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
Monday, January 26. 2015
Mental-health practitioners whose clients kill themselves can face stigma from their colleagues, lawsuits, and a toll on their own psyches—making them less likely to take on suicidal patients who need their help.
Unlike most other medical specialties, where deaths are routine, suicide is imagined to be preventable. Very often it is not, any more than death from most cancers can be prevented. If all suicides were caused by simple depressions curable by a pill, that would be different. However, it's not like that. Intractable, relentless emotional pain is only one of many paths to suicide.
Like most Psychiatrists, I have had a number of them in my practice. It happens if you take on difficult cases or cover ERs. Despite all I know about suicide, it still does shake one's confidence and excites the ambulance-chasers. Most suicides, of course, never seek any help from physicians, and some who do, lie.
Don't be surprised if Maggie's servers go down tonight or tomorrow. If so, it will be because of the wind, not the snow. It's the wind that breaks things with a Nor'easter.
Website of note: Chateau Heartiste
Insane Archery Skills
50 years of No Satisfaction
The connections in autistic brains are idiosyncratic and individualized
Are women more emotional than men?
Hmmm, let me think. Well, maybe, sometimes, yeah. Am I allowed to think that?
Egyptian President El-Sisi Becomes First President to Visit Church on Coptic Christmas
Princeton editor-in-chief calls out hypersensitive, politically correct peers
Annals of climate change: Great Lakes need more icebreakers
Obama’s Free Stuff Army
Why Don’t Lawmakers Want to Update the Tax Code?
NSA Details Chinese Cyber Theft of F-35, Military Secrets
A conspicuous failure of U.S. foreign policy in Syria
Sunday, January 25. 2015
Doesn't dying suck enough, unless you are in terrible shape?
Tomasky is in favor of death tax. He'd like the government to take most or all of your estate when you croak, and makes a moral case for it.
Leviathan will eat all he can, and it is never enough for him and never will be. There should be no death tax. Family, and free choice in saving and spending, trumps government. I can make moral cases in opposition to Tomasky. For starters:
- That money has already been taxed once. Why a double jeopardy?
- One reason people work and save is to provide for family and future. Isn't less dependency on government a good thing? In my view, more wealthy families are a good thing. The more, the better. They invest, and if they are not financially successful on their own, at least they do not become dependent on everybody else.
- Who is the government to tell me how much is "enough"?
- Despite Tomasky's dismissal of the loss of family farms and family businesses to pay taxes, I have seen it happen, and sadly. A damn shame.
- Very wealthy families (eg Kennedys, Rockefellers, Kerry-Heinzes, Clintons, etc) find ways around it. Middle class people with small businesses, farms, or small collections of real estate or gas stations, cannot.
Add your own arguments, for or against, in the comments.
This is an annual re-posting.
The global cooling we are experiencing inspired me to consider some truly fine cool-weather all-white breakfast eats which are not easily found in Yankee-land. The good stuff that sticks to your
Creamed chipped beef on toast is the fine old Yankee version of the southland's biscuits 'n gravy. Both have done wonders for warming the hearts and narrowing the arteries of generations of American boys. Add some potatoes and you have the perfect meal for a lumberjack or hunter.
While apple pie is an old-time Yankee breakfast staple, it has been replaced long ago by eggs, toast, and bacon, maybe a chunk of fruit, and preferably home fries with ketchup on them. Not Heinz 57, though - it's not my job to feed John Kerry.
Some people eat cereal for breakfast. Why? Because Dr. John Kellogg, a health-food charlatan in the 1800s, told them to. Zero nutrition. Breakfast cereal is a fraud and a scam, unless it's plain grits or cream of wheat or oatmeal. The crunchy granola stuff? Well, I thought the guy who discovered that you could sell people plain water was a genius, but the people who decided to sell guinea pig food to humans was his creative equal.
(At Maggie's Farm, we are also fond of fish for breakfast, like the Brits. Kippers. Or a lighty sauteed trout someone has caught early, sprinkled with parsley. Or left-over broiled salmon.)
