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.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, January 21. 2021
Being lazy with dressing, I tend to prefer loafers to tie shoes although tie shoes are a better look. With many people getting back to regular work now, it is an issue.
For ordinary casual or outdoor shoes and boots, no issue. You manage that with socks.
Do any of our readers have this issue? I'd actually imagine that it's more of a problem for women than for men, but I don't know.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:18 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
What really was/is the point of COVID testing? Unless you are ill and your doctor needs to know?
I have posted several times about my Food Bank work. I'm not doing this to say "Hey look at me aren't I so giving?" After all, I'd barely done any work over the years with them, aside from donations and occasional assistance at the pantry.
I'm a firm believer in giving back in some form, and doing it quietly. In the Bible, Jesus made it clear you shouldn't promote your good works in order to promote yourself, and I believe that. My grandfather also felt this way, his donations always came from "A Friend" and no other ID was provided. I tend to do this, as well. Anonymity (or some degree of it) here helps reduce the impact of me promoting myself via 'good works'.
On the other hand, drawing attention to needs, and providing useful information about charitable works is not easily done without a reasonable voice. To a degree, I give some celebrities a pass when they promote their 'good works'. A lot depends on just how they are doing that work. If they make it about themselves and what they are doing (Ed Begley, Jr. and his incessant BS about how 'green' he is would be an example - he's wealthy, so it's easy to be 'green' and it's a means by which he can draw attention to his declining celebrity status), then I tend find their points less credible.
Continue reading "On the Nature of Charity"
AVI considers Reality Vs Pseudo-Realities
Philosophers Smear One of Their Own for Gender Heresy
“Antiracism” Comes to the Heartland.A Missouri middle school forces teachers to locate themselves on an “oppression matrix” and watch a video of “George Floyd’s last words.”
Biden’s Climate Team: Climate Change Is Happening Because of ‘Systemic Racism ’
Study Finds Most Americans Support Making Wall Around Capitol Permanent To Keep Politicians In
HIS IS HOW CONSERVATIVES GET ERASED FROM THE INTERNET
Trump Derangement Syndrome In A Post-Trump World
Wow, Politico Is No Longer Covering Up Biden's Cognitive Decline
Face It: The Open-Borders Crowd Won
Trump Leaves Washington, Tells Supporters: ‘We Will Be Back in Some Form’
Wednesday, January 20. 2021
This northern chicken-like (gallinaceous) bird prefers first-growth areas, with access to water and open areas. I most often find them in aspen, birch or alder thickets, but they can be seen in piney woods, old orchards, ferny woods, and in streambeds. In regions where birch and aspen are the climax forest, they can be found everywhere or anywhere, but never in large numbers. They are most commonly encountered when they flush with a startling whirr of wings.
Once known as "fool hens" for their tameness, Ruffies have somehow learned to avoid human encounters once they have had contact with them.
These birds do not migrate, and winter very well, since they are very happy to thrive on tree buds all winter, especially protein-rich aspen and birch buds. Their numbers have been declining in the Northeast as the old farms have become either mature woods, or housing developments, but clear-cutting of mature woodlands is a great help to them, as it is to most species of wildlife (it imitates the natural effect of wildfire to regenerate forest succession, which is key to habitat diversity and thus species diversity).
The Ruffed Grouse is the noblest game bird in the US. Wary, they do not often hold to a dog's point and when they do flush, their flight assumes warp speed immediately and is unpredictable. (Gwynnie's theory is that they have a random-direction-generating gyroscope in their brains.) They have an uncanny talent for putting tree trunks between the hunter and themselves, or for flying at your face, or flying between you and you pal, whose life you may (or may not) value more highly than you value bagging a Ruffie. And even the most considerate hunters ( yes - you, Craig) will pop off a snap shot regardless of whose bird it is, and rightly so. You cannot wait with Ruffies.
