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, August 31. 2016
We eat supper out a fair bit. One marital date nite per week, one or two social nights out, and a fair amount of take-out because it is easy, tasty, healthy, and cheap. A couple of times each month I'll do a guy's nite out or a guy's breakfast out with a friend or two. Mrs. BD only wants to cook for guests or holidays after cooking for the family for many years, and I only cook when inspired and for guests.
Himalayan bus ride
It is not for me.
How Central Park's lampposts can keep you from getting lost
Obama Designates Maine’s North Woods as National Monument
Lots and lots of trigger warnings
Did Welfare Reform Reduce Poverty? Define 'Poverty'
How do you define poverty in a welfare state where the poor are overweight or have big TVs and $200 sneakers?
Armageddon and The New New Malthusians
George Soros is a brilliant mastermind, the closest thing to a real-life Bond villain in human history
John Kerry actually said this
Merkel defends immigration decision on one-year anniversary of ‘wir schaffen das’
Mexico issues transit visas (to the US) to surge of African migrants
The Democrats Own the Ills of the Inner Cities
Nobody knows how to fix subcultural ills
FBI finds up to 30 deleted Benghazi emails Clinton did not turn over
Here's A Case Study In How Journalists Protect Hillary Clinton From Bad News
TRUMP to Speak Before 25,000-30,000 Indian Americans at ‘Humanity United Against Terror’ Event
Finland will try Free Money
Towards the beach at Duck Harbor, on Cape Cod Bay. I do love it out there in Wellfleet and Truro with the sand and the salty breeze that prevents biting bugs and the piney smell and the miles of protected and undevelopable land. Also, the multi-mile-long beaches with nobody on them except you and the seals.
Wellfleeters know that Duck Harbor used to be a harbor. Currents and storms closed it off with these low dunes, and now the old harbor is a gnarly, impenetrable (I know) fresh-water wetland, full of wildlife and highbush blueberries.
Tuesday, August 30. 2016
Many of our posts here are simply topics we research a bit, and then share the info with you. The assumption is that whatever we feel curious about is something somebody else might too.
Fall is the best planting season for shrubs and trees, hence this post on exposure. (Generally, I would never advise planting anything without an overall plan. I have learned from many landscape errors and I wish I had the money back from all of them. Learning is expensive.)
Plants do not thrive without a climate (of course), a soil they prefer, an exposure they prefer, the duration of sunlight they prefer, or the amount of moisture they prefer.
"Exposure" means the amount and direction of direct sunlight, or the lack thereof, on a given spot during growing season. Only a plant in the middle of a large field or large lawn has no limiting exposure. That is known as "Full Sun," 7+ hours of direct sunlight. Full sun is what is needed for vegetable gardens, hayfields and other farm crops, most trees, and many perennial plantings.
In most of the US, trees and buildings determine the exposure of a planting site. Before you plant anything or put in a garden, you need to determine the exposure and the hours of direct sun the spot gets. For example, an Eastern Exposure location gets direct morning sun for maybe 4-5 hrs. That is known as "Partial Sun" aka "Partial Shade." Many plants love that eastern exposure such as Dogwoods, Hydrangeas, Rhododendrons. Such plants hate the afternoon intensity of a Western Exposure so their Partial Sun needs to be morning.
OK. Before planting something, we need to determine the exposure and the amount of direct sunlight. There's another sun consideration too, though. As this site notes:
As you move towards more northern latitudes, the angle of sun varies seasonally, expanding and contracting exposure. A couple of my Western Exposure rhododendrons only get afternoon sun for several weeks in midsummer, and even that is too much for them. They survive but do not thrive. If they had afternoon "Dappled Shade," they would be fine. Which brings us to Dappled Shade and other definitions. Some good definitions from here:
So Full Shade is like a Northern Exposure: little to no direct sunlight. Same as under a large Maple. Less densely-leafed trees can give the dapple.
A Southern Exposure, assuming no major shading things, means pretty-much full day sun. A Western Exposure typically takes only the brutality of the heat and sun intensity of afternoons. That can be tough on some plants.
