11-16-21 Have you ever heard of the Hans Island Whiskey War? No? Well, let me tell you about it. First, you’re probably wondering where the hell Hans Island is. It’s a 1.3 square kilometer, uninhabited island with no known reserves of oil, natural gas, valuable minerals, or the like. There are no trees and very little loose soil. It’s located in the cold waters of the north between Ellesmere Island of Canada and Denmark’s autonomous territory of Greenland in the middle of a waterway called the Nares Strait. The strait is 22 miles wide here, and since Hans Island is in the middle, it technically lies within 12 mile territorial waters of both Canada and Greenland. Thus the conflict because neither side has been able figure out which country actually owns it! In 1880, it appears that Hans Island got overlooked when Britain turned over it’s North American possessions to Canada. The use of outdated maps probably contributed to this, and some years went by before the mistake was recognized. In 1933, an international court awarded Hans Island to Greenland, but after the court was dissolved, many considered the ruling invalid. In 1973, an agreement was reached between Canada and Denmark regarding the maritime borders of their lands in that part of the world, but they were not able just settle the Hans Island dispute. They decided that it would have to be resolved later on. There may be some question on the details of how the Hans Island Whiskey War itself actually started. But as one version of the story goes, in 1984, a group of Canadian soldiers arrived on the small island and erected a flagpole upon which their nation’s colors was raised. The story goes on to say that on a lark, the soldiers also left behind a bottle of Canadian whiskey as an entertaining in your face to their Danish rivals. Well, Danish authorities could not let that stand! So a contingent of Danes was dispatched to the island in response, whereupon they raised the Danish flag to fly over the island. They also left behind a bottle of Danish schnapps and a letter aimed at the Canadians saying “Welcome to the Danish Island.” This rather comical war of flags and liquor continued for some years as each side would periodically show up on the island to raise their flag and apparently leave behind a bottle of their nation’s distilled spirits. There are reports that in 2005, the governments of Canada and Denmark decided to cease this phase of the conflict and stop raising their corresponding flags on the island. They were supposed to conduct serious negotiations in order to finally settle the issue of Hans Island once and for all. But as of 2021, it has not been settled. So in some form or fashion, the rather polite conflict over Hans Island continues.
9-18-21 There’s been quite a bit of buzz about bisexual+ actress Kristen Stewart’s new movie Spencer in which she plays Princess Diana. From the photos I’ve seen, it looks like Stewart really got into the part as she attempted to recreate the tragic and beloved Royal. It also sounds like numerous critics are giving her very positive reviews with some even speculating on a potential Oscar nomination. At least one reviewer felt like Stewart really captured how Diana didn’t fit in well with the traditional rather stoic, stiff upper lip Royals. Since I haven’t seen the film yet, it’s obviously difficult for me to say if I agree with them, but I could definitely see Kristen Stewart potentially nailing this role. She has shown herself to be a very talented actress. I thought she was excellent in The Runaways where she played rocker Joan Jett in her younger days and Personal Shopper, a quiet independent psychological thriller whose story I don’t want to give away. Stewart made each of the characters she played in these films feel real and very believable even though they were quite different from each other, as were the films. Now, you may be wondering why I made a point to include the fact that Kristen Stewart is bi+ (bisexual, pansexual, fluid, etc). I did it because bisexual+ people still have to deal with so much lack of understanding, intolerance, and prejudice from too many members of the straight and gay / lesbian communities (which is why most bi+ are still in the closet and why of those who are out, a great number find dating terribly difficult to nearly impossible). For things to change, we need people who are straight and gay to open their minds and educate themselves and stop automatically believing unfair, negative stereotypes that don’t hold true for most bi+ individuals . Hopefully, having more people come out as bisexual+ will help this process. This is why it’s so important having celebrities such as Kristen Stewart be open about having bi+ feelings and desires. It helps humanize bi+ people so that more of society starts to recognize that bi+ are real and can be just as decent, kind, caring, and faithful as anyone else. If and when to come out is clearly an individual’s personal decision, and no one should be forced to do so. But I will say that I greatly appreciate all bi+ who have come out because it does help in the long term battle for understanding, acceptance, and equality.
