… but have you ever wondered where the expression “Drinking the Kool-Aid” comes from?
The chance of an election turning out exactly as this one has is infinitesimally small, and yet it’s happened. We’ve made history.
The Comox-Courtenay riding, which denied a majority for the Liberals, went to the NDP by an initial margin of 9 votes, later confirmed as 13 votes during final recount, and finalized as a 189-vote NDP lead once the absentee ballots were tallied.
With the Liberals holding 43 seats in the Legislature, the NDP holding 41, and the Green Party holding the remaining 3, this puts the Greens in the unprecedented position of being the fulcrum on which any governing matters will stand.
The privilege of being in such a position essentially lends the Greens a huge megaphone. Being the deciding vote on legislative work brings a stronger bargaining position when it comes to doing good for this province, our residents, and our shared environmental legacy. It also brings enhanced opportunities to build a stronger political track record and candidate portfolio, shape the party into more of a household name, and hopefully secure additional seats in future elections if all goes well.
It’s not easy being green, but it’s an amazing time to be Green … so congratulations, fellow Green voters and party members, wear it well!
This post also wouldn’t be complete without heartfelt thanks to every single person who went out and voted, regardless of affiliation. Being part of the political process is absolutely vital to the health of our democracy and the progress of our future, and if ever there was a time to be reminded of the power of the individual, 2017 has truly showcased this in the most amazing of ways.
Here’s a fairly level-headed explanation of the Trump/Russia coverage that’s paralyzed the news cycle for the past few months, courtesy of Michael Tracey from TYT:
It’s important to note that whether or not the Trump/Russia story has legs, we’ve long since passed the point where irrational narratives became ends and pursuits in themselves, and people have largely chosen to see what they want to see come out of this situation.
If there’s one thing 2016 taught us, it’s that the American political system and electorate are, largely, no longer rational actors. They’re in a bad place and they want to burn something down because they’re understandably pissed off at the status quo. The other side of the coin is most aren’t terribly concerned with how they go about doing it, or what corners they cut when giving it thought.
Get ready, get set, go vote! Your local polling stations will be open today from 08:00-20:00.
It’s important to make yourself heard in an election, not only because current media studies suggest a closely contested electoral race, but also because each party diverges from the others in its own view of ‘common ground’ as well as unique policy decisions.
Please take some time today to read further, get to know the party platforms, and make a choice on who you’d like to support.
Share this message with your friends!
Until now, I haven’t been reporting on the political situation in the United States because news on the subject has been ubiquitous, and many talented individuals and media outlets have been calling the situation for what it is.
Today, this changes. I don’t feel it’s appropriate for a person to stand on the sidelines and wait for others to do one’s duty in the midst of a matter this important. I’ve written on Canadian politics on this site in the past, and arguably US politics can have just as significant an impact on anyone living north of the border due to widespread export of American culture, values, and geopolitical influence.
At the same time, lingering concerns remain on the political and financial affiliations of some media outlets, the impact of compromised journalism in an information driven society, and the pitfalls of the ratings-driven system holding sway on most TV-based media delivery platforms which tends to capitalize on drama and suffering while often failing to deliver context and historical perspective.
While there are many media groups who are doing high quality work and providing in-depth journalism, the mixed nature of technology and its use (or misuse at times) means it’s wise to ensure information is regularly fact-checked and further research is conducted to understand context and establish a broader perspective of current events.
The unfortunate thing about politics is that despite having great importance in daily life, it frequently tends to be treated as a spectator sport. Media companies run round-the-clock news cycles and make money from it, people talk to family and friends about what’s going on in the world, some offices run pools on what they think the next big change might be, but how many of us are actually willing to roll up our sleeves and get involved?
When was the last time you talked with a Congressperson, Member of Parliament, or MLA? Have you ever read legislative documentation to learn the issues? When was the last time you fact checked a political statement? Ever been part of a public commentary hearing? Heck, when was the last time you voted?
Here’s why political engagement matters:
It’s time we had a conversation about censorship.
Recently a mass exodus of major advertisers occurred at YouTube, which has since caused the ecosystem of that platform to fall into disarray. As noted by both YouTubers and mainstream media outlets alike, the precipitating event seems to have been a small number of government and corporate ads appearing alongside racist hate videos on a very small number of channels. The issue was brought to the attention of governments and corporations in a high profile manner, and from there, industry brass decided to pull all advertising off the YouTube platform, citing the desire to not be associated with harmful content.
As various media outlets have reported, it’s an odd narrative to follow given the fact this problem has existed for many, many years. Until the middle of 2016, it’s been an issue that’s rarely made the news. Furthermore, despite the historical efforts made by media companies (especially Google) to stamp out racist and other extremist content, the issue remains difficult to address owing to the sheer volume of data being uploaded at any given time.
In Youtube’s case, at least 300 hours of video is uploaded each minute (though some put that number as high as 400 hrs/min). If we go with the lowest estimate, that’s still 18,000 hours of video in an hour, 432,000 hours of video in a day, or 12.96 million hours in a 30-day month. These numbers are definitely not in Google’s favour, and despite valiant efforts to screen user-generated content, Internet media companies as a rule tend to be faced with a never-ending, uphill battle when it comes to managing these enormous volumes of user-generated content.
