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 27. 2017
A pal invited me to do some 5 AM salt water kayaking yesterday, the plan being to do some sunrise drone photography over the water and to get a couple of hours of exercise. He built a landing platform on the bow of one of his kayaks. Admit it - that's a cool thing to do.
Paddling out in the dark, startling the night herons - wonderful of course. The beauty of kayaking is no noise, no sails to mess with, no concern about the water depth, and you get good exercise. In the dark, it feels magical.
Unlike duck hunting (also an early start around here), it's not frigid and sleeting when you set out on the water.
Anyway, this darn drone (the Solo) has about 20-25 minutes of power and it is damn fast. We put it up to around 3000 feet and sent it off about 2500 feet (around 1/2 mile) across the water when it lost contact. However, since it tracks GPS satellites, it automatically returns to its launch area when it loses contact so you easily regain control when it comes back into range.
The thing has a gimbel and GoPro camera connected to your iPhone. Video or still shots. It only takes a minute to see why the military loves these toys. There are various regulations about how these toys can be used, many of them sensible. There's never a problem over water, if you keep the altitude below aircraft.
Sunrise, yesterday morning, around 200 feet above Long Island Sound:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:00 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, August 26. 2017
With the USS McCain collision, even Navy tech can’t overcome human shortcomings. One mistake can cascade into a disaster in heavy marine traffic, regardless of tech.
In some areas, navigation is like air traffic control.
First off, if you're having problems with the Flash videos, read this.
The other day I noticed a link to an article titled Why Pluto is No Longer a Planet. The article was quite interesting, then I watched the accompanying video, then went over to YouTube, searched for 'space' and watched a number of space videos. While some were way over the top ("Why Black Holes Could Delete The Universe" e.g.), some of them were quite interesting, so I collected the best of the bunch for your viewing pleasure. Given Bird Dog's post of the Voyager link this morning, the timing couldn't be better.
Like many, I was outraged when I heard that a room full of dusty old codgers in Prague, Czech Republic, had suddenly decided to rewrite history. But, as the following video explains, there was a pretty good reason for the decision. Nor, I admit, was it left up to just a few dusty old codgers.
The article linked above is even more in-depth.
Four more vids below the fold.
Continue reading "Space videos"
Make DIY cold brew coffee—without fancy equipment
The Farthest: Voyager in Space (full-length film)
US News' Best States Rankings
A Lawsuit Over What Counts as ‘Spring Water’
A young Scottish woman bewildered by American campus politics
Hurricane Harvey Narrative Already Set: Trump Failed
Calif. Catholic school removes Jesus and Mary statues: ‘Alienating’
What Did That Confederate Statue in Durham Stand For? But the soldier depicted by the upended monument in Durham? Who was he most likely?
California Could Start Jailing People Who Don’t Use Transgender Pronouns
White House Reporter Mocked After Claiming ‘Young Hispanic Boy’ Asked Him ‘Why Does the President Hate Me?’
The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics
Canada’s Trudeau Has Second Thoughts On Open Borders
MORE TERROR ATTACKS IN EUROPE - It is getting to the point where they are barely newsworthy.
Dog bites man stories
Friday, August 25. 2017
A mean storm on the Texas coast. We are all thinking of y'all down there. Too serious of a storm, it seems, to facetiously blame it on Al Gore's new movie.
This tune's been going through my head again. The lyrics are incoherent on top, so how come it fits together so well that you can memorize them in five minutes, and it can stick in your brain forever? Thus, perhaps, the Nobel prize.
Where is Alicia Keyes?
There must be an adaptive aspect to that. It explains why body-builders and getting-in-shape exercisers (those who are not in the fat or overweight category, but just a little 5-6-lb pudgy with undeveloped muscles) need to force-feed themselves their five small meals (large snacks instead of "meals") daily to support their fitness-building. Over months, some of those fat pounds can be replaced by solid muscle pounds in other places.
