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.
If you read the news you might almost get the idea that storms and floods are an abnormal modern event. The news forgot about Noah. In fact, floods and storms are not only natural but beneficial in every way to nature's processes but injurious to human hubris and property.
For examples, when a river overflows its banks it delivers fresh silt and soil to the flood plain, rejuvenating it (eg the Nile, eg the Mississippi Delta). When a strong storm blows through a forest and knocks down miles of trees, it restarts the forest cycle providing fresh habitat for all sorts of species who live in forest openings. For the Indians, that was an excellent thing.
The disaster part is man-defined, not nature-defined. When people build on flood plains (eg Houston) or on sea-level marshes (New Orleans), big trouble is predictable. And when man covers those flood zones with asphalt and buildings, or alters rivers with canals and levees, it makes it all worse.
Of course governments and benevolent souls have to step in when these "natural disasters" threaten lives, but a good way to think about it would be, in future at least, market pricing for flood and storm insurance. Let the actuaries figure out the real risk and cost of what people do and put a price on that.
Can an analogy be made between the pursuit of mental fitness and of physical fitness during aging? I certainly do not know, so I will remain skeptical.
The idea that pursuing mental fitness could prevent Alzheimer's is ridiculous. However, it appears to me that many retired people take on difficult mental challenges for an hour or two daily to try to keep their brains geared up. I am not talking about passive learning (ie reading), but active studying. A few examples from people I know:
- A retired guy who decided to refresh his college calculus, and has since taken his math studies three levels beyond where he had gone before, and is still going
- A retired gal who has become fluent in Italian, and can now read Dante and hang out in Italy, considering buying a summer place in Ferrara.
- A retired lawyer who has become fluent in Mandarin
- A friend who decided to become fluent and literate in a new language every two years, and has thus far done that three times using Rosetta Stone.
- A friend who at age 50 has taken up piano in a serious way
- A retired executive neighbor who thought he was too smart to take up mechanics in high school who took up small engine mechanics and is moving on to (pre-computerized) auto mechanics. Now a grease monkey and very happy.
- A retired physician who decided to become an expert in immunology and the genetics of immunology, and has been doing so, while having to learn biomedical statistics on the side.
- A friend who has just gone back to college. Graduated decades ago, but feels she missed a lot.
Mental exertions/disciplines like these are analogous to physical training. I'm sure it's not wasted effort because difficult achievement is its own reward. One thing we know is that strenuous physical exertion (ie not walking or relaxed swimming) is good for brain maintenance but not the opposite.
As we have been saying for years, there is no right "healthy diet" because humans are omnivores. As we have also been saying for years, there is no benefit in a "low fat" or high-vegetable and fruit diet. The evidence for this has been pouring in for 20 years, but people are slow to relinquish their biases. Two recent updates, yet again:
By the way, does any normal person in the Western World eat five servings of fruit and vegetables daily anyway? But never mind, it doesn't matter. We all know that broccoli causes cancer, carrots and fruit are basically sugar, and coffee helps you live forever.
That may or may not be true, but we will all grow old, get sick, and die unless we encounter a fatal accident or get sick and die before we get old.
It's worth reading Cicero's essay On Growing Old before growing old. Appropriately enough, that edition is in large print. Meanwhile, I endorse efforts to remain physically and mentally as vigorous as possible for as long as possible. It makes life more productive and fulfilling but, with luck and if we want to, we might end up old.
With one exception, all of the movies I've reviewed over the past few months have been fairly recent releases. Today, we step back in time.
Here are five wonderful war flicks from the early days:
— Sink The Bismarck (1960)
— The Enemy Below (1957)
— Destination Tokyo (1943)
— Run Silent Run Deep (1958)
— Operation Petticoat (1959)
And there are certain features that distinguish these films from the modern war flick. There's no gorgeous starlet awaiting our hero when he returns home. There's no trick computer gimmicks or the latest, hot special effects. There's no frantic, hurried-up pace; in fact, some of the events actually take place in (gasp!) real-time. There's no thunderous music score when the bad guy is finally bested. And, just as interesting, there's no long list in the credits of stunt men. If there's any list at all.
Everything goes downhill quickly - cardio, endurance, speed, strength. Measurably downhill in 10 days. Unfortunately, things do not ratchet up in a positive direction unless you keep pushing it. In fact, there is no ratchet. There is only uphill or downhill.
That's why Mrs. BD and I try to stick to a fitness regime even on vacation. Too much time and money invested in it to let it slip away. Time off is like blowing your savings.
Somebody ought to explain to David that, for many of us, the issue is not an obsession with politics or the need to "get a life," but offense taken with the obnoxious intrusion of government into our personal pursuit of happiness. David is fully-insulated from that in his Manhattan bubble. When was the last time he tried to start a business?
I find his comments condescending, preachy, and self-congratulatory. One year in a real job in a real place might teach him something.
Jared Kushner’s Mideast Peace Push Is Going Nowhere. That’s Why Israelis Love It. -‘Past administrations jumped into the peace process pool,’ says an Israeli official, praising Team Trump’s go-slow approach. ‘There’s no water in this pool, no reason to jump in.’
I think you want to rely on the power of conservative ideas and sort of hope they spontaneously erupt into a conservative paradise via a right wing Big Bang without you actually having to fight for them. After all, fighting is messy and unseemly, and you also have to ally yourselves with … those kind of people, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. It’s so embarrassing having to explain them to your liberal peers. Many of these misbegotten normals are baffled by fancy sandwiches and stuff.
Because of the eminent importance of Diversity, we at WMBriggs.com, like at Google and every other major entity, will be hiring a Diversity Enforcer. So that when anybody claims to be troubled by what is written here, we can point to our black female lesbian Jewish Enforcer (who will be paid very, very well) to show how devoted we truly are to Diversity. And then you’ll leave us alone.