Grouse hunters (a very special and scarce, and, to my mind, elite fraternity of intrepid woodsy folks who don't mind cuts, bruises, wet boots, and hours-long struggles through underbrush, raspberry patches, thorny thickets of hawthorn, and impenetrable streamside alder growths) require very quick reflexes and a high degree of "relaxed alertness", but they require, most of all, strong legs for all of the hours of difficult wilderness walking which is required to find these wonderful creatures. It is said that grouse "are killed with legs, not guns." Dogs help, a bit, but they are huntable without dogs. When a hunter finds one, they are generally very difficult to shoot such that every Ruffie is a trophy and is regarded as such. And they are also regarded as a rare gourmet treat, because, with their subtle woodsy flavor, there is no finer fowl for the table.
Why "ruffed"? The males have a dramatic black neck ruff which they display for courtship purposes, while they fan their tails and strut around like little Thanksgiving turkeys. Their courtship drumbeat from an old log is also one of their well-known features: many have heard their deep thumping from deep in the woods, and have no idea that it is just a horny male Ruffie looking for a date.
Read more about the wonderful Ruffed Grouse here. The very worthy Ruffed Grouse Society, which Maggie's Farm supports, pays for research on grouse and woodcock ecology, which benefits all woodlands and woodland creatures.
My weekly time at the Food Bank has been very enlightening. Yesterday was different, I did something I wasn't used to doing. "Separating and stocking" it was called. Normally I pack food into boxes for shut-ins, SNAP supplement, or other family assistance. Some of that food is donated by large supermarkets or food producers, unsold stuff that hasn't quite hit expiration. Most is purchased by the bank itself, from donations. A commenter had asked where the food came from, and I have learned that a good portion is purchased, another good chunk donated.
Yesterday I learned about another big portion of it. Individual donations. When you clean out your pantry and drop it off at your local Food Bank, it goes into a bin and when there's enough volunteers like me spend hours unpacking and sorting. It's astounding, to be honest. For several reasons.
First, and I say this because we don't tend to think about it, and we mean well, but a good portion of the food donated is useless. Not the majority, but a noticeable minority of it.
To explain why, and maybe help save other volunteers time and effort, it's worth noting how the food is broken out. There are about 20 separate boxes, among them: Coffee & Tea, Cereal, Rice & Pasta, Canned Protein, Condiments, Baking Goods, Snacks, Drinks, Water, Peanut Butter, Vegetables, Fruit, Soups and Broth, and Peanut Related products. There are more, but these are the main ones.
There are at least 3 reasons I noticed for why food is tossed. First - boxed foods often are donated partially opened. Even if there is a wrapped package inside, many banks will reject the food immediately. Particularly if it includes individually wrapped packages without expiration dates on them. And that's a second reason - Expiration Dates. While a canned good dated Oct. 2, 2020 is acceptable until 2022, a boxed good with the same date is not always. It may have a 3-6 month acceptable shelf life, and if it is baby food it must not be past expiration.
These may seem somewhat questionable guidelines for food freely donated, but trust me, the artichoke hearts I picked up 3 years expired were not in the least appetizing. I may have eaten them if I'd stored them in my refirigerator at home, but realizing the nature of the situation (as my supervisor said) is such that maybe a year ago we MAY have been willing to push some limits, but right now we can't afford to.
In addition, I picked up 2 twenty pound bags of rice. Some of the rice spilled out, and I knew that bag had to go (who wants to attract rats and insects? That's the third reason...resealed boxes/bags. The first bag I threw out. The second wound up getting tossed when a supervisor noticed a hole which someone had taped over.
One other thing I learned had to do with peanuts. As you probably realize, anything that had peanuts in it, or was prepared in a facility with peanuts, was put in the "Peanut" box. What you may not realize is how much food is prepared in facilities that handle peanuts. I handled 3 different kinds of Ramen packages. The most well-known brand, Top Ramen, was a "Peanut" product. The others were Soup and Broth, but I was shocked at all the items that wound up in "Peanuts". Sometimes you just don't think much about it.
While I am always proud that we manage to prepare weekly food boxes for people, often up to 750 in a 3 hour shift, yesterday was another kind of learning experience. When I donate food in the future, I'll be sure to box it, separate it and make sure the expiration dates are acceptable. I'm sure I meant well donating a jar of olives that was 3 years past expiration, but I had no idea I was probably making someone do the work I should have done and just tossed them. Or that half open box of mac and cheese, which I taped closed, and which someone could have used. That someone being me...not someone else.
