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
Tuesday, January 25. 2011
Incredible. Nobody pushed harder for government medical care than SEIU.
Always be a skeptic about science.
ACORN is reborn in Brooklyn
And paid for with union dues
Cabrini Green closes. A quote:
In The Chronicle, Via Arts and Letters Daily:
Looks like a bubble to me. Via Dino,
Monday, January 24. 2011
The New Victory Theater, on 42nd St. in the heart of the theater district. We saw the new Cymbeline there on Sunday afternoon. The Fiasco Theater Company. Six recent Brown MFA grads played all the roles, and the entire stage set was as seen: three wooden boxes. They spoke the Bard's lines in pure American accent and tone, and every word was comprehensible. Each actor played a musical instrument too. Delightful comedy - and the audience got all the jokes. This play is a farce, a sit-com about love, evil, treachery and vengeance, with a happy ending. Entirely lacking in Shakespearian grandiloquence.
We got there a bit early, and I chatted with the lighting board gal about the theater. It's the oldest operating theater in NYC, built in 1900 by Oscar Hammerstein's grandfather for vaudeville. Holds around 500. It's a jewel-box theater.
Its history reflects the history of 42nd St in the 20th Century. Vaudeville, then Burlesque (Gypsy Rose Lee stripped there) under the Minskys, then legit theater (Belasco himself had the electric lights put in), then a porn movie house in the 70s, then shuttered for 20 years, then reopened in the 90s as what it is now: a venue for family-friendly productions.
Thank you, Rudy Giuliani, for civilizing 42nd St.
The Fiasco's Cymbeline is only there for two weeks and is, I think, thanks to a pile of good reviews, sold out. They let me take pics before they began, as people were arriving. The actors hung around on stage talking to people and stretching:
A couple more pics of this jewel of a theater below.
Continue reading "The New Vic Theater (with Cymbeline)"
I forget where this fine recipe came from (maybe Mr. Free Market. No, it was The Englishman), but I'd think it would work fine for any game bird except duck, and certainly for chicken:
At Google News, Climate change: Dogs of law are off the leash:
Related, Why Obama Should Drop the Insurance Mandate - Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has a face-saving way out.
Sipp: Cute As All Get-Out Right Out Of The Gate, Transitions Smoothly Into Das Kapital, Morphs Into A Tarantino Flick, Runs Roughshod Over Alighieri, Pivots Smartly Into Stephen King, Touches Briefly On Tolkein, Leaves The Grimms In The Dust. Ta da! Fin
Cold enough for ya? Northern New England gets to 50 below (F).
McCain: Ethanol is a joke.
He is right.
Redevelopment in California. Costly, corrupt, and useless.
Gelinas: Bankruptcy: No cure for broke states (fixed)
If you have been away from Maggie's this weekend, catch up on our posts. Good fun, as always.
Readers who have not strolled down West 42nd St. in the past ten years would be amazed by it. Clean, no sense of menace, no porn, no creeps, tons of regular people on the streets day and night. I didn't even see any cops - there always used to be patrol cars everywhere there. Multi-million dollar luxury apartments going up between 10th Ave. and the West Side Highway.
Funky, funky Broadway is now a place you can take your kids.
I took a few pics before and after the matinee yesterday:
A fun walk to the parking garage, despite the 15 degree temps and strong wind. NYC is all about walking. New Yorkers walk more miles just in their daily lives than any country folk do. That's why the gals are all so svelte compared to country gals. Streets filled with people. Wonderful.
I really do need to plan a 15-mile NYC Official Maggie's Farm walking tour of Manhattan this spring or summer, with an architectural/cultural guide. I meant to do it last year, but life got busy. The Battery to Central Park, with a snakey route hitting some old joints and pubs. Maybe I will plan it. If I build it, will you come? (I refer to our bigcityphobes.)
A couple more pics below -
Continue reading "42nd St."
Sunday, January 23. 2011
There's quite an embarrassment and brouhaha that the Chinese pianist chosen to perform at the state dinner at the White House on January 19 for China's Chairman Hu Jintao played a melody that extols the Chinese entry into Korea during that war against the US military "jackals."
