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, September 3. 2019
Two of my early childhood TV favs have stars on Hollywood Blvd. Andy Devine, sidekick to Roy Rogers and others, also had the Andy Devine Show, Andy's Gang, with puckish star Froggy, my example.
And, heeeeere's Froggy:
Another early TV fav was recycled vaudeviller Pinky Lee. Hello It's Me...
Remember? Always infectiously happy.
Monday, September 2. 2019
Spent the day yesterday with the sons grueling 88 degree hot uphill 3-miles to Hollywood sign.
view at 1000+ feet elevation over L.A.
Then a stroll down Hollywood Blvd to Graumanns Theater to stump the sons on mini-bios of the real stars of bygone era in Hollywood. This star they recognized (look closely). :-)
Then on to Santa Monica beach, good pastrami sandwiches, and returned older son to UCLA.
Friday, August 23. 2019
NOT SO FAB FOUR: ALL THIS MONEY "All Bob's money I will give to you."
Thursday, August 22. 2019
Chinese Social Credit Score Prevents 2.5 Million “Discredited Entities” From Buying Plane Tickets See the list
A timely reminder that in 2016, several major journalists were revealed to be explicitly coordinating with the Clinton campaign or—at the very least—favoring it and working closely with it. None suffered consequences. These folks will help shape 2020 coverage.
Tuesday, August 20. 2019
China could win military conflict in Indo-Pacific region even 'before America can respond', think tank warns
Monday, August 19. 2019
The Assault on Free Thought : We are all vulnerable to this regime of rule by accusation.
ANTI-SEMITIC GROUP SPONSORED PROPOSED OMAR-TLAIB TRIP TO ISRAEL It promotes hatred of Jews and celebrates the terrorists who massacre them. No surprise, then, that Omar and Tlaib chose Miftah to plan their trip.
Russia to establish naval base in Venezuela : Since December 2017, Russia has had a similar agreement with Syria, which allowed Russia to deploy as many as 10 ships and two submarines in the Mediterranean Sea at the peak of its campaign to support Bashar al-Assad.
In July 2019, Russia reached an even more significant agreement with Iran. Two Iranian ports – Bushehr in the south and Chabahar in the south-east – will become forward bases for Russia’s Navy that can even be used by nuclear submarines.
Bushehr will also serve as a base for the Russian Aerospace Forces, with Su-37 and Su-57 fighters deployed there. There are also plans to station a contingent of Russian troops there, primarily special forces, under the same pretext that has been used in Syria and in Lebanon: on paper, they will be there as “advisors” to the Iranian military.
Producer/star Ian Ziering reunites with his Sharknado director Anthony C. Ferrante to bring you ... Zombie Tidal Wave. We've come a long way from genre trailblazer Night Of The Living Dead in 1968.
45% of Americans wear underwear for 2 days or longer, survey finds Zombie underwear walks by itself
"“We do not face the challenge of a population bomb but a population bust—a relentless, generation-after-generation culling of the human herd.” ...The underlying drivers of capitalism, the sense that resource competition and scarcity determine the nature of international relations and domestic tensions, and the fear that climate change and environmental degradation are almost at a doomsday point—all have been shaped by the persistently ballooning population of the past two centuries. If the human population is about to decline as quickly as it increased, then all those systems and assumptions are in jeopardy."
88 Project supports and encourages freedom of expression in Vietnam by sharing the stories of and advocating for Vietnamese activists who are persecuted because of their peaceful dissent.
Sunday, August 11. 2019
Baseball Hall Of Famer Trevor Hoffman is a major supporter of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. Hoffman is widely acclaimed as a man and player and community member of high character. He was raised by an Iwo Jima Marine to be a sterling player, teammate, parent, supporter of good causes. On Sunday he represented the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation to present a check to the son of a Vietnam Marine, my son. I credit much of my sons' successes and character to also being raised in the Marine Corps ethos of giving it all, giving it back, giving it forward, and of course intense love of country.
Hoffman was all smiles when my son, Jason, showed him this photo of he and Hoffman from 2011 Little League.
On field at Petco for a Padres game on Sunday, Trevor Hoffman presented Jason with his scholarship check.
