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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Hump Day odds & ends

Man-bun Ken
Man-bun Ken
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 04:01 pm

Let's hear it for The Slants, the musical group the Supreme Court "allowed" to have an offensive name, and, by extension, the Washington Redskins, who have been fighting to keep their trademarked logo despite the fact that the FTC thinks it "demeans" Native Americans.

And, by further extension, the rest of us, who have seen the court reaffirm its commitment to the First Amendment by, believe it or not, a unanimous verdict. After the court waffled on state license plates, ruling that personalized plates were somehow "government speech," which meant states could veto plates deemed offensive, in some way, by somebody, it's good to see that, maybe free speech is free speech after all.

Justice Alito, in the ruling:  “We have said time and again that 'the public expression of ideas may not be prohibited merely because the ideas are themselves offensive to some of their hearers."

So, to all you constitutional illiterates who keep saying the First Amendment does not protect hate speech — hell, yes, it does. In fact, hateful, despicable, offensive speech is the whole point of the First Amendment.

What the court did, in essence, was shut down the "heckler's veto," which allowed anyone who feels in any way offended by someone else's speech can shut it down.

Some cynics are saying the court really wanted to shut down the outrage machine over the Redskins controversy but didn't want to wade into those politically sensitive waters, so it chose this case to get the job done. The Slants is a name chosen by the Asian members of the musical group (as an in-your-face gesture to bigots), so how could it be considering "disparaging" to Asians? I doubt that's true, but it sort of tickles me that it might be.

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OK. Diversity. I get it. We don't want to inflict the same old boring white bread Ken doll on America's youth, so we have to throw a little variety in there: "Ken has been given a makeover and is now available in seven different skin tones as toy maker Mattel bids to modernise its products. Mattel has released 15 new editions of Barbie's boyfriend - all called Ken - in what the company has labelled its “most diverse line-up to date".There are two new "broad" and "slim" body types and the figures are also available with nine different hairstyles including cornrows or a man bun, as well as a range of eye colours." But, come on! Man bun Ken?!? Is Mattel trying to give our kids a mental breakdown? Man buns have finally been recognized on the cover of The New Yorker, which usually means a fad has come and gone. Oh, please, if only.

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Can't we at least politics out of our comic books? Apparently not, at least as soon as they hit the big screen. Hillary Clinton says she hasn't seen the Wonder Woman movie yet but she can related to the super hero: “. . . something tells me that a movie about a strong, powerful woman fighting to save the world from a massive international disaster is right up my alley.” I wouldn't trust that woman to save my place in line.

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I can't wait — "Your next car may be a living room on wheels."

Imagine rearranging the seats in your car to watch a movie on a big screen in the dashboard. Or controlling functions like air conditioning by touching the window. Or replacing rearview mirrors with cameras that give you a live-action look at the surrounding traffic.

Those are just some of the ideas car makers and designers are kicking around as they imagine a driverless future. When cars can largely navigate roads on their own, there's no need for the interior design to rigidly follow the model established in the early days of automobiles. The inside of driverless cars might look more like living rooms or meeting places on wheels, with a focus on flexibility and entertainment.

And when I yell, "Stay off my lawn!" I mean the whole country, OK?

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Oh, yeah, I totally believe it: How cats used humans to conquer the world. "From their native home in the Middle East, the first tamed cats followed humans out on ships and expeditions to take over the world—settling on six continents  with even the occasional foray to Antarctica. Domestication has been a fantastically successful evolutionary strategy for cats." You think they're not going to follow us into space and take over there, too?

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So, follow me into the kitchen, where I will trick you into eating your vegetables. "And they found that 25 percent more people picked the veggie with the indulgent label over the basic label, even though the two dishes were exactly the same. And even more people (41 percent) chose the veggie dish when it sounded indulgent over when it sounded healthy-restrictive, and 35% chose the more delicious-sounding dish over the healthy-positive one." So, basically, advertising works just as, well, advertised.

But be careful with that garlic! It's probably one of the most dangerous things in your kitchen:

When a garlic clove sprouts even the smallest green shoot in its centre, it's now unsafe for eating. “It's a perfect garlic if you want to grow garlic,” says Bond. “But this sprout, if moisture gets in here in any shape or form, it's actually a mild form of salmonella will grow in there and give you an upset belly.” The chef explained that often when diners get an upset stomach after a meal, it's the garlic—not suspect meat—that's to blame.

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They needed a poll to figure that out? "The political divide between rural and urban America is more cultural than it is economic, rooted in rural residents' deep misgivings about the nation's rapidly changing demographics, their sense that Christianity is under siege and their perception that the federal government caters most to the needs of people in big cities, according to a wide-ranging poll that examines cultural attitudes across the United States." They may have fancy polls that come up with ever more exotic reasons for it, but, trust me, that divide has always been there and always will be.

 

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