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.
For 1 million, you do not get much. Supply and demand. You are not paying for the lousy living square footage, you are paying to be here. Like an ocean liner, you do not just get your little rooms. You get the whole enchilada just out your door.It's not for the faint of heart though. Gosh, I love living here but I am saving for a country getaway in northwestern CT or Ulster County. I need my own shooting range, at least, and that is not allowed in Central Park unless you are a crim.
You see hundreds of these mini-trees in pots during Christmas season. I don't mind them in pots and planters, but as landscape plants (which is where they often end up), I feel they rarely fit in and have a tacky, artificial, gas-station appearance. I have two of them next to my vegetable garden, thrown into the ground many years ago for the heck of it after outdoor Christmas use in outdoor pots. They are about 7' tall now. I hate to cut them down, but I don't like them. They are happy misfits.
Sugared foods are delicious treats. Cheap and abundant carbs (converted to sugars during digestion) are a blessing for mankind. Historically, only the rich and royalty could be fat. Now, the poor are wealthy enough to get fat while it is the prosperous who tend to be physically fit and trim. The social part has flipped: plebians are fatter, patricians trimmer. It is sociologically interesting.
It is also medically interesting that carbs, including sugars, alter your insulin metabolism. Of course they do, but these issues are only of academic interest unless you have a desire to lose fat.
We seem to order Thai takeout almost weekly. Thai takeout is what Cantonese and Szechuan takeout used to be around here.
In my limited experience with Thais (limited to restaurants in the US only), they are efficient, entrepreneurial, and pleasant polite people with excellent smiles, beautiful gals, and good English. I welcome all immigrants from Thailand, but I am not sure why they come here.
I am ordering a Thai delivery tonight (Penang Curry, Clear Broth Noodle Soup, Thai Salad, extra white rice, extra hot sauce on the side). Cultural appropriation - bring it on!
A close family member has been spending Christmas week in Thailand. My father-in-law, who has visited Thailand, warned them about ordering the amazing food over there: "They give you a choice of Not Spicy, Spicy, Very Spicy, and "Local." He said "Never ask for the "local."" He said the "Not spicy" is hot enough for the average lame American person but if you want to prove your toughness, just order Spicy and take it from there.
An email from a beach in Phuket:
Some of the food pics below the fold - the last one looks mysterious but I'm sure it was tasty -
We mostly post about resistance exercises and calisthenic exercises. Resistance exercises and calisthenics offer plenty of good cardio-pulmonary challenge in themselves, but some almost pure cardio exercise should be part of the fitness mix. The Conditioning or Fitness Triad is what I call it: a total of 2 hrs mostly weights, 1 hr of heavy+lighter calisthenics, 1+ hr of pure cardio.
A few comments about cardio (eg rowing, running, swimming, fast-walk treadmill, stair machine, jump rope, elliptical, bike): These exercises do not build strength. Cardio exercise does nothing to prevent osteoporosis or to strengthen bone. They do help build cardiac power and muscle endurance. These exercises do not help with weight loss in any meaningful way, but keeping your body moving with exertion every day is a good idea, and you can't lift heavy weights every day. We strongly advise against running as a cardio exercise because of joint damage. Sprinting outdoors or indoors is fine, but long runs outdoors are physically destructive (even if mentally beneficial) and offer little fitness benefit.
20-25 minutes of pure cardio, twice or at most 3X/wk, is all anybody needs as the cardio component of a fitness program. It doesn't take much time because it's intensity, not duration, that matters. If you have more time on a given day, spend another 1/2 hr on high-rep weights or calisthenics instead of wasting it on more pure cardio.
There are caveats, however. To be effective, cardio has to be HIIT - High Intensity Interval cardio - approx 1-2 minute sprints alternating with one minute sub-sprints to catch your breath. If you can talk or read during cardio, you are wasting your time. A sprint means around 80% of your max heart rate (unless, like me, you are on BP meds that limit your heart rate in which case you just push it to your max which for me is 120). To get that rate up and maximize the stress, use the max resistance (on a treadmill, for example, an incline of 10 or more) and/or your max sprint speeds and put your heart into it. Otherwise, it's fairly useless unless you are over 80 years old or infirm.
