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.
But a strange thing happened on the way to the 21st century: political correctness as imposed by a variety of lawyers, human rights activists and the like progressively reduced the power of the state to defend its population against external aggressors to the point where it failed to provide an adequate level of protection. When private individuals could no longer rely on uniformed officialdom to protect them, they did the natural thing. They took the matter of warfare back into their own hands.
The problem the New Class faces at this point is the psychological and social self-perceptions of a status group that is alienated (as we marxists say) from traditional labor by its semi-privileged upbringing. It is, for the moment, insistent not just on white-collar work as its birthright and unable to conceive of much else. It does not celebrate the dignity of labor; it conceived of itself as existing to regulate labor. So it has purified itself to the point that not just any white-collar work will do. It has to be, as Michelle Obama instructed people in what now has to be seen as another era, virtuous non-profit or government work. Those attitudes are changing, but only slowly; the university pipelines are still full of people who cannot imagine themselves in any other kind of work, unless it means working for Apple or Google.
The idea is that employers can decide which certificate level they would like to see in the hands of applicants in order to match them to the job at hand. (They can also check with ACT to verify that a certificate is genuine.) The NCRC test avoids such high-school stumbling-blocks as algebra, geometry, grammar, and advanced vocabulary—the stuff of the SAT and the regular ACT test. Instead the NCRC test, designed to focus on real-world in contrast to academic aptitude, contains just three WorkKeys: "Applied Mathematics," "Reading for Information," and "Locating Information." Still, while the skills assessed in the three WorkKeys are fairly basic, (Applied Mathematics requires no more than eighth-grade math), to perform well enough to earn a Platinum-level certificate would probably challenge many college graduates.
I tried out the most difficult of the sample NCRC questions on ACT's website and found myself delving deep into memory for the formula for calculating the volume of a cylinder (Applied Mathematics), attempting to correlate two complex soil-sample graphs (Locating Information), and poring over a legal document (Reading for Information). Critical thinking and the ability to use abstract data to solve concrete problems are clearly among the skills assessed. ACT has also developed a list of additional WorkKey assessments that employers in search of specific talents such as business writing or applying technology, or "soft" interpersonal skills such as listening, conflict resolution, or working in a team, can use to fit applicants to the specific demands of a job.
Recently, I posted about Steve Jobs. I believe, despite faults which he undoubtedly possessed, Steve was a visionary who radically altered our lives for the better over the last thirty years. Were it not for his untimely passing, he may have altered them further in the next twenty to thirty years.
It was part of his lifestyle, his mission, to look at things in a manner which was different from everyone else. He took computing from the realm of technology and moved it into culture and fashion. He did this without moving out of forward thinking technology. This kind of transformative behavior is unusual. Very few entrepreneurs are able to retain a firm hold on massive corporate structures. Even fewer can hold on and maintain a sharp entrepreneurial vision.
Now that Jobs is gone, Apple will be left to see if Jobs' vision was his alone or if someone else can pick up the slack at the company. However, in terms of personalities which society perceives as 'transformative', we are left with a gaping hole. There doesn't appear to be anyone quite like Steve Jobs.
I read this article recently, suggesting Jeff Bezos could be the "next Steve Jobs". I think he's definitely in the running. Jeff has changed the way people think about buying things. Like Jobs, I'm sure he's got flaws and faults, but I'm curious to see if he can be transformative. Even today, mom and pop shops in towns across the US are cursing firms like Amazon and Wal-Mart. But this isn't a fault of Bezos, it's simply the nature of the economy, which is one of change.
Are there other personalities out there who could be the "next Steve Jobs"? Certainly there are, and we may not have even heard of some of them yet.
Just got power back at ye olde Maggie's HQ. Looks like our servers held up with my pre-posts and the other postings. These links are from Bruce, mostly, because I had a productive internet-free, heat-free and electric-illumination-free weekend -
What is worrying is that almost a decade of energy investing hasn’t produced any home runs -- no green-energy equivalents of eBay, Amazon, Google or Facebook. The modest, incremental advances we have seen don’t perceptibly move the needle on the energy problem.
In the meantime, however, a real revolution has happened in traditional energy -- one that poses a serious challenge to companies and investors betting on alternative energy. This breakthrough is arguably one of the greatest advances in energy production since the 1960s. And it came not from a Silicon Valley company, or from MIT or Stanford, but from George Mitchell, the son of a Greek goatherd who immigrated to the U.S.
I usually get my identifications wrong, but I think Sipp would say that this old house in Wellfleet, MA is not so much an architectural style as a local New England vernacular. Tell me why I am wrong.
Like so many homes of its era (I would date this one 1850-80), they put expensive clapboard on the front, and cheaper cedar shakes elsewhere. Wish I had done that with my house because painting is so damn expensive if you hire it out.
