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.
At Great Books' podcast, an enjoyable discussion of Dante's Inferno. "Dante was a man of tremendous and wide desires, desires for personal, literary, political excellence. And then he lost everything." Of course, Verona is not a bad place to which to be exiled. That's where he wrote The Divine Comedy. In the end, they did make his tomb back in Santa Croce.
We've seen those giant hillside marble quarries in northern Italy, around the lakes region, gleaming in the sun. Marble is metamorphosed Limestone. Limestone is mostly made of little ocean critters' remains. Travertine is a sort-of unconsolidated marble. Travertine is good stuff too.
Our genial and elegant host at a cool tenuda on the hill overlooking Lago Maggiore shipped an approximately 12'X6'X5' block of marble across the lake, up by truck and cranes to his hillside, and had stonecutters turn it into a giant sarcophagus-like hot tub in his olive grove, surrounded by lime and lemon trees, with the heated water from a stream which flowed through it. Just begged to be a sexual invitation, there in the dark with the scent of the lemon blossoms. Is there anybody who disdains outdoor sex? I've always thought it was the best thing. Natural, primitive.
Christ knew his vino. Wine was their coke. In that time, however, wine was typically diluted with some water and sometimes with herbs added. Like a spritzer, maybe, but probably without the fizz. No seltzer water yet, I suspect.
2:1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
2:2 Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
2:3 When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine."
2:4 And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come."
2:5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
2:6 Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.
2:7 Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim.
2:8 He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward." So they took it.
2:9 When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom
2:10 and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now."
2:11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
A chef friend brought me this canned treat from a trip to Paris. She swears it is delicious, and she is always right. It's a goose confit cassoulet. Cassoulet is peasant food, and confit is for things that would be difficult to eat without the confit treatment.
If you've made a cassoulet yourself you know how much work it is, mainly making the confit. I've done it only twice, making confit of things my friend and I shot: Snow Goose breast, wild boar sausage, wild duck leg, pheasant leg. It is remarkable how the confit process can dissolve all of the tendons in a duck or pheasant leg.
Anyway, if you want to try the canned I discovered that you can get them via Amazon, shipped from France. What can't you get on Amazon?
Here's a homemade cassoulet, correctly finished with breadcrumbs on top. You serve it with baguette. Yes, it's a white bean casserole with sausages and confit meats.
Sheesh. Those people do not want housing. They reject housing, They are bums, addicts, mentally-ill, and vagrants. It's their preferred life style. Stats say 10% or fewer are normal people down on their luck
Is walking a part of your fitness routine? If so, be aware that ordinary walking is not valuable "cardio" except for the elderly and the infirm. However, walking and hiking can be perfect for a day of active recovery from a week of exercise.
Assuming a person in decent health, an ordinary street walking speed for men and women is around 3 mph (3.2-3.4 for New Yorkers, which is why you get jostled). Below that is a stroll. This applies to more or less level ground. 3 mph walking is not "cardio" because the heart rate is not sufficiently elevated to challenge or strengthen the heart - or to build lower body endurance.
Deliberate hikers like to move at around 4-5 mph on level ground. I can hike at 4 mph (15-min/mile), especially when it's beginning to get dark and I want to get back somewhere. It's a difficult pace for me, though, because my legs want to break into a slow jog at over 4 mph instead of maintaining a vigorous walk. Some fit and experienced hikers hike at 5 mph with a backpack but at 5 I am definitely jogging, not walking, and I break into a run between 6-7.
Fitness level and body architecture play into this. If curious about this, your phone can give you your average speed of progress during walks and hikes unless you like to pause to look at birds and wildflowers and snakes and toads. After all, exercise is so you can enjoy life so not every hike needs to be a death march. Maybe most of them, but not all.
Best ways to improve your walking and hill-hiking efficiency? Stair machine, elliptical at the higher resistances, and fast-walking or even jogging on a good incline on a treadmill (say incline of 5-8, 10 if fast-walking). An hour of that is a good "active recovery" from other exercises, or good for beginners.
* In the US, normal military march is 3.4 mph (17 mins/mile), but for Army Rangers it's 4 mph.
As I mentioned in an earlier post today, Chris Christie spoke at my conference. He was part of a panel talking about news, and of course everyone wanted to know about 'Russia'.
Christie was my governor for 8 years. I never felt he was a good governor, but he was better than his predecessor, Jon Corzine, by a long shot. He did a few good things in his first few years, then got a little full of himself. I never believed he would work on the national stage, and he didn't.
However, he fills in on sports talk on WFAN and I listen to him there. He's a good commentator. Lots to say, good insight. He's never afraid to talk. As he spoke to us, he was on a panel with 3 others, and he spoke for 90% of the session. All of it was good.
The one takeaway I really liked was his view on Trump. Most of you know I am not a Trump fan, but I'm in absolutely no way a hater of Trump. I just don't agree with some of his policies and I can't stand his attitude or behavior.
That said, I've never felt there's anything 'there' on 'Russia'. Guess what? Christie didn't either, and as he said, it's more likely to turn out that the Mueller investigation shows that the Trump campaign was dysfunctional, that portions were a mess, that some people were engaging in questionable behaviors, but nobody knew what anyone else was doing. He said that's how he felt while he worked on it. It was clear to him Trump loves a chaotic atmosphere because it produces disruption. Christie pointed out that at no point, so far, has Trump 'failed' in any meaningful way. Every time people count him out, he comes through with a victory. Christie believes this, in part, is related to Trump's management style.
