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, January 31. 2014
This, found at American Digest, reminded Mrs. BD of Kirk's KM Test as a student at Starfleet Academy. In this case, thinking outside the box - inside the box, as it were:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:05 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Count me in with those who believe Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. After all, many Ponzis start with a surplus and garner interest, but over time the payouts exceed incoming revenues. All Ponzis are based on paying dividends to "investors" out of active money incoming from new "investors". But even Ponzis don't pay out additional money to people who petition for someone else's funds. If they did, I presume they would lower one person's payout to cover the person making the petition.
I'm not sure how long Social Security can last. A friend of mine who is dyed-in-the-wool liberal/progressive believes the upper range limit for SocSec payments should be eliminated and it should be handled the same way as an income tax. That is probably the first step that will be taken. Soak the Rich. This will extend the scheme for a few more years. Then they will undoubtedly implement means-testing, which will extend it a bit longer. At some point, all the financial engineering will fail. Until then, keep kicking the can down the road.
I'd rather play touch in the park with my old buddies than watch football on TV while eating junk food, but I guess it's a social ritual like secular Christmas.
Well, there are the top seeds in this game. Offense vs. defense, in a cool weather match-up of laundry vs. laundry with often amusing advertisements. Given Ground Hog day, I'll go with defense.
The game will be played in MetLife Stadium (aka Giants Stadium) in East Rutherford, NJ (aka New York). The stadium is part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex, which was built on landfill on the vast New Jersey meadowlands (aka swamps and marshes), in view of Manhattan.
Everyone who has driven the NJ Turnpike has passed through those Meadowlands.
Those marshes are recent. A mere 3000 years ago those marshy lands were woodlands, and the Atlantic coast was 40 miles to the east. With the retreat of the last glacial incursion and the slow, steady sea-level rise of the post-glaciation, it became a estuary based on the route of the Hackensack River and a (no doubt lovely) White Cedar brackish swamp. The cedars were all cut down by settlers, for lumber.
Despite heavy industrial pollution (ended now), diking, ditching, impoundments, etc., these meadowlands are now mostly protected from development and are a wildlife resource despite the proliferation of Phragmites australis. You could not build Giant Stadium there, today.
There are nature tours, or you can rent canoes and kayaks to explore the 30+ square miles of these marshes.
Geographic history of the NJ meadowlands
"More than 8,000 acres of wetlands across the Hudson River from New York City has been earmarked for a wildlife preserve. The New Jersey Meadowlands was long known as a dumping ground: one of the country's largest landfills — and an occasional burial spot for mobsters."
At first, I was interested in the story about someone who could be married for 3 days on a subway.
My cousin forwarded this to me as a "true love" and/or "true love lost" story. I'm not sure it's anything at all like either of those. Sounds like a lonely guy trying to reconnect with his past. We all do that in different ways. Not sure I'd use Craigslist, though.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:13 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
A course from Great Courses: Fundamentals of Photography
Great story about Davy Crockett
Real or apocryphal? Difficult to know for sure
Dear America, I Saw You Naked -And yes, we were laughing. Confessions of an ex-TSA agent.
Romney’s Revenge - Romney said his Bay State health reforms weren’t necessarily suited to other states. Few listened.
The latest Gallup Poll shows every state in America except for Massachusetts and Vermont has more self-identified "conservatives" than "liberals."
The ACA: A Train Wreck and a Lie - Preexisting conditions, guaranteed renewability — HIPAA already covered those issues.
From One Cosmos' Don't Worry, the State of the State is Bigger and More Powerful than Ever!-
Thursday, January 30. 2014
The US government recommends 9-11 servings of fruits and/or vegetables daily.
What are they smoking? Unless a stalk of raw celery or a leaf of spinach counts as one vegetable.
If you ate all that, you would be obese, especially with the fruit which, as I always say, is God's dessert. Unless you are at a starvation weight, you don't need fruit. Fruit is just sugar, and you might just as well have some ice cream.
"What I like to do is to start businesses. It can be any kind of business, I've done everything from restaurants to specialty wire manufacturers. Most fail, some struggle along, some do OK, and occasionally there is a home run. It's great fun, all of it."
"I'll have the niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years."
Real, or apocryphal?
Is there any justification for that in a free country?
We debated the topic at dinner last night. At the end, I had to admit that sentiment and tradition were not adequate reasons for laws and, especially, criminalization. When I (rarely) refuse my hubbie nighttime pleasures, he has been known to mumble "I shoulda been a Mormon." I know he'd enjoy a threesome, in fantasy anyway, but that's not how I roll. I am a traditionalist.
Related: Does Amy Chua have it wrong?
