Reason’s Greetings!

Best wishes to all the blog’s readers for the holiday season, if and however you celebrate it, in whatever form you prefer to do so. I came across this short film featuring Mog the cat, a character created by Judith Kerr. Mog is the star of a series of children’s books. This holiday season the British grocery chain Sainsbury’s produced this film featuring a CGI version of the cat. I thought it was pretty good.
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This unhinged rant is a thing of beauty

Two young Brazilian men were filming a sketch for their YouTube comedy channel on a public street with a backdrop of an airplane when a woman driving by stopped and started ranting at them for being terrorists. It was quite incredible the amount of obscenities, racism, religious rubbish, and homophobic slurs she managed to cram into just a few minutes. I was impressed at how well the two men took it, managing to laugh at her while filming her.
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What a fiasco

Whatever one might think about the merits of beauty competitions like Miss Universe, many, many people take them seriously, not least the contestants from each participating nation. The format is one of round-by-round elimination, leaving just three finalists, which this year were Miss Colombia, Miss Philippines, and Miss USA.
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What was the Roman empire really like?

Of all the periods of earlier times, we are probably most familiar with (or more accurately think we are familiar with) that of the Roman empire because of the heavy focus of commercial films dealing with it. But how accurate are the perceptions we gleaned from them? Dave Davies of Fresh Air has a fascinating interview with historian Mary Beard about her new book SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, where she discusses some of the myths about the rise and fall of Rome and describes what life then was really like, and discusses the many films and TV series made about that period.
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Busybody neighbors

When we travel, we leave Baxter the Wonder Dog with a retired couple who live in another suburb and have their own dog. It is no doubt a source of some small income to them though given that they live in an upper-middle class area, I doubt that they really need the money. They will take up to one or two extra dogs at a time but most of the time Baxter has been their only guest. We like keeping Baxter in a home rather than a more impersonal kennel because he has the run of the house, gets walks and treats, and can play with their own dog.
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Why haven’t we solved the public toilet gender problem?

On our recent trip in Sri Lanka, the coaches that we used to travel over the country would stop at points for people to stretch their legs, have something to drink, and use the toilets. And the usual situation occurred in that the line for men’s toilet was non-existent while that for the women was long, at least until I gave the women the all clear that the men’s toilet was unoccupied and they commandeered the men’s toilet for their own use until the line was cleared.
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The ugly Sri Lankan-American

There was one ugly incident during my recent holiday in Sri Lanka. We traveled around by two coaches and stayed at hotels. Naturally, when the 75 of us descended on a hotel all at once, the hotel receptionists were really busy trying to check everyone in as quickly as possible. I tended to wait in the lobby until the crowd dissipated before going to the counter but at one hotel, I saw one of our party who is not a close relative of mine and whom I did not know growing up in Sri Lanka (let’s call him K) gesticulating angrily at the receptionist for some time.
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Back to blogging!

I am back from my break. During this time, I was in Sri Lanka with my wife, older daughter, and her husband to attend a big family reunion. I grew up with a large and close-knit group of cousins. Sri Lanka being a small country, even though we lived in different parts of it, it was easy for us to all get together regularly. School holidays would see many of us spend extended periods of time in one another’s homes where our aunts and uncles treated us like their own children, and the bonds that we forged when young are strong.
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