Culture

Ask Amelia: Be Your Best Valentine

By on 2.5.16 | 4:03PM

Ed note: Lets have a warm welcome for Amelia Hamilton, as she graces the Spectacle blog with her best advice for how to negotiate a happy Valentine's Day for you and your sweetie. 

Welcome to Ask Amelia! Once a week, I will answer your questions, solve your quandaries, and life coach you through the trials and tribulations of life. For my first two installments, it’s all about Valentine’s Day and questions of the heart.

 

Without further ado, here we go.

Dear Amelia,

If blondes have more fun and redheads are more fun, then how come I’m so fond of brunettes.

@OhioCoastie

~

Dear Coastie,

#FreakoutFriday: The ZIKA Virus!

By on 2.5.16 | 12:00PM

Who isn’t a little freaked out about Zika—the mosquito-transmitted infection common in Africa and Asia and now showing up in South America? The disease is horrifying; preying on the most vulnerable humans—fetuses still growing in their mother’s wombs. Sadly, mothers who become infected with Zika are giving birth to children with deformities and brain damage. Zika is expected to reach certain areas of the United States this spring. To date, there have been 31 reported cases of Zika in the U.S; each case involving tourists who contradicted the illness outside the United States, before returning home. 

While I’m not suggesting you should freak out about Zika, you should take precautions if you’re pregnant or plan to get pregnant in the near future (read this excellent essay for tips). Yet, what’s most frustrating and worthy of a freak out is that anti-GMO activists are urging governments to dismiss a potentially life-saving solution—genetically modified mosquitos.

Saloon Series — How Manhattan Made a Mockery of Prohibition

By on 2.4.16 | 12:08PM

"It should not be forgotten," writes historian Ellen NicKenzie Lawson, "that one possible derivation of the word Manhattan is the Native-American word manahachtanienk, which translates as 'place of general inebriation.'" It thus should not surprise that when the federal government imposed Prohibition, New York City became the nation's biggest scofflaw.

Drinking was a normal daily activity for many city dwellers. The poor drank in rough taverns and the working classes in beer saloons. The rich and learned had opulent clubs like the Union Club (est. 1836) and Century Association (est. 1847) where they could knock back Madeira, Champagne and anything else their bellies desired.

Police Protect Jews at LGBT Conference Turned Violent by Anti-Israel Protesters

By on 1.26.16 | 11:36AM

Nearly 200 anti-Israel protestors stormed Friday’s gay rights Creating Change Conference at the Chicago Hilton, hosted by the National LGBTQ Task Force, forcing the cancellation of an event hosted by the Israeli LGBTQ group A Wider Bridge.

video posted by the Gay Liberation Network (GLN) reveals a volatile situation as Jews trying to leave the area are being physically stopped by protesters shouting orders of “Occupy, Occupy,” while a man trying to leave the area is heard shouting “you’re pushing me.”

Media Bias Monday: The Decline of Al Jazeera

By on 1.25.16 | 3:38PM

This month, Al Jazeera America has announced it is going out of business. That's no surprise as that anti-American network's US operations were never successful.

The parent network, Al Jazeera, was already in trouble, as it has a reputation for being anti-American (it has even made a documentary sympathetic to 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden). It's owners, who rely on oil sales for support, face decreasing fuel prices (at least $2 a gallon in most US gas stations on the east coast) - such problems aren't helping the Qatar-based news service's woes. But clearly, Al Jazeera America had even bigger problems: the market has spoken and has decided nobody wants to see America painted as an oppressive villain to Islam and to the entire world.

#FreakoutFriday: Government Dietary Guidelines and You

By on 1.22.16 | 12:17PM

Last week, the US Dietary Guidelines Committee—which is a group of really healthy government employees—issued their latest guidelines on how and what you should eat. I could list a few of the findings but I have better advice: ignore them.

Why? Firstly, they’re likely to change next week. We’ve all seen this in action: one day, Americans are told eggs are good for you only to be told to avoid them the next. At one point pregnant women were told to avoid tuna fish; today, expectant moms are told that fish is an important source of food for a growing baby. Booze was good last month, but bad this month.

But there’s a second and probably more compelling reason to ignore the dietary guidelines: given the schizophrenic nature of this government-issued diet advice, it’s better and probably safer that you decide what’s best for you based on your own conversations with your doctor or your nutritionists.

Saloon Series — The Angel’s Envy Is Ours Too

By on 1.21.16 | 11:59AM

Some time in the 1990s bottles of whiskey finished in flavoring casks first landed at our door. They were Bowmore Scotch whiskies, some aged in barrels that once held Oloroso sherry, others spent time in casks that held port or Bordeaux red wine. (Use our search engine to locate our reviews of Bowmore Darkest, Dawn, Dusk, and Voyage.)

Not long afterward, Jameson 1780 Irish whiskey arrived—it too had been Oloroso cask finished.

Bourbon-makers did not take up finishing until more recently. They were content to leave their whiskeys in charred barrels the full-time. Then distiller Lincoln Henderson decided to finish fine Bourbon in port casks—thus Angel’s Envy was born.

#FreakoutFriday: The Sugar Crisis!

By on 1.15.16 | 11:15AM

Last week, The Drudge Report posted an alarming headline: “Children aged five eating own weight in sugar each year.” Follow the link and you’ll be shocked to learn that:

The average five-year-old consumes the equivalent of their body weight in sugar in the course of a year, health officials have warned.

The Telegraph article includes no citation to backup or hyperlink to the study that’s the basis for this shocking claim. Annoying. The next paragraph offers a common sense approach to solving what’s being couched as a public health nightmare:

Parents are being urged to take control of their children’s habits…

Immediately followed by some predictable big government solutions:

…as the Government prepares to publish its strategy on child obesity, amid calls to introduce a tax on sugary drinks and foods.

Hillary Clinton’s Dance Moves Will Ruin Your Monday

By on 1.11.16 | 7:50PM

This afternoon on Ellen, Hillary Clinton attempted to perform "The Dab," a series of hand motions replicating a dance now popular among "the youth."

The results were not so much endearing as they were...somewhat terrifying. 

I don't think this will go very far in convincing the kids Clinton frequently shoos off her lawn that she's "with it" and "hip," unless they're using their grandmothers as the working standard. But it's worth noting anyway. It's Monday and you could use a laugh. Or a terrifying memory burned into your retinas.

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