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
Thursday, August 28. 2014
Wednesday, August 27. 2014
A former reporter and editor in the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press writes about what journalists get so wrong. It's all well worth reading:
A reporter working in the international press corps here understands quickly that what is important in the Israel-Palestinian story is Israel. If you follow mainstream coverage, you will find nearly no real analysis of Palestinian society or ideologies, profiles of armed Palestinian groups, or investigation of Palestinian government. Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate....
Readers know the BD is a lover of marshes and swamps. They are full of life - more than any other form of habitat.
When a dike was built across the Herring River in the late 1800s, the tidal flow was interrupted and the river began silting up and turning into fresh water. A few years ago, the bridge was reconstructed to permit a full tidal exchange without removing the road dike.
The phragmites is dying out, spartina is returning, and the tidal flow is vigorous. Environmental successes usually come in small pieces.
Deep in town, a railroad dike was built in the late 1800s to carry vacationers and mail to Wellfleet - and to carry fish and oysters to NYC. This dike also impeded free tidal flow and caused the inner harbor to silt up. Tall ships used to dock in there. The pilings of the railroad bridge on the dike remain:
I doubt that the village would spend any $ to remove the old dike.
Here's my challenge to the town of Wellfleet: re-open the dike between the marina and the marsh behind it - the marsh that begins behind
All it needs is a simple 30-40' bridge there to de-silt and salinate the old marsh.
Addendum: Thanks to commenters for some corrections.
In my view, of course not. Science cannot even answer science questions but can only offer up their best theories du jour. Just ask Feynman. That's what he always said. Science is a method of pursuit, rarely gives us permanent facts.
About Sam Harris’ Claim That Science Can Answer Moral Questions
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:50 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
That's an assertion by AVI, but I don't know whether he refers to high school or college students. Presumably every college-bound kid would have taken Alg ll in high school, if not AB Calc (most do that too, it seems). He also says:
I'm not sure what I think about this. How much math is enough to make a person functional and numerically-literate, and how much to be considered well-educated? I think all of these areas are excellent training for rigorous and critical thinking. It's basically a logical language, and seems best approached that way.
I have heard experts say that around 5-10% of high school grads are truly eager and ready for rigorous higher ed. The rest are just postponing adulthood.
Nice choice of lunches. Can they deliver weed and coke?
I can use words like hammers, and be paid for it. I do. But I won't do it here.
Elite schools are still mostly attended by wealthy people
Why “S&P 2000″ Is A Fed Manufactured Mirage: The “Buy The Dips” Chart That Says It All
Who-d a-thunk it? Total tax costs in Canada are 46.4% lower than in the US, and Burger King wants to move there?
Politicians feel businesses work for government and their only function is a source of tax revenue
The Democratic Shift to the Left:
Whopper Donut Cheeseburgers, Eh?
It’s come to this: The War on Bacon is real
Dealing Honestly with ‘White Privilege’ - What do people mean when they evoke "white privilege"?
How Megyn Kelly reveals her racism - by paternalism
A STATE WITHOUT BORDERS – Governor Brown Welcomes ALL ILLEGALS to California
VDH: The Madness of 2008 - A nation became unhinged by trivialities like “hope and change.” It has now awakened.
Tuesday, August 26. 2014
From our sandy back yard
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:54 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
I always figured that it was because my friends are friendlier, wittier, and more fun than I am.
Drizzled with a little olive oil and salted, all of these are tasty: red onion, peppers, asparagus, tomato, summer squash slices, potato slices, pineapple, apple, etc. Anything can be grilled, and it keeps you outdoors.
Best way to grill corn on the cob? Soak them in the husks in a bucket of water for an hour or two, then strip off the roughest outer husks, then toss on grill. When the husks brown a little and the flossy stuff burns, they are done. A little salt to serve - no butter.
(A good, non-academic intro is Tom Sowell's Basic Economics (2nd Edition): A Citizen's Guide to the Economy.)
We all seek all of the kinds of basic literacy we can attain: Moral, Religious, Mathematical and Scientific, Historical, Literary, Artistic, Recreational, etc., but it's a never-ending pursuit because life is so full of riches. Most of us join the heavenly choir before the job is done. Either that, or begin to forget what we once knew and need to start at the beginning again.
For example, at lunch I have been trying to figure out how Hannibal fed his 90,000 troops, plus the elephants and horses, during his march from Carthaginian Spain over into what is now called Italy around 218 BC. I learned about it once, but have forgotten. Talk about logistics...
Prof. Jacobson found this: New study finds economic illiteracy correlates with political preferences. I find that basic economic illiteracy is rampant, and thus is replaced by emotion.
Everybody knows that there is a dysfunctional black urban subculture, and that there is not a single thing that liberal white folks can do about it.
There are deeply dysfunctional white, mostly rural, subcultures too, but nobody cares at all about them. There will always be people on the fringes of society.
I work alongside black Americans. They are totally normal nice people. Living in NYC, I no longer even notice race, ethnicity, etc anymore. A waste of mental bandwidth. But when I (rarely) encounter a member of my tribe (New England Christians, gun-owning Red Sox fans with some immigrant blood), it's a fun moment of reunion. A shock of recognition.
Surber: Ferguson is about white guilt
Bill O’Reilly gets schooled on white privilege by Megyn Kelly
Happens to me all the time. "You're white - so let me give you a great job with more money than you want, and I will never fire you. Plus free cupcakes." Being white is way cool.
