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
Friday, February 17. 2017
I like a walking stick - a fallen branch broken to length - when taking a tramp without a firearm. It just feels good. Fact is that a walking stick or hiking poles put you almost on three or four legs, and also lessen the wear and tear on middle-aged joints. Especially on hills.
I thought they were nurdy until I saw everybody using them (except us) during our hiking trip in the Dolomites. My Mom always used them after her knees went sour.
We have a hiking trip coming up in a while to the Hebrides and Outer Hebrides (quite similar to Johnson and Boswell's), and their main recommendations are rain gear, hiking poles, day-pack, and waterproof hiking boots. Leave the sun screen at home. I assume they provide the whiskey. The hiking part will be about 7 hrs/day, with fishing boat lifts between islands. Spartan B&Bs with Highland "cuisine." Hmmmm.
It's gloomy and nasty up there in Trump's maternal homeland (Stornaway), and it's easy to understand why so many of them jumped on boats in Glasgow and Liverpool to come to America where the livin' is easy and there ain't no Lairds.
BTW, if you are new to the delightful Boswell, I recommend all of his stuff. In many ways, he was more interesting and amusing than Dr. Johnson who was pedantic - but who could also slide the knife deftly into somebody's pretensions. Johnson knew everything.
Pic is LL Bean telescoping poles.
Donald, the anti-hero and anti-politician, is one heck of a politician. Finally, the news is fun again and Washington a circus again. Journalists whisper "This is insane." Wrong again. Journalists don't get it. Why should they be expected to? They are just bystanders in life, outside the arena.
I once imagined the idea of an academic life, but quickly learned that I was not a genius even though I have some flair for teaching and perhaps a bit of a calling for it. I might have been a beloved and valued private secondary school teacher, but that turned out not to be my fated path. It could be a good retirement path for me, however. I could teach Civics, history, Art History, Law, Latin, and Government, and I can coach Baseball and Soccer. That won't happen, though, because life is too short for everything and retirement from my post is not on my agenda. I like being the boss of me and I do not like answering to anybody.
A Harvard writing instructor discusses 'The Great Shame of Our Profession'
The Ultimate Pursuit in Hunting: Bighorn Sheep
Every Picture Tells - The art world is now a province of politics, alas.
Use By' Date on Your Milk May Start to Actually Mean Something Soon
What's the Reno Cure for Valentines Gone Wrong? D-I-V-O-R-C-E.
South Carolina Boeing workers reject unionization bid
Obama Stimulus Funds Went to California Dam in ‘Good Shape,’ But Not Oroville
A Climate Scientist Is Smeared for Blowing the Whistle on ‘Corrected’ Data
FAKE SCIENCE GETS SMOKED—AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR CLIMATE CHANGE
Race and Rising Violent Crime
Illegal aliens too terrified to apply for welfare
Nearly 2 million non-citizen Hispanics illegally registered to vote - Survey bolsters analysis by professors
Olympic Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad Joins the Hate Hoax List
And yet another: Another Fake Hate Crime Exposed
60% of Refugee Arrivals Since Judge Halted Trump’s Order Come From 5 Terror-Prone Countries
U.S. Economy Hits All-Time Low in Freedom Index
Trump's new strategy: Hulk smash
Trump’s in trouble. Is it Christie time already?
Welcome Back to the Medical Underwriting Circle of Hell
The Media Bulls Have Met Their Matador in Trump
In Fiery, "Surreal" Press Conference, Trump Launches War On The Media
They declared war on him months ago
A Renaissance for Small Aircraft Carriers?
Thursday, February 16. 2017
In my view, climate science and weather science are interesting but not very important. If the tropospheric temps go up a degree or two per century, who cares? It's just a political hobby horse. If anybody thinks a "carbon tax" could change the earth's climate they are insane. It would enrich government, however.
Whatever causes climate variations in the present and caused drastic variations through the history of the planet, nothing can be done about it and, furthermore, who can define an ideal climate for the planet anyway? Nobody. All anybody can say for sure is that warmer is better than colder.
George Leef: Enough of the College-for-Everyone Agenda
I see it as a sign of health that she hates the dumb job. Modern women do not want to be public ornaments to their husbands' lives or, in this case, political accessories. I think the Donald is ok with that.
Donald's new job has not enhanced her life. It has damaged her life. Where did this "first lady" idea come from, anyway? Is it like a sort of queen or something? I am glad Melania has no interest in being a celeb. She doesn't need it, and she seems shy anyway. She should live the way she wants, as best she can with the current restraints. Maybe she can trample this "first lady" thing just as Bill Clinton would have done had Hillary won.
Strength + Calisthenics + Cardio = A balanced diet of exercise for all ages
We need strength training (weight training) to prevent muscle atrophy, to build muscle and bone, to maintain our best functionality, and so we can do Calisthenics and play sports with force. Also, to look good. Looking good does matter in life.
