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, October 13. 2015
A system for the people.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:12 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, October 10. 2015
Those were the days before these Americans identified as victims. They didn't want to be victims, and pushed their way into the middle class. That was before the 1960s mess.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:52 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, October 7. 2015
It's not just that humans are tribal, although they are. I am almost always curious about people with other backgrounds and stories, but I am most "at home," most relaxed, with people whose backgrounds and stories are similar to mine. You can help me explain all of the reasons for that, but part of it is social predictability. For example, it is difficult to build trust when you do not know or understand another person's definition.
A good degree of cultural homogeneity is good for a society because there is a shared context, shared values, shared referents, and shared meanings. This goes far beyond language itself, so assimilation into a culture takes several generations, with real effort, if it is to happen at all.
I suspect that the only places into which I could assimilate would be Canada, England, Oz, and Germany. In other places, I visit more as an amateur anthropologist, an outsider, and I know I will never really get it. Mind you, I live in NYC which is a United Nations of immigrants, a tower of babel. It's fun, but there is a right amount of it.
I think I am in the mainstream to hold the simple view that a society/culture can handle a modest or moderate degree of immigration, but not an invasion. Borders and armies exist primarily to prevent invasions. Today in a few parts of the world we see unarmed invasions, and many governments do not seem to know what to do. Suppose that Charles Martel had met 200,000 unarmed Muslims thronging towards Poitiers on their way to Paris?
The greater the cultural disconnect, and the fewer the cultural connections and traditions, the more likely one will feel like a stranger in a strange land and the more likely that the immigrant will be viewed as one. Whatever the multicults claim, there is a shared American culture from California to New Jersey, from Michigan to Alabama. Lots of subcultures, but an overarching set of shared ideas and assumptions.
Europe and the US seem to have had enough. I think it's a combination of the volume and of the feeling of being exploited. My basic question to legal immigrants would be "What will you do for America?" (I question myself every day about what I do for friends, family, community, God, and country. Scouting brainwashed me that way. Whenever I ask what is done for me, I squash the thought). For illegals, I tend to be with Trump. I guess that makes me a meany.
Europe Finally Gets Serious About Illegal ‘Migrants’ - "All measures must be taken to ensure irregular migrants’ effective return, including use of detention as a legitimate measure of last resort."
Tuesday, October 6. 2015
Obama or not, the world is not America's sandbox. Most of the world does not think like Westerners, much less think like Americans, and they never will see life through our eyes.
Furthermore, while the American people like the idea of being the world superpower, they have not been particularly enthused about geopolitical adventures and military maneuverings in minor places since WW2 - none of which have ended very successfully anyway (eg Korea, Cuba, Southeast Asia, the Muslim world, Nicaragua, Ukraine, etc.). Reagan's pressure for the dismantling of the Soviet empire was a success without a single military death, but the result is less than beautiful except for a few ex-eastern bloc nations.
The argument is always that X is critical to America's interests. Really? Syria? Ukraine?
Syria has been a Russian client/ally for a long time. Some good points here: The Mind of Mr. Putin
If you wish to debate, first tell me a few places in the world which can not be construed as "critical to US interests." (I'll use "critical" meaning worth going to war about.)
...There is a wonderful quote from Epictetus that I think of every time I see someone get terribly upset about one of these things (I try to think about it when I get upset about anything): "If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation." He said that some 1,900 years ago. Even then we felt that it was easier to police the outside than examine our inside.
Ryan Holiday (via Ace)
Sunday, October 4. 2015
Not to brag, but I have taken no vacation for five years. It's about delayed gratification.
The upside is that it provides an avenue to an easy and costless feeling of virtue. Either that or, in some municipalities, protects you from a garbage ticket. We have noted that most recyled garbage ends up in landfills anyway.
Now, even the NYT is willing to point it out: The Reign of Recycling
Yes, it is a religious rite.
Thursday, October 1. 2015
Here. No problem, we can handle it. It's nothing new. It's the big Nor'easters that give us trouble.
Wednesday, September 30. 2015
Tuesday, September 29. 2015
Why is the welfare state under attack when happiness economics shows it is the system most conducive to human wellbeing?
