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, December 31. 2015
The Great Courses are the most life-enriching things around. Good for sharing and trading with your friends, too. Everything is 70% Off right now!
This one is excellent: Science and Religion. Cheap too, right now.
I'm impressed. He is a young fellow too. With 20+ more IQ points, I could have enjoyed his stellar career.
A book to read: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:21 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Photo: It's a dumb holiday, meaningless. Drinking until midnight with a silly hat on no longer appeals to me. Never did, really. Furthermore, I am meeting my trainer at our little gym at 5 tomorrow am to get the year started on the right foot. And champagne gives me heartburn.
I’m not convinced women who are on Tinder who say “no hookups” actually mean that.
Girls just want to have fun
Just 14 Percent of Families in the U.S. Structured Like the ‘Traditional’ Cleaver Family
I'm in the elite 14%
How Three Professors Banded Together to Beat Back a Free Speech Threat at Clemson
Why are guys the enemy?
‘We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing’
2015 was record year for federal regulation
More, please. Federal regulations are so much fun
not convinced women who are on Tinder who say “no hookups” actually
mean that. - See more at:
How ISIS Actually Lost Ramadi
Wednesday, December 30. 2015
Building strength, power, and endurance are our goals (along with minimizing disgusting body fat) until we reach a point of satisfaction and can move into fitness-maintenance. The "Body-building" is not a goal per se, but some of that accompanies strength improvement. Vigor and "functional fitness."
I did heavy weights this morning. It is so damn difficult mentally and physically. On several sets I reached muscle failure and pain before meeting my boss' expected goals du jour. There is no way for an amateur to do weight work without a trainer (need a spotter, a constant technique-correcter, and somebody to push you harder and to raise the weights each week). He said "Good, we're breaking down those muscles, tearing those fibers." Indeed. Body feels like jello.
A little liquid carb and protein are supposedly good after heavy weights - and an Advil: Why Bother With Recovery Drinks? I need to do that, but one salted hard-boiled egg is all I can handle in the morning on a normal day. Carbs feel revolting to me before 6 pm unless I am in a diner with a friend. Part of my problem is that I do not really like food very much, however elegant and fancy. It just doesn't do much for me or my soul. Just makes me tired.
"Recovery" time and nutrition do not apply to cardio (aerobic) exercise and conditioning, only to heavy resistance efforts where it can take 3-5 days for recovery and reconstruction of a given muscle group. We only do dead lifts once a week, for example, but we push it to the max - to the point when one asks "Why the hell am I here doing this when I could be in bed instead of lifting this f-ing Volkswagen only to put it down again at 5 a.m.?"
Strength does not necessarily correlate 1:1 with muscle size. How Do Muscles Grow? The Science of Muscle Growth.
It is interesting to learn that cardio exercises (aerobics), over time, can reduce muscle size and power. Cardio training and strength training do not mix well, in fact, because the body responds to them differently: Controlling Muscle Breakdown
Still, most of us white-collar, sedentary fitness-seekers want improvement in all areas so we have to do the best we can with them. Push them all and hope for the best. If we were peasants in the fields, we'd be in better shape. Over the next four or five months I hope to build towards a simplified work-out of multi-muscle-group exercises: Dead lifts, bench press, chin ups, pull-ups, rows, barbell squats, step-ups with military presses, planks. That will have taken one year in May 2016 to maybe reduce my wonderful trainer from 3 to 1 or 2 days/week.
That, plus combos of jump (speed) rope, stair machine, elliptical, treadmill for the cardio part on my "off" days. In total, moving with maximum exertion and intention 40-60 minutes per day, 5-6 days/week for the indefinite future. I gave myself 12 months to get into half-decent condition for my age, and have approached it with total dedication despite my lazy-ass body yelling "Stop! I don't feel like doing this!"
"I don't feel like it" is the death of decadent Western Civilization and of the human spirit. It is spirit-less. So is gluttony, and all of the other deadly sins. I think Character, like muscle strength, is built through pure, ungratifying, unpleasant effort. I have almost always done my best with that. On occasion, not - to my endless shame.
To look at me with clothes on, no difference is noticeable except for better posture and slight bulging in the shoulders of my old suits. I was never in bad shape, but was beginning to lose fitness and energy over time and to create a small paunch. I am glad to see that some of my pals are getting on board with this pursuit of the fountain of youth.