How Do Trees Survive Winter? (video)
Sugaring your way through college
I would hope so
Seahawks, Broncos, Manning -- what men really need to know about Super Bowl XLVIII:
College Athletes Move to Unionize
Racist Al Gore Tells World Economic Forum: Africa’s Population Is a Problem That Must Be Addressed
Charlie Crist — beyond flip-flopping
Brit Hume: In Good Times, In Bad Times, In War and In Peace, The Hurt Feelings Industry Always Thrives
1991 Radio Shack ad: 13 electronic products for $5k (and 290 hrs. work) can now be replaced with a $200 iPhone (10 hrs.)
Why Obama is over
California prof's required reading paints Usama bin Laden as a freedom fighter
Learned that from my Mom. She was all about keeping her life simple but she sure enjoyed grand luxe for a change of pace.
Wednesday, January 29. 2014
Why does it matter? It's a business, and makes money for the school. This is not news. Universities have become businesses, and, often, big ones. They serve their consumers.
As a parent, would you pay for this? College Offers Full-Credit Course on Beyoncé
Who is Beyonce, anyway?
I've reflected a little bit about our post about attire, posted yesterday. It was clearly about white-collar and professional work dress, but the general point about signaling is well-taken. People signal their real, or wannabe, personae.
It's impossible not to be signaling. It's what animals do. And if we wear nothing at all, that's a strong signal too.
A friend recently showed me his new Elmer Fudd hat that he bought on a skiing trip in Jackson Hole. A red-and-black-checked thing with a black tassel on top. Canadian hat. Hilarious-looking thing, but he could pull it off. He called it a Beaver-Trapping Hat...and I'm sure it attracts female glances of various sorts. It looks sort-of like this, but black and red checks:
For professional women in the early-mid stages of their careers (ie pre-Chanel and pre-St. John), we recommend Nora Gardner's line of conservative but flexible day-to-night attire for gals who are going places in life:
The UBS Dress Code - it's a poor translation. h/t reader
The phony folk music movement and its commies: Pete Seeger: The Communist Consumers Loved h/t AVI
The "Big Dick" - A Kinder, Gentler Magazine Subscription Incentive
Marry Your Like: Assortative Mating and Income Inequality
New Male Health Studies Program Decried As Anti-Women
Want To Reduce Income/Wealth Inequality? Abolish The Engine Of Inequality - The Federal Reserve
Sultan: In government policy, The Solution is the Problem
Actually, We Won the War on Poverty - And sorry liberals: It was conservative ideas that did it
Power to the
This Detroit neighborhood is
Graph below from When Did Global Warming Begin?
Tuesday, January 28. 2014
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:33 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:55 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Do the clothes make the man (or woman)? Of course not, but they do make a statement and they do make a difference.
When I used to be a slob and tended to dress down, a friend told me to check out this only-slightly outdated text: John T. Molloy's New Dress for Success.
There is also one for women: How to Dress for Success.
It's better to have three good suits or three good work dresses than to have closets full of mediocre stuff. If you have business or professional ambitions, look the part. I own only three good, conservative suits, but plenty of Brooks Brothers ties and shirts for variation. Forgot, also a summer suit. I have three sports jackets for "informal Fridays" and for church, etc. A blazer and two tweeds.
I have just three pairs of expensive dress shoes for work; brown, cordovan, and black. They ought to be good for 20-30 years at least. Somebody once told me that people always check out your footwear, and it is true. I never do that, but other people do.
If you look professional, chances are that you will be treated that way. It sounds shallow, but the way a person presents himself in public, comports himself, grooms himself, speaks, his posture, all makes a huge difference in a world in which people only have time for quick takes and generally are not very interested in you because they know enough people already. After all, how you look is your decision about how you have chosen to present yourself to others. If you look like a schlub, people will assume that that is what you are or what you aspire to. If you look too natty, or whorish, conclusions will also be drawn.
We identify ourselves, introduce ourselves, before we open our mouths. Do I appraise people on their appearance? Of course I do. Everybody does. It's termed "signaling." It's not always accurate for sure, but it's a rule of thumb for people with little time.
Here's a good obit.
When Doing Good Means You’re Bad - Charitable giving ought to be something we applaud—but in some cases it gets exactly the opposite reaction
A Super Bowl Must: Chicken Wings
Universal pre-K remains a dubious idea
Unionized government child care
Ben and Jerry's Foundation BEN AND JERRY'S FOUNDATION BEN AND JERRY'S\
Thank’ee, kind sir: John Prescott overtips a chambermaid in Cuba
The D’Souza Arrest: Obama Adopts the Stalinist Style
A Pen, a Phone, and a Flailing President - The White House's problem might not be strategies and tactics. It might be Obama himself.
Payday lenders: Obama's 'Operation Choke Point' Will Only Hurt Working Poor
Ezra Klein's New Website Vox Will Tell You What to Think About the News
You won't believe this new ambassador (video)
Top Benghazi Official at State Not Fired – But Promoted!
James Bowman on Lone Survivor
Be Angry with the Iranians, Mr. President, and Yourself
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