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, July 25. 2016
Impressive take-off by the stunning 737 at the 2016 Farnborough Air Show. I am eager to fly in one of these new airplanes - especially if we have enough miles to bump up to biz class.
Free Inquiry vs. Social Justice at Brown University
Our Greatest Enemy: Optimism - Why optimistic groupthink is a threat to humanity
NASA: Global Warming Observations Need a Further 19% UPWARD Adjustment
They want to change past numbers TO FIT THEIR MODELS
John Kerry says air conditioner and refrigerator chemicals are as threatening to human life as ISIS
Why Do the Police Shoot Unarmed Suspects?
Chris Matthews: Using Big-City Names is Racist 'Coded Language' - Is anything NOT racist to these guys?
Psychodynamics of Obama's and Hillary's 'White Guilt Forever' Conversation
Tim Kaine’s Islamist Ties
Tim Kaine: The Jokes Just Write Themselves
McAuliffe To Circumvent VA Supreme Court Ruling On Felon Voter Rights, Will Issue 200,000 Clemency Grants
Leaked Emails Show DNC Officials Planned Anti-Trump Protests
Leaked DNC Emails Confirm Democrats Rigged Primary, Reveal Extensive Media Collusion
Check Your Amnesia, Dude: On the Vox Generation of Punditry
Trump Policy Will Unravel Traditional Neocons - Trump's divergence from the conventional Republican platform is generating indignant punditry from neocons and neoliberals alike
Is America Ready for a Disruptive President?
Trump's Speech Signalled the End of an Era for the GOP
Trump Is Right about Crime - The media rushes to downplay the post-Ferguson shooting and homicide surge—and its effect on black lives.
Kristof tried to prove Trump a racist. Proves he is not
Conrad Black: The genius of Donald Trump
Wikileaks: What the DNC Really Thinks About Latinos -
Why Can’t Hillary Stop Fudging the Truth? Email-gate is only the latest instance in a 25-year habit of dissembling.
What the DNC Really Thinks About Latinos - See more at:
What the DNC Really Thinks About Latinos - See more at:
The Real Reason for Obama’s Cuba Breakthrough
Brexit is already proving to be a huge victory for global free trade
Angela Merkel to face new backlash over open door immigration policy after new German attack by Syrian refugee
Why Would the BBC Scrub 'Ali' From Munich Shooter's Name?
Sunday, July 24. 2016
Heat wave in the Northeast due to global warming. We never used to have heat waves. Spent two hours in and out of a pool. Water was too warm, not too refreshing. Needed some giant ice floes in it, hold the Polar Bear. The good part was that Mrs. BD ordered me a tuna melt on white toast with lots of jalapeno slices in the cheese. Chips on the side. A perfect lunch.
Can you eat a sandwich without potato chips on the side? I can not and will not. Impossible. Our place fries their own daily. A bit thick and just slightly burnt. Fried in beef lard, I think. Delicious. A loud, hearty crunch. Easy to make at home with a mandoline.
Saturday, July 23. 2016
Manuel, that is, from Fawlty Towers. Here's his story.
"Mrs. Fawlty, she go craaaazy!" Actor Sachs was significantly injured twice during the filming - once when Cleese hit him on the head with a real pan instead of the prop pan. Here is some Manuel:
and just for the hell of it, a bonus John Cleese:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:45 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
With age, gravity tends to give us a larger foot size. Our feet expand under our weight.
I have a couple of pairs of expensive (well, expensive for me) and highly-durable Brooks Brothers loafers which I am loathe to part with but are no longer comfortable. 20 years can do that. Mrs. BD says I am silly not to replace them, but I tried some tricks of the trade first. It is not unusual to be like me, with feet of slightly different sizes but who will not spend the money for custom shoes in London.
Solid, well-made leather shoes can be stretched between a half-size to a whole size. Inexpensive shoes can not take the stress of stretching - either the leather itself, or the stitching, will break.
Things to try:
Shoe stretchers will adjust width or length. Cheap on Amazon. Over a day or two, you keep increasing the tension in the stretcher. Heating the shoes with a hair dryer or in a hot sun makes the leather a bit more stretchable.
