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, May 27. 2011
Mrs. BD says y'all might find this useful and save plenty of money too: Woolite's Dry Cleaning at Home.
You spray a little stuff on the stains, then throw it in the dryer with the special paper thing. She says it works well for her skirts, jackets, and sweaters.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:12 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
The Washington Times has the straight skinny on the downstream effects of our porcine federal government's expenditures. There's the usual stuff about billion dollar toilet seats without holes in them and so forth, but there's one gem hidden among the awful offal that makes the annual three trillion spree worth it. Oh, yeah. Shrimp on a treadmill!
The Senate’s top waste watcher, in a new report Thursday, said taxpayer money has gone to funding jello wrestling in the Antarctic, to testing the exercise ability of shrimp on a treadmill and to a laundry-folding robot - all funded by the National Science Foundation.
Is "jello wrestling at the South Pole" a euphemism for something actually naughty? Or is it just dull, useless, ugly people wrestling in jello at great expense, in between bouts of fudging statistics about how hot it is in the Antarctic because I drive a four-door car? I'm sorry, it's hard to keep up with these hipsters. Next thing you know, you're going to tell me Pabst Blue Ribbon is popular again.
But the shrimp? That's entertainment!
Springtime for Hamastan: “no one seems terribly interested in promoting Palestinian democracy.”
U.S. Aid to Arab Spring Must Go to Democracy Groups Not to Islamists
No Democrat votes for any budget proposal -- Why Dems don’t want to present a budget: “The Peterson Foundation's Solutions Initiative brought together six think tanks -- two conservative, two liberal and two centrist -- and challenged each to present a detailed plan to solve our fiscal crisis-in-waiting, using the same uniform assumptions.” Read on
Before 1700s, dogs were considered vicious and disease-ridden
Since, they are our best friend. 1870 Eulogy to a Dog:
Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Law on Hiring Illegal Immigrants: “The decision did not involve an even more controversial immigration measure passed by Arizona lawmakers. That measure requiring police to check the immigration status of individuals in certain circumstances remains under separate legal challenge, and could likewise eventually reach the Supreme Court.”
Clinton Worries Dems Won’t Fix Medicare ; Dems worry that Reps will, and Dems will have to demagogue something else
Task force blasts DOD for mishandling intelligence operations: ““What we were so shocked by was the number of people inside the Pentagon at very senior reaches that didn’t understand any of this,” “
Mrs. BD is good with flowers and other things. It always amused me that she thought she invented flat flower arrangements until a flower arrangement judge informed her that her multi-level blue-ribbon construction was pave (with accent aigu), but inventively layered to a 6' height. Pave, once a popular avant garde style, is commonplace nowadays. It's good because it does not block cross-table conversation.
Photo courtesy of my splendid Dad-in-Law:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:22 | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, May 26. 2011
I was fortunate to recently hear a noted quartet play one of Brahms' masterpieces, his Piano Quartet in G Minor, Op.25, in an intimate setting. I am fortunate to live where there is plenty of live chamber music, and I am always happy to go listen.
I love chamber music as much or more than orchestral (too bad chamber music didn't have drum sets, though) but, with my tin ear and my slow brain, it takes me several hearings to get the structure, intent, and the direction of a composition unless I have studied it in advance. (Folk, blues, and pop are easy for my brain.) I mentioned this disability to Mrs. BD in reference to the G minor, and she replied "What do you mean? This is as clearly structured, developed, and disciplined a chamber piece as I have ever heard. The structure is transparent."
Listen to the whole piece for a day or two, if you need that as I do. It's a musical journey.
Here's just the familiar Finale, Movement 4 - the Rondo alla zingarese - a dance piece if there ever was one:
Mrs. BD and I have been taking the William and Mary course in Medieval History (with the delightfully Asperger's-ish Prof. Daileader via The Teaching Company) and we are enjoying it immensely. I do not like to sit unless I am at work, but this course gets me into a chair after work. (We live and thrive on the Teaching Company courses at my cottage, as readers know.)
The Prof says that the wealth of the Middle Ages came from a combination of trade and the renewal of currency in the form of the Italian Florin, the introduction of the heavy plow, the replacement of slavery with serfdom, a doubling of Europe's population - and the Medieval Warm Period which made it possible to grow better crops much further north than in the Dark Ages - and further north than today. Greenland was farmland.