Eastern and Western Exposures are roughly half-day sun, ie Partial Sun or Partial Shade.
In real life, few spots have any pure N/S/E/W exposure without variables like tree shade, building angles, etc., but the point is to design by exposure, timing of exposure, and duration of exposure, and to select plantings accordingly.
Some examples I have been considering lately for various purposes:
Red Oak, Holly - Full Sun
Lots more good boat pics at Salt Water New England
Surprisingly Little Evidence for the Accepted Wisdom About Teeth
Biofuels not as ‘green’ as many think – may be worse than Gasoline
It's just Iowa vote-buying
Clemson stops man from praying on campus: ‘Not a free speech area’
Could More NFL Players Join Colin Kaepernick's Protest?
What does it mean to spend years as a Syrian refugee and then land in a brand new life in Erie, Pennsylvania?
Enjoy the Internet, Before Obama Abandons It to the UN
TRUMP ON FIRE in Iowa Speech: The Era of The Clintons is Over
Donna Brazile just made a startling admission in her defense of Clinton Foundation
Jesse Jackson gushes with praise for Donald Trump
Clinton debate prep is intense
Hillary’s schedule is a ‘tell’
Note to MSM: This Race Isn’t Over
Cairo returns to normal, NYT is sad
Nobody in Germany Wants to Hire Merkel's Rapists and Robbers
As the End Looms for Mutti Merkel, What Next?
Monday, August 29. 2016
This has been a great year for rodents in Yankeeland. I've never seen so many bunnies (Cottontail Rabbits) or Chipmunks around. Maybe somebody shot the Coyotes?
Like other ground squirrels, these cheerful little fellows don't climb often, and live in tunnels.
Mine have some burrows under my garden shed, and some live in a rock pile. They are rather tame, but the dog doesn't seem to be able to catch them. They like the free lunch of seed that falls off my bird feeder tray, so I can watch them poking around two feet from my window.
At Mohonk Mountain House in the Catskills (short video of that wonderful place here), they have always had a number of little Victorian-style chipmunk houses around the place. Like doll houses, but sturdy and shingled. They seem to like those houses.
When I was a kid I caught one in a Havahart trap and tried to tame it, but that plan did not work and I finally let it go. Sharp teeth, and loves freedom and independence.
You can read more about these fine critters here.
Richard Pryor in the Era of the 'New Racism'
The Problems with National Parks? Too Many People
Chancellor: Zero-coupon bonds are not a joke
Global central bankers, stuck at zero, unite in plea for help from governments
I want a thank you from Kaepernick
Department of Justice Releases Video Instructing Cops How to Use Proper Pronouns With Trangenders
Herky the Hawk’s grimace too ‘aggressive’ for fragile students, Iowa professor says
Mizzou Renames ‘Unisex’ Restrooms Because Term Isn’t Inclusive Enough
Feminism: When He Doesn't Call Back
U.S. to Resettle Nearly One Million Muslim Migrants Under One Term of Clinton Presidency
DNC Chair Brazile: Clinton Fdn Questions Attempt to ‘Criminalize Behavior That Is Normal’
Lots of Smoke Here, Hillary
Clinton’s Use Of Email Scrubbing Tool May Not Have Been Detectable To FBI, Developer Says
Hillary Gets (More Than) a Little Help from Her Media Friends
Theodore the Great: How Trump Channels Teddy
Claims of Racism Are The Last Refuge Of A Shrill Harridan
Trump's instincts are correct on Russia
Russia is not an enemy
This local news anchor from India definitely should’ve checked her T-shirt before going on air
Maybe she meant it
The Law is Clear – Israel is Not Occupying Anyone’s Land
Sunday, August 28. 2016
This one is for AVI: We are Many, We are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in 21st Century America by John Zogby
A big hit of Jo Stafford in 1952. Here's Bob's cover:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:09 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Paul's letter to the Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
Saturday, August 27. 2016
Thanks to readers for comments on the exercise diet and weight gain issue. I am digesting, as it were, the idea that I need to eat more. That will have to mean 5-6 small meals/snacks per day because I am rarely hungry despite my weigh training plus my cardio and calisthenics on "off" days.