Similar to the ongoing situation at Facebook (and its implications for that network’s 1.2 billion daily users), the logistics are impossible when it comes to setting up a purely human intervention as a solution to harmful content. There’s no practical way for Google, or any ultra high volume media company for that matter, to retain sufficient human staffing in order to individually review each piece of user-generated content that comes in the door. As a result, industry standard practices include the use of software algorithms as gatekeepers and the automation of most issues related to policy enforcement and content management.
Tonight’s post isn’t a review so much as a handful of snippets from the talented UK goth group Die Laughing. Having been active from 1986 to 1999, they dissolved the summer before Y2K and eventually re-formed in 2012 with a new single, “Tangled,” and news that they’re working on material for a new album.
Seeing as their international following never really stopped (due in equal parts to the Internet and the periodic releases of their work on other compilation albums) it’s refreshing to hear they’re intent on adding more works to their repertoire.
Tonight’s post isn’t a music review (for now, anyway). I just wanted to share this very beautiful song off of Blutengel’s 2011 album Tränenherz:
I’m WAY overdue on posting this review, considering I’ve been drinking this stuff for a long time.
Meet Meßmer’s Rosehip and Hibiscus:
It comes pre-packaged in individual paper wrapped tea bags (I’m not aware of there being any loose leaf variants). The ingredients list notes only three items are used to make it: rosehips, hibiscus, and sweet blackberry leaves. There is no caffeine content.
This tea is best served hot or cold. While it’s a great way to warm up on a winter’s night, it also makes some of the best iced tea, if you prefer it that way. The flavour is strong yet subtle, full-bodied with slightly earthy tones, and slight but noticeable sour and tangy notes.
The infusion is a characteristic blood-red hue, which makes for fun conversation and interesting speculation about what one is drinking.
While this product tastes great on its own, there have been plenty of times I’ve paired it with a sweetener in making iced tea to share with family and friends. For this, I’ve found honey gives the best results as its flavour spectrum runs complementary to the tangy and sour notes of the tea, and highlights the earthy tones perfectly without being overpowering. The result is an iced tea that tastes exceptionally smooth, which both adults and children love.
Much like good music, this tea is an export of Germany and comes to British Columbia as somewhat of a niche product. Not many people know it exists, and fewer still have had a chance to try it. This has unfortunately been borne out in the way retailers treat it, too: since 2005, I’ve seen both Walmart and Canadian Superstore briefly carry and then discontinue the Meßmer product line.
More recently, my girlfriend totally lucked out and found some at a downtown London Drugs here in Victoria (and on manager’s special, no less!) so needless to say, I’m stoked at having it again. Hopefully they’ll keep stocking it!
Last but not least, I created a Food and Drink section to categorize this post, and it got me thinking: this is not the usual content I share here, but considering how much kitchenware I own and how much creative stuff we do each year in the kitchen, I think I’ve been holding back. Perhaps in the future, I’ll post an occasional family recipe or recommendation … there are just too many good things out there, and not sharing them would be wrong.
I’m not sure how the rest of my readers have been faring, but here in my city we’re fully into spring, and there are lots of beautiful places to visit as the lands (and their inhabitants) wake from seasonal slumber.
This Tuesday I went for an afternoon bike ride around the city, eventually making my way through Ross Bay Cemetery and Beacon Hill Park. I figured I’d post a few of the highlights here. Please excuse the craptastic mobile phone image quality, I’ll have to make it a point sometime this year to get a proper camera and do these right. ;)
More to come as the weather warms up!
Also, I updated the layout configuration files for this site earlier in the week. I don’t think there will be any glitches as a result of this, but in the off chance my readers see anything weird happen, I’d welcome a bug report via the contact page.
Building a website is a learning experience, and an ever-expanding construction project, and I’m planning to become much more involved with it this year.
While browsing the BC goth feeds on Facebook this morning, I found a link to “Hybrid Moments” by Helalyn Flowers. This lovely Italian band is a bit of an unknown for me, so I took a moment to listen, then, very content with the melodies of their colourful soundscapes, I promptly went looking for more.
It turns out they have a nice body of work in circulation, sitting in the shadows waiting for listeners like us to dig a bit more deeply. So let’s break out the shovels, nein?
Next up is a video I’ve been wanting to post for ages, somehow it got lost in the shuffle a while back. That’s especially unfortunate since I’m a fan of Adora BatBrat, and I LOVE hearing her sing.
Actually, it’s Adora and her sister that both head up their band, Asperger Synthdrome. At a graceful 44 (surprised?) Adora’s vein of talent and ability to constantly shake things up and reinvent herself makes me see parallels with Madonna. I mean this as a compliment — it takes a lot of energy (and an exacting eye) to balance ongoing fashion design, aggressive self-promotion, and the kind of marketing genius that Adora’s put into her work.
Hope today’s post brings a smile to your face! Sure is nice, being able to share this with my readers.
Starry tides and fair winds,
This week, our local newspaper announced it was removing the comment section in future posts. This comes in the wake of a fairly well-established trend of prominent media outlets, including Popular Science, deciding to do the same in order to bring the emphasis back to the content, and curb widespread abuse of writers and their audiences by unpleasant drive-by commenters.
And truly, nothing of value was lost.
First, what many major outlets have realized by now, many of them through rather hard lessons, is that journalism isn’t just a business, it’s a delicate balance, a deep search for the truth. By its very nature, this demands well-developed communications skills and keen social competence on the part of its researchers and presenters, and a carefully crafted environment in which to convey the information to the audience.