The chipped beef was always a boarding school standard, and half loved it and half barfed to look at it. It does look like vomit, but it's great stuff. It's a gourmet's delight, but nobody makes it anymore.
When I did my time south of the Mason-Dixon, a local favorite was hot dog gravy on biscuits. Grits on the side, of course. Everything white. Not a refined breakfast, just gravy made with supermarket hot dogs instead of sausage. A truly revolting flavor unless you grew up in the hills and hollers, but it will fend off hunger for hours. I prefer my Sabretts on a bun at Yankee Stadium. But other sorts of southern gravy, made with ham or sausage, are just fine. I won't presume to offer a biscuit 'n gravy recipe, because every Southern Mom has her own. Well, here's a Virginia one from someone's Grandma.
Biscuits 'n gravy, and grits. Serious food for the soul.
Image: New Hampshire chipped beef on English muffins - with home fries. They don't do grits up north (except in Italian homes and restaurants, where they like to call grits "polenta") and it's a damn shame. Good stuff.
Saturday, January 24. 2015
From a thoughtful essay by Harvey Mansfield, Our Parties, Part One - The Democrats: how progress became drift:
It always worked well for me: Take Note of This: Handwritten Notes Are More Effective Than Typed Ones
In AARP Magazine (!), the not-retired Bob Dylan Does the American Standards His Way - In his first interview in nearly three years, the legendary singer-songwriter talks about his new disc, ‘Shadows in the Night,’ his love for Frank Sinatra and about life in his 70s
Is your car’s engine noise a lie?
Traveling to Europe is about to get a whole lot cheaper
It’s Earnings Season—–So Here Come The Crooks, Led By Alcoa
The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think
“Struggling Mom” Showcased in Obama’s SOTU Address is Dem Staffer & Has Introduced Obama at Campaign Rallies
Goldberg: "The “Life of Julia” was nothing more than an argument for the federal government to replace the functions once performed by family and community. "
British Feminists: ‘Degrading Sex Acts Are Empowering’
Whew. She must be really, really smart. Wonder what department she is in. Moonbat Studies?
Two examples of how ‘competition breeds competence’
I Thought I'd Get an Elite Education - Unfortunately, the university I attended fell far short of my hopes and expectations.
MIT Climate Scientist: Global Warming Believers a ‘Cult’
Climate change falling so far off the public radar, a major polling house didn’t even bother asking about it this year
Massaging the Message: In a complete inversion of reality, the Charlie Hebdo massacre story is morphing into a parable about how difficult it is to be a Muslim in the West
Is your car’s engine noise a lie?
Friday, January 23. 2015
Dylan's recording on Empire Burlesque is better and deeper than this one with Patti Smith, but this is all I could find.
The remarkable lyrics:
Oh, the gentlemen are talking and the midnight moon is on the riverside
I may have misinterpreted what Mr. Ma said, but his comment was something to the tune of "If you have a billion dollars, it's not just yours. It became yours because the people who gave it to you felt you would do better things with it than anyone else, like the government. This places a responsibility on the person with a billion dollars, and is why I will seek to do good with this money."
As I said, I may have not heard it precisely or interpreted it correctly. If I did, it is a view I agree with(although people didn't give him anything, they exchanged money for a product or service he provided which made everyone better off).
All told, I'd prefer to not have a billion dollars in wealth. Too much responsibility, too many headaches. People who amass fortunes like this, however, have made the world better and this is why I don't oppose or envy their wealth. As Ma intimated, they can do better with the money. This is one reason I enjoy watching shows like Shark Tank. Not only do I learn insights on how to manage a business, but I see wealth at work producing things people want or need.
People who believe the wealthy sit around pools drinking margaritas all day (I've had people say this to me) have no idea where wealth comes from or how it is made. Those people may exist, I'm certain they do. Their wealth, however, does not last as long as you'd think. Their money must be working at improving lives through exchange or production, somehow, for them to spend the rest of their lives poolside. Real wealth creators, however, are always doing good with their money, even if it's just managing their companies (which provide jobs, goods and services) or coming up with new ideas that people want or need.
