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, August 31. 2006
"You think I'm over the hill?
And, of course, Expecting Rain links every review to date.
The Rolling Stone piece is interesting in explaining the provenance of some of the songs (Dylan is at least as much of a thief as any other songster or artist, and he steals plenty from himself too), but most of the reviews I looked at miss the point. Bob has nothing "to say," in the socio-political sense, and hasn't wanted to have anything "to say" since he wrote My Back Pages (and some of his preachy re-born songs in the 70s). His songs are more like dreams. Some people still want him to tell them about life. Heck, all of our lives are more normal than his is: we could teach him about normal life. He's been wealthy, and covered with girls, fame, and adulation since his early 20s.
No, it's about the song. If a song - or any music - is effective, and has any staying power, it carries us, or invites us, into its own world, which is the world of the imagination, and, if it contains truth, the world of the heart and the soul. For me, that is what gives a song, or a piece of music or art, its quality of inevitability - not predictability - but the feeling that it was more discovered than constructed. "We live, and we die, we know not why, but I'll be with ya when the deal goes down."
Thunder on the Mountain, and Spirit on the Water, have that. I am not saying that they are immortal art, but they sure are up there with Muddy Waters and Stephen Foster. Dylan's road band can play anything, and I like him on piano.
But a critique of the American economy?!?!?! Gimme a break. Or a commentary on Katrina? Idiotic. Some reviewers seem to expect Bob to be a musical blogger. This is a guy who has been writing about floods and weather almost since the time of Noah, like all the old blues guys do and did, and this is a guy who liked Barry Goldwater, who loves Teddy Roosevelt; a guy who wrote "I become my own enemy in the instant that I preach," and who very much enjoys making money doing what he does.)
It is a delight and a fascination to hear the latest Bob has offered us, for a pittance. But to hear him live, amongst the yuppies, college students, and the grey-haired pony-tails with their pot smoke, and the kids, and the regular folk, is to really see how much he wants to give for as long as he can. Me? I am partial to his mean and nasty blues.
He is a troubadour.
"I was in your presence for an hour or so
"In The Summertime," from 1981's Shot of Love. Once some of the songs off Modern Times start getting played on tour, we'll begin posting lyrics and live performances here.
I doubt that even cat-lovers consider "pussification" to be a compliment.
Being "a man" isn't the same thing as being male. Manhood must be practiced and learned. Responsibility, courage, strength, honor, honesty, dignity, dependability, emotional restraint, physical competence, risk-taking, determination, independence, handling failures, self-discipline, endurance, not complaining, pitching in, doing the hard thing, doing the right thing, sacrifice, the willingness to kill or die to protect things you treasure - none of these virtues is an automatic gift of the Y chromosome, even if the genetic foundation is there.
They are difficult skills to learn, and most guys have to learn them the hard way - through their failures and disappointments - even if they have good role models. They are at least as difficult to learn as it is to learn how to be a good mother, or how to be a good citizen. I do suspect that they are more difficult to master, but those skills, and others, are the foundations of male self-respect. Guys have to have a code to live by, and it isn't "their feelings." Animals can live by their "feelings." And it goes for women, too.
A "feminized" culture (I use quotes because it's the term people use, but I don't think that strong, pioneer-minded women need to be weak or childish at all) which values emotional gratification, and gratification in general, over sturdy, adult, and demanding virtues, is lame and decadent. I do not even need to bring religion into the discussion to say that life is not about our gratification. That's for little kids, social workers, Californians, and many of our lost-in-the-wilderness European and Canadian cousins (who seem to still want Kings to take care of them while they lounge in cafes and complain about their "benefits," for which better men and women are paying ...but being taxed to death for your achievements doesn't exactly inspire effort and risk, or any other admirable qualities. It just inspires a pathetic, and profoundly un-American and infantile "gimme mine" attitude).
Who could imagine Atticus Finch protesting about his benefits? Or wanting to get paid for his aching back?