The Warm Period was far warmer than the world today. People benefited. That's why we pray for Global Warming (but also doubt that humankind will be so lucky. With our luck, we'll get the next Ice Age and all be screwed except for Dr. Merc).
Scandal: Anti-Israel NGOs hide the truth for their own profit: “Money that could be used to actually help people in need is instead diverted to help young people live it up and write anti-Israel reports.”
Libya: Our First Cosmopolitan War? A read-it-all
Congressional Report: Obama Deliberately Causing Oil Prices To Spike
Gateway Pundit: “Like with everything Obama does, there’s no more than a two degree of separation between him and some America-hating leftist radical.”
VERY cool graphic: which supplements have evidence of working for various conditions, or not (go to "show me" tab on right side to see which work for which conditions; higher and bigger on the scale is better)
Neptunus Lex:" “Possible UN sanctions” for a Syrian nuclear plant that was destroyed almost four years ago? Talk about barn doors and fled horses.”
Surber: Lefty on the Lefties: “firebagging lefties constantly project on anyone with the temerity to question their paranoid conspiracy theories and character assassinations.” – There’s a HuffApp for that
Seventy-One Shots: The Death of Jose Guereña
Anomalocaridids. Say that 100 times, fast. They’d eat you or a distant ancestor.
Remembering The Brave. This slide show consists of photos taken at a formal dinner at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, VA. It is a beautiful presentation of the honor, commitment and pride today's heroes share with yesterday's.
Senate votes: Obama budget 0-97; Ryan House Budget 40-57 – Inching closer to facing the facts?
Before and after photos of Joplin, MO (scroll left and right)
Wednesday, May 25. 2011
From Mead on Clausewitz:
Long Live the Industrial City - New York City’s garment district illustrates that manufacturing can still be vital to the innovation that cities foster.
I still miss the blocks of garment racks blocking all the sidewalks over there, and the hordes of rude and crude "garmentos."
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:52 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Note to new visitors to Maggie's Farm: Check out our site. You might like it. New things every day.
The weakness of all Utopias is this: that they take the greatest difficulty of man and assume it to be overcome, and then give an elaborate account of the overcoming of the smaller ones. They first assume that no man will want more than his share, and then are very ingenious in explaining whether his share will be delivered by motorcar or balloon.
G.K. Chesterton (h/t Dr. Bob, who seems to have quit writing)
Truth Matters: “there may be no liberal media watchdog that is less tolerant and more toxic than Media Matters.”
President Obama’s vision: “What Mr. Obama offered is a formula for war”
Why New York's future is fleeing -- Actually, its future has been fleeing since the ‘60s and ‘70s. When I left, NYC was THE only crazy city to live, as sanity was sought elsewhere. The infection has spread to most other cities. Many of the NYC emigres carried it, along with their liberal politics.
1970s actions on prisons come back around to bite Gov. Brown (and taxpayers)
The Dems' 'breathtaking' refusal to pass a budget: “The most amazing thing about all this, to Republicans, is that Reid’s abdication of responsibility has attracted so little attention. In a country drowning in debt, where’s the outrage?” – Senate Democrats: Bujeets! We don’t need no steenken bujeets
How the Left Went Wrong on Islam: “The Soviet Union had tried to turn Muslim identity into a Communist identity. And that effort failed badly. The Communists remained infidels. Now we are trying to turn Muslim identity into a Democratic identity, and failing just as miserably.”
Bipartisan foreign policy: “House lawmakers from both parties are siding with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over President Obama in their differing approaches to the Israel-Palestine border dispute.” – Plus, Netanyahu gets more standing ovations than Obama, and without a teleprompter Netanyahu actually connects with authenticity.
Tuesday, May 24. 2011
Happy Meals, smoking, fried food, etc. Maybe they will try banning booze next. President Obama's War on Fun.
A h/t to Richochet. Wonderful to see my paisan Buckley: "Is this part of your racket?"
"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it."
Henry David Thoreau
Attributes of the Gentleman, or Mr. Darcy’s Rules of Engagement.
He omits the classic "A gentleman knows when/where he is not wanted," but that might be subsumed under one of the other Five Traits.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:19 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Ol' Bob turns 70 today.
