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
Wednesday, January 11. 2017
Tyler Cowen's Best classical music recordings of 2016
Cowen has a serious ear
Kicking stem cells into high gear could naturally repair tooth damage
Some Blue-Collar Workers Probably Shouldn't Do Pink Jobs
The Telltale Sign a New Hire Isn’t Fitting In
Althouse gets into a spat with the mayor
Silicon Valley CEO: Middle America a “Sh*thole” Full of “Stupid People”
Federal Employees Brace for Possible Draining of the Swamp
Anarchists Are Hoping To Turn Donald Trump’s Inauguration On January 20th Into One Of The Biggest Riots In U.S. History
They should like Trump - he has an anarchic streak
"We are making the argument that we can ruin the notion that this is a peaceful transition of power."
Celebrities Head to D.C. for Trump Protest
Dem Senator Blumenthal Demands Sessions Disavow David Horowitz. Sessions' answer: "He's a most brilliant individual and has a remarkable story."
Disavow David Horowitz? What? Blumenthal is a maroon
What Rafsanjani Hagiography Exposes
Tuesday, January 10. 2017
For examples close to home, Mrs. BD had a bum knee, a meniscus repair, but still achy and unstable knee. Could hardly do body-weight leg exercises. After a year of carefully-graded and cautious leg strengthening, she is now pain-free with full mobility and is doing squats, lunges, and deadlifts.
In my case, a traumatic arthritis in one shoulder prevents me from overhead presses and push-ups. There is a knife-like pain which forces the effort to fail and collapse. It's too bad, because those are two excellent compound exercises but there are plenty of work-arounds for shoulder strength with slightly difference force vectors which are pain-free and so probably will not do any further damage to the joint - things like cable rows, lateral raises, and Farmer Walks.
Thus there are work-arounds for almost every frailty so a frailty is not an excuse to become frail.
From friend and reader "Black Dog":
Since winter has arrived in the Northeast, I thought a couple of pictures from my bonefishing trip in Mexico, back in September were in order. You know, to keep the fisherpersons interested and all that.
This was my first time fly fishing for bonefish. www.costadecocos.com The lodge is in Xcalak, Mexico which if it isn’t the end of the world, you can see it from there. It’s about 12 miles north of the Belize/Mexico border and about a 4.5 hour drive south of Cancun.
I fished an 8 weight with little shrimp patterns. I can tell you unequivocally, this is the hardest technical fishing I have ever done. You need to be able to cast 50 feet into the wind and put the fly in about a 3’ diameter circle when the guide points and says “aqui” “aqui”!
I fished about 5 hours each day (30 minute boat ride from lodge to the back bays) and caught 3 bonefish the first day and 2 the second day. The first day, I know I lost at least three that hooked up but couldn’t land and another 2 on the second day, same thing. There are a lot of bonefish. Lots, but I’d be kidding if I said they are easy to catch. However, you’ll get more chances than you will in the Keys and fishing down in Ol’ Mexico is nowhere near as expensive as Abaco and the Bahamas (where the fish are bigger but get lots more pressure).
The flats are amazing – two to three feet deep at high tide and you see small sharks, rays, barracuda and permit in 18 inches of water. Like most saltwater fishing, you try and catch the tides right as the fish will hold in different spots, depending on an ebb or flood tide and where the baitfish sit. Very, very cool fishing and of course, I now have to work on my Grand Slam of a Bonefish, Tarpon and Permit, all on a fly rod.
Continue reading "Bonefishing in Mexico"
Image via Never Yet Melted
Vibrating hot pants are the ‘smart’ invention no one knew they needed
America’s Kids Badly Need a ‘Chore Culture’
Inside Sears' death spiral: How an iconic American brand has been driven to the edge of bankruptcy
Choosing a new car
Pope Francis Now International Monetary Guru?
Lightbulbs: Blinded by Green Mania
California as Alt-America
We Americans are
Trump’s unexpected win has Democrats coping with a vastly smaller job market for their skills.
New York Jumps on the Free College Bandwagon
Missing from the Intelligence Report: The Word ‘Podesta’ - Disclosure of embarrassing information should not be confused with disinformation.
Barnes: Obamacare is incurable
Holding Obamacare Repeal Hostage for Replace Guarantees Its Defeat
After six years of resisting legislative changes to Obamacare, President Obama and Democrats now say they’re ready to work on fixes to the massive health law — so long as they expand the federal government’s role in health care.
