I’m with Rat on this one

One of the things that I disliked about winter was having to get up in the morning when it was still dark outside. Now that I am retired, I go to bed late and get up late, well after the sun has come up. Add to that the ability to stay indoors on really cold, snowy, and windy days and that has made winter a lot more tolerable, though I still don’t like it.

How the peace symbol came to be

I am always on the lookout for interesting pieces of historical trivia and how the famous peace symbol came into existence certainly qualifies. It turns out that it was created in 1958 by Gerald Holtom by superimposing the international semaphore alphabet signals for ‘N’ and ‘D’ so that the symbol represents ‘Nuclear Disarmament’.

On Good Friday 1958, thousands gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to protest nuclear weapons. They were responding to a string of test blasts conducted by the United Kingdom, the third nation to join the nuclear club after the US and USSR.

For the next four days, the bravest among them marched to Aldermaston, a small village 50 miles west of London where British nuclear weapons were designed and stockpiled.

On the protesters’ signs and banners, a new symbol was making its first appearance. Gerald Holtom, a designer and a pacifist, had developed it specifically for the march just a few weeks prior. He believed that a symbol would make the message stronger.

He was right: The symbol was adopted soon after by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and went on to become one of the most widely recognized designs in history.

“It’s a minor masterpiece with major evocative power,” said design guru and cultural critic, Stephen Bayley, in an email. “It speaks very clearly of an era and a sensibility.

“It is, simply, a fine period piece: the ordinary thing done extraordinarily well.”

The symbol has a strong similarity to the Mercedes Benz emblem (that has resulted in some satire about how people mistakenly used one for the other) and I wonder if the car company ever considered suing for copyright infringement. Of course, this was in 1958 not long after the Nazis had been defeated in World War II and a German company’s efforts to suppress a peace symbol may not have been viewed as the wisest public relations move.

Why Bob?

I found this Speed Bump cartoon by Dave Coverly funny but it also highlights something I’ve noticed and that is that the name ‘Bob’ is used very often in comics to label someone who is the butt of the joke. For some reason, there just seems to be something funny about the name.

Rihanna stands with Colin Kaepernick

Being invited to do the Super Bowl halftime show is considered a big coup for any pop star, given the huge audience it has. Some viewers even skip the game and tune in just for this show. So it was significant that pop star Rihanna turned down the invitation to do the 2019 show because she supports Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest and dislikes the NFL’s stance on it.

I hope other celebrities will also follow suit.

The complicated Turkey-Saudi Arabia relationship

I mentioned in an earlier post my puzzlement as to why Turkey and its president were taking such an aggressive role in revealing information about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after he entered a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey. There has been a steady release of information from Turkish authorities saying that they had information that Khashoggi was murdered and his body dismembered by a hit squad that came from Saudi Arabia, and this had led to worldwide outrage.
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Samantha Bee tells it like it is

The Democratic party and many in the media could learn a lot from her in the way she frames the Brett Kavanaugh accusations.

But Bee is not the only on delivering some needed truths. Stephen Colbert reminds us of something that should not need to be said and that is that not every man, indeed almost no one, goes through a sexual assault phase, so the ‘boys will be boys’ excuse has to be seen as the disgusting evasion it is.

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Who would you be shocked to see accused by the #MeToo movement?

The recent spate of accusations of sexual harassment and abuse has netted many prominent people. While this has of course caused considerable consternation, it struck me that once the names were revealed, there was no one for whom I was utterly shocked. I want to distinguish being shocked from deeply disappointed, which is what you feel when people whom you admired for their skills (such as Kevin Spacey’s acting) or thought were on the right side of issues you care about turn out to have done such things. I mean being shocked because what you could glean about the person from their public persona seems utterly at odds with such actions.
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The effort to undermine and remove Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader

Over in the UK, there have been a series of vicious attacks on Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, charging that he is either an outright anti-Semite or that he coddles them, and that to allow him to continue as party leader would be to encourage a dangerous strain of anti-Semitism that is permeating British society. Norman G. Finkelstein takes a close look at these charges and the whole underlying issue of generalizations and stereotyping.
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