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
Saturday, December 13. 2014
Took this snap of a sort-of fun Christmas party we attended last night - Mrs. BD's garden club's annual Christmas bash. Garden club holiday parties are cool and uninhibited but one wearies of this sort of festivity after a while. Exhausting.
For the next two or three weeks, it feels like almost every night is a party night. Is this Saturnalia Season?
Friday, December 12. 2014
Reposted and revised -
It's a cliche, isn't it? (I don't know how to put accents on words on this machine.) Lonely and isolated people feel lonelier during holidays.
Let's all think about, and try to include, the lonely this year.
We are told that holidays are supposed to be times of special social fun as well as family time, whether the 4th of July, Thanksgiving (we always try to include some close friends), or Christmas season which many like to use as an excuse for throwing a party for all their 200 closest friends or just a fish supper with a handful of good pals on Christmas Eve after church (with Eggnog of course).
People obviously vary a great deal in the extent of their social connections and (cliche again) one can easily be lonely in a crowd. Many prefer to be isolated but I think there is a basic human need to be "in community," to have human connections of all sorts outside of family. We are tribal creatures. I feel sad for those who lack tribes with whom to touch base and reconnect during the holiday season. That makes it depressing indeed because it's supposed to be about fun fun fun and party party party, right?
(As an ex-drinker who used to have some degree of social insecurities, I have learned how to have a good time at parties anyway. I like to touch base with the people I enjoy, and I like to walk up to strangers and say "Hi. I'm Joy. I don't think we've met." If they don't love me, it's their loss but maybe mine too. Rejection is just part of life, and many people seem to feel that they already know enough people unless you wow them in some way.)
There are many ingredients to constructing a satisfying life, but what a satisfying life means is different for everybody. However, I believe that to be in community, or really a part of multiple communities, is a key component. Some care about it more than others, for certain. With a little luck, the construction begins with an anchor solidly lodged in immediate or extended family, and extends, in separate but often-overlapping circles, out from there depending on what one does or decides to build.
And I do mean "build." Like career, community is never handed to you on a silver platter. I like to connect with interesting, intelligent, positive, and amusing people with interesting and adventurous lives. Who doesn't? On Saturday night, I met a gent, a retired banker, who covered the erection of the Berlin Wall for the New York Times when he was 21 years old. He had taken his grandkids to the Checkpoint Charlie museum in Berlin this summer. I want to include him, and his wife, in one of my circles.
More below -
Continue reading "Lonely at Christmastime, with some comments about civil society's circles of connection"
Cool sox and ties: Tie Bar
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:33 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
That's Tim Keller's routine phrase for living without God. It was nice to hear him use it in that Counterfeit Gods talk which we posted yesterday.
Insurers in New York Must Cover Gender Reassignment Surgery, Cuomo Says
"One mother called a personal-injury lawyer about forcing the city to remove the rocks. Another suggested that something be done to 'soften' them. 'I am actually dreading the summer because of those rocks,' still another complained.""
Never let kids play outdoors. Too dangerous.
The euro is heading for disaster - what luck for David Cameron!
Public overwhelmingly disapproves of Obama’s handling of immigration, healthcare
Record Global Temperature—Conflicting Reports, Contrasting Implications
CIA Director Brennan Admits Info From Enhanced Interrogations Led US to Osama Bin Laden
Congress’ Only Navy SEAL: Torture Report Threatens Lives
ISIS Publish Pamphlet On How to Treat Female Slaves
Nuclear Vigor: Russia, China and Iran
The Land of Magical Thinking: Inside Putin’s Russia
Thursday, December 11. 2014
Americans should be pleased to know that the incidence of sexual assault (except in prisons) has been steadily in decline for many years. There is no epidemic and there is no rape culture in the US - indeed there is a strong Judeo-Christian anti-rape culture - but there are some individual sexual predators and rapists around, and there always will be. Here's a real rape culture:
and this one: Raping and Beheading the Faithful
Also interesting is that the incidence of violent sexual assault on campuses appears to be about half of that which occurs out in the real world. That is remarkable in some ways, considering that the campus today jams frequently-alcohol- or drug-intoxicated adolescent boys and girls too-close together in a generally sexually-disinhibited and hypersexualized atmosphere.
My view has always been this: if assaulted, sexually or otherwise, call the cops. It's a civic duty really, because odds are that the perp will strike again with someone else.
