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
Monday, April 14. 2014
That's Big Government for you.
As they fled from Egypt, the Hebrews stared at the Red Sea in front of them and the Pharoh’s army closing on their rear. Now, that was a really fearful barrier to aliyah, the act of rising up toward Jerusalem and living one’s soul fully. That border from slavery to freedom caused many to tremble and consider surrendering.
We conduct the seder, the traditional prayers and meal by which we celebrate and remember that G-d liberated us, as a central continuation of our bond with G-d and the rediscovery of the relevance of that liberation across the generations. At the same time we can expand on that central group meaning by remembering and celebrating the other yearnings of our soul to live in freedom as an individual.
We spend most of our lives in “shoulds” that we were taught or acquired. Most of the shoulds are worthwhile and meaningful. However, many are needless limitations on exploring what lies beyond the borders to which we’ve grown accustomed. They are self-imposed chains on our souls. There is a simple way to know if you are living your soul: do you feel at peace and contentment, pretty much regardless of external stressors? If you do not, you are not living your soul.
We each have a unique soul, too often quite smothered under shoulds and only faintly known to us and lived. Passover provides a time to consider what we knew as children, what we feel when in moments of exaltation, what we yearn for, what we can accomplish, how we can be freer. This does not mean being excessive or abandoning responsibilities. It just means living truer to our own nature and to how we wish to be with others in order to have a more meaningful and richer life experience, which also attracts others to do so in their own way.
During the seder we point at the matzoh and say, “For the sake of this, G-d did so much for me when I left Egypt.” If any that we know about, Jewish or other, are less than free, we pledge ourselves to bettering their lot. That is our duty, carried over many centuries. Our duty to ourselves is no less important, as the freer each of us is to live our soul in peace and joy, the moreso we can carry that blessing to others.
A Messiah may come and bring us all peace. Meanwhile we can make a personal aliyah and rise up to bring ourselves more peace by living our soul -- freeing the better side to feel and constructively channeling the assertive side -- and from that bring more peace and freedom to others by our example and deeds.
Thanks, reader. I didn't realize about GMT etc. Worldwide Times to view.
Around here, it's viewable 3 AM tomorrow morning. Try a triple espresso, or set the alarm. Blood Moon, etc., perfect for tax day.
A new disease? Sluggish Cognitive Tempo
I have that - and ADD. Perfect combination.
Sears is dying. Why?
I think it's more about an obsolete business model than it is about the middle class. Home Depot is packed with people, same with Target, etc.
Total Lunar Eclipse tomorrow
Should the U.S. Adopt the German Model of Apprenticeships?
Chicago Teachers Union to
The college degree gap: women earned a majority of degrees at all levels in 2012, and the degree gap for blacks is stunning
Whether it's bikes or bytes, teens are teens. There's a reason teenagers are so reliant on technology: They don't have the freedom their parents did.
Sharyl Attkisson: When I'd Begin Getting Under Surface of an Obama Scandal, CBS Would Pull Me Off
Where is the feminist anger at Brandeis?
The remarks that the students at Brandeis will not hear
The remarks that the students at Brandeis will not hear - See more at: http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=53281#sthash.FS49XPfj.dpuf
Why Aren't Public Officials Held to Account for Lying?
Harry Reid's 'Koch Brothers' Addiction—in Two Charts
UN food program inflated amount of oversight it gave to ensuring food really went to the starving in North Korea
Hoping for Asylum, Migrants Strain U.S. Border
What now for European defence spending?
The celebration of Passover is not only by Jews but by many others of different religions. Passover's message of freedom is universal.
A new song-video by the a capella group Maccabeats, done in a Les Miserables way, brings forth another important lesson from Passover. If Moses had not risen to the challenges within himself and from others, his name would have been unknown and Hebrews left in slavery to disappear from history.
There are some scientific critiques of the details of the Exodus in the Jewish Bible. The fine film Life Of Pi brings forth another important lesson, from India, but just as well from Passover. We choose how we remember our lives and travails, and that choice shapes the rest of our lives dramatically.
