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.
For a supposedly Christian-oriented blog, are you aware that you have two naked people on your front page right now, plus a frankly erotic, dare I say "post-coital" painting? This is not appropriate for a wholesome Christian family blog like Maggie's Farm, in my opinion, and I would respectfully request that you avoid such sorts of overly-stimulating and exciting postings in the future.
Deeply Offended and Disappointed, in South Carolina
As you have very perceptively noted, we have made a strategic editorial decision to become a sex-focused blog instead of the obscure, eclectic, thinking person's blog we have been in the past. We believe it will increase our readership if we limit ourselves to the subjects of guns, sex, violence, and rock 'n roll in the future. So, my dear Offended, just bear in mind that Markets Rule, Sex Sells, and humorlessness kills.
Bird Dog, Editor Dog in Chief and Chief Financial Officer, Maggie's Farm, LLC
That's the title of a Barone piece this week, in which he provides an optimistic overview of the extent to which the US is not moving in the direction of European-style welfare statism, (which I think of as a modern-day feudalism). While we all enjoy mocking the ways busy-body government chips away at liberty by telling us where we can smoke, making us wear seat-belts, banning fox hunting, restricting our gun rights, etc., it is the Nanny State that is the greater threat to freedom, initiative, and personal autonomy by trading human spirit and vitality for security and safety. A quote:
"The Bush administration came into office with plans to get us off the European trajectory, and has had partial success. At the moment, it seems inclined to let the Republican Congress set the course on domestic policy, which means letting the workings of regulated private markets in pensions and health care determine our direction. Democrats would like to move us some distance toward Europe, but how far they neither say nor, so far as I can tell, know. The Bush years have not produced a crisp decision to get off the European trajectory. But they have produced some significant movement in that direction, notwithstanding narrow Republican congressional majorities and harsh partisan divisions."
We are on a Botticelli (1445-1510) kick at the moment. If any college in New England needs someone to teach Europe: 1400-1565, we will do it with pleasure. Email us a generous contract, with benefits. Venus and Mars (1483).
Without a mental time line, or, preferably, a visual time line, I have a tough time getting a good grip on history. While one can learn the most from making one yourself (I've always wanted to make one on the upstairs hallway with magic markers), there are good ones you can buy. Hyperhistory has an online World History timeline, and you can push Hard Copy to buy one. Good Christmas present for history buffs.
What is this? Click Aliyah Diary category to find out.
Ulpan: Progressive Judaism, and the Bankrupcy of Judaism in San Francisco. 11-9-05
The Ulpan was so famous, I expect more physically imposing structures, some international style of Mies, or perhaps Courboisier, form following function, as our mental forms would follow the function of our new language, new Semitic thoughts, biblical, spare, yet clear, unwasted breath, nomadic laconicism. Biblical brevity we learn, but such knowledge is transmitted in tin sheds, concrete bunkers with corrugated roofs, in the Mediterranean summer. Our brains have Hebrew baked into them. Situated at the Southern tip of Netanyah, the town itself is sun-worn with streets named yearningly after the Riviera -- Nice, Aixe, Provence -- by French-tongued North African Jewish transplants, refugees who continue to long after La Patrie. The school, on grounds of a half-star hotel, more a youth hostel, often sans youth, is too far to walk on baking summer days; too long to wait for the bus, a heat-beaten mini-van, still run by North African schedule, in a time warped by Camus' sun, slowly, belatedly (in American time). The driver, should he be rushed, makes an upward gesture with his hand, fingers pursed and tips pulsating at each other as if to say, "I'm coming, I'm coming." From the town square, pass the beach and as the road ends, veer left onto a rutted, gravel-embedded path that bounces you to the gate, a pseudo-security, a guard in the darkened shed, acting as if he has smoked his nargilah at the last break. The gate is motorized, electrified, slides open slowly, creakily and only partially, on rusted rails.
According to Marquardt, the author of the excellent Between Two Worlds, two-thirds of divorces in America are "optional" or elective, ie not a consequence of abuse, violence, addictions, adultery, or similar lethally destructive misbehavior.
