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
Wednesday, December 31. 2014
I was just informed by my social secretary that "we" had accepted a black tie cocktail party, and then later a late-night black tie dinner event with music and dancing, for tonight. I had been happy to imagine that we had no plans.
Glad I had my dress-up uniform cleaned. The rules which apply to me generally seem to be "Suit up and show up" - and shut up.
I hate New Year's Eve and I will never watch that idiotic Times Square thing, but I am a curmudgeon. Of course, I was there for that once in youth, and once was enough.
I will not have a drop of ETOH, and I do not like champagne, but I greatly enjoy the stimulating and amusing people we'll be seeing. I will ask our readers to be careful out there today. We need all of the live readers we can get, so drive defensively because there are lots of amateur drinkers out there.
Tomorrow, I am told, leg of lamb for family. I got Prosecca and a very nice Mt. Etna Rosso. Life goes on, God willing.
Best curmudgeonly wishes to all for a happy, healthy, grateful, and prosperous 2015.
Then I realized I was riding on the train to work for about the 7,000th time in my life, and I was likely to do it over and over again for another 6,000 or so rides. It was at that point I asked, "Hey God, where's my miracle?"
Almost as soon as that popped into my head, I realized how stupid I was. I contemplated this a bit further, though. Plenty of people pray to God for the things they want. Love, money, enjoyment, even critical things like surviving a difficult situation or just simply living through a debilitating disease. We all hope for God, or whatever being or entity we believe in, to provide us a miracle at some point.
I say "we all" because the old phrase "There are no atheists in foxholes" rings true to me. At some point, in everyone's life, we've asked a higher power for something.
So here I was, just lazily asking God for a miracle to help me not have to ride this train into the city anymore. Hardly worth asking for. But I asked it because I was being mentally lazy.
Atheists sometimes use the 'fact' that God doesn't 'answer' prayers as a proof that there is no God. I've never found that particularly compelling, for one reason.
Continue reading "A Thought about God While on the Train"
It's neither Protestant nor Catholic -it's from the excellent Anglican and Episcopalian Great Litany which is well-worth perusing once in a while:
That it may please thee to give us true repentance; to forgive us all our sins, negligences, and ignorances; and to endue us with the grace of thy Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to thy holy Word, we beseech thee to hear us, good Lord
Image swiped from Pirate
Steal Kate's style at Nora Gardner
Seabourne cruises on sale
Internet Explorer must die
The Thankless Persuasion - Review: Roger Scruton's 'How To Be A Conservative'
Daniel Mael: Badge of Courage at Brandeis
Walter Williams: Liberals' use of black people
Also from Williams: Black progression and retrogression
Stunning data on average compensation for municipal employees in California
Krauthammer: Pope Deserves Criticism on Global Warming Stance
Revisiting Tawana Brawley and Al Sharpton - There are similarities between the case of the 15-year-old Brawley, who cried rape, and today's grievance culture.
Tuesday, December 30. 2014
From Wikipedia, where I was doing some background research on various football teams:
In 1930, there were still many who questioned the quality of the professional game, claiming the college "amateurs" played with more intensity than professionals. In December 1930, the Giants played a team of Notre Dame All Stars at the Polo Grounds to raise money for the unemployed of New York City. It was also an opportunity to establish the skill and prestige of the pro game. Knute Rockne reassembled his Four Horsemen along with the stars of his 1924 Championship squad and told them to score early, then defend. Rockne, like much of the public, thought little of pro football and expected an easy win. But from the beginning it was a one-way contest, with Friedman running for two Giant touchdowns and Hap Moran passing for another. Notre Dame failed to score. When it was all over, Coach Rockne told his team, "That was the greatest football machine I ever saw. I am glad none of you got hurt." The game raised $100,000 for the homeless, and is often credited with establishing the legitimacy of the professional game for those who were critical.
Not an insubstantial sum, it represented .6% of per capita government welfare spending in the New York area. Total government (federal, state, and local) spending in 1930 was $11.9bb and only $300mm was on welfare. By 1934, those totals were $12.8bb and $1.0bb. By 1940, the same figures were $20.4bb and $2.1bb.
For all the problems the NFL faces, there is still plenty to feel good about, though I don't think it would be easy to match that $1.4mm figure today, unless all the ticket receipts were just turned over.
How Ebola Roared Back. For a fleeting moment last spring, the epidemic sweeping West Africa might have been stopped. But the opportunity to control the virus, which has now caused more than 7,800 deaths, was lost.
