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.
Those all-white canvases pretty much were the dead end. Or maybe Pop Art. However, thousands of people still make compelling and appealing pictures that people want to decorate their homes. Besides that, painting itself remains a highly-popular hobby because it is difficult, semi-relaxing, you have total control for once in your life, and there is always room for improvement.
What about the modernist abstractionists like Pollock? Decorative to some people, definitely investments and status symbols. Could I tell a real Pollock from a Rockwell Pollock? Nope. I think Rockwell did a fine Pollock.
It's a typical time of year for people to change up their fitness program. The daily exercisers I know shift their programs around about every 3-4 months just to keep their bodies off balance. If it isn't stress, it ain't exercise.
For example, I've spent the past 3 months emphasizing my cardio endurance (while doing heavy wts only twice a week). I've seen some improvement in my running and stair machine work, but far from enough to reach my goals. Darn it, I get tired! I'd like my 25 year-old body back...
Anyway, time for a change so I will add a third weights day to replace one of my calisthenics/athleticism classes. I hate to do that because the classes are great fun and damn stressful, but I can switch back in 3 or 4 months.
What do I mean by "weights days"? Barbell or goblet squats, deads, dumbell rows or seated rows, bench. I can't do overhead presses due to a bum shoulder (which needs replacement but I don't want to go through the down time). Also, I do accessory efforts like curls, press-downs, pullups, dips, kettlebell lunges.
Because of time constraints (1 hr/day usually) I tend to do 3 sets of the accessories, and 5 sets of the basics. I usually do 50 jump ropes between sets as part of 90-second recovery. Don't ask me why.
Anyway, for a few months my program will be 3 days of weights, 1 calis/cardio class, 1 day higher intensity and HIIT cardio, one day with 1/2 hr calis and 1/2 hr HIIT cardio, and one day "endurance" long slower cardio (just jogging as long as I can) as a "recovery" day.
Doing the same things all the time is not the most effective plan. How do our readers keep their fitness programs changing?
One of the lessons of Animal Farm is: You can’t reason a pig out of its pigness. T. S. Eliot once described the folly of “dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.” And then he adds: “But the man that is will shadow the man that pretends to be.” Citizenship is hard work. Being a subject is a lot easier. That’s part of the allure of being a subject of a totalitarian state. Under totalitarianism, the state does all of the political work, and people are just livestock to be milked, shorn, and, occasionally, slaughtered. Some people are very comfortable being livestock and really embrace that bovine-ovine role with all they’ve got. People have the power to start being human whenever they want. But work, including the work of citizenship, is a means, and people have to decide for themselves that the end is worth the work. Right now, these blackshirts and their admirers and imitators are comfortable in their intellectual sties.
... already in the sixth century, one of the first great writers about hell, Pope Gregory the Great, ruefully acknowledged that the warning (of hell) is not very effective. And the long history of human behavior bears witness to the truth of this acknowledgment. The strictly instrumental use of hell finally boils down to a remark quoted by Voltaire: “My good friend, I no more believe in the eternity of hell than yourself; but recollect that it may be no bad thing, perhaps, for your servant, your tailor, and your lawyer to believe in it.”
Meet Bai Shaofeng, a Beijing bachelor looking for love. Shaofeng’s problem — one faced by millions of his countrymen — is a product of cultural preferences, government decree and modern medical technology. In China, there are simply too many men.
I'll just add that I can barely read the news these days (and I absolutely cannot watch it on TV). The negativity toward Trump is so relentless, cluttering up everything. It's crying wolf times a thousand. If anything is worth taking seriously, I'm afraid I won't be able to notice.
It's a crazy subject. Higher ed tests were introduced to foster a meritocracy in admissions. As it happens (with the SAT, for example) the test is essentially an IQ test.
IQ is one measure of a person's intellectual potential, but is it "merit"? Would a college want a very high IQ lazy guy or gal with lousy grades? Yes, they might - and might guess right. And what about people showing great promise in one area, but no interest or energy in others? Elite schools used to want the "well-rounded" kid (academically solid if not brilliant, athletic, good social skills, etc).
Anyway, nowadays there are so many colleges desperate for paying butts on seats that there is opportunity for everybody to show what they bring to the table.
I am continually seeing words which are difficult to define. Merit is one, happiness is another. There are more on my list...
Is weight training to muscle failure a good idea? It depends.
With smaller muscle groups, we all commonly train to failure, or close to it, but more often just to the point of excess pain. I'm thinking of examples like curls, forearm exercises, pushups, pullups, cable pull downs and push downs, rows. In fact, many gym machines (which I rarely use) isolate smaller muscle groups in ways that lend themselves to high-rep muscle endurance work (ie 15-20 reps).
With the powerlifts, we do not recommend lifting to failure very often. Just occasionally, to beat the heck out of yourself, and with a spotter. Rule of thumb with powerlifts is mostly to do the number of reps you can manage to accomplish 4-8 times in a row. If you can, for example, deadlift a weight 12 times, raise the weight right away to get down to 6-8 reps for each set.
He made a real study of the city. He was impressed by the vitality, appalled by the squalor. But what angered him was the lack of international copyright. It figures. Writing was not a hobby for him. He wrote to get rich.
There are still many of us Dickens fans in the Anglosphere. That he tossed off a novelette about Christmas which captured the meaning of Christmas - the joyful spiritual rebirth - is the least of his achievements. He was just fascinated by human behavior.
We find much of the joy at Christmastime in all of the parties and festive get-togethers. Connecting and re-connecting with people in a festive and cheery atmosphere, from neighborhood pot-lucks to fancy and formal. There is a magic to it all. Dickens got that.
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 Descend to us, we pray. Cast out our sin and enter in Be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels The great glad tidings tell, O come to us, abide with us Our Lord Emmanuel.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 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.