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
Monday, April 6. 2020
I'm now about 12 days into my Covid experience, and I'm getting better. I probably thought I was better than I was. I went out and raked for hour yesterday, trying to benefit from fresh air for the first time and get a little exercise. I was pretty wiped out after that. So I'm resting today. I may have the mild version, but it doesn't make it less difficult to recover from.
However, I'm moving into newer territory. The cough is diminished significantly, the headache has eased, and my main issue now is hydration. I seem to be dehydrated no matter what I do. So I drink a lot of water and Gatorade. But my appetite is back, and I'm finally moving more. Sleep is still at a premium...10 hours every night.
My brother also has it. He has a much tougher version, but he also has adult onset diabetes. So he's at-risk. He's struggled much, much more than I have, had many more symptoms, and is fighting it still. He is also getting better, but at a much slower pace. He warned me not to rake yesterday. He was probably right.
What I'm more concerned about now is not my health, but where we go in the post-shutdown world...
I fear we're not going to move in the best directions. Value structures are a mess. The social shaming over this is an example of the worst of what can happen, and I (sadly) see this as something people will engage in more of.
Thursday, April 2. 2020
Not too long ago, I shared my views on Covid-19 and the lockdown. I still stand by my (often misunderstood) position and I feel that after this is over, I'll still stand as having a well-developed viewpoint. Meanwhile, as we sit in the midst of all this, I am now officially 3 weeks working-from-home. The Covid numbers have continued to rise, the deaths have risen as well, and the newsmedia has...ratcheted up the fear factor as high as possible. Even my sister, down in Florida (where even she admits nothing is happening of any note) is freaking out and running scared.
Well, today I chatted by phone with her and shared with her something I'll share with all of you. I am Covid-19 positive. I found out yesterday.
Let me share some of my own personal thoughts and some of my doctors' comments.
First, I was told "this is a high-powered flu". By 3 different doctors who checked me or spoke with me. Second, "No, there's nothing we can do unless you have respiratory distress, so please monitor yourself carefully." Yup. I do that anyway. Third, there were no lines at the station where I got checked. Called first, drove up, got out, they checked me in a field tent, sent me to another field tent, and did the swab (annoying, but not horrible...a Q-Tip WAY UP into your sinuses). Doesn't hurt. You do sneeze a little.
I am in good general health. I work out regularly, good BP, good pulse rate, not an ox by any standard, but I'll keep up with most people my age, and probably surpass them (55+, in case you're wondering).
My first hints of the virus were on Tuesday 3/24. A little coughing, lots of mucous, etc. Not a dry cough. By Thursday, Mrs. Bulldog was saying "You're coughing too much, I don't want people on our walks to think you have it, so stay home." Fine...I stopped taking walks. I had started having headaches (sinus) anyway. The headaches got worse. By Friday, my head was pounding, the cough was persistent, and it was dry. No fever. No rash. 3 days of (sorry) diarrhea began.
Over the weekend, the headaches intensified, the coughing got worse. I was more or less stuck on the couch watching movies, in a very annoyed frame of mind. By Sunday, it was suggested I get tested.
So we arranged it, and yesterday at 3pm the results were back. Positive.
Of course, by now the headache is starting to fade. It's still there, but Tylenol keeps it reduced. The coughing is still there, but laying down helps it stop (don't lay down too much...no need to promote pneumonia). I've been sleeping 10 hours a night. The really weird things, and there are 2 of them, are the general haziness of frame of mind - I can't concentrate very long - and what I'd call "fever dreams without the fever." I don't know how to describe these, but I have the strangest dreams all night. Then I wake up in the morning very dehydrated and have to drink a pint or two of water.
My doctor voiced concern over the number of cases, but also pointed out that "it's just a flu that is worse for at-risk people, you're not at risk. Just stay vigilant, take care of yourself and you should be fine."
So if this were the normal world - I'd take 2-3 weeks off from work, and get better. Instead, I've had 3 weeks off, and based on current protocol I will have AT LEAST (if my symptoms play out normally) 3 more weeks off (because my office says 2 weeks after cessation).
For what it's worth - most people in the US, after 6 weeks off from work, will be broke. If it goes longer, who knows. At this point, the "cure" is worse than the disease. Trump is right to consider opening some counties as soon as possible - like any other pandemic, this has areas of concentration. We can limit exposure to those regions, and keep the rest of the nation working well.
