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
Wednesday, February 23. 2005
This in from Doc Higgins, who swears he had nothing to do with any of these surgeries, which is probably true. His senile tremor is so bad, they haven't allowed him near the OR in ten years. If you are bored and really have nothing that you should be doing, take a peek: Click here: Awful Plastic Surgery
Tuesday, February 22. 2005
Maggie's Farm is pleased to be included in this week's New Blog Showcase, hosted by Celebrity Cola. I think we are witnessing the Big Bang of the expanding Blogosphere. We are called "idiosyncratic and eccentric" - Who, us?
We may soon have more blogs than blog-readers in this world. Competition is good: http://celebritycola.blogspot.com/2005/02/new-blog-carnival-showcase.html
Let's pretend to take Euristan seriously: Click here: Telegraph | Opinion | What's US policy on Europe? No giggling
A word from Gwynnie, on the recent Environmental piece:
Gwynnie read the Celebrity Cola article “The Apocalyptic Battle Between . . ..” and even though she’s only a corgi she perceptively notes that the only thing dumber than politicians talking about the environment is environmentalists talking about Christianity! She even remembered the blog which said Christian fundamentalists didn’t care about the environment because the earth would be destroyed anyway in the “end days”. She asks us to remember that Christians have waited 2000 years for the second coming of Jesus, and have no reason to believe it won’t be another 2000 years, and that their faith requires them to be faithful stewards of what God has given them.
Monday, February 21. 2005
"Shadows are fallin, and I've been here all day.
Dylan, from Not Dark Yet
Two interesting pieces about the Environmental Movement - is it a post-Enlightenment Pagan Religion, or is it fact-based? And whose "facts"? You will find no-one more conservation-minded than the Bird Dog, but when gummint gets involved, it becomes more about image and symbol than substance - to get our gullible votes, of course. Gummint and science don't mix - and when they do, politics wins. Consider bottle-recycling - what a joke! - cheap feeling of false virtue, but useless. The Bird Dog happens to believe that the real conservation issue in the US is urban/suburban sprawl, but how do you balance people's desires and freedom with land-protection, other than by buying the land up? Easier just to bitch about oil in Alaska - again, cheap and easy feeling of virtue, but meaningless. And of course it is far away ! (Good conservation news - we saw three Bald Eagles yesterday next to the Bear Mountain Bridge. Hudson Highlands - cool. Does anyone remember Dylan's "Talkin' Bear Mountain Picnic Blues"? Quite humorous.)
Click here: Celebrity Cola: The Apocalyptic Battle Between Science, Religion, Republicans, the Environment, and Those Dreaded
Well, the Bird Dog was on top of this story too - is this a story about envy and class-warfare, or a story about animal lovers? If about animal lovers, they had better be vegetarians, or they have no credibility with me. But, finally, a cause for which Civil Disobedience makes sense ( if only Gandhi could see this - he'd have a good laugh):
Click here: Fox-hunt ban has fur flying among Britons - The Washington Times: World - February 20, 2005
Wonderful piece by Michael Dirda on Love - the scribblers really went all-out for Valentine's Day this year - see previous recent posts on Love - my theory is that these dudes use their columns as mass-mailing Valentine Cards to all of their cute girlfriends - using erudition as seduction. Been there.
Looks like about a foot of snow arrived overnite here in Yankeeland, and this morning there is a needling email from the in-laws with their weather report in Cabo. Why do so many of us Yankees love what others call "bad" weather? Is is because it demands more from us, or because it reminds us of the grandeur of God's Nature and God's Cosmos? Or is it sour grapes?
Speaking of Cosmos, old Mr. Hubble took some nice snapshots:
Sunday, February 20. 2005
It is tough for me to say anything about The Gates that isn't corny, so I won't say much. New Yorkers are just too hip. They do not dare to be positive about anything (except left-wing politics, which they still think is cool even tho it's antique, but they don't know it yet - they are smart, lively, book-reading people who love ideas, but stuck in the political Stone-Age), so they predictably bitch about this thing. Will post some photos as soon as I can get them to size properly, but photos of course can't capture it. What I will say is that, the minute you step off the sidewalk into the Park, into the 23 miles of saffron-curtained gates, everyone - and there were tons of people of every description and every language on the planet yesterday - slows down. It is remarkable to see New Yorkers walking so slowly and taking pictures, despite the frigid wind. Whatever it is, I suppose I think it is quite wonderful. ("I don't know much about art, but I know what I like.")
