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.
Like a raccoon dragging off some hunk of good garbage, my brother grabbed one of the two turkey carcasses last night while helping with clean-up. Naturally, he took the grilled and semi-smoked carcass which has a richer flavor (enhanced by my injecting it throughout with cider before cooking). We did not have any meat left over from two 18-pounders, but plenty of cornbread-sausage stuffing, which to me is as good as meat. (Next year, maybe we'll do three - or get two ginormous ones which I do not like because they take too long to cook).
His Mrs. commented: "I see I'll be eating turkey soup for the next four days."
I'll freeze the other carcass for my next round of Jus Gibier.
I am re-posting this because, as I slowly get through it (slowly because there is so much in it - I am reading it every night), I appreciate it more and more. Some of you cultural history types might put it on a Christmas list.
Since there was no real idea of "Germany" as a nation until 1817 (The Deutscher Bund), and no modern nation of Germany until 1871, the book is mostly about German culture (which preceded any German nation and which continues to exist beyond the boundaries of modern Germany - Austria, northeast Italy, Switzerland, the entire diaspora of German Jews, etc).
So, is there a German genius? Of course there is. Even Borges never suggested that Goethe's Die Leiden des jungen Werthers could have been written in Spanish, or Einstein's "Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter K�rper" in English. Of all the answers assembled by Watson, the clearest comes from the American philosopher John Dewey in 1915, who summed up German civilisation as a "self-conscious idealism with unsurpassed technical efficiency and organisation". By idealism, he meant a belief that behind appearances or phenomena is some super-reality, sometimes called Geist, sometimes called Wille, sometimes even Musik. Whatever it is called, it speaks accurate German.
His chapter on German Idealism is especially good. Hegel and his brethren inform our thinking today far more than I realized.
Finally added the shooter to our roll. Mostly Politics. Didn't mean to overlook them.
Not for the blogroll, but I need this info: Pick-up Artist Forum. Especially the Social Shyness and Anxiety section. Thought I was the only guy with that little hang-up. I am the sort of guy that girls have to figure out how to pick up.
Today I'm a turkey! Actually, some say, every day. But every 7-years my birthday comes out on Thanksgiving. I was given some yummy chocolates. My sons ate them. I cooked a yummy turkey and sides. My family and friends ate it. I bought an expensive ricotta cheese cake. They ate that, too.
But, I wasn't left with nothing, was I?
A friend sent me this wisdom from George Carlin:
Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions. "How old are you?" "I'm four and a half!"
You're never thirty-six and a half. You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key. You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead. "How old are you?" "I'm gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16!
And then the greatest day of your life . . . you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . . . YOU BECOME 21. . . YEAS!!!
But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk. He TURNED, we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed?
You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40.
Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 . . . and your dreams are gone.
But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!
So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.
You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday! You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime.
And it doesn't end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; "I was JUST 92." Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I'm 100 and a half!"
Here's a Wellfleet MA shore, looking the same way the Pilgrims saw it when they sailed down from P'town to Eastham. John Winthrop famously did not say, "My short-term goal is religious freedom, but my long-term goal is real estate" :
The Wellfleet, MA Congo Church, which still rings ship's bells instead of landlubber hours:
...this Thanksgiving, I feel not only grateful, but blessed. I read something evocative in the illuminating book Back to Virtue. The author writes that before a person believes in God, he feels either happy or unhappy. The person will cling to fleeting pleasures, no matter how harmful they may be.
When a person wakes up to the Divine, he's still sometimes happy and other times unhappy. But through all the trials and tribulations of this human realm, he continually feels blessed.
Three hundred and 14 years ago, the Pilgrims thanked God because there was a place for them in this land, and it was indeed grand. The land is grander today, and that, too, is remarkable: France has lurched from Second Empires to Fifth Republics struggling to devise a lasting constitutional settlement for the same smallish chunk of real estate, but the principles that united a baker's dozen of East Coast colonies were resilient enough to expand across a continent and halfway around the globe to Hawaii.
Americans should, as always, be thankful this Thanksgiving, but they should also understand just how rare in human history their blessings are.
Rick Moran makes sense about AGW. Me? I am not a denier. As I have noted in the past, I am an enthusiastic supporter of global warming in any form and from any cause. Scientists inform us that earthquakes happen when Gaia shivers from cold, and makes volcanoes to warm her toes. I want Gaia to be warm and comfy.