Bread and circuses for the proles? It's a strange article, from my viewpoint, but I understand that Denmark is a tribe of Danskers, all related. Quite alien to America or current American values. Perhaps child-like. I am certain that it was not written satirically. Where does this guy think that things and money come from?
Most hard workers I have known find dignity in work and do not find any work degrading or "commodifying." In fact, it is "getting free stuff" which is degrading and humilating. And what about the ambitious, the self-employed, the farmers, the self-sacrificing, the doers and makers and builders? Where do they fit in? How do you "give" a farmer or a doctor or a plumber or a writer a family leave or a six-week vacation?
I hope Americans do not aspire to bovine contentment, but instead to challenge, difficulty, and self-reliance. The only people happy to live on the dole, as I see it, are sociopaths and moochers taking advantage of their neighbors. OK, some deeply mentally-disturbed or profoundly brain-impaired people without families to care for them.
Monday, September 28. 2015
20 minutes of this will do you good if it doesn't kill you.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:15 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, September 27. 2015
He's right. Free markets are like a force of nature with sunny days, rainy days, and hurricanes. Government and politics seem to demand a response to demonstrate that they care, but how often does the response make things worse?
It sure does. It used to be done by wise old politicos in smoke-filled rooms, shrewd guys who really knew the people. Now it's up to the press, amateur and professional.
Saturday, September 26. 2015
Normal Americans would never even consider these sorts of scams. Even normal sleazy and corrupt politicians:
I am waiting for The Donald to label the Clintons as grifters. Somebody needs to say the obvious.
Friday, September 25. 2015
Have you had a better one lately?
By request -
The program I have taken on is quite different from the ones that have been discussed here. I understand that strength-building resistance work is important even if you do not want to model underwear, because strength is needed to maximize your general fitness exercises and recreational activities.
I am a young guy luckily without any need to build muscles at this point. I am doing general fitness and cardio to feel good, to have energy, to prepare for skiing season, and so as not to look like a soft slob before I hit 35 or 40. Every gal and guy I know works out in some form. White-collar people have to keep moving or we will decay.
The only sport I play these days is basketball on Sunday night. We have a good group and we invade the pub afterwards in our sweats. I'd like to assemble squash or racketball group for Saturdays but I haven't arranged it yet. My self-directed general fitness program combines plyometrics with calisthenics on 3 days a week, and cardio 3 days a week. I rarely miss a day because when I am out of town I can do it too. I do these early, on the way to work. No resistance exercises per se at this point.
My pure cardio is 30-40 minutes of running sprint intervals on the treadmill. I would prefer running my intervals outdoors but I have genes for bad knees and the treadmill is joint-friendly. Sometimes I do intervals on the elliptical, bike, or Stairmaster instead, for variety. I finish it up with calf lifts and calf stretches, and throw in a plank if I have time.
For my plyo/calisthenic days (plyo and calisthenics have some overlap) I do an hour, more or less. I use "plyo" to refer to exercises requiring quick bursts of high energy, like box jumps, burpees, mountain-climbers, medicine ball throws and smashes; and the term "calisthenics" for any other high-rep body-weight exercises (or with light weights) like planks, Bird Dogs, kettle-ball walks, step-ups, jumping jacks, ropes, pushups, pullups, jump rope, lunges, squats, jumping squats, etc. This combines general fitness with cardio as there is no time to rest in my schedule. Heart rate never normalizes but you do need to catch your breath.
Then shower and shave in the gym, suit up, and get to the office by 7. Great way to start a day. I got professional help designing this workout with the goals of endurance, muscle-toning, agility, vigor, and general full-body fitness. Not for fat loss or muscle building. On Sunday morning, I go to church instead. Redeemer: a good Christian workout with a wonderful community of friends and new friends.
- A large assortment of Plyometric Exercises
For the first two weeks, I felt exhausted every day. After a month of it, I am feeling good, sleep better, have more appetite (I am a small-eater as in coffee for breakfast and a half-sandwich for lunch), and I think I have more energy. It's good for my head too. Use it or lose it.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:39 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, September 24. 2015
Wednesday, September 23. 2015
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