May you all have a good Passover.
Sunday, April 13. 2014
It's in the planning stages, no date set.
I think urban hiking in cities with a little history can be just as interesting as rural hiking. More interesting, really - and I am an informed amateur naturalist.
There is no such thing as suburban hiking, though. That is just walking.
Due to my route's meandering nature with crosstown zigs and zags, street crossings, and opportunities for refreshments, photo stops, and pit stops, I think it could take 6-7 hours from South Ferry (Battery Park) to Central Park then back down 5th ave to Grand Central Stn. Good walking shoes required, and rain-or-shine. This will not be a stroll. The main point is not the landmarks, but the random stuff and people and colorful life and historical architecture in between.The landmarks are just for waypoints.
Preliminary route plan:
- South Ferry, Battery Park, with view of Statue of Liberty (easy to get to via IRT or whatever)
Does this sound like fun, and a good work-out? Is it overly-ambitious?
If it's too much, there's always the subway or a taxi - but we are subway people.
A lively city full of wonders, packed with attractive, high-energy young people and all sorts of other interesting humanity. Not a great work-out, because it's all pretty much flat but it's hours of walking through a variety of neighborhoods. I am open to suggestions. I'm sure my son, wife, daughters, sisters and brothers-in-law will be game for this event. Sipp & Co. might be, too, and Bulldog. And our Men's Bible study group.
Photo: I like that house on top of that building on 3rd Ave and 13th St. Rus in urba.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:08 | Comments (19) | Trackbacks (0)
Why don't they simply raise lamb in fields of mint, saving us the trouble?
Well, the answer is probably because making your own mint sauce is fun, easy, and quick. That artificially-colored sweet mint jelly from the supermarket is to real mint sauce as canned cranberry jelly from the supermarket is to fresh homemade cranberry sauce.
Since everyone's garden mint is probably growing like crazy right now (but not up here, yet - is mint an herb or a weed?), here's the right way to make mint sauce for lamb. Make it when the mint is new, and it will last at least all summer.
Then you pick up that excellent butterflied lamb at Costco, marinate it overnight in a garbage bag (the best marination tool ever made) with olive oil, crushed garlic cloves, white wine, lemon juice, pepper, thyme and rosemary - then throw it on the charcoal, cook it on hot coals - blood-rare in the middle but almost burned on the surface, sliced thin, and have a feast fit for kings.
Got any leftovers? Not likely, but good for the best sandwiches in the world. White bread, salt, pepper, and mayo.
I like grilled lamb best with oven-roasted potatoes, and I will eat regular mashed potatoes or garlic mashed potatoes with anything. Salad first maybe, but no nasty vegetables to detract from the lamb. Perhaps olive-oil-and-garlic marinated grilled vegetables with the lamb if you are one of those people who think eating vegetables enhances life.
By the way, serving white wine with lamb is a crime. Why do people in America ever do it? Lamb is neither an oyster nor a lobster, and it demands a high-octane, heavy bodied beverage.
Photo: Sheep grazing on summer mountain pastures in 1912 near Casper, Wyoming.
50 acres on its own peninsula. Looks like a lot of lovely manicured gardens, but I'd prefer it with plain meadows with horses. Otherwise, of course I would have made an offer.
Sorry, I can't download the pics, and sorry again - it just sold. It's almost enough to make you hate and envy the wealthy. Almost, but we all need those folks.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:19 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Pope preaches on spiritual warfare: Pope Francis: ‘The Devil is Here, Even in the 21st Century’
Spent yesterday trout fishing with Gwynnie down in CT. We took a few photos to give our out-of-Yankeeland readers a little taste of CT in April:
Trout Lily, in bloom:
Continue reading "A Connecticut April Show-and-Tell, re-posted"
Saturday, April 12. 2014
There are plenty of them on the market these days, and most people have their favorites. I still have my first Peterson. It's hard-bound. The pages are falling out, but I won't throw it away.
