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
Saturday, April 25. 2009
Ah, spring. Time to spruce up around the farm. Dear! I'm heading down to the Depot to pick up a few things.
Norm says it'll be easy and fun as long as we're all wearing our safety glasses.
Some animals are more responsible than other animals.
The O less popular than Bush after 100 days. Whatever that means. The press and the moonbats seem to still get a tingle.
Ford runs from the gummint "We're here to help you." Smart. The F 150 is still good.
Latest spin: Polar ice increasing because of global warming.
The secret plan to turn Soc Sec into a welfare program. I think it always should have been.
Would somebody please give Henrietta Hughes a job?
Al Gore: Keep Lord Monckton away from me. As Drudge juxtaposes them:
That's "unity" for ya. Related: Dingell says cap and trade is just a giant tax
An extreme Lefty moves into the Pentagon. She'll be popular, no doubt, with the old soldiers.
But the kids never heard the word "lesbian" til you taught it to them in Kindergarten. Don't you want curious kids? Lesbian pron is fun to watch, isn't it?
Dem sleazebag du jour: Rattner
Hermion's little-known verse was discovered buried in many feet of rubble beneath the ruins of the Alexandria Library in 1872 by a team of British archeologists sponsored by Chauncey, Lord Wizzingham. The singed Greek papyrus fragments were difficult to decipher without modern techniques. They appear to be a poetry instructional text, with a series of samples of the basic forms of ancient Greek lyric poetry. Most of the text has been lost.
His samples are considered to be derivative and unoriginal, cliche-ridden, and thus perhaps a collection of traditional songs and thus of little more literary interest than "The Happy Birthday Song" and "For he's a jolly good fellow." My own translations from the ancient Greek, with my labels for the lyrical types:
Skolion (a song of gratitude to a host)
Praise to our host, who provides the best of wine
Erotikon (a love song)
I open your flower like a lily, and the lily
Enkomion (a praise poem for a person)
Dear Heraklon, your arm is strong in battle,
Hymenaios (wedding song)
We sing the joyful nuptial song for you.
Hymn (a praise song to the gods)
Let us praise the Gods who dwell among the clouds,
Dithyramb (a song for Dionysus)
Lord of the dance, Lord of the wines,
Threnos (a funeral song)
Archemion, you have travelled from us.
Paean (a hymn to Apollo sung around the altar)
Lord Apollo, it is our joy to celebrate you.
Image: A Bell-Krater (c. 440 BC), used for mixing wine with water and flavorings (which the Dionysians refused to do - they drank their wine unmixed to get their holy buzz on).
Friday, April 24. 2009
Krauthammer: The Grand Strategy. A quote:
Our shrink friend Nathan, who has completed Aliyah in Israel, sends this reminiscence of his days working for the Indian Health Service, doing general practice including surgery and obstetrics - and anything else that was needed. Old-timey medicine.
Before replacing the sloughed skin on Mrs. R's arm, I had to find out why her forearm was raw to the muscle. New here among the Sioux, I am surprised to learn that my colleagues (and one ancient Roman Catholic always fiddling with her rosary) hadn't checked this elderly, chunky widow's blood sugar: diabetic, sure enough, never diagnosed. So, first things first: stabilize her blood sugars, treat the diabetes, and give proper antibiotics (for anaerobes and aerobes -- they missed this too), then when you see the shiny, glimmer of healthy tissue margins, go for a skin flap transplant.
Before hitting the OR, I had done several days debriding of the sloughed wound: fresh it must be to transplant the sod of skin. In the OR, flipped on her side, I slid into the vertebral space between L4 and 5; a bit lordotic pull by the nurses and I had a clear tunnel in. Then, flapped on her back, Mrs R. was ready. The thigh well scrubbed, Betadined, aproned, an oval hole isolating the site. Instruments we had. The strange loopy-scalpel to slice just-thick-enough epidermis and a touch if dermis to both "take" to the new site, yet leaving some dermis to heal-over the thigh; something like a large cheese knife the instrument looked. Forearm next. Her arm flung up like some lop-sided angel wing, I probed left-handed with two gloved fingers, then slid the massively long needle --- like from the cartoons -- in between the stretch of skin. Wait. Wait. Numbness without paralysis in the arm. First, a touch on the skin (for sensitive fibers); then a pinch with a forceps (for the pain C-fibers) and success.
