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 24. 2015
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)
That's the mantra here this year. The gift was not gold and incense, the gift was a birth. Presence.
We are grateful to have the entire family here, going to church together tonight like the old days.
Sippican: Glimmers of Light in the Darkness
‘This Thing Which Is Come to Pass’ - A strange little family, and an even stranger one
Guns topping Christmas lists thanks to terrorism concerns, fear over restrictions
The Big Short: "Every American Should See This Movie & Be F##king Pissed Off"
Reinventing Buffalo - The western New York city should focus on getting better—not bigger.
Inside Chipotle’s Contamination Crisis - Smugness and happy talk about sustainability aren’t working anymore.
Indonesia plans prison with crocodile moat
New Louisiana governor to undo welfare reform
How Overregulation Led to the Collapse of Obamacare’s Largest Co-Op
US Landed Gentry demand Medieval Climate Tithes
New York Housing - Markets Serve A Purpose
Christmas 'Safe-Space' - Cornell Bans Menorahs, Crosses, & Mistletoe
How the KKK seeks to keep black Americans down
What???? There will always be a bottom half of anything.
David Frum and “The Great Republican Revolt”
No one will ever mistake Donald Trump for a student of James Madison.
Wednesday, December 23. 2015
Sixty years behind the science: Working the refs on nutrition science
To compensate for my previous holiday post, a reminder that dietary fat will not harm you. Enjoy your Christmas prime rib with Yorkshire Pudding.
It's not perfect, but on most topics it's a good starting point.
As I have said, he is a bit of a Honey Badger.
This is not a political endorsement, but a cultural observation.
When Americans Are Inactive, This Is What They Do
Making Money, Getting Strong: Two Grownup Responsibilities
Sir Tim Hunt 'to leave Britain for Japan' after sexism row
Rape Culture: The Real Thing
Life Is Better Here: Greenfield Village
Chipotle’s stock keeps falling after analyst throws in the towel
Michael Wolff: The end of Yahoo
Even The Rich Are Cutting Back - Swiss Watch Exports Continue Collapse Despite Price Cuts
Will Connecticut's High-Tax, Union-Friendly Policies Turn Out GE's Lights?
The Age of Identity Wars - The dominant conflicts of the 20th century were ideological. In the 21st, they're identity-driven.
The Fed has awakened the Force, but beware the Dark Side
Americans Boycott Sam’s Club After CEO’s Racist Comments About White Males
Texas Formation’s Shale Gas Estimates Doubled
Senator Sanders and the Average Workweek
Habitual Liar Lies Habitually
Let’s Elect Hillary Now - We want a president we can loathe all of the time—not support some of the time.
Trump Spells Trouble for Clinton - He’s now in a position to weaken her well before the general.
China surpasses Mexico in sending immigrants to California
Tuesday, December 22. 2015
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:31 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
There will only be 13 or 14 of us this year, so it's easy.
Buche de Noel and homemade Christmas cookies. Somebody will probably bring a Struffoli.
What's on your menu?
Higher ed: Subsidies Increase Tuition.
Of course they do. Institutions are greedy by definition. It is never enough.
At 108 US Colleges, More Than Half Of Students Haven't Paid Even $1 On Their Student Loans
Subsidies Increase Tuition
Isaiah Berlin, via Vanderleun:
Laurie Penny, via Driscoll at Insty:
You first, Laurie
Amazon, Microsoft Gobbling Up Workloads, Says RBC, as Cloud Grows Fast
Something to do in NYC: Girolamo dai Libri and Veronese Art of the Sixteenth Century
Art from the Veneto wrongly overshadowed by Florence
It’s practically impossible to define “GMOs”
Luckily for us, everything grown is modified. Look at a real wild apple. It's a mountain berry from China.
