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
Sunday, April 30. 2006
Our Boy Genius Webmeister Chris is getting a new sail this spring. It's a 145% Genoa, a Tape-Drive cruising sail, here being completed at UK Sails' sail loft on still-salty City Island, NYC. Sails are one of the few things which are not mass-produced these days, but instead must be hand-made by master craftsmen - hence their extreme cost. A sail is a wind engine - a wing - an airfoil. The high-tech material adds to the cost, too: the only thing nicer than a see-through jib is a see-through blouse.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:23 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Scott at Powerline points out that you can listen to a few of Paul Simon's new songs, including Wartime Prayer, at Simon's Site.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:18 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
It may amaze some Europeans, liberals and even God-fearing righties without adequate knowledge of history that Islamists were a pain in the rear even before the United States was a real country. The MSM makes a big thing of indigenous culture, and it was the indigenous culture of the Islamic states along the Mediterranean to kill and terrorize centuries before America gave them a convenient excuse. Gwynnie suggests that the naive might consider reading this book (unless some knowledge and wisdom might disrupt their political agenda!
"While Europe appeased the Barbary pirates, America sent in the Navy. (Wall Street Journal, Apr. 29, 2006):
Read the whole thing
Acts 4: 5-12
5 The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, ‘By what power or by what name did you do this?’ 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus is “the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.” 12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.’
Image: One of my House Wren houses
Saturday, April 29. 2006
Ever seen John Waters' Pink Flamingos with Devine? Don't bother. We will tell you about it. "Mr. Egg Man, Mr. Egg Man, what kinds of eggs have you brought me today?"
Friday, April 28. 2006
Santa Anna is smiling in his grave.
Please tell me, somebody: what laws do I need to obey, and which ones do not matter? Just curious... cuz I am a little bit confused.
Details of the story at Linknzona.
Mommy, where does oil come from: Supply and What? Lib. Leanings
Congress drives gas guzzlers to their offices, one block away. Phony jerks.
Clever piece by Parker in the Charlotte Observer, re Duke:
The new Oslo Peace Process: Bend Over, Europe. Has anyone not yet read Fjordman's piece, posted at Gates of Vienna? If not, do so now.
On a transatlantic flight, a plane passes through a severe storm. The turbulence is awful, and things go from bad to worse when one wing is struck by lightning. One woman in particular loses it.
Screaming, she stands up in the front of the plane. "I'm too young to die," she wails. Then she yells, "Well, if I'm going to die, I want my last minutes on earth to be memorable! Is there ANYONE on this plane who can make me feel like a WOMAN?"
For a moment there is silence. Everyone has forgotten their own peril. They all stare, riveted, at the desperate woman in the front of the plane. Then an Italian man stands up in the rear of the plane. He is a drop-dead gorgeous hunk. Tall, slender, well- built with curly dark brown hair and hazel eyes.
He starts to walk slowly up the aisle, unbuttoning his shirt, one button at a time. No one moves. No one says a thing. He removes his shirt. Muscles ripple across his chest. She gasps in excited anticipation.
He whispers in her ear, "Iron this, and get me something to eat."
then they came for my bacon,...Chicago bans foie gras. So will California. (h/t, Prof Bainbridge). Hey, where would we be without government telling us what to eat?
This is getting stranger: the Duke kids used a broomstick? My skepticism about this case is growing by the day.
Moslems in space? Daily Pundit
Todd Beamer's Dad had a piece in the WSJ yesterday about United 93.
A new Indian empire? India expands military bases to protect oil supplies. Captn. Ed.
52 Lessons that lawyers can learn from card players: Althouse
Kudlow makes a visit to Planet Hillary: Kudlow (h/t, Powerline). Sounds very similar to what View from 1776 said this week. A quote:
And that Kudlow piece on Hillary makes for a nice segueway to this piece on Chirac: He proposes a govt. commission for innovation? How is that for an oxymoron? The article really does read like a satire.
Cannot be too cynical to understand politics: The Sen. Rockefeller memo, at YARGB. Yes, it is clear that there is a war going on, and the Dems are loaded for bear.
What did Dana Priest know and when did she know it? New info, from Confed. Yank
The academic community has in it the biggest concentration of alarmists, cranks and extremists this side of the giggle house.
William F. Buckley, Jr.
Thursday, April 27. 2006
"I was riding on the Mayflower
"Bob Dylan's 115th Dream," from Bringing It All Back Home. A song rarely played live, but here is one from the earliest days of the Neverending Tour in 1988. The studio version, with it's false start and witty phrasing, has never been seriously challenged by any of the concert performances, which tend to call attention to the near-absence of any melody in the song.
Picture above is from the 1988 Summer tour, from one of the very first shows of the now 18-year Neverending Tour.