Best, most reasonable and comprehensive piece I've seen on the topic: The College Rape Overcorrection - Sexual assault on campus is a serious problem. But efforts to protect women from a putative epidemic of violence have led to misguided policies that infringe on the civil rights of men.
I am not sure why campus sexual assault is so often the focus of the media when sexual assault and violence of all sorts is far more frequent off campuses.
Related, Lena Dunham's Assault on Humanity
Assume that all Santas are perverts
How Victoria’s Secret and its fashion show went primetime — after its founder killed himself
McDonald's Menu Is Completely Out Of Control
Lena and Grace Dunham: Life in the Shame-Free Zone
Treasury Department Seeking Survival Kits For Bank Employees - Emergency masks, solar blankets to be delivered to every major bank in the U.S.
Whatever Happened to California Republicans? How California has become almost completely blue.
NY Times Reports on Columbia Exam Postponement
Berkeley Prof Offers Students Extension on Homework If They Are Injured at Riots
BERKELEY PROTEST RULES: Let Blacks Beat Non-Blacks, Don’t Photograph Rioting Blacks
College President Criticized for Saying All Lives Matter
Did you know that the topic of cotton is racist?
“You’re Bosnian,” one of the suspects allegedly said. “I should just kill you now.”
He remembers the word "mokita"
For the warmists, a Diesel Powered Gaia
Palestinian Rights Activist Exposes U.N. Duplicity At Relief and Works Agency
Gathering Evangelical support for Israel
Wednesday, December 10. 2014
I am glad that BD has scheduled a few Tim Keller posts for Advent. I attend the church in NYC where Tim is pastor, as do many of my friends. Some of my Jewish friends sometimes come with me too because the vibes are good and because Jesus was a serious Jew.
In the video posted yesterday, Keller was responding as an apologist to intellectual critiques of religion in general, and to Christianity in particular. He did so humbly, and often amusingly, but those intellectualized interrogations missed the point, I think.
In my humble and non-theological view (raised Catholic, then agnostic, now in it) is this: If you sense a spiritual vacuum in life, if you sense a secular, or an empty survival-oriented or self-oriented attitude towards life, then you can try believing first. Willing suspension of disbelief. Give it a chance. Then see what happens. There is nothing to lose, and maybe a fresh new existence in a new world, a new reality, to gain. A rebirth, as they say. This is a kingdom anybody can live in today.
You can't think your way into it.
If it does nothing, you can quit it anytime. If the baby in the manger is not ripe to be born in your heart today, you can wait as long as you want to. This kind of pregnancy can take many years, or never.
It's like a Life Cereal. Try it, Mikey:
Sometime in 1996, I was scuba diving off the Outer Banks. Between dives, the boat captain and I had a conversation. His view was that in 20 years, water would be big business. I found that humorous, but as time passed, it struck me it has become a major industry. Or has it?
We spend little time considering something so basic, so essential, to life. It seems like something we don't really have to think about. Water is, after all, plentiful. But it takes considerable work to make it as plentiful as it is.
While water is handled as a public utility, the reality is there is a huge market for it and it is, as the captain suggested, big business. But it's always been big business, we just don't pay much attention to it because it's always available.
I had no idea the NY Public Library was built on the remains of the Croton Reservoir...
Walsh: Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.
The Ugly Christmas Sweater: Still Ugly, but No Longer Ironic
Bank of America sees $50 oil as Opec dies
Feathered Fossils Give Scaly Dinosaurs a Makeover - Plumage may have adorned even the earliest dinosaurs, long before flight.
Parking-lot-challenged Canadian BMW driver has now been watched 4 million times
Sultan: Fat people and class warfare
From Bill Clinton and From Fat Albert to the Rev. Al: All the enablers
Bill slanders his cops - Mayor de Blasio’s suggestion that NYPD racism killed Eric Garner – and fuels police-community tension – is baseless and odious
A nation with insane leaders: The Gods Have Made Them Mad
Thornton: The End of Feminism
Obama: Ferguson, Garner Protests 'Necessary' to Trigger 'Country's Conscience' with 'Some Inconvenience'
When you interfere with people getting to work, conscience is not triggered
What the Numbers Say on Police Use of Force - Two decades of data show police interactions with Americans of all races decreasing in number and improving in quality.
Ex-CIA Directors: Interrogations Saved Lives
Tuesday, December 9. 2014
Christians use Christmas lights and Christmas candles to symbolize and celebrate Christ's coming to illuminate a dark, painful, and sinful world.
