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, September 28. 2005
We have two species of Scaup in North
They are long-time favorites of duck hunters (despite their anchovy-like flavor which I enjoy), with historically abundant populations along the Atlantic coast during migration, but their population has been unaccountably declining over the past decade. You can see their flocks resting in fresh or salt water, or wheeling in the sky like schools of fish, between October and February, with most birds wintering in the southern US and Central America. Their main breeding grounds are the northern boreal forests.
More on scaup here.
Does hunting have a measurable effect on duck populations? No. As with most critters, habitat is everything. We will bag a few bluebills next week, in Canada. And eat them, too, cooked rare. Never cook duck anything more than rare. And never with anything with an orange flavor - overpowers the duck. Cooked pears or figs are far better with duck.
The Scorsese Documentary
I found it to be not very revealing, but a fun thing with great music clips, which I guess was the point. A good introduction to Dylan for those needing one. Man, did he look drugged out sometimes, but still produced on stage. I thought the best parts were the interviews from today.
Call me Bird Dog. I would have to confess to being a Melville fan, having read everything he wrote that is extant, including Billy Budd a few times and Moby Dick more than a few. Far from being a daunting book, Moby Dick is pure fun, a rambling, shambling mythic tale decorated with all sorts of information and local color; truly a book as big as an ocean and as unruly. If Moby Dick is the ocean, then Billy Budd is a pearl in an oyster at the bottom of the ocean. Like all wonderful writers, Melville couldn't write on one dimension if he tried. But Melville was almost forgotten and lost until the 1920s. From Dirda's review of Delbanco's new biography:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
What is "transgender"?
The question came up at dinner with friends Saturday night. Lots of the wives were Smithies (in their 60s+, dare I say?) and they were talking about how their Alma Mater had become a haven for the sexually confused and deviant. They were nostalgic for the old Smith days of weekend trips to Yale and Dartmouth for a wholesome romp and some drinks and hopefully a husband. By skillful application of their charms, they all married very well indeed, and relatively happily too, if appearances are any measure (which they aren't).
I had to admit that I had heard of transgender, but didn't understand it at all. So I tried to read up on it, and I still do not quite get it, but I can see that it all stems from this idea of "gender," a recent concept, sort of a wierd one, introduced by Dr. John Money, a shrink and a famous sex researcher at Hopkins. The notion is that one's anatomy and one's psychology are not always in sync. But I can reach back to medical school and psychiatry classes and, as I recall, Freud said that humans are all mixed up and perverted, psychologically anyway - whether it's conscious or unconscious, so I do not find the fact that many or even most people fail to fit a male or female stereotype particularly interesting - I never met anyone who did, unless they were either putting their best foot forward, or play-acting. We are all made differently. And when it comes to sex change operations, I would no sooner get near one of those than to an abortion. For me, such things are not medicine - they are barbarism and not any part of the Hippocratic Oath I took - which I take to forbid abortion by physicians, in addition to the famous forbidding of cutting "those laboring under the stone". (That was for lowly surgeons, not physicians.)
So as not to look stupid, among the things I read was this piece by Carl Bushong, which I found to be basically happy horse s-, basically true things about people but drawing drastic conclusions from superficial psychology. And this "true self" stuff sounds a little too pop-psychology for me, a little too self-involved. (I guess everyone is kinda transgendered, but who worries about it? Well, I guess adolescents and young folks do a lot of navel-gazing, especially where it's in fashion. Still, if youth wants to navel-gaze, I'd suggest that they worry more about their character and about how they plan to make a living than about their "sexual identity" - if such a thing even exists. The kids today are spoiled, self-indulgent brats: didn't Socrates say that? And, in Socrates' day, seems like all the young folk were transgendering themselves silly in the gymnasium - the fellas, anyway.) But, at this point, I am out of my league and will ask Dr. Bliss to take this one on for me.
Observing the Foolish Master, Packing for Hunting Trip
Gwynnie the dog just has to speak out: Whazzizname is crashing about the house, panting, with foam flecking his ample chins. Scary to hear about – appalling to see! Shouted comments to the innocent: “Have you seen my boonie hat?” Did you touch my blaze vest?” Where are my camo hat and jammies?”
The innocent, and Gwynnie is as innocent as they come, stay clear. Whazzizname is going on his annual hunting expedition to upper
Gwynnie is glad she’s a herding dog – what can you forget, the cow? “Look at those labs,” she says. “They have all that GEAR – electronic collars, camo jackets, bells, all the stuff from Orvis or Cabelas or Kevins. Stuff must drive them nuts!”
Yet, still, Whazzizname grins with a blended expression of eager anticipation and deep satisfaction whenever he pauses to take a breath.
Could it be he is remembering Manitoba Sunsets?
Or chilly dawns?
Or simply chatting idly with great friends?
Whatever it is, it is an enduring mystery to Gwynnie and Whazzhername – but to Whazzizname himself as well.
Posted by Gwynnie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:24 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, September 27. 2005
Media Whore gets herself Arrested
Yup, Cindy finally did it. Wow, what a hero! Saw her happy face on Drudge this AM, but the photo is taken down now.