Stay healthy. Stay vigilant. I do believe there is much more, politically, to play out. At this point I no longer believe it's mainly a health crisis (if it ever was). It's a political one.
ps - I had to inform my HR Department - just a public safety thing. Naturally, I got a call back today...all pre-arranged, and about exactly what I supposed. They were trying to determine if I could have caught it anywhere else but at the office. "AVOID LAWSUITS AT ANY COST" must be their view. Can't blame them, I suppose. Not that it would stop me if I was litigious. Thing is, nobody can EVER prove where they got it from. I commute, via train, every day. I went to the bank. I was playing poker one night with 50 people at a bar the week before being sent home (won $650 and the tournament WITH A ROYAL FLUSH - not a joke, totally telling the truth, I have pictures...it's the poker players' Hole-in-One). So I could have gotten it anywhere...and I admitted that. Because it doesn't matter where I got it from. I KNEW I was going to get it. That was the point of my original article. If you believe you can avoid it, you're fooling yourself. I DO NOT believe social distancing works. But don't worry - they politicians and other liars will convince you it's working.
Thursday, March 19. 2020
Yesterday (3/18) I was watching CBS Morning News. I do tend to watch in the morning before I catch my train, usually not more then 20 minutes to see headlines. Now, working from home, I have tended to watch the entire 3 hours (I watch the local morning portion from 6-7 as I work). I'm no longer surprised at the hyperbole and panic in their reports. Normally it shouldn't matter, but in these unusual times with people watching TV constantly, it's very concerning.
Yes, they do pepper in 'feel good' stories of people giving away products, time, and effort (this morning, a distillery that has shifted to making and giving away sanitizer) in order to limit the panic reporting. These are of a particular type, though. All are about people voluntarily giving of themselves. Key word "voluntarily", something which is rarely mentioned in reporting. I often wonder why.
I found out yesterday when one of the CBS anchors, Jeff Glor, exposed his massive ignorance with this statement (may not be exact, but close enough). "It's nice to see people putting capitalism aside and focusing on cooperation." Wait - WHAT?
Capitalism requires cooperation. Yes, competition is often pointed to as the hallmark of capital. Competition keeps prices down, competition produces innovation, competition leads to forward thinking and proactive behaviors. Competition is critical to capitalism. However, every company would fail if its workers didn't cooperate. Every exchange would fail if the two parties involved did not cooperate because every exchange has to be based on mutual benefit. Every deal between businesses would fail if there wasn't cooperation. Cooperation is essential to every facet of capitalism. I'll compare it to any team sport. The competition between the teams yields high levels of performance from the teams themselves (front office down to the field), but requires the cooperation between teams to set rules, engage in trades, and agree on method of determining winners. It also requires cooperation on the field between team members to make the competition itself intriguing and interesting to watch (or engage in).
This failure on the part of journalists is increasing daily, and it was happening before the panic of the pandemic. It's becoming more common. After all, they are playing to the fears every day. We were told that, at this stage, the number of deaths would double every day. Yesterday, 104 people in the US had died. Today, it's 155. That's close to a 50% increase, which is the highest it's been, and while the number of dead is likely to increase, we shall see if the rate increases. However, the 'model' is still what we're comparing to, and even in regions hardest hit the 'model' hasn't played out. Total worldwide deaths still haven't doubled every day, even with the worst hit places being accounted for. We haven't even topped 10,000. So panic is the only way to describe coverage. We do not know real mortality rates, mainly because we do not know real rates of infection. For what it's worth, I am still convinced I had a very mild form of it already, and several other friends believe they did, as well. None of us have been tested, and I see no reason to be tested.
Jeff Glor's statement, in my opinion, is starting to look more and more like the reason behind the panic. There is an agenda being pushed and it's incumbent upon us to be aware of - and push back against - that agenda with every opportunity we have. Keep informing people that journalists are just tools and these tools are often poorly employed and poorly informed.
Marat's eulogy was given by the Marquis de Sade, a rather fitting person given the ideologies he promoted, which led to the Reign of Terror.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:58 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
As I spoke with a friend this morning, we discussed the 'freak-out' and I immediately flashed to one of my favorite movies, so I thought I'd share. Wonka loved a good freak-out, and used it to his benefit to get to what he wanted. I don't think it's far-fetched to believe something too dissimilar is going on now. The boat ride was frightening, most of the participants were disturbed, uncomfortable and angry. It seemed the world was ending. Then...destination arrived, all was well and life went on, though not quite as before.