There are two mysteries to those strands of colored lights which I have never understood:
- No matter how carefully you stow them away, they always come out tangled. Are they self-tangling?
- You stow them away for 11 months untouched, but when you take them out in December, half the strands don't work and you have to run to Home Depot or CVS. Do they have a built-in obsolescence?
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 19:06 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Heather Wilhelm: Why I Left Feminism (Or, How Feminism Left Me) - Here are seven problems with modern feminism.
Via Driscoll's Elizabeth Warren Goes Full Orwell:
On Pearl Harbor Day, Boston Globe (Said) US Should ‘Hero-Worship’ Community Organizers, Not GIs
21 Photos of Pearl Harbor and a Day That Will Live in Infamy
You can’t detox your body. It’s a myth.
DOJ Banning Smoking in Federal Prisons - Only exemptions for ‘religious reasons’ and staff
Feeling Better at the Pump? Since 2008, America’s Oil Supply Has Grown by 50%
Columbia Law School Lets Students Postpone Exams Due to Grand Jury Decisions
Obamacare Architect Jonathan Gruber: Abortion of 'Marginal Children' a 'Social Good'
Is it a moral good?
Congressional Republicans to grill Obamacare consultant at hearing
Can technology pick the perfect health plan for you?
Chicago continues assault on business with steep hike in minimum wage
The Minimum Wage and the Great Recession: Evidence of Effects on the Employment and Income Trajectories of Low-Skilled Workers
Landrieu's scare tactics for LA blacks
Lena Dunham Walks Back Fabricated Rape Claim
Rolling Stone and the Cult of Credulity - The mantra "I believe" pathologizes skepticism and doesn't help victim
Jewish Group Accuses New York Times of “Crossing Red Line” By Publishing American Anti-Semite Max Blumenthal
It’s Not Just Ukraine - The real problem is that Putin has the whole region cornered. And no one seems to notice.
AMERICA'S MILITARY: A force adrift
Taiwan Voters Reject China-Centric Policies
Who Will Save the People of the Donbas?
Monday, December 8. 2014
Last year, we were at a friend's and I was introduced to the Coquito. This is, basically, a Puerto Rican eggnog.
Very tasty, but also very fattening. Probably 10,000 calories per glass. Delicious as can be. After that party, I made some and brought them to our family Christmas party, where they were a hit. We all had to run marathons to burn off the calories, but it was worth it.
I decided to make them again this year and found another recipe to work with. Most of the recipes are similar, though there are minor variations which make it an interesting drink. This year's recipe called for egg yolks, last year's did not. Last year I added nutmeg and vanilla. This year I didn't.
I pour it into resealable bottles, and keep it cold. It needs to be shaken prior to pouring, and sometimes you have to warm the neck of the bottle a bit to loosen it up.
I don't usually like distilled liquors, but during the winter I'll have some whiskey or add rum to my drinks. Particularly when the temperature dips as it has lately.
Continue reading "Coquitos for Christmastime"
The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas - How it is that we once again find ourselves rooting out sin, shunning heretics, and heralding the end times
Time To Take The Sippican Cottage Basic Human Decency Test
Can You Ever Exercise Too Much? Some evidence shows that intense endurance workouts can put stress on the heart—but it's probably temporary.
Great Horned Owl Takes Relaxing Swim in Lake Michigan
How stoned is too stoned to drive?
Where to Move If You Want a Job, More Money, or Lots of Single People
Hiya, Big Spender! For good or ill, Nelson Rockefeller’s legacy lives on.
The Democrats have been reduced to the party of the rich elite (George Soros, Hillary Clinton, Hollywood, Jonathan Gruber-types, edit al.) and the party of the poor exploited by those elites — a lethal combination that takes society exactly nowhere. In essence, they are the party of racism and sexism — that’s about it.
Eric Holder believes all cops are racists, targets ‘unconscious bias’
Is this right? Here’s Jackie Coakley “Rape Obsessed”
Britain Unveils World's "Toughest" Counter-Terrorism Law
Iconic Mideast Photo Is a Fake — and Heartbreaking One at That
Sunday, December 7. 2014
Perhaps politics has always been about irrationality, propaganda, pandering, deception, etc. Socrates himself fell victim to a democratic witch hunt. There are always plenty of people out there who desire power, money, easy jobs, public recognition, etc. and who will do lots of things and compromise whatever integrity they have to get them. I understand that, but I do not respect it. I do not respect calculating, manipulative, dishonorable people, and I desire to insulate myself from them.
