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
Friday, February 25. 2011
There are two edible parts of a duck, whether wild or farm raised: the breast, and the leg and thigh.
Some people like to roast the whole bird, but I prefer just to remove the breast and the leg, and then use the carcass for gibier or duck stock.
Duck breasts, generally, are cooked by scoring then searing the skin side in a hot skillet for a few minutes, sizzling the meat side briefly, then roasting at 400 for 5-10 minutes. It should be rare-medium rare. (I once ate a whole raw, warmed Bluebill. Sushi. Wasn't too bad, but a bit fishy. I wanted to take "rare" to the limit.)
Then comes the sauce. Here are a few of my favorite ideas:
2. This pomegranite sauce would be good for venison too.
3. Caramelized figs are a classic with duck breast.
4. Emeril does a simple pan roast. Trouble with that for me is the danger of overcooking.
5. I also like a sauce made with a gibier base, with some halved cherry tomatoes and chopped Italian olives and a little vinegar.
Duck legs are another matter, because they are tough and stringy like pheasant legs. Both do very well for confit, if you want to take the trouble. An alternative is to braise the legs. Some ideas:
"Man sieht nur was man weiss."
Goethe ("One sees only what one knows.")
I suppose it's fairly obvious that the more you know, the more you are able to see. Same thing appplies to listening to things, or educating any of the senses - even taste.
I've taken walks with people who didn't know the trees or the birds or the wildflowers, so all they could see was "green" or "bird" or "plants" or "rock" instead of "Oak" or "Scarlet Tanager" or "Milkweed" or "glacial erratic." I was seeing lots of things and lots of stories, and they were seeing little, as if they had poor vision.
My personal sensory weakness is in hearing music. I can happily listen, but I cannot really hear it all. To really hear what they are doing with music, I need to be lying down with my eyes closed. And awake.
I think a relationship with God is similar. We may be wired to connect, but our senses have to be trained, educated, to complete the connection. Otherwise, we can miss it. It's about illumination, how to light the lamp.
Another example that jumps to my mind is architecture: knowing what you are seeing helps you see the buildings around you. You can see the story, the meaning of the thing. I have had many experiences of illumination, of suddenly taking in things which I had never noticed or paid attention to because something or somebody informed me. To my mind, these are very fine moments in life - experiencing something with new eyes.
Maybe curiosity is the rare or fortunate personality trait which draws the mind and attention into things without having to be led to them - a component of intelligence. Being not very bright and afflicted with the dreaded curse of ADD (caused by too much schooling in youth), it tends to help me to be shown things: name it for me and tell me about it, and chances are that I will research it, and never forget it. One side benefit of working on Maggie's Farm (besides the big bucks) is that it prompts us to be actively curious if only to keep the "content" flowing and our brains activated.
I wonder what similar illuminations our readers have had, where learning or training helped cause you to be surprised by experiencing the world more deeply or richly.
(Photo is a Mayflower. You would barely notice one on a woodland floor unless you were looking.)
The following post has just gone up at New Criterion's blog, Arma Virumque, one of the most prestigious in the blogosphere. The editor, Roger Kimball, also runs Encounter Books, one of the best sources for serious considerations of issues. I am most grateful, and humbled, to be included as a contributor to serious discussion of a serious issue. Thank you Roger Kimball for all you do.
The stereotype of ruler-wielding, dogma-enforcing Catholic nuns has nothing on the parody-proofing self-image being created by the AAUP of college professors as academic thugs.
In its latest draft document to define academic freedom, the American Association of University Professors has gone abroad to authoritarian regimes and overboard to try to suck the air out of critiques of academia.
Who is to blame for the AAUP’s draft? It seems that I am, at least in major part as the stimulus to putting the fear of criticism into AAUP. I launched critiques last Fall and again for the Spring semesters of politically biased practices at Brooklyn College, my alma mater. My critiques reverberated throughout New York City and nationally.
The AAUP denigrates and seeks to negate the views of anyone other than the usually incestuous faculty majority or insider group in control. Although couched in proceduralism, the AAUP’s Executive Summary reveals the motivation and the cure for insulating faculty from critique:
Who is to judge?
Continue reading "Jawohl Mein Professor"
Review of Saul Bellow's letters, at TNR
What will the Episcopal Church do with George Washington's church?
