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
Friday, December 23. 2005
A True Quagmire (Thanks to American Future):
God is a Republican and Santa is a Democrat
From PJ O'Rourke via RTLC
Working for the enemy is not heroic.
Half of Americans have had "moments of truth" that led to a religious awakening of their souls: CSM
Zarky moving into Europe. LGF
Blogging at 30,000 feet. A VC. (Not our Yankee politics, but a good, personal blog with a venture capitalist, deal-oriented angle.)
6th Circuit gives ACLU a lump of coal in their
The human cost of freedom: a good post by Confed. Yank
China's economy set to surpass that of Britain. Samiz.
The NSA: The "big" NYT story is unravelling. Am Thinker. Where is the outrage about the NSA leaks? Max Boot (woops- they are Dems - what happens to Senators when they leak top secret intel? Jail, perhaps? I would just love to be running against those guys right now, but my job is better.). It's insanity: Willisms - and I agree.
Christmas defended. Yes, Virginia, the Founding Fathers did celebrate Christmas. And how! With parties, booze, and dancing. They were not barbarians. They did love life, they trusted in God, and they wanted freedom from State Power and viewed government as a necessary evil, and not as a free lunch. God Bless those brave, optimistic patriots who risked their lives and their sacred honor, and who continue to inspire us today.
A sign in the Bank Lobby reads:
"Please note that this Bank is installing new Drive-through teller machines enabling customers to withdraw cash without leaving their vehicles. Customers using t his new facility are requested to use the procedures outlined below when accessing their accounts. After months of careful research, MALE & FEMALE procedures have been developed. Please follow the appropriate steps for your gender."
1. Drive up to the cash machine.2. Put down your car window. 3. Insert card into machine and enter PIN.4. Enter amount of cash required and withdraw.5. Retrieve card, cash and receipt.6. Put window up.7. Drive off.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:10 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, December 22. 2005
Metaphor and Learning
Metaphor, analogy, imagery, and the like, not only make it easier to learn something - often they are what we know (shadows in the cave). The picture of that Neils Bohr atom comes to mind, like a mini solar system: that picture is a visual analogy, bearing no resemblance to a real atom. It is tough to integrate anything new without a metaphor to carry it into the brain. Jesus spoke in parables for the same reason. The below excerpt is from a piece by Hudson at The Ornery American:
"The very pervasiveness of this strange way humans have of explaining concepts to one another should lead us to question why metaphor is so prevalent in our communication. Why should the conflation, for example, of roses and cheeks in the same sentence conjure up images of cherubic children with the healthy pink pallor of youth? What do lemons have to do with defective cars? I believe that the answer to these questions may have its roots in the fundamental nature of human learning.
Nobel prize-winning neurobiologist Eric Kandel has shown that memory and learning are tied to structural changes in the connections between neurons that form the functional units of the brain. Essentially, whenever we learn something new there are new connections made in the brain, and those connections are what allow us to think about the new knowledge we have acquired. It is safe to say that any bit of knowledge that we have - whether it is knowledge about how lemons taste or what the color yellow looks like, or even how it feels to be in love- this knowledge must be reflected in the physical structure of the brain."
If you can concentrate at this hectic time of year, read entire.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 07:14 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
As we have said on these pages in the past, presidential politics is open warfare, and has been at least since Watergate, when a fine President with some personal flaws (as they all have) was brought down for essentially trivial reasons which did not justify undoing an election. In fact, if Nixon had only had the balls to say, in the beginning, "We screwed up," the whole thing would have blown away in a few weeks.
I believe in the concept of "loyal opposition." I thought it was wrong to go after Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton in the vicious, disrepectful, and blood-thirsty ways in which they were hounded - always searching for the scandal that would either destroy them or handcuff them. (Nobody bothered going after Carter except for the attack rabbit. Bush Sr. took a lot of gratuitous hits from the press, but the opposition did not seem determined to destroy him.)
With GW, as with Reagan, we see the opposition, with their leftist bedfellows in the press, frothing at the mouth. Let's see how many trumped-up and invented "scandals" Bush has endured: 1. He really lost Florida. 2. He really lost Ohio. 3. He caused Abu Graib. 4. He lied about Iraq so his friends could make oil money. 5. He caused Katrina to kill blacks. 6. He spies on innocent Americans. How many have I missed?
These are all calculated, opportunistic, and dishonest assaults, hoping to cause damage or to draw enough blood to attract the sharks. It's the wrong thing to do, and the "concern" is as transparently feigned and phony as can be. These president guys mean well for the country. They are normal humans, but they mean well (insofar as any politicans mean well, anyway).
I am no lawyer, but I have read the legal analyses of the NSA thing. My conclusion is that if the NSA and the CIA were not secretly monitoring foreign calls to potential terrorists, that might be cause for impeachment. That would be a true scandal. Given how easy it is to be on American soil, and how easy it is to become a citizen (far too easy for this amazing privilege, if you ask me), our spooks had better be looking for them and watching them, because there are guys out there who want nothing more than to kill you and me.
How quickly we sink into our decadent complacency.
Craig's New Layout Boat, and some hunting photos
Layout boats fool ducks. Here's the new one, on Saturday on Long Island Sound, surrounded by Bluebill decoys. You just lie down in it and hope a big wave doesn't drown you. You tow it out and anchor it. Another boat has the dog, etc. (Click Continuation Page below to see photo of Harley)
Continue reading "New Layout Boat"
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:44 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Powerline's exchange with the NYT re legality.
Pelosi's religious litmus test. Bird of Paradise
Enviros buying up hunting licenses. Env. Econ.
