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, November 24. 2005
Stumbling around your wine cellar this morning?
Here are some ideas.
Posted by Opie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
William Bradford and George Washington offer thanks. Am. Thinker
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 08:27 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday because it arrives during hunting season, and because it's not about giving and getting stuff - it's simply about gratitude and family bonds. But we hereby promise our readers to utter no party-pooper pieties about the commercialization of Christmas this year.
Norm's Institute of Dylan Studies, here.
Get off the internet, for once. Get in the kitchen and help - or turn on the TV, fix a drink, start getting numb, and watch the moronic Macy's parade like a normal person! Gee, will there be a problem with the balloons? (I swear that the parade coverage is targeted to Alzheimers patients tied into wheelchairs.) But first...relax and spend a few peaceful and intelligent minutes of serenity with us:
Orson Card discusses divorce and the useful and important Between Two Worlds by Marquardt
Iran executes more gays: Classical Values
Dating website fraud? Phin. Yes, very bad.
Understanding the terrorists. Ace:
"We took Chris Matthews' advice, and really endeavored to understand these people," a Pentagon spokeman said. "And then, once we sufficiently understood them, we atomized them with high-explosive precision munitions. I think this is a compromise approach both the left and right can agree."
Chavez exporting revolution. TCS
Oh no! Not innovative math again. Education Matters.
From neoneocon's archives: Leaving the Fold
"Someone who leaves the fold is much worse than someone who was never in it. There's a special rage reserved for those who have rejected the ideas that others hold dear. "
"Lasch subtitled his book, “American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations,” and it is useful to question just how far the diminishing of expectations he first identified has gone. Looking back on The Culture of Narcissism more than 25 years later, what did Lasch get right and what did he get wrong? What developments did he presciently identify and which ones did he miss? In the interim decades, has Lasch’s narcissist given way to a new type of American character and, if so, what are that character’s defining traits? A descriptive tour revisiting some of Lasch’s themes — especially the transformation of the family — suggests that the narcissism Lasch described has not disappeared. It has simply taken on a different and in some ways more exaggerated form."
Wednesday, November 23. 2005
Is there life after blog? He was an excellent and productive blogger. I just found a piece of his I had saved for some reason. It's about Happiness. We hope Chrenkoff has found happiness in his new career.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:04 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Dylan poetry sold at Christie's, here.
A few URLs that were not thought through carefully enough
Such as PenIsland.com. Here.
The "Dreamliner", the replacement for the Boeing 777, looks like a darn nice bus, and I look forward to flying on it. Several human features: higher humidity, so you don't arrive dehydrated; better pressurization (most commercial airplanes are pressurized to an equivalent of 7000' in altitude; this will be closer to 4000); more seat room in cabin class; bigger windows; an 8500 mile range and, I have heard, no recycled air (if the engineers can solve the problem of the half knot per hour speed loss which this seems to entail). I just hope the bathrooms are better - and cleaner. Alas, no swimming pool or Jacuzzi, and no place to enjoy a cigar - even in First Class. You still have to stroll out on the wing for that.
Posted by The Chairman in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:59 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Fascinating Piece on France
I guess it should go without saying that, since why would I post an unedifying article? But this review of five books by TNR's Paul Berman is a tour de force, and an excellent example of why I have never abandoned TNR: they always have smart people, even if you don't always agree with them.
"France's domestic achievements were genuine, even if the achievements never did penetrate into the suburban housing projects. And from this angle, too, from the perspective of France's domestic peace, the America of George Bush seemed a little worrisome. In America, Christianity had not been pushed out of political life. On the contrary, Christianity in America seemed to have gone insane, with the evangelical sects as principal evidence. Nor was the welfare state looking too healthy in America. The welfare state was shrinking. Nor was capital punishment at an end, in its American version. America seemed poised to execute Mumia Abu-Jumal, who was regarded in France as a famous black leader--a martyr awaiting his martyrdom.