We need Calisthenics (which includes sports) to make full use of all of our muscles, to maintain athleticism, endurance, sexuality, general vigor, and mental happiness
We need some high-intensity Cardio to build or maintain endurance and heart strength
- A person can be very strong but have terrible cardio endurance and terrible agility; runners can have great aerobic cardio endurance but be weak in bone and muscle and unable to handle an hour of intense calis because they have mistakenly aerobically-trained exclusively. The aerobic cardio fitness fad of recent decades was/is greatly overrated. It was over-sold and it damaged a lot of joints. Anyway, the three components are interdependent and overlap to varying degrees: lunges are strength + calis, jump rope and jumping jacks are calis+ cardio, all weight training provides brief but intense cardio stress, etc.
- As a footnote, but not a trivial one, I usually add proper nutrition because a demanding fitness program requires it. The 5-hr/wk program we espouse for general Fitness For Life (approx 2 hrs of weights, approx 1 hr of Calis, and approx 1 hr of cardio (2 half-hr sessions of cardio intervals) demands more protein and maybe more carbs than the ordinary sedentary person needs to survive. If your fitness requires weight gain for bone and muscle development, obviously more protein, fats, and carbs. If your fitness requires fat loss, obviously less carbs. Hard exercise can never eliminate excess fat but it can inspire nutritional sanity.
Photo from Bus Stories (lots of photos)
Women over 40 used to let themselves go and look like frumpy old grandmas, over the hill. Cultural change.
California Today: Why Does It Cost So Much to Live in California?
This Robot Could Be the Future of Home Farming
California Governor Spends $25 Billion Per Year On Illegals, Officials Warned Dam Failing 12 Years Ago
CA schools cut protein cuz global warming
"Without Us, Your Country Is Paralyzed" - Undocumented Workers Plan Boycott "Day Without Immigrants"
That word "systemic"
Court OKs Federal Officials Taking Control Of Private Lands To Save Endangered Frogs That Don’t Live There
Dying From a Terrorist Attack Is Different than Slipping in Your Bathtub
Surprise: At the End, Obama Administration Gave NSA Broad New Powers
These are police state powers
Obamacare is in the ICU
President Trump takes first steps to change Obamacare
The White House: Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?
They are amateurs
House committee launches investigation into Donald Trump's security breaches at Mar-a-Lago
Stupid, and amateurs
NATO Responds to Trump
Getting Innovative: Catapult Seized at U.S.-Mexico Border
Wednesday, February 15. 2017
Good goals for me would be just to get from the Novice to the Int. level for my age. That should be more than sufficient for general fitness but 10 pull-ups is pie in the sky for me now so maybe fully Novice is good enough. I had no idea of how weak I had become when I began my exercise program, because I was fully-functional and never challenged.
Anyway, I will never be a serious lifter. Just a middle-aged general fitness lifter. Glad I got ahead of the downward curve. Well, not ahead of it but at least before it became hopeless. I did nail 2 reps of my personal record deadlift this morning, and feel proud about that. (Hey, make sure you poop well before lifting or you could have a little problem.)
I made trainer feel good about himself, too. Loves to see his clients persist and succeed. Onward and upward.
Studying late at night for a Chem exam, resisting a donut, keeping climbing when your legs say "No," doing one more bench rep when your arms say "I can't", saying "Hi" to a pretty girl who is too good for you, giving your exasperating guitar practice one more half hour, bucking up for one more damn intimidating job interview, getting through a pile of paperwork. A doctor once told me that the toughest person he knew was a agoraphobic and social phobic who by sheer willpower forced herself to leave her house and re-enter society despite her terror.
Everybody wants to fight against his own limitations, fears, flaws, and weaknesses, and nobody wants to feel mentally or physically weak.
When I consider mental toughness I think of warriors facing a wall of spears or machine guns, but in our (or my) pampered and decadent American life we often have to go out of our way to seek out character tests and character challenges. We can easily avoid most of them if we wish to, but our life is diminished by it.
I think shame, self-disgust, and self-disappointment are some of the unpleasant consequences of confronting some of our weaknesses and limitations. It is failure, and we know it.
My genius trainer and I were discussing the topic a while ago. I told him that part of his added value to me was lending his mental strength to me. When my arms say "No," and he says "Two more - you can do it" - I do it. Alone, I "couldn't." That's my mental weakness. So we can gain strength from relationship. That's part of why marriage is so valuable. Friends, too.
He said that group exercise training works well not so much because of the competition but because of the combined spirit of effort, the esprit de corps. Of course, that group effect is an essential part of military training too. He says the reason most people fail in fitness programs is for lack of spirit and determination, not muscle.
I suppose good habits of toughness and perseverance can be nurtured from within from practice and from without with support and cheerleading. My mental toughness is not good enough to make me happy with myself, and probably never will be.
