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
Tuesday, January 17. 2017
I am one of those who will never again be able to do overhead press. A damn shame, but I did have many fun times permanently damaging my shoulder.
Could You Have Two Perfectly Identical Snowflakes?
January is Divorce Month
At SDA: "Riddle: I pay 2.76 cents/L CO2 tax to dry corn to make wet-milled ethanol to displace gasoline to fight climate change. Why is my bum sore?"
Will 2017 be the year of Right to Work?
Ignorant pundits, like David Brooks
Fun items in The Week That Perished
Faking History to Make the Black Kids Feel Good
University Hosts MLK Day Teach-In on 'Oppressive Fashion Trends'
Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Which Is the Biggest Moocher State of All?
Martin O’Malley Compares Trump To Hitler, KKK
How Chuck Schumer Caused Bank Collapse Dems Now Blame On Trump’s Treasury Nominee
An inauguration full of protesters protesting an election
Clinton Inc exposed for what it was
Press always left it alone
Finally, a Republican Leader Playing Offense
Major Media Ignored or Downplayed Trump’s Meeting with MLK III
Monday, January 16. 2017
In his best voice, and a poet too, of sorts.
Sublimation is the process by which a solid goes directly to a vapor. Snow does that, even when it's below freezing. It evaporates. It's finally above freezing during the daytime here, at least for a day or two.
Somewhat related: Do you know the old expression Snow is the Poor Man's Fertilizer?
Ringling Bros. circus to close after 146 years
Three-ring circus - Greatest Show on Earth - Saw it twice I think. Yuge!
Single Mom Builds An Entire House For Her Family Using YouTube Tutorials
California's bullet train is hurtling toward a multibillion-dollar overrun
Clinton Foundation Laying Off Workers – Shutting Down Global Initiative Amid Ongoing Investigations
" The Associated Press cites a study based on Federal Reserve data showing that "millennials earn 20 percent less than boomers did at the same stage of life, despite being better educated". They are on track to be poorer than their parents despite all that progress."
Everything free in the brave new world
Toronto Sun Accuses Trudeau of Gross Green Hypocrisy
Whoever Puzder is, they’re against him
Obama and His Movement Prepare to Challenge President Trump
Donald Trump Invites Critics to Pray at Inauguration
How most doctors, patients will benefit from ObamaCare reform:
Klavan: My Strange Trumpian Glee
Kimball: A Modest Disposal
Sunday, January 15. 2017
One of our Christmas presents this year were Metropolitan Opera tix with dinner.
Being musically retarded as I am sure some of our readers are, I need to listen to a piece several times before I have the privilege of hearing it live. There is no way that I can get the music or the singing the first time around and I have not enlisted the help of weed for that in many, many moons.
We have Gounod's Romeo et Juliette tix coming up soon, so we are both listening to various productions on YouTube and on the Met's site. A daughter said "Don't listen to the end or you won't be surprised."
Golly gee, it's purty music. Here's one.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:32 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
I have gotten a kick out of winter bird-feeding since I was a kid. It helps you find out what is around. The birds don't need it, but when it is frigid and there is snow cover, they certainly appreciate it.
Once you begin, though, you should continue the freebies until March because, in your generosity, you have created dependents.
If you have bears around, forget bird feeding.
I do it on the cheap and in a squirrel-wise way. I buy 50 lb. bags of cracked corn or chicken feed and throw a few handfuls around every morning. Ground feeding birds go for it. They might prefer something else, but they go for it when it's cold. It keeps the squirrels busy too. In my squirrel-proof feeder, I just put the more costly whole sunflower seed that I mix with a small amount of niger seed.
If I bothered to put out suet, I would attract more interesting birds but would have Starlings too.
