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
Monday, December 31. 2012
You always wondered where Eskimos went to the toilet:
You always wondered about Reindeer and sleds:
More old Eskimo pics here, from before the Welfare and snowmobile era. What I have always wondered is why they never moved further south..
Wonderfully-informative and enjoyable video lecture here.
Spectacular photo captures moment great white is gobbled by an EVEN BIGGER shark as it's hauled into fisherman's boat
Modern Science Writers Leave Science Behind
Obama's labor board bails out big unions again
Scott Brown, time to start the truck
Three things conservatives must know about progressivism in order to defeat it
Old Aleppo, frontline ghost town of ruined treasures
Visit Your Parents: It’s the Law
Sunday, December 30. 2012
So you won't be disappointed, this will not be so much a review of the movie Django Unchained as a review of many reviewers. I've read about twenty reviews after seeing the movie. Django is pure Tarantino, over-the-top vulgar and violent, funny at times, the photography excellent and the actors fulfilling their roles well. In short, Django Unchained is a terrific shitkicker.
It is an action-revenge film that takes place in the pre-Civil War South, which along the way grips the viewer with White-on-Black violence and degradation of the worst imagination or fact and Black-on-Black violence (the Mandingo fighting a historical fraud, according to experts) and intra-Black slavery-facilitating discrimination and repression.
Most reviewers and audience polled give the film a high rating at review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. They just take it as Tarentino's outrageous brand of entertainment. Probably most viewers knew that going in to the theater.
Some reviewers, Black and White, criticize the ahistorical emphases within the film or the depiction of some Blacks (I don't recall any of these reviews reflecting similarly about the Whites), or wonder whether the film is a useful ideological guide to today's Blacks. They are entitled to their points of view, and their excesses can be forgiven for having to find enough words to fill their column. Still, most manage to lesser or greater extent applaud the film's execution even if disturbed by its supposed meanings.
Instead, don't look for meanings, or imagine them. Just enjoy a pure Tarantino shitkicker, with Shaft melded with Clint Eastwood and upping the gunplay, and every bad guy blown to spectacular smithereens.
That's the title of Mead's latest. He should have used a more provocative and engaging title, but it's not his style to do so.
Mead is a sort-of open-minded Liberal (I think) and an academic. One quote from this excellent piece, which (take note, BD) deserves to be on our Best Essays of the Year thing. A quote:
And later in his essay:
Do me a favor by reading his whole essay. Better yet, read it and ask your Lib friends to consider it. If Obama is a personal friend, email it to him and Valerie Jarrett too. These Progressives are stuck in the past, and have not had an interesting new idea since Marx, who died in 1883, and who could never have been able to understand modern America where the poorest have wide screen TVs, two cars, washing machines, and the right to bear arms.
You know my view: Liberalism, aka Progressivism, is over 150 years old, and way over the hill - policy residue from the early nasty years of the early Industrial Revolution.
Pic is Walter Russell Mead, who looks the way I thought he would.
Quite a fine king he was. A true philosopher-king. (1194-1250). From the wiki:
Pic above pirated from Pirate
The European Buffalo returns to Germany
Archaeologists Think Hidden Imperial Tomb May Be Too Deadly to Explore
Cool trip: INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU
Red Kites in Slow Motion - The Slow Mo Guys
3 Reasons You Should Quit Social Media In 2013
DOJ Forces Mega-Mosque on Norwalk, CT Community
Law of unintended consequences: Subsidizing Flights of Fancy
Gun Control Tramples On The Certain Virtues Of A Heavily Armed Citizenry
What Wingate Wrought - The astonishing raids of a Special Operations pioneer in Palestine, Abyssinia, and Burma
So claims Peggy Noonan, and I think it's darn good and enjoyable too: George Will on Religion in Politics at Washington U on Dec 4. (You have to click the link to video playlist for the speech, on the right)
"Do 'natural rights' presuppose religious faith?"
Will is not a man of faith and he is an old-fashioned Liberal. It's not a political speech; it's a wonderful historical-philosophical survey from the Greeks to Woodrow Wilson and the notion of progress, and it goes a long way towards explaining the historical underpinnings of the Maggie's chronically anti-statist and revolutionary view of the world.
Every 6th-grader to high school kid in America should know this basic stuff, but I bet many do not. "Should the State have a monopoly on social and civil authority?"
The Q&A after is excellent too. Family disintegration. Do not skip it. He speaks slowly and methodically, but it still deserves two listenings. George Will, like us, is a Madison and de Toqueville fan. Those guys were smarter and wiser than all of us. Those who think they know better need to beware of hubris: they were wary of all power.
America has indeed been exceptional in world history, and, we hope, will stick with it. I hate the idea of people voting without knowing their history.
My pic is the Hadlyme, CT, Congregational Church
Saturday, December 29. 2012
At Acton, The ‘Small’ God Who Brought Heaven Down to Earth. A quote:
The books from the people who know my reading tastes and tendencies but are always trying to nudge me towards a slightly higher fiction ratio. Having been rid of TV for the past few months, my reading rate has not increased at all because I never turned the thing on anyway. Who has time for TV when there is life to be lived, and a website to be edited?
I prefer dead-tree books to digital. Precious things. This is all great stuff to nourish brain and soul:
Mark Helprin: In Sunlight and in Shadow
Leonardo Sciasia: The Wine Dark Sea
Tom Reiss: The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
Guiseppi di Lampedusa: The Leopard (I can't believe I've never read this classic, but Mrs. BD decided it was time that I did)
Andrew Motion: Silver: Return to Treasure Island
Giles Foden: Turbulence
Orhan Pamuk: Snow
Sandra Benjamin: Sicily: Three Thousand Years of Human History
Louise Dickinson Rich: We Took To The Woods
Frank Oppell (ed): Tales of Old New England (Who knew that Boston used to export ice to India?)