Here's a Grit Quiz. Not sure if such personality traits are measurable really, or whether they are even traits. Sometimes I have plenty of grit, sometimes very little.
What's your view on the subject?
Florida wants to register canoes and kayaks
Writing music for TV
Finding love on the subway
Kate Shaidle's tolerable marriage
That is honest
Marriage and Money
Univ. of Chicago goes kinky: Sex Week filled with flogging, petplay, rope bondage
Sounds like good clean wholesome fun, but what it has to do with higher ed escapes me
The Cohabitation Lie
Playing house is not marriage
Slavery and rape aren’t wrong when Muslims do it.
It's their culture
Boudreaux schools a Luddite
Re Yale: Rename everything
Politics offers a terrible spiritual danger
Trump Cabinet Science-Denial or Scientific Skepticism?
JUST AS PREDICTED: The Political Assassination of Michael Flynn
It's a war. Yes, The Empire Strikes Back
America's spies anonymously took down Michael Flynn. That is deeply worrying.
Polls: Majority Thinks Trump is a "Strong and Decisive Leader" Who "Keeps His Promises;" Public Supports Ending Sanctuary Cities and Deporting Criminals -- Including Hispanics
Democrats Are Losing Their War With Trump
Tuesday, February 14. 2017
"It is easy to forget that the memoirs of a little girl who watched Native Americans on horseback and saw herds of buffalo on the plains happened within living memory of my elders when I was born."
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:57 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Boswell to Dr. Johnson: My friend, Lord So And So from Edinburgh, has studied too deeply and aberrantly, has become a drinker, and has turned unfaithful (to the church).
Dr. Johnson: If he has drunk his way out of faith, he will in time drink his way back into it.
Gotta love James Boswell.
Rethinking Love - Is love an emotion?
It depends on how obsessionally one wants to categorize mental states and attitudes, or whether one wants to categorize such words at all. I would certainly consider "desire" to be an emotion, as I would the crazy condition of being "in love." Those are wonderful kinds of insanity, but, however intense, tend to be fleeting when reality intrudes.
I think of "love" not as passion but as an enduring attitude of positive appreciation and attachment, with varying degrees of emotional dependency. Anyway, words are crude tools to apply to all of the ambiguities and ambivalences that relationships consist of. I just feel fortunate that there are so many people in my life who I want to hug when I see them.
Six Plants and Animals Threatened by Pseudoscience
John Waters update
Stepford School: Princeton students forced to abandon individuality, freshman says
Signs of Terminal Illness - From forced marriage to alcoholic excess, Britain’s airports display the symptoms of cultural rot.
Is the USA an Idea or a Nation?
Both, of course
Trump and Andrew Jackson
Cool. A quote:
Washington Post demonstrates importance of voter ID laws
From Andy McCarthy's Populism, VI: Populism versus populism:
With One Simple Order, Trump Could Reduce the Healthcare Costs of the Uninsured by 90%
Don’t Block the Education Secretary, End the Department of Education
For the Media, the Only Jihad Is Against Trump
Muslim-American Olympiad Detained By Customs Agents Before Trump Became President, Media Still Blames Trump!
Klavan: Yes, CNN IS Fake News
Hamas elects convicted murderer Yahya Sinwar as Gaza chief
Monday, February 13. 2017
Money has nothing to do with it. Connecticut In The Grip Of The School Funding Fallacy
How the Anti-Vaxxers Are Winning
Latin Jazz Is Booming. Look Beyond the Grammys to Find It.
Climate change made the modern horse, of course
Ben Shapiro Uses Age To Counter Transgender Argument — ‘Why Aren’t You 60?’
Shapiro is the straight Milo
Automation can replace government bureaucrats and save taxpayers money
Lawmakers and Regulators Act Like They Hate Farmers Markets
Black Lives Matter Toronto Cofounder Yusra Khogali Explains Why Whites Are Subhuman
Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four Describes the Authoritarian Left Better Than It Does Trump
Yes, CNN IS Fake News
No Republicans need apply: Totalitarianism in the classified ads
Al-Shabaab Magazine: 'We'll Keep Marching Till We Reach the State of Maine'
Maine? They'll love Maine.
Shoving Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals Right Back in the Left’s Face
" I do suspect, however, that if Harry Reid had cut off Ted Cruz’s microphone in 2013, the Nevada Democrat would have been hailed as a hero and genius."
There’s An Alt-Left, And It’s Trying To Make America Ungovernable
Asylum seekers fleeing US for Canada brave snow, extreme cold
France and its refugees
Ireland Has Already Started Banning Immigrants From Trump’s Travel Ban List
It’s come to this: Merkel now offering cash for migrants to leave the country
Trump's Right - NATO Is Obsolete For The US
Europeans Back Trump’s German Grievances