The newer guides are, in many ways, more useful than the original Peterson guides which did often did not include immature, molting, hybridized, or non-breeding plumages. Those things can often confuse the experts - but the experts rely on more than appearance. Experts rely on the gestalt of the bird - habitat, sound, flight pattern, posture, behavior, etc.
I am an amateur, not an expert. Mrs. BD remembers that, when I was first dating her and showing her birds, I told her that bird species behavior is like individual human behavior: they tend to do the same sort of thing all the time so if you see a behavior or habitat once, it's safe to assume that they do that all the time.
Here's the good article about the field guides: Knowing a Hawk From a Handsaw.
Image is from Peterson: male Blackburnian and Hooded Warbler in spring breeding plumage.
A family-owned business in Ohio: Bluestone Perennials.
We have used them for several years. Pleasant people. Good selection, good prices. The plants are small, but by next Spring they won't be.
It's even driving the Lefties nuts. More on that, from Jonah Goldberg - When Liberalism Fails - When reality stops cooperating with the Left, someone must get the blame.
Vermont Woodchuck sent me this pic of a male Wood Duck, taken in March a few years ago in Armonk, NY. He says the duck waddled right up to him.
This is an annual reposting:
Just a few weeks left to get your new Wood Duck houses up, and, if you want to place your boxes in water, it's easier to do if you can walk on the ice and punch a hole to hammer a post into the shallows. That is, if you have any sturdy ice.
The males arrive to their breeding grounds in March, and hunt for nesting boxes and holes and crevices in trees before the gals arrive in April.
If you have a stream or fresh water pond or marsh nearby, they will welcome your effort. Remember, there is no limit to the number of boxes you can place in or near a marsh - these birds are not territorial. I try to add one each year.
I place them on dead trees in the beaver marsh, and nail a 3' aluminum flashing on the tree to deter coons and Blacksnakes. Some I put on a post in about 3-6' of water with a strong cement base. I always add a few inches of wood shavings on the bottom.
Our piece on Wood Duck here. I won't shoot a Wood Duck unless by mistake. They are highly edible, but too small. My joy is just to see them around.
The best wood duck houses: http://www.bestnest.com/bestnest/duck_houses.asp (fixed). I had planned to build a few more this winter, but I never got to it.
Here's the Ducks Unlimited site on building and situating Wood Duck houses.
How to be cool, according to science
Why Libs Love Dead Commies - It's cause they're cool, man.
Want the youth vote? Be cool.
Why Munich Went Ahead and Set Up 6 Official 'Urban Naked Zones'
Not for Vit D?
If Bundy Trespass Cows Were Illegal Aliens They’d Get EBT Cards & Obama Phones
NYT: Illegal Immigrants Crossing Into South Texas 'in Droves'
Massachusetts wants more legal immigrants
Blodget: Here's Why I'm Not Selling My Stocks Even Though I Think The Market Might Crash
Rethinking Tax Benefits for Home Owners
I am opposed to homeowner tax benefits. In the end, all they do is to distort the market and raise the price.
Krauthammer: Left Turns Those Who Dare To Disagree Into Pariahs
Well, the area is called America
If you think the sky is falling, check out the prophecies of the 1970s
Family Structure and Inequality
Common Core Continues Teaching Kids the Most Important Lesson of All: Life is a Fog of Confusion and Every Choice is Wrong
Scandinavians have always had a suicidal tendency
Hours before dawn we were woken by the quake.
And far too large for my feet to step by.
It seemed quite safe till she got up and dressed.
The language problem but you have to try.
None of these deaths were her point at all.
I slept, and blank as that I would yet lie.
Tell me again about Europe and her pains,
A bedshift flight to a Far Eastern sky.
Tell me more quickly what I lost by this,
But as to risings, I can tell you why.
