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, December 26. 2016
Is there a single person who participates in Kwanzaa? I doubt it. Z-man on Happy Kwanzaa
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:43 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Human flying drone
Israel: Obama Leaves Another Hot Mess
Electoral Masterpiece - The Founders knew what they were doing
California Dem Wants to State to be 'Wall of Justice' Against Deportations
´Ring of steel´ plan to protect London´s skyscrapers from terror attack
Petrified Unity in Terror-Struck Berlin
In Venezuela, The Dictator Who Stole Christmas
Sunday, December 25. 2016
From N.T. Wright's Incomprehensible Word, Uncomprehending World: The Puzzle of Christmas:
A Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season to all of our readers and to all of our contributors, with thanks for being part of our humble Yankee enterprise
(No innocent trees were murdered for this card to compensate for murdering our Christmas tree)
I've been to a bunch of parties and some fancy parties this season, and heard some great music too, but the best was a neighborhood caroling get-together Friday night - adults and kids. Good food and drinks with around an hour of singing practice around the piano (divvying up the voices of the wise men, the soloist for O Holy Night, etc), then out tramping around and driving around in the dark to our target audiences. Shut-ins, an old friend and WW 2 Navy vet with Alzheimer's, guys on the job, friendly families. Mrs. BD feels that this neighborhood event is the most Christmassy thing we ever do.
I can guarantee that none of the kids who participate will ever forget it. Maybe they will pass it on when they grow up. Hope so. Fine traditions of family, friends, community, and faith do matter because they become embedded in our souls like little candlelights, lighting our dark corners through our entire lives.
O holy Child of Bethlehem
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:14 | Comments (81) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, December 24. 2016
First day of Chanukah
Although almost all use quotations from the Bible to buttress modern day arguments, relatively few have ever read it. Actually, I should say any of them. For there's the Jewish Bible, the Catholic Bible, and various Protestant Bibles, and among these are various translations, inclusions and exclusions.
One of the narratives, that of the Maccabees, is not included in the Jewish Bible. There's several reasons offered: The two Books of Maccabees are in the Alexandrian Greek version, and only those Books in the original Hebrew are included. (Other Books of similar non-Hebrew language or not accepted as divine scripture, like Judith, are as well in the Apocrypha, some in some denominations' Bibles.) The reign of the Maccabees' heirs were not of the sacred line of David and, therefore, unworthy to be treated as kings. Their rule was tarnished by corrupt practices, and contributed toward the internal divisiveness and, then, destruction by the Romans of the Jewish homeland, the wholesale massacres of Jews there and diaspora to alien lands for the remainder. Then, there's the rationale that for a people in exile, subject to survival under and adaptations to inhospitable or suspicious foreign ways, it was not good politics to exalt recent Jews as warriors in the codification of the Jewish Bible.
Today, with the increased ability of Jews to practice openly and participate constructively in Western societies, and with pride in having a homeland to secure safety for all Jews who would return there, the relatively minor holiday of Chanukah is celebrated widely. Providing a celebration for Jewish children at the time of year that others celebrate Christmas has made of Chanukah a major holiday. lt also fits with the recovery of a homeland of refuge in Israel, and is a celebration in which many Christians can choose to share. (Senator Hatch wrote this song for Chanukah, for example. I met him in 1996, and he does always wear a Star of David or a small Mezzuzah around his neck.)
Still, if Chanukah is degraded to just blue-and-white lights in place of red-and-yellow, or icicles, Chanukah is made meaningless.
One must remember there are two Books of Maccabee. The first Book deals with the profanation and oppression in which many Jews went along to survive -- leading to the brave fight by a few for religious freedom that overwhelmed seemingly undefeatable might.
(There's also the side-story of Hannah and her seven sons, who endured the most severe tortures practiced in those times, the descriptions of which would even sicken a surrealist, rather than renounce their faith.)
The second Book deals with the resanctification of the Holy Temple. The custom of the eight day miracle of lights grew from this resanctification, even though there's weak evidence to substantiate it happening that way.
