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, November 30. 2012
"Building a better you is the first step to building a better America."
On Wednesday, Zig Ziglar died at 86. Zig Ziglar's many books carried the motivational message of hard work and faith will out, and doing so to fill others' needs is the path to success. I remember my father reading Zig Ziglar when he started a business from scratch in the early 1960's, and so was I when I started out in the '70s. Ziglar was correct, I think, because he wedded hope with effort with common sense that didn't make or tolerate excuses. Ziglar kept writing books until last year. Here's an obit. Here's another obit.
Here's more Zig Ziglar quotes.
She's a youthful 67 year-old now. The stars of our youths are grannies and grandpas. It's kinda strange. Thank goodness, we remain forever young, don't we all?
Pic: Sad fate of a Mac user who tried going the Windows extra mile
Before I get to the gist of the article, I thought I'd list out a few Windows 7 annoyances that you might like to take care of. All of these are on my Windows 7 setup page (most will also work for Vista):
— Getting rid of the "-Shortcut" tag on shortcut icons
— Changing the path to Internet Explorer's 'Favorites' so you won't lose them in case your system melts down
— Changing IE's tool bar icons back to 'Large'
— Activating 'Link to Email' in IE
— Disabling those incredibly annoying Task Bar pop-outs
— Cleaning up the 'New' menu
— Cleaning up the mouse's (right-button) Context menu
— Getting rid of icons on the Control Panel
Nothing earthshaking. What we call 'housework' in the geek biz.
As for Windows Update, if you have Microsoft Office Suite on your system, you definitely want to do this for security purposes. If not, do it anyway, just cuz. You never can tell what it'll find.
Normally, Windows Update just scans for actual Windows files, not programs. To do so requires a few clicks. Details are below the fold.
Continue reading "Doc's Computin' Tips: Windows Update - that extra mile"
Barro at Bloomberg makes the case for government redistribution. Dems want more government-controlled redistribution and less voluntary redistribution.
For better or worse, we in the US have had extensive government-controlled redistribution for generations in myriad forms. The real issue is not redistribution, it's how much, from whom, to whom, in what form? Further, it's a question of at what point forced, as opposed to voluntary, redistribution interferes with freedom, growth, initiative, and opportunity for all.
My favorite form of redistribution is the one I practice daily: I voluntarily buy things and services from other people. I buy a fish taco from a food truck in mid-town Manhattan, and I buy my work shirts at Brooks Brothers, made in the USA. I give generous tips, and big tips in December. It's a pleasure. During Christmastime I do most of my charitable giving too, while ramping up my redistribution of my "wealth" in exchange for material things to give to others.
Over the course of a year I redistribute a heck of a lot of my income. Last year, according to my Quicken, it was around 85% including taxes. Greedy Capitalist Pig that I am, I did fail to redistribute 15% of it to preserve for my future wants or needs to minimize the likelihood that I might have to humiliate myself to desire redistribution to myself someday. I put that filthy un-redistributed 15% in the solicitous care of Vanguard but, even to them, I am required to redistribute some small % of it.
Markets are geniuses at redistributing wealth in exchange for some sort of value-added.
Stashing away 15% was not easy to do, since my redistributed city, state, and federal taxes already approach 50% of my fairly-decent but far-from-wealthy salary this year. I do it because, while I enjoy my more immediate pleasures and indulgences - boat, dinners out, girl friends, beer, theater, travel - I have ambitious plans for my future too which will cost money to try to make happen. Sometimes I wonder how much wealth is redistributed from parents to kids, directly.
I am, and will be, one of the proud work horses pulling this big government wagon. No choice. Nobody has ever said "Thanks." I also help carry the free enterprise wagon, and am happy to be able to do so in whatever ways I can, within reason.
Pleasure Beach is a 3-mile barrier beach that runs from the outside of Bridgeport Harbor east to Stratford. Once known as Steeplechase Island when it was made into a beachside amusement park by the developer of Brooklyn's Coney Island. That's all gone now.
Parts of Pleasure Beach are owned by both towns. Arsonists burned the bridge in the 1990s, and it has not been rebuilt. There are abandoned summer shanties on it now - and Piping Plovers.