I'm informed by a Chinese lover of his homeland that a more appropriate choice would have been China's equivalent of the US' "America The Beautiful," emphasizing the land. Here's the well-known Chinese song, "Wodi zuguo (My ancestral land)," that he'd learned as a child in Hong Kong. His eyes tear up at the hearing of it, just as Americans' eyes tear up at the hearing of "America The Beautiful." It is very lovely, and would have been far more appropriate. Perhaps next time our State Department can get a better translator and coordinator of such state events.
Having things to look forward to, whether a good snow storm, or a trip someplace new, a new lamp, a new Teaching Company series, a possible new friend, or reservations for a good dinner out, is part of the charm of life.
Mrs. BD has just laid on me our trip adventures for 2011 which she has kindly planned and paid for. (It seems like the villa in Provence or Tuscany for the whole family, plus the Gwynnies and the Sipps and some other fun pals, will have to wait 'til 2012 - God willing - because the gal wants to get me back to Turkey, and to the Holy Land, first. Maybe she is wondering how long I will last...)
For one thing, I know she is planning supper at this joint:
Screw the Death Tax. The grim reaper is forever snapping at our heels while we run like hell to keep one step ahead of him. Die broke. They keep reminding me that it's a big, inviting world out there, full of interesting, confusing, and exciting things. Ruts are bad because they shorten life. Comfort zones are mainly valuable as places to return to. I have learned this, in life. Timidity fails, constricts life, creates regrets that just accumulate and grow mold.
It's just kinda odd, though, that Mrs. BD had none of my hunting trips to my old familiar places on her list: Maine, New Brunswick, Manitoba. What's up with that? She has lots of theater and opera tix done too, but never even bothered to check out Bob's tour this year. Guess that's my responsibility.
What adventures are y'all planning this year?
Pic on top is the club where some of us Maggie's Farmers like to go to hunt critters with wings in Manitoba in early October.
Aristotle's "Man is a political animal" means, as you know, that man is an animal who lives in a polis. Most normal folks prefer to live amongst others, to cluster, whether for convenience, socializing, or for security. I happen to enjoy both town and country, and find suburbia to be an imperfect if often necessary compromise.
Urbanism is about studying cities and towns. The topic has always been of interest to me, whether from the archeological view or from the present view.
Of course, our old stand-by City Journal is also really an urbanism website.
Image is of Babylon. Nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.
The 1940 Tour de France
Still cleaning up my files. Steal 'em at will, but be aware these were probably stolen too:
More fun and possibly useful images below the fold - including yours, Buddy -
Continue reading "Winter image dump #3"
"We" can't solve that, period.
New study: A good breakfast makes you fatter.
Duh. The average American can live off his stored fat for months.
Chomsky: “The latest election....you could almost interpret it as a kind of death knell for the species."
The dude needs to chill. Or is he talking about the Snail Darter?
Warming will do that.
Our friend AVI is open-minded about Rolfing In The Rain Forest
Smells like quackery to me, AVI.
Do the states need the feds to control themselves?
Fox guarding the henhouse.
What hath the greenies wrought? - Utopians have always been a potentially dangerous group of people.
The notion of human rights is about as Western as it comes.
No it won't, Prof. That sounds very racist to me. The below is just a figment of Vanderleun's imagination:
Saturday, January 22. 2011
I read the online New York Times visits to various areas of New York City and, though born and raised there, hardly recognize what is described. I figured, maybe it's just me, since I've been gone from there for decades. I'm not alone anymore. NBC News anchorman Brian Williams has fun mimicking the NYTs wonder at what it views as exotic Brooklyn.
Pheasant breast with apples and creme fraiche. We shot those birds.
There are a handful of species of Juncos in North America. Most familiar is the Dark-Eyed Junco, formerly known as the Slate-Colored Junco. Why they changed that name is totally beyond me. Who can see their eye color?
Flocks of these sparrows - yes, they are in the sparrow family - are common around the US during migration and in winter, generally feeding on or near the ground, in fields, edges, and brush. The dual flash of white in their tail is an easy field mark in flight. They enjoy our bird feeders, and they do not mind snow at all.
They breed pretty much throughout Canada. Their arrival in the US in November, along with the White-Throated Sparrows, is a sign that winter is coming. They will begin to push north in March.
You can read more about these cheerful critters here.