I'll leave the canonical and scholarly debates here for others, in order to draw a lesson. Chanukah and the Maccabees fits within the Jewish Bible's narrative, whether formally or by custom. And, more attention deserves to be given the first Book, to understand the second. Fight, or surrender to comforts and fears and, thus, perish.
The Jewish Bible is a series of opportunities for living the guidance provided by G-d through experience and direction, often failing to do so in successive generations and paying terrible prices to relearn and return to basic truths. In this sense, Jews are fated to be a small self-selecting people, those who adhere to these basic truths, while by basic frail human nature others fall and fail by the wayside, merging into ostensibly safer masses.
The modern state of Israel struggles with these choices, and so far has risen beyond any expectations -- by rejecting the sophistry of self-serving internal weaklings, defectors, and collaborators paid off by Israel's enemies, and by evading false friends in high-places within other governments, who all recommend paths that are well-known to lead to defeatism and doom.
So, depending on the transliteration, to all a Happy Chanukah, or Hannukah. These young people in a flash mob on Ben Yehuda Street are the spirit that bring pride to fighting to endure in basic truth, for the benefit of all. There are onlookers and there are participants. Without modern Maccabees, participants in fighting for life, all would be enslaved.
Unorganized Hancock: The Generic Christmas Song
You’re an Adult. Your Brain, Not So Much.
That explains a lot
Climate Funny: “We’re all doomed” – in a Billion Years:
Holdren is Obama's science advisor
Professors moved left since 1990s, rest of country did not
Snopes Co-Founder Embezzles $98,000, Drops Weight, Leaves Fat Wife And Marries Actual Whore
Afraid of stirring up racism. Is Islam a race?
Z-man: Europe's bloody future:
Heir to British throne urges subjects to think about Mohammed at Christmastime
Putz made me think about Mohammed on Christmas Eve. Thanks a lot, Prince.
Bias Response Teams—Not Gone Yet
Top Ex-White House Economist Admits 94% Of All New Jobs Under Obama Were Part-Time
The fundamental transformation will continue until January 20.
The Democratic Game Plan for Making Trump Miserable — and Regaining Power
And homeowner's insurance and auto insurance
Friday, December 23. 2016
Tree went up last weekend. That was our first family Christmas because a daughter will be vacationing in Asia during real Christmas. Our daughters love traveling in Asia.
Still, we have the in-laws for Christmas Eve fish supper and candlelight church, and all the other kids for Christmas Day dinner. I think Christmas Day afternoon will be a good day for a chilly long hike with the puppy if the old guy feels up to it...meaning The Dog - not me.
Then a long winter's nap.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:48 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Around the HQ, we stick with the un-Yankee, Southern Italian/Sicilian Christmas Eve fast, which means seafood. In past years, I have had the real 7 Fishes with fried baccala, steamed mussels, scungilli, etc etc. A wonderful fish feast which it would be a stretch to term "fasting." The Catholics are very clever with their concept of fasting.
The best-known Sicilian Primi is Pasta Con Sardi - pasta with anchovies (ie small sardines) - what I term Pasta With Minnows aka Pasta with Bait.
What is an "anchovy"? Never, ever use those tinned brown over-salted anchovies that they put on cheap pizzas. Disgusting stuff, cat food for a cat you hate. If you can't get fresh anchovies (they are white) at your local fish market, use the canned white anchovies in olive oil. Tasty. Good Italian markets have good fresh or oiled white anchovy filets.
Here's the recipe. Yes, to be authentic it needs the breadcrumbs. And here's another Vigilia favorite: Fried Baccala Balls. I've also had these with mashed potato in the cod mix to hold it all together. Nothing is more delicious.
Traditionally, you have to have Struffoli for dessert even though I find it inedible.
Truth is, in recent years we just make poached salmon with yogurt-dill sauce, to be ready to serve at room temp. after getting home from church.
This year, I will bring this game for family fun: Cards Against Humanity: Cards Against Humanity is as despicable and awkward as you and your friends.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:47 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Image via Never Yet Melted. Grammatically correct, but the message is wrong. Good grammar does not compensate for an erroneous message. (Fact check: Spanish actually has a future subjunctive, but not English. Go figger.)