Around here, most of what we see around the food in January are Juncoes, BC Chickadees, WT Sparrows, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Red Bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Mourning Dove, Goldfinch, Fox Sparrow, an occasional Song Sparrow. The occasional Sharpie or Red Tail trying to catch the feeder birds. Sometimes House Sparrows and House Finches, but they don't like this food - which is a good thing. Nothing exciting most of the time. I rarely see Purple Finch, Crossbills, Redpolls, Pine Siskins, or a flock of Evening Grosbeaks. I wish they would visit sometime but I am not on the edge of piney woods. In April, blackbirds arrive.
Mine is like the one in the photo with a collapsible plastic perch thing on the bottom. I got the largest I could find so it only has to be refilled every ten days or two weeks.
If you feed birds, what species are attracted?
Saturday, January 14. 2017
The extinction of species and genera is the earth's history. In recent history, some extinction has been brought about by mankind, mainly hunting for food. The giant ice-age mammals of North America probably were all hunted out like the White-Tailed Deer in nothern New England are today. Mountains of good meat which seemed endless.
The North American Bison barely escaped that fate, but the European Bison did not.
The sentimentally-sad story of North America's Passenger Pigeon is similar. The complete eradication of those vast, sun-blocking flocks was inconceivable. They were tasty birds, and there were no hunting laws. The smaller, and not large-flocking Mourning Dove stayed around, thankfully. It is tasty too, with a slab of bacon in the oven.
Interesting: The Case for Bringing Back the Passenger Pigeon - One geneticist’s quest to de-extinct what was once one of the world’s most abundant birds
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:59 | Comments (19) | Trackbacks (0)
Outside Truckee, big rig driver handles jackknifed big rig like a boss (with video)
SJWs Claim Sandwich Invented in U.S. Is Being Culturally Appropriated by Americans
We need these people for daily humor
A pied a terre: Bezos buys largest house in DC
Midwestern Legislators Take Aim at Academic Tenure-for-Life
American millennials paid 20% lower salaries than baby boomers at same age
Millions Escape to States With Right-to-Work Laws and No Income Taxes
And bring their blue culture with them
Coerced equality and the power of the state
Protesters planning to blockade inauguration checkpoints, 'party' outside Pence home
I hate spying on Americans. We pay for it
Why the left hates Trump so intensely
BAD NEWS AND GOOD NON–NEWS: ISRAELI ARABS AND WESTERN VALUES
End the UNRWA Farce - As president, Trump should defund the agency perpetuating the Palestinian refugee problem.
Friday, January 13. 2017
Academia beyond satire
A walk down Manhattan’s first “block beautiful”
Hotcoldwetdry is everywhere these days. All you have to do is to see it,
U.S. Report Cites the Good and Bad on Marijuana
'Ferguson effect': 72% of U.S. cops reluctant to make stops
The Inauguration War - The Left prepares its counter-attack on American democracy.
Trump’s Model First Press Conference
Trump Derangement Syndrome Comes to a School Near You
Slate: Jeff Sessions doesn't understand that racism is everywhere
Why the media's Trump dossier coverage is suicidal
74% Republicans, 33% Democrats back Israel over Palestinians
Thursday, January 12. 2017
Photo: Salvador Dali and Walt Disney
Love Your Spouse More Than Your Kids, Make Sure the Kids Know It
Semen Is An Antidepressant
First Bumblebee Declared Endangered in U.S.
You can really feel the mascot's frustration in this local commercial
How tort reform helped ignite the Texas boom.
Why Volkswagen’s Emissions Scandal Has No End
The Swiss are serious about citizenship
Tons of good stuff at American digest
Zero Hedge: The future is feudalism
Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire
NYP re Trump: For now, all we know is that a madness has been set loose in America and there is no reason to believe we have seen the last attempt to destroy Donald Trump.
