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
Wednesday, February 25. 2009
The "best" students are often the most diligent and dutiful, but not necessarily the most passionate about learning or the smartest. Fairly or not, women and Asian students are often viewed in that light. The University of California reputedly sets limits on their Asian student acceptances.
Profs often find the "best" students boring to teach. Tom Wood at the NAS discusses. One quote:
Read the whole good thing, because he gets into many good higher ed topics.
Today's Free Advt for Bob is a good piece for Lent, I think. Dylan's song is like a Psalm.
In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need
I have gone from rags to riches in the sorrow of the night
Below is Dylan's recorded version, audio only:
If you don't care for Dylan, here's Emmy Lou Harris' cover of the song: you will like this. 1995.
Nothing is true, everything is permitted.
William Burroughs, as quoted at Driscoll (nb: a QQQ doesn't mean we agree with it)
More on the topic at Marginal Rev.
Politico translates Obama's speech. I think they got it right.
Dodd also has a place in Ireland. How do pols accumulate so much wealth?
A fish with eyes in the back of his head - and all over.
Shea Stadium is gone
Stopping traffic for a Peregrine Falcon. Good on that cop. But I would have chased the falcon away. You don't want him to get the idea that the middle of the road is a good place to eat.
Andrew Breitbart wants a Hollywood revolution
Moderately alcoholic Irish Catholics victimized
A FIRE co-founder as candidate for the Harvard Board of Overseers. Good.
Ice Ages and Sea Levels. Watts
Save Auschwitz, but get rid of the EU
Hate it when this happens.
Are we back to Sept. 10th? Powerline
The Palestinian industry. Jules
Missouri Dem: Don't worry. Our kids and grandkids will pay these debts.
Pub surveillance in Britain. Insane.
Tuesday, February 24. 2009
Everyone has the choice of whether to live in Christ, or not to. I am grateful that I have the choice of whether to accept that offered gift, or to refuse it.
I once thought that living in Christ just sort-of happened when one deliberately accepted the gift, but I think differently now. I no longer think that I can be aligned with God on autopilot, as Augustine said he, or we, could. Maybe he could.
I need a discipline, both internal and external, to partake of the blessing of the Christian faith and of a life in Christ because sometimes I am there, but sometimes I am far away.
I have been thinking about the old-fashioned virtue of "self-command" recently, and about our cultural values - "authenticity," "genuineness," "follow your heart and emotions" and things like that. Why isn't "self-command" and "self-discpline" as much a part of our selves as anything else? Are our precious selves were so splendidly worthy and wonderful when on autopilot? If anybody is that wonderful, God bless 'em. I am not.
Internal discipline is about self-command. How good am I at commanding myself? And how often, like a bad parent, do I fail to be a good Chairman and CEO of myself and let things slide that should not slide, and permit leeway where there is no leeway? To let myself play in the street, as it were?
My discipline muscles need constant exercise. I have a few planned for this Lenten season.
Even the "best" Christians are sometimes prone to overlooking the beam in their own eye while noting the motes and beams in others'. We are taught to "hate the sin but to love the sinner." Readers know that I do not believe that Christianity is mainly about morality, but about faith. However, I believe that a deliberate living in Christ requires a discipline. Like when your Dad gives you a car for your birthday, the joy is contingent. Getting to that "life in abundance" isn't meant to be easy, but it is probably the definition of success that I value most highly for myself.
I judge others constantly, not from a high place but mainly for self-protection. I judge myself at least as judiciously, and likely far more harshly. Usually at 4:30 AM. The conscience I am stuck with tolerates little or no compromise with normal exigencies. At the same time, I know my conscience isn't necessarily God's voice. Sometimes it's my own, and some of it is my moral vanity.
In my mens' Bible study last week we wandered into a discussion of sexual temptation, and how we each deal with it. It's safe to say that each one of us has a deep appreciation for appealing females, and are fun-loving fellows who enjoy the pleasures of life. We aren't a "holy" bunch. We also agree that our word is our bond. It's discipline and self-command. Of course, anyone can make whatever choices one decides to, and live with that. That's fine, as long as you do not ask me to be responsible for guiding your choices.
I am meandering towards the subject of external discipline. If we are to enjoy the blessings of a life in Christ, most of us need that. I need my brethren to help keep me on track. Otherwise, I'll be off on my own track, and there is nothing too wonderful about that. "My track," I am ashamed to say, is probably all about me and all about gratification - and as instant as possible. OK, call me an obsessive if you want to: it's probably correct. I need and want to be judged. I do not want to be an animal.