The remainder of the charmin' and clever lyrics on continuation page.
Continue reading "Free Advt. for Bob: Thursday Dylan Lyrics"
Very few people know what it's like to work in a profession where serious bodily harm or death are likely if you make one mistake in a lifetime. Even doctors, whose decisions and expertise can can save or kill their patients, don't generally die themselves if they foul up; they can bury their mistakes.
There are a lot of table saws in the United States. In most woodworking shops, it's the central piece of equipment. About 60,000 people are injured every year using table saws. 3,000 people a year suffer amputations using them. The injury related costs for table saw accidents is estimated at $2,000,000,000 yearly.
One table saw in one hundred is involved in an accident every year. Those are bad odds, for the operator and the person that pays the workman's compensation premiums.
So what do you do? The old playbook for dealing with the danger of a tool is well known:
Sue like crazy- No one gets their fingers back, but the lawyers get a new boat every year.
Require safety guards- The more elaborate the guards on a saw, the more likely the operator is to remove or disable them to speed up production, or simply see what they are doing. And any guard that will allow wood to be pushed through a blade will accomodate a finger too.
Require elaborate safety training- The problem here is, the greater the feeling of safety felt by the operator, the likelier it is he'll be lulled into ignoring the danger of the spinning blade. And the majority of injuries are suffered by professionals. Familiarity breeds contempt for danger.
Outlaw the tool- Impossible.
When women feel fertile, they are drawn to alpha males. Pejman.
LaShawn is fed up with the Baby Daddy syndrome. So is everyone, LaShawn - you are not alone.
A professor at Michigan State Univ. got in trouble for saying this:
What, may I ask, is wrong with that? Isn't that what 99% of people are saying? Story at LGF
A fine holocaust memorial post, from Gates of Vienna: Last boat from Liverpool
Part-time Pundit gives a full-time effort on the subject of marriage and gay marriage. One quote:
His whole piece here.
Emmylou Harris with Mark Knopfler. Reviewed at The Shelf
Jane Jacobs is dead at age 89. Her writing helped a lot of us see what a city really is. Driscoll
49% of Egyptians believe that Israelis bombed the resorts in Egypt - to drive Israelis away from Egyptian resorts. With this kind of logic, I could blame Jews for Katrina. Augean Stables and Big Pharoah agonize over the stupidity of it all.
The honor of working for a futile cause. S&M compares the Euston Manifesto with The Bridge over the River Kwai. Great piece. One quote:
I would have to put blogging in the latter category.
Wednesday, April 26. 2006
I have read about this before. This is very cool, but quite far from effete fly-fishing. The 60 lb. catfish grabs your fingers, then you shove your hand down his throat while you get into his gills with your other hand. I could not do this sober.
Sounds like changing a fan-belt on a running engine. Perhaps I am a wimp, but the idea of a 50 or 60 lb. fish grabbing my arm in muddy water gives me a bit of a chill.
Story in the NYT. Image from the story, with the winning catfish from a noodling tournament. Fried catfish isn't a bad thing, but does not come to close to cod.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:48 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Mark Steyn on climate fear:
Read the whole darn funny thing.
Mine arrived overnight, a week earlier than last year.
We have two pairs nesting each year in our wren houses, and their cheery chatter is a sentimental springtime delight. Once they lay their eggs, they go silent, so as not to draw attention to their nests. Until then, I love that country sound which brings me back to a childhood place.
They woke me up this morning at around 5, sounding very pleased to be back, after taking the red-eye from Central and South America to their real home in Yankee Land.
More about the House Wren here. They truly do like to live near human habitation. If you have an old feedbag hanging in the barn, they will nest in it, for certain.
In praise of opera on DVD: It's affordable, and has subtitles. Samiz.
Big Oil? American oil companies control a mere 13% of the world's oil. They ain't so big: they're just tall, that's all. Oil pricing, at YARGB
60 billion emails are sent daily. Lots are spam, though. Is there such thing as too much communication?
Are our media covering the war "on the cheap"? Kesler says so.
A cool politician in Finland! From No Pasaran - a quote:
What's going on with the Kurds these days? All kinds of complicated conniving, just as one would expect from Kurds. Strategy Pages.
State corporatism. Hillary likes it. So did Hitler and Mussolini. The very notion gives me the creeps. View from 1776. Was there ever any doubt that the Left are the fascists? Why else would they call everyone else fascists, other than to deflect attention from their own impulses?
Fun with al-Zaquari's happy video time: Confed. Yank. This guy is pathetic, but a sociopath.
Snow Storm: We were certain yesterday it would be Tony Snow. Good move, for all involved. Put him out there as much as possible (even tho he is wrong on immigration).
