We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
A little money shows gratitude. Went through my list today for the people who help us out all year long.
- Mailman ($20) - Garbagemen ($50, but during the year I also leave them a 10 or 20 whenever there is a large or messy pile) - My golf club (members make a single donation and the staff divvies up all of the donations - $500 per member is expected) - The guy at my daily morning coffee shop ($20)
When we have more occasional helpers, I usually give them a $20 at the time. I'd give something to our UPS guy, but it's always a different driver. It seems like a short list this year. Who am I missing?
We saw it last night with friends. The acting is top-notch. Many of us know the story of CS Lewis' late-age romance with a younger brash NYC Jewish woman Joy Davidman, the story of her subsequent death from cancer, and, especially, the story of how Joy led Lewis from the safe, emotionally-cloistered cocoon life of a timid Oxford don, and unleashed his soul and spirit.
BTW, we are fans of the West Bank Cafe down there on the west end of the theater district. Comfortable, decent food.
I don't want to write another one of those routine "How to deal with holiday stress" posts.
However, I will say this about my profession. When I evaluate a new patient, part of my diagnostic job is to assess their level of functioning in all areas of life, and to make a guess about their potential levels of functioning. What things do we consider? Social functioning and friendships, home management and organization of personal finances, family relationships, ability to work and at what level, hobbies and avocational interests/activities, conscientiousness, stress tolerance, emotional continence, functional fragility, impulsivity, intelligence, and so forth.
These are personal characteristics which may or may not have anything to do with any DSM diagnosis.
Making a functional life is not easy. While every single day tests those capacities in some ways, I have no doubt that this time of year can require us all to stretch our life-management skills.
One of the problems we have with Progressives is that they never seem to specify any end point at which government intrusion into our lives, or the desire to "care for our problems," will be sufficient. If they would tell me that, I'd be more comfortable. Their ideological trajectory is Mussolini's "All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state."
"Isn't food important? Why not 'universal food coverage'? If politicians had given us 'universal food access' 20 years ago, today Democrats would be wailing about the 'food crisis' in America, and you'd be on the phone with your food-care provider arguing about whether or not a Reuben sandwich with fries is covered under your plan."
The miracle of Chanukah, the celebration of which begins tonight, is about more than the sacred oil lasting eight days. It is about the determination of mankind to overcome despair, to rise up in our faith, to have freedom. This meditation is appropriate:
Hanukkah [Chanukah, properly, with a gutteral "ch"] begins on the 25th of Kislev. All through this period, our days grow ever shorter with light leaving our world as we move from the Jewish month of Cheshvan to Kislev. The Jewish calendar is lunar and the first of any month always coincides with the new moon, so it is easy to make certain that Hanukkah always falls at the darkest time of the year, the time when the sources of light --the moon and sun -- together cast as little light as possible. This always falls in the period from the 25th of Kislev to the beginning of the next month, Tevet. All during Hanukkah we light more and more candles, as the moon wanes and disappears and the world becomes progressively a darker place. We are rewarded on the last day when a sliver of the new moon finally appears, daylight increases, and the world outside grows progressively lighter. We can also think of this as spiritually connected with the High Holidays. Rosh Hashanah is on the 1st of Tishrei, just three months earlier, a time when we confront the darkness of our souls and the hope that we can take steps towards the light. Hanukkah demonstrates that this can take place in our physical world if we keep faith and act and persevere no matter how hopeless it all seems. The victory we will celebrate at Hanukkah is also a victory over fear and hopelessness wherever it exists –- including within ourselves.
Odetta, great folksinger and inspiration to many others ("The first thing that turned me on to folk singing was Odetta."- Bob Dylan), explains the meaning of one of her favorite songs. Listen closely. Then clap hands and sing along with her.
Because of his seminal recognition that rights do not originate from government, George Mason deserves more attention. In Robert Rutland’s words, he wrote “on behalf of… the birthrights of every free American… man’s native freedom from restraint unless he threatened or did harm to others.” As a consequence, “His ideas became permeating facts” at America’s founding. They need to again permeate Americans’ thoughts if we are to revive the liberty he helped create.
The vision of liberty the founders envisioned will never be seen again, anywhere. Sad. They gave it their best shot, for sure. Freedom and self-reliance go against man's slavish and dependent nature. Being heroic men in a heroic time and place, they overestimated the strengths and virtues in human nature.
Until Feb. 12. Despite seeing so many of his artworks and sculptures, one of my favorite Michelangelo experiences was scrambling around the ruins of the defensive walls of Florence - which he designed.
I had to read The Agony and the Ecstasy in high school. That book made an impression. I had a great education, but my IQ could not appreciate it all. Older now, and likely less smart, everything in life becomes more magical to me.
Let's not fool ourselves. "I believe Juanita" doesn't just mean that you're generally in favor of believing women when they report sex crimes. It means you believe that for eight years our country was in the hands of a violent rapist.
My Alabama friends say they'll vote for Moore regardless, given the alternative. He was not their choice in the primaries, but the primaries were screwed up. They also hated Trump personally, but voted for him anyway. Lots of voting is voting against, not voting for.
Chefs are extremely particular about their knives. They even travel with them if they might have to spend a little time in a kitchen.
My chef friend loves her Gunter-Wilhelms. They are not the most expensive professional knives (the best Japanese sets go for $2000+), but she says the Gunters have the heft and authority that she likes.
I'm not talking about Urban Hiking, which we always do in Europe and in NYC. I'm talking about off-road "hill walking" which is how they term challenging hiking in Europe.
Mrs. BD and I have explored most of the parts of Italy (and pretty much all of Sicily too). Still need to get to Bologna, tho. Anyway, Mrs. BD's favorite area is Umbria. It has the mountains and the villages, the Sibillini national park, the black truffle, norceria, and of course Norcia itself which is all about food, St. Benedict, and our friends the Monks of Norcia. Also, Assisi - but one visit to that tourist trap is enough.
40:2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
40:3 A voice cries out: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
40:4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
40:5 Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
40:6 A voice says, "Cry out!" And I said, "What shall I cry?" All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field.
40:7 The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass.
40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.
40:9 Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your God!"
40:10 See, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.
40:11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.