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
Monday, May 28. 2007
Half the county was at Home Depot this morning. We aren't into buying Hostas at Home Depot, but their tomatoes are good, and mine are in the ground now. And I have 20 more bags of black mulch to carry around.
But getting back to Hostas, Mrs. BD found this site.
Long-time readers know that we have rules about Hostas - never anywhere near the sun and never less than 5-20 plants of the same type en masse. Done right, they can be wonderful, but done wrong, they can be tacky.
One of their downsides is that they take a few years to fully establish themselves. One of their upsides, besides their preference for dense shade, is the astonishing variety of sizes and colors of foliage available these days.
Here's our previous piece on Hostas.
I find it difficult to remember fallen soldiers in the abstract, so I am going to focus on gratitude for Maj. Zembiec today (h/t, Michelle), along with a guy I knew - a gentle soul in my high school writing class and later briefly a classmate in college until he enlisted - who didn't come back from his first tour in Vietnam.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:00 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Photo from The Tennessean.com, which I hope will forgive the use of this photo. The story of 8 year-old Christian Golcynski accepting the flag from his father's casket is at The Tennessean, here.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:06 | Comments (16) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, May 27. 2007
James Edwards at NRO demonstrates the emptiness of the Jesus-exploitation of the illegal immigration fans. One quote:
Whenever politicians invoke Christ's name, watch out. They are desperate. There is a little thing called the Third Commandment -Catholics call it the Second - it's about using the name of the Lord in vain, eg for your own purposes.
We have not given Dr. Sanity proper credit for occasionally posting our insanities on her weekly, always-amusing Sunday Carnival of the Insanities. Thanks, Dr. S, for linking our piece on Nanny Bloomberg. And thanks for helping to resist the gowing crisis of Global Insanity.
Which makes them look more like stereotypical cry-babies than heros. Photo to right - a lady friend of Theo. She is no cry-baby, and she seems so feminine that she must be a real feminist.
Department of glass houses: Gore decries trivialities and nonsense in news.
Mookie's party bombs.
Al Zawahiri: "Al Quaida is winning in Iraq. It's time to expand the war."
The bit about the pangolins especially bothered me. Who would eat a cute lil' pangolin? Now mesquite-grilled raccoon I can relate to, but they aren't endangered.
Dallas HS students protest not passing graduation exams. Good grief. What have we bred in this country? Sheesh. Show a little dignity.
NYT immigration poll reported at Blue Crab. Just one bit from the piece:
Sen. James Inhofe's opening comments at Senate hearings on global warming and recreation. His focus is on unintended consequences - something which, it seems, Congress rarely considers in its short-term view of the world.
The Shumer Strategy. The drip, drip, drip of manufactured scandal. This is war, folks.
Bill wanted a divorce. Hillary had other plans. A lovely couple.
Searching for leftist commentators worthy of respect. Hatemonger found a few. We agree, and we look for them too.
Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18
On the way to Costco yesterday to pick up a load of stuff for today's church coffee hour, the Mrs. Bird Dog and I were discussing C.S. Lewis' notion of "the shadow of God" - the indirect manifestations of God's presence in our world. I was thinking that it is similar to Plato's analogy of the cave, but Mrs. BD thought that the recent proofs of the abundance of dark matter in the universe - discoverable only through its effects on other things but not directly knowable - was a better image.
One Cosmos has two recent, typically thought-provoking pieces on intelligence and its relationship to truth-seeking - and the necessity of intelligence to subordinate itself to truth: On the Intelligence of the Stupid and the Stupidity of the Intelligent and The Truth about the Truth about Truth. A few quotes:
Photo: Hubble image of gas pillars in the star-formation region of the Eagle nebula. How trivial are our daily concerns?
Acts 2: 1-21
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
Fifty days after Easter and related symbolically and historically to the Jewish shavuot, Pentecost seems like the most mystical of holy days in a religion which abounds in mystery and wonder. Image: El Greco's depiction of Pentecost.