The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation shared the best suite in the ballpark with some other military support organizations. That's Jason and Hoffman, my younger son Gavin following his big brother's footsteps, myself and my better half (much better).
If you recall, last Fall, Jason was honored -- and I brought to tears -- by the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation at its annual awards banquet. The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation does an outstanding job of finding children of Marines who merit help through college, and to in turn build a strong and better America. If you can, please stretch and contribute whatever you can to this worthy mission. Semper Fidelis.
Monday, August 5. 2019
When I lived on the East Coast, I was in the Caribbean several times a year. With others, we would usually charter a small "yacht", the cost divided equating with a big-boat cruise but we'd be able to get into small inlets of clear waters and into smaller ports than the big cruise lines. It was heaven, a heaven I'd so missed since living on the West Coast where air travel times to the islands would be an exhausting day each way of multiple stops and raising small sons who wanted to escape to the big boat kids clubs.
My prayer was answered in July, along the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia with the easier to get to, less crowded, pristine waters, on a reconditioned yacht of 18 cabins. And, the cost was a fraction of what the big cruise boats are charging.
Plus the food aboard was terrific, only topped by reasonable cost gourmet meals and extraordinary treats ashore at the ports we stopped in at. Seafood based meals are the best and fresh. Later at Zagreb and Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Budapest, the gourmet meals and excellent beers continued. (Tip: Avoid tourist restaurants with photos in front, or offering hamburgers or pizza. Though it may be good, do some research and walk off main strips for outstanding gourmet local cuisines.)
A special mention about the next photo. If you are a devout fan of poppy seed (mundt) cakes as I am, a very occasional, very special treat due to their high price, look at this hero sized mundt cake (Zagreb) for just $4!
The small islands each had their special attractions. And, Split (with Diocletians Palace) and Dubrovnik (with its walled city, sometimes a filmshoot site for Game Of Thrones) were special. All in all, quite a wonderful time.
Then, we went on to a lesser well known jewel, Zagreb. Consider it a smaller Budapest, plus acres upon acres of parks, full of entertainments. At this cathedral under reconstruction, in front on display is a portion of how by the Communists allowed the cathedral to deteriorate to crumbling stone, so those younger would not forget.
Then on to Ljubjlana, another Balkan jewel of a city, and Slovenia's gorgeous Lake Bled.
Then, on to Budapest. I'd last been there 15-years ago, when despite its great "bones" and seemingly endless streets of classic beautiful buildings, it was still a "grey" city, smooted and recovering from decades of Communist neglect. Now, its buildings shine, its streets are attractive, the food scene is salivatingly good. The Castle district on the Buda side is well worth the half day visit. (I'll discuss the Jewish quarter in another post.)
Back to food. This famous old bakery on Castle hill offers so many incredibly delicious cakes that we had doubles. Also, fortunately, this tavern is still there at the base of Castle Hill. I'd fallen in love with it fifteen years ago. On offer are a wide variety of over fifty fresh Belgian beers that aren't obtainable on this side of the Atlantic. Its food menu is, of course, a match.
Just walking miles from the tourist center, this was the type of attractive pocket parks and houses we found.
Sunday, June 23. 2019
I may be late to the party to knowing about this innovation in recycling that I stumbled upon (figuratively) after a few beers at the local beer hall. A quick look at the Internet says that there are many variations available, even make your own (a worthy project for fraternity houses).
Tuesday, June 18. 2019
My son is in Orlando on business and went to the capacity filled (20,000+, with attendees waiting in rain before)) stadium for President Trump's 2020 campaign kickoff rally.
Vice President Pence was powerful. Loudest applause at the move of our embassy to Jerusalem. President Trump so far:
"Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice and rage," Trump adds. "They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it. Not acceptable. It's not going to happen."
"They went after my family, my business, my finances, my employees, almost everyone that I have ever known or worked with, but they are really going after you. That's what it is all about. It's not about us. It's about you. They tried to erase your vote, erase your legacy of the greatest campaign and the greatest election probably in the history of our country."
Keep America Great is 2020 slogan.
