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
Thursday, August 18. 2016
For me, the corporate world has become a bizarre scenario. Recent management changes in my office have led to responsibility shifts, and being a white male over 50, I'm in an unusual position. I have to continually prove my relevance. That shouldn't be unusual, it's the kind of relevance I have to prove which is unusual. We should all have to prove ourselves capable and competent in our jobs, regardless of age. This seems to be less important today. What I have to consistently prove is how well I 'fit' in the organization. In other words, it's now what you do or say, but how you do or say it. Results aren't gauged by how quickly or efficiently they are accomplished, but by how well they are 'socialized'. To a large degree, it has required a considerable bit of effort to run in place. I've found that my days are spent as much determining strategies to move forward as they are spent trying to get the job done.
Continue reading "Everything Has A Price"
The stuff from the can tastes and smells like dog food.
Make a few days' worth at a time. Then make large sort-of patties out of it and sautee until crispy on the surface.
Serve with white toast, plus or minus a sunny side up egg or two on top. And ketchup.
A diner I like makes it with just the beef and onions, no chopped peppers either, and serves it with home fries on the side. Excellent variation.
Arthur Hiller has passed away. If the name doesn't ring a bell, he's a movie director. The Hollywood Reporter, charged with identifying him in their headline to a public that left him behind years ago, called him the "director of Love Story." Why they would choose that as his epitaph is telling. About the author, and the industry. Not Arthur Hiller.
Love Story made a lot of money. People in Hollywood find a way to like things that make a lot of money. They prefer working on cranky, obscure things that pay them a lot of money, and don't make anyone else any money, but they sit up straight when a rainmaker like Arthur Hiller walks in the room. Money is power and it's all Hollywood knows.
Arthur Hiller made some fun, interesting movies. You can still watch The In-Laws with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin and get a few laughs from it. He made the pilot for the 60's TV show The Addams Family, which is still very funny to look at. Like its contemporary The Beverly Hillbillies, it was really witty for a short while, before it became like every other dreary thing on TV.
I remember Love Story. It's a bad movie, and must be unwatchable today, even for its devotees. It's not my fault it made money. It got none of mine. It's not Arthur Hiller's fault, really, that it made a lot of money, so don't blame him either. He put his best effort forward for everything he worked at, and people liked him for it. They gave him an award for being generous, once. He remarked, “It’s so embarrassing to receive an award for doing what you should be doing, but I must admit it pleases me greatly.”
That's a better epitaph for the man, surely, than the director of Love Story. RIP
On to the links!
Begging the question in the headline again. Tsk. Tsk. The Pieta is Michelangelo's best work. Even seated Moses could give Dave a run for his money. Moses' ankles are fine. Hell, Dave might not be the most enjoyable statue outside the Palazzo Vecchio. Hercules and Cacus is a blast, and it gives you a two-for-one discount on your sculpture-gazing budget. A statue of a guy about to get his brains beat in is more appropriate than David, when it's outside the town hall where you pay your taxes.
A true expert in valuation buys companies, he doesn't scratch away in a cubicle estimating value. And he would never tell you what he was thinking. Uber could be worth next to nothing overnight, so valuing it at par with General Motors is silly. There's no scrap metal value in Uber if it goes belly up.
Sooner or later, everyone is going to have to come to grips with the fact that nearly all the stuff that wrecks your life is voluntary.
I've been wrong on the Internet more times than I can count. I am only "corrected" when I'm right.
The first post on this website years ago, an utterly unknown site at the time (and still not too well-known) was my pics of Christo's Gates in NYC's Central Park.
Art? Don't ask me. Fun and interesting for sure. An attraction for sure too. A gay spectacle that you moved through.
His latest is Christo’s 3km Floating Walkway Across Italy’s Lake Iseo Open To Public. We've been to that lake. Been to most of the northern Italian lakes. Pleasant enough with fine food, but no need to go back.
Been there, done that. I could happily do Sicily again but I have already driven around most of that island.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 04:51 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, August 17. 2016
Dylan does the Everly Brothers tune (1970).
