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
Sunday, April 27. 2014
The Sheffield, MA Congregational Church, built 1760, getting a new paint job. Photo taken Friday. I suspect, but do not know for sure, that the front piece was added later. That was not unusual with the churches of this era - sometimes they added columns in front and called it a "porch." I am not sure whether the steeple was 1760 - doubt it but need to check. It looks like the front projection and the steeple were added on at the same time. The Congregationalists were (are) not into fancy. For example, find me a Congo Church with A/C, and I will go there. Just kidding - will go anyway. Especially if they have quit the UCC.
However, steeples were considered too fancy, too Anglican, too Catholic, for the early church architects. They built "meeting houses," not "churches." Boxes with windows. The bell steeples which were added later on often became structural nightmares, as in my home church. They begin to tip, over time. Frivolous, in my opinion, but now considered "traditional." Funny how what is traditional changes over time - I do not need to be pointed to where God is, and he ain't up in the sky. But steeples are fine, dramatic things, all the same. Sky is a good metaphor.
Saturday, April 26. 2014
You might not be interested in geopolitics, but geopolitics is interested in you. A good summary, from Mead: The Return of Geopolitics - The Revenge of the Revisionist Powers
Fun scene from Dylan's film Masked and Anonymous. I love the way Goodman refers to the "famous acts" at the end of this bit - and the sly comment to Gandhi.
Does Dylan remind of Charlie Chaplin? Goodman would make a good Falstaff.
I have this bird at my feeder in Southern New England. Why they are called "red-bellied" is beyond me because it sure is not a distinctive feature. They are fairly common up here. Wacka-wacka-wacka.
More about the Red-Bellied at CLO
Alaskan Polar Bears Threatened…By Too Much Spring Ice.
They do acknowledge the rather obvious fact that bears have legs and go to where the food is. They can swim for miles, too, and seem to like to do that.
"Don't immanentize the eschaton."
William F. Buckley Jr. - His campaign slogan when he ran for mayor if NYC, and yes, it was on bumper stickers
A reader sent that pic of an Osprey last week
Pet duck attack leads to neighbor's $275,000 injury lawsuit
Warren: Of music & politics
Code Duello: The Rules of Dueling
McInnes defends drug use
Traditional taxi cartels are doomed as on-demand ridesharing services take off
Vanguard’s Bogle: “It’s Better To Have High-Frequency Trading Than Not”
The Folly of Germany’s Plan to Lower Its Retirement Age
A brief summary of Cultural Marxism
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Western Feminists Life Safe, Soft Decadent Lives,
Why Does Nation Tolerate A Habitual Liar As President?
Williamson on the politics of poverty
All we need is fourteen lines, well, thirteen now,
Friday, April 25. 2014
Still no links found. No links found for diet and heart disease, either.
Nutrition remains folklore, magic, superstition, and there is essentially no science in it except to avoid scurvy and Beriberi. Of course, being overweight predisposes to almost all medical ailments except starvation. If you do not want to be fat, quit those tasty carbs and try to satisfy yourself with something else like reading blogs, or sex, or doing unto others. If you want to be strong, exercise hard or do physical labor. Otherwise, quit with the magical thinking and accept that death will arrive (unbidden usually) no matter what you do.
People hate to accept that reality because it feels powerless. Well, people don't dine on sacred offerings to gods anymore, and food is no longer magic medicine.
Vegetables and fruit? I do not particularly enjoy them so I am always pleased that they supposedly don't matter. For me, vegetables are just an excuse to eat the olive oil or butter. About fruit, when I get the impulse, I will occasionally eat a whole lemon or a whole lime, skin and all. Oranges are too sweet for me. Otherwise, fruit is good only for cheese. Pears, especially.
Somebody recently told me that they refused to donate to the American Heart Assoc. because she preferred to go by heart attack rather than by cancer. Well, those are the two main choices on life's menu these days, with the eradication of many infectious diseases. Carpe diem, and pursue what your soul needs before it's too late.