Editor's note: I stumbled onto a sermon by Rev. Norman Koop, Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Woodstock, VT, yesterday. I thought it relevant to my "House Church" meeting on Sunday afternoon where the topic was confronting evil and sin (in self and others). Intolerance. Pastor Koop makes the case, via Paul, that it is our unpleasant duty to confront and address the sin of our church brethren because, as Congregational Church members, we have made a solemn committment to the well-being of eachothers' souls. Paul's letter was a tough message for the Corinthians - and we are the Corinthians. The sermon is here (try "Listen now using the flash player").
A Climate Change leader, quoted at Thompson (not satire):
Are these judges werewolves? Via Althouse. Supremes to decide:
The 9th said what? Article Vll: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
Ecstasy is safer than peanuts?
Few American cars driven by the Admin
Men and women view art differently
The upside of the foreclosure mess
The War Against Drugs has failed.
Is the world experiencing "Green fatique"?
The big picture: Obama wants to move the center to the left. No kidding. He is a Socialist, and he never had a real job.
Is letting kids excel racist?
Don't blame Obama. A Pres cannot take an economy out of recession
Economic indicators, early 80s vs. today, via Coyote:
Monday, February 23. 2009
No time for thinking today. A few cocktail-hour links:
Hopey-changey means Realpolitik. No more of that Republican freedom malarkey.
Not a coward: talking back to Eric Holder. Am Thinker
Palin: an unbalanced MSM tried to destroy me. Indeed. Unbalanced is the right word. She did seem to drive people crazy.
A billion American dollars to "rebuild Gaza." Is that "stimulus" too? What Gaza needs are some liquor stores, strip joints, and casinos.
Yet another new name for it: Climate Disruption. I guess that means whenever it's not nice and sunny out...or when it's too sunny too.
Might be a good time for the Mafia to go public.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:40 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
States' Rights! It's about freedom.
Easy to forget that America is a voluntary federation of states: it's in the Constitution - if that means anything any more. I am advised that that is ancient history, and irrelevant. Not to me.
Elected tyrannies are commonplace in history. The wise ancient Greeks warned us about that. Politics is about the accumulation of money and power. Period.
A Modest Proposal for CO2 emissions.
I noticed this too. Obama is running hard for reelection already. The family Bush was always above that sort of thing. Dems are "better" pols: They understand the power game better.
Some states, like some businesses and individuals, can be blinded by greed. Bobby is the Not Obama.
It's not easy to demonize a tall skinny blond-with-a-brain who has a sense of humor, but the MSM has done it - and made her a "controversial" celeb in the process. Love her or hate her, Ann Coulter serves a useful purpose. From Klavan on the Culture:
Ann loves to stir the pot, but most important is that she keeps things "sayable" that others are too timid to say. I always get a kick out of Ann.
FYI: Van Morrison's live performance of Astral Weeks, recorded in Nov. 2008, is released this week.
Sunday, February 22. 2009
Joseph Priestly was curious about everything, and one of those things was the gasses coming out of the vats in the brewery next door. But Priestly was much more than that. Smithsonian.
I will post a series of random quotes from Boswell's London Journal for a while, on Sundays. As was commented on the publication of these journals:
A friend told him "Mr. Boswell, you are the vainest man I have ever met, and yet it is impossible for me not to love you." Mr. Boswell - Jamie - is an easy person to like. His honesty about himself shines through. He is 22 at this time, journaling about his second move from Edinburgh to London in search of a cushy commission in the Footguards (which he was never able to obtain despite his extensive networking efforts).
Much of these journals documents his daily life, which is mainly social - and centered on meals. Breakfast with these friends, dinner with other friends, see a play with others, then maybe a late supper with others, perhaps after a bit of whoring, which he describes in some detail including an assessment of his performance. He is quite open about preferring "genteel" ladies for his "amorous adventures" because he lives on a tight budget and prefers not to pay.
He is a devout Anglican. He takes long walks every day, usually discussing politics or literature with friends. The great David Garrick befriends him, and, towards the end of these journals, Boswell meets Samuel Johnson. Johnson, of course, finds the young fellow to be a delightful companion. Boswell is always puzzled about why people like him so much and seek out his company, viewing himself as shallow and dull. He worries about his social presentation, especially his tendency to lose his reserve and dignity (which he constantly does). He also has recurrent incapacitating bouts of depression.
