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
Sunday, August 21. 2016
God Will Save Me
A terrible storm came into a town and local officials sent out an emergency warning that the riverbanks would soon overflow and flood the nearby homes. They ordered everyone in the town to evacuate immediately.
A faithful Christian man heard the warning and decided to stay, saying to himself, “I will trust God and if I am in danger, then God will send a divine miracle to save me.”
The neighbors came by his house and said to him, “We’re leaving and there is room for you in our car, please come with us!” But the man declined. “I have faith that God will save me.”
As the man stood on his porch watching the water rise up the steps, a man in a canoe paddled by and called to him, “Hurry and come into my canoe, the waters are rising quickly!” But the man again said, “No thanks, God will save me.”
The floodwaters rose higher pouring water into his living room and the man had to retreat to the second floor. A police motorboat came by and saw him at the window. “We will come up and rescue you!” they shouted. But the man refused, waving them off saying, “Use your time to save someone else! I have faith that God will save me!”
The flood waters rose higher and higher and the man had to climb up to his rooftop.
A helicopter spotted him and dropped a rope ladder. A rescue officer came down the ladder and pleaded with the man, "Grab my hand and I will pull you up!" But the man STILL refused, folding his arms tightly to his body. “No thank you! God will save me!”
Shortly after, the house broke up and the floodwaters swept the man away and he drowned.
When in Heaven, the man stood before God and asked, “I put all of my faith in You. Why didn’t You come and save me?”
And God said, “Son, I sent you a warning. I sent you a car. I sent you a canoe. I sent you a motorboat. I sent you a helicopter. What more were you looking for?”
Not really a triptych, a polyptych. Friends took a train over from Amsterdam last week to take a look at it. They said Ghent had lots of creepy-looking immigrants but that it was worth the trip.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:00 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, August 20. 2016
A young friend recently asked, while on a lovely July walk, how plants got the energy to grow. It is high school bio, but I forgot some of it. I recalled the rough outlines of the Calvin Cycle, then began wondering whether plants had mitochondria because they use solar energy. Well, plant cells are eukaryotes just as are animals, so of course they have mitochondria.
The mitochondria of plant cells are somewhat different and are more variable than those of animal cells (meaning everything from the paramecium to humans). But why do plants need mitochondria at all?
For photosynthesis, they don't need mitochondria much. Light waves provide the energy to split water into the Hs and the O, and to attach those Hs to ADP onto ATP - the main energy source of most living things. Thus oxygen is produced by plants from water.
The second step of photosynthesis is to use the ATP to produce glucose (sugar) from CO2. Technically, triose phosphates are produced, which the cell combines to construct glucose. Simple sugar is the main building block for plant structure (eg cellulose, etc).
That whole thing is called the Calvin Cycle and it is one fancy mini-machine.
However, for night functioning and for extra needs, plants can also burn sugar (that's called respiration) just as animal cells do. Mitochondria do that job. In the respiration of plants and animals, glucose is metabolized to CO2 and water to produce ATP - the energy for cell life and growth. Thus plants are CO2 emitters and oxygen emitters.
Animal life requires plants, but not vice versa. Only plants can produce glucose which is the building block for many things including carbs.
I will not get into the topic of how plants and animals construct proteins now. It is all a miracle.
There seems to be a cultural disconnect.
The body types are genetic, products of inborn bone and muscle structure. In other words, the body frame.
Your body type has implications for strength and fitness training - and for strength and fitness goals. 3 Male & Female Body Types Explained
For carving beef or lamb, maybe pork, it's hard to control the thickness or thinness without a pique.
Old-fashioned carving sets used to include one, but usually not long enough and the knives with them were not top-notch. I like a slightly-serrated meat knife so I can go as thin as I want. The Pique gives good control.
Amazon, of course, has good stainless ones. Once a hot meat has rested a few minutes, use that thing and get exactly the clean slices you want.
Early one morning the sun was shining. I was laying in bed. Must be Saturday.
In my grandparent's lifetime, everyone was expected to work at least half a day on Saturday. Sunday was the only day of rest. My great-grandparents didn't even get that. They had to ask for a whole day off from working far in advance, and their wish might not necessarily be granted.