I cannot embed, but worth clicking.
What are the best exercises to build lower body strength? Many casual exercisers tend to neglect, relatively-speaking, extreme lower body efforts because they are so hard and unpleasant. To maintain lower body function, it's good to use your legs a lot. To improve lower body function takes the Triad: Resistance + Cardio + Calisthenics. That, or long mountain hiking with 60 lb. backpack a couple of times weekly.
Just addressing the Strength (resistance) part here:
- Conventional Deadlifts stress the entire posterior chain of muscle from neck to heel - not to mention almost every other muscle in the body including quads - and thus are essential. What about Romanian Deadlifts? Well, they more isolate your glutes and hamstrings. Having to choose one, I'll go with the full-body conventional dead.
- Barbell Squats. What about squats vs. leg press? Well, barbell squats are the King of Lower Body Conditioning. It is just obvious when you do it, because the stress is incredible. This pro claims it's a good idea to do both. If a choice of one or the other, do the squat. For beginners, body weight squats are good for a while. How deep to squat? You would not do deads and barbell squats on the same day.
- Lunges with or without weights in hands are good, but really more of a calisthenic. Same for step-ups and box jumps. Guaranteed that they will not make you weaker, tho.
- Calf-raises, with weights in hand, are fine but not necessary once your deads and squats get strong and heavy. Same goes for leg curls and leg-extensions. Sometimes we need to work on isolated muscles for a while to prime us for the big lifts and pushes.
- Bands. Those bands you put around your ankles and then walk sideways and forward and backward, are again more of a calisthenic but they give your legs a good conditioning and agility experience. Great for tennis players.
It's simple. A few contiguous sets of each per week is enough if you try to push the weights up a little each week or two.
Medically, good posture helps prevent back problems.
Computer monitors, age, shame and shyness, muscle atrophy, and general slovenliness are the enemies of good posture: shoulders back, head up, no slouch, belly tucked in, etc. Look good, not proudful but self-respecting.
10 Ways to Have Great Posture as You Age - Here are 10 tips to keep you standing tall at any age.
Posture Power: How To Correct Your Body's Alignment
In recent years, Americans have become so heliophobic that they become Vit D deprived, raising the risk for many diseases. My dermatologist told me that many American kids are now Vit D-deprived due to excessive sunblock use. Oral Vit D is an unreliable source. Your skin produces sufficient Vit D via exposure to the UV rays in natural sunlight for about an hour per week (assuming your body is not mostly covered up).
Nobody wants skin cancer, but the scary one is the rare but dangerous Melanoma. It seems to be associated with sunburn. Do dark-skinned people get Melanoma? Yes.
Can you get sunburned on cloudy days? I did an experiment on myself last week. After 4 hours of kayaking on a hazy day with thin clouds, I got semi- scorched. Can You Still Get A Sunburn When It’s Cloudy Out?
I think it makes sense to get some time in unprotected sun but if you are going to be outside all day nude or in a bathing suit, spray the stuff on after that and use a hat. It can't hurt.
Reading news reports from other countries is fun. You have no chips on their intellectual poker table, so you can read about things with an unjaundiced eye. I think George Washington called the attitude disinterestedness. He meant you shouldn't have a dog in any fight that you stand to benefit from. Old Muttonhead was somewhat phlegmatic, so it's hard to know what he might be thinking about any particular topic, but I've gotten the impression by reading about him that if he saw the capital city that bears his name, he'd bust out the fire and sword. Disinterestedly.
Anyway, I went to Europe this AM and poked around, looking for things I could be disinterested in, hoping they'd interest me. I hope they interest you, too.
Isn't France still essentially under martial law? Don't government functionaries have better things to do? Don't Pokemon Go players?
Snicker. For some reason I have a Cab Calloway song playing in my head. Won't they just have to turn over all the proceeds to Troy? Hi di hi di hi di ho!
I'm trying to wrap my head around the formulation: "Spain's Olympic kayak hero." El Cid unavailable for comment.
"Expecting anything to function properly" is mysteriously absent from this list.