Judge says AZ must spend more to teach English to illegals. Edn. Week
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:44 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, December 21. 2005
Shopping in the Renaissance: Guardian Book Reviews
Yiyun Yu and her immigration problems. WaPo. Why are they going after her, amongst the millions who need deportation?
After today, in the northern hemisphere the daylight begins to lengthen. The ancient astronomers had it all figured out - the bottom of the year, after which re-birth begins: "between the woods and frozen lake, the darkest evening of the year."The precursor of Christmas festivities: Saturnalia. And, symbolically, a great place to put Christmas, regardless of whether Christ was actually born in April, because the themes of birth and re-birth, and the coming of the light, run strong and deep in the human soul.
"The President is not the Enemy", by Ed Koch. For rabid Dems, he is the enemy. Bush is at war with the bad guys, and the Dems are at war with Bush. Feeling powerless makes immature people feel mean and angry, and pushes them towards hysterical extremes. Please tell me, Dem readers of Maggie's, of whom there are plenty - why no focus on the real enemy?
Iraq vote pushes Iraq in Islamist direction. Too bad, but it's their country. CSM
Brandy contains healthful antioxidants. Science Daily
The politics of the cruel and destructive NYC transit strike. NY Sun
New Bolivian President Morales praises Castro, plans to "liberate" Bolivia. Paxety. And you can scroll down and read about how Castro banned Christmas.
Tuesday, December 20. 2005
Thanks for the wiretaps. WSJ
Updike's new book (essays) on the visual arts. CSM
Peace prevails in Sadr City. CSM
Those primitive Iraqi voters. Squaring the Boston Globe
The ugly sources of the Kennedy millions. The Prof
Taken Sunday night, with cell phone camera:
To find out what this is all about, click the ALiyah Diary Category at upper left and scroll through.
12-9-05: To Jerusalem, and not yet back.
Continue reading "Guest Author: Aliyah Diary, #9"
Monday, December 19. 2005
Found it amusing when I pushed the autotranslation button on Google for this French recipe for boeuf bourguignon. Given that the translation is mechanical, it is actually comprehensible, mostly. Wasn't sure what 1 cup of flour soup meant, or 100 gms. of plugs. Translating boeuf to ox is curious. Or maybe they really mean 1 kg. of ox. Hard to find that hereabouts. And can I assume that purpose of the "grass of Provence" is to enhance the appetite? (grass is mixed herbs, plugs are lardons)
Gladiators - new book reviewed by Gillette
Media bias quantified by UCLA researchers. And it's worse than I thought.
Friedman's new book - if you haven't read it yet. The World is Flat.
How near is legal polygamy? If done right, it could be a good deal for guys. I can see 4 or 5 beautiful young women, all working at lucrative executive jobs and "fulfilling themselves" in the modern way, while I hunt and fish all day, and blog, read, stop by the gym and maybe Starbucks afterwards to read the papers, have my nails done, take naps, have a few beers, do some online trading, and conserve my strength for the arduous evenings of husbandly duty. I might let them rotate cooking me dinner. This could be good. I'm ready, plus it's Biblically OK. Old Testament, anyway: only losers have just one. Monogamy is monotony. Pre-nups for all though, gals, and tuitions for any kiddies are not my problem. We will all be very modern and progressive. Kurtz in Wkly Std.
Steyn on Iraq, in Chi. Sun-Times:
"The Democratic Party have contrived to get themselves into a situation where bad news from Iraq is good for them and good news from Iraq is bad for them. And as there's a lot more good news than bad these days, that puts them, politically, in a tough spot -- even with a fawning media that, faced with Kerry and Murtha talking what in any objective sense is drivel, decline to call for the men with white coats but instead nod solemnly and wonder whether Bush is living "in a bubble."
One day Iraq will be a G7 member hosting the Olympics in the world's No. 1 luxury vacation resort of Fallujah, and the Defeaticrat Party will still be running around screaming it's a quagmire. It's not just that Iraq is going better than expected, but that it's a huge success that's being very deftly managed..."
Ye parlor of Ye Olde New England Yankee Farmhouse on Sunday evening, with a fine granddaughter working hard on something academic in front of the fire.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 09:10 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Where's the Outrage?
Religious Left Marches in Protest of Budget Cuts. But I thought religion and politics shouldn't mix? No, no, I see, I got it wrong. I misunderstood. I was being a bit too literal. Collectivist Christians good; individualist Christians bad. Now do I get it?
What I would say to these marchers is "DONATE." It's that time of year. Donate the $ you wish the city had taken from you, to the city govt or to your favorite charity. That's what Red Staters do. That's what caring people do.
When it's voluntary, it means much more, and is far more satisfying.
Does politics have anything to do with why movie-going is declining? Tammy
Harold Bloom thinks Bush is stupid. Neo. My opinion: Harold, stick to your knitting.
Are the Sunnis working with us now? Could be. Captn Ed
Why people don't like Israeli wines - they cook them. Am Thinker
The Northeast is moving south. Geologically. Live Science. They'll be Red States in 1/2 million years.
Was Buffy stolen from another solar system? CSM. I call it Grand Theft Planet and it is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Reform Judaism goes over the edge. Charen (Aren't these the same folks who go nuts when Christians get politically involved?)
More on the Ladies in White in Cuba. WSJ
Katrina coverage. Instapundit
Bill O'Reilly watchers are Yahoos, according to Sam Donaldson. Pol. Teen. No doubt true: I watch him sometimes, and I'm a Yahoo.
Able Danger - finally getting looked at.
The Religion of Peace: Cleric urges killing of infidels. LGF
Is that 80% a real number? Protein