I am grateful that my needs are simple other than Jimmy Choos, that my life is rich and complete, and that food is not very important to me other than Shad Roe and caviar.
Interview with the smart columnist David Harsanyi, a good American rebel.
He's entirely right: the US is a constitutional republic, not a democracy. He's is also right that democracy needs to be close to home or it loses its valence.
My pic above is Newport, RI. Nice little town in the most corrupt mob-union state in the US.
Mark Twain on dueling
Nutrition should be considered folklore
Limbaugh Back After Week Off for Second Cochlear Implant
Ladies' Home Journal to End 130-Year Run as Regular Magazine
at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert* - See more at:
Student Goverment Votes to Change Oppresive, Racist ‘Utah Man’ Fight Song
The most interesting dilemmas are moral dilemmas.
The Dutch and their Moroccans
Asian-Americans, affirmative action, and the
Russia, India, China planning epic $30 Billion Oil Pipeline that could shift the Geopolitical balance
Guess Who Makes More Than Bankers: Bank Regulators
How did Harry Reid get so rich?
Even the WaPo: Keystone XL’s continued delay is absurd
SEAN HANNITY Responds to Cliven Bundy’s “Beyond Repugnant, Beyond Despicable” Racist Comments
Al Gore Is Not Giving Up
Small Businesses Figure Out How to Cope With Obamacare
Thursday, April 24. 2014
Sipp's post reminded me of Bob's amazing tune about his life:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:04 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Souvlaki, the way the Greeks make it. Greeks eat a lot of this stuff - it's the Greek hot dog or hamburger, like Gyros.
Marinate your pork cubes or slices, preferably overnight. You can add some bell pepper chunks for the skewers. Cook on charcoal grill with salt and pepper. (Sometimes people use lamb, chicken, or swordfish instead of pork.)
Serve on Pita roll or in a pita pocket with a little chopped lettuce, chopped tomato, chopped raw red onion if you want and even pickled hot peppers, and all topped with generous globs of Tzatziki Sauce.
(While on the topic of Tzatziki, I should mention that I believe it to be the best sauce that exists for poached fish, especially poached salmon. Baked salmon, too.)
Taco, gyro, burger, pizza, falafel, sushi, noodle soup, pho, bigalla, poutine, jerk chicken, covrigi, satay - all fast food and street food is good stuff around the world. Cheap and delicious.
Our favorite designer of professional womenswear (see Forbes: Nora Gardner Turns A Careerwear Challenge Into Winning Looks) has come out with...
... a line of men's polo shirts with her seahorse logo.
It's Spring up here, so I'm gonna get me one, in black. Be the first guy on your block to have one. Those Brooks Brother's dead sheep logos are so dorky, and the Ralph Lauren polo player is just plain gay, and nobody wants to be gay unless they are. A seahorse is cool, like Neptune.
Photo is a Nora Gardner day-to-night dress.
My initial thinking was that air flight is still safe, so if the issue is safety, that's odd. My wife replied, "It's perfectly rational. They think the Malaysian government has mishandled this and they're punishing the government by not traveling."
At first, I thought this was a good reply, but then I thought again. It's still irrational. For two reasons.
The first is a soft reason. 'Punishing' a government is something we all need to do. Governments very rarely do anything right or useful. One could argue the corruption and mismanagement in China is so pervasive, it would do the Chinese tourists well to fix their own government first. I don't know what they are doing, but given the state of affairs there, one could reasonably argue 'not much'. The same is true here, in the U.S., for us. It's a reasonable point, but it doesn't fully make a strong case for how irrational the Malaysian tourism behavior is.
The second reason is that the tourism isn't really hurting the government. Boycotts real people and businesses and rarely send a message to governments. People and businesses who had nothing to do with the missing plane or the mismanagement of the search are impacted. These people rely on tourists, particularly wealthy Chinese, to maintain themselves and their businesses. While it's true this impacts the Malaysian government in terms of taxes, and it could lead to a reversal for the ruling party in the next election. This may impact the current politicians, but is unlikely to yield any meaningful reform. Most importantly, along these lines, it's not expected to be long-lasting. For any meaningful impact, behavior like this would have to be consistent over time.