Sworn Trump enemy John McCain admits HE handed smear dossier to FBI - as details surface of document's bizarre journey from British former spy and diplomat
Chuck Todd to Ben Smith: ‘You just published fake news’
IT WAS ALL A HOAX: Intel Official Admits No Direct Link Found Between Trump and Russia
4Chan Claims To Have Fabricated Anti-Trump Report As A Hoax
Wednesday, January 11. 2017
I use "calisthenics" as an umbrella term for exercise which is not heavy weights (except kettlebells) and is not pure cardio. These are exercises which involve bursts of intense cardio combined with muscle use so they contribute to agility, muscle "toning" and "maintenance", power, speed, endurance, coordination, balance - all good things except strength-building.
A good thing about these calis is that they are varied and fun even when they hurt. If it doesn't hurt, you aren't challenging yourself enough. Muscle pain is your friend and ally.
We suggest a total of 1 1/2 to 2 hrs/wk of calis in a 5/hr/week fitness program. There is no need to do them for an hour at a time. Lots of people will do a session of 40 mins of weights and then 20 mins of calisthenics to loosen up. The 2 hours includes 30-second to one-minute rests between sets to catch your breath without lowering your heart rate very much.
We suggest repeating three circuits of each pairing or triplet (3X3 or 2X3) with each individual item to take around 30 to 60 seconds with little to no rest between items in a set so each pairing or triplet takes under ten minutes to complete and recover. Thus about 3-5 circuits in an hour depending on your vigor and fitness. It should take your pulse and/or respiratory rate up to an hour to return to normal after an hour of calisthenics. Your metabolic rate will remain increased for a couple of hours.
Begin with a 5-min cardio warm-up, then some sumos, side stretches, band walks, etc to wake up your body. Below the fold is my list of double and triplet circuits to try. I use each of them every two weeks. Give it a try - you will feel good.
If I were forced to do one part of the Fitness Triad, I would do calis.
nb: Advise no more than one squat routine/day, or burpees and mountain-climbers on the same day. You can do all the planks you want, and mix them up.
Routines below the fold -
Continue reading "Calisthenic Routines - A pretty good basic list which I use"
Few birds store much fat. Fat adds weight which makes flying inefficient. Generally (with exceptions like ducks), birds burn what they eat during the day for energy and heat.
Tyler Cowen's Best classical music recordings of 2016
Cowen has a serious ear
Kicking stem cells into high gear could naturally repair tooth damage
Some Blue-Collar Workers Probably Shouldn't Do Pink Jobs
The Telltale Sign a New Hire Isn’t Fitting In
Althouse gets into a spat with the mayor
Silicon Valley CEO: Middle America a “Sh*thole” Full of “Stupid People”
Federal Employees Brace for Possible Draining of the Swamp
Anarchists Are Hoping To Turn Donald Trump’s Inauguration On January 20th Into One Of The Biggest Riots In U.S. History
They should like Trump - he has an anarchic streak
"We are making the argument that we can ruin the notion that this is a peaceful transition of power."
Celebrities Head to D.C. for Trump Protest
Dem Senator Blumenthal Demands Sessions Disavow David Horowitz. Sessions' answer: "He's a most brilliant individual and has a remarkable story."
Disavow David Horowitz? What? Blumenthal is a maroon
What Rafsanjani Hagiography Exposes
Tuesday, January 10. 2017
For examples close to home, Mrs. BD had a bum knee, a meniscus repair, but still achy and unstable knee. Could hardly do body-weight leg exercises. After a year of carefully-graded and cautious leg strengthening, she is now pain-free with full mobility and is doing squats, lunges, and deadlifts.
In my case, a traumatic arthritis in one shoulder prevents me from overhead presses and push-ups. There is a knife-like pain which forces the effort to fail and collapse. It's too bad, because those are two excellent compound exercises but there are plenty of work-arounds for shoulder strength with slightly difference force vectors which are pain-free and so probably will not do any further damage to the joint - things like cable rows, lateral raises, and Farmer Walks.
Thus there are work-arounds for almost every frailty so a frailty is not an excuse to become frail.
From friend and reader "Black Dog":
Since winter has arrived in the Northeast, I thought a couple of pictures from my bonefishing trip in Mexico, back in September were in order. You know, to keep the fisherpersons interested and all that.
