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.
Gunther Holtorf's 23-year road trip - Back in 1989, as the Berlin Wall fell, Gunther Holtorf and his wife Christine set out on what was meant to be an 18-month tour of Africa in their Mercedes Benz G Wagen. Now, with more than 800,000km (500,000 miles) on the clock, Gunther is still going.
MY Love is of a birth as rare As 'tis, for object, strange and high; It was begotten by Despair, Upon Impossibility.
Magnanimous Despair alone Could show me so divine a thing, Where feeble hope could ne'er have flown, But vainly flapped its tinsel wing.
And yet I quickly might arrive Where my extended soul is fixed ; But Fate does iron wedges drive, And always crowds itself betwixt.
For Fate with jealous eye does see Two perfect loves, nor lets them close ; Their union would her ruin be, And her tyrannic power depose.
And therefore her decrees of steel Us as the distant poles have placed, (Though Love's whole world on us doth wheel), Not by themselves to be embraced,
Unless the giddy heaven fall, And earth some new convulsion tear. And, us to join, the world should all Be cramp'd into a planisphere.
As lines, so love's oblique, may well Themselves in every angle greet: But ours, so truly parallel, Though infinite, can never meet.
Therefore the love which us doth bind, But Fate so enviously debars, Is the conjunction of the mind, And opposition of the stars.
Marvell was a diplomat and politician and, when younger, the personal secretary and friend to John Milton. During his lifetime, his satirical writings were more admired than his serious poetry. A mediocre bio here.
Liberals are not idiots. They’re just like you were when you first moved out of your parents’ house. It’s like their research is cryogenically frozen right before Google was invented. However, unlike extremist Muslims and Hasidic Jews, some of the things they believe are actually correct.
One of the problems with having multiple bloggers on a site such as this is that everyone has a different idea of what's "not quite too sexy" for what is, ostensibly, a refined, cultured site that tries to present a wide range of topics in at least a semi-dignified manner. Nobody here is a 'prude'. We all admire the human body in its God-given form. But, by the same token, using gratuitous sensationalism merely for sensationalism's sake doesn't seem to jibe well with a penetrating look at the national economy or the growth of the psyche in a young child's brain.
So, a line must be drawn, rules must be written.
The problem, of course, is one of getting bogged down in the minutiæ. The rule clearly states "no frontal nudity" — so does that mean 95% frontal nudity is okay? It clearly states "no bare nipples" — so does that mean covering them with the thinnest gauze in the known universe gets a pass?
Wet gauze, no less?
That's the point I was at in my thought process when suddenly, in an incredible one-in-ten-billion happenstance, two of my brain synapses lined up correctly and I had a revelation:
The rules don't have to be written!
Because Maggie, herself, has already shown us the way. Below, fellow and fellowess bloggers, you will find a wide variety of examples of posts which have already been approved by the governing board and are, indeed, on the site this very day. Merely right-click on one of them and open 'Properties' or 'View Image Info' and you'll see the direct link to Maggie's. So if the picture in your post looks just like one of these, you're good to go.
For the rest of you, as a quick example of what we're up against with the governing board, here's what appears at first glance to be a revoltingly rude picture that's obviously pushed the bounds of decorum way too far:
Despite the sordid events that took place that day, the above shamelessly revealing photograph was deemed 'okay' by the governing board because of its obvious authenticity. Hence the confusion among us bloggers. We figure if that kind of raunchy material isokay, then it's pretty much "anything goes" around this joint, and that's when we get into trouble.
So show us what's permissible to post, dear Maggie. Let history be our guiding light.
The procedure is very straightforward and easy. Simply use the officially-sanctioned picture below as your guide for each area and emulate it as closely as possible. Use the Windows Magnification Tool if necessary. When you feel your picture is "in sync" with the online guide picture, you'll be ready to post with no fear of repercussion.