It was good knowing we sorted 524 boxes of these various foods. They are sent to local food pantries for distribution, or used in local food kitchens.
One last thing I noticed while I was there was the number of meals served each year. This past year, 2020, the number more than doubled.
Part of that was due to the ill-considered and misguided lockdowns which cost us jobs and productivity. But every year from the year it was founded, the Food Bank has seen the numbers of meals served increase. This past year may wind up being an anomaly. I hope it is. But it's worth knowing that volunteers are needed, and if you have it in you to spend a few hours a week, it's worth it. Hopefully I can convince my next employer that this is an important thing I do and get 3 hours a week to continue doing the volunteer work. I recommend it. As much as I I'd like to say I'm doing it because I ike to help people, the reality is I'm doing it for me. It makes me feel good. That's pretty much why we do most of whatever we do in life, and I'd never recommend doing it if you find it annoying or a pain in the ass. I have learned a lot, I can say that.
Joe Biden's Accomplishments Before He's Even Inaugurated—It's Not Good for America
Will Dems double down on crazy?
Pfizer Vaccine May Prevent People From Transmitting Virus
A Day of Hypocrisy - How soon will Democrats cancel Martin Luther King Jr. for calling for a color-blind America?
Warning: Beware of Hate Studies
My Pillow CEO Says Bed Bath and Beyond, Kohl’s to Stop Selling His Products
First Trump declassified Russia document: Christopher Steele's 2017 confession to the FBI. Steele told FBI he leaked Russia collusion story to help Clinton and Great Britain
Americans Love Trump: President Trump’s Approval Rating Hits 51% on Day before Inauguration
From Tax Cuts to Immigration Restrictions, These Trump Triumphs Now in Danger
MSNBC Analyst: Capitol Hill Rioters More Dangerous Than 9/11 Terrorists…
State Department: China’s Action Against Uighurs Is ‘Genocide’
US counter-intel chief warns Biden admin of China's malign foreign influence: 'One of the bigger challenges'
Tuesday, January 19. 2021
We're getting down for a week on southern oceans in a while. My soul needs salt water and boats. My nav skills are rusty - not that they were ever good except for coastal.
Lost interest in fishing except as a social thing, but big water and wavy gravy appeals to me. Always has.
Over 50,000 Restaurants In Italy Declare "I Am Open" Defying Lockdown Measures
New York Times Writes That Somehow, The Positive News About Covid Has Been Buried Until Now!
Thousands Of Covid-19 Vaccines Winding Up In The Trash
The left now just wants to silence conservatives — all of them
Scarborough Just Revealed How the Left Aims to Pressure Big Tech to Silence Conservatives
Protesters At Pro-Gun Event In Virginia Deemed White Supremacists/Right-Wing Despite Carrying Gay/Trans Flags…
Trump rebuts NY Times '1619 Project' with '1776 Report' urging schools to reject 'ideological poison'. Series of essays cited as 'toxic propaganda' that is a 'crusade against American history'
Film Crew Releases Never Before Seen Footage of 2017 Inauguration Riots
Trumpism After Trump
Biden Official Tells Honduran Migrant Caravan Don’t Come Now, Migrants Demand Biden Honor His Commitments
Tax and Regulate - The incoming Biden administration looks to roll back Trump-era policies.
Monday, January 18. 2021
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:25 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
A beast of a 60 year-old guy now begins his daily 1 1/2 hr workout at 4 am (before his finance day job starts) at my little neighborhood gym. So he opens the place up, turns on the heat before I get there around 5. The cheerful guy groans and grunts but that's ok with me. I like to hear people exerting themselves.
Just 2 of us in the place (unless I am doing weights with my boss-man) so we do token masking. Breathing is a good thing. I mean it feels really good to take deep breaths.
For me, it's as much for mental health as it is for fitness. So back on track with 2 days of powerlifts and related resistance, 2 days of calisthenics, 2 days of HIIT cardio + accessory weights. Our readers know the Maggie's Fitness For Life drill.
And back on track with nutrition: Protein shake after workouts, half a small sandwich mid-day (or some cheese and a half apple), usual balanced supper but less beer and vino overall.
I know I may need to increase the nutrition to maintain muscle strength once I am fully back in the groove but my problem is that food just makes me tired.