The peasant working class is reappearing everywhere. Tugging their forelock and saying, "Morning, Guvna" as they hold the door open for their latest Uber cab customer. Hawkers and pedlars don't take the weekends off. That's when they hunt their prey. Er, that didn't sound right. Leisure hours for others are target rich environments. Hmm. That sounded a trifle violent as well. Anyway, they work weekends.
Even the hoity toity don't get Saturday off in the traditional sense anymore. Unless they're smart enough to claim their cellphone ran out of batteries on the weekend. That doesn't work on a steady basis. After all, excuses must be refreshed from time to time. You can only attend your grandmother's funeral like four or five times before the boss catches on.
On to the links!
While everyone was busy worrying where a doltish swimmer lost his wallet, the NSA was teaching every bad actor and tinpot dictatorship how to hack even the most secure systems. It's OK, I imagine, because they didn't mean to. Comey means never having to say you're sorry.
Look at the headline. It's magnificent. I love watching Millennials trying to operate punctuation and spelling. Apparently all twelve years of regular schooling now consists of the advice: Take a stab at it. Anyway, we ran a link yesterday that mentioned that internet security warnings often get ignored. This is why ignoring them is usually a good idea.
Half of that list is stupid. The other half would be useless if it were practical, which they won't be. Self-driving cars aren't a problem to be solved, because there's no problem there. Why do Millennials want to sit in a booster seat clutching a ziploc bag of Cheerios and a Gameboy until they're ready for a nursing home? Drive your own damn car. It's not that hard if you're not texting.
Wow, it really is Jimmy Carter's second and third term. BEOG grants are coming back. Can roller disco be far behind? They really did call them BEOG grants back in the day. It's like calling a cash-hole an ATM machine.
This is news? The Pentagon also planned nuclear strikes against the Vatican and Turks and Caicos back in the '60s. That's what they do. If they didn't plan fourteen different ways to move the Soviet Union six inches to the right, the hard way, they should have been fired.
Our friend Gerard remembers that Randy Newman has long since caught up with his famous relatives.
See what I mean? No high-schooler should be on FriendFace. WWTCLTOPED? Luckily, it'll flop, because kids think Friendface is for olds.
Have a lovely weekend, Maggie's readers. Drop your smartphone into the lake, by accident, on purpose, and take two full days off from work.
Friday, August 19. 2016
In 20 years, we have had two significant water pipe leaks and at least one mess from very heavy rains.
Since we do not frequent the basement too often, but do store lots of things there, here's a solution (which sends alerts to your smart phone): Wifi Water Detector with Buzzer and Email / Text Alerts
What good is a water alert if it only makes noise when you aren't home?
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:44 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
They are stored in a high-tech versions of the olde root cellar, cool and dark until needed.
Well, good morning to ye.
I wrote about 500 words of screamingly hilarious text, filled with mordant observations, into the Maggie's Farm website editor. It was like leaving a bucket of corn next to the paddock. It done got et. That means the links for today are late, and they're not funny. Sorta like Game of Thrones. Maggie's makes do with a coal oil powered website, with alcohol lamps on the desks to light our compositing machine, and that's the way we like it.
No text is as funny as the text that gets erased. The fish that got away is always the largest. Writers never can reproduce lost work, even five minutes after they wrote it. Every manuscript is a foreign country as soon as it's written. If the printer accidentally burned Anna Karenina, and you asked Tolstoy to re-write it, he'd probably say something like, "I'm pretty sure it's about Russia, but don't hold me to it."
So if you need a laugh, you'll have to do without my erased observations. Picturing me putting needles in a doll that looks like the webmaster will have to do.
On to the links!
If software warnings from multinational tech companies didn't read like Hop on Pop, maybe people wouldn't ignore them. All the examples I see say things like, "Whoopsie, that shouldn't have happened! Our code monkeys have been dispatched to check into it. Here's a picture of a penguin!"
These teachers are demonstrating they're unfit for their jobs, and should be fired. They'll be given prizes instead.
I could have fixed Barnes & Noble. Hell, I could have fixed Yahoo. Unfitness for a job is now considered your primary qualification for it.