(At some point in the future, Crossfit (the regular, not the competitive version) might be a good addition to a maintenance work-out program, and more fun with a cohesive random group and lots of exercise variety. Their programs seem to push you to your personal max, whether you are fat or a 95-lb hollow-chested weakling, 18 years old or 80 years old, an athlete or a heart-attack survivor or stroke patient.)
Fossil hunters flock to Jurassic coast after cliff fall
Training The Immune System To Fight Cancer Has 19th-Century Roots
San Francisco's Self-Defeating Housing Activists
EPA Sends 185 to Prison for "Environmental Crimes" as its Own Toxic Spills Go Unpunished
Professor: Trying to Make Me Like the Beatles Is a Microaggression
Misleading and Using Blacks - The victims of affirmative action.
The Riot Ideology, Reborn - Baltimore, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and the new racial politics
Bloomberg Business: Executive Gun Control Coming ‘Soon After New Year’s Day’
Climate change will cause mass mental illness
Drone Owners Overwhelm Federal Government’s Registration System
Why the Rahm Story Matters
The Bill Clinton Effect: Why Liberals Treat Women Worse
40% of Blacks Line Up Behind Trump – 45% of Hispanics
Containing the middle east
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Says He’s Spent Most ‘Time and Energy’ on Climate Change
ISIS Terrorists Say They Fear Only Israel, Not Britain or America
Tuesday, December 29. 2015
Waterfalls at our place in California, last summer.
Mr. Thompson goes through them, month by month. For example,
Michael Burry, Real-Life Market Genius From The Big Short, Thinks Another Financial Crisis Is Looming
A major essay/book review by Rev. James Schall SJ, What “Social Justice” Really Means. One quote:
Photo: 55 Plus MPH: Flathead V8 Swapped 1949 Ford 8N Tractor
Harrison Ford Demos His Star Wars Injury Using a Han Solo Doll
Gerard turns 70
Never trust anybody over 70
Sipp: 2015 Delenda Est
Dr. Krauthammer: Be Wary of Dietary Guidelines
The tax sleuth who figured out Silk Road
The High but Hidden Cost of College Sports
There Is No Climate Change Disaster Except The One Governments Created
EPA Warning: Holiday Leftovers Contribute to Climate Change
But we ate them. Is that ok with the EPA?
Seeing the West as worse
"I’ve noticed a trend: The more that white people apologize, the more they get mocked."
Michael Bloomberg has an armed protective detail and Bob Owens at Bearing Arms reports that Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America also has armed protection.
They are specialer than me
My Crackpot Theory: Americans Hate Politics
Show biz for unattractive people
Hotline’s 2016 Senate Rankings - The Senate seats most likely to flip.
Czech President's Charge Of Orchestrated Migrant Invasion Holds Water
Monday, December 28. 2015
"The government can not only evoke fear in its victims; it can also evoke a sort of superstitious reverence. It is thus both an army and a church, and with sharp weapons in both hands it is virtually irresistible. Its personnel, true enough, may be changed, and so may the external forms of the fraud it practices, but its inner nature is immutable."
H.L. Mencken, via Hayek
George is so old-fashioned. People just want more free "services" to make life easier.
Most sermons I hear are pretty good. Some are more on the intellectual, apologist side; some more spirit-soaked and uplifting. All good, but all mainly addressed to the converted. (In my view, to become a capital-C Christian one must become a convert regardless of how raised. Some term it "re-born," which is an ok term.)
Christianity is not about morals, at its core. For the Christ-curious, Walter Mead explains the meaning of Jesus' birth here in one of his Christmas posts which, in excellent sermon-style, combines apologetics with the revelatory: Born of a WHAT??? The specifically Christian idea of the Virgin Birth is one of the most controversial and confusing theological concepts around, and a Yuletide blog which didn’t take on the topic wouldn’t be doing its job:
I recommend it especially to non-Christians and to the Christ-curious, but it refreshed my mind in a good way too.