Regulation gone wild – Christmas lights are the next target of nanny state thinking
Cracking the Sitcom Code - After signing up to write a script for Croatian television, I learned that virtually all TV comedies, from Seinfeld to South Park, follow a simple formula.
Let Them Eat Quiche: How the Local Food Movement Swerved Right
Should adultery be illegal?
In LA, CBS Station Pretends There Was a Real Kwanzaa Parade
LA, CBS Station Pretends There Was a Real Kwanzaa Parade - See more
Michigan Has More Food Stamp Recipients Than Students
Pope Francis to Lead Fight Against Global Warming Junk Science
Will Elizabeth Warren sell ‘outside the bubble’?
When Republican Nixon Listened to Liberal Moynihan
Drug prohibition and mass incarceration
116 foreign fighters who had joined Islamic State but later wanted to return home, were executed in the Syrian provinces of Deir Al-Zor, Raqqa and Hassakeh since November.
Monday, December 29. 2014
The post I was writing was specific to the riots in Ferguson. Then Eric Garner's Grand Jury results came in and it morphed. Then my ultra-liberal sister posted an article about how white people simply can't understand the black narrative and we need to be sensitive to why they feel the way they do about cops. This was followed by a discussion over a post by my friend which supported the #crimingwhilewhite tweeters. Then I picked up my son from college and heard about how 'white privilege' is now a hot topic among his classmates. Finally, two cops were shot and buried in the last week. I spent time trying to decide whether this was a post about race, cops, or something else altogether. In the end, I realized it's probably a number of things, because there wasn't just one narrative here. Brown and Garner were not about race, no matter how much people wanted them to be. Nor were they only about how bad cops are, or can be. Nor was any of this about how poorly the media handles these topics, or how those who consider themselves the intellectual elite manage the discussion. It's really about all of these items, but none of them, either. Ultimately, in the end, it's about each of us and how we individually think about unconnected events which we try to connect through some kind of hive mentality. It's about whether we really care about these events, and how we care about them.
At first, I planned to discuss how far we'd come in race relations. We have come very far. It's impossible to look at how we deal with race today and say we are in the same place we were in any year from 1880-2000. My friend said that improvement is relative, that we have further to go. Perhaps we do. But I'm not benchmarking myself against an unclear ideal which no group of people fully agree on. What will represent the final 'best' format of race in our nation? Nobody knows. All we can do is be aware of ourselves, individually, and try to be better about how we treat people when it comes to race, gender, nationality and religion. I include all of these together because as a society we have issues in every single one of these categories. We need to stop letting one word, used out of place or out of context, produce rage. We need to ignore things like "trigger words", which are nothing more than words which certain people have designated for censorship because they lack the courage to accept that language is malleable and can sometimes offend even slightly. As a nation, we need a real dialogue. Not about race, in particular. We need a dialogue about values and what is truly important. Race may be part of that value structure, but it's only a small part. Individual responsibility is really the larger value structure we need to focus on. Responsibility for our own health, our own minds, our own speech and our own education. We can't let small parts of the 'society' value chain derail us from the goal of crafting a nation which is unified entirely by how different each person is.
Continue reading "I Do Care about race relations"
Sometimes I feel strongly that politics is important, and at other times I believe that they are all big government scoundrels and that America would be best off with a philosopher-king with perfect integrity, as long as it were me. I'd hate the job.
This is interesting: 2014: The Year the Democratic Party Death Watch Resumed
Josef Cardinal Ratzinger on Christmas
Hollywood Barbarian - Column: The Romantic genius of John Milius
Ask the Captain: Is a Gulfstream smoother than a big jet?
Dave Barry's Year in Review
Why Airlines Want to Make You Suffer
Self-defense is a constitutional right
Driscoll: Death Wish VI: On the Turning Away
Not Showing Up To Riot Is A Failed Conservative Policy
Obama, a One-Man Revolution - In his “fourth quarter,” he feels free to ignore popular opinion, the rule of law, and Congress.
Hillary Clinton Shifting Left to Meet Democrat Base
Egypt Bans Ridley Scott’s ‘Exodus’ Over ‘Historical Inaccuracies’
Sunday, December 28. 2014
Not many interesting birds around thus far this winter, but a Red Tail Hawk has been screaming at me all day from the top of a Sugar Maple. I've been hauling firewood, which seems to annoy. My regular Great Horned Owls are of course hooting each morning at 4:30.
