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.
From Scruton's The great swindle - From pickled sharks to compositions in silence, fake ideas and fake emotions have elbowed out truth and beauty:
Faking depends on a measure of complicity between the perpetrator and the victim, who together conspire to believe what they don’t believe and to feel what they are incapable of feeling. There are fake beliefs, fake opinions, fake kinds of expertise. There is also fake emotion, which comes about when people debase the forms and the language in which true feeling can take root, so that they are no longer fully aware of the difference between the true and the false. Kitsch is one very important example of this. The kitsch work of art is not a response to the real world, but a fabrication designed to replace it. Yet both producer and consumer conspire to persuade each other that what they feel in and through the kitsch work of art is something deep, important and real.
Anyone can lie. One need only have the requisite intention — in other words, to say something with the intention to deceive. Faking, by contrast, is an achievement.
I am studying up as I gradually learn about the places I am scheduled (by my tour planner, Mrs. BD) to visit over the next couple of weeks. I regret that our contributor, Roger de Hauteville, King of Sicily, cannot accompany us because I am sure he would have some good historical reminiscences from the time of his reign.
The Mediterranean world went through some or most of these cultural phases (or empires) which you can mix and match according to location:
Native folks Greek imperialists/colonists and/or Phoenician mercantilists Romans Byzantine Romans, Saracens, Vandals and other civilized barbarians Moslem invaders from the East, and later Ottomans Vikings/Normans European medieval and later Kingdoms (eg Hapsburgs, Bourbons, Dukes of Savoy, etc). Modern nationalism (with their own periodic wars of conquest)
Sicily experienced pretty much every bit of that sequence, which is how the Norman Roger de Hauteville became King of Sicily.
Best as I can tell thus far (I have a pile of books I am getting through), Sicily's high point was around 200 BC when it was still a Greek culture (Syracuse was considered the finest city in Magna Graecia), when the Syracusan Archimedes was busy discovering and inventing things in the old Greek way.
It's been downhill for Sicily since the kingdoms were abolished in the 1860s during the unification of Italy as a nation. But never unified, really. The "maffia" filled the power vacuum, and today they basically run the island. (Most people in Sicily speak Sicilian, if not Italian also. "Maffioso" is Sicilian for an entrepreneurial braggart or bully. It has been estimated that 80% of Sicily's businesses pay protection money to the Mafia, and Sicily's main exports are oranges, lemons, population (impossible to build a new biz there due to the mob "tax", so energetic people leave for the US and northern Italy and Europe) - and organized crime.
Despite their Greek history (genetically, Sicilians are a mix of European, Greek, and African), most Europeans to the north (which is all of them) look down on them just as the Romans look down on the Neapolitans, and the Italian Swiss look down on Romans - and even the Tuscans.
It's a lovely island, with around a 5 million population. The rural areas, the active volcanoes, and the well-preserved Greek ruins are the main attractions, and I plan to explore them.
Thanks to AGW, looks like we're in for two days of soaking rain. That's perfect timing, because I did all of my Spring fertilizing this weekend: lawn, perennial gardens, shrubs, Raspberries - and Holly-Tone for the Rhodies, azaleas, hollies, etc. (I also put down Preen on most of the flower gardens. It saves a lot of trouble to put it down before the first weed seeds germinate.)
It makes sense to fertilize before things green up, because the roots wake up hungry and begin growing many weeks before anything green emerges. Early Spring is when roots do most of their growing.
My grass should be happy this year because I plugged it last year. Big power plugger, a bitch of a machine to handle. I went over all of it twice. The plugs disappear fast.
This 2003 movie, which had the misfortune of being overshadowed by Gibson's The Passion and was never released in theaters, would make a good Christmas present.
Sticking tightly to the language and sequence of this very literary Gospel which was written 2 centuries after Christ's death, the 3-hour version captures all of the key moments of Christ's ministry, and is especially good at capturing the rabble-rousing, reckless and provocative style of his ministry and its inevitable culmination on the cross. It's easy to see why people wanted him out of the way - he was a big trouble-maker and no-one was insulated from his demands or his harsh judgements. Not a go-with-the-flow guy, and John depicts more the Jesus of Truth than the sweet Jesus of Love, yet love of God is the whole story.
The role of Pilate is small but fascinating, and made it clear that we are all Pilates. What would I have done? Probably what Pilate did. Captain Vere in Billy Budd. The story of Pilate is a Greek tragedy, and I feel sympathy for his fate. My only complaint about the film is that Jesus spends more time talking about his relationship with God than he does preaching the rest of his message that was to change the world. I am not a Bible student - but that focus is a reflection of John's Gospel, which was a message to gentiles - "He is in me and I am in Him" - obviously not a message designed to engage the Jews of the time: "Crucify him. Crucify him."
The Jews were not quite ready for a Messiah, nor is anyone, anywhere, any time. How are we to know whether a messiah is the real thing? Pilate is us, and the Jews are us. A holy dream in which we ourselves play every role, as we do in all dreams. Anyway, powerful and very moving stuff, and the narration by Plummer adds a lot.
I posted this once before, but it still cracks me up. Besides being a slice of life of a piece of NYC, it does a great job of depicting/satirizing one subculture of NYC. You have to know a bit about the Jewish subculture of the NYC environs to fully get it. More real than satire, though, according to a BD daughter who is not Jewish but knows the scene.