Pic: Not a recent photograph
I'll say. Most people I knew would have been happy to put a knife through his eye for dragging an electric guitar onto the stage. In the world of folk music, there can be no greater blasphemy.
On the flip side, if it hadn't been for electrics, we never would have been blessed with 'Blood On The Tracks', my personal fave Dylan LP*.
*For those of you under 50, 'LP' stands for 'Long Playing', as in "record album", as in "vinyl", as in "precursor to the frisbee", as in "the worst form of storage media ever used in the history of the universe after aluminum foil canisters." However, simply because they were so fragile, we treated them like gold, thus imparting a certain feeling of 'personal protection' over our music stars; a feeling you certainly don't get in the throwaway world of CDs and memory sticks.
The way I see it, the reason Dylan successfully pulled off the switch to electrics is twofold. The main thing was that, even with electric guitars and drum sets banging away in the background, they still sounded like Dylan songs. Credit his squeaky voice and simplistic chord structure if you will, but it was actually a little deeper than that. Maybe it would be more appropriate to say that, despite the guitars and drums, his songs were still Dylanesque. That 'intangible something' was still there. And that, in the final analysis, was all that mattered.
But another reason is, while he used electric instruments, he never 'went electric' like the way so many bands did, bringing in moog synthesizers and fuzz guitar and electronic sitars and all the rest. He was still, in that final analysis, the quintessential Dylan we had known and loved for years.
Squeaky voice, simplistic chord structure, and all.
Happy birthday, Bob. And many more.
Our drive-by through the charming town of Lyme (Population 2000, zero poverty) a couple of weeks ago made me curious. Here's a sample of two:
Built in 1973 but fits right in. 14 acres, 5 bedrooms. $1.2 million. Pics and details here.
4 bedrooms, 3 acres, built in 1775. $600,000. Pics and details here.
Well, so are all dog breeds, until someone gives them a breed name. But Brittanys aren't really true Spaniels (here are the main spaniel varieties - more of 'em than you might have thought), which is why we call them plain Brittanys. They are more pointers, or setters, or something. A mix of various random things that happened to come together well.
Who cares what you call them. In our neck of the woods, Brittanys are the best all-purpose dog for the field, and maybe the most popular gun dog. They point birds, they retrieve, they do not mind water retrieves; they are bundles of energy and affection, and they are easy to train - a cross look is usually enough to get your point across to these emotionally-sensitive critters. The larger American version can handle the large spaces.
But you need at least two of them. One Brittany isn't a fully happy dog. They need the exercise and the company they can give each other. Every hunter, or every human, can use a few sweet Brittanys around the place.
Here's a nice Brittany site.
The audience: Wiseguy member of the media joked, “If he nuked Tel Aviv, maybe the Jewish vote would go down to 60 percent.” [He forgets that Reagan won 40% and Bush#2 35%, before President O alienated more.]– And, Jewish support for Israel is not declining. And, consciousness is rising. So, another solid 2008 O-group will not be so overwhelming in 2012. Ari Fleisher: “If Jews go 4-1 Democrat (as they did in 2008) Republicans lose, he says, but: If the Democrats win three to one it almost always tips it to the Republicans in Florida and Ohio.” – Isolationists among Republicans –Paul, for example- do not help, though.
How 3D glasses helped defeat Hitler -- But, are they worth the extra cost at the movie theaters? Comments?
“The Amsterdam court that is trying Mr. Wilders is engaged in a surgical operation for political purposes under the mandate of the Dutch ruling class. Its task is to excise the PVV leader from the Dutch body politic and restore the multicultural state to its previous dominance.”
Interesting parallels to today (1989 paper by a dear friend Miriam London, and wife to another dear friend Ivan London, both profs during my college days)
Resisting the Urge to Cut the Defense Budget: “Make no mistake: If fully implemented, Obama’s envisioned defense budget would imperil the peace and our global standing”
More useless gov't: “This is major expansion of government -- a separate branch of the Federal Reserve with immense powers to regulate "all consumer products." The excuse for it is bogus…”
Irony Meter Explodes: California, which imprisons 30,000 illegal immigrants, ordered to release 30,000 prisoners due to overcrowding – But, California likely to release the ill prisoners, who will then start collecting MediCal, shifting billions of costs back to Washington.
Cantor (Eric, that is) sings out, fervid applause for Republican from heavily Democrat audience
Monday, May 23. 2011