Also had time to check out Frederick Church's Parthenon again (a sentimental favorite of mine, despite having been to the Real Thing), plus Washington Crossing the Delaware - forgot how huge this cornball, wonderful work is. And to check out the Washington exhibit - not very interesting.
Our favorite "Gates" photo:
Continue reading "News, Arts, and Other Entertainment: The Lovely Gates"
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 07:15
Bubble, bubble...A way to get the fates on your side? Witches brew for Somerset.
From the Daily Rant Department:
Click here: Conservative Life - American Politics - The Raving, Bush-Bashing, America-Hating, Loser Left
Two very good pieces about guns, and gun rights:
Click here: Reason: Humanizing Gun Nuts: An anthropologist shoots down stereotypes about gun enthusiasts.
Another example of why some of us are a little disappointed in Republican control of the Fed. govt - it is human nature that govts become sponges for power and money, regardless of who is in charge. Where is Newt when we need him?
Saturday, February 19. 2005
This just in from Old Doc Higgins in Rhode Island:
Everyone has ADD, and all boys have ADHD. Just a matter of degree. Heck, I remember back in med school, during the lecture on the use of ether for anesthesia, spending the whole time undressing (mentally) a gal in the front row (only gal in the class - this was 19 and 41 - and she was a bow-wow, too, but eventually she let me...(edited for family reading...), and I didn't remember a thing about the class. See, I have a bad case of ADD too. But it didn't matter - back then, I'd just have the patient chaw on a lead bullet and rip out their appendix, or their whatever. Ether-shmeether. We'd re-use those bullets until they were chawed to bits - didn't wash 'em either. There was a war on - needed those bullets to kill Krauts and Japs. So, to save bullets, they came up with this new-fangled novocaine stuff for the whining wussies. I'd have nothing of it - No Sir. Nowadays, it's more complicated, but I like to stick to the old, tried-and-true ways when I can. When I can remember them.
"Napoleon - if yer hungry, just make yerself a dang kay-sa-dilla."
Grandma, in Napoleon Dynamite
Right or wrong? It's gotta be pure economics - a fat waitress will remind you of your diet, and you won't eat.
Who else besides me is getting tired of hearing about "our failing schools?" But it's a real issue, and I don't think it has much to do with teachers - I suspect union control, and lack of parental involvement in inner city schools, are a big part. This is a thoughful piece.
I don't know how Gwynnie's pal Rex found this bone, but it's a goodie, and related to the earlier essay "Life is so Scary." (Based on this website, the Bird Dog has made a significant investment in Safety-Flo, which should do as well as his other private placement investments - but this is NOT a recommendation that you should invest. Bird Dog is not a professional investment advisor.)
Friday, February 18. 2005
Well, I asked for something to eat
Dylan, from On The Road Again
It is called out-to-lunch. The age-old theme is the human reluctance to self-criticize, but the minor theme is "why are there schools of journalism anyway?" Name me someone in the press who writes better and is more devoted to truth than John Hinderaker of Powerline, and he didn't go, and neither did the sublime wordsmith Bird Dog...well, you can't teach writing....some folks can just turn a phrase around a concept like a boa around a rat - I love that, but cannot do it. Anyway, a review of Lehmann's piece in the New Yorker begins thus:
Nicholas Lemann was named dean of the Columbia School of Journalism in 2003. It's too soon to tell whether he is making Columbia a stronger school. It's not too soon to say that Lemann, the author of two good books and many compelling articles, has made himself a weaker writer. Evidence of this decline comes in the current New Yorker, where Lemann devotes 5,000 words to asking, "Why is everyone mad at the mainstream media?" without saying anything clear or consequential in response.Nicholas Lemann was named dean of the Columbia School of Journalism in 2003. It's too soon to tell whether he is making Columbia a stronger school. It's not too soon to say that Lemann, the author of two good books and many compelling articles, has made himself a weaker writer. Evidence of this decline comes in the current New Yorker, where Lemann devotes 5,000 words to asking, "Why is everyone mad at the mainstream media?" without saying anything clear or consequential in response.
