Hasan Minhaj’s critique of Saudi Arabia censored by Netflix

I have been praising Hasan Minhaj’s new weekly show on Netflix for its hard-hitting exposes of important news items wrapped up in comedy. But he seems to have been a little too tough on Saudi Arabia’s leadership and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman following its murder of reporter Jamal Khashogi for that government’s taste. Minhaj’s sponsor Netflix seems to be too weak-kneed and cowardly because it has removed that particular episode from its Saudi Arabian service..
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A word to avoid

On my local neighborhood website, someone asked for recommendations for someone to clean their house on a ‘biweekly’ schedule.

That is a word that I avoid using because it has never been clear to me whether the user means once every two weeks or twice a week. I looked up Merriam-Webster’s dictionary and it gives both definitions. The Cambridge dictionary says that it means every two weeks in American English and “every two weeks or twice a week” for just English, which is not much help.

Clearly people who use it think it means only one or the other and have never encountered it being used with the alternative meaning. The less common word ‘fortnightly’ clearly means every two weeks and so perhaps that should be used when we want to say that and reserve ‘biweekly’ for twice a week.

But perhaps the best option is to simply say ‘twice a week’ or ‘once every two weeks’ and avoid any confusion.

Impressive demonstration by women in India protesting temple ban

The southern Indian state of Kerala has been roiled with turmoil for three months ever since the Indian Supreme Court ruled that a major Hindu temple’s ban on women of menstruating age entering it was unconstitutional. Because of that rule, women between the ages of 10-50 had been barred. The temple leaders and their male supporters have resisted the decision and stopped women from entering and as a result there have been clashes between them and the police trying to enforce the ruling, the latest occurring when two women entered the temple under police protection.


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Film review: Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

This film and the book it was based on has received quite a bit of buzz about being one of the few films that feature an all Asian cast. In this case ‘Asian’ is used in a highly restricted sense of being just Singaporeans of Chinese ethnicity. No other groups made an appearance other than in bit parts.

The first half of the film can be categorized as ‘wealth porn’ where we are regaled with the lifestyles of exceedingly rich Singapore Chinese families who show that they can be as obnoxiously ostentatious about flaunting their wealth as any gauche Westerner. At that point I was going to give up on the film but the sunk-cost effect kicked in and I thought I might as well watch a bit more.
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Why do people think this is funny?

I am not a fan of practical jokes in general because they tend to have an underlying mean streak that finds humor in unsettling, upsetting, or even frightening the targeted person. Perhaps among close friends practical jokes are marginally acceptable though if I had a friend who was a regular practical joker, they would not be my friend for long. I like to take people at face value and having to always second-guess the actions of someone else would get old very soon.
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Ruining national treasures

The national parks in the US are truly wonderful, a tribute to many generations of the public that have seen the value in protecting lands for their beauty and historical value and have supported government attempts to preserve their pristine nature. Hence it is sad that some people are trashing the parks simply because there are few or no rangers on duty due to the Trump shutdown of the federal government.
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