Laying the layers onto the site is much like laying sod; carefully, side by side, the edges trimmed to the wound shape. The "root" growing will take on its own, a pressure bandage holding the skin sod in place. A fine lawn it will hopefully be; like sodding around a putting hole -- it should look good and cover the ground. And after five or six days of brief peeks, it looks darn good.
It was the only time He has ever spoken around me.
Top photo: Sioux war party, 1870s?
Does your town do recycling? If so, do you know where that stuff ends up? I mean where your junk really ends up.
I challenge any curious readers to find out what ultimately happens to the paper, plastics, beer cans, and glass that are put out so dutifully and virtuously for the garbagemen or recycling pick-ups in your town.
Two or three phone calls ought to do it. "It gets recycled" is not an adequate answer.
For extra credit: Try to find out what you or your town pays for this service, and who profits, if anyone, from your thoughtful donations of your precious garbage. And for your effort spent, as Roger says, "going through your garbage like a raccoon."
The subject picqued my interest because I have noticed that our garbagemen for the past year have been throwing the "recyling" paper and newspapers into their regular garbage truck. My guess is that most "recycled" stuff in the US ends up in landfills, but I do not know for sure. I do know that recycling glass is an economic absurdity, and that recycling plastics is too expensive to be worthwhile: it is just made from a 1/10 teaspoon of oil.
Read the whole thing. I have too many reactions to this to post briefly, but my first thought was that I have seen this many times. (See Obama's Earth Day flights burn 9000 gallons of fuel.) The process goes far beyond Greenieism. Many people play tricks with themselves in order to have their cake and eat it too.
The NJ summed it up perfectly: "They seem to think they get a pass because they're good." It reminds me of our recent QQQ from PJ O'Rourke: "Everybody wants to save the world but nobody wants to help Mom with the dishes."
It's important to most people to view themselves as virtuous. Cheap and easy virtuousness (recycling, donating to charities, volunteering, serving on committees, etc) is often used by people, consciously or unconsciously, to excuse or to compensate for their sins and crimes (eg not reporting cash income, cutting corners, patronizing massage parlors, spreading gossip, lying, etc). In my view, honest people wrestle with sin rather than playing the "moral self-regulation" game.
How many criminals have been described as "pillars of their community," "great guy, always kind and generous," "everybody loved him," "a great supporter of civic causes"? Lots of them.
I am not talking about guilt-driven "conspicuous virtue" here, like the cheating guys who bring their wives roses - I am talking about the secret compromises people make internally so as not to mentally suffer from their feelings of sinfulness and hypocrisy.
I could go on and on on this topic. More later, maybe.
Photo: John Gotti, the "Dapper Don," once a pillar of his community of Howard Beach, Queens, NYC, generous donor to his church and kids' sports, and an avid recycler with a deeply caring interest in the always-Green trash-hauling and recycling biz.
How else to get truth out of them? This from Jules:
Thursday, April 23. 2009
"LOL OMG Talibanz!" Soldiers return home to fight the war on jerks. It makes me want to enlist today.
How does appeasing the Taliban work out?
How are things working out with Chrysler? Note re the possibly pending bankruptcy: union benefits will be protected by the taxpayers.
Also related, Kudlow on TARP
People who think they are good, are less good. They seem to think they get a pass, because they're good.
Review of Horowitz' new book, One Party Classroom, at City Journal
New models for higher ed
60% say govt has too much power and money. Yet many seem to love the O. What's the deal? Related: The Christian Left has tears of joy re O's budget. Tears of joy about a budget?
Does the fact that waterboarding saved LA make a difference to you? Hmm, let me think...
A Federalism Amendment? Count me in.
