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PenlessEJ

August 2017

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[sticky entry] Some Restrictions Apply

Thursday, 1 January 2004 12:00 am
penlessej: (The Good Fight)
Some of this journal is Access Restricted.

Keeping Guard

Comment here to be added.
This is most certainly relevant and spot on. When the last major solar eclipse happened in North America we did not even really have cell phones mainstream let alone the internet and in your pocket with information flow via 140 characters no less!


If you took the band Mother Mother and threw them down a long hill with all of their equipment and instruments this is surely the song that would get produced. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did...
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I came home from work today with an Amazon delivery at my door. There were two items actually, one is a birthday present for Meganne (which immediately triggered the "oh my gawd, what I am going to do about her birthday in two days" fear, more on that later) and the second was a book that I totally forgot that I had ordered. The Constitution in a Hall of Mirrors: Canada At 150 by David E. Smith. This will be the third book of Smith's that I own, each one (and I am sure that this one will be no exception) has earned a special place on my bookshelf; no one writes about the Canadian parliament like Professor Smith!

I just finished the forward and had to share the last paragraphs in it because I think it is a beautiful way to open a book on the Canadian constitution:

In April 1660, as he was about to depart France, where for nearly a decade he had sought refuge during the Interregnum, Charles II proclaimed his faith in parliamentary government. A wise commitment in light of past events, the king's pronouncement signalled more than self-interest, for it acknowledged the central importance of the Crown and Parliament-- even more, the Crown-in-Parliament-- to the future governing of the United Kingdom and, as was to transpire, the settler colonies, including Canada. "We do assure you ... that none of our predecessors have had a greater esteem of parliaments than we have ... we do believe them to be so vital a part of the constitution of the kingdom and so necessary for the government of it that we ever know neither prince nor people can be in any tolerable degree happy without them."

Echoing that royal testament, I have dedicated this book to senators and members of Parliament, upon whose support and service the people of Canada depend in the era of politics now unfolding.

Tarot Card Readings

Monday, 21 August 2017 12:50 pm
penlessej: (Default)
...because of the new moon and also the eclipse in case you haven't been following. wyld_dandelyon is doing a card reading here. You get the first card free (from a choice of decks) and a reasonable price system for the remainder. Head over and try it out, if not for fun, maybe for that one burning question in your heart or soul...
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Solar Eclipse

Monday, 21 August 2017 08:28 am
penlessej: (Default)
Yes a solar eclipse is happening today. No, it really isn't anything that great and scientific. Really one celestial body is moving in front of another celestial body. Shit moves in front of shit all of the time. But try to imagine a world were we did not have all of this advance warning of a period of darkness in the middle of the day: people would still be losing their shit at epic levels (especially with how fucked up things are in the US). Let that simmer a little bit this morning, imagine all of the crap you'd have to confront if science could not explain and predict ahead of time events like this...
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Interstellar was by far one of the best movies of 2014 and the film score by Hans Zimmer was a driving force behind the greatness and depth of the film over all. The piece titled S.T.A.Y. in the original soundtrack is one of my favourite of the entire soundtrack. It is hard not to feel small and yet part of something larger when listening to this song.

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British Parliament

Thursday, 17 August 2017 04:21 pm
penlessej: (Default)
This clip from a session of the House of Commons back in 2013 in which Rory Stewart and Jacob Rees-Mogg debate human rights makes me super jealous of the Mother Parliament. Canadian parliament cannot hold a candle to this level of debate and civility. It is an awesome debate as well, certainly worth a watch.
Many of you are probably not aware of this, but I have a fancy for delicious cocktails. M. and I are certainly those people who when you come to our home we have a giant booze cabinet and probably a signature cocktail on the go.

For my first entry I decided to showcase my favourite drink and really the one that got me into fancy cocktails to begin with. It is time to rethink your gin and tonics.

Gin and tonics became famous in middle class England during the height of the British Empire, when India was still very much under British control. In order to combat the spread of malaria among British soldiers, a daily issue of tonic water was given because in 1800 it was discovered by Scottish doctor George Cleghorn that quinine present in tonic water could be used to prevent and treat the disease. However, tonic water alone is very bitter and not refreshing, which is especially important when you are a British soldier posted in far-away and very hot India. So the soldiers began to mix the issue with gin (a local Indian botanical spirit), and lime and water. Thus the gin and tonic was born. The cocktail itself became popular during this time as soldiers returned home to England and shared the refreshing beverage with their civilian friends. Within years gin and tonics were a staple among middle class English-people as a statement of worldliness and a symbol of the diversity of the entire British Empire.