This was my first time fly fishing for bonefish. www.costadecocos.com The lodge is in Xcalak, Mexico which if it isn’t the end of the world, you can see it from there. It’s about 12 miles north of the Belize/Mexico border and about a 4.5 hour drive south of Cancun.
I fished an 8 weight with little shrimp patterns. I can tell you unequivocally, this is the hardest technical fishing I have ever done. You need to be able to cast 50 feet into the wind and put the fly in about a 3’ diameter circle when the guide points and says “aqui” “aqui”!
I fished about 5 hours each day (30 minute boat ride from lodge to the back bays) and caught 3 bonefish the first day and 2 the second day. The first day, I know I lost at least three that hooked up but couldn’t land and another 2 on the second day, same thing. There are a lot of bonefish. Lots, but I’d be kidding if I said they are easy to catch. However, you’ll get more chances than you will in the Keys and fishing down in Ol’ Mexico is nowhere near as expensive as Abaco and the Bahamas (where the fish are bigger but get lots more pressure).
The flats are amazing – two to three feet deep at high tide and you see small sharks, rays, barracuda and permit in 18 inches of water. Like most saltwater fishing, you try and catch the tides right as the fish will hold in different spots, depending on an ebb or flood tide and where the baitfish sit. Very, very cool fishing and of course, I now have to work on my Grand Slam of a Bonefish, Tarpon and Permit, all on a fly rod.
Continue reading "Bonefishing in Mexico"
Image via Never Yet Melted
Vibrating hot pants are the ‘smart’ invention no one knew they needed
America’s Kids Badly Need a ‘Chore Culture’
Inside Sears' death spiral: How an iconic American brand has been driven to the edge of bankruptcy
Choosing a new car
Pope Francis Now International Monetary Guru?
Lightbulbs: Blinded by Green Mania
California as Alt-America
We Americans are
Trump’s unexpected win has Democrats coping with a vastly smaller job market for their skills.
New York Jumps on the Free College Bandwagon
Missing from the Intelligence Report: The Word ‘Podesta’ - Disclosure of embarrassing information should not be confused with disinformation.
Barnes: Obamacare is incurable
Holding Obamacare Repeal Hostage for Replace Guarantees Its Defeat
After six years of resisting legislative changes to Obamacare, President Obama and Democrats now say they’re ready to work on fixes to the massive health law — so long as they expand the federal government’s role in health care.
No doubt she is a big NFL fan
Celebrity-filled telethon set for Facebook Live on inauguration day
The Left Means to Break This President
Salon: Trump's oblivious denials on the Russia hack are delegitimizing his
Meryl Streep’s Speech Is Why the Left Wins
‘We Know in Alabama Who Jeff Sessions Is’: Black Pastors Defend Trump’s AG Pick Against Charges of Racism
A vote cast for Trump is kind of like a murder
Somebody must stop him!
Protecting Palestine - Israel's unacknowledged role on the West Bank
iBig Stick: Review of Book by Eliot Cohen
Restoring America’s Defenses: A Memo to the President-Elect
Monday, January 9. 2017
Some crackin', breakin' sounds in this recent song, Scarlet Town. Edgy lyrics here. A poor audience recording below but the heating flame adds something hellish. Ominous banjo like in High Water. I don't think Bob has made a recording of it, but maybe.
Dylan mainly on piano these days - arthritis it is said. Sucks to grow old in some ways.
Newly Discovered Photographs Reveal Life at the Real Downton Abbey
Feed Your Kids Peanuts, Early and Often, New Guidelines Urge
Franz Kafka, failed travel entrepreneur
Rake’s Progress: A Look at the Well-Traveled Casanova
We Have Pushed Physics Too Far - Parallel universes are a non-answer to a premature question.