Now, this particular view of American conditions might have looked a little different if the French had kept in mind the peculiarities of American history. In the United States, evangelical sects have always been insane. ("Various forms of religious madness are quite common in the United States," Tocqueville wisely observed.) Even so, Christianity in America has by and large served as democracy's foundation, and not its enemy--which was another of Tocqueville's points. Nor has capital punishment ever played the kind of political role in America that it used to play in France. ("North America," Tocqueville went on to say, "is, I believe, the only region on earth where not a single citizen has been deprived of his life for a political offense for the past fifty years.") As for the welfare state, the French critics had a point, though perhaps it could be argued that jobs, too, have a virtue, and not just jobless benefits.
In any case, instead of looking at these matters from the vantage point of American history, the French observers tended to adopt the vantage point of French history and concluded that America was retreating into the Middle Ages, even if America had never been in the Middle Ages. And since Bush in his vigor and naïveté seemed to be in a missionary mood, the danger arose, or seemed to arise, that America's clericalism, its state violence, and its anti-proletarian biases might, like McDonald's, end up spreading to the European continent, and France's achievements might get undone, and the miserable French past might turn out to be the miserable future."
Read entire. It is a damn good piece of writing, even if you are sick of thinking about France.
The Sporting Chef
Most of the guys I know do the game cooking in their houses. It's not only part of the ritual of hunting and fishing, but it's a way to treat the wild creatures with special respect.
Here's a site for the hunters: check the recipes.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:22 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, November 22. 2005
Tomb of Machiavelli
In Santa Croce, ten paces from Michelangelo's, and twenty paces from Galileo's. Lousy photo - they don't allow flash.
As Maggie's Farm readers know, Nick Machiavelli (1469-1527), the father of modern political science, was no dark, cynical, sinister thinker, just a hard-headed realist about human nature and the handling of political power. Practical, and a good writer, too.
A few of my favorite sound bites:
"Princes and governments are far more dangerous than other elements within society."
"The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him."
"The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous."
"The distinction between children and adults, while probably useful for some purposes, is at bottom a specious one, I feel. There are only individual egos, crazy for love."
See Aliyah Diary category to learn what this is about.
Nov. 6, 2005
Continue reading "Guest author: Aliyah Diary, #5"
More Drucker: Interview at Claremont Inst.
The "Katrina Experiment." Star Parker
Coveney on the state of theater cricitism: Prospect
US can be free of oil dependence? Without a single mention of nuclear power? Doubt it. And the writer doesn't seem to know that it requires more energy to produce ethanol than ethanol contains. IndyStar. Ethanol is alcohol: would you pour Grey Goose into the tank of your F-150? Even if Grey Goose were cheaper per gallon than gas? Heck no. Economics isn't everything, because things have meaning to people.
What's wrong with this essay on French riots in Jurist? I have my ideas.
The priest shortage. The Week
Foxman discovers conspiracy to Christianize America. Or, could you say, Front Page discovers conspiracy to de-Christianize American culture?
More Christmas Ideas: Books, etc.
Frank McCourt's new book, Teacher Man. Review in CSM
Christian scholarship: First Things Magazine
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:14 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Advice to the Brits, on school bullying: Ankle-Biter
The Prof. didn't like the Iraq vote stunt. He has a point.
Pro-war vote a "disgrace", said Pelosi, before voting for it.
Never understood why airlines just don't allow smokers to walk out on the wing and have a smoke outside.
AP: Urging self defense "racist and extremist"
Now, while I usually assume that our readership is all too well aware of the political leanings of the mainstream media, a particular sentence I came across today jumped out at me and has been nagging at my brain ever since. In an AP article covering DeVillepin's vain promises to provide jobs to the disaffected rioters, there is a mention of "Muslim leaders" afraid of a backlash in which the following tidbit appears:
When I read the first part of the sentence, I assumed the author might quote something to the effect of "Africans must die" or "expel all Muslims" or something at least plausibly "racist." But no - apparently the worst they could find was a simple plea for France to stand up to those who seek to profit by violence and destruction. (What irony, to think that during the German occupation of the second world war, a Frenchman scribbling such a message on the side of a building would been held in much the same regard by those in power.)