Dick Morris gets heated up in Obama's Leap to Socialism
From SISU on the tea parties, quoting Steyn:
Related, from The Map is not the Terrain at NE Repub:
Quicker than most expected, even those most critical of him, President Obama has unleashed his and his political party’s dénouement as grossly irresponsible and corrupt, to the unacceptable danger to the country’s survival.
His partial and skewed release of formerly secret documents about the interrogation of captured terrorists raises the prominence of the issue, and consequently of other major issues, in ways that very well may, and should, relegate the Democrat Party to the political hinterland for a generation.
1. The weight of informed and involved expertise on the interrogations is that they served to avoid additional terrorist attacks. The MSM’s trumpeting of the Obama partial releases makes it unavoidable for the MSM to provide the consumers of its media with the fuller story that will emerge.
2. Polls have consistently demonstrated the public is more in tune with better safe than sorry, and with little sympathy for applying Americans’ civil rights to foreign terrorists. The risks that Obama is taking with our security, and that of our allies, is not acceptable.
3. The Congressional Democrats, who have harped at every move taken by the Bush administration, own leadership were not only fully informed of those measures at the time but -- before seeking political advantage by unscrupulously reversing course – were advocates of even sterner measures. Continuing exposure of the formerly secret documents will further reveal their crass perfidy.
4. The increased exposure further highlights to the public the recidivism of many released from Guantanamo and the demurral to accept releasees by European countries critical of Guantanamo. This reinforces the conclusion that benign treatment of sworn enemies is suicidal.
5. Members of our intelligence community, and of formerly cooperating foreign intelligence agencies, will pull back from full exertion due to increased restrictions imposed and from reticence to be pilloried by leftists in power.
6. G-d forbid another significant terrorist attack occurs, particularly traceable to the denuding of vigilance among our intelligence agencies, the backlash will be harsh against those who crippled our security.
7. The cumulative impact of 1-5 above, and hopefully not even the 6th, sits on top of the unfolding and recognized debacle of the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats’ handling of the economic downturn to slip by intrusions -- into the economy, into health care, into taxation, into almost any facet of society it can -- that are destructive of our and future generations’ solvency and freedoms. The unease already claims a majority of citizens, and will become overwhelming.
8. The corruption endemic within the Washington and Chicago way of doing things, already evident to any observer, will be increasingly exposed as Democrats and their media allies lose their impunity to stifle full airings.
9. The willingness and arrogance of members of the Obama administration to invent ludicrous and extra-legal rationalizations for power grabs leads to more, as lies beget lies. The cover-ups and the overstepping of clearer legal red lines will create scandal after scandal.
10. In 2010, Republicans will increase their depleted power within Congress. The uniqueness of 2008 will be a memory, there won’t be a tail from a campaigning Obama, and centrists who regret straying into Democrat votes will be reduced. The hue against Obama and Democrat excesses and dangers will lead to more exposures.
The only reason that Obama and Congressional Democrats would avoid this dénouement is if one believes there are too few Americans with the intelligence to know up from down. The Democrats are counting on that poor bet.
Geez, Bird Dog. You kids these days with your newfangled Greek lyre and pan-flute
The text consists of: "Akkadian terms written in a Hurrianized manner and enscribed in Ugaritic Cuneiform script." (Big deal. According to our current Treasury Secretary, so are the instructions to TurboTax) You can read all about the tablet and the people that read Hurrian well enough to decipher it here. In the meantime, some
Man-o-man, you're L7 if you didn't tap a toe to that one. Hurr Hurr Hurrian, baybee!
Monotonic music mainly, with lyre, drum, trumpet and flute, with different "modes" to evoke different states of mind. The ancient Greeks considered their music and lyrics to be central to who they were as a civilization, and, of course, to be a gift from the gods. As best I can tell, poetry (the lyrics) was never offered without accompanying music.
The group Melpomen recreates the ancient sounds from surviving fragments. (Samples of the music at the Amazon site.)
Wiki has a fine summary of ancient Greek music. Interesting to read that Plato (c 400 BC) complained about the modern music which defied old forms.
Image: Music lesson, c.460 BC, from this site about ancient Greek music.