Your US Army official Hurt Feelings Report Form
The NYT Magazine takes a close look at Gov Christie
Raul Castro's Three-Year Report Card
Porker of the Month: Jerrold Nadler
Chamber of Commerce fights immigration rules in Indiana
Bookworm sums it up:
Letter of the day: The plight of the conservative public school teacher
Insane, or evil propagandists? The SPLC
IBD: The UN's uselessness
Pluralism is the only way?
Norm makes the point that "pluralism" is just one way
Kids, definitely try this at home:
Thursday, February 24. 2011
From Mauzy's Pensioner's Dilemma at American Thinker:
Read the whole thing.
I need to re-post my old piece about retirement. My theory is that retirement is terrible for people and for society unless people find new ways to be constructive and to participate in real life. Mountains of wisdom and experience are tossed away when people in their 60s, at the prime level of mature adult functioning, go out to pasture like lame horses.
Sometimes it is forced, and that is a shame.
As I have said before, I believe that the key to financial peace of mind is to be able to quit working and still pay the bills. That's a tall order. Or, ideally, to work on one's own terms. That tends to help people enjoy working even more. My family is like Bird Dog's - the old-time Yankee ethic is that men are supposed to work 'til they drop. I guess we never got the newfangled memo from FDR, telling us to quit working and to go sit down somewhere to await the Grim Reaper. (Of course, he died in the saddle himself at a youthful 63.) We forget how new, and relatively untested, a societal idea this retirement is. Carpe diem, etc.
Oh well, to each his own. Some folks live for their retirements, and blossom in it. Sailing around the world (avoiding the Somalia coast), and volunteering at interesting or worthwhile sociable work. Many retreat into purposelessness and hedonism, and become old before their time. Some become the wonderful greeters at WalMart and the Meals on Wheels guys and gals, and some start up new enterprises like our own Capt. Tom.
That's freedom, but I do resent working to pay the pensions and green fees of fully competent people who are younger than I am. Makes no sense to me.
The “Battle Hymn of the Jewish Mother” is a reply to the Wall Street Journal article last month, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” that caused quite a stir. At root, the difference is between raising a mensch and raising a child to be a self-centered person with primary responsibility to self, above all striving for success, wealth and status, separated from and above society, and even the child’s own nature.
In Yiddish, there’s no higher goal or compliment than being a mensch. In simple translation from the German, a mensch is simply a man. In Jewish culture, a mensch is the highest compliment, a person of the highest character who knows and acts with a strong sense of what is right and responsible toward others. It is believed that success in life is in being a mensch, and though material success is a possible outcome through the respect from others, success in being a worthwhile, contributing human being is a sure thing and most to be desired.
Continue reading "Duties of the Parent: Jewish vs Chinese Mother"
Worse, he has no one to blame but himself. Double-worse, he knows he deserves extry blame because he's friends with the wise and fabled Dr. Mercury who's been harping about this friggin' subject for years.
As his friend, and knowing he deserves extry blame, I've naturally been doing my part by sending him little cheer-up notes, like "Are you still blaming yourself? I would," and "Have you forgiven yourself yet? Why should you?" I'm particularly fond of "Don't worry, everyone makes incredibly stupid mistakes in their lives. I'm sure there's plenty more where this one came from."
His name is something akin to "Stephen Gerald McKinley". Not uncommon names, but not particularly common, either. But uncommon enough that, put together, you'd figure there couldn't be all that many of them in the world, and what are the odds that they'd all want personal sites of one type or another?
Pretty good, as it turns out.
When he finally — finally! — got around to checking, there wasn't one single variation on his name available. That includes abbreviated spelling and using hyphens, and at one point he actually tried "stephengeraldmckinley2.com" — and even that was taken.
That's when he knew he had really screwed the pooch big time. Because domain names never return to the public trough. The domain harvesters figure — correctly — that if one person wanted it, then someone else will want it, so they're snatched up electronically the micro-instant they become available.
And, just as a small side note, with many of the domain harvesters, you don't buy the domain from them for the tidy sum of $4,999, you lease it from them for time eternal. It's not pretty.
So if you EVER think you might want a site, even years and years down the road so you can post pictures of yourself looking mournful and bedraggled so your children will take pity on you and treat you to a dinner consisting of something other than dog food, now's the time to grab it.