RULE #1: NO BARE NIPPLES
A: Unless covered by the thinnest gauze in the known universe:
B: They're painted:
C: On a wall mural:
D: Covered in sludge:
E: Or it's Christmas:
RULE #2: NO BARE BOTTOMS
B: when viewed...
C: from the...
E: Or covered with a bathing suit:
RULE #3: NO BARE CROTCHES
A: Unless covered in sludge:
B: Covered by the darkest shadows of the netherworld:
C: Or it's too far away to see anything, dammit!
RULE #4: NO PENISES
A: Unless it's "art":
B: Or at least somebody's idea of it.
RULE #5: NO FEMALE FRONTAL NUDITY
A: Unless it's painted:
B: Is a video that starts off with "NSFW":
C: Or is back behind the barn:
This is the traditional 'gray area' that's a little hard to define, but let me give you some examples and you'll catch on.
1. This picture would have been soundly rejected if the two photoshopped faces had been reversed:
Seeing Hillary with deep cleavage would have been deemed far too risky for our readership's delicate sensibilities, and some of the younger ones might have snapped. We all have our breaking point.
2. If a male had posted this:
He would have, correctly, been soundly condemned for perpetrating the frustrating, almost-impossible-to-achieve ideal that the 'perfect woman' has the hips of an 18-year-old boy.
But since a female posted it, it's perfectly okay.
3. If a female had posted this:
She would have, correctly, been soundly condemned for perpetrating the frustrating, almost-impossible-to-achieve ideal that the 'perfect woman' has the hips of an 18-year-old boy.
But since a male posted it, he's just considered a big dumb ape who doesn't know any better.
That's why this 'gray area' stuff is confusing.
As a guide to what type of pictures your readers might enjoy, we've extensively surveyed the Maggie's Farm readership and these are the categories they most prefer:
A. Pictures they can have on the screen when you-know-who suddenly walks into the room:
"What are you doing, dear?"
"Oh, uh, picking out new bedsheets for your birthday, sweetheart!"
B. More stacked, knock-kneed girls in heels and short skirts holding lollipops:
Romney sat for an interview with Brian Williams yesterday and Williams garbled the warm-up to a question about Romney’s running mate. “I know how much you love quoting unnamed Romney advisers,” Williams said, then cited a source close to the campaign who said Romney is looking for a “boring white guy.” Romney responded to Williams:“You told me you were not available.”
Over the transom:
At a high school in North Dakota, a group of boy students played a prank.They let three goats loose inside the school.But before turning them loose, they painted numbers on the sides of the goats: 1, 2 and 4.
School Administrators spent most of the day looking for No. 3. And you thought there was nothing to do in North Dakota.
I haven't been completely idling away in LotusLand during my annual vacation, when I send the wife and boys to Europe to visit my mother-in-law. I actually successfully completed building in the yards built-in wood structures that took me two-years to figure out. The weather has been ideal in Encinitas, low to mid-70s, sunny, and I successfully completed my annual thong surveys.
In the midst of these distractions, I just penned an article about the two-years in the making University of California reports on the impact on campuses of pro-Palestinian students' anti-Israel activities. The piece can be accessed at this link: UC reports clarify, cloud campus controversies over Middle East
I am getting a kick out of this dumb Chick-Fil-A story. I suppose it's a good story for late July, for the entertainment value.
As I understand it (never seen one in NY or New England), it's an Atlanta-based, family-owned and very popular chain of fast-food chicken joints. Chicken sandwiches! I don't know whether the outlets are franchised or company-owned.
The founder is a traditional Christian who happens to hold a traditional view of marriage. Most Americans do, but that doesn't matter. President Dan Cathy had the temerity to say:
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit,” Cathy said. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
I suspect good ol' Col. Sanders felt the same way. So do I. Politicians who desire to show their cultural leadership (who asked them to do that?) are now all about banning Chick-Fil-A from their burgs. You have to laugh. People want to eat these sandwiches.