Distance runners (I used to be one) and distance swimmers (I used to swim a mile daily) are not accomplishing very much. It feels good, though.
The other Cardio caveat concerns variety. Continuous repetition of the same cardio exercise increases your efficiency with it and thus diminishes its cardio effectiveness, so we need to vary the cardio exercises to keep the stress up. Mix it up, even within one session. Less boring, too. I always add a few minutes of jump rope at the end - singles, running man, and one-footed, to make sure I finish with nothing left in the tank. Jumping is tough and you will see mostly guys doing it - few if any bouncing gals.
An example of a typical cardio day for me would be 5 minutes elliptical warm-up intervals, set above 10, then a one-minute straight-arm plank, then 15 minutes treadmill fast-walk intervals at a 10% incline, then a minute elbow plank, then 5 minutes jump rope. If I have more free time to fill, I'll do some sets of heavy ball throws, light-weight squats, high-rep curls and press-downs.
The question remains, however, why any nation would want to throw out its sovereignty to institutions that are fundamentally unaccountable, that provide no mechanism for reversing direction, and whose only "solution" to problems involves arrogating to itself ever more authoritarian, rather than democratically legitimate, power.
Why kid ourselves? Maintain your self-respect by resolving to meet realistic goals. One cool aspect to these is that, if you fail to keep them, it's a good thing instead of a cause for self-loathing. Samples (feel free to borrow):
1. I will not exercise at all and will avoid all forms of difficult or tedious exertion beyond walking around and looking at stuff 2. I will gain weight 3. I will resume smoking 4. I will watch more TV and movies, and read fewer books 5. I will do more take-out and minimize home cooking 6. I will quit vegetables entirely 7. I will not clean out or sort out a single closet 8. I will have a messy desk and disorganized paperwork 9. I will do more things at the last minute, or tomorrow 10. I will buy one more firearm I don't need 11. I will make the HQ a Sanctuary Space for dustballs 12. I will throw more recycles into the regular garbage 13. I will continue to try to avoid the dentist and doctor 14. I will waste more of my precious lifetime looking at ephemeral, meaningless BS on the internet 15. I will ignore "Check Engine" lights and seatbelt alarms 16. I will work harder on loving myself whether I deserve it or not 17. I will give more credit to myself, and less to God.
We had a Papillon visiting over the weekend. This breed might be in the lap dog, ankle-biter category, but this one was a delight: well-related, highly-communicative with human-like noises, feisty, high energy, highly-alert, and eager to please. They need plenty of time to run around off leash, and they seem to need plenty of time napping on somebody's lap.
A cool dog. The breed is known to be easily trained, and our visitor obeyed numerous voice commands.
This breed can have erect ears (mostly in the US) and floppy spaniel ears (mostly in Europe). These were popular in the courts of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Madame de Pompadour with her Papillon, by Boucher. Ms. Pompadour was cute, charmant, and smart too. Well-educated, she could sing, play musical instruments, recite plays and poetry, and she understood statecraft. A self-made lady who retained her usefulness to Louis XV well-past her sexual prime until her death of TB at 42.
The Farmer's Walk is a toughening exercise, not so much a strength-building exercise. It is only a true strength-building exercise for your grip - ie your forearms. However, done correctly with chest out, head up, for as long as you can, it challenges your entire body from calves to neck.
Three sets of Farmer's Walks to near-failure weekly, as part of your calisthenics program, will improve your posture and overall toughness.
Do me a favor: Do not resolve to get fit after the new year. If serious, you will work on it today. The problem with fitness is that it takes effort so there is always a good excuse for postponing.
In the 2016 election, American society had a little foretaste of what political life can look like when the virtues of humility, forbearance, honesty and tolerance begin to fade from our common life. Virtue is the secret lubricant that makes all our institutions work smoothly—and it is the secret glue that holds the social structures on which we all rely in place. The farther America moves from its rich heritage of faith, the less well America will work. This isn’t a partisan point. Christianity is the living force behind American liberal ideology as well as behind American conservatism. The values of honesty and tolerance in our national political life are ultimately grounded in the Christian faith that has formed the American conscience for hundreds of years. If we as a people walk away from that faith, the many blessings that it brought us will dry up and blow away.