By and large, I believe if you're smart enough to earn the money through productive or creative capacity, as Jack Ma did, you're likely to know what to do with it. If you lucked into it, you're unlikely to have a good idea of what to do without some professional help.
Then there is a third group I forgot to mention. Politicians. I believe they are more like lottery winners, though they believe they are producers. I see them as popularity contest winners who are handed a blank check and haven't a clue what to do.
Photo above from 44 Amazing NYC Places That Actually Still Exist (h/t Althouse)
Here's a site of interest: Invisible Serfs Collar
Ten Ways Men Oppress Women with Their Everyday Behavior - Manspreading and manslamming are just the beginning!
Reviving Blue Collar Work: How to Start a Career in the Trades
Vaccine deniers stick together. And now they’re ruining things for everyone
BPA is not toxic
Europe’s $100 Billion Green Energy Mistake
We’ve Reached Peak Feminism
Kill Me Now: NBC News Just Launched NBCBLK
So the rest of NBC is for white folks?
A Billionaire Lectures Serfs In Davos: "America's Lifestyle Expectations Are Far Too High"
Qaradawi Organization Wants Worldwide Blasphemy Law
French Philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy Denounces ‘Delirium of Anti-Zionism’ Before UN General Assembly
U.S. Commander: Russian Support to Ukrainian Separatists Has ‘Doubled’ - Kremlin ignoring terms of ceasefire agreement
Counterinsurgency: The West’s record in fighting modern insurgents from the Cold War era to the age of globalisation is characterised by multiple political reverses.
Graph below via Ace
Thursday, January 22. 2015
So when I think about what the President had to say, and specifically who he was speaking to (because he did not speak to me or people like me), I think of another movie, one involving an entrepreneur who built a business and was seeking to keep it running by giving jobs to disadvantaged folk who were willing to work for him because he recognized the value they provided and sought to protect them from harm while giving them a living 'wage'. Progressives believe this man is the government, which is why we were exhorted to "move forward together" even as the President sought to polarize us further.
We know the truth. We know this man doesn't exist. We know the best thing the government can say to Progressives is this:
On the other hand, these are the Progressives Obama spoke to:
Watch What Happens When a Firefighter Straps a GoPro to His Helmet (h/t, Insty)
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:42 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
John Boyd’s Roll Call: Do You Want to Be Someone or Do Something?
NYC's Doctors Riot
New SAT, New Problems - The questions, particularly those in the math sections, could put certain students at a disadvantage.
“American Sniper” — a Rorschach test separating the wheat from the chaff
Gov. Scott Walker: Obama Now A ‘Lame Duck President’
Watch This Pentagon Official Literally Joke About Lowering Standards for Women in Combat
NY Times Magazine forced to admit that Megyn Kelly might be great at her job
Sisi’s Brave New Egypt?
Tom Friedman: "The bullying often works to silence critics of Islamic extremism. ... They cause governments, writers and experts to walk on eggshells.”
Israeli TV shows ‘Iranian missile’ that ‘can reach far beyond Europe’
Playing a Double Game in the Fight Against AQAP - In Yemen, the world’s most dangerous jihadi group is both the government’s enemy and its ally of convenience.
What Jon Stewart Didn’t Ask Jimmy Carter
Wednesday, January 21. 2015
Look, everybody must come to terms with the fact that most people will not like us, or be interested in us, or want to help us. That's part of growing up. Despite that, there are plenty of people out there who want a friend. We have to understand that others, like us, are discriminating in their own ways. When friendships and relationships do click, it sure is fun and life-enriching, isn't it?
I once helped a very shy young fellow deal with his fear by commanding him to introduce himself to a pretty girl on a daily basis - including in NYC stores (eg Bloomingdale's), gourmet food markets, and supermarkets. He complied bravely with great faith in my advice, and in a very few instances somebody liked the cut of his jib and his (apparent) confidence and phoned him. Cured by Reality Therapy! He did not become thicker-skinned, just realistic.