My plan for the future is either that new semi-fake impermeable artificial, pigment-infused "wood", or natural cedar shakes. Can't afford continual painting. Just cannot win against the laws of entropy.
I love homey houses like this one, right there on the street so you can say "Howdy" to your neighbors on their evening stroll, and invite them up on the porch for a lemonade or a beer if you are in the mood for a chat.
When I was a kid, we had an old red woodshed out back. It had a little hinged door, down low, to toss logs out of. It was far from the two-holer outhouse.
Mice and squirrels lived in there, and the occasional Black Snake too.
Nowadays, a wood fire is more of a luxury, a comfort, than a necessity for survival. We have grown more wealthy and comfortable than we appreciate. And we always seem to want more.
Some people still have woodsheds (necessary to take your brat kid behind for the wholesome daily whuppin'), but these days I keep my wood mostly out in the weather. Dry wood burns too fast, and causes the dread global warming. Of that, I am certain.
I have frequently felt something like remorse, when, on picking up a wounded one, I have met the forgiving expression of its full and bright, yet soft hazel orb. How many of the beauties who dazzle and enslave us would be proud of such an eye.
Skinner's charming section on the Woodcock, written back before hunting seasons were instituted, is here.
The Woodcock is a fat little shorebird, fatter but not much larger than the American Robin, who renounced the shore and took up residence in our Eastern woods and swamps.
Like all shore birds, they are ground-dwellers and ground nesters, and do not perch. Because of their camoflage, their habit of feeding and being active at dawn and dusk, and their trick of freezing when approached, they are not commonly seen except in early spring, when the males perform their remarkable aerial mating dance at dusk.
Their long bills are hinged near the tip for capturing earthworms which they probe for in the soil and forest litter. They are thus necessarily migratory, to the Southern US.
A few other details: Woodock is the only "shorebird" which is a legal game bird in the US today. They are not widely hunted, but they make excellent sport and their liver-flavored breasts are a rare gourmet treat. The French especially favor the brains, on toothpicks. People who don't like to eat them should not hunt them. Their habitat overlap with the Ruffed Grouse makes a typical mixed bag for Ruffie hunters. Because of their small size and cute appearance, many hunters will admit a mingled sense of dismay and pleasure when they bag a Woodcock. Unlike grouse, they cannot be hunted without dogs, because you would never find them. A decline in Woodcock numbers has been noted over recent decades, which may be due to habitat loss, but the cause is not certain. They are fond of overgrown fields and orchards, wetland edges, and transitional young woodlands, especially birch and aspen. The European Woodcock looks like ours, but is larger. Woodcock's heads are oddly-arranged: their brains are upside-down, and their ears are in front of their huge eyes.
A tree guy I know just dumped me off a cord or so of green wood, for free and freshly cut from one of his jobs. Some logs large enough for splitting, but much of easily-burnable size.
People who are not fireplace experts think you need kiln-dried split wood for heat or for fireplaces. You do not.
As readers know, I keep the fire going in the MF HQ from October to May. I keep a supply of split and outdoor-dried wood, but once a fire is happy with coals I like to burn either green or wet logs. More heat, less flame, slower burn. Green wood burns fine once you have some coals. Sometimes, I throw a couple of hunks of charcoal in there to keep it hot and happy.
That's a soft point, but for a real dinner bird he'll produce a hard, classic point. Really immoveable on a grouse or pheasant. This guy is from a line of red Standards into which the hunt talent is being bred back.
Lovely snow today. The pup is soft-pointing every sparrow in every bush. He loves snow.
The notion that a black man cannot be successful or free thinking is incredibly insulting. Racist, in fact. Is every black person supposed to stay on the plantation of victimization, helplessness, and dependency just because of skin tone? Is that American? And heck, what about Obama? Oh, well he's a Leftist who deeply disapproves of America so it's OK for him to be successful.
As for Cain, it seems he believes that "his place" was CEO of a major business, and that his next "place" is on PA Ave. Good for him.
Meanwhile white limousine Liberals who "care about People of Color" and want them to remain needy and victimized at all cost begin to hate him for running off the plantation. The Lefties and Dems prefer cop-killer Mumia to men like Cain. It is disgusting.
For all Mr. Obama's yammering about "hope and change," nothing much has changed for millions of African-Americans -- you know, all those underclass blacks in Detroit, East St. Louis, Newark, Camden, Cleveland, and Philadelphia. Check that. What has changed is that Mr. Obama has sought to make his fellow African-Americans more, not less, dependent on government -- therefore less, not more, free. The president has sought to take the black model of government dependence and make it the standard for the rest of the country.
Mr. Obama is, of course, ideally positioned to make an historic challenge to so-called civil rights leaders and black, mostly urban, politicians who keep African-Americans down. Yet Mr. Obama hasn't been even a scold. Instead, Mr. Obama has acted like any white Chicago Democrat ward-heeler, currying favors by spreading government largesse -- by helping corrupt black leaders and white enablers further entrench their positions through the doling out of taxpayer dollars and more government.