What's wrong with insider trading? h/t, Prof B. I think it should be legal in the US, as it is in many other countries. It adds pricing information to markets rapidly and efficiently. I don't want to hear Kindergarten talk about "not fair." Traders are not in Kindergarten, and they know it. And forget the mythical "little guy." There is no little guy trading stocks, bonds, or commodities and options. If they are, they are amateur gamblers and fools who will rapidly have their ass handed to them, insider trading or not.
Pierogies for Thanksgiving? We have them with our family on Thanksgiving to remember our Polish and German immigrant ancestors who were smart enough to wait to come here until things were set up a little better than what those crazy Pilgrims found - and we also eat Pierogies because we like them. Delicious.
Every Thanksgiving, we kids sang this merry song on the way to our Granny and Grampy's Connecticut house: five of us, bouncing in the back seat of the Chevy station wagon. Dad driving with a cigarette in his mouth and humming opera tunes.
Kents, as I recall.
Their house was a mansion to us, filled with mysteries. My Gramps was a doctor. They had owl andirons with eyes, bathtubs with claw feet, a real ice box in the basement, a big family Bible from the 1700s, a jar of formaldehyde with a dissected human heart, old medical texts about Syphilis and Malaria which used to be common in CT, Tiffany lamps, a Chickering grand piano, Persian rugs, the first EKG machine in Connecticut (German made, in a mahogany cabinet, which still worked and which works to this day), the rooms my Dad and Aunt grew up in with all of their books - and my Granny's Mom, sitting and knitting. She died at age 103. An old Yankee, raised on a hardscrabble farm and who worked as a nurse, she never said very much. She was half Iroquois (her Mom), and looked like an ancient squaw with her hair tied back.
They had a cranky, humorless Polish widowed cook called Mrs. Wos (which was an abbreviation of her last name which I never knew) who helped them in the kitchen and who would smack your hand hard with a spoon if you tried to grab something. Granny was not much of a cook, to put it mildly, but she would help Mrs. Wos when asked. Mrs. Wos kept a filled bird-feeder outside the kitchen window for entertainment, and banged on the glass when a squirrel got into it. Come to think of it, she banged all sorts of things: hands, windows, pots and pans, cabinet doors, all the time.
And they had an old widower black guy moved up from Mississippi who did chores and yard jobs, and helped with the garden - the sweetest and most dignified Christian guy you could ever know. "Uncle Ed," who my Granny called Mr. Evans, sang hymns while he worked, and read the Bible and philosophy (and W.E.B. DuBois and Albert Schweitzer) when he was off duty in his cozy apartment above the garage - with a wood stove (in addition to real heat) - and walls of bookshelves. He believed that fiction was the work of the Devil but he never refused whiskey.
Being alone in life, both family helpers joined us at the family tables for Thanksgiving dinner. Ed was always given the honor of offering the prayer which came from the depths of his heart. He went on for quite a while, as the soup got cold. Deep and yet simple, which are the things I still aspire to. He prayed for his country, for the enrichment of his and our spirits, for the soul of his dead wife, for his two boys in the service, and for the glory of creation.
I miss him because he was a dear buddy to me. He was the first black guy I knew. He had worked as a railroad Porter, and he said the railroad was the true friend of the black man. He knew the blues, and he knew the hymns. He taught me to fish, with great laughter and jollity. Bait-fishing from a rowboat, for food, with a bamboo pole. No fancy stuff. Long gone, now, but never forgotten.
Happy Thanksgiving, readers. Thanks to God, and God bless us, every one, living and gone - and our free country.
Photos: Station wagons were the SUVs of their time: if you had kids, you had one. '55 Chevy, of course. The '50 Buick? My grandparents drove theirs until the mid-1960s. Old people used to drive old cars. I recall theirs as having been brown, not black, but I couldn't swear to that. My Gramps, who was a doctor, totalled it into a tree while making a house call late at night in a snowstorm at age 84. He was OK, but the car wasn't. Bought a white Oldsmobile with power windows and began to cut back on work and grumble about socialism and socialized medicine. Johnson was President, with Medicare on the table - and he accepted vegetables, flowers, firewood, and labor as payment from those without money. He felt his poorer patients would feel demeaned by charity, so he expected something. I remember a bushel basket of fresh-dug potatoes on his back porch, with a note scrawled "from Sam." Another time I recall a bushel basket of sweet corn.
The past year has marked the passage of the two most massive legislative reforms in the history of American politics: ObamaCare for health care and Dodd-Frank for the financial sector. Their size and complexity dwarf those of any New Deal legislation.