Classical Values reminded us of an archival and classic Kim du Toit piece, "The Pussification of the Western Male."
Read it all, and enjoy it.
The Anchoress sums up all of our thoughts about the press, with an admirably restrained indignation.
I cannot add anything to this piece. Read the whole thing.
Some of our international readers may not know that Labor
Labor Day, of course, was designed to celebrate the trade union movement, which succeeded in raising the American blue-collar worker to the middle class. A very worthy accomplishment, but perhaps not a reason for a national holiday. So we ignore its meaning and make a long weekend out of it, which many seem to be beginning today.
Image: a 1920s worker's lunch bucket, made by Thermos, no doubt designed to contain a loving wife's preparing of a thermos of coffee, a sandwich, an apple, and a hunk of cheese or something, and maybe a piece of chocolate for her hard-working man.
Fresh truffles, out of season, from Australia. A good thing.
US incomes rising. That's another good thing.
Class and politics. Fabrizio wonders whether the poor are tired of being politically exploited, when they could work - and shop - at WalMart. Am Spectator
Chavez taking golf courses for housing projects. So much for private property. Rule #1 of the Left: Make the "little people" dependent on you, no matter what.
A propos of Labor Day, Maxed Out Mama takes on Marxism - and wins!
Are manatees dumb? Maybe so. NYT Science News
Legal bill-padding. What's OK, and what isn't. the Prof
Stephen Schneider - MIT's inconvenient scientist.
More on the ethanol scam. Synthstuff. Many would be happier if they just called it corn alcohol and gave it away free.
Sissy might know more about this type of sunflower, which is in bloom right now at Maggie's. I don't know whether they are a wildflower, or escapes.
Wednesday, August 30. 2006
More Bob stuff, including the video of When the Deal Goes Down.
I have heard the new record but I am not going to write a comment other than to say that it has an old-timey feel.
On the week of the release of Dylan's new record, a review of his career, and a book on Bob's (largely uninformative) interviews, by Menand in the New Yorker. A quote:
Jeff Goldstein, commenting on a Steele piece - one quote:
I am not certain that those premises have been truly accepted. Some of that might be a ruse, and a pose, too. Good piece. Read entire.
Move-On's "Jew Lieberman"? Is something creepy going on here that I am missing? Israpundit. Sounds like the Dems are going after the anti-semitic vote, big-time.
Never mind. Hyped storm fizzles.
It's the Koran, stupid. Afraid so. View from the Right
"Artist" running con job? Kincaid's stuff is popular schlock. h/t Lucianne
Never wrote a bit about Valerie Plame. Never believed it was worth the virtual ink. Was right, for once. Hitchins at Slate.
A book: The Life of the Mind, by Georgetown's Schall
The US-Canada passport mess. This is not good for Canada: fewer than a quarter of Americans have passports.
Aren't Commissions great? The Commission on Higher Education cannot say what colleges do. There's a start. Dem. Project.
The cow? The Holstein, of course. German. The cow of the northeast dairy business for over 100 years.
Tuesday, August 29. 2006
DEMOCRATS SETTLE ON OPINION ON THE CRIMEAN WAR THEY'VE ALWAYS HAD.
Announce plans to weigh in with exquisitely nuanced position on World War One that they had all along next week.
In a blistering attack on the Bush Administration, the Democratic National Committee outlined their position on the Crimean War this week.
"President Bush and his Administration have no credibility left when it comes to the war in the Crimea, yet they continue to engage in partisan attacks, misleading the American, Russian, French, British and Sardinian people about the real state of affairs in The Danubian Principalities. The disclosure of this latest report outlining growing chaos and violence in Sebastopol undermines the President's deceptive proclamations that things are going smoothly in The Crimea. The Bush Administration should release this report so that the American people can have an accurate assessment of the facts on the ground, not more White House propaganda. While The Holy Land continues to slip into civil war and hamper our ability to fight the war on Czarists, with Prince Menshikov still on the loose, even if he is dead, and the Sultan Abu-ul-Majiid gaining ground in the Bosporus, and the Mahdi has set up shop in The Ottoman Empire. That's all bad, we think; and if it's not, then we don't. BushCo. refuses to offer any leadership on the issue."