Don't Blame My Kid for Thinking Your Cross-Dressing Child Is Weird
Musk is expert at harvesting government $
I blame homophobia
White Hot Rage of the Left With Pedagogical Comment
Brady Campaign: You Can ‘Carry a Gun and Ammo’ in Checked Bag When You Fly
Of course you can. I have done so many times. Just tell them is all you need to do.
Why President Trump Is “A Nightmare For Univision"
Hitting Trump Before He’s Sworn In
The hate! They should hate the voters instead of Trump- he's just the messenger.
Perhaps nothing has made modern progressivism look sillier than the often hysterical reaction to the election of Donald Trump
Communist Leader to Bill O'Reilly: Trump is Hitler
Of course he is
Liberals Awake from 8-Year Moral Coma
DON'T JUST REPEAL OBAMACARE, REPEAL GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE INTERVENTION
Meryl Streep Uses Lifetime Achievement Award Speech to Bash Donald Trump
She should bash the voters
Trump opposition sets up blue-state headquarters - California and New York emerge as centers of the Democratic resistance.
NY and CA against the rest of the country
HOLLYWOOD HATES TRUMP, BROADWAY LOVES HILLARY
Jeff Sessions shunned, slandered by longtime Senate Democrat collaborators
Germany's Islamist scene growing: security chief
Sunday, January 8. 2017
The ability to write down a story seems to be much more common. Film scripts, short stories, novels, plays are all constantly written but rarely published or performed. It seems to me that written stories do not need high-level wordsmithing to be successful, but high-level wordsmithing can turn the simplest story into art. Shakespeare, for example. Good plays and good TV scripts can do fine with simple conversational dialogue if the tale has a good engine and cool characters.
When I think of wonderful written storytelling with mediocre wordsmithing, I think of people like Tom Clancy and Robert Parker. When I think of extraordinary wordsmithing with uninteresting stories, I think of Updike. When I think of current transcendent prose, cosmic imagination, truthful expression, giant intelligence, knowledge, and life experience - and simple stories raised to the level of art, right now I think of Mark Helprin. Perhaps because I am in the middle of his collection of short stories, The Pacific and Other Stories.
Especially his story about Ralph, the possible baal shem tov, but the story about falling in love on the Staten Island ferry was soul-piercing too. Over the years, he has opened my eyes to many things which I will not recount now.
But back to story-telling. Much of TV writing is formulaic. It has to be. I think The Sopranos was brilliant TV, great story-telling. So was Downton Abbey even though that was more of a chick thing.
For those who are filled with stories to tell, but are not naturals like Mark Twain, there is a now-classic book: The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by John Truby. It's not a formula except in the broadest sense: he just tells you how all successful stories work. It is like a textbook.
Can the wordsmithing be taught? I dunno. I doubt it, given that the talent is rare and life is short.
Is that how you see it?
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:33 | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (0)
A pal commented on our birding binocular post that excellent German Army Hensoldt 10X50s can be found on eBay for reasonable prices. Good optics.
Here's an example of one.
10X50 is a bit too much magnification for 90% of birding and for all of sports viewing, but they do have other fun uses, like watching the NoKos watching you across the DMZ.
Lower magnification (ie 7 or at most 8) meets almost all outdoor uses because higher is more than needed and makes it difficult to locate what you're looking for. Larger objective lenses (the second #) admit more light, so they are better for poor lighting conditions. Heavier, too.
Binocular skills are learned by use - those are eye skills. Clarity has to do with lens and prism quality, and that's where the $ comes into the equation.
For long-distance viewing (eg military, nautical, seabirds far off in the water and the like - and certainly for astronomy, you need higher magnification (10X +) and probably larger objective lens but those work best with a binocular or a scope on a mount or tripod.
What is best for watching high-altitude migrating raptors? Some swear by a Zeiss 8X45 or 8X42 with their wide (400 m) FOV (field of view). A wide FOV is desirable for wildlife observation. I have seen that the most experienced and expert wildlife watchers do very well with minimal inexpensive gear, but that's not me.
Related, useful binocular basics
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