This bit is from December 11, 1762:
Image: Boswell in his 40s. Portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1785
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:53 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Massachusetts' Berkshire County (and northwestern CT Berkshires) has been a popular summering area for 150 years. The nightime is cool, even in August. It is filled with second homes and country places for those from NYC and Boston. The area is artsy and full of pretty-good, small-scale skiing. There isn't much work up there outside of once-industrial Pittsfield - and there never has been. As we have commented, 2009 is a good time to have cash to buy things, because these second home prices are falling. Take a look:
This 3-BR 1942 Cape on 0.3 acres overlooks the town of Great Barrington. $620,000:
This 1793 eyebrow colonial in New Marlborough has 1/2 acre, 3 bedrooms. $185,000;
This 1770 center hall colonial is on 1/2 acre near downtown Sheffield. 6 BR. $725,000.
The village of Alford has a Congregational Church, an 1830 schoolhouse, and a town green. Not a single store, shop, or restaurant. This is a 4 BR 1810 farmhouse (with additions) on 4 acres. $700,000:
Here's an 1825 village colonial in Becket. 5 BR, one acre. $430,000:
In Lenox. Not an antique, but just a walk to Tanglewood and to the pleasant antique village. 4 BR, 0.5 acres, $1,000,000.
In Stockbridge, this 1795 renovated farmhouse. 8 BR, 4 acres. $1,000,000. I like it, but 150 acres would be better.
Stratfor's George Friedman. Thanks for this one, Tiger:
I would break that surveillance camera if I were a Brit today. Government monitoring my wine? If I recall, that government was not at Cana.
American Idle. Money! The more irresponsible you are, the more the gummint works for you. Related: What Obama/Reid/Pelosi have planned for you next. This is overreaching, I think, but they are going to do it so fast that nobody can react.
However, the conservatives are coming back to life.
A good time to buy stuff. Everything good is cheap. Will Wilkinson bought a diamond ring. I am buying some stuff too.
Stop the presses. Global warming will create mental health problems in Tasmania.
"The world is nuts. The country is nuts. The government is nuts." Eat a Sea Kitten. Heck, eat two of 'em. Halibut is my choice.
Certification. It will replace much of "higher ed." Good idea. Plato, sad to say, is not for everybody. There is a natural aristocracy of mind - and I do not claim to be part of it.
The Tea Party is growing. Good fun. Why should moonbats be the only ones to protest? It's patriotic, right?
How Spring Break could pay off the entire US deficit
Oh no! Not a penny for Katrina! Never mind about that Katrina scam. Game over.
A VDH mini-rant. A quote:
AP analysis: Dems self-destructing over ethics
Courts full of junk science. Can that be fixed?
Is it the dawn of a Newt Age? I hope so.
Our Socialist friend Stumbling defends bonuses.
Who is to blame? Neither Dodd nor Frank. Course not.
Who was John January? Wow
ACORN breaking into homes, occupying them. Good grief. What are people thinking?
Dems keep trashing the past. It is unbecoming of them. Gentlefolk do not do things like that.
Even the horrible Soros agrees that letting Lehman fail was a big mistake. It was, but I also understand why it was done. I am in golf and cash. I meant gold and cash. And real estate, which changes in value but never disappears. that's why it is called "real."
The NYT omits one inconvenient truth. Yes, the world is getting colder. I can feel it every morning here.
When we release Gitmo creeps.
Jindal rejects gummint $. Good on him. Most state and local governments are acting like whores.
Has anyone seen Lie To Me? I wonder how it is.
As goes California, so goes the country?
Train people to act like babies, and they will gladly do so. I have already been asked by many how to take advantage of the stimulus, and so we are working on it. Our clients pay taxes, and they want their piece of the action too. Why not? They will be paying for it, and they aren't stupid.
The Transfiguration, Workshop of Alessandro Botticelli, c. 1500.
9:2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,
9:3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.
9:4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus.
9:5 Then Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
9:6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified.
9:7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, "This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!"
9:8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
9:9 As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
Saturday, February 21. 2009
A Maggie's Golden Hayfork to neoneo: We’re liberals and we run the show: we don’t need your steenking history.
From A Beacon of Liberty amid Depression:
Read the whole essay at Standpoint
An excerpt from Vaclav Klaus' speech to the EU parliament last week:
He is completely right, and the unelected EU mandarins don't want to hear it. More here at NRO. The EU has nothing to do with freedom.