After 2,000 years, Christians disappearing from Gaza
California Has Plenty of Water—And Too Much Politics
The American Papers that Praised Hitler
Miss Puerto Rico Destiny Velez Suspended Indefinitely for Associating Islamic Terrorism With Islam
There go my chances for Mr. Universe
Purdue University Pushes Back against Free-Speech Suppression
Budget bill leaves no boondoggle behind: Column
Puerto Rico Destiny Velez Suspended Indefinitely for Associating
Islamic Terrorism With Islam - See more at:
Saturday Night Leftist Lunacy - Islam is our friend, gun owners and the rich are our enemies.
Germans Scramble To Buy Weapons Amid Nationwide Spike In Migrant-Driven Crime
Kenyan Muslims shield Christians in Mandera bus attack
How Our Overly Restrictive Rules of Engagement Keep Us from Winning Wars
Monday, December 21. 2015
On the other hand, there is a reason to be disappointed when the issue revolves around responsibility and entitlement. Some claim this is a standard complaint from generation to generation. Perhaps it is, though I don't remember my parents consistently commenting about the work ethic or willingness of any of my friends to think and act responsibly. There were moments when singular behaviors led to stern conversations about smoking, or drinking and how 'kids aren't like they were'. Of course, I'd later hear my parents tell humorous stories of their own proclivities as adolescents and young adults. Some behaviors and complaints do travel across eras.
My parents taught me to work. They instilled an understanding that I'm responsible for myself, and my family, and I need to earn the income to fulfill that responsibility in a dutiful fashion. I began seeing a therapist recently to work through some job-related concerns I have. She keeps using the terms "thoughtful" and "caring" about stories I recount. I always make a face and say "it's an obligation." Maybe some of the things I do are thoughtful and caring. I prefer to think I'm living up to my obligations. Others can think what they want about my motivations. I don't consider an obligation a negative. Like all things in life, there is a price. Obligations are prices with positive feedback loops. Live up to them, and you're trustworthy and should earn a level of respect.
Continue reading "Why Are We Disappointed in the Next Generation?"
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:23 | Comments (21) | Trackbacks (0)
No. As all docs know from their experience, being fit is no protection from the countless deleterious effects of being overweight.
I apologize for the holiday timing of this report.
This is my final photo travelogue post from our sailing trip in November.
We rented a car at the port of San Sebastian on La Gomera and headed up into the mountains. Mrs. BD wanted to hike in the Garajonay National Park which we did for a while, but most of the trails would have taken more hours than we wanted. Lots of backpackers there with tents and sleeping gear.
Continue reading "Final 2015 travelogue: La Gomera and Tenerife"
Confessions of a For-Profit College Inspector
What Are Quantum Gravity's Alternatives To String Theory?
This is over my head
Winter Outlook Update: January - March 2016 to Feel Influence of Strong El Niño
It is passing strange how little jubilation the rescue of the planet has stirred.
I blame Star Wars.
"Most Liberal" US College Unleashes Demands For "Deconstructing The White Supremacist, Capitalist System"
The Democrats’ Theme for 2016 Is Totalitarianism
Bipartisan Achievements: Bigger Government, Worse Schools
The Cruzade, starring Ted Cruz
Regarding Its 'Migrant' Policies, Denmark Tells World to Drop Dead
How wrong of Danes to wish to be Danish
Has Europe Reached the Breaking Point?
Sunday, December 20. 2015
It is always a fun topic. I view myself as middlebrow in taste and capacity for appreciation but with aspirations to fuller and deeper appreciation of the finer things.
There are 1000 things I'd rather do than to go to a NASCAR event. Call me a snob, but it is of no interest to me although I love to drive fast and have a string of tickets and an auto insurance bill to prove it. Bread and circuses for the people? Well, I want everybody to have whatever sort of fun they choose.
The death of High Culture has been announced forever, but I don't even know what it is. Is Picasso high culture? Is Puccini high culture? (Definitely not - too much fun). Is Bob Dylan lowbrow folk-rock? Is The Messiah pop schlock? (Many feel it is, but I love it). Joseph Epstein: Whatever Happened to High Culture? An inquest
In the end, I think that such distinctions are about how generally accessible creative endeavors are, and how much instruction and thought might be useful to engage with them. Reverence towards such things is silly though, I feel. The Mona Lisa? Give me a break but OK, he was an all-round genius and genius is rare and wonderful.