Conversely, it's a great way to help the grandparents do their Christmas shopping. First, post pictures of 2-year-old Timmy on your personal site. If possible, catch him when he's off-guard and not trying to set the cat on fire. Send the link to Grandma.
When the swooning Grandma asks on the phone what little Timmy wants for Christmas, tell her "Timmy said a large gift card from Best Buy would 'best' suit his tastes -- ha-ha. Quite the precocious child, isn't he? I think he gets it from you."
Of course, you could make tons of money from your domain, but who wants to discuss such a crass subject? Besides, those thousands of dollars a day don't just roll in by themselves. Sometimes the site owner has to spend a good ten or fifteen minutes doing site chores, which can really cut into one's golf and bowling time.
Personally, I suggest you start with actually getting the domain name — then we'll make you a millionaire.
It should be noted that you don't actually have to put up some kind of web or blog site to hold the domain. All we're talking about is reserving it. Cost is a whopping $6.95/mo.
The jump-off point is here. That'll give you some background on the hosting company I use, some tips on picking a domain name and a link to get started.
And best of luck!
I'm afraid you're going to need it.
Not engaging in interstate commerce is a form of interstate commerce.
As Prof J says:
The National Interest: Losing the Middle East
Not from The Onion: He has fought powerful urges for years
How abnormal! Powerful urges are sick sick sick!
How Wisconsin got into the mess it's in
The government was the problem.
Obama Extra Juicy:
Wednesday, February 23. 2011
Saw him perform, as a lad. Bridgeport, Ct., in that stadium behind the county jail. Wrote the review for the local paper too. I am too dumb to write reviews anymore about anything. You have to be young to know what to say. Older you get, the less you have to say about anything: you just say what it is. I think that's wisdom, but maybe it's brain cell death.
I know two Oncologists who are being pushed out of private practice by Medicare price controls. Why are they losing money on their practices? Medicare price controls on their services, despite the huge costs of chemotherapies.
As I understand it, chemotherapy administered in a hospital can be charged at a higher rate than in an office. Thus it is viable for a hospital to take over a private practice and make money, or at least break even, on it.
Interesting article on government medical care price controls: Confessions of a Price Controller. A quote:
Here's what I do: I teach, for free. I work at an urban charity clinic where I donate my time. (I have no idea whether, if, or how the clinic is compensated.) I have a private practice in which I adjust fees in order to consult anybody who is referred to me. I accept no insurance plans, no Medicare, no Medicaid. All I have to worry about is covering my monthly bills.
Docs with high overheads - large staff, machinery, materials, high rents, high malpractice insurances, etc. do not have the luxury of operating as I do.
I count myself as very fortunate to be able to have an old-fashioned practice. I can do whatever I chose to do, and I like it that way.
In Commentary, How to understand Rush Limbaugh
Chevy Volt rebate rip-off
David Brooks says this too:
Rep. Allen West smacks down CAIR (h/t, Gateway):
Tuesday, February 22. 2011
What the heck is he talking about? Forests and woods and global cooling or warming or whatever, and what?
There is something deeply the matter with this poor fellow. I mean, besides his greed for money and massages and estates and jetting around the world.
Why doesn't he donate his tobacco farm and his mining land to a conservation organization so happy trees can grow there? At Maggie's, we support all rational land and habitat conservation efforts, and we even are big supporters of good sustainable nuclear energy.
And who are all of these wealthy consumerists who applaud him? Probably people who want all of the little people like me to change their ways of life. It's not gonna happen.
Taming the lion with his flute, too. At the Metropolitan Museum, from Attica, c. 500 BC, around the time Sophocles was born:
Candles and flashlights are never sufficient for when your power goes out for a day or three. We have discussed the topic on our annual post, Winter in New England, Part 1: Lamp and Lantern Season.
Our pal Gwynnie likes Coleman gas lanterns. They are good, but I don't have any of them.
I like lamps and lanterns. I do not care to use kerosene indoors. Lamp oil is fine with me. Whale oil is hard to come by, nowadays. (We have to remember that people like Mr. Rockefeller saved the whales with their oil from the dirt.)
Not feeling confident that the TSA would let me onboard with an oil lamp as a carry-on, I only bought one at the
The place must have had 100 old oil lamps, all sizes and all types. The Amish and Mennonites still use them, and who knows when all of the remote old farms were electrified. On my next trip, now confident that the TSA is cool with them, I think I will stock up on some more of them. We lose power regularly here, and if I cannot read I go insane.