"A majority of Americans now believe that this immoral and illegal war for BushCo's ancestor's Big (Olive) Oil buddies in Sardinia was a mistake and agree with Democrat's call to begin responsible redeployment of our troops to Gibraltar so that we can fight and win the war on Barbary Pirates, if the topic comes up again. Republicans in Congress have rubber-stamped the President's failed policy 150 years retroactively and refused to hold him accountable for this commitment to a failed strategy in the Dardanelles. But, in November, the American people will hold Republicans responsible for their inept leadership and continued support for Bush's bad policies."
Senator Kerry, stumping for votes among the little people from the deck of his yacht, announced he would hurl his Crimean War Medal bearing the likeness of his great-aunt and cousin Queen Victoria, the two clasps for the battles of Alma and Inkermann, the clasp for the battle of Balaklava, the clasp for the fall of Sebastopol, the clasp awarded to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines for actions in the Sea of Azoff, over the big black fence outside Buckingham Palace. Two weeks later, he pledges to throw the same medals over the White House fence. They will be on display after that in his Senate office, inspiring him to greater heights of fury as he works on the latest version of the opinion he's always had on the Charge of the Light Brigade.
Nathan sent us this piece from Israel:
A Father's Ode to His Lost Son
Sunday, August 27, 2006; B01
Continue reading "David Grossman's Ode to Uri"
Modern Times, Dylan's first new album since 2001's masterpiece Love and Theft, hits stores today. (Dylan has released a number of other works during the intervening years, however, including Cross the Green Mountain, Waitin' For You, Tell Ol' Bill, as well as a number of cover versions of his and other artists' songs on the Masked and Anonymous soundtrack.)
Alito: "It's sort of surreal." Althouse
The real crime of WalMart? It does more for poor people than the government does. Dino
The true secrecy in Washington - how they spend our money to buy votes. Captain Ed. The RICO laws should apply.
New Hampshire is supposed to be a loony-free zone, but AVI found one.
Mary K. Ham to the MSM: Why we don't believe you.
What's going on with the Mexico election? Bad stuff, dangerous, too. Calif Yank
The cow? That's a Brown Swiss. The prettiest coat of all dairy cattle, and a good milker, from Switzerland, of course. Only 155 of them were brought to the US before foot and mouth disease halted cow importing in the 1800s. It's about time for some cows on the blog.
1. Do not hear
Cassian, from a piece at Middlebrow
Like many of our posts, this one came out of a dinner conversation. Thanks to N for putting this together for us:
In 2004 petroleum products contribute about 40.2 percent of the energy used in the United States. This is a larger share than any other energy source including natural gas with a 23 percent share, coal with about a 22 percent share, and the combination of nuclear, hydroelectric, geothermal and other sources comprising the remaining 14 percent share.
Petroleum products fall into three major categories: fuels such as motor gasoline and distillate fuel oil (diesel fuel); finished nonfuel products such as solvents and lubricating oils; and feedstocks for the petrochemical industry such as naphtha and various refinery gases.
Petroleum products, especially motor gasoline, distillate (diesel) fuel, and jet fuel, provide virtually all of the energy consumed in the transportation sector. Transportation is the greatest single use of petroleum, accounting for an estimated 67 percent of all U.S. petroleum consumed in 2004. The industrial sector is the second largest petroleum consuming sector and accounts for about 23 percent of all petroleum consumption in the U.S. Residential/Commercial and the electric utility sectors account for the remaining 8 percent of petroleum consumption.