Saturday, May 26. 2007
A very fine blues selection streamed from Dust My Broom. You cannot stream the beer, however. One might hope that Bill Gates and Coors are working on that challenge.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 19:26 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Post-modernism is the idea that everything is just an affectation, and so you can pull it apart and make little jokes out of the bits. I reject the approach, and not just in architecture. The problem with the Daily Show and Colbert is not that they are smarmy wags, it's that they derive their smugness from making fun of a establishment that no longer exists, if it ever did. Yes, everything sucks. But I hate to break it to you: You're the everything now.
The proprietor of Sippican Cottage
The Traveller's Dilemma. It's a variation on the Prisoner's Dilemma, but what is interesting about these games is to play them yourself multiple times, and see what happens. We like Game Theory, but the math eludes us as this point.
But it's not just about math - it's about how illogicality can often be logical. Here's the premise:
To keep it simple, play with three people - same as The Prisoner's Dilemma. You play it over and over. Of course, they cannot discuss the strategy together.
And who the heck cares? Well, apparently some people do. (h/t, Jules). Some people need to get a life. What did Tut do anyway, other than get born into the right family, die young, and have the luck not to have his tomb ransacked before the Brit archeologists arrived.
One thousand lbs? Take a look at this pig.
A fine day for the beach, but I am going to Rhode Island this morning for a couple of days of sailing.
Tawfik Hamid on how to end Islamophobia. Exactly.
New York's Bravest lowering standards to avoid DOJ problems. Apparently literacy standards are racist. LaShawn digs into the subject. If those of African heritage really have lower average "g" than other races, as abundant studies show, it's a big problem. I remain a skeptic.
Norwegians getting rich on oil. Norway?
Git offa my lawn, kid. Synthstuff. And I really mean it.
Is Fred Thompson the Reagan Reagan? Fred visits New England.
Is Obama the liberal Reagan? RWNH
The mess in Lebanon, thanks to Al Quaida. A damn shame, because it could be and once was a fine country.
Top execs face pay crunch. Stockholders must be deciding that enough is enough.
Should home ownership be the American dream? Yes, as a defence against inflation. But if not? Tigerhawk. I think it's more sentimental and historical. Not to mention that it is forced savings.
Valerie Plame? Ho hum. But she did push her husband forward, after all. Just One Minute. That is not what she said.
The MSM refuses to discuss Al Quaida and terrorist torture. Thjey would rather talk about panties on the head.
Prediction: Immigration bill will pass Senate
China hopes to clean up pests and disease before the Olympics. Maybe their food, too?
Peggy Noonan's excellent piece on illegal immigration. A quote:
The photos are of International Etchells
We linked this piece at Flares titled Facing the Market last week, but I thought it so usefully clear and succinct that I'd re-post it with a quote. Every kid in high school or college should read this to inject some reality into the romantic psychobabble about self-actualization which is endemic in our pampered society.
Some people have a "calling," but most do not. Some people have ego-driven compulsions to achieve to compensate for feelings of inadequacy. Some lucky people find work plain fun. But while work offers many rewards including money, social contact, dignity, and a variety of challenges, most people would not do their jobs if they won the Powerball. Otherwise, why is everyone planning for retirement?
For most folks, work is not recreation. A quote from the piece at Flares about the labor market:
Ask your kids to read the whole thing.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:23 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, May 25. 2007
Warming has finally hit New England today. Very pleasant indeed. I have always wondered about cloud chambers, but never bothered to learn more about them. Eric took the trouble, and connects clouds to warming.
It's the American thing to do.
You can't arrest me. I am a very important community member.
New Hampshire State Senator Burt Cohen (D-Portsmouth), via No Looking Backwards
I heard Thomas Sowell quoted on the radio last night. I don't have the link, but he was asking something like "What problem does this immigration "reform" act solve?" His answer: just one problem - the politicians' problem, which is to look like they are doing something and to get the immigration theme off the table.
Too bad for the politicians: the voters aren't stupid. Too bad for the voters: the pols don't give a damn in this unholy alliance they have made.