Refined tastes? I can get on board with that, to a degree. There are many things in mass culture and pop culture that offend my delicate sensibilities and which seem vulgar to me, but I let it go. To each, his own. Live and let live.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:28 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
For my doctors, lawyers, colleagues, and other remote pals: Holiday Cheesecakes. Would send one to our Webmeister but do not have his new address. It's old-fashioned, but who does not love getting festive food treats in the mail?
For garbage guy, $50. For mailman, $50. Gotta thank those guys personally for their work. Sure, they get paid, but I mean personally.
Then comes my list of charities which I will not list other than a plug for Salvation Army. This year, I am giving to FIRE instead of to my schools. Much better educational use of my hard-earned dollars now and in the future. All of my alma maters have gone to the dark side, and they do not need my money anyway. They have billions in the bank.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:49 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Related: Colonial New Englanders did not celebrate Christmas. In fact, it was illegal to do so in Boston. However, down South in New Amsterdam they had no such Puritanical tendencies.
It is easy for us Yankees to forget that New York was already a substantial, rowdy town when those Pilgrims accidentally landed in cold, damp, and God-forsaken Cape Cod in November. Of course, the Catholic Spanish were in America first. The Brits chased out the Spanish and the Dutch, and then we Brits chased out the French, and then Britain itself for foolish reasons, but it worked out pretty well anyway despite our having, over time, created a far more oppressive and burdensome State than Britain could have dreamed of. A commercial powerhouse, however.
Related: The Gift of the WalMagi
Luke 1:39-45, (46-55)
Saturday, December 19. 2015
From our archives:
Christmas is a traditional feast day (but it was not for true puritan folk like Dutch Reform or Congregationalists, who did not historically care for Christmas), so you are expected to cook something tasty. We have done all of the things: turkey (again), goose, roast beef, crown roast of pork with apple stuffing (real good).
On the other hand, the southern Italians do a cool thing - they do the Christmas Eve fish dinner - because it is a vigilia di magro (fasting, Italian-style).That is darn good. Fried baccala, fried calamari, scungilli, clams, mussels, maybe lobster etc etc. I love the baccala, and those little fried minnows bagiggi - smelt - with lemon that you eat whole like french fries, and clams (if they aren't cooked), but hate those cold seafood salads - dolphin food. In Sicily, the tradition is seven fishes. Serious abstinence: cook a leg of lamb, and you burn in hell for eternity.
But back to Yankee Christmas dinner, and goose.
As regular readers know, we cook our Canada geese with the breast only, marinated and sauteed rare. We confit the legs and thighs.
Store-bought goose tends much smaller (maybe in Dickens' time they had bigger farm geese - if you can find a giant Christmas goose as big as Tiny Tim, great), and has lots more fat on it. In fact, it seems about 50% fat, which oozes out during cooking and fills the pan below. If you want to cook that traditional English bird, you need a few of them. I would say, one per 3-4 people, minimum, if you are using the supermarket birds. (Some might disagree with this.) One bird will not do it, as a turkey does, because once the fat melts off, there isn't much left except bones. The plus side of all of the fat is that they are self-basting.
This is a good approach. Overcooking a goose, at low heat, is not a bad idea. For a roast goose, you may really want the meat falling off the bone, unlike a nice rare breast of wild goose. Goose is, of course, a dark meat like duck (but more coarse in flavor, I think).
Make a tasty sauce out of the drippings, once you have removed the fat. Add a little red wine, maybe a handful of huckleberries or dried cranberries and a bit of sugar, and reduce/thicken.
What to serve with goose? Mainly braised and sauteed roots. Parsnip, carrot, potato, turnip. And how about a rutabaga puree? Or a celeriac (celery root) puree? Maybe a pile of braised, sauteed baby squash, too. Cranberry sauce? You bet.