It probably did not do too well during Sandy. I'd propose leaving it as a nature preserve with a small summer boat landing for picnics.
Thursday, November 29. 2012
By the end of this week, interested readers will have a good sense of this sad old town. I can think of few other once-major industrial cities which have risen and fallen similarly: Camden, Newark, and Paterson, NJ, Detroit, Providence, Springfield MA, Hartford, and so forth. But for wealth, variety of industries, and location, Bridgeport's rise and fall seems like a special story.
The recent Wal-Mart strike on Black Friday seems to have galvanized the labor movement. To what outcome, we shall see, but I suspect they are operating with some huge misconceptions.
As I drove to the train station, I heard an interview with one of the leaders in today's strike of fast-food workers here in NYC. He has a pleasing workers' story which he is spouting about 'living wages' and the need for workers at these companies to make trade-offs between a Metrocard and dinner. I'm all for 'living wages', but I think people have to remember when they take a job they need to determine if it's going to require them making tough choices. If I live so far from work that the cost of getting there deprives me of a meal, then maybe I need to find something closer to where I live.
Continue reading "The Economic Consequences of the Election"
This is part of our week-long series on Bridgeport, CT.
Pic is the long-departed University Club of Bridgeport (1905) on Golden St., once filled with mostly Yalies at lunchtime.
Why was Bridgeport, CT so prosperous from 1830-1950? It was a major manufacturing city with a large seaport and a railroad. Its prominence as a center for shipping, medicine, law, news and radio, and banking followed from those. From a population of 20,000 in 1820, it peaked in the 1940s - near or below where it is now. Rise and fall.
Remington Arms and Ammunition Co.
and hundreds more. There were abundant jobs for everyone, from unskilled to the most highly-skilled.
Main Street, c. 1910?
Ever hear someone say something like, "Windows sure gets slow and bloated over time", or "My system sure has slowed down over this past year — damn Windows!"?
The truth is, it's not Windows' fault in the slightest.
That is, it's the fault of the programs you've installed since you bought it, and whoever initially set up the machine if it came ready-to-go. About a third of the installs put in a 'pre-loader', which pre-loads a bunch of drivers and libraries and such into memory during boot-up so, when you actually run the program, it pops onto your screen approximately 0.87 seconds quicker. And each of these pre-loaders gobbles up a bit more memory and is one more background 'task' for Windows to keep track of.
Now, if just one program did this, no biggie. But multiply it by thirty programs and the rules change. With tons of your memory being gobbled up, the first symptom you'd notice would be your computer... slowing down.
Want to see something sobering? Open Control Panel, Administrative Tools, System Configuration. Click on the 'Startup' tab.
This window is empty on a brand new Windows.
Everything you see was put here by you or whoever set up the computer initially. And 90% of it can go.
But that's not what this post is about. Using System Config to get rid of pre-loaders is beginner's stuff.
This post is on the background programs that it can't get rid of. It's for you obsessive, pedantic bastards out there who demand a totally clean, pure system.
Not that I know anyone like that.
Continue reading "Doc's Computin' Tips: Removing unwanted background programs"
Cuba to Tax Citizens for the First Time in a Half-Century
Two-thirds of millionaires left Britain to avoid 50p tax rate
Wage War: Government Employees vs. Everybody Else
The Coming Middle Class Tax Hike - Neither Republicans nor Democrats eager to argue for extending payroll tax rate
Conservatives Must Learn the Dark Arts of Image Manipulation:
Oliver Stone's "History" as Propaganda
Morning Bell: Disabilities Treaty Just Another U.N. Power Grab
Former Arab League Head Amr Moussa: 'Egypt Has Never Been in Such a Critical State'
For a working-class and middle class city, by the turn of the century central Bridgeport boasted large neighborhoods consisting of the McMansions of the time. Real in-town mansions on once-Elm-lined boulevards.
Also, large neighborhoods of less grand but entirely spacious and respectable upper-middle class homes with 5-6 bedrooms, usually a sleeping porch upstairs, servants quarters on the third floor, and rooms off or above the barn-garage for a driver, whether of carriage or of automobile. The economy was booming, new Irish and Italian immigrants were eager for factory work or domestic work - and there was no income tax. (Here's a bird's-eye view of one such neighborhood only blocks from downtown.)
