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, December 31. 2006
It's time once again to review the winners of the Annual "Stella Awards." The Stella Awards, which are not genuine awards but just lists of real cases someone compiles, are named after 81 year old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's (in NM). That case inspired the Stella Awards for the most frivolous, ridiculous, successful lawsuits in the United States. Clever lawyers, or brain-dead juries? We report - you decide. Here are this year's winners:
5th Place (tie): Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving little toddler was Ms. Robertson's son.
5th Place (tie): 19-year-old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000 and
medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.
5th Place (tie): Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania was leaving a
house he had just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able
to get the garage door to go up since the automatic door opener was
malfunctioning. He couldn't re-enter the house because the door
connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The
family was on vacation, and Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the
garage for eight days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found, and a
large bag of dry dog food. He sued the homeowner's insurance claiming
the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed to the
tune of $500,000. In my opinion this is so outrageous that it should
have been 2nd Place!
4th Place: Jerry Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas, was awarded $14,500
and medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next door
neighbor's beagle. The beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard.
The award was less than sought because the jury felt the dog might have
been just a little provoked at the time by Mr. Williams who had climbed
over the fence into the yard and was shooting it repeatedly with a
3rd Place: A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, $113,500 after she slipped on a soft drink and
broke her coccyx (tailbone). The beverage was on the floor because Ms.
Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an
2nd Place: Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware successfully sued the owner
of a nightclub in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom
window to the floor and knocked out her two front teeth. This occurred
while Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the window in the ladies
room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000
and dental expenses.
1st Place: This year's runaway winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski of
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mrs. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32-foot
Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, (from an OU football
game), having driven onto the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70
mph and calmly left the drivers seat to go into the back & make herself
a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the RV left the freeway, crashed and
overturned. Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising her in the
owner's manual that she couldn't actually do this. The jury awarded her
$1,750,000 plus a new motor home. The company actually changed their
manuals on the basis of this suit, just in case there were any other
complete morons around.
Tim Blair coined the phrase "The Al Gore Effect." Whenever anyone gives a speech about the global warming scam, the weather turns cold, or it snows. Is Al Gore the most arrogant doofus in the USA? Or is "Jon Carry"? No-one has the courage to tell them what they are: pompous buffoons. Life has done its best to teach them humility - as it does to all of us - but it doesn't seem to take with them. They must be hopeless. I am afraid that many are beyond help, learning, self-observation, self-doubt, and self-criticism.
Mary Katherine Ham is a true Ham. She is good, too. This one is about the Duke fiasco.
And for another example of true injustice, Instapundit is on the Cory Maye story. Heartbreaking. I'd like to see the blogworld use its feeble powers to do something about this.
Lots of new laws kick in on Monday. Do you know all of your laws?
A "charisma offensive" for Hillary? Coffee snort onto my monitor. She has the charisma of a rabid wombat, unless you are a lesbian moonbat self-hating commie - or a lazy, disgruntled loser looking for more handouts. Yes, alas, we have some of those in the USA, and it's a damn shame they never learned what it's all about. Endless opportunity - and free choice. How bad is that? I don't want her village. I want my own village - good old Pittsfield, MA. That's good enough for now: I can live with my own dumb choices, like being a "journalist." For the present, that is.
You won't believe this Dartmouth prof. Powerline
Take your pick. AP spins poll in both directions.
Self-hating Americans. Gateway. Since when is self-hatred a virtue? It's just the flip side of self-love, and it is an illness - except when self-hatred is justified by behavior. In that case, it is healthy.
Bareback Mountain: Leave them kids alone. Well, sheep.
The anti-war protesters. Flares has it exactly right:
Flopping Aces has excellent Ford ceremony photos. Here's one:
1Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son.
Saturday, December 30. 2006
We never covered all of the sporting breeds we wanted to during the Chinese Year of the Dog, but we hit quite a few of our favorites. Not all of 'em, cuz we never met a dog we didn't like.
We have the same weakness for baby humans. (The adults are another matter.)
At the end of the year, I want to remind our readers that the Poodle is a huntin' dawg. We said it once before, and this is the last time we'll say it.
Just don't give them deep, ocean water to retrieve from, as you would with a rough and tough Chessie. Marsh, streams, and ponds are just fine. Many Poodles have a strong pointing instinct too - mine have had one.
Am I tired of people telling me "He might break a nail"? Indeed I am. The only problem with Poodles is that they have higher IQs than humans, and that they love to laugh - at your expense. Yes, they are bird dogs and they will find your bird. And they will drop it at your feet - if they feel like it.
And if they have a field full of bird, they just might tell you to go to hell, and roust them all at once and leave you looking like an idiot. Unlike some breeds, they can run all day, working. They do not tire. But when they want to sleep, they want their head on your pillow.
A man was at the country club for his weekly round of golf.
He began his round with an eagle on the first hole and a birdie on the second. On the third hole he had just scored his first ever hole-in-one when his cell phone rang. It was a doctor notifying him that his wife had just been in a terrible accident and was in critical condition and in the ICU. The man told the doctor to inform his wife where he was and that the he'd be there as soon as possible.