Oil lamps produce a very pleasant light, and small ones are a good alternative to candles on a dining table. You can get repros for high cost, but you can find nice old ones in heartland junk shops for cheap. I am partial to the old green or red-glass ones that look like whorehouse illumination, or the cheesy milk glass ones with flowers painted on the glass that were probably bedroom or parlor lamps, but I bought the one in the picture instead. Large and handsome, I think. $40. I think it's silver plate because it is tarnished in places. It works fine. Most of them were considerably less.
Let me tell you the one thing I have against Moses. He took us forty years into the desert in order to bring us to the one place in the Middle East that has no oil.
Roger Simon: Wisconsin: Liberals as Reactionaries:
We humans are greedy by nature. I have learned that mastering greed and just trying to do the best job I can is one of the secrets to life. God has helped me do this. We always want more, in the vain hope that we can achieve happiness that way. I have some money to spare now, and nothing I want to spend it on that I do not already have - my skiing and my summer boat lease - and beer money.
Perhaps it is time for a wife and kids to spend money on. Take them around Europe to revisit all the places I went to during college with my backpack. Go broke on private education. I guess that's a life plan...
Am Thinker: Why I Changed My Mind About Unions
You can lead kids to broccoli, but you can't make them eat
Broccoli is for grown-ups, with a little garlic and olive oil. Broccoli Rabe - Rapini - is even better.
Conrad Black with a history of Liberalism
A generation of Americans could enter the workforce with an unfounded sense of entitlement
Especially if they went to college
Ben Smith: Labor faces a moment of truth
Belmont Club on oil supply and price
Think Progress: A creature of the billionaire Left
Most of the American mega-wealthy are Lefties or semi-Lefties. An interesting phenomenon.
Brutally Honest: The Siege of Angkar
Monday, February 21. 2011
Only a year too late to recognize the blatantly cooked numbers used to justify the passage of ObamaCare, the New York Times can’t avoid reporting the awakening because the Obama administration had to fess up to the new Congress.
In March 2010, I wrote about ObamaCare’s CLASS Failure. CLASS is ObamaCare’s long term care program, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act. The primary motivation for its inclusion in ObamaCare was to game the Congressional Budget Office’s calculation of budget gains from ObamaCare.
Well, guess what?
HHS Secretary and chief commissar of ObamaCare now admits the CLASS program was flawed from the inception and requires major overhaul. CLASS, reports the New York Times, “is too costly to survive without major changes, Obama administration officials now say.”
Even then, experts say, CLASS will fail, in what is called an insurance death spiral: premiums rise to meet costs, which drives away the healthier, leaving those more likely to use the benefits, and further increase costs, further driving away the healthy and those unable to afford premiums, leaving a yet higher proportion most likely to need benefits, and so on.
Well now, there's another fine kettle of fish(iness) you've gotten us into, Obama.
Chart via Ace:
In the past year, I realize I have heard my share of live music but have not bought a single piece of recorded music.
Part of that must be that I already own so much of what I want to listen to, including Barenboim's set of Beethoven's Piano Concertos, and all of Beethoven's string quartets including his astonishing and complicated masterpiece, Opus 133, the Grosse Fuge. The hook brings you back.
(It takes me many listenings to see what a composer is doing with an ambitious piece. Composers, like performers, tend not to realize that the average music listener cannot key into what they worked so hard on - at great length and fussing over every note for months or weeks - in one drowsy after-dinner session in a concert hall.)
This morning the Muslim Brotherhood warned the United States that if it does not stop meddling in Egypt they intend to cut off America's supply of 7-11 and Motel 6 managers.
If this action does not yield sufficient results, cab drivers will be next, followed by Dell, AT&T and AOL customer service reps.
Finally, if all else fails, they have threatened not to send us any more presidents either.
It's gonna get ugly, people.
Next thing you know, an MA won't have much meaning. Wait a minute, that's already happened.
It's always been said that snow on the roof is an indication of good home insulation. It is true. Attic floor insulation is supposed to be R-49.
Ice damming is almost a bigger problem, though. Attic ventilation and a good overhang seem to help that nasty problem.
Water and housing do not mix. We believe in the steeply-sloped roof for snow country.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:18 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)