Instead of government spreading the wealth around, people spread their wealth around in their own ways. Even the then-ubiquitous trolley lines were privately-owned.
Here are a couple of Bridgeport mansions. These survivors are in the South End. There is essentially no market for either category of the old big homes which, if situated elsewhere in Fairfield County, would fetch millions.
Wednesday, November 28. 2012
Most days on the way home from school, I take the boys in to Jamba Juice. It's healthier than cookies for an after-school snack. And, I usually have twofer coupons. Another treat is that Bronson is a Jamba Juice Juggler as he prepares the healthy drinks. Jason used his iPod today to make a video of Bronson's performance.
From Peter Wood's Racial Color-Blindness Won’t Defend Itself
The title of my second unpublishable book will be "George Washington's Nurse". This time, instead of foolishly writing the book first, I plan to market the title, and to come up with an idea and write the book afterwards.
One good reason to have kids is to keep you young with ideas. A pupette recently read PT Barnum's autobiography. She was fascinated by his hutzpah, and wonders how much of his autobiography is a con job.
More details on the story here. He actually sold tickets to her autopsy.
Here's the Barnum Museum, closed at the moment until repairs can be made from a tornado that hit town two years ago. We had wanted to check it out:
Extremely Scary Ghost Elevator Prank in Brazil
Germany to ban sex with animals
It's getting darn cold here
An uncivil war is brewing there
President Obama is getting a total pass on the handling of Hurricane Sandy
It’s an Obama World… For Every 1.25 People in Private Sector – 1 Person Gets a Government Check
China Fooled by the Onion Imitating CNN Imitating the Onion
Good luck with that
The ‘Untold’ False History That the Left Tells All the Time
Sultan: The noose around Israel's neck
Ethiopia's last Jews prepare for the 'Promised Land'
The statue of ol' PT Barnum in Seaside Park overlooking Long Island Sound. He donated 35 acres of his own property in putting together this 2-mile seaside public park.
The city has two fine, large public parks: Seaside and Beardsley (with its municipal zoo), both donated to the city back in the good old days.
Storm damage from Sandy on the walkway, last weekend:
Barnum's last Bridgeport home, Waldemere (now burned down), overlooked the park. He built it because doctors told him his ailing wife would do better with sea breezes. Who wouldn't?
Tuesday, November 27. 2012
For those of us who enjoy destructo videos, this one is a champ...for chumps.
According to 11foot8.com, this train trestle is 100 years old, so it was built at a time" when there were no standards for minimum clearance." They are not raising it because the Norfolk Southern Railroad doesn't care: it's their bridge and the only thing they want is to guarantee the safety of their trains. "As far as they are concerned, they solved that problem by installing the crash beam," 11foot8 says. Any potential solution ”like raising the bridge or loowering the road” is too expensive to be worth it. The city of Durham installed warning signs along the three blocks that precede the bridge, but imbeciles keep ramming into it on average once a month.
Fox News is a little behind the curve on this one:
Of course, Maggie's Farm featured the original artwork back in 2009. It's much less offensive and blasphemous and trite than Fox suggests, and it's got a beat and you can dance to it. The seventies had much better music than the 2010s, and we can only dream of Carter-era levels of commerce at this point, but a bunch of sons of the desert dragging Americans out of our embassies really puts me in that nostalgic mood.How about you? Just like old times.
I wonder if Ted Koppel will show up on TV late tonight?
Girls Not Coming of Age - If Girls is a portent, we’re in trouble
Believe it or not, modern women want to get married. Trouble is, men don’t.
Omerica: Marriage Rate Continues Decline
Photo of a human female via Theo
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:22 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Good stuff: Learning from the Election
Three touchdowns by the Pats in 52 seconds of game play:
This downtown theater and hotel complex was built in the early 1920s right on Main St. They don't make 'em like this anymore. Plenty of famous entertainers appeared in these theaters as they bridged the space between vaudeville and modern movies.
Both theaters had about 2000 seats. For the price of a ticket, you got a taste of elegance and music from a grand old Hall pipe organ. "Meet me at the Poli." Here are some pics of the Poli Palace (later Loew's Palace).
And here's a stroll through the now-creepy Majestic:
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