Tuesday, May 28. 2019
We went to Tucson, Arizona for Memorial Day weekend. It's about a 7-hour drive east of the San Diego area. I hadn't been there in 12-years, as part of a thousand mile circle through Yuma (Mostly Muffins are terrific then and still)-Tucson-Tombstone-Coronado Monument-Huachuka-Sedona-Flagstaff-Grand Canyon-various Pueblo ruins- Oatman. There are sights and activities worth the trip at all those spots. But that was with very young sons, so much was also missed, especially hiking.
This time we enjoyed the lively refurbished old buildings converted to bars and restaurants downtown and the scenic drive up 8000-feet on 23-miles of twisty-turny road to the top of Mt Lemmon with vistas all around Tucson.
Admittedly, you have to appreciate desert scenery, and the best way to enjoy it is walking step by step examining the frequently changing vegetation as soils and elevations change slightly. There are great walks and hikes in the Saguro National Park (actually two of them, east and west of Tucson). These photos don't show the diversity of vegetation and tiny flowers on short cacti, grasses, and bushes, or the flowers at the top of tall Ocotillo. They do show the largest cacti in America, the Saguro. The seedling is the size of your thumbnail, and most get eaten by birds or trampled or die in too intense sun and heat. The best condition for survival is in the shade of a mesquite bush or palo verde.
They'll grow in an elongated barrel shape, and flowers start to appear at the top after 6-years and later at the end of arms that grow after about 75-years. The flowers are the state flower of Arizona. Each bud flowers for just one day, and there are many buds. Flowering season is May-June. (You can see the buds and flowers at the top of the Saguros in the first photo above, and then at the end of an arm in the photo below.)
Severe freezing, winds, lightening, and disease result in Saguro damage and death. They seldom live more that 200-years. The tallest reach 4-stories in height.
Wednesday, May 8. 2019
Friday, April 19. 2019
The Bible directs us to observe Passover and to remember that G-d delivered us from slavery to the freedoms of body, faith and observance. Passover begins tonight with the ceremonial Seder of symbolic foods, narration of the Exodus story, and prayers and songs. Oh, don't forget the feast!
Some may ask why has this biblical holiday survived intact for thousands of years? In large part, as many of our daily prayers say, to remember who we are and from whence we came, and to thank G-d for those and all our existence. And, it is a "big tent" holiday, which keeps Passover relevant to the present, both in welcoming the stranger into our tent and in welcoming Passover's many other meanings that are derived from Passover.
One of those meanings is the freedom from the slavery to our egos.
Another meaning is the central importance of gratitude in guiding our lives. The fun song Dayeinu during the Seder means "It would have been enough." Gratitude is expressed for every facet of G-d's miraculous deliverance: for example, "Had G-d but split the sea, and not passed us through it on dry land -- it would have been enough." An attitude of gratitude in all facets of our lives enriches ourselves and those around us. Giving thanks even for the partial and incomplete, even for the disappointing parts of living, is crucial for living in peace and happiness in an uncertain world and sharing that blessing with others. The Matzoh, unleavened and tasteless cracker (unless flavored or topped with a good spread), that we eat instead of breads, is a reminder to be grateful for even that in our rush to exit Egypt and to share that feeling thousands of years later.
Exodus 13:8 says that we are to teach our children "It's because of this that G-d did for me when I went out from Egypt". In every generation we are obligated to see ourself as one who personally went out from Egypt, and freed of limitations and full of gratitude.
Here's another allied take, "Passover's Three Steps To Personal Freedom":
Tuesday, February 5. 2019
But, they finally do stand to cheer themselves. Sexists? Yes. Men don't stand to cheer themselves. All Americans should cheer those who keep us safe and labor at the most taxing and dangerous jobs.
Cheez! They even sit still for infanticide!
Read the speech for yourself. Really a good one.
Take that to market, new Congresswomen, and the Democrats who encourage or tolerate them and their anti-Semitism.
Thank you, President Trump.
CBS NEWS POLL: 76 percent of viewers approved of what they heard in Pres. Trump's #SOTU speech; 72 percent said they approved of Pres. Trump's ideas for immigration.