Children as young as four ‘encouraging each other to consider a sex change’
Stations of Home Alone: Where the Wilderness Meets Civilization
The Most Notable Medical Findings of 2015
Victims and Microaggressions: Why 2015 Was The Year Students Lost Their Minds
College president says inclusivity more important than diversity, tuition costs
Anglican Priest Smears the Virgin Mary
Three Global Warming Stories The Media Don't Want You To See
What's Marriage Got to Do With Poverty?
Power Line’s Chart of the Week: The Achievement of Capitalism
Sorry, Socialists, But Capitalism Is Killing Absolute Poverty
Get Ready: Why 2016 Politics Will Be Totally Nuts
Berlin, Germany: “I Am Muslim What Are You?” Muslims Beat Christians for Christmas Fun
Czech President: Wave of Migrants Entering Europe Is “Organized Invasion”
French see their children add to ISIS ranks in Syria
On the rampage in Calais: Shocking footage shows hundreds of migrants stealing from lorries and threatening motorists as
Why Do They Join the Jihad?
Sunday, December 27. 2015
At ye olde HQ, a cozy mess in the parlor. I like it. We ain't got no other "family room."
For starters, everybody knew there was a US housing bubble and a mortgage bubble. Dr. Burry was not the only one, but the credit default swaps was a brilliant approach to shorting what was bound to fall sooner or later.
Everybody knew that a large number of mortgages were junk. You could read about it on the internets every day.
Everybody knew that, since Clinton, banks were required to expand mortgage availability to high credit risks. This was not voluntary.
Naturally, banks did not want to keep that junk on their books. They packaged them and sold them to sophisticated willing institutional buyers around the world, same as any other asset a bank did not wish to hold. Can't blame the bankers for doing that. It's their job to sell stuff. It's common sense.
One good thing was included: the slipperiness of the debt rating agencies.
In Honor Of "The Big Short", Here Is Michael Burry's Historic Commencement Speech - it's a dynamite speech
Everybody likes to find a scapegoat. Moral of the story, in my view: Bubbles happen, and always burst. Shorting bubbles makes sense. It just takes balls. Other morals: Abolish Freddie Mac And Fannie Mae - and the Fed. And the notion of "too big to fail."
In Celebration of Modest Christmases Past - When families had less, when America had less, a single gift could make a lasting impression.
Christmas Isn't Candy Canes—It's D-Day in the War Against Satan
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:13 | Comments (4) | Trackback (1)
Saturday, December 26. 2015
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:02 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, December 25. 2015
The Journey of the Magi, T. S. Eliot (1927)
'A cold coming we had of it,
(Some commentary here.)
Painting above is Fra Angelico's Adoration of the Magi
Thursday, December 24. 2015
"I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you."
It's very easy to look ahead and expect the worst. We could enter 2016 with low expectations. There are plenty of negative trends going on in the world. When aren't there negative trends? I can't remember a single year where life was rosy, bright and promising without a hint of clouds. Some of the less encouraging new years I remember were 2000 (that nasty Y2K bug which did so much damage), 1980 (Iranian hostages and an election...the Winter Olympic Miracle on Ice was still to come), 1988 (after the market crash, people were very uptight) and 2009 (again a market crash, the mortgage meltdown and the election of a president bent on dividing the nation as he claimed to unify it). Even in these years, there were many positives which were overlooked. Needless to say, we passed through all those years without seeing everything fall to pieces.
Which isn't to say some things haven't gotten worse. If all we do is focus on what's worse, though, it is hard to see how life gotten better. Yet it has. Hans Rosling spends much time discussing this (and his videos are always worth posting again):
2016 won't be sweetness and light, the news lately has had plenty of negativity. ISIS and the growth of fascism driven by Islamic radicals, Bernie Sanders and socialist wonderland driven by his belief in mythological theories which have been discredited time and again, an overbought stock market fueled by easy money, a dollar that is the prettiest horse in the glue factory, a Fed which is raising rates because it has no choice after keeping them low too long. There's plenty of bad out there to worry about.
2016 could still be pretty good. We may worry the so-called recovery is likely to end badly, though I hesitate to say it will be in 2016. It could've, and should've, ended many times in the past 6 years. But since it isn't a real recovery, more of a muddling along, maybe there hasn't been anything to 'end'. Even though it's been a pale 'recovery', plenty of good events have occurred.
Continue reading "Looking Forward to 2016"
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:42 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
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