The real message of this is that, no matter how dorky you are, a strong self-confidence can go a long way. Lubel does a great job with that. He's a very cool dork, with a posse, too. I knew guys like him, and always wondered why they got so many chicks. As Sipp emailed me, rhyming Giapetto with Warsaw Ghetto gets a gold star.
Acting confident is a chick magnet, no matter what you look like or what your resume looks like.
I plan to turn on every piece of electric I have. Make some banana/strawberry daiguiris with the blender, too. Electricity is the greatest invention ever, and it deserves one hour of celebration and gratitude.
It's not really the nanny state, it's tort lawyers driving the nonsense. We did wild and crazy things when I was a kid, including BB gun battles and stone-throwing battles. We made bonfires in the woods, and swam in the reservoir in our underwear. We stole our parents' cigarettes and smoked them in the woods. Of course, that was not on school property. I was a tomboy.
We broke our arms and our legs, got banged up, and got lost. Good adventures, good training for life. I got to the point where getting lost was a fun challenge.
"Even with its too-high, too-fast assumptions, the recently leaked draft of the IPCC impacts report makes clear that when it comes to the effect on human welfare, "for most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers," such as economic growth and technology, for the rest of this century. If temperatures change by about 1C degrees between now and 2090, as Mr. Lewis calculates, then the effects will be even smaller.
Indeed, a small amount of warming spread over a long period will, most experts think, bring net improvements to human welfare. Studies such as by the IPCC author and economist Professor Richard Tol of Sussex University in Britain show that global warming has probably done so already. People can adapt to such change—which essentially means capture the benefits but minimize the harm. Satellites have recorded a roughly 14% increase in greenery on the planet over the past 30 years, in all types of ecosystems, partly as a result of man-made CO2 emissions, which enable plants to grow faster and use less water."
Fasten Your Seat Belts – Yet Again? – Fabled money manager, Jeremy Grantham did a recent, rather sharp-edge interview with Fortune. He was very critical of Fed policies, claiming they were ineffective and/or counterproductive. At the end, he seems to be looking for an imminent roller coaster ride in the stock market. Here's a bit:
Okay, but then I guess that means you think stocks are going higher? I thought I had read your prediction that the market would disappoint investors.
We do think the market is going to go higher because the Fed hasn't ended its game, and it won't stop playing until we are in old-fashioned bubble territory and it bursts, which usually happens at two standard deviations from the market's mean. That would take us to 2,350 on the S&P 500, or roughly 25% from where we are now.
So are you putting your client's money into the market?
No. You asked me where the market is headed from here. But to invest our clients' money on the basis of speculation being driven by the Fed's misguided policies doesn't seem like the best thing to do with our clients' money. We invest our clients' money based on our seven-year prediction. And over the next seven years, we think the market will have negative returns. The next bust will be unlike any other, because the Fed and other centrals banks around the world have taken on all this leverage that was out there and put it on their balance sheets. We have never had this before. Assets are overpriced generally. They will be cheap again. That's how we will pay for this. It's going to be very painful for investors.
Cosmology is enough to make anybody feel mentally ill, disoriented. The very notions of space-time, and of infinity, scramble my brain and make me think about God.
Here's a good piece on the latest: Proof of the Big Bang - A stunning discovery made at a research station in Antarctica indicates that Albert Einstein was right about the nature of the universe:
The colossal forces of inflation caused the fabric of space-time – a concept introduced by Einstein as a way of reconciling gravity, motion and time – to start wobbling, like the surface of a sea subjected to an earthquake. One objection to relativity was that no one had evidence that violent events can make gravity form waves like this. Now they have.
Simple and delicious. I think adding chicken ruins it, but some people prefer it like that. Bean sprouts are essential, as are chopped scallions on top. I usually sprinkle more soy sauce on top after it's done.
Angel Hair or Thin spaghetti are right for this. When you think about it, is normal-sized spaghetti good for anything? I don't think so. I hate it because the flavor/pasta ratio is too low with it.
Arrested for Public Consumption of Iced Tea Urged to Take a “Deal” from
Prosecutors - See more at:
http://www.thedailysheeple.com/man-arrested-for-public-consumption-of-iced-tea-urged-to-take-a-deal-from-prosecutors_032014#sthash.0kaZdyYd.dpufBoko Haram: How a Militant Islamist Group Emerged in Nigeria
Isn't all sex recreational in some sense of the word? Eating is recreational too, in part, and they are both fun. Well, unless these things are dutiful chores which they can be, sometimes, for some people.
What's wrong with recreational sex (eg FB's, friends with benefits, dorm trios - meaning studly guy plus 2 playful and adventurous gal roomies, one-nighters, etc) among the uncommitted? And isn't lots of marital sex really recreational, in some sense, anyway? If not "casual" - see "kitchen table sex."
It's a serious question. In the old days, people married in their teens so that an extended period of sexual ache, longing, and loneliness was more or less taken care of. Of course, we all have our morals, scruples, religions, ethics, and considerations for the feelings of others to take into account. That's the issue, isn't it?
Frequent sexual and romantic thoughts and desires are, for better or worse, a routine part of being human. People can fall into love, lust, or desire readily. (They can fall out of those things too, fairly readily.) I am constantly reminded in my work about how prevalent, but far from universal, recreational sex is among the young, and among older singles. (No, I am not one who views sex as sacramental but more as an animal aspect of humanity with an overlay, so to speak, of a hundred other meanings. In my youth, I think I was too sentimental, religious, soulful, respectful - and controlled - to ever have been a party girl. Some regrets? Not saying. My fantasies are exciting, but private.)