Fuel products account for nearly 9 out of every 10 barrels of petroleum used in the United States. Demand for motor gasoline alone accounts for more than 44 percent of the total demand for petroleum products. Other petroleum fuels include distillate fuel oil (diesel fuel and heating oil), liquefied petroleum gases (LPG's) (including propane and butane), jet fuel, residual fuel oil, kerosene, aviation gasoline, and petroleum coke.
Liquefied petroleum gases (LPG's), such as Propane, Butane and Ethane rank third in usage among petroleum products. They are primarily used as inputs, or ‘feedstock’, for petrochemical production processes. LPG's are also used as fuel for domestic heating and cooking, farming operations, and as an alternative to gasoline for use in internal combustion engines.
Electric utilities use residual fuel to generate electricity and depend on petroleum for about 5 percent of its total energy requirements.
Nonfuel use of petroleum is small compared with fuel use, but petroleum products account for about 89 percent of the Nation's total energy consumption for nonfuel uses. Examples of these uses are: Solvents such as those used in paints, lacquers, and printing inks, Lubricating oils and greases for automobile engines and other machinery, petroleum (or paraffin) wax used in candy making, packaging, candles, matches, and polishes, petrolatum (petroleum jelly) sometimes blended with paraffin wax in medical products and toiletries, asphalt used to pave roads and airfields, to surface canals and reservoirs, and to make roofing materials and floor coverings, pettroleum coke used as a raw material for many carbon and graphite products, including furnace electrodes and liners, and the anodes used in the production of aluminum, petroleum "feedstocks" used as chemical feedstock derived from petroleum principally for the manufacture of chemicals, synthetic rubber, and a variety of plastics.
Industry data show that the chemical industry uses nearly 1.5 million barrels per day of natural gas liquids and liquefied refinery gases as petrochemical feedstocks and plant fuel. Petrochemical feedstocks are converted to basic chemical building blocks and intermediates used to produce plastics, synthetic rubber, synthetic fibers, drugs, and detergents. Petrochemical feedstocks also include products recovered from natural gas, and refinery gases (ethane, propane, and butane). Still other feedstocks include ethylene, propylene, normal- and iso-butylenes, butadiene, and aromatics such as benzene, toluene, and xylene.
One of our old hayfields has been over-run with Goldenrod. It makes for a pretty sight in August, but there is no hay there anymore, and the upper part is all Milkweed, to the delight of the Monarch butterflies.
Rather than trying to rehabilitate it as a hayfield by deep-plowing, re-seeding for a couple of years with red clover, and plowing again and re-seeding with good hayseed, the current low-cost plan is just to mow it every two years, and to let the animals and birds enjoy it - which they do. Don't need more hay. Sparrows, snakes, and Wild turkey like it as is. And deer, of course, by the bushel. And I have noticed that the beaver come out of the marsh to eat stuff in the meadow at night.
I have planted junipers next to the rocks, because with high growth you cannot see the rocks when you mow. Also, putting Bluebird houses on each rock, which the Tree Swallows seem to take over. Last summer I stupidly drove a tractor right up on one rock, about a 3' item I forgot about, and not only did it scare the bejesus out of me, but it also took another tractor to pull it off. Picture the front wheels of a Farmall four feet in the air, and a boulder jammed under the crankcase. Three Stooges.
Mark the rocks before you mow. A good adage in rocky Yankeeland, where glacial boulders are one of our main crops. Like measure twice, cut once.
You can see how the dang White Pines had been invading that field about 15 years ago. That process has been halted by aggressive border patrol, but it's a big job to roll it back. Cannot get a logging truck over the bridge, so it's sweat and chain saw. One step at a time. It's an excellent work out.
A reader clues us in that gold is back in fashion, that there are only a few more shopping days until Christmas, and that Neiman Marcus has good stuff ("Neims," the gals call it.)
The US Open began yesterday. It's about time. For me, it's the only worthy spectator sport of the year.