Re our post on memory this week, this from the WSJ:
Posted by Gwynnie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:24 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Inside a Porsche engine assembly plant (vid)
NASA discovers 8 new dangerous near Earth asteroids
George Washington had a parrot that he disliked.
The Ik people
Vanderbilt Administration Silenced Me at Pro-Islam Rally
Journalism professor opposes free speech.
Government regulation vs. regulation by market forces and consumer-regulators
Americans Deserve a Fair Shot. Government Should Get Out of the Way.
Obama Calls for $320 Billion in New Taxes
Obama’s State of the Union: “Death is a tax loophole”
The Big Chill: The Battle for Central Europe
Obama’s State of the Union: “Death is a tax loophole” - See more at: http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=55945#sthash.lj9aK8lK.dpuf
Tuesday, January 20. 2015
A number of people, mostly born-and-bred New Yawkers, have recently been suggesting to me that New York is in decline. With Mayor Bill, I have a hard time refuting this. On the other hand, their 'evidence' is a host of articles and commentary about the closing of this deli or that dry cleaner, some other diner, or the changing cultural makeup of some community which they'd prefer never change.
"That deli was iconic, how horrible!" "Landlords forced them out by raising rents!" Oh the horror! To me, New York is cool because it doesn't stay the same.
Face it, who wants it to stay the same? Sure I love Carnegie Deli and Katz'. If they closed tomorrow, sad as I'd be, something else would come along. Jack Dempsey's was gone long before I arrived in 1985, should I regret it's passing (I'm sure many did)? Though I haven't been in McSorley's since our hike last fall, and only to use their restroom, I admit I'd fight tooth and nail to keep it open...though probably not. Better to have one last beer and let the past go, if I must.
Bond's is a great example of the idea that New York is improving rather than getting worse. I've eaten at Bond 45 a few times. The food is good, though I consider it comfort food. Still, for a business or friendly lunch in the heart of Times Square it's good to know there is a reliable and reasonable place to eat.
Even so, isn't it lamentable that Bond's is gone? Sort've. I mean, the clothing store and "international casino" are long gone. So is the concert venue, which was iconic because of The Clash in 1981. Well, really iconic because those 'greedy' concert promoters sought to fill overwhelming demand to see a red-hot band (everyone won in that transaction, if I remember correctly...fans like my brother-in-law got to say they 'were there', promoters made some good coin, Bond's made a pretty penny, and The Clash got their cut and made a name for themselves - wait, where was the "greed" again?)
I am reminded of a fellow at a recent event I attended for my alma mater, Syracuse University. This schmuck, after hearing of all the very positive changes the university was implementing, stood up and asked "But what are you doing to preserve traditions, places, and buildings from my past?" The chancellor gave a good, pat answer. As we walked out, I commented to my wife "I don't think that question has any meaning to me. I wonder how someone who graduated in 1880 would feel if he walked the campus today? Would he wish it looked and felt exactly the way it did in 1880, or are students better having things which suit them in this day and age?"
I love standing on campus, making note of the changes, and then commenting about what I did in that building, or how I used to sled down that hill, or how we once sneaked chickens into Bird Library (a feat unlikely to ever be duplicated). The past is the past, and keeping a building around simply because it's always been there isn't a winning idea anymore than it is for me to continue to wish I could still be on the Quad throwing a football.
Progress is painful, especially on our emotional ties to the past. But progress is a net positive, and we shouldn't simply let the past get in the way of progress. Even if it is because of some 'greedy' landlord in a city that epitomizes (or used to) progress. I like the fact I saw several games in the old Yankee Stadium or even Shea Stadium. But the new stadiums are still a great place to see a game, regardless of their limited history.
The (no math) science of fire
He included this oldie but goodie in his post:
Beechwood fires burn bright and clear
Oaken logs, if dry and old