No doubt she is a big NFL fan
Celebrity-filled telethon set for Facebook Live on inauguration day
The Left Means to Break This President
Salon: Trump's oblivious denials on the Russia hack are delegitimizing his
Meryl Streep’s Speech Is Why the Left Wins
‘We Know in Alabama Who Jeff Sessions Is’: Black Pastors Defend Trump’s AG Pick Against Charges of Racism
A vote cast for Trump is kind of like a murder
Somebody must stop him!
Protecting Palestine - Israel's unacknowledged role on the West Bank
iBig Stick: Review of Book by Eliot Cohen
Restoring America’s Defenses: A Memo to the President-Elect
Monday, January 9. 2017
Some crackin', breakin' sounds in this recent song, Scarlet Town. Edgy lyrics here. A poor audience recording below but the heating flame adds something hellish. Ominous banjo like in High Water. I don't think Bob has made a recording of it, but maybe.
Dylan mainly on piano these days - arthritis it is said. Sucks to grow old in some ways.
It never hurts to ask the simple questions.
It might be because he doesn't know what he is talking about, or it might be because he has so much faith in government-run anythings. Which is like religion without a supernatural.
Newly Discovered Photographs Reveal Life at the Real Downton Abbey
Feed Your Kids Peanuts, Early and Often, New Guidelines Urge
Franz Kafka, failed travel entrepreneur
Rake’s Progress: A Look at the Well-Traveled Casanova
We Have Pushed Physics Too Far - Parallel universes are a non-answer to a premature question.
Don't Blame My Kid for Thinking Your Cross-Dressing Child Is Weird
Musk is expert at harvesting government $
I blame homophobia
White Hot Rage of the Left With Pedagogical Comment
Brady Campaign: You Can ‘Carry a Gun and Ammo’ in Checked Bag When You Fly
Of course you can. I have done so many times. Just tell them is all you need to do.
Why President Trump Is “A Nightmare For Univision"
Hitting Trump Before He’s Sworn In
The hate! They should hate the voters instead of Trump- he's just the messenger.
Perhaps nothing has made modern progressivism look sillier than the often hysterical reaction to the election of Donald Trump
Communist Leader to Bill O'Reilly: Trump is Hitler
Of course he is
Liberals Awake from 8-Year Moral Coma
DON'T JUST REPEAL OBAMACARE, REPEAL GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE INTERVENTION
Meryl Streep Uses Lifetime Achievement Award Speech to Bash Donald Trump
She should bash the voters
Trump opposition sets up blue-state headquarters - California and New York emerge as centers of the Democratic resistance.
NY and CA against the rest of the country
HOLLYWOOD HATES TRUMP, BROADWAY LOVES HILLARY
Jeff Sessions shunned, slandered by longtime Senate Democrat collaborators
Germany's Islamist scene growing: security chief
Sunday, January 8. 2017
The ability to write down a story seems to be much more common. Film scripts, short stories, novels, plays are all constantly written but rarely published or performed. It seems to me that written stories do not need high-level wordsmithing to be successful, but high-level wordsmithing can turn the simplest story into art. Shakespeare, for example. Good plays and good TV scripts can do fine with simple conversational dialogue if the tale has a good engine and cool characters.
When I think of wonderful written storytelling with mediocre wordsmithing, I think of people like Tom Clancy and Robert Parker. When I think of extraordinary wordsmithing with uninteresting stories, I think of Updike. When I think of current transcendent prose, cosmic imagination, truthful expression, giant intelligence, knowledge, and life experience - and simple stories raised to the level of art, right now I think of Mark Helprin. Perhaps because I am in the middle of his collection of short stories, The Pacific and Other Stories.
Especially his story about Ralph, the possible baal shem tov, but the story about falling in love on the Staten Island ferry was soul-piercing too. Over the years, he has opened my eyes to many things which I will not recount now.
But back to story-telling. Much of TV writing is formulaic. It has to be. I think The Sopranos was brilliant TV, great story-telling. So was Downton Abbey even though that was more of a chick thing.
For those who are filled with stories to tell, but are not naturals like Mark Twain, there is a now-classic book: The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by John Truby. It's not a formula except in the broadest sense: he just tells you how all successful stories work. It is like a textbook.
Can the wordsmithing be taught? I dunno. I doubt it, given that the talent is rare and life is short.
Is that how you see it?
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:33 | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (0)
A pal commented on our birding binocular post that excellent German Army Hensoldt 10X50s can be found on eBay for reasonable prices. Good optics.