Monday, August 25. 2014
Photo below is the Marsh Mallow plant which is a native of marshy areas in the Old World, now wild in North America. You can read about it here.
Apparently it is easy to make your own Marshmallows at home.
I prefer my Marshmallows plain, on a stick over an open fire, preferably permitted to burst into flame to produce a black crust before blowing them out. Few can resist some campfire S'mores, but I can. Too sweet for me.
In three years, any ordinary, motivated kid can get through the HS basics: Essay-writing, grammar, basics of research papers, math up to or through Calc 1, American History, World History, Bio, Literature-reading, Chem, Physics, Civics, and whatever.
Why not just complete HS requirements as quick as you can, and then leave?
I still do not understand the mission of Middle School.
"[W]ealth is, for most people, the only honest and likely path to liberty. With money comes power over the world. Men are freed from drudgery, women from exploitation. Businesses can be started, homes built, communities formed, religions practiced, educations pursued. But liberals aren't very interested in such real and material freedoms. They have a more innocent -- not to say toddlerlike -- idea of freedom. Liberals want the freedom to put anything into their mouths, to say bad words and to expose their private parts in art museums."
P. J. O'Rourke
Sunday, August 24. 2014
We noted in our piece on Visiting Colleges that responsible parents can decide what their kids need to learn in college, even if they go somewhere with minimal core requirements.
This should not be left to the kids to decide, because 1. It's too important 2. We know better than they do what they need to know to be educated adults with an openness to the richness of life, 3. We should have our own ideas about what we want our own kids to know (eg, any kid who doesn't know basic geology is a bore), 4. Colleges, in their pandering to students, tend to not want to tell them what they need to know, and 5. Who pays the piper calls the tune.
Here's an example of Mom and Pop's Minimum Required College Courses for a Liberal Arts education, regardless of major or interests (these can be met with High School APs or equivalent too):
Math and Science: Math through at least first year calc (BC calc), Statistics, Bio with lab, Physics with lab, Chem with lab, Geology intro, Astronomy
General: History of Western Thought (or Western Civ, or whatever it might be called), Art History Survey, Music History Survey, a political science course, Micro and Macro Economics, a Bible-based Christian Theology course, Intro to Accounting (if you can find something like that in a fancy college. If not, take over the summer at a local college. It will be a huge help to anything a person does in life, including volunteer jobs.)
History: American History, European History, Classical History
Literature: Shakespeare plus 2 other lit courses
This is a minimal foundation for "lifetime learning" and reading. A young person with this foundation ought to be able to discuss almost any subject that comes up - if maybe only superficially - and to know how to learn more about it efficiently when they want or need to do so. Corny but true.
nb: Before you debate me on this, note that these are minimal requirements. You ain't eddicated if you don't know this stuff. Of course, you can get it all at Great Courses.com, cheaper and better and without exams.
Please don't do this when there is a line of ten people at a busy Dunkin Donuts in Wellfleet at 9 am, as happened on Thursday:
A chubby short gal around 40 finally gets to the front of the line. Nice lady asks her for her order. "Let me think," as she scans the overhead menu which has been in full view of the line. She decides on the #8. OK. Then, "but can I have it on a croissant instead of a bagel?" Nice lady says OK. Then, "I want extra mayo on that too."
Everybody in line is now rolling their eyes.
Nice lady explains that DD has no mayo at all. Short gal takes time to express her disappointment in DD. I'm thinking "Does she think this is a restaurant?"
Then she has to decide on how she wants her coffee. Decides on cream and double fake sugar, of course, because only fat people and anorectics use fake sugar. The nice lady at the counter then rings her up.
For some women in lines, this requirement to pay always comes as a surprise. She starts rummaging through her bag to try to find her freaking wallet amongst all the crap in there, and has to go through her change purse too. (Ever notice how guys always have the money in their hands when they order?)
She doesn't say "Thank you." I think she is still pissed about the mayo.
Don't be like this.
I eventually got to order two small black coffees, and asked the lady for extra mayo with them, and got a good jolly laugh out of her. One of my jobs in life is to lighten the loads of service people.
Paul's Letter to the Romans 12:1-8
Wellfleet is for swimming.
My niece is an ocean lifeguard out there. Cool job.
Lots of seals swimming off that stretch of beach. Harbor Seals or Grey Seals? I could not tell. Happy seals, anyway.
Saturday, August 23. 2014
Took this pic of a clamming boat coming into dock in Wellfleet in September a couple of years ago. The refrigerated truck will arrive just as he ties up.
Those are Sea Clams which are harvested along the Northeast coast by dredging, from deeper water than the Quahog of the tidal flats but much shallower waters than those inhabited by the deep-sea Ocean Clam. Here are Sea Clams up close:
Sea Clams are the main processed clam in the US, and their shells are commonly used as ashtrays.
The hard-shelled clam, the Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria - why that name?) is the clam of Atlantic US estuaries and tidal flats. It tastes better, in my opinion, than the Sea Clam - especially when you dig them yourself. Unlike the Sea Clam, you eat the Quahog feathers and all: Littlenecks and Cherrystones - and the chowder-sized Quahogs.
This is from Thoreau's Cape Cod:
The entirety of Thoreau's report of his amusing 1849-1867 ramblings, Cape Cod, can be read here.