Photo courtesy of R. Hays Cummins
It is time to discuss the developments in the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy and its urgent drive toward sea control in Asian waters. I believe that it is only a matter of time before the People's Republic of China invokes a duplicate of the Monroe Doctrine for all of Asia. [For those educated in the past couple of decades, the 1823 Monroe Doctrine stated that efforts by European countries to colonize land or interfere with states in the Americas would be viewed as acts of aggression requiring U.S. intervention].
The media is focusing on the new J-20 Stealth fighter, and appear to have forgotten that "the Chinese have built, tested and are on schedule to deploy next year a missile designed to kill an American carrier. The Dong Feng 21D, according to published reports based on Chinese sources, could penetrate the carrier's existing antimissile defenses from 900 miles away
with a nonnuclear precision warhead. A version of this missile was seen publicly for the first time in a Chinese military parade last year. American defense analysts acknowledge that this missile could be a game-changer, immediately affecting American naval operations within 1,000
miles of the Chinese coast." .
In fact, the government is not paying attention either. "On Feb. 11, 2010, the ... U.S. Missile Defense Agency airborne laser in a Boeing 747-400F successfully shot down a sea-launched liquid-fueled ballistic missile in ignition stage (within two minutes of launch) and, within one hour later, shot down a solid-state land-launched rocket. . . .
"Once in office, Obama cut the program's budget, eliminated a second airborne laser 747 and scaled back the ground-based antimissile weapons scheduled to be built in Europe to defend against Iranian threats, and in Alaska to counter North Korean missiles aimed at Los Angeles and Seattle. After the successful February 2010 test, no further tests were scheduled or
conducted by the administration. Obama's proposed 2011 federal budget eliminates all funding for laser-based antimissile weapons systems." 
Completely forgotten now are the 81 (in 2009) Australian designed (thanks, mates) high-speed wave piercing 140 ft. catamaran missile boats which carry 8 anti-ship missiles each - that's 480 missiles, which can be fired from a distance of 100 miles .
The USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group homeported in Yokosuka, Japan, is composed of the carrier plus two guided missile cruisers (CG), seven guided missile destroyers (DDG), an attack sub (SSN) and an oiler ; that makes eleven surface targets. Each combatant ship is equipped with two Phalanx 20mm radar-aimed guns (Close In Weapons System) able to fire off
their full magazine of 1,550 rounds in 20 seconds for last ditch defense, plus a variety of missile launchers firing 500-1,500 pound missiles with ranges of 5 to 15 miles.
The argument could be made that 480 incoming missiles could overwhelm the strike group's defenses!
"Well, one might certainly say, "the Chinese certainly aren't going to go to war with a country that owes them over one trillion dollars." Agreed - they aren't going to go to war! But there's a lot of conflict that falls short of war. Remember when the Israelis deliberately sank the USS Liberty?
"[Chinese] PLA planners are focused on targeting surface ships at long ranges. US DOD analyses of current and projected force structure improvements suggested as of 2007 that in the near term, China was seeking the capacity to hold surface ships at risk through a layered defense that reaches out to the "second island chain" (i.e., the islands extending south
and east from Japan, to and beyond Guam in the western Pacific Ocean).
The Chinese were offended at the US Navy's proposed exercises in the East China Sea off the western coast of South Korea in November, 2010, and so the US moved it to the east side of Korea. If the US hadn't cooperated, or if conflict arose in Korea or Taiwan, one can imagine the Chinese saying that those countries are in China's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and that
although they sincerely wish to retain trading and financial relationships with the United States, any intrusion of US forces into those territorial waters would be an aggression which could and would repulsed by what will shortly be credible force, even as our countries remained at peace.
I believe that the current government of the United States would capitulate and remain outside whatever EEZ China declared, and that our influence in Asia will be at an end unless measures are taken today to restore and expand our missile defense capabilities.
Maine Family Robinson: Winter In America - It was the Maine version of a prank. Instead of vandalizing his house when he wasn't home, we shoveled his driveway.
This only encourages the birthers: Abercrombie officially ends his quest to reveal the truth, because Obama won't consent to the release of his birth certificate
'Terence, this is stupid stuff.
Why, if ’tis dancing you would be,
from Verse LXll, A Shropshire Lad, by A.E. Housman. Read entire
Friday, January 21. 2011