Overweight people, on the other hand, have many weeks or even months of survival energy stores already on board and really only need several 30-gm doses of protein daily if they are embarking on a strenuous daily fitness program because body fat is a fine energy source. Certainly not three regular American meals/day if they want to get in fighting shape. We have discussed the various forms of eating (ritualistic, social/recreational, impulsive/emotional, false hunger, etc.) here.
In the first case and in the second, we see that subjective "appetite" can be a trickster for adults. I could build an analogy to sexual instincts, but I won't. Goals, logic, and discipline are powerful human tools. Perhaps our most powerful.
Side note: If you enjoy difficult fitness training, you have a problem. Like grammar school, you are supposed to hate almost everything about it. If you don't hate it, and if it isn't mentally and physically painful and aversive, try a new program. If you hate it, but feel glad you did it afterwards, great, because that is life's deal in most ways. If your daily life is strenuous physical work, you can ignore all of this.
Wine and health
Wine is medicine
Hunting season: Quick Fixes for Better Shooting - Follow these 25 simple tips to bag more ducks and geese
SWEDISH MUSEUM ACCELERATES THEIR CULTURAL COLLAPSE BY TURNING VIKING ARTIFACTS INTO SCRAP METAL
ACLU: That Photo Of A Flag-Waving 3-Year-Old We Just Posted Shows ‘White Supremacy Is Everywhere’
Hitler-Jugend, no doubt
Climatologist Shreds Al Gore’s Latest Propaganda Movie
Affirmative Action Has Failed. It Never Had a Chance to Succeed
What Texans Are Telling Their Congressman - Are voters fixated on Trump? Health care? North Korea? Nope. Think again.
It fascinates me when people say, “Why won’t gun owners compromise?”
DHS: Arizona Proves ‘Border Walls Work’
AN OPEN LETTER TO MICHAEL CHABON'S READERS - The novelist instructs his fellow Jews that their biggest enemy is – who else? – Donald Trump.
Jewish activists target removal of Peter Stuyvesant monuments
Southern Poverty Law Center Labels Christian Groups As “Hate” Groups
University of Michigan frat cancels ‘Nile’-themed party after student complains
One student - sheesh. Upset about cultural appropriation of ancient Egypt. Really?
A creepy prediction of internet censorship
Scott Adams: Oppositions tend to hallucinate
It’s Official. Democrats Have Learned Nothing From Donald Trump’s Win
TERROR AVERTED IN ROTTERDAM - A tip from Spanish authorities saves Dutch lives.
Poland to EU: No Muslim Refugees
Venice snipers authorized to kill anyone shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’
Thursday, August 24. 2017
They are right about one thing: a little violence will get you news coverage. A guide.
I did not win yesterday's Powerball, darn it. I guess I can't have every material thing I can think of.
I don't need a new car, but I am constantly tempted by new car ideas. Fact is, there are other things I choose to spend my money on. Some are necessary expenses (eg dental), some are optional, recreational, and some are charitable. A simple explanation of Marginal Utility.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:16 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Every good fitness trainer will urge you not to compare your fitness with others. That is fine in theory, but it goes against human nature.
There is an unspoken rule in gyms that you do not look at other people or at what they are doing. A rule more honored in the breach than in its observance, maybe. Indeed, we glance at what the big boys are doing with the multi-100 lb barbells, and we at least glance at the 30-something pigtailed blond bouncing merrily and faster than us on the elliptical in front of us.
I'm talking about the competitive urge, though, not the boy-girl aspect. I'll admit that I envy the taller, hunkier guys with more rugged features and builds than mine, and there is an ugly thread of hatred in that because I imagine they could have stolen the girl I liked when I was in high school, or gotten a job I wanted for being a more formidable or impressive presence. It is common for women to feel similar things, to feel defeated by women who are shapelier, more athletic, more charming, etc. People who are relatively free of interpersonal competitiveness, whether in talents, brains, career success, wealth, fame, fitness, attractiveness, etc. are blessed in a way, I think.