As he hung up he realized he was leaving what was shaping up to be his best ever round of golf. He decided to get in a couple of more holes before heading to the hospital. He ended up playing all eighteen of course, finishing his round shooting a personal best 61, shattering the club record by five strokes and beating his previous best game by more than 10. He was jubilant.... then he remembered his wife.
Feeling guilty he dashed to the hospital. He saw the doctor in the corridor and asked about his wife's condition. The doctor glared at him and shouted, "You went ahead and finished your round of golf didn't you!? I hope you're proud of yourself! While you were out for the past four hours enjoying yourself at the country club your wife has been languishing in the ICU! It's just as well you went ahead and finished that round because it will be more than likely your last! For the rest of her life she will require 'round the clock' care. And you'll be her care giver!" The man was feeling so guilty he broke down and sobbed.
The doctor snickered and said, "I'm just messing with ya. She's dead. What'd you shoot?"
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:07 | Comments (25) | Trackbacks (0)
The Brit coppers videotaped the hunt supporters from a distant window with telephoto lenses. What is this? A John Le Carre novel? Nice to know that there is no other crime in the UK. But I thought the UK was "tolerant" of different cultures? Except their own, I guess. So we have Gandhi-like civil disobedience. Bravo! Bulldog spirit!
From our cousin Mr. Free Market:
It is false humility, and thus sinfully prideful, to deny oneself satisfaction in one's genuine humility... if you get my drift.
The News Junkie (of Maggie's Farm)
The Anchoress took the time to assemble a good round-up of comments and reactions.
Do I think it is morally right to execute leaders who have been defeated in war? I have real doubts about that, but it was Iraq's call, not ours. In the Middle East, execution is a casual and routine matter, and they do not seem to value human life in the way that the West does. "It's multicultural, ya know?"
It has been always darkly amusing to me how "multiculturalism" can be so selective in its reverence.
Friday, December 29. 2006
It's about Katrina, the Federal government, and life. Maybe we will post the whole thing. Probably should.... OK, we will, since it comes so close to being a Maggie's Manifesto, here is a quote to encourage all to read the whole thing:
Saddam will be hung tonight at 10 EST. Michelle has a good round-up of comments. Jesse Jackson is shedding tears, which is puzzling to me. Rick Moran's somber comments are excellent.
No death is an occasion for joy among civilized peoples (except maybe Fidel Castro's), but is it not odd that executions are momentous events, but mass murders by brutal dictators are not?
In the horrendous words of Joe Stalin, "The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic." Wrong...so wrong.
The University of Texas is considering taking down their monuments to Confederate heroes. Says Never Yet Melted:
Read his whole piece here.
Why are we sympathetic to our fellow Americans who were part of the Confederacy? Not because we like slavery (the war was only partially about slavery), but because the principle of states' rights was correct. Those 250,000 southern farm boys who died were not fighting for slavery - few of them owned slaves.
No, they fought valiantly for honor and freedom under the leadership of one of the finest Americans in history, Robert E. Lee. As fellow Americans, they deserve to be honored and remembered.
This is sick. London to celebrate Castro. I could see celebrating his death, though.
Chavez is shutting down TV station. Typical Leftist hero.
Where your NEA dues go. RWNation
If you can stomach it. The worst of the Times. Conspiracy
Why Bush is my Hero. Singleton, agreeing with Ed Koch
Who would believe this guy? He's just a general in Iraq. Villainous
From a LaShawn piece:
AP journalists are dumber than me. YARGB
Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.
George Burns (h/t, Samizdata)
Thursday, December 28. 2006
One of the pleasures of getting into this blog world a bit is seeing, with my own eyes, how many bright people there are out there who see things the way I do. For a Boston person, that's consoling enough, but to find people in my general profession - which tends very liberal and pacifist, if not intellectual/passive - who have arrived by similar paths to a somewhat shared current thinking is plain wonderful.
And One Cosmos. Gagdad Bob's thoughts on Thomas Sowell's recent piece is an example of the kind of applied psychological take on things that gives me delight. One quote:
Indeed, it takes a village to make a pencil, but not an African village, and not a village in Afghanistan or in the jungles of Ecuador. A special kind of village, with certain kinds of values and motivations and cultural structures, knowledge, interests, and freedom of opportunity.
I especially enjoy the famous pencil example because, as you may recall, Henry David Thoreau's family made their money from their pencil factory. Henry worked there for a while, and apparently made some significant improvements in the manufacture of the Thoreau Pencil, until he decided that he didn't want to work on Maggie's Farm no more, and decided to be a writer and a public intellectual, living off his family's money.
In addition, of course, the pencil was the original keyboard. Quill pens must have been terrible to write with, and I am sure they scratched the heck out of the monitor screen.
It has been a wonder to me that so many folks in the mind and soul-treating professions are so non-freedom-minded, when these professions are designed to free people from their inner demons which restrict their taking on life freely, cheerfully, and energetically, in the way they see fit, and taking their own chances and making their own choices - in free societies. Freedom is what they are all about, and why psychoanalysis and psychotherapy are never permitted in totalitarian states.