My goals with all this, as I have mentioned, are to improve and maintain strength, agility, endurance, and energy in the face of Father Time and the dread apoptosis. While some muscle hypertrophy is inevitable and amusing, wiry strength is more what I want to pursue.
With increasing resistance, you might be able to barely gain, at most, one lb. of muscle mass per month. Doubtful, because even that is a lot unless you live in the gym or in jail. Strength, however, can be increased without much measurable muscle mass.
Cardio and calisthenics, as we have explained, build strength minimally if at all but seem good for agility, endurance, and general athleticism. In other words, worth doing as part of the triad of Resistance, Cardio, and Calisthenics.
With the help of my nutritionally-knowledgeable trainer, we have worked out a nutrition plan for the next 3 months, with the goal of gaining 2 useful lbs per month (possibly - but doubtful - 1 of muscle, and 1 of fat - can't gain one without the other unless you are already overweight) while upping my carb intake to speed exercise recovery and to increase energy. To be a good client, I will do my best with something like the below, but I will take a several weeks to work up to this much daily volume ( the "/" means "or"):
- After morning work-out, a 20- gm protein 200 cal. shake or 2 scrambled eggs with tomato and cheese
We'll see whether this experiment works to gain 5-6 lbs of red meat by November. I am skeptical. If I gain in the waist, it's a no-go because my trousers fit fine now.
The case against privatizing national parks
Federal control of western land: two perspectives
Have More Kids. It's Good For the Planet
The Word On The Waltons: Then, Now, And Crazy Facts About The Show
Once again the only country of any size that, as far as I can see, emerges from the Olympic Games with any credit is India
NYT: We Messed Up In Our Louisiana Disaster Coverage (Maybe It's Because Bush Isn't President?)
This brilliant response to Obama’s ‘don’t discriminate’ warning to Louisiana is pure American gold
The Worst Union in America - How the California Teachers Association betrayed the schools and crippled the state
Sally Kohn Doubles Down on Her Defense of Sharia as 'Progressive'
Robot wars: Russian Armored Car Is Now Remote-Controllable
This Princeton health economist thinks Obamacare’s marketplaces are doomed
Does it matter?
The Clinton Foundation Is Not a Scandal. It’s a Phenomenal, Life-Saving Success.
Clinton's new strategy: I may be a crook, but he is a racist
Hillary’s Race War - Disgusting lies, smears and hate.
Hillary's Email Server Was Wiped Clean With Something Called 'BleachBit'
Was this done after they were requested?
Russian “New Generation” Warfare: Theory, Practice, and Lessons for U.S. Strategists
How Israel Became a Role Model in Fighting Terrorism
Friday, August 26. 2016
Why is that approach in error?
Because there is no evidence that education dollars correlate with schools' success. Rich schools are not the "best" schools, but kids in schools in more prosperous districts tend to perform best because kids perform best in areas where the parents tend to have their act together.
It's the kids that make a school look "good", not the school itself. Teachers want to teach but not all kids are interested in this project. For example, in my state student performance correlates almost exactly to the average town income, regardless of per pupil expenditures (which tend to be highest in "low-performing" urban schools). Thus the "best schools" are in solidly middle-to-upper-middle class, homogeneous towns with no new immigrants, no out of wedlock kids, and minimal social dysfunction.
Schools do not "perform." Kids perform, or not.
Education does not cost too much. Just ask any home-schooler, or any Charter School.
They come in many different color morphs, sometimes rings and sometimes splotches so they can be confusing.
They seem to like forest edges and will hang out in old barns, garages, and buildings. The last two I've seen in Massachusetts had been hiding under old piles of boards outside the barn abd the garage. They are mainly nocturnal hunters.
I always wonder how snakes find their mates in the Spring.
Did this teen pregnancy prevention program have the opposite effect?
Playing with dolls can make girls want real babies? Gee, who knew?
Only 29% of Families on Track to Reach Their College Savings Goal
29% sounds pretty good to me
What about when the self-doubt makes sense?