Like Pejman, I will take this story with a grain of salt. But fun to think about Ithaka.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:29 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
A Plan for Fisheries
Reasonableness finally enters the subject of preserving fisheries, and the Bush admin. is on the right side. The Commons.
Hillary Concerned about Free Speech on Internet
From Drudge: "I don't have any clue about what we're going to do legally, regulatorily, technologically -- I don't have a clue. But I do think we always have to keep competing interests in balance."
Gimme Some Money, Part 2
Katrina's flood waters woke the poverty pimps from their dormancy, but now the heavy hitters are getting on board - massive pork projects for LA. Quoted from Washington Times at The Corner:
Glenn Reynolds on the Second Amendment and States Rights
In 1995, before he achieved renown as Instapundit, Glenn published this piece (Click here: THE SECOND AMENDMENT AND STATES' RIGHTS: A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT ) in the William and Mary Law Review to examine the Second Amendment from the states' rights (rather than from the individual rights) standpoint, and in the process is critical of casual Constitutional interpretation by talking heads.
He concludes the article:
I think the right to bear arms is, or should be, an individual right, but the "thought experiment" was an interesting way to approach the issue of states' rights, and reveals Glenn to be a disciplined thinker.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:03 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
The so-called Scopes II trial begins this week in Harrisburg, PA., which concerns a Dover, PA school board's decision for teaching Intelligent Design along with evolutionary theory in biology classes.
Frm the NYT piece:
So here come the religion-haters and the Bible-phobics. Isn't the real issue, though, as it was in Scopes I, whether a local school board can make its own decisions?
Monday, September 26. 2005
Admiral Nelson's t-shirt
and other personal items to be auctioned. His undershirt expected to bring $500,000. Says Sotheby's re the Admiral:
"He was remarkably brave in battle, but he also wanted recognition for this, and was remarkably weak in his personal life," Grist said. "He'd face the French and Spanish fleet much easier than he would face his first wife."
Who wouldn't? Piece here.
What's a Steamfitter?
One of those trade terms I've heard all my life, and sounds antique, but wasn't too clear on. They started out as the construction trade that handled the furnaces boilers and piping for residential and industrial steam heating and other steam-powered equipment, but nowadays steamfitters are the guys who do installation and maintenance of heating, ventilation, and refrigeration equipment. It's an apprenticeship trade, whose unions are generally closely associated with pipelayers, plumbers, and pipefitters. Pipefitters? Not sure how different they are from steamfitters and plumbers, but all kinds of industrial piping. Pipes and welding. Good, honest, physical work, not like mine.
Photo of a nice steam boiler and spacious boiler room.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:21 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Katrina, Environmentalists, The Corps of Engineers, and Money
Powerline highlighted this piece in the WSJ. Good. A sample:
"...the Corps hardly has a record of rationality. It claims that Katrina produced surges higher than the levees that Congress funded it to build. But Louisiana State University's Hurricane Center found that "the flooding of most of New Orleans" came from breaches of floodwalls on canals adjoining Lake Pontchartrain; Katrina's surges did not pour over the levees but breached them because the Corps' floodwalls were shoddy. The barrier stopped by the lawsuit was designed to keep storm surges out of the lake, so it would have reduced the pressure on these floodwalls. And now, as we have seen, Hurricane Rita drove new surges into the lake.
The Corps actually contributed to increased pressure from the surges on Lake Pontchartrain by building the little-used Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, a 76-mile long canal that destroyed 20,000 acres of wetlands. The Corps causes floods across the country by destroying wetlands and channeling rivers. Meanwhile, the federal government encourages construction in flood plains by providing flood insurance."
Gimme Some Money
Trying to leverage the Katrina coverage into some cash. Star Parker:
Canada's GunScam, at Captain Ed
Killer Dolphins Missing? At Ex-Donk.
Howler reports on Ed Decker. Who he? Find out, and watch Howler rip the poor soul a new one.
Photos from the Anti-War protest
Photos here. Gives you a good sense of who these people are. Thanks, Powerline. Protest posting from No OIl, too. Definitely Moonbats on Parade - their signs are revealing. Respectful disagreement, people?
The Coalition Against Civilization
Even wackier than the anti-war crowd. Thanks, LGF
Men outnumbered by women on campus. This has got to be fun for the guys, unless half the women are transgender whatevers. At Instapundit
Another offering by Julian Beever, the English street chalk artist. Notice the way the guy steps around the "hole."
Posted by Opie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:40 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
You can follow the "Endless Tour" here.
Mark your calendars, if you have not done so already. The Scorsese film "No Direction Home" will be on PBS Sept. 26 and 27. The DVD should be available around Sept. 20 on Amazon. The No Direction Home CD is available at Amazon. The Gaslight CD is at Starbucks.
The Dylanologist and I were talking yesterday, wondering why Dylan has quit his guitar and returned to his first instrument, piano. We decided it was whim - not arthritis, as has been speculated. We also wondered whether his current touring band will ever reach the heights of his past bands. And we decided that, regardless of the interest in the Scorsese film, we'd be more interested in a current documentary about this fascinating and enigmatic character.