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, February 28. 2011
A re-post from a few years ago -
I have always been interested in the history of the idea of retirement. Not interested because it is something I want to do (I could financially do it today if I wanted to), but interested in why an intact, healthy person would not want to fully participate in society by being a productive member.
My Grandpa worked until he was felled by a stroke at 86, and my Dad worked until macular degeneration made him incapable of driving around age 76.
Private pensions (especially from the railroads) began in the late 1800s but it wasn't until the New Deal and Social Security that the option to be put to pasture became widely available. Roosevelt was, of course, highly motivated to remove workers from the labor force in an effort to reduce unemployment, and that was the main impetus for Social Security.
In 1900, 65% of men over 65 worked. By 2000, it was 17%. Of course, nowadays many jobs build in forced retirement. I saw some stats somewhere that about 40% of retired men return to some form of paid work within three years of retirement, but I don't recall the source.
A feature piece at CNN, Rethinking Retirement: More Boomers Chosing to Work doesn't offer stats, but does give credit to the phenomenon. A quote from the piece:
I found a good piece, with lots of numbers, on the economic history of retirement in the US. It begins:
You can read the whole thing here.
Comment from Dr. Bliss: Excellent subject. A few random thoughts:
- I think many folks want to be able to retire. Many enjoy their jobs much more once they have the financial freedom to quit.
- People I have talked to who have retired young, such as cops with full pensions at age 45, and Wall Streeters who walk away with bags of money around the same age, almost always take on a second career of some sort.
- Psychologically, being retired can feel like being unemployed or sent out to pasture. When people retire in their 50s or early-mid 60s, a workplace loses their experienced wise ones who have "seen it all before", and the experienced wise ones feel useless.
- A comment about people who "hate their jobs." People love to bitch about their jobs. But without the job, they lose a lot of human contact, a structured place to use their brains or abilities, and a role in the world.
- Hedonistic retirement: The idea of the fun and sun and travel retirement has been sold hard to the middle class over the past 30 years. From what I have seen, it isn't all it's cracked up to be. A vacation can be a refreshing change of pace and change of senery, but an endless vacation can be like a meal made of all dessert courses: cloying and unnutritious.
- People who do not return to work after retirement, but who jump into unpaid labors of love, like community service projects, local politics, working for charities, churches, and non-profits, often seem to feel a good sense of satisfaction in "giving back."
- "Meaningful work." I hate that expression. All work is useful and contributes to society, whether it is raising one's kids, milking the cows, flipping burgers, or selling bonds. People who use that expression should think hard about what they mean by it. Furthermore, folks who want their work to provide them with meaning may be barking up the wrong tree.
This was a fun piece at The Atlantic, In the Basement of the Ivory Tower:
Unless you cover them up too much, men always glance at them. They can't help it. (Women often furtively glance at men's junk too.)
Readers would be amused by the ways Psychologists and Psychoanalysts talk about men's curiousity about our boobs. Very deep and academic, things about mothers and breast-feeding and regressions and so forth.
More to the point, I think, is this explanation from a guy that I found somewhere, and which I recently quoted in a talk:
Artwork is from Theo, who is dedicated to the appreciation of the stunningly-designed female format.
1. Frayed cord on my cool Italian desk lamp was sparking. Brought it to my local lamp shop, since I am wary of electric repairs. Guy repaired the wire while I watched. Then he said it's a little wobbly, let's fix it. Took it apart, tightened all of the parts. Then he said that the frosted glass panels needed cleaning. He showed me how they can be removed, and cleaned them all up with their special chandelier-cleaning spray stuff. He replaced the four bulbs with the proper bulbs. They he wrapped it in bubble wrap for the ride home.
Total time: 30 minutes.
2. My Dell office computer was making terrible sounds. The IT guy I phone when I have a problem said it wasn't worth fixing, being 4 or 5 years old. My genius son replaced the fan for $10.99 and it's as good as new. Yes, I have a back-up hard drive.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:18 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
New Helmet Blocks Rifle Shots: You may need it after this morning’s links
San Francisco gets better and better: The gold-painted table that belonged to the city's first openly gay supervisor is part of an inaugural exhibit at the GLBT History Museum, the first of its kind in the nation.
Mad As Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Right: Some critics just see the book as a collection of what’s been written elsewhere. I haven’t read the book but this review at the New York Times is interesting. Seems like a good way to recap the 70s to now:
Believe it or not, it's morning in America, again
FLASH: Bird Dog sends this architectural photo from his 5 AM walk while on vacation. He enjoys his mornings in America.