Wetting the shoe well with water or, better, isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) before stretching is what expert cobblers do.
Simpler, soak some heavy socks with water or rubbing alcohol and wear the shoes. If sitting, it should be painless.
Results of my experiments with these? Be careful not to overdo it or you can end up with loose shoes.
Other ideas: How to Stretch Shoes That Are Too Tight
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:29 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Pic: Some of my relatives at Cahoon's Hollow
Find the #1 Song on the Day You Were Born
Steal big: Billion-dollar Medicare fraud busted
The “Doc Fix” Is In: An Initial Assessment of
Vermont doctors push back against assisted-suicide requirement
Luckiest firearm shot EVER
Sea level rise normal for an interglacial
Weather and the Circle of Hotness
How Hamilton College’s Diversity Requirement Came About
LLoyd Marcus (of American Thinker) nails black lives matter (video)
Left? Why? Trump is no Conservative.
Prime-Time Trump Is Finally Here
Shaidle is not fond of Trump, but...
Sheesh. I thought he was mainly talking about peace and prosperity
Liking the Trump Spirit: Trump awakens the sleeping giant of America
Where Are the Academic Boycotts of Turkey?
Friday, July 22. 2016
"Would you prefer seeing Bill and Hillary Clinton decompose in front of your eyes for eight years, or watch the Trump family develop their dynasty?"
Well, that's a tough one! Everybody must admit that is one impressive and appealing large family. The analogy with the Kennedys is apt, I think. Brains, glamour, street smarts, high energy, self-confidence to a fault, and new money. Tabloid fodder for sure.
Pedigree may be more high society, but new does more things. These days, I think, pedigree is dead and long dead except for dogs. The Bushies are ancient history already. Fine family, though. Good neighbors.
Also, cool detail about last night: The impressively poised and articulate Ivanka was wearing one of her own dresses. Price $158. I like that. She looks good in it.
How anybody can drive up Route 91 through Vermont without stopping at Curtis' place (just west off the Putney exit (Exit 4), next to Ron's gas station) for some authentic Mississippi barbecue is beyond me. Curtis is a Mississippi-born and bred barbecuemaster, but he spends spring to fall in Putney, VT (of all places), cooking over hardwood smoke all day long, with his pet pig and dog following him around the smoky pit. Now he sells his own Curtis' Root Beer and Barbecue Sauce too - but only at his place.
He is a busy old codger, but he will chat with you if you have anything worth saying to him. It had better be interesting, though. You do not see many places like this in New England. I'd be willing to claim that it's the best southern barbecue in Vermont.
Continue reading "Curtis' Barbecue on Rte 91 in Vermont: A free ad for our pal Curtis"
Clean eating and dirty burgers: how food became a matter of morals
16,700-Year-Old Tools Found in Texas Change Known History of North America
Law schools worry bar-passage standard will undermine diversity
It's Peter Thiel's Republican Party Now... Or Should Be
MSNBC Warns 'Viewer Discretion Advised' ... Before Showing Anti-Hillary Campaign Buttons!
NYT After GOP Night 3: Trump as Nazi, Poor Persecuted Hillary, and Don’t Mention the Liberal Media
"Trump is definitely speaking to the moment. He may not be speaking to
"I’ve often argued that Buckley Conservatism was just anti-communism with
The World Looks at Trump, Confused
Good. He's not running for World President. Track record of American foreign policy has been terrible
Draft Dem platform doesn't even mention nuclear power
Hillary Clinton’s New College “Reforms”
Inside Erdogan’s palace: The £500 million mansion Turkey’s president calls home
German Officials Call for Compulsory Islam Classes in Schools After ISIS Axe Attack on Train
How Israeli hummus slaughters Palestinian children, from Campus activists who complain all the time are hurting their causes, students say
Thursday, July 21. 2016
I am not surprised about the testosterone and growth hormone results. Those are good products of extreme physical stress.