An interesting side note: none of the actors were told what would occur during this scene as it was filmed, many of the reactions are real. The children, unaware that Wilder was going to sing, thought he was going crazy.
Continue reading "What is This, a Freak-Out?"
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:04 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, March 18. 2020
Some things to consider in the Covid-19 panic. I've always known Covid is real, and that it's slightly more dangerous than the flu. I'm quite aware of how the mortality rate is considerably higher than some other viral outbreaks, especially with the elderly and those suffering health conditions. I've been less than convinced there is anything we could have done to stop it, short of shutting the nation down completely in January and keeping it shut down for about 2 months....which seems to be where we've gone anyway. That said, even extreme measures are unlikely to stop the spread. I've always supported an abundance of caution. But now that we're here with extreme measures, let's think calmly about HOW we got here.
Fear. Just fear. Yes, many of us would've gotten sick. Yes, some people would die. We can talk all we want about flattening the curve to keep hospital facilities from being overrun...while ignoring how herd immunity is being compromised. Furthermore, in shutting down in the manner we did, we basically sent people on 5 days of panic shopping whereby anyone infected and shopping was busy spreading the virus. It seems to me, the 'cure' is just as bad as letting it run its course. By increasing fear and panic, and even potentially the spread.
What's really concerning to me, however, is less the health issue and more the socio-political issue. This is the largest non-partisan event of our lifetime, and it's been heavily politicized. To that point, consider this - Democrats, who only a week ago complained that President Trump was abusing power, now are complaining that he isn't using enough power to 'fix' this.
Continue reading "Some Notes From Home"
Friday, February 21. 2020
I make an effort, in my role as an older member of my department, to reinforce knowing history. Not only of the industry, which critical to avoiding errors already made, but also general history because it helps create a more advanced social order. The critical part of any social order is trust. Without it, markets fail, relationships fray, and good behavior is set aside in favor of self-interest. History, at its core, teaches the value of trust.
All good teams, departments, interactions, communities, and even nations are built upon a basic level of trust. It is rarely discussed, but absolutely essential.
In the U.S., trust has begun a slow dissipation. Think of an example of someone who did things the 'right way' and was moderately, or supremely, successful (let's say the Boston Red Sox of 2018) versus those who do things the 'wrong way' and are supremely successful yet go unpunished or are barely touched (the Houston Astros of 2017). When we fail to punish those who gain rewards improperly, we reduce the ability to trust our institutions. How often have you talked about someone you admire, only to have someone else say "if he/she is so smart or good, why did person X (who wasn't as 'clean') make all the money?" That kind of response typifies the slow fraying of fundamental trust.
Another example could be our recent trials and investigations regarding Trump. In this, we see an example of retributive anger (Trump won and I hate him so he has to go), which is very damaging and occurs with the complete loss of trust (can anyone argue that the Democrats trust Trump even a little?). Transitional anger, the anger we feel as we shift from one order to the next, that sense of loss yielding anger but without feeling the need to lash out, is manageable and useful. It can help people progress. Retributive anger is dangerous and undermines the fabric of trust that is necessary to move forward.
The Democrats are suffering now because of the fact they have engaged retributive anger. They're mad they lost an election they assumed was theirs, and rather than be angry at their own shortcomings and using that anger in a transitional manner to improve themselves, they've lashed out and are destroying themselves and potentially the nation (if their behavior is followed to its logical conclusion).
We are successful as a nation because we have an innate trust in our political institutions. That trust exists regardless of those in power because the Constitution protects us, as individuals. Even if bad people are elected, one person and even a few cannot destroy the system. Checks and balances assure that. We can survive a bad president (and have many times). There are reasonable methods to oust the truly awful. Engaging those levers in wrong-headed attempts simply because someone is 'offensive' undermines that innate trust of our institutions. It causes some, and possibly many, to question the validity of our original belief in our Constitution and our laws.
This doesn't happen because of one person. It doesn't happen because "Trump did it," it happens because a group of people are hoping and trying to undermine that trust, and it isn't the Russians. Or the Chinese. It has to happen internally.