This style, he says, is drawn from the Mike Tyson school of boxing. Don't have a strategy. People with strategies tend to overwhelmingly lean on them even as they fail. As you may or may not know, Mike Tyson made his statement, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." Tyson later explained this saying, "How much can you endure, buddy?" Trump pushes everything and everyone to their limit. Christie said he loves to see how much they can take, because invariably he can outlast them and that's how he wins most of the time, when he wins.
Christie pointed out that Trump loses quite a bit, too, but he's also good at turning that around, or portraying it in a way to make people see him as a winner regardless of his failure.
That said, his final point is that Trump does face some strong headwinds with the Cohen situation. It's becoming clear he engaged in very questionable behavior. Christie, however, does not feel the Democrats have the will, the capability, or the desire, to impeach Trump. It's his view, if they do, they will create a platform for Trump to ride to victory easily in 2020. He said it's better PR and better theater to talk about it and drive emotion, but actually doing anything will certainly work against them heavily.
I am WAY behind on posting. I still have Iceland videos and pictures to post, as well as some from my recent Caribbean sailing trip.
However, for the last 2 months I've been very busy with a restructuring of my office. My job has shifted, as has my department, my management, and my co-workers. I'm essentially doing the same job, but I've dropped some of my duties to another, so I'm training them as I focus more on the important parts of my new role.
I'm sorry for not following up on Iceland yet, but I will.
That said, I returned from our Caribbean sail (no WiFi for 10 days, both a blessing and a curse, mostly a blessing) and turned around and flew to a conference to consolidate our restructure. At one point in the conference, we had guest speakers. One was Chris Christie (more on that later) and the other was Kobe Bryant.
On NPR this morning, 3 stories on the catastrophe of shutdown, a story about how low gas prices damage climate, and a long piece on how Trump has not kept his promises (eg no wall yet, no trade deal with China yet, NAFTA renegotiations not oked by congress yet), and a commentary that the economy and employment are good, but a recession is coming so people should not feel good. Their logo should be a late middle-aged woman with a worried frown, shaking her finger at you.
Here are a couple of easy immigration questions -- answerable with a simple "yes" or "no" -- we might ask any American of any political stripe: Does everyone in the world have a right to live in the U.S.? Do the American people have a right, through their elected representatives, to decide who has the right to immigrate to their country and under what conditions? I believe that most Americans, even today's open-borders people, would answer "no" to the first question and "yes" to the second.
Your internist might give you a Cardiac Stress Test every few years to check your cardiopulmonary function, but other than that never a physical fitness evaluation beyond, maybe, a body fat composition. A very thorough physical exam might include an SF-36. This is not used often enough. (It is used in $5-10,000 "Executive Physicals," but that is often because companies take insurance on the functioning of their essential execs.)
The reason doctors don't do it is because your physical fitness at any age is your problem, not his or hers. OK, they will advise "exercise," but they know you won't do much of it, or "watch your diet" but they know you will do no more watching than looking at what is on your plate.
Serious fitness evaluations are done by the military, police, fire departments, etc. For us civilians, the only people who will give us a serious fitness evaluation are skilled fitness trainers. Trainers tell me that 3/4 of their new clients are in terrible shape. That's why they are there. About 1/4 are in decent condition, but want to get to a higher level of fitness.
Regardless of age or level of condition when you decide to get serious about conditioning, The Maggie's program of HIIT cardio, endurance cardio, calisthenics, and weights (plus proper nutrition for a svelte physique) addresses all of the areas of fitness.
The truth is, that the modern world of totalitarianism and material advance, is genuinely popular. It answers to that part of human nature which corresponds to animal nature. We want food, sex, indolence and sleep, and the less we must work for it, the better.
The term has expanded in its use from the original idea of one person making another person doubt their sanity.
In current usage, it refers to any relationship abuse that seeks to distort reality to include things as far as, I think, major deceptions or major lying which puts a partner in another reality. Of course, in any given situation, either one or both people might actually be crazy or half-crazy but that is not about gaslighting.
Regardless of the extent of the sadism, narcissism, or destructiveness involved, it's a real thing and it is evil: Gaslighting.
We're planning two group hikes for this Spring. One will be a Bob Memorial Hike for Friends Of Bob only (challenging or hazardous bouldering mainly, I think - maybe at Mohonk), and the other will be the 2019 Maggie's NYC Urban Hike to which everybody is welcome. Always a jolly crew from all over the country and some noted bloggers too.
Is this our 4th one? They have all been quite interesting but it's my turn to plan. No date set quite yet but it is always regardless of weather. We're tough.
I propose hiking Broadway from Columbus Circle or Lincoln Center up to The Cloisters. That's 8 miles without diversions - but Bulldog will doubtless find interesting historical diversions to add a mile or two. That takes us up the Upper West Side, past Riverside Church and Columbia Univ, through Harlem, through Washington Heights and its great Dominican restaurants, to Fort Tryon Park (maybe stop and see Hamilton's farmhouse up there. Yes, he commuted to his downtown law practice).
How does that sound, for starters? Broadway Line and another subway back to midtown or Times Square. Easy.
If we do this route, we definitely have to see the Palace Theater, Rev. Ike's old church. Amazing place with lots of 20th C history. My lad and I saw Dylan there one time. I wonder whether it's open for tourists. Maybe a C-note might work to get us in for a few minutes, because the whole place is a wonder to behold.