With all of the new talk about obtaining jet fuel from coal (h/t, Classical Values), it's a good time to review the subject of Town Gas.
At the turn of the century, every town in America had a Gas Works, generally adjacent to, but on the wrong side of, the train tracks.
As the local Gas Works, coal was heated under low-oxygen conditions, producing a synthetic gas which lit town lamps since around 1800, and later stoves and heat. This gas - "synthetic gas" or "coal gas" - was mainly CH4 (methane).
"Town Gas" lit the streetlights and indoor lamps of America until electrification.
The chemist Bergius received a Nobel Prize in 1931 for creating a high-pressure efficient method of coal gasification and the production of liquid fuels from coal. There was worry, at that time, about the imminent depletion of petroleum resources.
"Natural" gas, from petroleum wells, did not become available in the US until after WW2, when the gas pipelines began construction. Prior to that time, the gas was burned off at the wellhead. Natural gas is a mix of varying-length carbon-hydrogen compounds. Today, the longer carbon chain compounds are extracted (eg propane) and sold as pressurized liquid gas, leaving the smaller chain compounds to the pipelines - mainly methane and ethane.
Image: circa 1920 gas ranges. Gas ranges began to appear at the turn of the century, replacing cooking with wood, coal and charcoal. Hence the expression "Now we're cooking with gas."
It is unusual for scientists to get on a bandwagon as passionately as many have with the global warming issue, and to punish dissenting views. It does make one wonder what it's all about. This is from Lindzen's piece in Opinion Journal last week:
Read entire. Lindzen is a bit of a controversial figure, as explained here (h/t, Tim Blair). The fact that he smokes cigarettes is used to discredit his research. As I say, all of the emotion around an earth science issue is very odd. It is past science: it's a holy mission now, for some.
Tuesday, April 25. 2006
Regular readers of Maggie's Farm know that I am a newspaper reporter by profession, at this point in my still-callow youth.
I doubt that I will always be one, but it's good enough for now. I don't need much money now, and I enjoy the folks I work with.
I will tell you the problem with reporting: Reporters feel inferior to other people. Other people - no matter how silly and foolish or corrupt - are the ones who are doing things in the world. We are just the observers, the scribblers. It doesn't feel manly. We experience daily narcissitic humiliation just by working, which even Ed Norton, who was proud of being a hard worker in the sewers, did not.
The fact that we are not doers is a constant, nagging source of ego-pain.
How do we try to deal with that pain? By thinking that we are the noble, essential Fourth Estate. By seeing ourselves as heroic, altruistic warriors, fighting power and lowly commerce. By picturing ourselves as mini-gods, looking down from on high on the actions of lowly, flawed humans. By insinuating our view of the world into what we write - to try to "make a difference." And by drinking too much. Trust me - our lives are dull, except for newsroom politics: I would feel more productive planning the sewers than sitting for three hours at a Sewer Commission meeting.
We semi-lazy, semi-glib, semi-cynical reporters all want to be players in life, but we aren't - and we know it. We envied the lacrosse players that we reported on, when we were in college: they were cool and we were not. We envy the doofus politicians, and feel flattered when they know our names. We envy the Sewer Commissioner, because he is doing something real in the world, and we are not. We envy people who build things and make things and make lots of money, and we try to find ways to rationalize feeling morally superior. We want to work for the New York Times, so we will be invited to parties instead of drinking at Rudy's. We secretly envy all people who do things, and wonder whether we really can do anything notable, or even normal in the hurly-burly world, ourselves. So we report, try to find fault, and try to build up our egos.
We all secretly want to be Woodwards and Bernsteins - to bring down presidents (preferably Republican ones, but that surely does not apply to me), and to be big celebrities instead of humble scribes whose work lines the bottoms of parakeet cages.
I know professors and teachers who feel the same way: who feel that they are out of the loop, or have taken themselves out of the loop, perhaps because of their personality type. If we sometimes behave arrogantly or wear bow-ties, or talk as if we believed we knew anything in depth about a subject, please understand that we are simply over-compensating for the castrating experience of not feeling fully engaged in life, like other people.
Thus when I see the big city reporters publishing pieces on classified material, and the like, I understand it completely. Reporters, in moments of weakness, will sell their souls, or their country, to try to redeem the sense of purposelessness of their lives. They want to be engaged actors, and not objective observers. In my opinion, that is reporting in bad faith, unless it is on the op-ed page.