Harvard Smackdown--The Lady Doth Too Much: Mrs. Obama’s blunders expose the folly of First Lady activism
Photos of President Obama’s grudging waves: he doesn’t seem to give a sh*t
Blackmailing Quadaffi to blackmail England: it worked to free the Lockerbie bomber
The UN needs to explain why it is so friendly toward despots
Should Americans be cheering on the Arab revolutionary wave?
Latest liberal meme to excuse Obama’s quiet ineffectualness: “stealth freedom enthusiast.”
Human Rights Watch solicited funds from Saudi Arabia, touting its anti-Israel creds. Libya too?
How labor caught on in government work, and why its time is up.
Now, get to work
Sunday, February 27. 2011
I grew up in "nose bleed" at Ebbets Field, and Duke Snider was my hero and the hero of Brooklyn. I had his autograph, but my mother tossed it when she (finally) cleaned my room while I was in Vietnam. But I never lost my adoration. Last week I was at batting cages with Jason where Duke Snider's jersey, bat and photos are prominently displayed. The owner and I reminisced for an hour while Jason listened. After, Jason said to me, "He must have been some kind of hero for you to look up to him." At 84, the Duke of Flatbush left our field today, and remains in our hearts.
The New York Post quotes Snider: " 'If I live to be 100 years old,' he said in 2002, 'I'll always be able to remember what it felt to be young and a ballplayer in Brooklyn, N.Y., and I'll always remember what it meant to be a champion of the world there.' "
The Duke of Flatbush will always live in the lore of Brooklyn.
This one has been going around for a while:
The Retiring NEA GC explains teachers' unions for you (h/t to Wizbang):
A Brit moves to New York City, and loves it.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:13 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
This is a re-post:
Here's the menu for the sort of 1890's-style dinner our Ducks Unlimited commitee serves annually. Our Chef for this special annual Game Dinner was making Rillete de Lapin since he was a kid in France. Yes, it is generally Black Tie out of respect for the chef and/or the host.
What's the deal? Our Ducks Unlimited Committee sells this dinner for twelve for significant bucks (usually $10-20,000 - and worth every penny) in our charity auction, provides the game, helps the Chef, and serves. When lucky, we're invited to join the dinner table. Otherwise, Chef and his sous chef feed us well in the kitchen, and we help consume the wines.
All the host has to do is to light the fire, and buy the wine and ceegars. With all of the loins and breasts, this is one sexy menu, and mighty filling:
Cocktail hour hors d'oevres:
Game terrine, grainy home-made mustard, gherkin slices, and toast
Rillette de lapin, capers, toast
Pate of Wild Duck Liver with cognac, toast
Roast Country Pigeon with green and white asparagus, mache salad, truffle vinaigrette
Woodcock ravioli with celeriac flan and wild mushroom sauce, with Black Truffle garni
Pheasant breast, braised red cabbage, lardons, with cognac jus
Satueed breast of Redhead or Canvasback with wild rice and roast figs, jus de gibier
Port and juniper berry sorbet with Rosemary garni
Roasted rabbit loin, homemade tagliatelle, basic cream sauce, and crispy shiitake mushrooms
Marinated loin of venison with roasted parsnip and salsify, fondante potato and huckleberry jus
Pear Trio: Pear Almond Tarte, Poached Pear, and Pear William Sorbet
Imported cheese board, dried fruits, nuts, assorted homemade breads
The wines to accompany the courses:
De Meric Cuvee Catherine de Medicis Brut Champaigne 1996
Voignier La Place 2004
Chateau Margaux 1991
Barolo Bartolo Mascarello 1970
Chateau D'Yquem 1997
Port, Cognac, and cigars in the library for the gentlemen
How sea turtles navigate
F*ck Feelings on marriage:
Most of the wealthy in America are Dems and Lefties, and even more so with the mega-wealthy. Whiny millionaire should donate taxes. If they don't do that, they're hypocrites.
ObamaCare Is Already Damaging Health Care - Many of its changes don't kick in until 2014. But the law is forcing dramatic consolidation and reducing choice in the industry.
The BBC's Islamist bias
Rosen, in The American:
Samuelson, on rethinking the great recession:
Bird Dog is off on another of his vacations. Being something of a tightwad, exposed are the bargain hotel rooms he uses around the world. If he is going to China, he might want to skip Column C on the menu.
Bird Dog is actually on the hunt for our absentee ambassador.
Or, maybe this chart will put into perspective the ill brought by the dogs who have been inhabiting Washington. The Only Chart You Need To See To Understand Why The US Is Screwed
And, in California:
In Wisconsin, the restaurant hoax fail: Neither George Washington nor the Governor ate there.