The poem is partly about WW2, I think. An "aubade" is a lyric poem about lovers separating at dawn. Sir William Empson, a poet and great literary critic, wrote the fascinating and masterful 7 Types of Ambiguity (when he was 21), which I recommend to anyone who enjoys language and writing.
Friday, April 11. 2014
Prison for being a huckster? Is that right?
Do you have any idea how many medical procedures and medicines which are commonly used today are backed up by dubious science or unproven evidence, or with which placebo effect is dominant? And look at this: your at-home TMS machine!
And what about nutritional supplements, vitamins, and minerals? The benefits there are minimal to none, most of the time, yet the airwaves are full of sales pitches.
And on internet ads, "Take this miracle pill and..."
What about the organic food and Whole Foods scam on naive and ignorant people? And what about politicians and stockbrokers?
Ineffective things are sold every day, demonstrating the power of wishful-thinking, or magical-thinking, in humans. Hucksterism is an old American, if not worldwide, tradition. Caveat Emptor.
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:58 | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (0)
Four families of equations expose the hidden aesthetic of bicycle wheels, falling bodies, rhythmic planets, and mathematics itself.
The spira mirabilis is a lovely thing, and the equation describing it is simple. He discusses the geometry of four interesting shapes.
I would never claim, however, that math can "expose" an aesthetic. "Expose" is the wrong word, because the aesthetic is immediately apparent, but it's the math that is not.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:50 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
I posted about Hellebores a few weeks ago. Since then, I have been seeing them everywhere. I did not realize how popular the new hybrids have become.
They are early Spring-blooming, shade-loving perennials with pleasant foliage. Heronswood offers a number of varieties.
Here's how to take care of your Hellebores. Seems like a good idea to plant them in bunches. (In our view here at the farm, there are only two types of planting plans - massed - all of one species - and specimen plants. Random mixes are just a mess, we believe, most of the time.)
I am going to get me some, and wait until next Spring to see how they do.
(I wonder about the impact of online plant sellers on local nurseries and the old standard plant mail-order catalogues. Must be like the impact of Amazon on booksellers. Nurseries cannot compete with the online selections. Just look at Hosta Patch - 500 varieties of Hostas.)
More update on gravity waves
Capt. Capitalism's photos of the Needles District
His PhD: Successful and Unemployed
You Can’t Say That! This Is a University!
Puerto Rico May Be the Next Big Bailout for U.S. Taxpayers
Why won’t you answer my questions about whether your false reporting on Keystone is coordinated with the Democratic Party?
Eating beans also bad for Gaia
Steyn: Only in Canada? Pity.
Liberal Media Silent on NBC CEO - Support for Santorum ignored. Where is Tina Fey?
As it tallies votes from Wednesday’s election, Indonesia’s economic outlook is
Thursday, April 10. 2014
Coase’s Tortoise - Federal bureaucracy gets in the way of complex ongoing relationships that serve civil society. Most people have heard of Coase's famous theorem, but don't really know it. A quote:
If the Desert Tortoise (a fine critter, for sure, and one the Indians liked to cook for supper) survived the buffalo, why not the cattle?
Walter Russell Mead:
The Coming Reformation of Higher Ed - See more at: http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2014/04/walter_russell_meadthe_coming_.html#sthash.7AxYNmjI.dpuf
But who would design that exam, Prof. Mead? I'd be willing to do it, but then higher ed would "teach to the test."
My BA test would include things like (for examples) Calculus, Physics and Physical Chemistry, Plato, Econ, the Ming Dynasty, John Locke, molecular Bio, Michelangelo, one or two languages, basic Law and Civics, basics of Engineering, Geography and Geology, Roman history, Sophocles, Bach's music, the Bible, and Augustine. Plus an essay on a random topic during the exam.
The degree would mean something, if done my way, and separate the slackers from the scholars. Could kids pass it? Well, how about just a score on it, then? But who would care? It doesn't take a fancy degree to sell software or bonds, to write code, or to make Chai Latte.