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.
I hope our readers had a fine Thanksgiving, with people they care about. My theory about the cooking part - it's the whole deal. Eating isn't special. What is special is having everybody banging around the kitchen together, all day, with no-where to go and nothing else to do. That's a good thing, and very rare. Makes it better than Christmas, I think, as a family time. Christmas shopping? It's for the birds, unless you have little kids or a wife who expects a trinket for putting up with your flaws. Make 'em something simple from the heart, like a Mincemeat Pie or a Dylan bootleg mix.
Turkey Coma. Did you get one? I got a semi-coma. The science is here.
The NYT: Way wrong on guns: Aphecca. Wrong - and lying SOBs, too.
Communitarianism, individualism, etc. Good stuff from First Things. Samizdata
DO NOT ENGAGE! Dealing with families with political "differences". Ex-Donk. Dang - why didn't somebody tell me sooner! Bunch of dang Commies who want everything free. Meaning, to me, paid for by their next-door neighbor. Economic part of their brain was damaged at birth, or at Education.
All I want for Christmas is this digital camera
Well, no greedier or more self-indulgent of me to want this particular hunk of metal and glass than for all you old goats to drool over pix of cheesecake...Will not get it, and will thank the kids happily for their paintings and stories, and husband for the new set of KitchenAid kitchen utensils and yet another freebie starter set from another Teaching Company course...Plain living and high thinking or whatever it was....
On digital cameras:
Buy online (unless you have more money than sense, the underpaid commission hounds at the big stores know nothing and are only out to get you to buy as many overpriced accessories, etc. as possible as well as the most expensive camera) and you can usually get no tax, free shipping, and way cheaper online...Exceptions would be cool places like B&H where you can get knowledgeable people and support.
Once you get down to choosing between a few with the features you want, go to Circuit City or somewhere convenient and look at and handle them. If they happen to have an unnannounced store sale you may do as well as online, but it not you can at least check to see if it is cheap and plasticky or solid feeling, easy to hold, etc., readable controls, dorky or cool looking, etc.
You want at least 7-8 megapixels if you are going to crop things to allow for amateur enthusiast errors. Remember that the gorgeous jewellry like compact digitals have teeny sensors (the sensor size is what really distinguishes them from the DSLRs). If the sensor is small, having lots and lots of megapixels may not make for any better pictures.
The lovely tiny compacts are hard to hold steady, so get one with optical image stabilization if possible. Better than digital image stabilization which in turn is better than nothing.
For people like me who spend hours outdoors with faithful retriever in wind and rain, etc. it's tempting to get one of those weatherproof ones, but I have not yet heard of a one that actually takes GOOD PICTURES. They are weatherproof, feature loaded, cool looking, but what's the point if colors are weird, images bad? I prefer to just take a chance, use my non-waterproof point and shoot for a year or so in all weather...It dies, after taking 10,000 pictures in the damp...There are a few really cheap waterproof cases that float, but the proprietary fitted ones for swimming, etc. are obscenely expensive. Since my New England Yankee family saves our money for kids' college education and don't go scuba diving, this is not really a pressing need...
Try to find one with an optical viewfinder as most LCD displays (what most compact cameras only provide) are hard to see in bright sunshine (tho Sony does best at the latter).
Compare prices ruthlessly online. No one site has the best prices on all models. Pricegrabber.com gives a good cross-section ranging from the too-good-to-be true bait and switch Brooklyn-based sites to established sources like B & H, Amazon, NewEgg.com, Buy.com, etc.
Read reviews. Lots and lots and lots. Take it all with a grain of salt, but eventually you get to recognize the difference between puff pieces' tone and can tell when something is a dud or not. Some even tell you (gasp) when a camera looks cute, has lots of features, and TAKES BAD PICTURES!
My two favorite sites are these:
I must confess, it entertains me more to hunt the perfect camera than actually buying it. Truth be told, if you have something worth photographing, almost any of the new cameras will do a good job. I daydream about how I'd do the view or family pictures justice if I had a better camera, but day to day I make do just fine sneaking my husband's discards (he collects the equipment, and takes perfect care of it--I do commando raids on the precious collection, hope I can return it undamaged, then answer casually "What did I take this view of the back meadow with ? Oh, I think it was with my old Kodak Easy Share 5 megapixel...don't remember!")