Anyway, all such comparisons and competitions can interfere with, or even defeat, our personal fitness goals (unless we are, in fact, seriously competitive athletes). Indeed, they can discourage people from pursuing their goals at all. Some people are afraid of gyms. The ancient Greeks were not. Their gyms were for people without manual labor who needed phys ed and intellectual stimulation. OK, it is true, they liked the boys too but that is not what we are about.
My suggestion is to make a set of, say, 6 fitness provisional goals (signal goals, eg body composition, distance on 60-second sprints of whatever sort, deadlift max, number of pull-ups, etc) and to keep a monthly log of progress while doing the full round of fitness efforts. This takes the focus off others and puts it where it belongs, at least in this area of life. We don't compare our bank accounts with Warren Buffet's. We compare them with ours from last month or last year.
Am I progressing morally, spiritually, financially, physically, intellectually, culturally, from year to year? If not, what the heck am I doing with this incredibly challenging and often-harrowing brief gift of life? Waiting for something? Or surviving (not a bad idea)?
´My daughter came home crying afraid she´d turn into a boy´: Parents´ anger after kindergarten lesson has student´s transgender reveal occur mid-class
Child miners aged four living a hell on Earth so YOU can drive an electric car
Here Are 8 Monuments That Have Been Attacked Since Charlottesville
UC Berkeley chancellor’s message on free speech
Britain’s War on Free Speech
Why Are Media Outlets Giving Commentary Space to Wannabe Censors?
Should Apple and Google Ban Gab?
Immigration Twilight Zone - Objections to President Trump’s proposed new system run the gamut from hyperbolic to self-serving.
Dear President Trump: It's Time for Some Conventional Political Finesse
Tapper Admonishes Trump: ‘Your Behavior Is Causing Great Concern Among the Majority of the American People’
Trump’s Afghan Escalation
Iran extends reach with fight for land link to Mediterranean
Redding has a few nasty mcmansions but it's still far enough from things to have a rural character while having high-functioning residents.
If this place in Redding had another ten or 20 acres, it would appeal more to me. Frontage on the large pond, a large greenhouse, and, interestingly, it used to be Edward Steichen's studio. It's for sale.
I'd let lots of that lawn turn to once/year mowed meadow. Mowed in early August, after the meadow birds and bunnies have bred.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:21 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, August 23. 2017
“There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca
I'd say this sums up many of the problems we face as a nation today. The 'offense' felt by some is a construct based on apprehension and fear. Some claim our president sows this apprehension and fear. What he doesn't do is coddle people. While he is outrageous and lies quite a bit, I've heard every president engage false commentary (many of which have gone overlooked or many people shrugged about, particularly with Trump's predecessor). People claim Trump 'blames the press' for all his problems. He might, though certainly the press does quite a bit to earn that blame. On the other hand, few questioned Obama's 'blame Bush' approach to all his problems.
I'm no fan of Trump. I didn't vote for him (or Hillary). He does engage some policies which I consider outrageous and uninformed. So did Obama. What I do know is, despite the news suggesting Trump is the great evil we face today, that evil really lurks in the hearts of those who hate, on every side.
In my opinion, the best show on TV is 'The Greg Gutfeld Show' on the Fox Channel, Saturday nights. While it can occasionally be simply scathing — usually with Greg's opening monologue — it's basically a lighthearted look at the week's political news. This is backed up by the fact that one of his two guests is often a professional comedian.
Or, sometimes not.
On last Saturday's show we had Terry Schappert, ex-Ranger, ex-Green Beret, a tough nut who was in the military for almost 25 years, much of it fighting Islamic jihadists. His Wikipedia page is here.
First, just to set the background, here's Greg on the weeknight show 'The Five', whereupon he reminds us that we, as conservatives, face two common enemies.
