Monday, August 03, 2009

Ask Militant Ginger

It's that time again! Where we sift through the search-terms that people have entered into Google and answer the questions that brought readers to Militant Ginger.

Is Stephanie Meyer an anti-gay supporter?

Stephanie Meyer, the author of the best-selling vampire melodrama ‘Twilight’, has been at the center of much discussion recently. Did she contribute towards the passing of ‘Proposition 8’, the controversial bill that banned same-sex marriage in California?

The issue seems to revolve around her affiliation to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The LDS, of course, are strongly opposed to same-sex marriage and equal rights for homosexuals. In fact, they were one of the strongest supporters of ‘Prop Hate.’

If Mormonism plays such an important part in Meyer’s life (which, by all accounts, it does) surely it’s logical to assume that she shares their attitude towards gay-marriage.

Well, I have a friend who’s a Mormon and if she’s taught me anything, it’s that Mormons defy expectations. They’re individuals and capable of making their own minds up on these issues. Generalizations are both stupid and inaccurate.

So while it’s a fair suspicion that Meyer might be 'for' Prop 8 – that’s a conclusion only reached by making several assumptions.

We assume that Meyer gives 10% of her income to her local church. Then we assume that this church supports Proposition 8 and other anti-gay legislation. That’s why most people assume she supports anti-gay legislation.

However, assumptions aren’t proof – and in her defense, it’s worth nothing that there’s no record of Meyer making a direct financial contribution towards supporting Proposition 8. Likewise, her church didn’t directly fund the campaign either (although over $190,000 was paid ‘in kind’ by the Church’s members.)

That’s proof that Stephanie Meyer’s didn’t directly support Proposition 8 - and even if she does support the measure, she’s remaining conspicuously quiet on the matter. Probably a wise move, as the Twilight franchise is very popular with some members of the LGBT community

What sort of car is a Furillac?

A Furillac? Well, it’s the monstrously powerful sports coupe driven by Simon Templar, in the first of Leslie Charteris’ ‘Saint’ novels.

Although The Saint is best remembered for driving a Volvo (or the fictional Hirondel) he actually started his career in crime behind the wheel of the equally fictional Furillac.

Charteris didn’t give much of a description of this car, but from the name (suspiciously like Cadillac) and the few words he did write, it’s safe to assume that it might have been a powerful American coupe much like the Cords of the 1930s.

In the novel ‘The Last Hero,’ later renamed ‘The Saint Closes the Case,’ Templar’s Furillac falls into the hands of the police and he hits the road in his friend Norman Kent’s Hirondel (a car loosely based on Charteris’ own Bugatti roadster.)

When Kent nobly sacrifices his life in the final pages of the novel (leaving Simon a note – ‘Nothing is Won without Sacrifice’) Simon seems to adopt the car as his own – and drives it for more or less the rest of his literary career.

(Cord picture courtesy of the Kilted Travel Agent)

Can you get a New Jersey driver’s license on a Tourist Visa?

No. In order to get a driver’s license in New Jersey, you have to have a valid VISA that is good for at least six months or more. Even the B-class Tourist Visa is only good for six months. Some states, however, do offer State driving licenses with less stringent regulations (and depending on the state, these can be exchanged for a New Jersey license after proving residency.)

What’s the British ‘English’ Mindset?

This is a question that could take an entire blog post to answer. Perhaps several of them!

From my point of view, the typical ‘British’ mindset isn’t always a positive one. Brits can be snobby – in both directions. ‘Reverse’ snobbery is rife and most people in Britain are instantly judged (and condemned) based on things like their accent.

Brits also have a tendency to hammer down any nails that ‘stand too tall’ and entrepreneurialism, ambition and success seem to be somewhat frowned upon. Brits should, to paraphrase Prince Charles, ‘know their place’ and be satisfied with it.

But moving to America, I have identified some typically ‘British’ traits that I do like. For example, Brits have a wonderful knack for keeping their mouths shut, whereas Americans (especially from New York) have an opinion about everything. Mummy Militant, for example, often frustrates me by claiming knowledge on things she really doesn’t know anything about.

But what this does mean is that Americans don’t take ‘no’ for an answer – and will give anything a try. While I find Mummy Militant’s self-confident ‘expertise’ somewhat frustrating, whenever she tries her hand at something I tell her she doesn’t know how to do – she more often than not manages to pull it off!

Redheaded men are ugly.

That sort of statement is exactly what I think of when I’m asked about the ‘typical British mindset.’

“Red-headed men are surely the most unattractive male specimens on the planet at the best of times,” wrote one British blogger I picked a fight with. “But they look even worse with their horribly pale, freckled skin..”