A Cain presidency would be a cosmic irony -- a towering affront, an epic challenge -- to African-American leaders and white progressives who profit from the bondage of African-Americans -- bondage in the form of welfare dependency, and bondage in a subculture that advances resentment, victimhood, and retribution.
It's not just black people. The Left wants everybody on the plantation, but having some color makes them feel more holy.
This was passed along by a friend. It's long, but honest. The breakdown on health is fascinating, putting the onus on misdirected incentives and unhealthy lifestyles. Clearly these things can only be fixed by an overbearing nanny state. I'm posting it late because I figure it's useful for insomniacs or data junkies like me.
I don't know if you've ever heard of Mark Derr - most people haven't but he's written a couple of books about dogs and one about Davy Crockett - all of which are very good. He's of the opinion that most anthropologists and other social scientists are wrong about the dog/man team and how it formed. He has had this idea about it being a matter of co-evolution rather than co-dependency and has written a new book about it: How did the wolf evolve into man’s best friend?
One could argue that co-evolution/co-dependency is the same thing, but I think he makes some important distinctions in how the wolf became the dog.
I do take issue with the main thrust of most of the dog/man analysis in that I don't believe the wolf ever truly left the dog. Most dogs, if left to their own devices and survival, revert very quickly to a feral state very similar to the classic wolf pack. The difference between feral dog packs and the wolf pack is that the feral dogs have a rather loose organization with more than one top dog and those aren't always breeding pairs as they are in a wolf pack. In fact, the feral dog pack behaves much in the same way Derr describes when he was doing his research on the wolf researchers.
I love his commentary about The Dog Whisperer" - Cesar Millan. The guy is a good trainer no doubt, but he's got some rather outdated ideas about human/dog interactions.
In any case, I've read his other two dog books "A dog's history of America : how our best friend explored, conquered, and settled a continent" - 2004 and the first "Dog's best friend : annals of the dog-human relationship" - 1997. Highly recommended if you can find them - I think they are both out of print.
Anyway, the article is very good - enjoyed it. Hope you do.
Snow and wind headed to Yankeeland. A Nor'easter. Don't be surprised if our servers go down sometime tonight or tomorrow. As it is, they are just held together with baling wire, duct tape, and hope. New England Yankees are cheap - we always just patch it up. Anyway, how soon before an early snow is blamed on global warming?
Swamp Yankee is a colloquialism that has a variety of meanings. Generally, it refers to Yankees or WASPs (northeasterners with English colonial ancestry) from rural Rhode Island and nearby eastern Connecticut and southeastern Massachusetts. The term "Yankee" connotes urbane industriousness, while the term "Swamp Yankee" signifies a more countrified, stubborn, independent and less refined subtype.
That would be us, more or less, I think. I have plenty of ancestors buried in Kingstown, RI.
TRADERS TALK BACK to OccupyChicago.“Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you’re only going to hurt yourselves. What’s going to happen when we can’t find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We’re going to take yours. We get up at 5am & work until 10pm or later. We’re used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don’t take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don’t demand a union. We don’t retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we’ll eat that.”
Ha! Joke’s on you, dudes — the Occupy folks don’t have jobs.
There’s lots of talk about self-reliance, and depending on one’s self to get along. Nice thoughts, when you are getting along. Not such a good proposition when you have to spend your last bucks for gasoline to drive to the church’s food pantry to feed your family.
Do us Farmers all an autumn favor and make sure all of your friends, neighbors, and colleages know about our site.
It has come to my attention that some readers have never heard of the song "Maggie's Farm." Seems hard to believe, but I guess it's true. That's a shame.
Here's some good music (thanks, reader). Bob jumps in towards the end to join them to do Maggie's Farm.
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more No, I aint gonna work on Maggie's farm no more Well, I wake up in the morning Fold my hands and pray for rain I got a head full of ideas That are drivin' me insane It's a shame the way she makes me scrub the floor I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more.
I ain't gonna work for Maggie's brother no more No, I aint gonna work for Maggie's brother no more Well, he hands you a nickel He hands you a dime He asks you with a grin If you're havin' a good time Then he fines you every time you slam the door I ain't gonna work for Maggie's brother more.
I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more No, I aint gonna work for Maggie's pa no more Well, he puts his cigar Out in your face just for kicks His bedroom window It is made out of bricks The National Guard stands around his door Ah, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more.
I ain't gonna work for Maggie's ma no more No, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's ma no more Well, when she talks to all the servants About man and God and law Everybody says She's the brains behind pa She's sixty-eight, but she says she's twenty-four I ain't gonna work for Maggie's ma no more.
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more I aint gonna work on Maggie's farm no more Well, I try my best To be just like I am But everybody wants you To be just like them They say sing while you slave and I just get bored I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more.