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Monday, September 30, 2019

Luxury cruise ship has new owner

A favorite cruise ship with us is the lovely Paul Gauguin, which sails out of Papeete, Tahiti, around eastern French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, and Fiji.  It offers all-expenses-paid vacactions, complete with ample opportunity to dive, snorkel, and discover the history of this spectacular area of the Pacific.  

Now, this lovely little vessel has new owners -- Ponant, a highly rated luxury line that specializes in small ships and unusual destinations.   As they say, their philosophy is counter to the mega-ship forward-planning of the big cruise lines, where boarding a vessel will be like trying to find a place within a busy city.  

Their ships have been purposefully designed to welcome a limited number of guests: with 32 to 132 staterooms, so that instead of arriving in a city, it will be like being welcomed into a luxury hotel.

And that is the heritage of the Paul Gauguin, too.  So, in that respect, the purchase is logical.  However, their stated ambition is to visit ancient cultures and unspoiled natural scenery.  But, if any of the nine Ponant ships also include eastern Polynesia in their itineraries, Tahiti might be in for a mini-invasion -- because Princess has caught onto the same idea, and is sending their 666-passenger ship, Pacific Princess, to the eastern Pacific next year.

From -

Ponant has purchased US cruise line Paul Gauguin, which will continue operating under its own brand.

Paul Gauguin, which is based in Seattle, will remain an independent company under the leadership of its president Diane Moore.

It offers high-end expedition cruises in French Polynesia and the South Pacific.

The acquisition will give Ponant guests a wider range of destinations and will give the combined the combined company a larger fleet with Ponant combining its nine ships with Paul Gauguin's one vessel, Paul Gauguin, above.

"Ponant is proud to be at the forefront of small ship exploration. We are expanding our Ponant fleet to 14 ships by 2021," said the cruise line's CEO Navin Sawhney.

"Now, through Paul Gauguin and its expertise, we will be able to offer our clients and partners yet another bucket list destination visiting the exotic islands of Tahiti, French Polynesia and the South Pacific."

Moore added: "As we join the Ponant family, we remain dedicated to our shared passion for authentic experiences, high quality service and sustainable practices.

"We are excited about introducing our guests to the wider world of Ponant and to welcoming Ponant guests on board Paul Gauguin."

Saturday, September 28, 2019

When is a hyphen an apostrophe?

This has to rate as the weirdest tweet of the week --

The Washington Post (via Stuffgives us a demonstration of how a president can confuse the multitudes with what he considers a lesson in grammar

US President Donald Trump paused Friday morning from fighting his potential impeachment and delivered a surprise spelling lecture to the United States, in a tweet richly layered with mistakes and irony.
After a night spent posting Sean Hannity clips and other anti-impeachment commentary onto his timeline, the president emerged on Twitter at 7.02am and wrote:
"To show you how dishonest the LameStream Media is, I used the word Liddle', not Liddle, in discribing Corrupt Congressman Liddle' Adam Schiff. Low ratings @CNN purposely took the hyphen out and said I spelled the word little wrong. A small but never ending situation with CNN!"
It's still unclear exactly what Trump heard on CNN and the network did not immediately respond to questions, but as he explained it, the segment concerned his nickname for House Intelligence chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, a leader in Democrats' impeachment investigations. Trump commonly assigns his political enemies nicknames that sound like 1920s-era cartoon characters - "Sleepy Joe" Biden, "Lyin' Ted" Cruz,"etc. - a habit Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan and others have compared to bullying.

To show you how dishonest the LameStream Media is, I used the word Liddle’, not Liddle, in discribing Corrupt Congressman Liddle’ Adam Schiff. Low ratings @CNN purposely took the hyphen out and said I spelled the word little wrong. A small but never ending situation with CNN!

For the Twitter mob that instantly jumped on Trump's tweet, the low-hanging fruit was his misspelling of "describe". "It's really your stupidity that's hard to 'discribe,'" wrote Trump foil George Conway as "Liddle" shot up Twitter's list of trending topics.

