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
Thursday, February 20. 2014
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised to read this is how far we've sunk. Obama's true colors continue to show as the economy slumps further.
Can you say Pravda?
In college basketball, this was best exemplified by the Larry Bird/Magic Johnson NCAA Final in 1979. The NBA had Bill Russell and the Celtics in the 50's and 60's. When a reboot began with Bird and Johnson, Michael Jordan joined them and created an era of his own. Football experienced a similar revitalization with the arrival of the West Coast Offense and Joe Montana. Baseball has gone through multiple reboots recently, though few have had a positive spin. Steroids and strikes have had bigger impacts on the face of baseball than the arrival of a dominant player or a new method of playing the game. Sabermetrics have been a net positive, and even my interest in the sport has grown over the last 15 years because of the new math which opens a window onto what real productivity is in the sport.
I haven't watched much of the Olympics, but I've been fascinated with Ted Ligety for some time. In a sport which is usually decided by hundredths of a second, Ligety crashes down slalom courses with seeming abandon and winning by what can only be called massive margins. His dominance is of the type rarely seen in any sport, let alone skiing.
Ligety is one of those people who has reinvented his sport. I did a limited amount of downhill racing in my youth, and I remember the coach telling us the point was to find the fall line and make the course as short and fast as possible. For years, that was the formula for reaching a victorious finish, often by slim margins of a second. Giant Slalom, in particular, was usually a visual of tight turns around the gates and keeping as close to a straight downhill line as you could accomplish.
Ligety, on the other hand, takes wider turns and gets as parallel to the ground as he can. This approach has turned the US team into a powerhouse. Ligety creates power on short portions of the course where others coast briefly, and as a result he is able to smash the competition by moving rapidly, and effectively, from turn to turn. Long ago, someone told me Beckham was a geometry genius because he could figure out how to get a ball from Point A into a goal around the wall. I doubt he understood much about geometry at all, but he certainly understood how to make a ball do what he wanted it to do. Ligety, by the same measure, is a physics genius. He's determined how to turn portions of his run from potential to kinetic energy and power himself faster than others are able.
Most of the Olympics has been a bore, outside of hockey and Ligety.
Friday, February 14. 2014
Yesterday most of us here in the Northeast spent the day digging out of yet another big snow pile. I grew up with snow, in the mountains of Pennsylvania, then four years of Syracuse nastiness. It doesn't bother me in the least, and I'm more than happy going out with a snow shovel to dig, dig, dig.
I figure you need at least 4+ inches to call off school, and at least that much to prevent me from heading in to NYC and the office. Yesterday was one of those days, with my younger son having yet another snow day and me staying home for probably the fifth time this winter.
But Bill de Blasio was having none of it. His point of view was to get the kids into school at all costs.
This is a mayor who is slowly destroying any popularity he has with voters by making decisions which are difficult to support in any way. I couldn't believe NYC schools were open yesterday, until I heard the press conference. Bill's words go far in explaining how important he feels school is. It hasn't got anything to do with education, it has everything to do with having daycare so parents can work.
"It's always a tough decision based on imperfect information."
Really? The Weather Service had said, with regularity, that it was going to be a minimum of 6 inches, Bill. They warned of potential for a foot or more. Sure, the Weather Service may be wrong about climate change, but you believe that, so surely you must have some level of trust in their observations?
Ohhhh...OK, now I get it. You just wanted to make sure daycare was in session. Fine, everything is understood and all is well. I'm sure the teachers will be happy to know they are part of your daycare plan.
Continue reading "Mayor Bill Thinks School is Daycare"
Thursday, February 6. 2014
What were they concerned about? US involvement in unrest in the Ukraine. Because we don't do that stuff anymore now that Barry is in charge.
As the Olympics is about to begin, I can only imagine this phone call ended with chants of "USA, USA!"
Tuesday, February 4. 2014
But today's release, by the CBO, about how Obamacare will impact the workforce is possibly the most insightful look into the potential damage this legislation will wreak on workers in the United States.
But wait! There's more! Spin, that is. After all, what good is an administration if it can't get the gullible masses to believe the CBO didn't say what it did say? I'm curious to see how this plays out (or doesn't, as is more likely) in the media over the next few days.
Saturday, February 1. 2014
This author explains why the problem isn't the government, but the entrepreneurs looking for money. I'd say she's incorrect. People are frequently distracted by shiny objects. Government offers of cash are usually rule-bound and inflexible. meaning we alter our decisions to get 'free stuff'. If you told me that you'd pay 1/2 of the price of a car, but I had to buy a $70,000 Tesla (costing me $35,000) as opposed to a $25,000 Mini which I have the cash for, chances are I'm going to scrounge for the extra $10,000 even though I could use that $10,000 to repay a loan or take a vacation. We always tend to try and 'trade up' in the world, and if the incentive seems too good to be true, we'll usually take it. Unfortunately, Sky Masterson's wisdom regarding an offer which is too good to be true:
Yes, the entrepreneurs should be more thoughtful and careful. It says much about their ability to run a business if they deviate from their business plan for less than optimal reasons. But what does it say about the government that is encouraging them to deviate from the business plan? Sky Masterson likely recognized the government as the biggest con running.