Black babies exterminated in the US, by liberals. Ten Napel.
Religion of peace executes 16 year-old girl. LGF
Record number of major black candidates this year. That's good, but we hate counting colors, ever since kindergarten.
Speaking of color, how about fiber-optic clothing?
129 kids sent home for poor clothing. Makes sense to me. Dress like a kid, act like one.
A change in thinking in the UK re multiculturalism? Wizbang
Monday, August 28. 2006
This came in over the transom:
1. The first German serviceman killed in WW2 was killed by the Japanese (China, 1937), the first American serviceman killed was killed by the Russians (Finland 1940), the highest ranking American killed was Lt. Gen. Lesley McNair, killed by the US Army Air Corps. . . . So much for allies.
2. The youngest US serviceman was 12 year old Calvin Graham, USN. He was wounded and given a Dishonorable Discharge for lying about his age. (His benefits were later restored by act of Congress.)
3. At the time of Pearl Harbor the top US Navy command was Called CINCUS (pronounced "sink us"), the shoulder patch of the US Army's 45th Infantry division was the Swastika, and Hitler's private train was named "Amerika." All three were soon changed for PR purposes.
4. More US servicemen died in the Air Corps than the Marine Corps. While completing the required 30 missions your chance of being killed was 71%.
5. Generally speaking there was no such thing as an average fighter pilot. You were either an ace or a target. For instance Japanese ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa shot down over 80 planes. He died while a passenger on a cargo plane.
6. It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every 5th round with a tracer round to aid in aiming. This was a mistake. Tracers had different ballistics so (at long range) if your tracers were hitting the target 80% of your rounds were missing. Worse yet tracers instantly told your enemy he was under fire and from which direction. Worst of all was the practice of loading a string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo. This was definitely not something you wanted to tell the enemy.Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate go down.
YOU'VE GOT TO LOVE THIS ONE....
7. When allied armies reached the Rhine the first thing men did was pee in it. This was pretty universal from the lowest private to Winston Churchill (who made a big show of it) and Gen. Patton (who had himself photographed in the act). found the photo (hand tinted black and white)
8. German Me-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City but it wasn't worth the effort.
9. German submarine U-120 was sunk by a malfunctioning toilet.
10. Among the first "Germans" captured at Normandy were several Koreans.They had been forced to fight for the Japanese Army until they were captured by the Russians and forced to fight for the Russian Army until they were captured by the Germans and forced to fight for the German Army until they were captured by the US Army.
AND I SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST....
11. Following a massive naval bombardment 35,000 US and Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska, in the Aleutian Islands. 21 troops were killed in the firefight. It would have been worse if there had been any Japanese on the island.
Re-posted from September, 2005 (it seemed to be on topic)
A Sentry Gun
Is this cool? Website here. HT, Ace of Spades.
Put a couple of these
And plenty of raccoon, too, which, if marinated properly, is great on the grill if you can conjure up the right red-neck attitude. Plenty of rosemary and garlic.
The only thing more
Israel could use a few thousand of these, along their border. A good border perimeter tool.
Posted by The Chairman in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 09:23 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Preparing for crime, from Alphecca:
Well, in my opinion the first thing you do is to get a loud dog. Second, either wire your house for security, or at least just get some security company stickers for the doors and windows. Third, be armed, because anyone who gets by those needs shooting. It's a guy's job - or a gal's, in some cases - to protect your castle. Anyway, read the whole thing.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 08:46 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
The notion that "the truth must lie somewhere in-between" is an appealing fallacy to the compulsively peaceful, because it seems to remove argument and strife. But it is torture for the truth-minded, because rarely does truth lie "in the middle:" there is usually a right and a wrong - somewhere. Or at least a "best or closer approximation of truth."
Compromise may be the bread and butter of politics, diplomacy, and law suits, but it doesn't work in the pursuit of truth and reality. You can't be half-pregnant. Can you be half-guilty? I think so, but the legal system isn't really constructed that way - it is constructed to settle a matter.