I don't love Trump, I barely tolerate him. But I've not liked plenty of presidents. I've had trust in our system, though. Thankfully, after two clear attempts to undermine that system, it has stood up to the attacks on it, and I still trust it. It's a shame there's an entire party out there so far off base that its members no longer trust the system and are proposing potential candidates to destroy it.
Wednesday, February 5. 2020
It's never too early to plan!
Now that it's February, and a mild one due to man-made hotcoldwetdry, my mind has taken to thinking about what sites we should see in April or May. Also socks, my mind is on socks because it's good to be comfortable while walking 9-11 miles.
Last year we hiked on May 5, a Sunday. This year, Mrs Bulldog and I will be out of the US from April 16-May 2 as we take a drive through Benelux and France. So early April (a tad chillier, but reasonable enough), or the second and fourth weekends of May are open.
Just thought I'd get some thought starters out there - share any ideas of what you'd like to see and/or which weekends work for you. Right now, The Bronx (the only borough with a "The" in it) is the first choice, ending at Arthur Avenue. But I believe we can entertain all kinds of options. Let us know your thoughts!
Saturday, December 28. 2019
I'm sitting watching "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" during the holidays, enjoying myself and the general happy tone of the season, and I check my email. I get a notice from a college roommate that he has pancreatic cancer. He's happy, has had one round of chemo, and is in good spirits. Christmas was great, family is good, and he just thought my inquiry into his health deserved an answer. Admittedly, he's got the absolute best outlook on life of anyone I know or am associated with, and that goes a long way in situations like this.
I'm a fairly young person, or I like to believe I am. I've never had to deal with the mortality of any of my friends. Yet. Hopefully not for a while longer. I wish him the best, but his news got me thinking about how we deal with mortality.
I can't say much that hasn't been said by others already. I have no special insights or points of view. Generally, I enjoy dark humor and make jokes about this kind of thing. It's easy to do when it's not too close to home (though I certainly hope if things get tough with me, people don't hold back...I'll need a laugh and it's easy to laugh at myself).
News like this opens the door to taking stock, and that's something I'll be doing as I enter 2020. I'm not prepared (who is, after all?) to really think about the worst outcomes for a dear friend. So I'll remain positive that he's going to be fine. It takes quite a bit to bring me to tears, and I squeezed a few out as Mrs. Bulldog and I talked about this.
2019 isn't ending on an up note, so that only means 2020 is going to be great. All of you be well, and I hope your year ends well and gets better into 2020.
Wednesday, December 4. 2019
I don't have time to watch the impeachment hearings. In fact, I probably wouldn't, even if I could. It's boring stuff, and it's a rigged circus anyway.
That said, a friend called me to watch Jonathan Turley, saying "He's tearing it up, and all off notes from a play."
Took the time to watch the video this afternoon. Well worth it.
Monday, August 26. 2019
While I thought the Urban Hike of 2019 was one of our best, despite the rain, the Brooklyn trip of 2018 remains my favorite so far. To that end, this article about Battle of Brooklyn sites is worth a look-see. We stopped at a number of these sites, such as the Old Stone House, the Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn Heights, and the monument to the prison ship martyrs.
The article did miss one site, on the side of a bank, which commemorated the battle (perhaps the author is unaware of this plaque, but we stumbled upon it and I wish I had a picture or a location to share).
Looking forward to planning 2020's Urban Hike. Need some thought starters. Right now, Wave Hill to City Island is what I'm considering, but that's more walking and less sightseeing.
Thursday, August 22. 2019
This is more inquiry than commentary. Interested to see what people think.
The idea of human rights as myth, in my estimation, is really about using them in a myth-making manner. They are ideals to strive for, and protect. Basic moral goods that apply universally, and from which other 'rights' (perhaps better defined as legal rights) or duties may grow from.
I'd had a conversation about universal human rights with a Progressive who considers them to be a myth or social construct. Only useful or meaningful if they are enforced. I took a different view. I feel they are real things, existing as useful concepts whether they are enforced or not. In fact, I pointed out, enforcing them is the incorrect term. Protecting them, or efficiently allowing their application, is more to the point. But even if they are not protected or applied, they are real nonetheless. Which is why so many people have fought for them over the years, and why nations which do apply them efficiently see so many wonderful benefits to their society.
His next question was "what makes them real? How can you justify a right to a free attorney but not a right to free medical care?" I replied that was a logical fallacy. There is no right to a free attorney, that's just a SCOTUS ruling. That has no bearing on this discussion (though I'm open to other ideas that you may have in comments).