Another begged question. No cities are liveable. We'll give the article a pass for sticking the mealy-mouthed word "most" in there. Tallest midget in the circus. I like that the first reason a city is "liveable" is healthcare. If your first consideration for where you live is finding a doctor, you'd be happiest in a nursing home, I think.
I'm sorry. Were you saying something?
Not many people know what Cisco does. My impression of the company is that it's 500 times more important than Google, Apple, Facebook, Snapchat, and several hundred other tech companies combined. The Internet is really just a bunch of switches, and Cisco made them all. They're hemorrhaging workers because the CEO decided he (she? I refuse to look it up) wants to be in the Software as a Service business for some reason. After everyone loses their job, and the company tanks, maybe Barnes & Noble will hire him.
I'm confused. I've been assured that it's only trailer parks with confederate flags in the trailer windows where this sort of thing goes on. And we all know that only hillbillies marry their relatives. Woody Allen could tell you that. Is it possible that low-rent behavior isn't about money?
I find Oetzi the Iceman to be the most interesting story of the last 50 years or so. Hmm. Shot in the back with an arrow, and left to die. Dude was a burglar.
You're right. I don't. Unlike Annabel and Emily from the Daily Mail, I've heard of Photoshop and publicity stunts. Still funny, though. Enjoy!
Say, it's Friday, isn't it? That's like the fifth Monday in a row. I hope our list of links helps you power through until they light the smoking lamp, and the blessed weekend begins. A votre sante, Maggie's readers!
Thursday, August 18. 2016
For me, the corporate world has become a bizarre scenario. Recent management changes in my office have led to responsibility shifts, and being a white male over 50, I'm in an unusual position. I have to continually prove my relevance. That shouldn't be unusual, it's the kind of relevance I have to prove which is unusual. We should all have to prove ourselves capable and competent in our jobs, regardless of age. This seems to be less important today. What I have to consistently prove is how well I 'fit' in the organization. In other words, it's now what you do or say, but how you do or say it. Results aren't gauged by how quickly or efficiently they are accomplished, but by how well they are 'socialized'. To a large degree, it has required a considerable bit of effort to run in place. I've found that my days are spent as much determining strategies to move forward as they are spent trying to get the job done.
Continue reading "Everything Has A Price"
The stuff from the can tastes and smells like dog food.
Make a few days' worth at a time. Then make large sort-of patties out of it and sautee until crispy on the surface.
Serve with white toast, plus or minus a sunny side up egg or two on top. And ketchup.
A diner I like makes it with just the beef and onions, no chopped peppers either, and serves it with home fries on the side. Excellent variation.
Arthur Hiller has passed away. If the name doesn't ring a bell, he's a movie director. The Hollywood Reporter, charged with identifying him in their headline to a public that left him behind years ago, called him the "director of Love Story." Why they would choose that as his epitaph is telling. About the author, and the industry. Not Arthur Hiller.
Love Story made a lot of money. People in Hollywood find a way to like things that make a lot of money. They prefer working on cranky, obscure things that pay them a lot of money, and don't make anyone else any money, but they sit up straight when a rainmaker like Arthur Hiller walks in the room. Money is power and it's all Hollywood knows.
Arthur Hiller made some fun, interesting movies. You can still watch The In-Laws with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin and get a few laughs from it. He made the pilot for the 60's TV show The Addams Family, which is still very funny to look at. Like its contemporary The Beverly Hillbillies, it was really witty for a short while, before it became like every other dreary thing on TV.
I remember Love Story. It's a bad movie, and must be unwatchable today, even for its devotees. It's not my fault it made money. It got none of mine. It's not Arthur Hiller's fault, really, that it made a lot of money, so don't blame him either. He put his best effort forward for everything he worked at, and people liked him for it. They gave him an award for being generous, once. He remarked, “It’s so embarrassing to receive an award for doing what you should be doing, but I must admit it pleases me greatly.”
That's a better epitaph for the man, surely, than the director of Love Story. RIP
On to the links!