9-15-21 I really like DC’s Legends of Tomorrow on the CW Network. Yes, you heard me right. You’re probably wondering why. Is it a deep, thought-provoking show? No. Absolutely not. Is it addressing contemporary problems plaguing society today? Nope. So why do I enjoy it you might wonder. Well, let me tell you. It’s a fun, entertaining show that allows you to escape your troubles for a little while and also has surprisingly good queer representation. Yep, it does. I don’t want to give away plot lines because this show has been going on for 6 seasons with number 7 coming soon. The general premise is that a misfit group of gifted individuals with a variety of abilities and powers was organized by a time traveler who had stolen a time ship called the Waverider. Together, they try to fix aberrations in time with the help of Gideon, the Waverider’s powerful AI computer. The show is an entertaining mixture of action and comedy. It can be campy in places and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not trying to be deep. And frankly, this combination makes it quite fun, entertaining, and endearing. Another aspect which makes it really enjoyable is how they often screw up lol. They make mistakes. These are not perfect superheroes. Sometimes they are total screw-ups, yet somehow or another, they find a way to get the job done. Another thing that makes it a really good show is its strong, positive queer representation. There are multiple important regular characters in the show who are queer, and refreshingly, their being LGBTQ is not a big deal and is totally accepted by the rest of the crew. For example, Sara Lance and Constantine are openly bisexual+, and in the last couple of seasons, Sara Lance has been in a monogamous romantic relationship with another important female character in the show. As a matter of fact, in addition to their relationship being completely normal to the rest of the crew, it’s also been included into some of the show’s plot lines. So, is DC’s Legends of Tomorrow going to win Golden Globe Awards? No. But is it a fun, entertaining show that will allow you to escape your worries for a little while and also includes strong queer representation? Absolutely yes! You can catch DC’s Legends of Tomorrow on the CW Network, Amazon Prime, and Netflix.
11-29-20 Don’t forget art everyone. Yes, you heard me right. Art. Art is a wonderful thing that comes in a wide plethora of shapes, sizes, media, and styles. It can be bright and colorful, dark and foreboding, or any number of countless combinations. It can be incredibly realistic and lifelike or quite abstract. It comes in many different forms such as paintings, sculpture, textiles, photography, video, and more. Art can be a fantastic escape from the everyday world. It can give you glimpses of the past and ideas of what the future might hold. It can take you away to places of fantasy and utter imagination. It can show happiness, joy, tranquility, friendship, and love as well as sadness, anger, loss, and pain. I know that many museums are closed right now due to the pandemic (and frankly, many need your support because these extended closures are hurting them badly). But remember that a lot of museums have at least some of their collections available to see online so that you can enjoy them at home or wherever you have a computer, tablet, or smartphone. The Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Getty Center in LA, the National Gallery of Art in DC, the Smithsonian Institution are just a few examples of museums with significant online collections. In addition, you can do searches on the internet looking for art, particular artists, artistic styles, and so on. So, why don’t you check it out. Expand your horizons and let your imagination run wild losing yourself in the amazing world of art.
4-5-20 With stay at home orders in place, many people aren’t driving or are rarely driving. Be careful not to let your vehicle battery die. This can easily happen with vehicles sitting around unused because running engines help keep batteries charged up. So, remember to run your vehicle engine every 3 to 5 days. One method is to back it out of the garage and into the driveway. This is to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Then run the engine for a good 4 to 5 minutes. Keep the vehicle in park with the emergency break on. Then gently press the accelerator so that the engine is running around 2000-3000 RPMs. It needs to be above idle to adequately charge the battery. Something else to consider is that my Subaru is a hybrid with 2 batteries. I discovered that apparently (according to my vehicle display) I need to actually drive it around for at least 4 to 5 minutes to ensure charging. Do some research on your vehicle to find out what method is best for you to help keep your engine battery charged and ready to go. Good luck and hang in there everybody!
I know during the Holidays when you’re eating lots of good food, it is so tempting to treat your pets as well, especially dogs! They look at you with those pleading eyes, and you can’t seem to resist! But be careful, many pets get sick during the Holidays because they eat food that upset their GI System. If your pet is on a prescription diet, do not give them any table scraps! None! If your pet is on normal over the counter food and is healthy, still be careful. Do not feed pets any bones! Not one bone! Don’t feed them hot, spicy foods! Do not feed them things such as chocolate, coffee, caffeine, almonds, macadamia nuts, raisins, grapes, garlic, onions, chives, anything with xylitol in it, or raw/undercooked meat. For a healthy dog or cat, a little boneless, cooked turkey is probably just fine. Lots of dogs enjoy that. Though be aware that some pets have sensitive GI tracts so that eating things outside their regular diet can potentially cause GI upset. So, have a nice Holiday, and be careful what you feed your pet!