The traditional gin and tonic is very simple (duh, it was made by British soldiers after all). You get an ounce of gin over ice with tonic and garnished with a lime. You can squirt some extra lime juice in, or simply plop the lime wedge into the drink and enjoy. However, the problem with adding lime to the mix from a mixology perspective is that gin and tonic both are already very acidic. Adding lime simply makes the drink more acidic (and a little more bitter albeit with some sweet). So we can re-think the gin and tonic by perhaps adding a different garnish.

Now for this drink, I highly recommend Hendrick's gin which is brewed in Scotland using a blend of traditional and non-traditional techniques that involve steeping the alcohol in traditional gin aromatics with the addition of cucumber extract and rose peddles (see where I am going with this). The result is a truly fine gin with a hint of fruity after-notes. But I must stress that gin and tonics when you add cucumber are good with any gin, even those terrible bar gins that are better suited (in my opinion) for removing paint from cars than human consumption (yes, Beefeater I am looking right at you!).

The following is the penlessej way of putting this drink together.

1) Start with a clean and dry tumbler or rocks glass (no need for these tall glasses and certainly stay away from coffee mugs, come on now what is wrong with you we are making art in a glass here!).

2) Add ice. You can fill to the brim or just add a few chunks. If you are really fancy you might use ball ice which melts slower. Doesn't matter.

3) Add one slice of English cucumber on top of the ice and pour over one ounce of Hendrick's gin.

4) Add tonic water. Now you can go with cheap tonic water that is plain or you can dig out the fancier stuff that has infused botanicals, etc. Doesn't matter. I prefer just a plain tonic but you can be adventurous and try out different infused flavours without question.

5) Do not stir the drink(!), pouring the tonic should stir up the gin enough. Stirring will just make the ice break up and melt faster, and no one wants that. It also induces little bubbles into the entire drink and that just looks weird in my opinion.

6) Add a cucumber slice or twist to garnish over the rim (to be left alone or added to drink but the lucky person who gets to consume this delicious beverage). You can also add a sprig of mint if you are feeling really adventurous, it adds a little freshness to the flavour of the drink when use but be aware that some people really do not like mint flavour.

Gin and Tonic with Cucumber

If you are feeling really adventurous and want to take your drink to the next level; you can muddle some cucumber to add before the gin instead of a slice. This will really bring out the flavour of the cucumber and elevates the drink without question. It also makes the whole thing turn a slight green colour which looks cool in the glass in the sun because the quinine gives off a cobalt blue colour-- pretty cocktails.

What you get? A delicious gin and tonic with all of the good-head-lightening and social lubricating effects of gin but without the acidity. Don't be surprised if she goes down faster than expected, this is an extremely refreshing and tasty drink and perfect for summer days. It is also great because you can make a big batch of it and serve it right from a pitcher with friends-- or for you, either is cool (just don't be driving anything afterward).

If you use the recipe or try out the drink yourself, please let me know. This drink is leaps and bounds my favourite drink of them all and is a staple in my house just not during the summer but all year round.
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Given everything that is happening and all of this talk of alt-right, alt-left (okay one "person" is talking about the alt-left, whatever that is) and Nazis, I figured this little bit of humour was warrented.

There will always be a space between alt-right and alt-left and it will always be larger and more commonly used.

Alt-Right / Space / Alt-Left

From Reddit.com/r/pics.
Bathroom Book

Building the Canadian Nation - George W. Brown

Periodical

Foreign Affairs July/August 2017 - What Now? Trump's Next Steps

Evening Read

Nothing significant to report.

Reading generally has taken a back seat to self loathing and research about my new disease. So there is that. I am on the hunt for a good non-fiction book however, so suggestions are welcome. Building the Canadian Nation is a great little book. It is hailed as the first national history textbook in Canada and was widely used from mid 1950s to early 1970s in Canadian schools. Each chapter has a long list of further reading that has generated a whole new list of historical books and sources for me to track down and read. In particular I am looking for Readings in Canadian History by George W. Brown which is supposed to be read alongside the textbook I currently have, if anyone has any leads (unlikely), I have chocolate!
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I came across this video on Twitter. Before you jump into watching it (and I am posting it because I do really think it should be watched and shared), there is actual footage of the violence and massacre that took place in Charlottesville. 11:10 - 14:50 is the actual murder with the vehicle and the initial aftermath with candid interviews with the people on the ground that day-- skip this part if you like.

However, there is good material in the entire video and I encourage everyone to watch it and see what violence today looks like in America and elsewhere in the western world. It has morphed on the internet and is now looking to come into the flesh and it comes with entire amounts of violence and hate. All of what the white supremacists in the video say is absolute garbage but you should watch and learn how your enemy thinks, learn of what that hate looks like, how that violence manifests itself. 


Expose yourself to it, learn from it and remember it so that you never waiver in your own conviction: this shit is wrong.