What about our readers?
The Rev. Martin Luther King’s legacy for the nation
Everyday Life in New York City, today
I Used To Love NYC But Feckless Leaders Have Forced Me To Leave
Testing For NYC’s “Gifted And Talented” Student Program Is Deemed Unfair, Will Be Eliminated
Blacklists are back and the Democrats have got ’em
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov: Accusing Us of Election Fraud Is Not Free Speech
Parler’s Website Back Online With a Message From Its CEO
‘They Want to Cancel Our Culture, Our History, Our Liberty’: Goya CEO
China ‘Sought to Influence’ 2020 US Election, Director of National Intelligence Assesses. CIA Management Pressured Analysts to Withdraw Assessment
Soon-to-be President Biden has a pen and a phone
Biden's First Executive Orders: Rejoin Paris Climate Deal and Rescind 'Muslim Ban'
There is no "Muslim Ban"
Americans Struggling With COVID Lockdowns, Business And Economy In Tatters, Biden’s* Top Priority? Legalize 11 Million Illegal Aliens In First 100 Days…
Joe Biden to Cancel Keystone XL Pipeline Permit on Day One
Feel Good Now—Pay Later. The Biden stimulus is crammed with goodies but makes no economic sense.
Powerline: WHERE TRUMP WENT WRONG
Sunday, January 17. 2021
Twitter bans Trump over risk of violence, but these leftist profs get a pass
Trump never advocated violence. He did want a protest.
Five Points is a bit of an interest of mine. We stopped there on the second Urban Hike, I've read several books about it, and I find its history a useful guide. Knowing about Five Points allows us to see how far we've come economically, spiritually, socially and politically. It is an indication of how much we've improved our lives, in a broad, general sense. When people say "things never are getting better" I remind them of Five Points. I'll mention Dickens. I'll mention the death of a president's son due to a staph infection in the 20th century (remember, a president in 1924 was getting some of the best medical care at the time). There may be some places in the U.S which are bad, but it's hard to say they are as bad as Five Points was, even in a relative sense.
It is easy to look back over periods of our life and see some things, particular to ourselves individually, and say "things are worse" while ignoring larger trends which clearly point to overall improvements. This is one reason small sample sizes should be considered, but not used as yardsticks. Many fall in for small sample sizes to 'prove' points which are often untrue.
All that said, Five Points is a wonderful place and time to learn about. The horrors of its existence, but also the great gains and learnings which took place during and after its existence are what make the U.S. a great nation. My own ancestors, the Irish, made up a good portion of the people living there. At the time, the Irish could realistically call themselves 'discriminated against' - but life was so much better than where they came from, all they focused on was moving forward. This isn't to say any discrimination should be supported or approved. Certainly not. But there are ways to recognize life is improving and getting better while also pushing back on behaviors and opinions which are misguided and drag us all down.
Having read Tyler Anbinder's excellent book, I'll recommend this virtual book talk. As I mentioned early on, some good things have come out of lockdowns. Not many, but virtual events of this and other type have been quite wonderful.
But everything political ends up being power plays. It's a game, and a rough one because careers, money, power, and status are involved. Also, ideological passions which tend to be about power anyway. Politics in the US is not pretty and never has been.
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
139:1 O LORD, you have searched me and known me.
139:2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.
139:3 You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
139:4 Even before a word is on my tongue, O LORD, you know it completely.
139:5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.
139:13 For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
139:15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
139:16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.
139:17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
139:18 I try to count them -- they are more than the sand; I come to the end -- I am still with you.
Saturday, January 16. 2021
COVID lockdowns do no good
Leftists Are Colonizing Red Towns Like Mine, And Local Republicans Are Clueless
Shooting, homicide surge came after ‘reforms’ NY’s leaders said would cut crime
Most NYC schools aren’t trying to track online attendance — or trying to do anything at all, really
Harvard Students Petition For Trump-Allied Graduates To Lose Degrees
America’s New Corporate Tyranny - The American political and legal systems are working just fine, despite a few hiccups. Meanwhile, American corporations are depriving citizens of basic rights and freedoms and destroying our democracy.