Does every human have a slavish, dependent side to them? Of course. Many days I wish to be nothing but a pampered pet, with a simple life - except I'd be bored in 40 minutes and begin doing something I wasn't told to do. The wonderful possibility is the possibility of governing oneself according to aspirations for higher levels of maturity and autonomy. And that, Dear Readers, is a culture-specific aspiration, rooted in Protestantism; in the notion of "every man his own King," (and every man his own priest as well).
And, with the keyboard, "every man or woman his own pamphleteer," like the wacky Sons of Liberty, pasting our visions of freedom to the walls of the alleys of the world, hoping some passerby will stop and read.
Equality is for farm animals. While Orwell remains one of my political guiding lights, Huxley really nailed the danger of "well-intentioned, rational" soul-crushing tyranny in Brave New World. Pure, soul-less logic requires tyranny, as the wise Plato said.
Our blogging shrink friends remember that psyche means "soul," not mind, as Bettelheim made so clear in Freud and Man's Soul. The soul needs space!
I will conclude today's rambling sermon with a Dylan quote from My Back Pages:
Q&A about climate, at American.com
Why would anyone worry about eating cloned animals? If the original was good, the cloned one should be just as tasty.
A quote from a Brewton piece, Federalism vs. Totalitarianism, which uses a Maggie's piece as a starting point:
Very cool. Photos of jets breaking the sound barrier. It creates a strange cloud. Never Yet Melted
Whooping Cranes on the upswing. One grand species saved by human ingenuity. Am. Thinker
Doesn't want his culture destroyed by immigrants. Tangled Web. Who would, if you value your culture, that is? Didn't nations historically resist invasion for that reason?
Reason # 546 never to take Paul Krugman seriously. Right Wing News. The guy writes like a purely partisan, dishonest moron. Which is why he got the job, one must imagine, instead of me.
German-American comfort food, from food blogger Right Wing Nation. We like to think that all of that fat just smooths the lining of our arteries.
Why is "the world's wealth" in the hands of a small number of people? Lib. Leanings on Sowell's piece. It's all about the culture.
John Edwards enters the race. John who? But how embarassing to have this on Youtube. Gateway
Awaiting news of Tony Blair's conversion to Islam. LGF
What is art about? The New Criterion's December art issue is out, and just the introduction is a fine and succinct update on the current state of art criticism. One quote:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:19 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, December 27. 2006
From Wizbang's piece, with which I whole-heartedly agree:
I like this one better than the one Bird Dog posted on Christmas: Pancho and Lefty.
It's from a while ago - before the stunningly lovely gray.
"We wonder if we've oversold the science." Duh. Warming scientists take a step back from their scare tactics - and their predictions. SDA. But will the press reflect this increasing shift?
Record numbers defy the UK hunting ban. As Glenn notes:
What's all this fuss about "separation of church and state"? Prof. B. wonders why the Dems continue to perpetuate the bogus theme.
Why do Catholics become Evangelicals? Via News for Christians,
Whole piece at Homiletic and Pastoral Review
Krugman wants the US to deal with poverty the way the UK does. Rethink that, Paul. Worstall
Hitler on Federalism. Volokh's piece begins thus:
"Might serve"? Definitely serves. That was the original deal, aka the US Constitution. It's easy to forget the degree of sovereignty the states had, before signing the deal - and long after the deal, until Lincoln re-wrote the deal. Not that he was wrong about the slavery issue, but our modern, post-FDR, post-LBJ federal government has us all becoming 50% slaves. What's the difference? Well, voting is the difference. We are free to vote ourselves into benevolent federal slavery.
The Volokh piece is here.
We agree with the point which is made. Centralized power is always a threat to freedom - even when it is elected. It is in the nature of government to accrue power over the lowly, ignorant and inept masses, using any excuse at hand. You can always find a "well-intentioned" reason to assert distant federal power over the people, and forget that the people are meant to be sovereign in the USA. The American ideal was meant to be "every man a Lord of his domain," guided by God and his (or her) conscience and interest.
FDR was the worst criminal, in this regard. That well-intentioned, arrogant, noblesse-oblige aristocrat was a natural totalitarian, but I doubt he ever really knew it. (Harold Ickes, and other advisors, knew it, though - and made the most of it.)
The Civil War and Jim Crow gave state's rights a bad name, but I am inclined to believe that, generally, states and localities have the right to be wrong sometimes. That is part of what freedom is meant to guarantee: dumb mistakes are part of freedom. As is paying the price for them.
Neither wisdom, nor common sense, resides in Washington, DC; it resides elsewhere - in our people in our towns, the hard-working real people who lead honest lives, and ask no-one for anything. Washington, DC obtains most of its power from the income tax, and the ignominious power of vote-buying with OPM - and is thus intrinsically corrupt.
But many will vote away their personal freedom for a bowl of lentils, especially when they feel spiritually and personally uncertain, frail, and lacking in a "support system".
Some Warren Buffet aphorisms, from Businesspundit:
We ain't seen any yet this year, and it's a shame. I am sure that Mad River Glen is not pleased either. Photo from December, 2005.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 08:55 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
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