Here's an example of one.
10X50 is a bit too much magnification for 90% of birding and for all of sports viewing, but they do have other fun uses, like watching the NoKos watching you across the DMZ.
Lower magnification (ie 7 or at most 8) meets almost all outdoor uses because higher is more than needed and makes it difficult to locate what you're looking for. Larger objective lenses (the second #) admit more light, so they are better for poor lighting conditions. Heavier, too.
Binocular skills are learned by use - those are eye skills. Clarity has to do with lens and prism quality, and that's where the $ comes into the equation.
For long-distance viewing (eg military, nautical, seabirds far off in the water and the like - and certainly for astronomy, you need higher magnification (10X +) and probably larger objective lens but those work best with a binocular or a scope on a mount or tripod.
What is best for watching high-altitude migrating raptors? Some swear by a Zeiss 8X45 or 8X42 with their wide (400 m) FOV (field of view). A wide FOV is desirable for wildlife observation. I have seen that the most experienced and expert wildlife watchers do very well with minimal inexpensive gear, but that's not me.
Related, useful binocular basics
Another good review of Hentoff's career: Yes, he did write the liner notes for Dylan's second album:
We do know for certain that we are all descended from Eve. Humanity is one terrible, dysfunctional family.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 04:18 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, January 7. 2017
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:39 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Der Spiegel: Has political correctness backfired in America?
Peanut butter and political correctness
Liberal Arts for $5
Man-identified people are encouraged to show up
"Depressed" Millennials Are Convinced The Trump Economy Is Going To Implode
“Scientist” says that Starting Work Before 10am is Torture
A hard-working scientist, no doubt
Obama builds a wall
Democrats can't just pretend ObamaCare is terrific
No, because more government control is needed
Conrad Black explains Trump
Friday, January 6. 2017
The half-life of medical knowledge is approximated at seven years. That means that half of what you think you know about health, illness, and medical practice today will be obsolete in seven years.
It will be replaced by new better science of which, in turn, half will be obsolete seven years later. That's how it works. Skepticism about current knowledge is always appropriate. The cholesterol panic is just the most recent, dramatic example. Big mistake. Not all docs have got the memo yet. "Never mind."
Eat those eggs and bacon and sausages like you always wanted to, and skip the darn oatmeal unless it's all you can afford. And imagine that, in seven years, Mr. Science will tell you to eat candy and Dunkin Donuts for breakfast.
Our tummies might be smarter than today's science. Who knows? I love deep-fat fried donuts (not at Dunkin) and French Toast. Doesn't everybody?
A friend spent the holidays down in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge (TN) and reports that he has never seen so many fat lethargic people, and has never seen so many people avidly demolish such volumes of food. "They eat like they're starving," he said, "They live from meal to meal to snack to meal, but they are 50-150 lbs overweight". I said I had heard that Disney is the same.
"Disgusting" just to watch the way they consume food. He said "Down there, there's a gun shop and a food franchise for fatties on every block, and not a gym to be found. The opposite of up here." Yeah, he does like guns and knives as I do, but he is fit as a fiddle too from lifting weights.
Anyway, time constraint is one of the many common excuses (along with It's boring, It's too difficult, My ____ hurts, It's just vanity, It's just vanity and I'm already married, I can't lose weight, I'm too old, I hate gyms, etc etc) for people who say they'd like to get strong and fit but never move a muscle to do it. Hey, I get it. Sloth feels good, sort-of, in some ways, but it is a mortal sin. However, I can attest that deadlifts and barbell squats are far from boring, but it is almost all painful or should be. Good pain, good stress, and good deprivation are under-rated today.
Let's address the time issue (really a rationalization because if you stop by your local gym there are plenty of folks there at 5 am before work). Yes, it is good to use a gym. People with home gyms almost never use them - plus having other people around is inspiring and fun.
And let's say that a fitness program includes the Conditioning Triad - Resistance, Cardio, and Calisthenics...Plus proper nutrition commensurate with level of exertion and weight gain or weight loss goals as desired). That takes care of Strength, Endurance, Power, Energy, Explosive Strength, Heart strength, and General Athleticism. Added bonus: We now know it's good for the brain too. Yeah, Fitness For Life and the only known Elixir of Youth.