Lifestyles of the Rich and Bureaucratic
Like a Candle In Berlin - On the curious habits of the spiritual-but-not-religious:
Government Schools Are No Place for Bright Kids
Anti-Israel Activism Comes To Elementary School
Facebook lurking makes you miserable, says study
I've never seen it
How to Be a Stoic - Born nearly two thousand years before Darwin and Freud, Epictetus seems to have anticipated a way out of their prisons.
Failure to Launch: Young Americans Living with Parents Hits 75-Year High
Those new service sector jobs, supply and demand - Spanish ham slicing edition
Liberal prof is sick of identity politics
Forward Editor Announces He Hates Chanukah
I agree with the general idea, but why do we need mass immigration?
Californians See Their First Pension Cut
Friendliest town in America has Crazy Police Safety Tips: Stay in the House, Lock It, and Have a Happy Holiday - 'Avoid driving alone or at night.'
Chicago Gun Violence So High It Is Skewing National Murder Figures
Violent guns and violent trucks must be banned
What a woman. But more importantly, what a soldier.
How did this guy retire with $37 million after a career in Congress?
Harry Reid Says He ‘Did What Was Necessary’ By Lying About Mitt Romney’s Tax Returns
Americans who voted against Trump are feeling unprecedented dread and despair
Sheesh. Afraid of the bogeyman?
Election: This guy has a Schadenboner
Linda Greenhouse loves federal government bureaucracies: Invasion of the Agency Snatchers
Truth is no longer necessary for a narrative
Defeated Democrats' new attack line: The Electoral College is racist
Except when they win elections
Draining the swamp: How Donald Trump exiled the political class:
VDH: The Trump Nail in the Media Coffin:
No brain required to import terrorists
Thursday, December 22. 2016
The year is winding down and I'm still struggling with the same nonsense I've been dealing with in the office since last August. It is getting worse for a few reasons. But I'm not making a case for the year ending badly. Instead, I've got a different point of view because through these months I've kept a generally positive attitude. After all, there is plenty to be grateful for, and I am looking forward to 2017.
I'll start with politics. This isn't something I'm grateful for, but I'm grateful for learning new ways to deal with the nonsense it represents. In part, I mean the election, though that's minor. I was unmoved by the outcome, but this is NYC and many are still having fits. My new VP decided to start sending a daily email update in which she shares articles and commentary on industry events. Every day includes the latest anti-Trump article. I understand she supported Clinton (I didn't support either major candidate), but I don't care for her bias infecting the workspace. It's unhealthy. I know many people in the office who voted for Trump and don't share her point of view. Neither me or any of them are in a position to say something.
Continue reading "Some Year-End Mental Housecleaning"
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 19:12 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
The only version worth watching, 1951 with Alaistair Sim. They sure packed a lot into a short movie.
TRIGGER WARNING: This film deals with topics which might be offensive to some.
We minimize presents, maximize festivity and games, piano sing-alongs, and being together as a jolly family.
Christmas Eve is a fasting day (meaning, curiously, lots of delicious seafoods). Why God would want that is strange to me, but whatever. For Christmas, we're doing crown roast pork with apple stuffing, roasted root vegetables and Brussel Sprouts, and a Buche for dessert with hot chocolate drizzle.
What are y'all cooking for the feast day?
Is your doctor a commodified technician, or is it a relationship? I was trained that the physician relationship was key to everything we do. Foundational. Oftentimes, when seeing endless streams of patients in charity clinics, we as young docs needed to be reminded about how important we were to them. We were reminded of our priestly role in peoples' lives, that they talked about us and thought about us far more than we did about them.
Today, many of our doctors are impersonal to us, or invisible. You have no relationship with the anesthesiologist (unless her or she lives next door), the pathologist, the Infectious Disease consultant, the radiologist, etc. However, we do have important relationships with our hands-on docs; our Gynecologists, Internists, Pediatricians, even your Orthopedic Surgeon. Certainly Psychiatrists, who are not literally hands-on but are certainly intimate relationships.