No Proof That People Are Born Gay or Transgender
So what? Many people are confused about themselves, and about others too.
Doctors Sue Obama Administration for Forcing Them to Perform Gender Transition Procedures
Most surgeons are good at saying "No"
For most people, following emotion will lead to ruin.
World's first self-driving taxis debut in Singapore
Organic Farms Yield 20% Fewer Crops than Conventional Farms
Mission Focus Can Put Pay Squeeze on Nonprofit Employees
The North Atlantic: Ground Zero of Global Cooling
We would appreciate it if Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum would
When Did Bill Nye ‘the Science Guy’ Become So Insufferable?
University of Chicago to freshmen: We don’t do ‘safe spaces’
They just try to ban expressions of dislike. Many forms of expression of love, too. Love creates many more problems in ordinary life than hate does.
Taxpayer-Funded University Grants Students Just 2 Hours of Free Speech Per Week
That's your weekly Two Hours of Hate, I guess
The Burden on Business: 600 Major Regulations and Counting
She is correct
Scarborough to Hillary spox: “Go back to middle school”
For sale, the most brazen president money can buy
Brazen is the word
Every four years the GOP nominee is literally
America’s Allies Deserve to be Disturbed
Western Leaders Want Islamic Terror to Seem ‘Normal’
Ray Mabus’ Social Experiment Navy is Steaming Ahead to Disaster
The real ‘intersectionality’ – European and Arab oppression and persecution of Jews and Africans
Gull Pond, Wellfleet, at the spillway to Higgin's Pond
Thursday, August 25. 2016
A fellow turtle-lover send me this discouraging article about the overharvesting of wild turtles in Asia.
Controlled harvesting of eastern America's Diamondback Terrapin continues today. It's a wonder to me, because I know nobody who eats them. This handsome turtle of salt marshes and brackish estuaries lives from MA to Texas, but is endangered in some states.
They eat snails, small mollusks, and crustaceans like crabs and fiddler crabs that they crush with their beaks. Fish, if they can catch 'em. They only leave the water to lay eggs. They sometimes get ensnared in crab pots and drown.
Whenever we went to Chinatown when I was young, I would always bring a box and some money to buy as many of the terrapins that I could afford from the big crates full of them on the sidewalk. I think they were $5 apiece. I would release them in a couple of good salt marshes in CT. My Dad would chip in a bit for the cause.
Some good folks are farming them to restore populations from which they had been harvested to extinction. That is a wonderful mission.
Readers know we love our turtles at Maggie's, except we do not love Snapping Turtles. I once stepped on the back of one in a marsh, thinking it was a mossy rock. Big surprise when it moved and a long neck with an open, hissing mouth shot out. It's time I did a post on them, though, unloveable as they are.
Terrapins in Massachusetts
When It Comes to Sex, Baby Boomers Aren’t Normal
World's largest pearl
Our moral and intellectual superiors. Lefty Ivy-leaguers and their kin, bred to rule.
Obamacare Website No Longer Addresses 'You Can Keep Your Doctor'
Court rules California can trim current public employees' retirement
The police state of the US dept. of Agriculture
University To Students: You’re a Criminal If You Don’t Use Transgender Approved Language
Students can call me "Sir."
AP statement on Clinton Foundation donors
Wow. AP doing journalism
Perpetuation and Moderation: Trump’s Lincolnian Rhetoric
How to Save the Clinton Foundation
But why? It's a family slush fund, with 10% to charity
Hillary Clinton may just be running out the clock
Finland is smaller in population than NYC
To deter refugees, Norway readies fence on ex-Cold War border
Wednesday, August 24. 2016
From Heather MacDonald
Millennials aren’t buying homes. Good for them.
Twitter Is in Yahoo-Level Trouble
With Crocodiles in Custody, Police in Humpty Doo, Australia, Seek Human Accomplices
Quake in Norcia.
We love Norcia. Norcia is for foodies. Also, home of St. Benedict.