This New Haven firefighter affirmative action case highlights the insanity which ensues when affirmative action hits the courts.
Justice should be blind.
This superb song was an outtake from his album Modern Times. I love it. Lyrics here:
Remarkable photos of China today (h/t, Tiger). It shows what happens to an energetic people when they are set free from their socialist straightjackets. Wealth suddenly and magically appears.
Suppose gentlemen, you said to me, ‘Socrates, you shall be acquitted on this occasion, but only on one condition. That you give up spending your time on this quest and stop philosophising. If we catch you going on in the same way, you shall be put to death. Well, supposing, as I said, that you should offer to acquit me on these terms, I should reply:
Plato on Socrates, The Apology
Some background on Freddie and the Kellerman suicide
Got MILFs? This from Iowa via Blair.
Disgraced sociopathic prof sues Columbia for $200 mill. Talk about truth and honor.
UK Death Watch: Taxes up, economy down
Cap and trade would cost you $3600/year. And accomplish nothing. Slightly related: Rick Moran thinks about greening the Repubs. We at Maggie's are passionate conservationists, but think that the Greenies are wacko pagans.
Wednesday, April 22. 2009
Our blog pal AVI noticed a fascinating piece at Steve Sailer about the relative popularity of art posters.
Is it all about color-coordination? Decor? An important artist whose posters do not sell, Max Ernst's Europe After the Rain (1940):
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 20:14 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
I had lunch yesterday with a friend who runs a fund at Fidelity in Boston. She mentioned how many friends and acquaintances she has who had been - or had felt - wealthy but are now in desperate straits.
They had overpaid for grand houses in Cambridge and Chestnut Hill, and then did million-dollar renovations and extensions. They overpaid and leveraged themselves further by buying weekend houses in Maine, Nantucket, Westport or Marion. They bought expensive cars, and paid $300,000 on interior decorating. Wherever they travelled, they stayed at the Four Seasons unless they were golfing in Ireland or Scotland. They had had the sort of blind optimism that led them to believe that $1.5 million bonuses would continue forever. They saved next to nothing. And these are not stupid people: these are bright folks, Ivy League MBAs who know math - but unwise.
She told me about somebody like that in their late 30s whose family has had to move into her parents' house in Natick, and who has their two homes on the market.
We spoke of the time-honored and traditionally-admired Yankee virtue of not living within your means, but below your means. We spoke about the Yankee virtues of "making do," "going without," and giving to others. We spoke about ostentatiousness and conspicuous consumption. We pontificated about whether getting and spending represented an emotional or spiritual emptiness, or a hollowness in a part of American culture. We reflected on whether the childish "I want..." had replaced more durable and mature motives and life guidelines. We touched on what God wants from us, as we always do when we are together. We remembered the old-time Yankee pride in driving old, beat-up station wagons to the tattered old WASPy yacht club in Marblehead. We remembered the old-time Yankee pride in owing nothing, and the pride and freedom that confers: owning your life.
Then, after an excellent no-carb lunch and with a couple of chardonnays under our belts, we went shopping.
Photo: Simple but charming living quarters from Sipp's snarky piece on homes: I'm going to say somethng rude now.
Freedom is not empowerment. Empowerment is what the Serbs have in Bosnia. Anybody can grab a gun and be empowered. It's not entitlement. An entitlement is what people on welfare get, and how free are they? It's not an endlessly expanding list of rights — the "right" to education, the "right" to food and housing. That's not freedom, that's dependency. Those aren't rights, those are the rations of slavery — hay and a barn for human cattle.
P.J. O'Rouke, 1993
It's Earth Day! via Am Thinker:
There is no doubt that there will be a surge in ice. Question is when. Technically, we remain in an ice age, defined as periods in which there are polar ice caps. During most of earth time, there weren't.
Related: Since fat people are now the cause of global warming, Jules suggests that Al Gore preach more about that.
Difficult for me to believe.
Why trying to control carbon emissions will make no difference at all. But what do facts matter? Power grabs always find excuses for it.
In a time of victory, why is the Left still so angry?