A few problems with the article: First, it only went on for 12 weeks. Second, and maybe most importantly, the study had them lifting four times/week. That makes no sense. A set of heavy deadlifts takes 4-6 days from which to recover properly. Next, you can light- deadlift 100 lbs four times a week with 25 reps if you want, but you will still not be able to lift that 200 lb. of rocks a prankster placed on your front porch. And your exercise will not be time-efficient. Part of heavy is the time-efficiency. 5 reps of heavy deads, benches, etc once a week is plenty for the average fellow to stay youthfully strong.
In any event, exercise of any sort to muscle failure is the only way to gain strength. BTW, I do do lighter-weight exercises almost weekly on off-days to failure. Squats, curls, overhead presses, etc. It's just to remind my body that it is not on vacation.
40 Percent of the Buildings in Manhattan Could Not Be Built Today
Case of Drone-Mounted Flame Thrower May Test FAA Authority
How Capicola Became Gabagool: The Italian New Jersey Accent, Explained
6 Top Sex Positions And How to Train For Them
The War on Sugar
A New Life for Urban Alleys - Once blighted and overlooked, these small streets are transforming into community and sustainability hotspots.
Do students actually need to know anything?
Fancypants College In Cleveland Offers SAFE SPACE For Students Traumatized By Republican Convention
Black Lives Matter lies force cops from policing to self protection
Liberal GQ Magazine Writer on Mother of Benghazi Victim: ‘I would like to beat her to death’
In a recent commencement speech, Michelle Obama complains she’s got it rough.
A true chronic malcontent
Trump Embarrasses the Old Guard - The Clintons haven't lost to a Republican in 36 years, so why should he listen to the losers?
Why even people who agree with him hate Ted Cruz
Mystery Surrounds Sources of Many Bill Clinton Speaking Fees
Media Ignore Clinton Sex Victims, Salivate Over Ailes Claims
Clinton to Resettle One Million Muslim Migrants During First Term Alone
EU Eyes Israeli Technologies for Spotting Militants Online
Wednesday, July 20. 2016
I would arbitrarily consider any movement High Rep if you can perform over 10 in a row. With or without weights, any exercise over that begins to fall into the Calisthenics category or the Warm-up category in my book. Sure, anything can feel heavy after a while, but high-rep is a different sort of exercise unless you are a professional.
Thus if you can barely do 6 pull-ups, it's strength-building Resistance. If you can do 20, it's more like Calisthenics. Likewise, 20 body-weight squats are Calisthenics, 4 Barbell squats to failure are Resistance.
It matters because High Rep exertions, even if reaching the breaking point, do not effectively improve strength. A useful thing about High Rep is that they do use your existing strength and help maintain. In other words, good for general fitness. Other examples are Jumping Jacks and Jump Rope which overlap Cardio and Cali categories but do not build strength.
Different sorts of muscle fibers are used. From here:
Getting stronger is mainly about stressing and damaging those fast twitch muscle fibers. You can do High Rep deadlifts all day long and still never be able to lift a 200 lb box of rocks.
Thus the general idea is that, for strength, Low Rep with very heavy (whatever that is for you). For general fitness maintenance, High Rep Calisthenic-type exercise. For overall conditioning, I do both, plus Cardio. Almost everybody can find time for this, especially if you do it at 5 am. Why not?
You can guess first - answer below the fold -
Continue reading "Efficiency in locomotion"
Photo: The new Tappan Zee Bridge (on left) under construction. A stunning engineering and construction feat. Drive by and take a look if you're in the area. Also get to see the world's largest floating crane. One of the working cranes fell down on the old span yesterday and remarkably nobody was hurt.
What’s in a Name? Plenty, if It’s a ‘GMO.’
500 elephants relocated in massive man-made African animal migration
Waldorf Astoria Through the Years
The Chinese are turning it into condos, mostly.
Didn't know it was man-made
New Hampshire city police use Pokemon Go to lure fugitives
Is This What You Had in Mind for Retirement? Here’s What Actual Retirees Found Out
Sheesh. Stupid beyond belief.
Obama is not a scientist. JAMA shouldn't pretend he is
Does Brexit Give Us Our Best Chance To Kill Too-Big-To-Fail?