Monday, February 4. 2019
Sunday, December 2. 2018
Chanukah (Hannukah transliteration from the Hebrew for those who can't pronounce the guttural Ch) begins tonight. Many non-Jews also celebrate Chanukah for it common significance of overcoming religious oppression and rededication to sacred traditions and observance. It's also fun and a learning experience for children to see the lights glowing, to eat the tasty latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganyot (jelly donuts), and play dreidal (top) for gelt (chocolate coins or pennies).
And here's a brief video of how to light the candles.
Sunday, November 11. 2018
Wednesday, October 24. 2018
Roy Rogers son continues performing with his dad's hit group of the 40's, Sons Of The Pioneers.
Watch it allthe way through, with a kiss and dance from Trigger, from 1944 film. (Yeah, Flatbush, my hood, is in there too!)
Aside from his 100 movies and long-running TV show, Roy Rogers led a top hit Country Western group, famous for classic songs like Cool Water, Don't Fence Me In, and Tumbling Tumbleweeds, still popular today..
Thursday, October 18. 2018
In the November Commentary:
Theirs is not an effort to raise boys into men who can integrate into a kinder, gentler future economy of helping professions and easily expressed feelings. It is an effort to overcome maleness itself. And it is an admission of failure, because when boys fail to grow into civilized men, everyone suffers, just as they do when women are denied equal opportunity. The answer isn’t reeducation in radical feminist notions of men’s innately violent natures. It’s raising boys and girls to treat one another with respect and to uphold gender-free values such as the presumption of innocence and due process and equal opportunity. Civil society relies on due process not only because it’s an objective good (though it is). Everyone should embrace both due process and the presumption of innocence because everyone might need these themselves one day, regardless of his or her gender.
Sunday, October 7. 2018
My son Jason, who just started at UCLA, was honored last night at a banquet by the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.
It's a generous scholarship, though quite small compared to the whole bill at UCLA. But beyond the money lay a bigger honor and lesson nailed home to Jason.
(BTW, you'll note from the awardee photo below that many of the recipients are female children of Marines. Female Marines are an increasing number and force within the Marine Corps, and all that I've met are fully Marines. As with them, these female award recipients will add much to our heritage and nation's strength.)
As with other award recipients, all awardees stressed the character lessons drummed in by their Marine Corps parent. What gave me extra pleasure was Jason seeing something additional I've always told him: The Marine Corps is the tightest, most lasting, dependable fraternity (that includes female Marines) in the world. From a bevy of Lieutenant Generals and other top officers and executives, down to this Sergeant, all there interacted and discussed as equal-- and honest and humble- brothers. No need to embellish or brag. We've already proven who we are: Marines.
Among the Board members there was the actor David McCallum. (NCIS; Man From Uncle) Everyone was so thrilled to meet him. He is a kind man with a real sparkle and caring in his eyes.
Here's a few more photos from the event.
That's my son Jason, fifth from the left (above), second from left (below).
If you'd care enough to continue this furtherance of building the next strong American generation, please contribute, whatever you can, to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.
You can also contribute by drinking Firestone winery Jarhead Red. Over $700,000 has been contributed from sales of this wine.
Monday, September 10. 2018
Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year, began last night, beginning the ten days of awe, days of atonement, resetting our course, leading up to the day of judgment Yom Kippur. This fun music video demonstrates the lesson of renewal, of living our better side.
Wednesday, September 5. 2018
Below is a speech, "Why Men Matter", given on August 13, 2018 at the Salinas Men's conference by Archbishop Chaput (Philadelphia). Although it focuses in part upon Catholic men and teachings, the message is fully applicable to any religion. Well worth the read:
I spent the 1960s studying to be a priest, so I was exempt from the military draft. I never served in Vietnam. I can’t and don’t claim to know what combat is like. But I have friends who did serve, and no one in my generation could really avoid the war because it dominated our country’s life for more than a decade. The Vietnam War intersected with a sexual revolution and a wave of social turmoil here at home that, in some ways, remain with us today. And yet, along with the war’s bitterness and suffering, there were moments that are frozen in time because they had an impossible beauty. They can move the heart even now. I want to focus on one of them.