So what are basic human rights? To me, they are real things. Things you are endowed with at no cost, upon birth. The right to free speech, for example. The right to associate with whomever you like. The right to believe what you want. The right to worship as you see fit. These cost nothing. They do not impact others' rights, or other people (physically or directly) in any limiting fashion. What are typically known as "Natural Rights" - a thing Progressives don't believe in because, to them, everything is a social construct and open to manipulation.
Wednesday, August 21. 2019
As I scrolled through movie listings recently, Mrs. Bulldog suddenly said "Oh, I read that book, it was good."
A Man Called Ove was the listing. It's Swedish, with subtitles. Outside of Bergman's work or The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I'm not aware of many Swedish films. But it was a slow day and I gave it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised.
It's a poignant drama with just enough comedy to keep up interest. An everyday man's life, one which is heavily driven by routine and basic beliefs and expectations. A curmudgeon who finds himself put into uncomfortable situations, and how he responds to these circumstances. Naturally, since this is for public consumption, we determine he's not as basic or curmudgeonly as we'd expect. He's just seen a lot, done a lot, and determined that he's comfortable doing what he's doing. Whatever you want to do, fine. Don't make it his problem, but he doesn't care, really.
He takes his shots at the government (as you can imagine, there's enough Socialism in Sweden that it's a common theme), calling its functionaries "whiteshirts". His life, and as he finds out the lives of others, are not enhanced by the appearance of these "whiteshirts". He also does his part, and more, to keep life comfortable for others. Mainly by making it comfortable for himself, which has knock-on effects.
It's on Amazon Prime, if you have it. If not, I'd recommend it as a rental. It's not Bergman, but I think the Swedes have a unique view of life and it was the kind of movie that allowed me to relax, and think about life just enough to be both entertained and informed.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:34 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, August 9. 2019
I'd like to pitch for a podcast I am now addicted to. For what it's worth, I am not a podcast person. The Revolutions podcast, link attached, is excellent and worth your time if you like history. It was recommended by a good friend who thought I'd enjoy the current episodes on Communism. Instead, I went to the beginning (which I highly recommend doing) and started from scratch. It's worth it.
I'm now in season 3, the French Revolution, and enjoying every minute of it. To say the least, if you don't see parallels between today and the French Revolution, you probably may not know as much about the French Revolution as you think. I know I didn't see them, and I thought I understood it. I did not. For what it's worth, the narrator is not pointing them out, I just think they are very, very noticeable.
At any rate, I recommended to my brother, who then sent me a note telling me that he hated me with the heat of a thousand suns because he has found himself hopelessly addicted to listening. The stories are both entertaining and informative, and very funny in some of the most appropriate places.
The narrator also did a history of Rome, which I'll turn to once I'm finished. And he does tours, which I hope to take part in (maybe we should invite him to our Urban Hike, though right now he's living in Paris).
Thursday, July 4. 2019
On most holidays, we celebrate 'something', but one thing worth celebrating is the ability to celebrate. So many things can happen which would alter the circumstances of enjoying any holiday. Last week, a fraternity brother sent me some pictures of his brother's plane, which crash-landed in the desert. His brother and sister-in-law were fine, though a team was helicoptered in to check them out. His sister-in-law was asleep during the test flight when the oil pressure dropped and the engine stalled. He woke her and asked her to use the phone cam and record the landing, to keep her mind off the event.
The video is pretty intense, but shows what a well-trained pilot is capable of doing. Today, husband and wife are celebrating with family and I'm pleased my fraternity brother gets to enjoy more time with his family members. I like to call today one of 'his' holidays, because after college he joined the Marines and served our country.
Sunday, June 30. 2019
About a year and a half ago, in the midst of the last Bitcoin bubble, I wrote about how cryptocurrency will eventually become meaningful. You probably haven't noticed it yet, and over the last year and a half, you've probably felt that article was a one-off. But what you haven't seen is how blockchain is slowly entering your life. Not visibly, but managing things you may purchase and providing a store of value while others are less available.
To be 'money', a product needs to be many things. First, it needs to be a Unit of Value - meaning it needs to be generally acceptable for use in purchases and exchange. For this reason, primarily, people have commonly said items like gold, silver, or even cryptocurrency are not 'money'. But they are. Each one is accepted, maybe not widely, but generally enough to qualify. Some examples of cryptocurrencies being accepted have popped up frequently enough over the last year and a half for this one item to apply.