Fred Astaire on Cyd Charisse (h/t Samizdata):
"That Cyd! When you’ve danced with her you stay danced with."
Food info: Eating Out in Italy
Prayer and The Sadness of NHH Christmas
Clemson student's turtle project takes dark twist
Is it just me, or does Kwanzaa seem to come earlier and earlier each year?
The NYT is worried that the energy boom in eastern Montana has created too many high-paying jobs for Americans.
The other, other cliff: With no farm bill, milk prices set to soar
Hobby Lobby Says It Will Defy Obama’s HHS Mandate
Ring in the New Year with your New Healthcare Taxes
Steyn: Laws Are for Little People:
I've previously noted that Something, perpetually, Must Be Done
Hundreds of Ohio school workers want to carry guns
Cornel West: 'No Tears' for 'Vanilla' Sandy Hook
Glory be to God for dappled things
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Friday, December 28. 2012
A family friend just returned from a year's posting overseas, and despite massive jet-lag got himself over to the Maggie's HQ to cook up a storm last night.
After a year of southeastern Asian food, he wanted to cook a rustic Ragu. Either rabbit or duck are fine, but he used duck because rabbit was sold out at the market. Lots of Italians around here in Yankeeland. Use Porcini for the mushrooms, or at least the dried mushroom mixes with porcini in them.
There are excellent versions of this without tomato, too. "Italian" does not = tomato sauce. The Italians were cooking tasty dishes for thousands of years before tomato seeds were brought over from Mexico.
For a Ragu - or for almost any meat concoction like Beef Bourguignon or Beef (or venison) Stroganoff - the only pasta I like to serve is pappardelle, which is a broad, egg noodle. It's also the best pasta for Pasta al Funghi with Porcinis. Trust me. How much do we love Porcinis? Is there any other mushroom really worth eating?
A Chianti Classico or Chianti Riserva works well with it, too.
I've been preaching this since long before Gary Taubes' books came out. That's because I have a colleague who studies the physiology of insulin. From what I know, Taubes is right. A quote re Dietary Incorrectness at Powerline:
Taubes is a serious science reporter, not a crank. As I say here ad nauseum, and as Taubes explains, if you want to get trim, quit the carbs. None. That includes fruit, which isn't any good for you anyway. It's just sugar. As the man says, after 14 days off all carbs they will not appeal to you so much anymore. (There is an addiction-like quality to carbs.) And if you want to be fit, youthful, sexy, intelligent, and vigorous, then exercise or do physical work too. If you want to lower your triglycerides, get better genes or take Lipitor.
It's not complicated. It's a free country, food is cheap and exercise is free. Do what you want to achieve the goals you desire. Don't tell me it's hard to do, because everything in life is hard to do except eating, surfing the net, and watching TV.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Supposedly handcuffed the government and liberated people. Composed by James Madison, ratified 1791, now often disparaged as "meaningless inkblots" by statists whose hunger for power accepts no bounds
American Fathers Disappearing
Mead's Yule Blog: Jesus' bio
Can you spot the 'invisible animal'? Incredible images show nature's disappearing act when predators are near
The Higher Ed Bubble: Medical Schools Offering Short Courses
In which the Guardian’s George Monbiot encounters the underclass and shows how his worldview is quite different from yours
PETA's culture of death
‘Right to Work’: Is Ohio Next? After Indiana and Michigan, Ohio must compete.
Who Is Too Unbalanced to Be Armed? The danger of treating gun violence as a mental health problem
Men and Women Can't Be "Just Friends" - Researchers asked women and men "friends" what they really think—and got very different answers
When kitchen knives are outlawed only outlaws will have kitchens.
Activist re-launches anti-toy gun campaign
Boy uses Dad's AR-15 to shoot home invader
Henninger: The Biggest Cliff of All - The largest threat in the world is the collapse of public policy making.
Dockworkers Strike Threatens to Close East Coast Ports
Thursday, December 27. 2012
Crawled out of a lovely snowbank in New Hampshire (Loon Mtn, but up to good old funky Cannon Mtn. this morning) today to offer a brief comment.
Re BD's enjoyably libertarian Do American citizens require everything in their lives to be controlled by their "betters" in government?, I would add one simple rhetorical question: Since when, in human history, have governments ever been determined to be the fonts of wisdom and virtue except in theory?
American exceptionalism contains the notion that government is a necessary evil, requiring containment and strict limitations by a virtuous people and a muscular Constitution to handcuff the state. The state is the enemy of individual freedom. GW: "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
Indeed, democratic governments and democratic republics, as schoolmarms often forget to mention, contain dangerous germs of emotional or greedy mob rule which are lacking in ideal philosopher-kings.
GW also said this: "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." God knows he knew about teeth, having lost all of his.
Never even went to college, ol' GW. Or high school either. Far from a genius general too but brave as a terrier in the face of bullets. A very great man, greatest in his humility and his aversion to state power.
A powerful report from Heather MacDonald: Chicago's Real Crime Story - Why decades of community organizing haven't stemmed the city's youth violence.
I cannot pick out one juicy quote because the whole sad thing is of a piece: moral, family, and cultural breakdown since the 1960s. These kids are growing up in something between anarchy and Lord of the Flies. One quote:
Wish you all could be here with us! I don't know why anybody would choose to be anywhere else in the world this week. Deep powder, dude, and a comfortable 20 degrees F at the base. Excellent restaurants, too. Good seafood. Carpe diem while you still have strong legs and before the government takes all of your money.
The drive up from Vancouver is stunningly scenic with the ocean and the fjords on your left and the mountains reaching up into the clouds on your right, worth the trip by itself.
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