The Surprising Reason Why More Americans Aren’t Going To Church
Robbing the New (Uber) to Subsidize the Old (Taxis)
Accused of being Eurocentric, Roger Williams U. hires social justice expert to help lead campus
"Readers of this blog take steps to make sure their
Virginia governor restoring felons' voting rights one by one after court rejects order
I tend to agree with that. Everybody is a felon.
What a creep
Our World: Soros’s campaign of global chaos
Carville: Attack the Clinton Foundation and you’re risking your very soul, or something
Trump is a vanity project run amok
Thoughts on Trump – When Life Gives You Lemons…
No other couple in American politics can offer what the Clintons have to sell.
Annals of Clinton corruption
Hamas, Palestinian Authority Target Journalists Ahead of Election
Who should rule Syria? Nobody
A juvenile topic, isn't it? So be it.
- For starters, the view from our deck (photo above)
- Our pup, despite age, is still able to fully enjoy exploring the salt marshes and Cape Cod woods. Half-blind and deaf, but nose still works well. For the first time, we would not let him swim with us. His arthritis is terrible and his athletic endurance is limited. He would probably drown.
- While hiking on the Audubon land, we were lucky to come across the hatching of a nest of Diamondback Terrapins. 12 tiny ones pushing up through the sand at the same time. A first, for me. They emerge from the sand, blink a few times, then scamper for cover as if their life depended on it. Which it does. I took photos, but my camera died before I could download them. A dead Lumix with quite a few good pics in its memory. Maybe I can get them from the memory card.
- Wild highbush blueberries. Blueberries are native to North America. There are two wild forms, the lowbush types of the far north and the highbush of more temperate climates. Wild highbush berries are less than half the size of commercial berries, and darker, sometimes almost black. Somebody is farming wild highbush. Expensive. Taste brings me back to my youth of berry-picking in the woods. Mom tied strings through holes in metal coffee cans, painted our names on them, put the strings over our necks and sent us out to fill the cans. We had to let the little sibs climb on our backs to reach the high berries.
- Outdoor calisthenics in salty air and piney woods. About one hour, every morning at 630 or 7. Best way to begin a day of physical activity.
- A car. Friends visited with their older Audi S4 with a V8. Now I want one. Makes a fine sound.
- Blueberry pancakes at The Lighthouse, and dozens of Wellfleet Oysters everywhere we ate. At least 6 dozen, probably more. And the Steamers and Lobster festive supper I made for Mrs. BD's birthday party. Always good to have so much family around. Always buy large lobsters.
- With ocean temps pushing the high 60s, you could body surf until fatigued. Nothing better. Some Great Whites around, but the lifeguards let you know when they spot them. Heck, they would probably grab a little kid out there before they would grab you...
Tuesday, August 23. 2016
This is a rattler of the central US, ranging from Ontario to Mexico and generally preferring grasslands and marshes. I have never seen one, but I have never searched for snakes in the central US. However, I once came across a DeKay's Snake in central Ohio on a hike. Took a photo. The field biologist said they had never been recorded in central Ohio so I guess I made history in a small way.
Have you ever seen a Massasauga? This guy is well-camouflaged in the grasses. It is good not to be a mouse.
Pic: Me and my brother-in-law last week, taking a dip in Herring Pond, Wellfleet. Not easy to find that pond.
"Well aren't we special, then, loving so much and being such nice people."
Brexit Armageddon was a terrifying vision – but it simply hasn’t happened
'Borders are the worst invention ever!' EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker
Invented by God, I believe. Gates of Eden
EPA Says It Needs Eight More Years to Decide if Ethanol Mandate Is Bad for the Environment - It is, as everyone who isn't a corn farmer will tell you.
The Regulatory State: The worst Excesses Of Rent Seekers And Power-Mad Politicians
Emails show that Clinton Foundation donors got improved State Dept. access
Trump: Clinton Foundation “most corrupt enterprise in political history”
Hillary Wears Heavy Coat and Black Pants to Nantucket Fundraiser
80 degrees and a wool coat? Strange. A cover-up?
Has Trump Awakened John C. Calhoun's Concurrent Majority?
Monday, August 22. 2016
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:43 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
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