The implications of this statement go beyond the rioting in France, however, to encompass all of Europe and indeed all of the West, which faces charges of "racism" and "extremism" for even the slightest efforts to control its borders or restrict the free movement of immigrants. Now, if in France's case, continued immigration will inevitably result in a Muslim- and African-majority France, with all that implies for French culture, nationhood and government, surely France is within its right to seek to prevent such a future. Not so, says the left: racism no longer constitutes only the oppression of the non-white or non-Christian other, but also resistance to their oppressing you.
The implications of this are vast, since acceptance of this principle essentially robs the nations of the West of the ability to control and shape their own futures. The demographic changes underway must continue, therefore, since to oppose one's transformation into a Muslim nation would be racist. Likewise in the United States, one cannot oppose giving in-state tuition and driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, since to do so would be racist. Calling for France to defend itself in the face of rioting by African Muslims? Racist, of course. Sadly, this insidious ideology has worked its way into the highest reaches of political power throughout the Western world and shows no signs of losing its grip. Unless it is challenged and destroyed, and soon, France's future looks to be already set.
Vonnegut on Iraq: SDA
Socializing medicine: Cafe Hayek
The cost of freedom: Confed. Yank
Chris Matthews in denial: LGF. Would he have said the same of Hitler and Stalin and Pol Pot? To deny the human potential for evil is dangerously foolish, not virtuous.
A quote from Dinocrat, re the Iraq vote:
"The Left is in a profound crisis, a crisis which they have as yet failed to recognize. They are living in a country in which they are outnumbered 3 to 2 by conservatives, and they refuse to consciously recognize that the liberal position is no longer the default position in American public opinion, even as they are forced to cast humiliating votes. The religion of the Left has failed to capture the hearts of America. Their religion has failed, but it’s all they have. Imagine a young man at a madrassa in Pakistan who wakes up one day to discover that he no longer believes the Koran to be literally true. He still carries on with lessons and prayers, perhaps all the louder and more fervently. The Left too has its playbook; it is all they have. So one should expect more of the same, perhaps louder and more fervently."
Monday, November 21. 2005
"The choice of fools," from Dr. Bob:
"Do you know my life story, LJ? Do you know how a man, filled with empty knowledge and the false assurances of gifts and youth, a loving family and a life undeservedly blessed, can squander it all for the pursuit of self-satisfying intellect, arrogance, self-sufficiency, and contempt of others? Have you been in that place of desperate emptiness, having pushed away your children and made your wife a living widow, driving forward with blind foolishness until your own hollow life is endangered? You say you have prayed and those prayers were not answered; I too have prayed–years on end–to a God I once served but who in mercy left me to suffer the consequences of a life driven by self-will and self-satisfaction. Hollow prayers, desperate prayers, prayers a fool’s cry for help to a now-empty universe. A God I once understood completely proved completely inscrutable, hopelessly distant, His ear–if He existed at all–turned elsewhere, His eye on more worthy subjects. Have you then seen–in an hour unimaginably dark–that same God you never knew reach down with gentle hands and unspeakable love, to scoop up this poor refuse and restore him to a life and hope he could never have imagined?"
RRWH becomes calm and unemotional about the New Orleans mess.
The Big O?
Comments on OSM from Least Loved Bedtime Stories and from Buzzmachine. On studying it, I can't figure out exactly what OSM is supposed to be, nor do I see that I need it. On the other hand, I rely a great deal on those extraordinary bloggers who put it together. Good luck to them.
Prada, Firenze, last week. Guess who was outside, practicing taking night shots, and who was inside? (bought nothing, though)
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:46 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Yet another book to mention
Must be getting close to Christmas. By John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: City of Falling Angels.
From the interesting Amazon review: "I was not terribly surprised when he (the author) later told me, "Venetians never tell the truth. We mean precisely the opposite of what we say."
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 07:54 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)