Primum non nocere is my advice.
Second, a quote from me, yesterday (Buddy thought it was good):
People tend to hate to be invaded. It's sorta human not to put up with it, unless you are French.
Are bad manners and obnoxiousness hate crimes? I thought there had to be a crime before you could have a hate crime. Where's the ACLU? Heck, I've been called all sorts of names in my life. Sticks and stones...
15 year-old outsmarts UN Climate Panel
The model graduation speaker: Mr. Rogers. I am sure that I would agree.
Illegals register to vote in Texas.
Al Quaida is better at media manipulation than at war. So they do what they're good at.
Hispanic immigrants to the US: 42% of births are out of wedlock.
Sarkozy wants to reform the Sarbonne. Excellent ideas.
30 years later, Argentinian mothers still march for justice for their dead.
A pill that stops menstruation. Volokh
A plague of locusts. The 17-year cicadas are crawling up from their 17-year stay in the soil, and will soon be all over the place. Predictably, there will be articles about how to cook them. This piece from 2004 explains how the broods work. I have always enjoyed watching birds try to catch them when they fly.
More about the new WalMart walk-in clinics. Always amazing the way markets can figure out things that experts and government cannot: it's because experts always have blinders on, and government is stupid.
This invasive species seems to have no friends. Not cuddly enough, I guess.
A treadmill desk. Not a bad idea. But the irony in the concept does not escape me.
Hansen: Cut America Some Slack. I agree. A quote:
Read the whole thing.
The Torpedo Factory Arts Center in Alexandria's Old Town was saved from the wrecker's ball as the dock area of Old Town was about to be destroyed by urban planners.
Now, the saving of the Torpedo Factory (the building was a WWl-era torpedo factory) is considered to have been one of the triggers for the preservation and rejuvenation of Alexandria.
I get a kick out of those old factories that were built in monumental style. Temples to manufacturing, industry, invention, and the American work ethic.
Thursday, May 24. 2007
There is one which specializes in the subject: The Center for Immigration Studies. Lots of info.
More Bob Birthday stuff. That's a photo of Bob on April 26, performing in his beloved New Orleans. Lookin' good, Bob.
Here's a whole-hearted performance of Like a Rolling Stone from 1966.
Tears of Rage from 1996, with one of his best bands, in my opinion.
Just Like a Woman from 1971.
Not Dark Yet, from 2006 (excellent recording).
The chorus of protest over the bill in the Senate right now (the "No Illegal Alien Left Behind" act, as some would call it, or the "Destroy America Now" act) is coming from so many places, and from so many unlikely sources that it is getting difficult to keep up.
While criticism has come from the usual quarters, even such open-borders advocates as George Will and John Podhoretz have come down hard on the bill. The staggering costs of the bill, only just now coming to light, have revealed a total outlay of as much as 2.5 trillion over the next two decades. Ed Morrissey notes that the bill has achieved the remarkable distinction of having almost every single voting group in the USA opposed to it:
Meanwhile, another blogger eviscerates the irrational arguments of those like Dick Morris, Robert Novak and Fred Barnes that the GOP must support this bill or risk losing Hispanic votes:
In the most amusing quote of the day, Barack Obama set some sort of Democratic first in the following critique of one of the few sensible changes in the bill - placing a skills requirement for immigrants above that of extended family ties:
A Democrat criticizing something for being a radical social experiment that's a departure from historical tradition? I'm expecting to see pigs flying around Nashville right about now.
Do we need or want more women's colleges? Sister Toldjah
"Short-dicked white boys" and "niggers." I never heard these details of the Duke story.
Sen. Kyle is baffled. From one of his constituents, Linknzona
It must be those dang Presbyterians again, violating dogs' rights. Blair
Women are to blame. Good point, from Stumbling and Mumbling. The entry of women into the job market in massive numbers over the past 20 years has certainly held down wages - not because they are women, but because it greatly increased the supply of labor in all areas, from law to medicine to government to business to clerical to the military.