In your conference booklets, you’ll find a photograph with the title “Reaching Out.” I want you to study it. October 1966 saw a series of heavy firefights between American Marines and North Vietnamese regulars in the jungles and hills just south of the DMZ. This photo was snapped on Hill 484, moments after a hand-to-hand battle for the hill had ended. The man with the head wound is a gunnery sergeant, or “gunny,” the senior enlisted man in a Marine company.
Two things are obvious. The Marines around the gunny are trying to get him to a medic. And the gunny is doing the opposite – ignoring his own pain to help a wounded young Marine bleeding in the dirt. What’s not obvious is something outside the frame. The same Marines had just dragged the sergeant away from the body of their dead company commander, who had called down friendly artillery fire on his own position to keep his men from being overrun. The beauty in this photograph – what the poet William Butler Yeats called “a terrible beauty” – is the love among men in the shadow of death; men in the extremes of pressure and suffering. Not a romantic love. And certainly not an erotic love. But the loyalty-love of men made brothers by the tasks and burdens they share.
Men don’t often talk about this love, but it’s real. It’s the love that enables a man to sacrifice his own life in service to someone or something more important than himself. It’s the love that takes the male of our species and remakes him into a man. And that leads us to our theme this afternoon: why men matter.
It’s an odd question to ask, isn’t it. Why do men matter? In a healthy time and culture, we wouldn’t need to ask, because the answer is obvious. The role of good men is to provide, to protect, to build, to lead, and to teach, both by our words and by the example of our lives. None of these things is exclusive to men, of course. Women can do all of these things in their own way, with their own particular genius. But men have the special responsibility to create a secure and just society where new life can grow and thrive to ensure the human future.
The trouble is, we don’t live in a healthy time and culture. We live in an on-going civil war in this country over the meaning of sex, gender, family, marriage, human nature and whether our lives have any higher purpose at all. And that makes the sound of any sane voice all the more precious.
Continue reading ""Why Men Matter""
Monday, September 3. 2018
I repost this about every four years. I think, a good reminder. Below is a repost of a column I wrote at another venue for Labor Day 2006 and posted again here in 2011 and 2014:
What remains of Labor Day? Some speeches about the hard work of our parents or grandparents, and some newspaper articles about current difficulties getting established or obtaining benefits for today’s workers.
Conservatives are distinguished by particular respect for the hallowed history from which current and future advantages spring, without which we would be rootless and at the whim of passing fancies or incitements.
Supposedly, the virtues and rewards of hard work are among these cherished principles.
The Left trumpets redistributive schemes from the affluent or hard working to the poor or lazy, most of which have relatively little benefit to the poor but create newly enriched bureaucrats and union leaders.
Conservatives’ answer is usually more along the lines of how to preserve and protect the fruits of the labor by those in the middle and upper rungs of the economic ladder.
Sebastian Mallaby steps on the Left and Right’s toes today in the Washington Post.
Mallaby points out the futility of most of the Left’s prescriptions, to the “point the left begins to seethe.” He then focuses on reducing tax incentives that mostly accrue to the middle and upper classes, to free up a quarter of them for $180-billion that could be used for increased earned income credits and reduced regressive payroll taxes.
The problem with Mallaby’s arguments is that they are another, albeit better, form of redistribution, and government has repeatedly proven its penchant for wasting such billions on other than targeted needs. More necessary is the unbridling of energies and rewards for labor. That requires investment which creates demand for labor, and skills-oriented education that creates competitive wage earners to fill those new openings.
As Mallaby correctly argues, many of the poorest workers are in service trades not impacted by international competition. Such positions that were once beginning rungs on the ladder now face a gap of steps up due to lack of skills.
Instead of redistributing tax incentives, more needed is redistributing our already huge tax outlays on education from schemes that create administrative and union positions, and posh campuses, toward greater vocational and skills education.
That honors labor, by providing the tools for all to benefit from labor.
Wednesday, July 11. 2018
In 1971, during one of his retirements, my father went to Mexico City for six months and loved it. My father could pass for Mexican, about 5'5", pudgy, dark complexion, black hair, did not speak Spanish but smiled and said Si to everything. Ever since, Mexico City has been on my bucket list. Last week, my sons away, I went. Literally, everything and every moment was a great favorable surprise.
Read below and see photos:
Continue reading "Great Mexico City Surprises"
Thursday, June 28. 2018