I mean, like, you know, they aren't banning Catholic churches, are they? Or Baptist churches? Or Muslim mini-marts? Or mosques? Or businesses whose CEOs are Catholics? I suspect the folks at Chick-Fil-A HQ are just enjoying the free publicity, and wondering about this crazy world. They don't need the money. I think the family is still amazed by their popularity and the growth of their recently-tiny, simple business. Plain old fried redneck chicken on a hamburger bun.
When will the word get out that the owner of Subway is a married, never divorced and never-gay Roman Catholic? Funny thing about this dumb brouhaha is that it makes me hungry for a Chick-Fil-A. I've never thought about it before. They must be pretty darn tasty to deserve all of this attention.
Probably tastes like chicken.
(Almost forgot to mention that the family didn't build that family food business. The government did it. Let's nationalize Chick-Fil-A, and Subway too.)
“. . . let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
Carl Hiassen has a new book out, Chomp, for young readers. Other of his books offer hilarious south Florida black humor for grown-ups.
What did I just begin reading? Mark Twain's 1867 Innocents Abroad. Since we're taking a pass on a Europe trip this summer, thought I'd read about what ship cruising was like right when the concept was invented - his trip was advertised as a "pleasure excursion." From the blurb:
Innocents Abroad began as a series of travel letters written by Mark Twain mainly for the Alta California, a San Francisco paper that sponsored his participation in the trip to Europe and the Holy Land in 1867 aboard the steamship Quaker City. On the excursion from New York to Palestine they traveled a distance of over 20,000 miles by land and sea through France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Russia, Turkey and Egypt. Through his humorous and insightful writings, Twain describes countries, nations, incidents and his amazing adventures.
Nothing wrong with core expectations of elementary and secondary school if people can agree on them (but I'd go to the local taxpayers for that advice, not the national educational establishment). However, no standards can cause those who don't want to, or are not interested in or capable of, learning things in school.
He opens with this: "It's no secret that most high school graduates are unprepared for college." Well, duh. But so what? There's no crisis in that area.
I don't blame teachers or curricula or standards for the fact that many kids do not learn much. It appears to be the case in colleges, too. Pretending that most kids are natural scholars defies all known reality.
Education is not a "product" that can be purchased, any more than "health" is. Such things are not passive purchases. No gym membership can give you six-pack abs, alas.
Sicily is a spectacularly beautiful island between Europe and Africa. It is surrounded by sea as clear and clean as gin, but what happens on dry land there is as dark and disturbing as sewage. In Sicily, which gave the world the word “Mafia,” it is impossible to tell the difference between a mafioso and a politician. Follow the money—if you can.
I have been to Sicily many times for work and on holiday. Its stunning countryside is dotted with stately old abandoned houses in the baroque style. I love it there. It would be great to own one of those houses and they cost next to nothing, but what would be the point? How could I possibly live in Sicily? Life is tough enough here in the “red” Romagna surrounded by “ex” communists who years ago sent me a bullet in the post for my eldest daughter (now eight) because of something I wrote.
That's what these fall elections boil down to, this year. A stark choice in attitudes towards the relationship between the individual and the state. A Parental State vs. a Servant State. The country votes roughly 50-50 on that, which, to my mind, is pathetic in a bold nation like this. Too many people looking for a caretaker instead of embracing opportunity.
Lots of people are embedding this Scott Brown ad. The strange, shrill anger in Harvard prof Warren's voice is disturbing. She needs to be reminded who pays for the roads - and for her salary. The angry condescension towards the free commerce which makes this nation alive always bugs me, especially from those who have never engaged in it:
It’s painful, charge our critics, for the families that these schools serve to see the contrast between their dreary classrooms and ours, which we spruce up with cheery paint jobs, new carpets and extensive technology.
Actually, it’s far worse than that: 88 percent of our students read proficiently; fewer than a third do at these district schools. Our students also get two hours more instruction per day, science daily and teachers who receive far more professional development.
And they do it for less money, with no admissions process other than a lottery. No union bosses, no political pay-offs.