In our newsroom, in our medium-sized, tired old New England city, we sometimes amuse ourselves with the New York Times, which many newsmen, regardless of political stripe, view as a political tool. We figure out what they leave out, what they bury on page 21, how they spin stories, and what they decide to cover. We howl over their lame corrections. They have become highly agenda-driven, with a socialist, multi-cultural, anti-Israel, anti-American bent, but will not admit it. And I am telling you why that happens - it's not just that they have a Leftist mission: it's about ego. They want to "make a difference" and they want to "feel virtuous" with other people's money - but without doing anything real other than typing on a keyboard. In other words, the NYT reporters are nothing more than full-time bloggers, who get paid and who kill trees. Our City Editor would kick our asses if we pulled the tricks the NYT does. He demands professional discipline, and no BS.
And it is a damn shame that great papers like the NYT have come to this, because reporting is necessary and important. But to do it right, for a long time, you have to be willing to accept a degree of humility and a professional sense of service, duty, and responsibility which is difficult in our ego-driven age. Like any professional, you must learn to put self, self-gratification, and self-expression aside to do the job right. You are not hired to change the world, but to report it as accurately and honestly as you can.
Writing for Maggie's Farm is my outlet - my effort to be a bit more in the world. But when I find my right place (someday everything is gonna be different) I will do some real things in the world, like raising a family and holding a real job - probably not worthy of the attention of reporters - and I will feel much better. Honestly, I might feel more worthy operating a backhoe, but I can't. I am a spaz with machines, and Bird Dog, the chain-saw king, will not let me near a chain-saw.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:18 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
A basket of fallacies: false positioning, personal abuse, weasel words, impugning motives, unfounded generalization, and moving the goalpost.
All in just one article about raising babies.
We are outsourcing this edition of Fallacy of the Week, because someone else did a better job with this: Humbug.
There is noone I would rather see as Press Secretary than the affable, warm, witty and relaxed Tony Snow. A superb human.
The administration is in desperate need of a good spokeman and a good salesman. He will be that, and more. I have no doubt that he will speak up at meetings.
FOX's loss will be The White House's gain.
There will be a pay cut, and he'll have to move his family, and he had a nasty bout with a GI cancer last year, but who could turn down such an exciting opportunity? He'll accept the job: his country needs him, and I am sure he'd rather be a doer than a talker.
Let's make him begin working six months ago.
Monday, April 24. 2006
Unwilling to give his pet issue a rest of more than a couple weeks, President Bush has made his way out to the west coast to spew the same old establishment talking points on immigration (see our helpful glossary here) in what seems to be a determined bid to rip apart the Republican party. In this particular speech Bush criticized those who advocate deporting all of the 10-20 million (no one knows how many, exactly) illegal aliens in the country with the convincing argument that "[massive deportation] is not going to work." In case that did not win over detractors, Bush added, "it's just not going to work."
What remains unsaid in the article, however, is that no one in either in the House or the Senate has ever pushed for the immediate deportation of millions of people, so Bush has merely set up a straw man in place of the reasonable arguments of those in his own party, thereby relieving himself of having to actually engage in serious debate. The sad fact that he is unable even to knock down the straw man is testament to the intellectual bankruptcy of the illegal alien lobby, which rarely if ever deigns to venture beyond clichéd soundbites and accusations of racism and nativism.
Meanwhile, back on Sunday's Meet the Press, Teddy Kennedy was only too eager to urge the President on in his self-destructive quest, telling Bush to "take on the right wing" of his party, otherwise known as the approximately 90 percent of Republicans who are opposed to the President's stance on illegal immigration. Kennedy, who elsewhere in the interview sizes up the Democrats' prospects for regaining control of congress in the midterm elections, is no doubt well aware that any debate which pits House Republicans against Senate Republicans, and the President against his base, is an ideal debate to be holding in the run-up to November.
My solution to the problem? Have Teddy personally drive the illegals back over the Rio Grande - that experience ought to discourage them from any further incursions.
More: Linknzona has more on the "establishment" conspiracy to win votes and fool the public.
Pentacostalism: Growing fast, around the world, with a big shindig in LA. CSM.
More bombs in Baghdad. The new govt must be driving them crazy. NY Sun. Sorry, guys. The war is over, and the good guys won. Now they are just killing their own people, for the hell of it. Libertarian Leanings points out that Iraq is doing well. Let's admit it.
Male ratios in colleges dropping. Too bad. Of course, the feminists are not worried. Nor should anyone else be worried. Don't worry - Be Happy. Why does everything have to be a dang crisis? USA Today
Academic English and noun-intoxication: If they knew what they wanted to say, it would not be so complicated. Language, grammar, and forthright, clear-thinking are cousins. Guardian
Penn State goes over the edge, in dhimmitude. Censoring a Jewish view, in art. Imagine if this were pro-Christian? Maxed Out Mama
Estrich like totally embarassed by Dem Moonbats. HH has story. A quote here:
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