Gov. Kasich: We Want Immigration - Population is Stagnant in Ohio
Maybe people prefer to live elsewhere
The world is taking its revenge against elites. When will America's wake up?
Why conservatives failed to stop Donald Trump
Unappealing candidates, old ideas
How Trumpism hid in plain sight for 15 years
Ten Reasons Why Trump Could Win
Pants suit on fire
Hillary, the Black Lives Matter Candidate - Where racist pandering and cop-hatred meet.
No More - After Nice, let’s stop the nonsense.
French woman and her three daughters stabbed by Moroccan-born man in Alpine resort
Tuesday, July 19. 2016
I think Trump was the only potential winner in that supposedly-deep Repub bench. Cruz would lose in a landslide, Rubio is wet behind the ears, Jeb is a schlub, etc. All true.
Also, Bushism is past: Is the Party Over for Bushism?
First Cicada Week:
Heard my first cicadas of the summer yesterday - just a few, and just for about an hour or two, but these are probably early risers - first emergers from the soil, practicing playing their instruments. Maybe this will be a good year for them.
It means that in a few days we will be hearing the remarkably loud raspy buzzing from the tree-tops on every hot sunny day - the characteristic sound of high summer in New England, until replaced by the more refined Katydid's evening song as late summer comes.
We have both 13-year and 17-year cicadas - that's how long the two species live as larvae underground, sucking on tree roots, before they emerge to mate, breed, and die.
Their life is a metaphor.
Cicadas are edible, but I don't know anyone who eats them regularly except birds who have great sport chasing them when they fly from tree to tree. We often find their empty exoskelatons attached to tree trunks - as they grow, they crawl out of their old coat.
Video at Gizmodo
Image stolen from American Digest
The Official Dunkin’ Donuts Power Rankings
The “Cooks vs. Cons” dream: How the Food Network got back in touch with its aspirational roots
Genderism dangers in Connecticut
I think I might be transgender. Now what do I do?
Questions raised about Pentagon’s new sex change manual. Wait… what?
Are Campus Bureaucrats Incapable of Respecting Free Speech?
Ingraham: Why Independence is the New Capitalism - The key issue in 2016 is not whether you trust Trump, but whether you trust yourselves
Prosecutors of officers accused in Freddie Gray death face pressure for disbarment
Obama: Police Can 'Make the Job of Being a Cop a Lot Safer' by Admitting Their Failures
Another Day, Another Allahu Akbar
Muslims Were The Real Victims Of The Nice Terror Attack, The BBC Explains
Hell no, we won’t go: Thousands of Muslim ‘migrants’ in Germany evading deportation
GOP Convention Speakers Trash Trump - They said he's a "con artist," "narcissist," "bully," and "pathological liar" whose candidacy is "a cancer on conservatism."
Mark Zuckerberg’s immigration reform group ramps up its attacks on Donald Trump as the RNC gets under way
How the Clinton Foundation Got Rich off Poor Haitians
Democrats' Education Platform: Pro-Government, Anti–School Choice - Language that was mildly positive toward reform efforts was beaten back by public school activists.
AP Exclusive: Document shows less limits on Iran nuke work
Erdogan Purges 20,000 As Europe Voices Concern Coup Was Staged With "Prepared Arrest Lists"
Europe's Impossible Refugee Math: Brexit Was Mathematical Certainty Eventually
Monday, July 18. 2016
Ever tried growing Blueberries?
I have tried any number of times and man, are they picky. I place them on the list of plants that only thrive where they feel like it. If they aren't happy, there ain't nothin you can do about it.
You just have to admit defeat.
Even if you have some modest success, without netting I would lose all of the berries to the Robins and Catbirds.
On the farm where I spent my weekends growing up, wild blueberries grew all along the hayfield edges, reaching out from the woods over the barbed-wire fences. They grew up to 8' high, so every age had his own level to pick. They were so productive that it was no problem sharing with the birds. My Mom took coffee cans, made two holes with a nail and strung a string through them to hang around your neck, and painted our names on them with blue paint spots to indicate "berry can." Those cans hung in the barn for years.