Begging the question in the headline again. Tsk. Tsk. The Pieta is Michelangelo's best work. Even seated Moses could give Dave a run for his money. Moses' ankles are fine. Hell, Dave might not be the most enjoyable statue outside the Palazzo Vecchio. Hercules and Cacus is a blast, and it gives you a two-for-one discount on your sculpture-gazing budget. A statue of a guy about to get his brains beat in is more appropriate than David, when it's outside the town hall where you pay your taxes.
A true expert in valuation buys companies, he doesn't scratch away in a cubicle estimating value. And he would never tell you what he was thinking. Uber could be worth next to nothing overnight, so valuing it at par with General Motors is silly. There's no scrap metal value in Uber if it goes belly up.
Sooner or later, everyone is going to have to come to grips with the fact that nearly all the stuff that wrecks your life is voluntary.
I've been wrong on the Internet more times than I can count. I am only "corrected" when I'm right.
The first post on this website years ago, an utterly unknown site at the time (and still not too well-known) was my pics of Christo's Gates in NYC's Central Park.
Art? Don't ask me. Fun and interesting for sure. An attraction for sure too. A gay spectacle that you moved through.
His latest is Christo’s 3km Floating Walkway Across Italy’s Lake Iseo Open To Public. We've been to that lake. Been to most of the northern Italian lakes. Pleasant enough with fine food, but no need to go back.
Been there, done that. I could happily do Sicily again but I have already driven around most of that island.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 04:51 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, August 17. 2016
Dylan does the Everly Brothers tune (1970).
I cannot embed, but worth clicking.
Medically, good posture helps prevent back problems.
Computer monitors, age, shame and shyness, muscle atrophy, and general slovenliness are the enemies of good posture: shoulders back, head up, no slouch, belly tucked in, etc. Look good, not proudful but self-respecting.
10 Ways to Have Great Posture as You Age - Here are 10 tips to keep you standing tall at any age.
Posture Power: How To Correct Your Body's Alignment
In recent years, Americans have become so heliophobic that they become Vit D deprived, raising the risk for many diseases. My dermatologist told me that many American kids are now Vit D-deprived due to excessive sunblock use. Oral Vit D is an unreliable source. Your skin produces sufficient Vit D via exposure to the UV rays in natural sunlight for about an hour per week (assuming your body is not mostly covered up).
Nobody wants skin cancer, but the scary one is the rare but dangerous Melanoma. It seems to be associated with sunburn. Do dark-skinned people get Melanoma? Yes.
Can you get sunburned on cloudy days? I did an experiment on myself last week. After 4 hours of kayaking on a hazy day with thin clouds, I got semi- scorched. Can You Still Get A Sunburn When It’s Cloudy Out?
I think it makes sense to get some time in unprotected sun but if you are going to be outside all day nude or in a bathing suit, spray the stuff on after that and use a hat. It can't hurt.
Reading news reports from other countries is fun. You have no chips on their intellectual poker table, so you can read about things with an unjaundiced eye. I think George Washington called the attitude disinterestedness. He meant you shouldn't have a dog in any fight that you stand to benefit from. Old Muttonhead was somewhat phlegmatic, so it's hard to know what he might be thinking about any particular topic, but I've gotten the impression by reading about him that if he saw the capital city that bears his name, he'd bust out the fire and sword. Disinterestedly.
Anyway, I went to Europe this AM and poked around, looking for things I could be disinterested in, hoping they'd interest me. I hope they interest you, too.
Isn't France still essentially under martial law? Don't government functionaries have better things to do? Don't Pokemon Go players?
Snicker. For some reason I have a Cab Calloway song playing in my head. Won't they just have to turn over all the proceeds to Troy? Hi di hi di hi di ho!
I'm trying to wrap my head around the formulation: "Spain's Olympic kayak hero." El Cid unavailable for comment.
"Expecting anything to function properly" is mysteriously absent from this list.
I think this comes under the heading of "slow news day" in Germany. Shouldn't you be shopping for a bottle of ouzo and a spray of flowers for some Greek, to go along with your reparations check? Get busy.
Well, there you have it. Europe. And I though the United States was a silly place. Good night, Mr. and Mrs. Europe, from border to border and coast to coast, and all the ships at sea. You were fun while you lasted.
Tuesday, August 16. 2016
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:59 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)