Orson Card has written a wise, thoughtful, and mature review of Marquardt's book, and I agree with every word in it. In my experience, many "unhappy" people are unwilling to see that much unhappiness comes from within, not from without, and refuse to see that they have the power to make things work, or not work. Or to see that much human misery comes from people's unwillingness, or inability, to grow up.
And both Card, and Marquardt, are emphatic about the point that a family is not a casual institution entered into for "personal fulfillment" or selfish gratifications: it is meant to be a rock and foundation for growing people - both the married people and any kids. Being married is difficult, sacrificial, possibly sacred, and oftentimes happy and peaceful, especially when we take it for granted and do not even realize that we have a good thing going. Marriage is not "natural." Honeymoons never last; passion fades when faced with daily reality; everyone has terrible, nasty flaws; the grass is rarely greener except for a brief time. It's too bad that the adolescent fantasies of true love that lasts forever is not automatic, but must be built and re-built over time.
Some quotes from Card's review:
"....Between Two Worlds is not just an important book, it is a highly readable one. And, to put it plainly, I believe that anyone who has children and is contemplating a divorce should regard it as a solemn duty to read this book first, and take its findings into consideration."
"Given that our whole society seems to believe the myth of romantic love -- that hormonal yearnings should trump rational commitments -- it's hardly a surprise that many perfectly good marriages break up over matters that should have been left behind in adolescence. Bad enough the heartbreak such misbehavior causes among the formerly married. But when children are involved, the selfishness and callousness of the behavior of some supposed adults should earn the disapproval of all civilized people.
But we are all so nice, so nonjudgmental, that we have to assure everyone that we aren't condemning anybody, that "it's your life." "
I found a piece (actually, part of a lecture series by Kreis) which nicely and succinctly addresses what was going on in Italy, and in Europe, during the 1400s and early 1500s. Specifically, the differences in trends between northern and southern Europe; the power of Savonarola and his Bonfires of the Vanities; and the poor reputation of the Church at that time leading up to Luther.
To view Savonarola as a "bad guy" is to make the error of viewing history through our present point of view. He was a reformer, an evangelist, and a true believer with many intellectuals and artists as followers (including Lorenzo the Magnificent and Botticelli), and it was the Church's fear and distrust of him which led to his execution at the spot below, outside the Palazzo Vecchio, where I took this photo 12 days ago.
Barone on the plight of the car companies: Op. Journal: "The end, or the beginning of the end, of a familiar and comfortable world: That's how General Motors' announcement last week of massive layoffs and plant closings, following the bankruptcy of Delphi last month, strikes one who grew up in the Detroit area in the two decades immediately after World War II."
Increase immigration? I don't think this is what Americans have in mind. Calif. Yankee
I will refer our readers to three sites today which cater to outdoorsmen and hunters/shooters. Santa knows very well that guys like gear.
First is Filson. Some of their stuff is more rugged than anyone ever needs - except for lumberjacks - but so are SUVs. Their famous heavy-duty waxed cotton "tin pants" trousers not only stand up by themselves, but they will hold you up too. Their unfashionable stuff is good for one or two lifetimes.
The second is Griffin & Howe. Like Kevin's, they cater to the gentleman sportsman. They have very nice stuff, and will make you (or your wife or girlfriend) a very nice custom shotgun - and they are very good to our conservation charity.
I figure that Christmas is partly about getting, and giving, enough books to keep everyone out of trouble for a while. NRO has some book ideas (thanks, Charmaine), including Charmaine's recommendation of a Walker Percy, one of my favorites. But I think Love in the Ruins was his best - or maybe The Last Gentleman.
And, speaking of Charmaine, she has a very pointed cartoon which raises the question of why so many bloggers, like us, offer so many brief links to other bloggers and to news sources, instead of limiting ourselves to original writing.
We do it to share interesting things we find, and to be part of the conversation. Maybe it's a waste of energy and time: I don't know. As our contributor Opie famously said: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, link."
We provide a mixed bag, reflecting our many interests, and, as I like to say, we all just follow our doggy noses and see where they lead us.
Scott at Powerline on multiculturalism: " I don't know enough to judge whether France is in better shape than Great Britain with respect to the corruptions of multiculturalism. Moreover, it seems to me that elites in the United States -- the "leaders" whom John wrote about yesterday -- have similarly elevated multiculturalism into an operative principle, if not a principle of governance."