In the past, I've been guilty of thinking along similar lines when a foreign government didn't do something I thought was right. Over time, I've learned, assuming the government is the people is the wrong attitude. The two are frequently very different things. Chinese tourists may feel better about themselves by not traveling to Malaysia, but it's odd to think they are having any kind of impact, except on the business owners who rely on the stream of visitors they usually get.
We all know that chopping wood requires not necessarily strength, but style and positioning.
Sometimes a new design can help, too. Hooray for physics!
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:20 | Comments (11) | Trackbacks (0)
The US geography of chain coffee shops
Get Ready for Powdered Alcohol to Hit Liquor Stores This Fall
Bridal Lingerie Trends 2014
The Salmon are back! But the enviros are not happy
DH Lawrence, the f-word, and cold-hearted sex
The world-wide Rise of the Fatty
Is Sitting For Long Hours The New Smoking?
Cuz of global warmening, of course
Adding to ye olde blogroll: The Federalist
Matt Walsh hates affirmative action
The Dem Mead on Inequality Today: The Left-Liberal Narrative
Justice Sotomayor and the affirmative action bitter-enders have lost bigtime
I'll ask it again - what race is Obama?
Science and politics in the academy today
Yuk. Why do Republicans always do that?
Wednesday, April 23. 2014
Yikes! A friend of mine forwarded me this video. Not sure if it was a competition, but it seems to be given the spectators and the stunts. This not the kind of mountain biking I do, but I am impressed at the skill and guts. Can you smell the fear? Oh, that's me...
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:42 | Comments (8) | Trackback (1)
A stunning brief (14 min) documentary.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:38 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
I have written about Psychiatric diagnosis often here, and I re-post my pieces each year. It is a complicated topic, because Psychiatric complaints originate from all sorts of sources and usually multiple sources, and an exhaustive psychodynamic formulation is not always relevant to minor life problems.
When it is relevant, a serious formulation is a difficult thing to do unless one just casually links history to current complaints. That's not a real formulation.
The current fad in Psychiatry is the DSM, which a robot could do. In many situations a DSM "diagnosis" is nothing more than a list of complaints useful only for an insurance claim and has nothing to do with understanding an individual person.
Continue reading "You Didn't Build That, and We Want More"
Dr. Bliss queried about challenging and difficult things which can be intrinsically rewarding despite their effort, complexity, difficulty.
Making music has to be the highest of all hobbies, and understanding music perhaps comes second, but fly-fishing is one of the more humble but still somewhat complex things as are most absorbing hobbies, like woodworking to photography to baseball. Anybody is blessed to have one or two hobbies.
For those to whom fly-fishing is a mystery, here's one example of complexity: Fly Fishing Knot Tying Basics.
A reader sent that pic of an American Egret in New England, with dramatic breeding plumage.
Nepal's Sherpas Cancel the 2014 Climbing Season
Good riddance. The entire Everest Carnival is plain stupid. Unemployed Sherpas are welcome to apply for work at the Farm.
The 7500 Square Foot Soho Loft That Just Sold For $27 Million
Exploding student debt threatens families
The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest
We need more capitalism, not less: Piketty Gets It Wrong - Instead of berating capitalists, we need to make it easier for workers to join their ranks.
In the US, it's not the 0.01% of movie stars, rock stars, sports stars, hedgie stars, and NYC heiresses. It's the other end - single parents. Anyway, Piketty is French and thus not worth thinking about.
Mozilla, Duck Dynasty, Chick-fil-A, and the politicization of everything
I entirely agree with the administration on that. In fact, I would go much further.
Re Sotomayor: "Her argument amounts to an assertion that a ban on racial discrimination
CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend - Feds who send arms against ranch families betray American values