Which reminds me that on Christmas afternoon a Bald Eagle flew right over my roof. Not an everyday occurrence here. I mentioned it to Mrs. BD and she said "Oh yeah, they have been nesting down on --- Road this summer. Watched them raising their chicks every morning on my morning exercise walk with friends."
Sheesh. Could have mentioned that to me. I, the Bird Dog, would have been interested.
Wonderful to see those big fish eagles coming back. I didn't think it could happen, but then I never expected the Ospreys to come back so strongly either. Or, God knows, the Wild Turkeys. The resilience of nature is a wonder.
I was glad to inherit my Mom's huge and complete set of Cuthbertson Christmas china - including the coffee cups. She kept expanding it, so the designs vary a little as the company made minor changes over the years.
My sibs still get to use and see them here at the Maggie's HQ, every Christmastime. It is sentimental for all of us.
Like most nice stuff, they are not ok for the dishwasher despite what they may say.
Frederick Cuthbertson of Greenwich, CT, designed these classic and charming things in 1922 for his shop in NYC. Still made in England, though. You can buy them today and leave them to your kids. They don't get heavy use.
We loved this family-friendly hotel in the Dolomites - southern Alps - now part of Italy but Austrian in culture and food. People speak German and at least some Italian, and also Ladin. Mostly Ladin at home, because nobody else in the world speaks it.
This hotel is in the Val Gardena. You get a rental car in Malpensa airport, and drive north almost to the Brenner Pass.
Hiking the Dolomites is on lots of folks' bucket lists. It can range from easy and relaxed to very challenging hiking. You do not have to climb those peaks, although we have a neighbor who climbed each one of them. A good thing is that there are refugios with coffee, beer, snacks, and frische buttermilch every few miles. There are trail maps to sort-of help you from getting too lost, but getting a little lost is part of the fun.
Bathing (and the lack thereof) in colonial New England
WSJ (paywall): Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God
Saturday, December 27. 2014
The often-lame David Brooks has an interesting piece in the NYT: The Subtle Sensations of Faith. A quote:
Rod Dreher has more, in The Hard, Healing Experience of Faith:
Good photos in National Geographic
Antique American recipes, restored
John Cleese: 'I'll never grow up' - The Fawlty Towers actor on grasping ex-wives, self-centered mothers and
Lobsters thrive on lobster bait
“Scrooge Was A Liberal, Studies Show”
Once Upon A Time, Free Speech And Association Were Sacred To Liberals
Do Diversity Initiatives Indirectly Discriminate Against Asian Americans?
The Big Lie of the Anti-Cop Left Turns Lethal - The real story behind the murder of two NYPD officers:
Cuba Derangement Syndrome strikes again
The World Is Not Falling Apart - Never mind the headlines. We’ve never lived in such peaceful times.
Image below via Sultan's Every Christmas Now Comes With Muslim Terrorism
Friday, December 26. 2014
Is that the first step towards making being fat a crime? That's a country in which it is now a crime to put your garbage in the wrong bin. That is not from a Monty Python skit.
We always figure that if you get fat and die young, you save money for the government. So why not encourage obesity? America does, by asking people to eat carbs as a diet despite sedentary lives.
Anybody can be in error once in a while. Our friend Schneiderman has seemed to miss the point here because these people are not fragile. They are venomous: Trigger Warnings and Trauma
It's all pure manipulation. There is no real neurotic hypersensitivity there. Play-acting, like drawing a foul. In today's politicized world, people use contrived pain as a tool of aggression and control, just as borderlines do.
Wood stove chimney design
A little touchy? Well, holiday season can do that to people.
Anti-Feminists Baffle Feminists - Woman Against Feminism vs. feminists: Who's actually confused?
I feel triggered by the odor of cultural appropriation
My atheist Christmas: How I overcame my personal struggle with the holiday - The holiday and its religious trappings used to offend me deeply. Here's how I overcame my feelings of oppression
Good grief. He thinks Christmas is all about him
A cool museum: inside Manhattan's Tenement Museum shed light on Lower East Side's notorious turn-of-the-century slum
What is a "slum"? It's a starting place where people would rather live in than the hopeless crappy place they came from
If Single Payer Can't Work in Vermont...
Teenager Shot In Missouri: So What?
"Stories of choice"
Imagine No Religion - The French press refuses to see a clear case of Islamic terrorism.
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