You can have it, but it will cost you. In my field of medicine, I am a hold-out against the commodification of medical care and treatment. For me, the relationship is the key, and, in the old priestly way, relationships with my patients also sustain me and educate me in my work. That is the non-monetary reward.
So to all of you patients out there, remember to thank your docs this year. A grateful holiday card is sufficient. A holiday Cheesecake is not necessary.
And Happy Holiday Season to all. This family is heading to the north woods for snow and cold fun for a while, and our holiday festivities. God bless you all.
It's the time of year to remember to say Thank You in a material way. When it's cash, I think $50 is a reasonable token of appreciation around here. Less might constitute an insult. Of course, that depends on where you live. Our general rule is cash for people who work for somebody else, and goodies for people we pay (except for house helpers).
Garbage man - $
Hope I am not forgetting somebody else important. Am I? I'd give something to the UPS guy, but it's never the same person.
Here's the Real Reason You Should Never Warm Up Your Car (h/t Insty)
Baby Boomers Increasingly Having Social Security Checks Garnished To Cover Student Loan Payments
Homogenization of Temperature Data By the Bureau of Meteorology
German Officials Tried to Send Berlin Market Killer Back to Tunisia But ‘Couldn’t’
" Sometimes I just want to ask some people "Is there any liberal cliche that you don't believe?" "
Arrest made in ‘Vote Trump’ burning of Mississippi black church
Why Trump’s Victory Is a Pivotal Turning Point in Human History
The Delegitimization Of Donald Trump - Hillary Clinton’s defenders are assiduously working to define how the 2016 presidential outcome came to be.
Freakout On the Left
Z-man on legal immigration:
Just 34,000 migrants out of 1.2million to arrive in Germany in the last two years have found work, government reveals
Wednesday, December 21. 2016
Perhaps they should. It is a dangerous metaphorical story about how a rich, penny-pinching and emotionally-stingy wretch becomes a re-born joyful Christian at Christmastime through the work of the Holy Spirit. Dangerous for innocent kids. Dangerous for adults too.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:28 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Manhattan Project-sized effort is needed to create artificial Arctic ice 'to prevent climate catastrophe'
Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps
Who is right - and who really cares anyway?
For the calisthenic component of your fitness program, though, you can throw in a few sets of lunges to make your legs burn for 24 hrs. (That is not lactate burn, it is good muscle-damage, micro-tear burn/ache). I do 3 sets of walking lunges, with or without hand weights, weekly. Even though it counts as calisthenics, I think it toughens up the legs even though it is more endurance than strength. Good pain!
Readers are tired of my preaching that calisthenics are a necessary fitness component but I will persist. Contra Rippetoe, we preach a balance of approximately 1/3 weights, 1/3 cardio intervals, and 1/3 calis (including what I term "heavy" calis like Farmer's Walk, pull-ups, push-ups, heavy ball slams, lunges with weights, weighted planks, etc) - while agreeing that real weight training is the most important and effective fitness component.
Have trouble identifying the point at which you have had enough food to live on? Tend to eat as if in a race, too fast or more greedily than most other people? Tempted to eat impulsively between meals? Feel that you have to clean your plate without thinking, or without sensing satiety? Want a dessert even when you are full or over-full (not counting Thanksgiving)? Occasionally conceal your eating habits out of shame? Feel bad about yourself when you know you have eaten more than you need?
These are the main signs of the fairly-common "binge eating disorder." You do not have to pathologize it - it could also be called a "bad habit," or, from a moral standpoint, "gluttony," one of the Christian 7 deadlies. A First World problem, but not as much as you would think: there is more overweight among the "poor" around the world these days than among the more prosperous. BED people eat as if on an anti-starvation feeding mission rather than at a social occasion with food as an enhancement.
Like many so-called "disorders," it is mainly medically-defined as such for insurance purposes but it is a real pattern of impulsivity or compulsivity, often manifest in many areas of functioning. If it's a problem, it is easily addressed. There are pills for it.
Binge Eating Disorder - Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Help