Al’s Afternoon Tea: Blocks, Letters, and Scrabbled Minds

By Al Perrotta Published on April 16, 2024

Welcome to Al’s Afternoon Tea. Time to kick back for a moment and sip on some of the latest news.

Pro-Hamas Protesters Block Roads and Bridges

Pro-Palestine protestors decided to make Mondays more miserable for Americans by blocking major roads and bridges  from coast to coast. They blocked traffic in San Francisco, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Tampa, Seattle, and Chicago, just to name a few. Some people on their way to the airport even had to get out and hoof it down the highway with their luggage in order to make their flights.

Which has me wondering: If Grateful Dead lovers are Deadheads and Jimmy Buffet lovers are Parrotheads, does this make Hamas lovers Blockheads?

Actually, Sen. John Fetterman continues to surprise, with  a great (if vulgar) line in reaction to protesters storming a Starbucks in Ann Arbor, Michigan: “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but blocking a bridge or berating folks in Starbucks isn’t righteous, it just makes you a (jerk).” (He didn’t say “jerk.”) “Demand Hamas to send every hostage back home and surrender.”

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The assault on America’s freedom of movement was put together by a group called A15 Economic Blockade. “In each city, we will identify and blockade major choke points in the economy, focusing on points of production and circulation with the aim of causing the most economic impact,” its website states.

A blockade is an act of war. When used against a civilian population, it can be considered a war crime and potentially a crime against humanity.

Those people in the streets have, in essence, declared war on America. Heck, they are literally shouting “Death to America.” But don’t worry, they’re safe in Biden’s America. It’s the grandmas who are praying and waving American flags in the Capitol that end up getting tossed in the slammer.

Feds Open Criminal Investigation into Baltimore Bridge Collapse

Speaking of bridges, the FBI has opened a criminal investigation into the cargo ship crash that brought down Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge a few weeks ago. Agents raided the Dali Monday. The feds aren’t talking publicly. However, a source told the Associated Press that the investigation is determining federal laws were violated, but this wasn’t an act of terrorism.

AP broke the news Monday that the ship had been having electrical issues hours before leaving port.

Now, a couple of headscratchers.

“Latinx” Ticked Off Hispanics, So Let’s Try “Latine”

A few years back, the woke tried to desexualize the Spanish language by inventing a new word to describe Latinos and Latinas: “Latinx.” (That sounds like a drug to ask your doctor about, and it went over in the Hispanic community about as well as a colonoscopy.)

However, being a progressive means, among other things, never taking a hint. So now a new term has emerged: “Latine,” which sounds like something an armed service member might use to relieve himself.

Carlos Zavala, vice president of the consulting firm Whiteboard Advisors, uses “Latine.” He tells Axios the word is “part of a movement centered on wanting to build and foster an inclusive community.”

Spanish words generally are masculine or feminine. And we can’t have that, can we? Using Latine (pronounced “la-TEEN-eh”) in the U.S. “makes sense as an internationally used way of speaking and writing in a less gendered manner,” declares Monica Transada of GLAAD.

One always wonders. Are such maneuvers really about inclusivity, or are they about erasing the distinctions between the two sexes?

Will “Latine” catch on? According to an Axios-Ipsos Latino poll, 41% of U.S. Latinos say they are comfortable with it. However, the terms “Latino/a” and “Hispanic” are still preferred, with 80% acceptance.

Let’s Make Scrabble Simpler! Let’s Even Eliminate Scoring!

Meanwhile, the dumbing down of America continues. Mattel is coming out with a simpler version of Scrabble, called “Scrabble Together,” in a bid to draw more Gen Z players.

Scrabble isn’t all that complicated a concept. You pick a bunch of tiles with letters on them, then use them to form words on a board by building off the words laid out previously. If you don’t know big words, you create small words. Letters that are used rarely in the English language carry more points, and the person with the most points when all the tiles have been used up wins.

So the game is as simple or as complex as the lexicons and cleverness of those playing. A game of skill and merit.

But merit is a four-letter word these days. So for the first time in 75 years, Mattel is messing with the game.

“Scrabble has truly stood the test of time as one of the most popular board games in history,” Mattel Vice President Ray Adler told the New York Post, “and we want to ensure the game continues to be inclusive for all players.”

On the flip side of the original board is the new version. According to the  Post, it will include “helper cards, using a simpler scoring system, be quicker to play and allow people to play in teams.”

“The makers of Scrabble found that younger people, Gen Z people, don’t quite like the competitive nature of Scrabble,” Gyles Brandreth, cohost of the podcast Something Rhymes With Purple, told BBC Radio 4 Today. “They want a game where you can simply enjoy language, words, being together and having fun creating words.”

And for those “everyone gets a trophy” Gen Zers, the game will include a “No More Scoring” option. Really.

Am I being too harsh? Would you like to play this new Scrabble Together?

Next up, Monopoly. You don’t go around the board buying property; you just show up on the property and squat there. The government takes money from you every time you pass Go, but gives it to you if you can find a way to sneak past it and over to Park Place.

 

Al Perrotta is managing editor of The Stream, coauthor with John Zmirak of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and coauthor of the counterterrorism memoir Hostile Intent: Protecting Yourself Against Terrorism.

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