Another quality is portability. It goes without saying cryptocurrencies are portable. Their digital nature assures this. As long as you have access to your digital wallet, you can make a payment using cryptos. They are also, by definition, less expensive to create than standard currencies. All currencies (paper, coin, check, bonds, etc.) carry a price of creation. They can also be destroyed (and replaced). But because they can be created, hard currencies can suffer from Gresham's Law. Unlike hard currencies, cryptos can't be counterfeited. Cryptos are also indestructible. Most hard currencies are "indestructible" because a government, somewhere, backs its value. But governments fall, and central banks print more than should be printed, and in the process destroy the currency. A visit to Venezuela, or even revisiting Zimbabwe (which seems to be reigniting its inflation) are recent example.
Continue reading "The Blockchain Bubbles Yet Again"
Wednesday, June 19. 2019
Sports shouldn't seem to have much in common with the Electoral College, but in fact they share very interesting facets. Sometimes the team that reaches the championship level doesn't 'seem' like it should be there, or even deserve to win. Yet that team, amazingly, will wind up victorious.
I still have friends who want to eliminate the Electoral College. Apparently, they didn't take any courses about history while in high school or college. More and more states are approving bills that will give their Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote. That will 'work' until the national popular vote winner is someone they do not like. It may be Donald Trump, in 2020, who makes that happen. It would be amusing to see these states passing a bill like this because of 2016, and pulling it back because the man they hoped to stop made them look foolish.
Tuesday, June 11. 2019
Part of the process of cleaning out my inbox is finding neat stuff that I'd forgotten I wanted to watch/read.
Since I posted about Manhattan's wooden homes yesterday, and Hamilton Grange was a stop from our Urban Hike, here's another little tidbit about how it moved:
Monday, June 10. 2019
There are still a few wooden homes left in Manhattan, 11 of them are listed here. As luck would have it, we actually saw 3 of the 11 (Morris-Jumel, Hamilton Grange, Sylvan Terrace) on our urban hike, and could've seen 2 more (if I had known and added them...more research needed next time).
Thursday, June 6. 2019
Just finishing Michael Lewis' Flash Boys, a terrific history of high frequency trading, front-running and markets in general. It reads like a thriller. You'd expect a Wall Street drama to be all about ego, bad guys ripping people off, and money being 'stolen'. Certainly that all plays a role, but it's not central to the story.
One of the best parts is the side story of Serge Aleynikov, one of the few people arrested, tried, and imprisoned after the crash in 2008. What's truly sad is that he had little to no involvement in any of the events leading up to that, nor was he involved in any transaction coding or theft of any kind (though Goldman Sachs and the US Government said otherwise). It's a sad state of affairs when someone capable of 'fixing' the problems that lead to flash crashes and other tech-driven market impairments is listed as a 'bad guy'.
At any rate, he lost his money, his family, his reputation - but eventually won his case and was freed. He has a great quote:
“If the incarceration experience doesn’t break your spirit, it changes you in a way that you lose many fears. You begin to realize that your life is not ruled by your ego and ambition and that it can end at any time. So why worry? You learn that just like on the street, there is life in prison, and random people get there based on the jeopardy of the system. The prisons are filled by people who crossed the law, as well as by those who were incidentally and circumstantially picked and crushed by somebody else’s agenda. On the other hand, as a vivid benefit, you become very much independent of material property and learn to appreciate very simple pleasures in life such as the sunlight and morning breeze.”~Serge Aleynikov
Monday, May 13. 2019
Dystopian fiction is fun, but dystopias rarely come about. Even the Dark Ages weren't so 'dark'. Dystopias, when they occur, do tend to be regional in nature, and often (though not always) occur for short periods of time. The future is almost always brighter than the past, which may be why dystopian fiction is popular, particularly among sci-fi fanatics. The fear of a frightening future most likely prevents it, or should prevent it. Always expecting things to be good and wonderful can create a society of Pollyannas. Of course, it also creates Cassandras.
The one thing that worries me, more than anything else, is a decline in standards. I don't mean a decline in standards of general behaviors. There is politeness in good society and there is excessive or unnecessary politeness. Miss Manners was never my friend.