I have seen similar wonderful areas of wild highbush blueberries on Cape Cod, but was never there much during blueberry season. Despite what is said about growing them, the wild bushes seem to like boggy edges, or at least lowlands. There is no doubt that they need acidic soil. Not being a Maine guy except during grouse season, I have no experience with the Lowbush Blueberry.
After a picking, my Mom would always make a Blueberry flat cake with hard sauce. Wow. Such memories. It's too bad there are no wild Blueberries on Maggie's Farm, but there are none.
The Blueberry is not a true fruit. Furthermore, it's in the Rhodadendron family. It's in the (marketing) category of "superfruits" because they are supposed to be "good for you," whatever the heck that means (nothing).
With some new full-sun garden space, I was considering trying again with a row of around 6 Blueberry bushes. Problem is, I want the small dark wild ones that look more black than blue with the intense wild tang, and not the fancy, fat, overly-sweet hybrids that you can get at the store anyway. Plus I don't want to bother with netting.
"Tobacco netting" for berries. Other ways to keep the birds from eating all of your berry crops.
Also, in the NYT, a little story about a family of Scarlet Tanagers - a splendid bird - getting caught under bird netting. The netting has to be very well-secured to the ground unless you want to build a bird trap.
These Tanagers are not rare in Eastern deciduous woodlands, but they aren't seen often because they tend to forage high and quiet. Here's the CLO bit on them.
Why Turtles Evolved Shells: It Wasn't for Protection
A Moveable Feast - The Four Seasons leaves the Seagram Building.
How to Knock a Dude Out - Of course, in the name of self-defense.
HOW JEFF BEZOS IS HURTLING TOWARD WORLD DOMINATION
Janet Yellen, in my opinion, is about to make a critical mistake. She is not going to raise rates in July.
Black Lies Matter Arrives in Maine
How’s that ‘libertarian moment’ working out?
Will Congress Claw Back Power from the Regulatory State?
Why you should care that the Diablo Canyon nuke plants are being shut down
No one reading this will live to see the day when America is getting the bulk of its electric from nuclear.
Britain Abolishes Pernicious Department of Energy and Climate Change
Cory Batey sentenced to 15 years in Vanderbilt rape case
How Obama Left Us More Racially Divided Than Ever - If
Sowell: The War on Cops
It's not just Dallas or Baton Rouge — police officers have been killed across the country
Former New Black Panther Leader Malik Shabazz: There Will Be Violence in Cleveland
Good grief: Therapists against Trump
The Goldwater era changed the GOP, so could the Trump nomination
Hinderaker: Why We Must Elect Donald Trump
Hillary Clinton and Personal Honesty
Hillary Clinton’s Greatest ‘Accomplishments,’ Annotated
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney: Climate is a “$7 trillion opportunity”
5 Reasons the US Military Is in Trouble
BLM Activists: Dead ‘White People’ in France Stealing Our Limelight
There are now three options for France: surrender, mass deportation, and mass elimination.
MSNBC’s ‘truck crash’ framing of France terror attack ignites Twitter mockery
Is racism really on the rise in Britain?
Why All The Jihadi Attacks? Why Now?
Surging "Intercommunity Confrontations" In France Mean "Civil War Is Inevitable"
Sunday, July 17. 2016
I told you that in Sicily last Spring we had Parsley Pesto (with grilled swordfish) and Pistachio Pesto (with grilled pork), but we never saw a Basil Pesto. They do love their Pistachios in Sicily - they use them with everything. We brought a small, overpriced jar of pistachio pesto home, but it's fairly easy to make.
"Pesto" means something that is pestado - pounded or ground up, as in English "pestle and "paste." Walnut-Parsley is a popular combination. Also, fresh mint pesto. The Cuisinart is what made Pesto easy.
More: Move out the way, basil. Cheese + nuts + olive oil + garlic + whatever the hell you want = awesome pesto.
Do you know where these typical American garden plants originated in their wild forms before being genetically-engineered over millennia by clever humans into the international things we know and grow today?
Answers below the fold
Continue reading "Origins of garden vegetables: A quiz"
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