In recent years, it seems that the contagion of truthiness (useful fictions) goes hand-in-hand with the generation of underlying long-term politically-driven narratives. The seemingly-sociopathic Al Sharpton proved, in the 1987 Tawana Brawley episode, that a lie which fits the right political narrative can be profitable in many ways. In fact, his reckless, destructive ballsiness made his career as a public figure - while destroying many others involved in that famous non-story.
Truthy stories cannot get a foothold without media support or incurious acceptance. The media made Al Sharpton by refusing to treat him like the charlatan he is. The media made the Duke rape story, the "Hands up" story, and so many similar stories now culminating in the UVA gang rape story. None of these things were stories - they were ginned-up fictions to provide data points on a narrative line. That is what novelists and poets do.
These are modern versions of yellow journalism. We need more people willing to call "Foul" against tendentious PC baloney.
I don't really think this is all about gullibility and wish to believe. For the most naive, perhaps, but generally I think it's more cynical and calculating than that. There are agendas which seem, to some, to be more important than the truth. There are hardly enough Walter Duranty awards left to go around these days.
Advocacy journalism doesn't just run with fairy tales. Just as importantly, the MSM refuses to cover stories which would be fueled to near-fatal or fatal levels (eg, the IRS story) were a conservative in power. May I note the dearth of aggressive "investigative journalism" since the Left has held power in Washington? Has the Obama administration done anything worse, thus far, than the Nixon administration did? He has known, all along, that the MSM will cover for him because he is a lefty and has brown skin. Good insulation.
Pretty much everybody knows all of this now. The news is mostly spinfotainment and the only thing the public can do about it is to switch to FOX where "fair and balanced" means something - to the chagrin of the lefty narrative-spinners. Or Morning Joe too.
A few related links:
The author of the article, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, now says that it
Sabrina Erdley, Rolling Stone, and the Media Put the Cause Before the Truth
Rolling Stone’s disastrous U-Va. story: A case of real media bias
Jonah Goldberg being called a rape-supporter
"We have a member of the administration feeding a bogus story to a social
"What is truth?" asked the very clever Pontius Pilate
We'll see what happens with that UVA story eventually. To my mind, a "rape culture" is a feminist invention to keep their movement alive. Rape is a serious felony in the US, and is becoming more rare as time goes by. The criminality of rape is not controversial in the US although it is acceptable in many parts of the world and in many cultures. Dubious rape stories, like dubious racism stories, only harm a cause and create backlash. The same thing has happened to the "climate" hyperbole. For rape or attempted assault, call the cops, same as with a burglary or mugging. It's that simple. For climate, enjoy the day whatever the weather. Not to worry, in New England it will change tomorrow.
In no place in history on this planet has there ever been less sexism or racism, or more opportunity, or more generosity to the unfortunate, the feckless, the disabled, the homosexuals, and the transgenders, than there is in the Anglosphere today, and especially in the US. So why are the voices so shrill? Could it be because they see their relevance disappearing?
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:20 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Mrs. BD snapped this pic of one of the wonderful tiles in NYC's Astor Place subway station."In the mid-to late-19th century, the area was home to many of the wealthiest New Yorkers, including members of the Astor, Vanderbilt and Delano families"
Why beavers? Because John Jacob Astor, at one time the wealthiest man in America, made his fortune in beaver pelts (and wisely went on to invest his beaver wealth in NYC real estate).
Why the Waldorf-Astoria? Because Johann Jakob Astor was an immigrant from Waldorf, Germany.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:52 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Other websites ask you to use their Amazon links or whatever to bring them a little revenue. Not us. It's just not worth the trouble (unless you wish to carry suitcases of cash to our bank in the Caymans like the Dunkin Donuts people, Sierra Trading Post, Bob Dylan, Sippican Cottage Furniture, and several others we routinely advertise, do).
We like give you ideas of other places to donate at
Like most people, I find Wikipedia to be an extremely handy introduction to all sorts of topics. At the very least, it offers enough information to be able to fool people into thinking that you know what you're talking about. At the most, a pretty good elementary education.
The old Britannica totally missed the boat. The writing was wordy, pedantic, the print was too small, it was expensive, and there were not enough pictures.
As everybody knows, Wiki is non-profit because Jimmy Wales just does his own thing and refuses to monetize his remarkable creation. They need money to operate, though, so throw them a few bucks if you use them. Their fundraiser is now.