But it was the rest of the tweet that truly baffled and transfixed the public. Web searches for "hyphen" skyrocketed as people second-guessed whether they (or the president) really knew what a hyphen was. The Merriam-Webster dictionary quickly put out a clarification between a hyphen and an apostrophe.
Even assuming that Trump mistook the apostrophe in "Liddle' Adam Schiff," for a hyphen, it's still a mystery as to why CNN's alleged omission of said apostrophe from the moniker would make Trump's construction any more or less correct. (The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
In fact, it's unclear why Trump has been tagging an apostrophe onto the end of the word in the first place. As Merriam-Webster pointed out, apostrophes typically mark where characters have been taken out of a word - as in "I'm goin' to the store," or "Li'l Abner," or "Lyin' Ted Cruz."
Liddle' is missing no letters; it's just a weird spelling of "little" with a superfluous mark at the end.
Trump's tweet was full of other petty errors. He forgot to use actual hyphens in "Low ratings CNN" and "never ending situation," for example, and wrote "purposely" when he probably meant "purposefully" (a mixup Merriam-Webster has taken him to task for before).
The president has a long history of typo drama. As chronicled by Business Insider, Trump or his staff have misspelled the words "tap", "peace", "hereby", "Theresa May", "the", and "unprecedented" - which the president spelled "unpresidented" - not to mention countless bastardisations of punctuation and capitalisation, in various tweets, statements and other public documents. A retired schoolteacher in Georgia once got a letter from the president, and went viral after taking a pen to the margins to point out a dozen spelling or grammar mistakes.
Later Friday, Trump moved on from the Schiff diversion and spent the rest of the morning tweeting attacks on his perceived enemies, starting with what he called an "Obama loving" New York Times reporter - resuming his hyphen-bungling.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Deliver a secret message with a pin

Making a subliminal statement ....

From The Guardian -

Say it with a brooch: what message was Lady Hale's spider sending?

The judge is the latest powerful woman to use a brooch to make a coded statement
Lady Hale’s image was beamed across the world with all the signifiers of the supreme court – papers, judge’s bench, austere clothing. It was the court’s stunning verdict that would dominate the headlines, of course, but the judge’s spider brooch – pinned to her black dress – had the optics that made it a story of its own.
Wearing a spider to deliver news that trapped the prime minister felt pointed – a message backed on a safety pin. Twitter certainly read it that way. “What could Brenda Hale be telling us with her AMAZING giant spider brooch?” wrote @Anna_Girling. By Tuesday afternoon, there was a call for the brooch to have its own Twitter account.
The brooch soon made its way, via social media attention, on to a T-shirt sold by Balcony Shirts. Based, ironically, in Boris Johnson’s Uxbridge constituency, the company has donated 30% of proceeds to the homelessness charity Shelter. It has raised more than £5,000 in the couple of hours after Hale delivered the court’s verdict.
A spokesperson for the company said: “We often print topical t-shirts, and as everyone on Twitter was talking about the brooch we thought it was a great angle for a new design. We can’t believe it’s taken off quite the way it has. We picked Shelter as homelessness appears to be a growing problem in Uxbridge, and it’s nice to do our part.”
The eBay listing for the Lady Hale brooch T-shirt.
 The eBay listing for the Lady Hale brooch T-shirt. Photograph: eBay
Brooches are enjoying something of a moment in fashion this autumn – seen on the catwalk at Versace and Erdem – but Hale is a brooch trailblazer. She has a particular fondness for creepy crawlies – frogs, beetles and the like. On her profile on the supreme court website, she wears a brooch of a caterpillar – like the spider, it’s an animal that hardly has the cute factor on its side.
Lady Hale’s caterpillar brooch.
 Lady Hale’s brooches include a caterpillar … Photograph: Kevin Leighton
Lady Hale's frog brooch
 … a frog … Photograph: Lauren Hurley/PA
Lady Hale's dragonflies brooch.
 … dragonflies … Photograph: Supreme court/EPA
Lady Hale's second spider brooch.
 … and another giant spider. Photograph: Kevin Leighton
With the spider, Hale joins a list of high-profile women who have used the seemingly unassuming brooch to send a message – at least, some observers think so.
The Queen’s brooches for Donald Trump’s visit in 2018 – one of which was given to her by Barack Obama – were interpreted as statements of her displeasure with the current US president.
Madeleine Albright, as secretary of state under Bill Clinton, was open about her use of brooches – or “pins” to Americans. After being called an “unparalleled serpent” by Iraqi state media, she wore a snake brooch to her next meeting with the country’s officials and her brooch-as-statement career began.
Albright published a book called Read My Pins in 2009 and has continued to allow her pins to say it all.
The smashed glass ceiling design, worn to watch Hillary Clinton make her nominee speech in 2016, broke the internet. Hale’s spider could do the same. It certainly suggests Hale doesn’t squirm when faced with any kind of insect.