I greeted the news of a special four episode revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life . I figured at the very least, it would be a pleasure to visit this show, these characters and the writing again- and it was. But more importantly, they managed to more than live up to the hype. A lot of these revivals (I'm trying not to look at you, X-Files and I&

This Week In Vexillology #193: Michigan

The Brown Flag Challenge keeps rolling right along this week and we're coming back to North America to take a look at the flag of The Great Lakes State- yes, that's right- we're looking at Michigan: You know, people tend to get down on state flags because too many of them go the direction of 'Seals On A Bedsheet' and Michigan almost does that- but this is more a 'Coat of Arms On A Bedsheet' which is enough of a change of pace from so many State Flags out there, I'd rank this one in the upper echelon of the state flags. It's striking- and you can see plenty of brown on the flag, with the elk, the moose and the eagle. (NAVA disagrees with me. They ranked it 59 out of 72 flags and averaged 3.46 out of a possible 10 points. Way harsh, NAVA. Way, way harsh.) So let's break it down- this flag is actually the 3rd state flag of Michigan and it was adopted June 26, 1911- so it's only been around and kicking for 105 years or so. ( Per the Wikipe

'Moana' --A Review

Well, we were going to take the Elder Spawn to see Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them for his 5th birthday, but after asking around and seeing what people thought about it, we decided against that, since reports were that it was quite scary. So, we skipped Trolls (because, well, ugh) and went with Moana instead, thinking, 'hey, he's got to dig a Disney movie, right? How scary can it be?' Whoops. Well, it turns out that Moana got so hard core he asked to go home at least three times, but we got through it just fine. That's not to say that it wasn't a bad movie- quite the contrary in fact. Moana was probably the best Disney movie I've seen since The Emperor's New Groove . (Yes, I'd put it ahead of Frozen by a decent margin.) The movie opens with an ancient legend of Te Fiti, an island goddess, who created all life and then became an island. Her heart was stolen by the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson), who wanted to bring her power of creation


Chapecoense Awful news out of Colombia last week , as Brazilian team Chapecoense crashed on their final approach to Medellin, where they were set to play in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana Finals, which I guess is like the South American equivalent of the Europa League. I'll be brutally honest: I had never heard of the team before last week, had no idea what the Copa Sudamericana was and couldn't actually find Chapeco on a map. ( I looked it up , it's in the state of Santa Catarina in Southern Brazil.) But what struck me was the incredible outpouring of support for the victims of the crash and this team that echoed around the world in the aftermath. Brazilian teams are offering to loan players to the team for free and asking that they be spared relegation for a period. Colombian fans poured into the streets to sing and chant the team's chant and paid tribute to the victims. Wembley Stadium's iconic arches turned green in tribute . The solidarity shown

This Week In Vexillology #192: Eastern Province, Sri Lanka

The Brown Flag Challenge is back after Thanksgiving with another provincial flag from Sri Lanka- this time, it's the Eastern Province: Happily, there's a lot more information to be had with this province, unless the North West Province. A lot of that has to be do with the political situation in Sri Lanka during the Civil War. For most of the Civil War, much of the Eastern Province was under the control of the LTTE . After the Indo-Lankan Accord of 1987, where powers were devolved to the provinces, the Eastern Province was temporarily merged with the Northern Province to form the (wait for it...) North-East Province, but no one really liked that since that merged province took up about 25% of Sri Lanka's total territory and during the Civil War, people weren't too tickled by the idea of the LTTE potentially having that much territory to potentially grab. Eventually the province was de-merged officially in January of 2007 and recaptured by the Sri Lankan military lat

Squawk Box: The Crown

Netflix's most expensive project to date, The Crown is the latest from British film writer and playwright Peter Morgan who, at least when it comes to British history/politics/monarchy seems incapable of hitting anything other than home runs clear out of the park. (Morgan wrote The Queen , Frost/Nixon , The Damned United , Rush and an excellent British television drama entitled The Deal which is about the power-sharing deal between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown that was struck in 1994. All of which- with the exception of Rush , that I haven't actually seen, are excellent.) The Crown covers the early years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy) and tells the story of Elizabeth's marriage to Phillip (Matt Smith), the death of her father, King George VI (Jared Harris) and her ascension to to the throne. With King George ailing at the start of the series due to lung cancer- and in fact, having had a lung removed, he realizes that his time is short and starts to co