These new laws require a stunning acceleration of the longstanding practice of relying on delegated authority to implement statutory commands. According to its New Deal champions, this welcome division of authority could cure the manifold defects of a market economy by combining the best of democratic politics with the best of administrative expertise. Under the new division of labor, the political branches of government set the broad direction of legislative reform, and then trust skilled administrative agencies to turn general directives into specific commands.
The sheer magnitude of the new legislative ventures has thrown this model–which, in truth, has never worked well–into disarray.
Due to the Jewish lunar calendar, Hannukah begins early this year, the first candle of eight lit at sunset on December 1.
The rebellion led by Matityahu and his sons against Greek rule that forbade or altered Jewish religious practices and beliefs reasserted that they do not change just to meet whichever philosophy is current.
Some in the West seek to boycott stores that carry goods made in Israel. Instead, there's a "buy-cott" scheduled for November 30, in which all are encouraged to buy Israeli produced items at nearby stores, telling the store owners why. Leading national merchants, like Trader Joe's and Costco, and local stores in many parts of the country are listed here.
Whether for Hannukah or Christmas, join the "buy-cott" to demonstrate your support for your Jewish or Christian heritage.
"Cape Cod Turkey" is, as any Cape Codder knows, dried salt Cod. Brined, then dried in the sun until hard as stone.
The pics above are of drying cod "flakes" near Commercial Wharf, Provincetown. More pics and details here.
The starving Pilgrims would have dined well on Cod, had they known how to catch them. They were weak on survival skills (half died the first winter), but they, as you recall, had never meant to end up in the Massachusetts woods. They were headed for the Hudson River, somewhere near the Dutch city of New Amsterdam. Some reports say they were headed to what was termed "Virginia," the vast area claimed by English investors running south down the coast from New Amsterdam).
European fishermen were harvesting and drying Cod on the coast of eastern Canada 100 years before the Pilgrims arrived, and the Portuguese and Spanish (and eventually, the Italians too) figured out how to cook this wood-like substance, which they call baccala or bacala or bacalao, in interesting ways.
Here's Thoreau's amusing take on the Cape Cod cod industry. (Link fixed - well, maybe not. No time to mess with it right now)
“Wasn’t it Jesus who said: ‘Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s’? Well, BSkyB belongs to Caesar and the Church should keep its eyes on the heavens not on the wheeling and dealing in the City."
The Obama administration’s “Race to the Top,” at the cost of $4.35 billion, is the latest of a long line of lavishly funded federal education initiatives, joining “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) and others that have failed to reform education. As is typical, there are high hopes for change but a low probability that any significant or lasting reforms will be implemented.
According to a report in Heritage Press, in April 2006, Neal McCluskey, a policy analyst with the Center for Education Freedom asserted, “Government programs have a troubling way of taking good ideas and ruining them with bureaucracy, unintended consequences and control by special interests.”
It's the government, so it's all politics. For the Dems, it's the Conspiracy to keep you poor and stupid. For the Conservatives, it's our Conspiracy to set you free from the government.
The United States is often referred to as a melting pot, where immigrants become Americans – proud of accomplishments and sacrifices here, and willing to contribute to that -- while holding on to traditions from whence they came.Many fear this melting has diminished, as more immigrants hold on to more of their native traditions and assimilate less.
That may be so. But, I’ve found that the reduction in those American traits is more pronounced among those born here, and they are to fault for the reduced emphasis on assimilation.
Thanksgiving is the uniquely American holiday, to give thanks for the bounty and freedoms found here. Over the years, I’ve seen the most sincere thanks given to America for that among immigrants.
Assimilation isn’t always easy, but they try. I’ve seen some buy Banquet TV dinners of turkey. I’ve seen some with widely different eating tastes force the turkey into their mouths and be at a loss for what to do with the leftovers.I’ve seen some introduce their native spices for the turkey and serve native side dishes. I asked a Mexican immigrant what his family does. The answer, “eat too much, just like everyone else.”
Want to enlarge the melting pot? Invite an immigrant to your Thanksgiving table. The first Thanksgiving was about sharing. Share stories about why you give thanks, including your family’s immigrant experience.
My family will host a family who recently immigrated from Japan.
At Spiked. Indeed, a voice crying out in the wilderness of PC insanity and censorship. One quote:
Lukianoff says it is a consequence of the broader academic culture that students find themselves in today – an academic culture which instead of highly prizing combative debate and the unfettered freedom to scuffle over ideas and knowledge increasingly demonises such things as potentially hurtful and damaging. An academic culture, in short, which is destroying its own raison d’être – to foster thought, discussion, enlightenment – through its acceptance of the idea that actually, after all, words and ideas can be quite dangerous and thus should be subject to policing.