I think this comes under the heading of "slow news day" in Germany. Shouldn't you be shopping for a bottle of ouzo and a spray of flowers for some Greek, to go along with your reparations check? Get busy.
Well, there you have it. Europe. And I though the United States was a silly place. Good night, Mr. and Mrs. Europe, from border to border and coast to coast, and all the ships at sea. You were fun while you lasted.
Tuesday, August 16. 2016
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:59 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Nothing against games themselves because chess and checkers are also war simulations, but there is a mental difference between chess and Sim City. Or is there? Movies and fiction are virtual realities too. So are gas fireplaces and the Pokemon Go fad.
What prompted this survey is that a friend's parents recently moved to The Villages in Florida. This place is 100% phony, to the point of being creepy. The people are real, but in a fake place. It is as fake as Disney World, but people go to Disney for a day or two to try to enjoy the fakery, not to live in it. Many resorts are experiences in fake realities.
Many of my pals enjoy fake hunts. They plant 30 pheasants in a hayfield then send the dogs after them. It's a fake hunt, a virtual hunt. Those "flying mattresses" have never even flown before in their lives. I am not saying that it is not fun, but it is a fake hunting experience.
So my question today is this: What fake, escapist experiences do you enjoy in your life?
Pic above: A di Lampedusa sitting room in the family palazzo in Palermo
Read the book. See the Visconti movie too with all-star cast.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
I am a connoisseur of bad writing.
As you can imagine, I adore the Internet. The Internet is like a bad writing contest with 6 billion contestants and no prize. It's the Telephone Game played in semaphore by myopics. It's a vast playground for hunches about grammar, with capitalization carbuncles appearing here and there, garnished with improvisational spelling, in a passive voice reduction. Not to mention the mixed metaphors.
Some wags went on a safari looking for bad writing, and called it the Bulwer-Lytton Contest. We all know its humble beginnings. Poor Georgie B-L was just doing his best to write a novel back in 1830:
That ain't Shakespeare, but honestly, it can't compete with the Huffington Post for triteness. It's just the sort of writing that makes you put the book back on the library shelf, and pick up the next one. No. Big. Deal.
But they've made it a contest, so it is a big deal. I hate it. Encouraging people on the Internet to write badly on purpose is a fool's errand. That's what they do. Encouraging them to write well, or even write gooder, would strike me as a worthier task. But then again, the contest is presented by Writer's Digest, whose raison d'etre is encouraging girls who should have flunked out of jo school to write another sparkly vampire bodice-ripper using their specious advice. Yawn.
I want bad writing that turns out that way on accident, to use the parlance of our times. I want bad writing written in dead earnest. Apparently, I wanted the Bad Writing Contest.
Now that's what I'm talkin' about. I'm slightly confused, though. It says a girl wrote it, but she forgot to put three exclamation points at the end. A minor oversight, but telling.
Now, on to our quotidian dose of bad writing from all over:
Ah, the Internet, where every question is begged. Are computer coders part of the Elite Class? No. They'll revert to the equivalent of journeyman plumbers in the near future. Perfectly respectable, but hardly elite. The author's inability to order concrete without an iPhone app is telling. It's telling about him, not the concrete company. And the word "into" in the headline should be "to."
Along the same lines as Mr. I Retired at 28 and Want a Medal. They always say the answer to any question posed in a headline is invariably, "No." All I needed to see was a long table covered with Apple computers to know nothing productive was going on.
There's a question in the headline again. It's a fake though. The question is begged, not answered with a "No." Diesel engines have been obsolete for a long time. The reasons they keep making them are weird.
The practice of screwing a bizarre melange of merde to the walls in taverns is a lot older than all the chains mentioned in this interesting article. Every barroom, from the '30s on, put memorabilia from the patrons on the walls to keep them coming back. After they died, it looked randomly chosen to a new crop of drunks.
Every generation has something that brings a tear of remembrance to the eye. It's a moving target. You'd kill to play Knock Down with your old baseball cards, and people younger than you want to play Donkey Kong Junior on a tabletop.