If you think Bush lied to the people to pursue a nefarious scheme, and I think he did not, then the reality isn't that he half-lied. If you think Buddha is the manifestation of God, and I believe that Jesus is the only way, then the "all religions are equal, and all gods are the same" silliness is nothing but a "truth-compromise" - a spineless cop-out in the disguise of "tolerance."
Sometimes truth compromises seem essential: I happen to believe that the Second Amendment is a basic right - the right to self-defence which transcends even the Constitution - derived from English Common Law and transplanted to the US. However, I do not care to have my neighbor messing with nukes in his back yard, nor do I care to have criminals going around with stolen machine guns. Nevertheless, "the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." seems unambiguous to me.
Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman fails to show up to receive his Fields Medal. His Wikipedia entry reveals him to be an unusual fellow. A heavy dose of IQs can do that to a fellow. Thankful I was only blessed with a modest number of them.
Remembering the remarkable Rahsaan Roland Kirk. NY Sun
Humanism and sub-humanism. Gagdad Bob says the Left cannot do vertical. It's an interesting point, but I still think he misses the point - honest communication is not their thing. They say "by all means necessary."
Phila. more dangerous than Iraq. Time to re-deploy from Phila?
UN aided Hez with military data. Being raised on the sanctity of the UN, we are all slow to get the message.
Sunday, August 27. 2006
Cold and wet today in Yankee-land, in August. Good day for the first fire in the fireplace, but we are still awaiting the chimney-sweep. Where is all of that warming we keep hearing about? Perfect weather for putting in all of the wierd new hostas that the Mrs. Bird Dog has been finding via the Hosta Society. (Never plant hostas in the sun.)
A few end-of summer, goin' back to school notes:
1. We have added (or are in process of adding, due to some technical glitches) a bunch of new sites to our blogroll - read 'em, if you don't. Here's just a sample of our additions:
"Dust my broom," as our literate readers surely know, is a line from a Robert Johnson song.
2. Last chance for the Yankee Farmer: As soon as technically do-able, we are going to blend him into our archives.
3. Food and Drink: Considering a new Category. Dr. Bliss seems like she'd rather write about food than shrinkology: maybe she needs a break from deep thought. Our rule is this: Write about whatever you want.
4. News Junkie: Since so many of us all check at leat a number of blogs and new sites daily, we are urging the NJ to focus on obscure stuff. He won't, because he never does what he is told to do, but we assume everyone checks Drudge, Powerline, and Instapundit daily, without our help.
5. We wonder where blogging is headed. Maybe nowhere, but it's an interesting ride for us. Like magazines, there are too many interesting ones to have time to read, but I find the blog collectors, like Pajama's fine site, a bit dull to look at. I think we will stay independent, and maybe mediocre, and just a strange brew, for now. The eccentric, Yankee way: we do what we want, and if you don't like it, you can leave us alone.
None of us has the time for intense writing or reporting, but our readership is growing steadily, which is gratifying. Time, intelligence, and creativity are our limiting factors. For some reason, we don't have the commenting culture here that I would enjoy, but the handful we get are pretty intelligent - and we do not mind criticism, no matter how harsh - if it responds to points - because we know we are far from perfect, and sometimes lazy.
Money? We do not want money from the internets, unless it's Big Money. Small money is of no interest to us. We all get that from our day jobs.
Why the cheesecake? Many email about that. The female, like a flower, is art. Period. We love art, with or without frames. We also love cold weather - the colder, the better, which is why we are happy to hear about the new global cooling data.
Do we love hydrangeas at Maggies Farm? Yes, we do. And the mini- version of Snow Queen, Wayside's patented Pee Wee, is the best darn plant. Even the leaves are good lookin'.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:13 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
(Page 1 of 7, totaling 158 entries) » next page