To be honest, I think somebody who makes an assumption that ‘all redheaded men are ugly’ is probably saying more about themselves than about redheads. What if they said the same about blacks?

Surely we’re all individuals – and should be judged as ‘attractive’ or not on a case-by-case basis, not lumped into one generalization.

Eric Stolz and David Caruso are two redheaded Americans who are generally regarded as fairly handsome. I know more than a few women who go weak at the knees when Caruso yanks off his shades in the opening moments of C.S.I. Miami (and I know a few more who laugh at the conceit.)

Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasely in the Harry Potter movies, is fast becoming a redheaded sex-symbol and plenty of girls I know have gone gaga over all the shots of his muscular arms (to be enjoyed in the latest movie, Half Blood Prince.)

Other redheads, like Simply Red front man Mick Hucknall, are often mocked as being unattractive – but it’s a universally acknowledged truth that Mick has more moist panties being hurled at him than any olive-skinned underwear model. In the case of this so-called ‘Ginger Stallion,’ sexiness is definitely subjective.

So I’ll say that redheaded men aren’t ugly – unless they are. Some are really strange looking goons (like Carrot Top) and some are matinee idols (like Charles Dance.) They might buck the trend for ‘tall, dark strangers’ but I’m pretty sure there are more than enough women out there who find a few freckles and a curl of ginger to be just what the doctor ordered.

(By the way, the redheaded model in the picture is from Model Mayhem. His name's Corey Tenold, and you can find his website here. Way to represent for us gingers, mate!)

How do you knock out power to a block of houses?

Oh my God! Why would anybody visiting my blog want to know this?

It sounds like the sort of thing a serial killer might find useful – although now my imagination’s working, I like to think it was some erstwhile adventurer googling goodies for a Simon Templar-inspired act of justice.

In any event, Militant Ginger IN NO WAY advocates attempting to knock out the power to a block of houses. DON’T DO IT. It’s illegal, highly dangerous, totally irresponsible and here’s how to do it:

As readers will know, America’s power system is a wondrous example of the free-market system at it's worst. Several companies compete for the right to supply your domicile with juice – but in the interests of profit, completely fail to maintain the grid in the meantime. This results in regular power-outages, ugly cables strung along the roadside and the ability to paralyze the entire eastern seaboard whenever a tree falls down.

It also means it’s ridiculously easy to knock out power to a block of houses. Absurdly so.

The trick is to find the local electric company’s ‘power box.’ This is a large, locally-situated generator/booster which boosts the power, or amps up the juice (or something) to make it strong enough to light up a row of houses. Knock that out (driving a car into it should work – as America’s drunk drivers regularly demonstrate) and you’ll send the block into darkness quicker than you can blink.

It’s not very scientific – and does carry the risk of electrocuting you – but it should work.

As I said earlier, though, DON’T DO IT. Don’t even THINK about doing it. The last thing I want to learn is that some stupid sod burnt themselves to a crisp driving their Honda Civic into an electricity pylon – especially if they did so after reading this post!

Will there be a sequel to Devil May Care?

Sebastian Faulks picked up Ian Fleming’s pen to write an anniversary James Bond novel on the occasion of Fleming’s 100th birthday. Devil May Care was the result – and was very highly received.

However, Faulks has already said he’s ‘unlikely’ to write a follow up. Initially reluctant to take the project in the first place, he feels that the next Bond novel (and Ian Fleming publications has promised there will be more) would be better suited to another author.

He suggested picking a ‘celebrity’ author for each progressive book – much like IFP had envisioned when Kingsley Amis first wrote ‘Colonel Sun’ under the nom de plume ‘Robert Markham.’

But Bond fans needn't despair. Charlie Higson is continuing to churn out the ‘Young Bond’ books. You haven't read the last of Britain's favorite secret agent!


Tom said...

I'm pretty sure that by "Power Box", you mean the transformers that are up on telephone poles. These take the medium voltage (15000-4000 V) electricity, and turn it in 240 volts. By center-tapping the transformer, we can choose if we want 240 or 120 volts in our houses.

A far safer way would be to find the disconnect switches the power company builds into their network, cut the locks, and flip them.

(I'm not sure why anyone would want to do that, as power is standard of living.)

mre30seattle said...

HAHAHA I loved the last question!! Something to store for later use. :)

Thanks for posting the photo of the Chord. Good to see my photo distributed on the web. Keep circulating.

Now to answer a question you asked me sometime ago: After some careful thought and weighing the pros and cons I've decided that my beloved E30 will find a new home to make room for that 944 after all. My father in law got his Boxster so the 944 had to go somewhere. :)

Thanks for good read as always.

Corey Tenold said...

Thanks for the link and shout out! Go gingers! Lol.