Read the rest here: Click here: The Claremont Institute: The Dean Gets a D in Media Coverage 101
A Rather-fest? I guess the phony pompous blowhard deserves something for making an ass of himself all these years:
If "Big Pharma" are the villains of today, the Dog would like to know who the good guys are. Has any technology done more for quality of life, in all of human history, than the mainly American drug companies have done inthe past 50 years?
Well, the Bird Dog was ahead of the curve a few days ago when lamenting the removal of some drugs from the market due to side effects. Let's get a little rationality here:
The Bird Dog would like to plug The Teaching Company. He is neither paid by them nor does he own any shares in their company, but he does wish he had started the business. They collect the best college teachers - not the most famous, just the most engaging. Look at their website - on left column, under Other Swell Places. I have done about 8 of their courses and each has been wonderful. The music stuff by Greenberg is a pure delight. It is excellent for the car or for workouts. You can fill in all of the gaps in your education, and no exams!
Like Brooks Brothers, they have regular sales, and that is the time to stock up.
Thursday, February 17. 2005
The only thing nuttier than Australia banning gun ownership - so that the Army has to be called in to shoot infestations of rabbits - is the banning of fox-hunting, otherwise known as "hunting," in the UK. Thank God for our revolution, or we might have become as nutty as England, Australia and Canada. This has got to be one of the saddest days for the time-honored Brit sporting traditions. What will be the next target of the self-righteous weenies? Soccer, because it leads to fighting? Pathetic.
But maybe we can offer psychological counseling for those ex-hunters? Teach them knitting and TV-watching? And maybe those beautiful horses can be re-trained to be therapy-horses....hey - that would be a better world, right?
Read Norman Geras' piece in Dissent. A well-known Brit socialist, a retired professor, Norm is notable for not only being open-minded but for being a nice guy. And an articulate blogger. Got in hot water with the Brit Left for violating the Party Line on Iraq - how shocking ! Can you imagine such a thing ?! Bad form. Almost as distressing as a lady forgetting to wear a hat at Ascot, or sipping her tea before the hostess sits down. Who knows - it could lengthen the time 'til the Revolution, when we all will get free apple pie (or, more likely, guillotined). Click here: Dissent Magazine - Winter 2005
Another delectable dog bone. Speaking of guillotines, the Bird Dog is on the trail of The Enlightenment these days, with a fine Himmelfarb piece coming up tomorrow maybe. But this piece sets the stage. Whatever The Enlightenment was, it wasn't perfect, and even though we may live in it, like fish in water, we have to think about it. That is what Dog thinks is so cool and great about Western Civilization - not only can we think, but we don't get shot for doing it. Click here: OpinionJournal - Leisure & Arts
The whole world, it seems, is away in Vail or Telluride or Florida for the long weekend. Except for the Bird Dog, and of course the LYF. If you have a herd of 150 dairy cattle, you can't exactly drop them off at the kennel on your way to the airport.
Yet another example of the statistical ignorance of journalists, even science journalists. If they can't pass Statistics 101 in college, they could at least read the classic How to Lie with Statistics, by Huff. Click here: Amazon.com: Books: How to Lie With Statistics This piece was picked up by the NYT with the implication of causation, when the correlation says nothing about causal link. Yeah, there is a little disclaimer at the end, but so what? Click here: The New York Times > Health > Vital Signs: Dental Health: Flossing Can Be a String to the Heart
This reminds me of the old saw: "Is there intelligent life on earth?" Isn't the real question "Is there beer on Mars?"
Wednesday, February 16. 2005