Some day, everyone will realize that the last ten years has consisted of nothing but skimming. Nothing of value was created. Google stole the Yellow Pages, Facebook stole the dry-erase board hanging on a girl's dorm room door, and Apple gave you a little handheld television to watch while driving.
Monday, August 15. 2016
Beauty and Desecration from Roger Scruton, Power of Beauty Conference
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:12 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:13 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
In America, I see a place where the grandchild of Southern sharecroppers can achieve success. That’s why I’m not a Democrat.
Look, I just thought you should know. I barely know how to break news like this to you. But this is the kind of earth-shaking development that must be disseminated. Send small children out of the room, pour yourself a bracer, sit down, and know this: A swimmer has been inconvenienced!
It's Monday morning, and I know you're relying on Maggie's Farm to cover the globe like Sherwin Williams to get the stories that really matter. I'm trying to take my stint as the Farm's resident hooligan seriously. I felt an obligation to get up to speed on the most important stories on the planet, and report them here to you. I checked in with MSNBSBBclatcheyrudge, and I was shocked, shocked at what I discovered. I was expecting all sorts of bad things. Things like race riots, trouble in the Balkans, plagues of disease-carrying mosquitoes, fixed elections. I didn't see any of that mentioned, so I guess everything's OK on those fronts. But boy howdy, a swimmer has been inconvenienced.
I mean, when a swimmer can be inconvenienced by some ruffian, some footpad, some cad, some bounder, some slavering miscreant -- certainly the end times must be upon us. I forget which horseman of the apocalypse was sent to inconvenience a swimmer, but he's right up there, I bet.
On to the links.
I'm so old I remember when this affected the price of film. I'm also so old I remember film.
My chemistry education was elemental. and my metallurgy is a bit rusty, but that sounds to my ear like a very splodey combination.
No, they're not, and no, we wouldn't.
I heard he cheated and used paint brushes, too.
No Hong Kong-style soya sauce chicken noodles for you! Come back thirty days!
Must be some mistake. We all know the oldest gold object in the world is one of Keith Richard's fillings.
So, H.G. Wells invented the Internet in 1937. And then the Morlocks took it over and called it Twitter.
Well, that's it for today's links. Tune in tomorrow, and I promise I'll find out if any swimmers discover there isn't any toilet paper in their stall, or stub their toe on a coffee table, or are made to wait in line over-long at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, or are forced to fly economy.
Sunday, August 14. 2016
I know two people who do backyard chickens. They keep the gardens weeded and eat all the bugs. A Red-Tail occasionally gets one. They scamper back into the coop at evening feed time, which keeps them safe from owls, fox, coons, and coyotes. That's the real "Free-range." Do you have to quickly teach your hunting dog to leave them alone? You betcha. Shock collar. What about Blacksnakes? Big fat Blacksnakes can't fit through narrow gauge chicken wire.
Duck eggs are bigger and tastier and ducks are less prone to disease and other problems.
A great project to do with kids, who should be responsible for it all. Does growing your own anything make sense in terms of time and cost? Of course not. It's for fun.
Raising Ducks: how to integrate Ducks into your Urban Farm or Backyard
Our pal Assistant Village Idiot sounded inverse-snobbery about this fine lunch, but I still love it. I grew up with this thing, yes, at the Club. It was always turkey, not chicken. Always served with a little cup of extra mayo, and with kitchen-made chips and not french fries. My club still makes their own chips - heavenly.
At home, we had five basic sandwiches: Baloney with mustard and lettuce, the excellent BLT, Fluffernutter, BB&J, and Tuna Salad. That was Mom's sandwich repertoire.
They Think Anyone Who Disagrees with Them Is Crazy
The author wants the elites to speak honestly to the masses. I do not agree that language is the problem. I think the problem is that the elites have every really done anything or made anything real in their lives. "Today, few of our politicians have ever done anything resembling useful work."
Related, re the Euro elites: The Brexit Vote And Endgame Time For The EU
More than 150 years ago, Frederick Law Olmstead changed how Americans think about public space.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:21 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)