I'm referring to standards of right and wrong. Too often, we choose people as role models of what is good and just. I used to do that, but have not for many years now. I trust no politicians, even those I like or prefer. Athletes, celebrities, businesspeople, all exist in a pantheon of model humans. None for me. I will admire individual traits, and focus on those. No whole person is perfect, and we can't really expect them to be. That inability to have a perfect role model (for what it's worth, I'm not including Jesus here, though certainly He is a great starting point) creates misunderstandings about what is good and bad in humanity.
When right and wrong become fungible, as it seems they slowly are, we need to worry. When 60% of Millenials surveyed don't distinguish between right and wrong, it's time to start discussing what we're teaching our kids.
Continue reading "A Frightening Future"
Monday, May 6. 2019
I'd like to thank everyone who braved the rain and chill yesterday to join Maggie's Annual Urban Hike. As Mrs. Bulldog and I approached the Natural History Museum, we were curious who would actually show up. We were very surprised to see a hardy group which totaled 13.
The choice of Northern Manhattan was a good one. I'm not sure we could have made the Cloisters even on a nice day, but by the end of the 9.2 miles (or so) that we did complete, we'd seen a good chunk of the Upper West Side, Harlem, and Washington Heights.
We passed 2 (of 5 planned) Carnegie Libraries. Took a gander at, and some pictures of, Pomander Walk and Sylvan Terrace. We saw Alexander Hamilton's house (which the city has moved twice), Aaron Burr's house, and the lot where the Collyer Brothers made hoarding a headline (as their house is gone). We passed the Polo Grounds and finished up at Highbridge. The group determined the Little Red Lighthouse should be our final stop - but we nixed it as walking there is far more complicated than we imagined. We'll save it for another trip.
I didn't take any pictures, unfortunately, so hopefully others who did can share them. The rain was definitely not a deterrent. While we considered cancelling (discussing whether "rain or shine" means "light mist or shine"), I think we made the right decision as it was one of the best walks we'd had.
Great fun, good people, nice conversation, wonderful views of New York.
We're running out of new things to see in NYC. Next year may be an interesting one to plan.
Friday, May 3. 2019
The current weather calls for temps in the upper 50's and rain. 100% chance of precipitation in the AM, but stopping and being partly cloudy. We've had lots of luck on our annual walks, so I'm calling in a chip here with the weather manager and imploring him to keep our positive streak going. That said, we've walked in the rain (really more mist) so be prepared with rain gear.
We're looking forward to seeing everyone! 9 am by Teddy's statue at the Natural History Museum.
Wednesday, May 1. 2019
While I feel bad for Joe and his touchy-feely problem being under attack (not really, I figure he's getting what he deserves for promoting and supporting bad ideas - these idiots all eat their own children and/or parents), he's finding that having a long, storied history is probably going to be harder to overcome than being a creepy uncle.
After all, he was a plagiarist. That cost him a run for the presidency years ago. But now, his racist colors are starting to come out. Yes, it seems Joe was a racist, and even looked to team up with other racists. To stop busing which would help integrate schools. Let's not forget this doozy:
Most Democrats are closet racists. Yeah, they say nice things, and 'feel' the right things. But their practical application of ideas is designed to create, support, and extend servitude of groups they can buy votes from. Which is a practical application of racism.
Tuesday, April 30. 2019
The time is upon us. That is, spring time. A time of hope, renewal, and (for the last 5 years) the Maggie's Farm Urban Hike.
Each one has had its own persona, as we've explored various parts of NYC. Art, architecture, history, music, food, humor - we do manage to run the gamut of interests and topics. We encourage anyone and everyone to join, the group has always been a great deal of fun to meander with.
There is a 'set' path we follow, and there will be some additional commentary along the way. But we are always willing and open to adding more places based on interests, or hearing additional commentary from our companions, especially if they are familiar with the history/stories of New York (and elsewhere, as the case may be).
The hike is 11 miles this year. That's a little longer than it's been the first few years, though shorter than last year.
Bring comfortable shoes, and rain gear. Right now there is a 50% chance of rain. I have friends in high places, so we'll work on arranging the weather machines to produce some sun. The temperature should be nice, in the 60s.
Meeting at 9am at the Natural History Museum - the statue of Teddy Roosevelt on his horse. There is a Dunkin' around the corner, so if you need coffee and donuts, it's not far.
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