The segment continued with the others joining in, but that was the main gist. The full show is here. The discussion begins at the 12:20 mark.
If you'd like to read an excellent essay on Greg's point in the first clip, check this out.
As summer begins to reach an end here in the northern hemisphere, I found myself recently alone on a remote beach in Maine soaking up beneficial solar rays with no clothing and no sunscreen. I pulled a small kayak up on the little island's rocky beach, and exulted in Mr. Sun's reaching sweetly into every crack and pore of my imperfect and slightly-aging multi-gravida but decently-athletic body. Mr. Sun doesn't discriminate.
I reflected on the pure animal pleasures as only the human kind of animal can reflect. The delight of touch, like the delight of a warm breeze. A gently rocking boat. The heat of the sun on skin, a breeze through your naked pubes. A hug from a friend or kid. A dog licking your hand. Sexual delights, of course. Powerful. The taboo relief pleasures of peeing and pooing. A hot shower that you hate to leave. The thrill of a violent thunderstorm. The tingle of a spoonful of delicious champagne sorbet or fresh raspberry sorbet. The joy of smacking a tennis overhead onto the sneakers of an opponent on a sunny morning. A hot tomato off the vine. The smell of hot trees and flowers. The pleasure of giving in to gravity onto a cozy bed at the end of a day. The fun of walking into cool air conditioning from a sizzling street, and the fun of walking from a car onto a sizzling beach. A chilly glass or two of chardonnay on the lawn at 5 pm.
Mindless, happy-animal, universal pleasures. Controlled hedonisms with no vomitoria or alcohol- and cocaine-fueled orgies. Each season offers its own set of innocent delights, but summertime offers the most.
Carpe diem, because you and I might not be alive next year. Anything can happen. I believe in working hard and long, but not always being a drudge. What's for supper? Grab a beer and make yourselves a turkey sandwich, family. I ain't cooking.
What's your view?
Shark feasts on seal in video, causes panic on Cape Cod beach
Not vegans yet
Cannabis shows inconsistent benefits for pain, PTSD
Basically, some people love weed, some don't. I don't. It made me feel paranoid.
The New Yorker: Who owns the internet?
James T. Hodgkinson, Attempted Assassin Of Steve Scalise, Already Being Erased From History
"The only people who are nostalgic for Communism are those who did not have to live under it."
The New York Times thinks corporations now serve as the moral voice of America.
Not from The Onion: ESPN pulled Asian announcer Robert Lee off the UVa home opener to avoid offending viewers
Jeh Johnson Demonstrates Why We Need Limited Government
Civil war history is a threat to homeland security
Alan Dershowitz Defies Democrats: I’m Against Destroying Art and Statues “We’re Not the Taliban. We’re Not Stalin”
Also, he is demented, a sexist, and a Nazi. Where do you go from there?
Tuesday, August 22. 2017
Most of us hate existence during various periods of our lives. Dark times and the grandeur of the human soul.
They ain't makin Jews like Jesus anymore. Kinky Friedman
It is remarkable and noteworthy to me when anybody successfully opens an independent business in this country's anti-business climate, whether it's local plumbing, money management, or a clothing line.
It's good for people whenever somebody has the cojones to do such things. Many people get jobs from it. Why does government make it so hard to do?
One high-energy young gal we have been following is Nora Gardner, whose online shop for conservative upscale professional women's wear ("Day-to-Night" clothing, made of Italian wool right in New York City's garment district) has added a flagship shop on 58th between Madison and Park.
Mostly online, though.
Lots of people try being employees, and conclude that they ain't gonna work for Maggie's Farm no more. That's good, that's the American spirit. I tried to be an employee for a while. Hated it, never looked back despite the "security."
Problem is, it's a bitch to be your own boss, because boss is too hard on you. Gotta be tough, bold, and brave, and take a ton of self-criticism.
You Go, Girl.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:01 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)