Less than 5 hrs/wk for Conditioning for the average non-athlete citizen, male or female, over 15 years old:
- 20-30 minutes of hard, sweaty, painful cardio intervals (HIIT), twice a week. The intervals need to be anaerobic. If you want to do more to up your metabolism, fine - but it's the hard intervals that do it and your calis contain tons of cardio stress too - and long aerobic cardio is a waste of time from a fitness standpoint. If over 80 years old, a few miles of aerobic walking is better than nothing.
That's less time than the average person wastes watching TV or movies and farting into the sofa. After one year of it, you can look and feel 3-4 years younger. After 2 years, 8 years younger. It's not about virtue, it's about feeling good and energetic. Or don't bother. Life is short anyway.
Image clipped from American Digest
Granny, the world's oldest known orca, is likely dead
I blame climate change
EPA's Clean Power Plan Lies Undermine Congressional Oversight
Where the Buffalo Zone - An innovative zoning code overhaul could help revive the western New York city and is already inspiring copycats.
Sultan on the power of weakness:
In civil societies, showng weakness can be a power play. In uncivil societies, signs of weakness are suicidal.
For University Endowments, There’s No Time like the Present
VDH: Chicago Is Breaking
The Real Housewives of Isis: "Another woman models her new suicide vest for her fellow jihadist wives. “What do you think?” she asks. “Ahmed surprised me with it yesterday.”"
The Most Epic “Epic Media Fail” of All Time?
Democracy and the bloodiness of mob rule
Pray for Jeff Sessions
President Obama's Legacy Follows His Shadow
Trump didn’t just beat the gentry liberals, after all. He also humiliated them.
House GOP, Trump team hatch border wall plan
Washington Post Is Richly Rewarded For False News About Russia Threat While Public Is Deceived
Ireland and Brexit
Thursday, January 5. 2017
Guys over 40, regardless of weight issues, commonly have more trouble due to muscle disuse and decay. The US military considers 20 pull-ups or chin-ups to be a perfect score for that exercise. Few Generals can do that, but I bet Mattis can.
Like all of the Big Functional Exercises, a pull-up stresses many muscle groups. Pull-ups stress upper-body muscles from hands to abs, but the greatest stress is on back muscles - the lats.
To do a pull-up correctly, you do not focus on using your arms but you focus on driving your elbows down. It's not primarily a biceps exercise except secondarily.
To work towards doing some pull-ups if you can't, here's how:
- work on raising the weights on seated pull-downs
and perhaps most important, Hangs. If you can't hang on, you can't pull yourself up. To work on hanging, you hop up to the bar with an overhand or underhand grip with your elbows down at your sides or as close to that as possible. Suspend yourself as long as you can. Your muscles will slowly (or quickly) give way, but keep suspended as they collapse.
One or two sets of three of those weekly will help you move forward towards the goal of doing just one lousy pull-up with chin above the bar. I do three sets of hangs/wk and three sets of either jumpers or band-assisted weekly. If I can get to 10 pull-ups again, I will be proud of my achievement but I doubt that I will get there. When I was young I could do 15 or more.
There is a cold air diuretic effect, and also a water diuretic effect which is why all kids pee in pools.
Drudge announces that Tucker replaces Kelly. This will be fun, because he is all about making the smug and comfortable uncomfortable. Good circus.
Tucker is the quickest, brightest, slyest, and wittiest guy out there despite being a boyish prepster (St. George's).
Boudreaux: The Lament of the Merely Decent Economist
KATZ: The World Needs More Men - Not Boys. Not Social Justice Indoctrinated College Weenies. Men.
Animals: The Wilding of America
Yes, we have lots of bears
David has always lacked testosterone. That's why he was hired.
The Ideological Reasons Why Democrats Have Neglected Local Politics - After losing many races in 2016, the party is looking to regain power outside the federal government. But in many ways, it’s not set up to make that change of emphasis.
New from Detroit: The $15 minimum wage is racist
Ted Kennedy Secretly Asked The Soviets To Intervene In The 1984 Elections
Carter, Democrats Asked Soviets to Stop Reagan
Make the Inaugural Celebrity-Free!
In Departure from Obama, Trump Picks Qualified Ambassador to Japan
Obama's failures are Trump's opportunities
Three Bungled Stories On Russian Meddling All Demonstrate The Same Big Mistakes
The lies work
PEOTUS TRUMP Knocks DNC For Cheating for Hillary During Debates
Julian Assange: Media Is Colluding with Democrat Party in America
To Fix the Department of the Navy - Kill the Mabus Legacy
Palestinians face budget cuts after sharp fall in foreign funding