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.
12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God--what is good and acceptable and perfect.
12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
12:4 For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function,
12:5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.
12:6 We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith;
12:7 ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching;
12:8 the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
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:
For the first time in our history, Americans have to be fearful of what they say, of what they write, and of what they think. They have to be afraid of using the wrong word, a word denounced as offensive or insensitive, or racist, sexist, or homophobic.
We have seen other countries, particularly in this century, where this has been the case. And we have always regarded them with a mixture of pity, and to be truthful, some amusement, because it has struck us as so strange that people would allow a situation to develop where they would be afraid of what words they used. But we now have this situation in this country. We have it primarily on college campuses, but it is spreading throughout the whole society. Were does it come from? What is it?
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.
A billion years from now, when our sun has flamed out and burned Earth to a cinder, the Voyagers and their golden records will still be sailing on—perhaps the only remaining evidence that humanity ever existed.
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.
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.
The pompous media has never understood why much of America does not embrace their liberal values. Most members of the press are too insular and dogmatic to ever conceive of any intelligent beliefs beyond their own.
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.
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)?
America is now committed to being in Afghanistan for a few more years, bringing our engagement to at least four decades. The Brits hung around the place for roughly 90 years. The First Afghan War started in 1839 and the last British expats were evacuated in 1929 after a tribal uprising. Afghanistan had become independent in 1919, but the Brits hung around to “help.” Given that American rulers are much dumber than the old British colonials, it is safe to say that this is America’s forever war.
For southern New England, I prefer a place closer to the salt water that my soul requires but if you are somebody with spare cash, I guess you can have 2 places and migrate between shore and country. As a compromise, I do like Old Lyme and that area. Roger Tory Peterson lived in Old Lyme.
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.
“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.
And here's Mr. Schappert on last Saturday's show:
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.
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.