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, December 17. 2014
From our archives:
Christmas is a traditional feast day (but it was not for true puritan folk like Dutch Reform or Congregationalists, who did not historically care for Christmas), so you are expected to cook something tasty. We have done all of the things: turkey (again), goose, roast beef, crown roast of pork with apple stuffing (real good).
On the other hand, the southern Italians do a cool thing - they do the Christmas Eve fish dinner - because it is a vigilia di magro (fasting, Italian-style).That is darn good. Fried baccala, fried calamari, scungilli, clams, mussels, maybe lobster etc etc. I love the baccala, and those little fried minnows bagiggi - smelt - with lemon that you eat whole like french fries, and clams (if they aren't cooked), but hate those cold seafood salads - dolphin food. In Sicily, the tradition is seven fishes. Serious abstinence: cook a leg of lamb, and you burn in hell for eternity.
But back to Yankee Christmas dinner, and goose.
As regular readers know, we cook our Canada geese with the breast only, marinated and sauteed rare. We confit the legs and thighs.
Store-bought goose tends much smaller (maybe in Dickens' time they had bigger farm geese - if you can find a giant Christmas goose as big as Tiny Tim, great), and has lots more fat on it. In fact, it seems about 50% fat, which oozes out during cooking and fills the pan below. If you want to cook that traditional English bird, you need a few of them. I would say, one per 3-4 people, minimum, if you are using the supermarket birds. (Some might disagree with this.) One bird will not do it, as a turkey does, because once the fat melts off, there isn't much left except bones. The plus side of all of the fat is that they are self-basting.
This is a good approach. Overcooking a goose, at low heat, is not a bad idea. For a roast goose, you may really want the meat falling off the bone, unlike a nice rare breast of wild goose. Goose is, of course, a dark meat like duck (but more coarse in flavor, I think).
Make a tasty sauce out of the drippings, once you have removed the fat. Add a little red wine, maybe a handful of huckleberries or dried cranberries and a bit of sugar, and reduce/thicken.
What to serve with goose? Mainly braised and sauteed roots. Parsnip, carrot, potato, turnip. And how about a rutabaga puree? Or a celeriac (celery root) puree? Maybe a pile of braised, sauteed baby squash, too. Cranberry sauce? You bet.
A Dylan performance for an audience of one
The Rising Cost of Felony Creep - Over-criminalization takes its toll.
1 in 5 Millennials Live in Poverty, Census Bureau Says
World-first ‘Bionic Bra’ inches closer to reality
London in Shakespeare's time
What Is a Suburb, Anyway?
Nothing Succeeds Like Liberal Secession: Blue America Without Red America Would Be A Basket Case
Sarah Palin hunts feral hogs. World ends.
Tim Scott: Why Marriage Matters for Fighting Poverty
NIH Has Spent $100.2 Million on Mindfulness Meditation
Government Job Security
Bye, Bye “Bailout”: CROmnibus Takes a Small but Important Bite out of Obamacare
A Winning Alternative to Obamacare
Gluttony and Global Warming: We’re Eating Ourselves to a Warmer Planet
Sony Exec Reaches Out to Al Sharpton – Will Hook Up This Week for Race Conference in NYC
Taxpayer-Funded Immigrant Advocacy Group Blasts Republicans - Helps those seeking deportation relief, tells them to vote against GOP
Sydney: One ‘Irritation’ Too Many
Sen. Rand Paul on ISIS, the Middle East, and when America should go to war
Tehreek-e-Taliban Takes Credit for School Attack That Left 131 Children Dead: “We Want Them to Feel Pain”
Sept. 11 detainees in Guantanamo get copies of CIA torture report
The True Victims of Torture - The Democrats, suddenly shocked by the CIA’s tactics, dishonor the people who died on 9/11.
Sorry, Putin. Russia’s economy is doomed
Newly Released NSA Documents Show That China Captured American Soldiers During The Vietnam War
Tuesday, December 16. 2014
...because a cute, perky young gal held the door for me at the gym at 5 am this morning. Sheesh.
And because my lad now fits into my tux. He borrows it when he needs it, but the legs and sleeves are a little bit short but not so's you would notice at a crowded event.
I've had mine for many years. Admittedly, Brooks did let out the waist an inch for me (35 to 36) a while ago and it has been dry cleaned many times.
The lad fits into my formal dress shirts too, and I am happy to loan him my grandpa's gold studs and cufflinks. If one is not wealthy, as I am not, a classic Brooks tux remains a bargain, is always appropriate, and is cheaper than an ordinary fancy suit. They last forever unless you get fat or live a far more hoity-toity life than I do. It's holiday season now and, in Yankeeland, you have to dress up a little for special occasions. Year 'round, really. At Christmas and New Year's, I just do it by adding my red holiday cummerbund and red bow tie.
It's a uniform. Maybe we remain a little old-fashioned. Nowadays, we easily forget that the tux was invented (in Tuxedo Park, of course) as a casual dinner get-up for the jazz-age youth who rightly rebelled against wearing vests and tails to dinner and parties.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:22 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Disgusting greedy capitalist pigs: Highest earning musicians of 2014
Office work is dangerous
Highest earning musicians of 2014
Black newspaper takes on black-on-black violence
The mob is alive and well in the unions
Which Costly Family Most Deserves to Enter the Moocher Hall of Fame?