Mexico’s Left-Wing President Mounts International Campaign Taking On Tech Companies After Trump Bans
Whistleblower Video Shows Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Discussing Extensive Plans To Censor Politics On Twitter (Starting With Donald Trump)
Mozilla CEO Says Deplatforming President Trump Isn't Enough
VDH: An Impeachment Incitement - What is this latest impeachment gambit really about? Of course, it was a Parthian shot to discredit President Trump’s supporters.
What will angry Lefties do without Trump?
The All-Out Assault on Conservative Thought Has Just Begun
Duke profs suggest Biden pursue 'new laws' to combat 'misinformation'. A pair of Duke professors are calling on the incoming Biden administration to establish a new commission aimed at combatting "misinformation."
Friday, January 15. 2021
Parler being dumped by Amazon Web Services wasn't the first shot. Gab was in 2018. Gab is still around, though it is private now and subscription only. That may be the future for Parler and others like it which fill a need.
But going private isn't the only solution, there are other solutions. But private is probably bes. However, being aware and adept at meeting the Progressive/Leftist challenges to free speech is essential. I am particularly fond of The Mises Institute's approach.
This is a space in which I'm uniquely informed and aware. I've been seeing this slowly developing for years, and it's been a growing concern. I've been told for years "oh it will never get that bad" and now it really is that bad. Many said Net Neutrality was necessary because the provider of the pipes would throttle, reduce and limit ability for sites and apps to work. Ironically, the purported supporters of Net Neutrality are the very same businesses who are throttling free speech - you know, the free speech they felt Net Neutrality was required to prevent OTHERS FROM THROTTLING THEM. Except, they will argue, 'this is different'. It's not. And Net Neutrality would have given these tech oligarchs more power to do this very kind of thing.
That said, because all this has happened slowly at first, then suddenly (due to the Capitol incident), Hemingway's description of bankruptcy fits these moves restricting the freedoms on speech very well. When it's taken, unlike bankruptcy - which is usually noticeable, this is going largely unnoticed and unmentioned. Or, at least, it's being done in a manner many consider 'acceptable'. Because the main beneficiaries are the very groups doing damage to free speech - the tech oligopolists. Who know 'better than you' about how things should be done, how you should live your life, and what you can or should say.
Don't get me wrong. Tech in't bad. Social media isn't bad. It's not inherently evil. It is ambivalent to morality. But individuals themselves can be good or bad, and as a result can have overbearing and long-lasting impacts on our realities. I'm sure Gutenberg was not loved by leaders of the day and "War of the Worlds" certainly sent many scurrying to talk of the damage radio can do. TV was described as a "vast wasteland" and Bill Gates felt there was little commercial value to the internet.
What is happening now requires individual awareness and action. It does NOT require fighting or violence. Just intelligence and smart, cordial and meaningful action. The Progessives are just starting, in my view. I don't believe violence will help solve issues - it will be used to justify positions. But being louder, smarter and more aware will make a difference.
Anthropomorphising is always an issue when humans think about animals, but from observation I know that no bunny rabbit is indifferent to being grabbed by a Red-Tailed Hawk.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:45 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
More Than a Quarter of US Households Will Cut the Cord in 2021
De Blasio hates gifted schooling because it exposes his own failures
Chicago Teachers, Checked Out - Second City public school instructors are not stepping up in a crisis.
San Fran Doctors: Opens The Schools Already!
The Media is Actively Running the Social Media Purge of Conservatives
2020’s Spike in Urban Homicides Should Not Be a Mystery
Frank Luntz Looks Visibly Disturbed When His Focus Group Proves People Still LOVE Trump
Another Violent Leftist Arrested at US Capital Protest: Registered Democrat and 34-Year-Old Son of a New York Judge
Unity? CNN's Don Lemon: If You Voted For Trump, You're With The Klan, The Nazis, & The Rioters
Trump re-impeached, supporters silenced, humiliated and threatened
No One Will Let Trump Go Away
US energy independence is on the way out
Restart, Reset or Renew? The Strategy against Iranian Nuclear Ambition
Thursday, January 14. 2021
Life in the Western world, right now, is better than it has ever been in history anywhere. We live in a Golden Age. Complaining is easy and fun but gratefulness is not as fulfilling...or is it?
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:20 | Comments (24) | Trackbacks (0)
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