But, the black sheep are safe, thanks to PC. Now, they're Baa, Baa, rainbow sheep.
In the Middle East, where sheep are a favored eat, the eaters may be eaten.
For your early morning reading: Living and Surviving in Harm's Way: A Psychological Treatment Handbook.
For those of you not going to church this morning: Would Finding E.T. Change Our View of God?
OK, you've been good to now. So, some Sunday morning muffins, flavors of your choice.
Now that you've had your sweet munchies: What could go wrong? President Obama to visit Ireland and England in May. We know the results of his visit to Cairo. -- While in England, I wonder if Obama will buy his daughters any of these Barbies in a Burka? -- On the subject of toys, Mrs. Obama's healthy eating crusade seems to have worked on Mr. Potato Head (although not on her).
New Oscars category: Which liberal cause will come up most often during the evening? Get your scorecard here.
Did you know?: More Civilians Killed Last Year in One Mexican Border Town Than All Afghanistan
Homosexuality sensitivity training for frontline troops: "I am gonna guess that many units will be on patrol the day that the Sergeant Major and his merry band of Power Point Rangers show up to tell the hardest men on the planet (WOW!, was that a bad metaphor) how to get along with girls who dress and act like boys, but "like" girls, and men with awesome fashion sense and a passion for the color fuchsia."
Ok, now, EVERYBODY back to bed.
Saturday, February 26. 2011
Where do I buy 500 lb. marshmallows?
Not at all exciting in the love interest or shoot-em-up sense, but wonderful stuff and filmed as if you were right there in the Renaissance. Many of the scenes look like Renaissance art.
Rossellini's History Films: Renaissance and Enlightenment (Blaise Pascal / The Age of the Medici / Cartesius). I think most decent libraries have them.
I would put these more in the "educational" category than in the "shallow diversion" category. Rossellini made them for Italian TV so if you ignore the subtitles you can work on your Italian at the same time (as Mrs. BD and her buddy are doing these days - night classes in Italian).
Fun for the whole family!
Lots more edifying images from my file cabinet, below -
Continue reading "Another winter random image dump"
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:00 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
This is how lots of middle class people feel - like the government unions get an inside deal: Response to Wisconsin Teachers' Union:
Did you ever hear Hound Dog Taylor?
US manufacturing - not as bad as you might think
We Must Stop Those Evil Koch Brothers From Helping Expand Individual Liberty
HuffPo: Are These People Overpaid?
Swift justice for pirates: The Current Russian Method of Dealing with Somali Pirates: Seize, Search, Blow Up, Burn to the Waterline
Krauthammer: Rubicon: A river in Wisconsin
Mankew has a fact about US corp. taxes
Madison's Most Powerful Lobbying Group: Wisconsin Education Association
Don’t Let College Interfere with Your Education - A young man got his credential but his real learning took place on the job.
Harsanyi: Paul Krugman's Third World fantasy
Driscoll: Useful Idiots, Then and Now
When I see birches bend to left and right
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
You can hear Frost reading this poem here (corrected that link - he reads several poems there including Birches.)
Photo: Frost's farm in Derry, NH
Friday, February 25. 2011
OK, PETA didn't really make that demand so that horses aren't abused by being ridden. (Sounds like something they'd do, though, doesn't it?)
Actually, in a bid for triumph over sense or learning, a Queens, NY congressman demands that a statue in front of the borough hall be taken down, titled "Triumph of Civic Virtue," because the male figure has his foot on the neck of a female. It was sculpted by a famed 19th century US artist and unveiled in 1922 to depict, as its defenders write "a strong, muscular, heroic man overcoming temptation represented by two female sirens representing corruption and vice." The sculptor is quoted: "The heroic figure, the sculptor said, "looks out into the distance so concentrated on his great ideal that he does not even see the temptation" of the pleasure and luxury that lead to "devious ways".
His sin, according to the congressman who wants the statue removed: "it is ugly and sexist" because "The statue by sculptor Frederick MacMonnies depicts a nude male figure standing atop two women who represent evil sirens."
The congressman, Anthony Weiner, will next week have his last name changed from a synonym for putz.
P.S.: Veterans statuary does not get respect from the Left, either.
For you youngins, Ginger Rogers was one of the best movie dancers of an earlier generation, as Fred Astaire (her on-screen partner) recognized. Starts off slow, or skip to about 1:38 minutes.
The commenter below points out that I've been tricked by whomever posted this video at Youtube. Ginger Rogers danced off-stage in 1995 at 83. Still, don't you wish you could dance like this in senior years, or now?
My shrink pal Nathan emails me that he is using this piece for his violin audition:
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