How ignorant jerks are going to treat good cops now; ‘I’m scared for my life . . .he’s trying to Mike Brown me
Social conservatism, marriage, and class:
Media swoon: Elizabeth Warren, unlike Ted Cruz, hailed as a principled crusader
The Democrats Double Down - Will Republicans seize the opportunity?
VDH: Epitaph for Hope and Change - Obama has fundamentally transformed America, all right — but not as he intended.
“If you make jokes about people who are going to kill you, there is a sort of tendency to hold back a little.”
‘He Must Have Loved Ones, Too’ - Pathological altruism in Sydney.
German Leader Denounces Anti-Immigrant Surge
Last week the news arrived that the most popular name given to boys in the UK in 2014 was "Mohammed." The reactions and non-reactions to this story betrayed the deep unease and denial that are now part of the debate around Islam in modern Britain.
At its 27th birthday parade, Hamas vows to destroy Israel
Monday, December 15. 2014
Pic was the Maggie's HQ tree set-up in the parlor last year. Yes, there is an outlet in the floor. This year, we're in process of going back to colored lights for the darn pagan tree.
Tree is a fire hazard, but the fake ones just feel fake and seem to create the unpleasant feeling of bank-lobby to me. I don't like to keep a real dead tree up for over 14 days but maybe I'm a scaredy cat.
I like the tree in the middle of the room, away from heat and far from a fireplace. I keep the water full, and I use this tree water recipe. Same trick that makes cut flowers last longer. Best to use warm water to soften any sap that would block water uptake. Cut trees are thirsty.
I use a heavy and heavy-duty welded steel stand like the one below. It holds a gallon of water and could easily hold a 12' tree.
After 14 days or so, I carry the tree with its stand and lights out to the front of the house to abide a while, or even months, with an extension cord to keep it lit. I don't even try to keep last years' lights anymore.
Good news: Mrs. BD is already practicing her carols on the pianny. It's a delight for Bird Dog, even the missed notes.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:49 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
The Cheapest Generation - Why Millennials aren’t buying cars or houses, and what that means for the economy
Study proves high heels do have power over men
Pope Francis Confirms Cats Still Going To Hell
Declare CO2 a nutrient
“Rape Culture,” Debunked
Police: Armored Military Vehicles Needed for ‘Constitutionalists’ with Firearms
Greenfield: Life in Post-Truth America
Al Sharpton Leads March in DC as NYC Protesters Chant: 'What Do We Want? Dead Cops!'
Back in Saigon: The Senate Intelligence Committee Report
Gaza Is Almost Totally Cut Off From The World, And It's Getting Ugly
Sunday, December 14. 2014
My only problem with Messiah is that my brain changes "We like sheep..." to "We like lamb...". Here's Fred Plotkin's Searching for Messiah, in Dublin and New York.
And here 'tis -
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:18 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Especially if not a believer, this ordinary sermon will give you an idea of what the fuss is about.
I do not recall the history of it, but in the early days of American settlement, celebration of Christmas was a crime. It was considered Anglican or, worse, Papist. Talk about political correctness! Even baking a pie at Christmastime was a crime. Somewhere along the way, Protestants came to embrace Christmas but only in minimalist ways. I still think of it as a partial Saturnalia (which is how it really began, sort of - and is why it's celebrated on or close to the Winter Solstice. Ancient Roman, plus some German paganism.).
But, ok, the birth of a savior from sin is worth celebrating. We're all sinners for sure.
Saturday, December 13. 2014
(I've also heard some claim that it's to make it easier for guys to unbutton ladies)
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:35 | Comments (8) | Trackback (1)
Lots of good Yale photos. Scroll down
78-year-old Iowa legislator is prosecuted for having sex with his wife, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s
I doubt she was suffering. It's real clear reality that causes suffering.
Dogs in Heaven? Pope Francis Leaves Pearly Gates Open
Whew, that's a relief. But what about rats, mosquitoes, and snakes?
Colleges are run by morons
Glenn, my friend, you are nuts
‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’: Differences Between the Movie & the Bible
SHOULD CHILDREN MAKE UP THEIR OWN MINDS ABOUT RELIGION?
Courtship today: Atheist Coffee and Feminist Envy
I worry about this constantly
Democrats Prep Media for 2016 Anti-GOP Onslaught
What if Obama had been honest?
A.B. Stoddard: Dems sick of ObamaCare
iAl Sharpton at the White House - It sometimes seems as if he spends more time there than anywhere else. Why?
"Sometimes I wish I could just passively accept what my government monarchs and their mainstream media mouthpieces feed me on a daily basis. Why do I have to question everything I’m told? "
The whole thing is a splendiferous rant
Sultan: Leftist lynch mobs
Yup. Asked for it. Enjoy!
The torture report as the ultimate harvest of media bias
"The report is nothing more than a death rattle from the “blame America” crowd within the liberal Democratic majority."
I would torture anybody to save a family member. Who wouldn't?
Fury as Mention of Israel is Banned from Forthcoming Holocaust Memorial Day in Ireland
The Last Pain
This last pain for the damned the Fathers found:
Maggie's Farmers are fans of William Empson, more for his books than for his poetry. For many of us, his 7 Types of Ambiguity (written at age 22) opened a door to a new world. A commenter here claimed that his The Structure of Complex Words is the best book ever written. Better check it out.
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
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)
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
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
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)
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
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
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