Friday, January 31. 2014
Count me in with those who believe Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. After all, many Ponzis start with a surplus and garner interest, but over time the payouts exceed incoming revenues. All Ponzis are based on paying dividends to "investors" out of active money incoming from new "investors". But even Ponzis don't pay out additional money to people who petition for someone else's funds. If they did, I presume they would lower one person's payout to cover the person making the petition.
I'm not sure how long Social Security can last. A friend of mine who is dyed-in-the-wool liberal/progressive believes the upper range limit for SocSec payments should be eliminated and it should be handled the same way as an income tax. That is probably the first step that will be taken. Soak the Rich. This will extend the scheme for a few more years. Then they will undoubtedly implement means-testing, which will extend it a bit longer. At some point, all the financial engineering will fail. Until then, keep kicking the can down the road.
At first, I was interested in the story about someone who could be married for 3 days on a subway.
My cousin forwarded this to me as a "true love" and/or "true love lost" story. I'm not sure it's anything at all like either of those. Sounds like a lonely guy trying to reconnect with his past. We all do that in different ways. Not sure I'd use Craigslist, though.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:13 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, January 25. 2014
Thursday, January 9. 2014
For the record, I have no issues with Christie calling a reporter an "idiot". Most of them are idiots. Unfortunately, they are the heralds of his public personality. It would help if he managed his tongue a bit.
Continue reading "Bumps in the Road to 2016"
Wednesday, January 8. 2014
No, it's unpossible. But it could be Bill has himself a minor scandal less than 2 weeks on the job.
Horse-drawn carriage bans wouldn't seem to be the kind of thing a new mayor would care to endorse, unless there's money in it for him. This isn't out of the realm of possibility.
It's still early in Billy-boy's tenure, so if this is just smoke and no fire, there will be plenty more to come. I'm sure he likes money. Most people do. I just prefer it be earned the old-fashioned way, not through political power-brokering. In most cases like this, all you have to do is follow the money.
Saturday, January 4. 2014
I also respect trying to be 'green', if that's what you're into. I'm 'green', though not in a manner Ed Begley, Jr. would approve.
However sanctimonious some Hollywood stars may be, it's disturbing to see well-meaning organizations get swindled.
Going overboard on the green express will undoubtedly lead to more problems such as those Brad Pitt's Make it Right Foundation has experienced. A new, but untested, method of treating wood which avoids toxic chemicals was used on portions of New Orleans homes. The wood is now rotting.
Some claim the problems were due to New Orleans' humidity. I have to wonder, since they ran into issues up north.
Friday, January 3. 2014
Kluwe had, or has, a monster leg. He is well known for out-kicking his coverage toward the end of his tenure. In the NFL, this is indicative of being a poor punter.
Kluwe hoped someone in management would tell him what to do, be quiet or speak up. Management never does that, because formally telling someone to keep their mouth shut can lead to lawsuits. Best to hint it's not a good idea and let the speaker fill in the blanks. Kluwe, a player well-known for his intelligence, failed to connect those dots.
Others doubt he was let go for his comments. However, if the choice came down to him and someone of equal skill, it's doubtful his comments improved his chances of play. Better to have a less highly visible player doing as good a job for a much lower salary. I used Kluwe's story to provide a life lesson for my boys. Understand that saying what you believe is right and just, and shouldn't necessarily be punishable, but sometimes it's better to say nothing. Unless you are your own boss, you should consider yourself replaceable.
The Vikings have said they will look into his allegations. However, the primary statistic for punting success, pinning opponents inside the 20, had dropped to a new low his final season.
Did someone in the organization say or do something 'wrong'? Probably, in today's world we're all guilty of this at some point. Is that meaningful? Not really. I don't support anti-gay slurs, but everyone is allowed to have a point of view. More importantly, when you work for any firm, you need to be careful to not put them at risk, particularly if they make it clear you're stepping on some toes. My guess is Kluwe's skills were in decline, and he didn't help his own case. He certainly doesn't make himself look better as a bitter, petulant complainant. If anything, my respect for his willingness to speak up on issues (even some I disagree with him on) has dropped because he has become so self-serving with this article.
Indeed, I've seen some people suggest Tim Tebow can't find a home in the NFL because of his beliefs. I doubt that is any more true than Kluwe's claims. Even if it is true, Tebow has the good sense to not say anything about it.
Wednesday, December 18. 2013
Long ago, Paul Shaffer and The World's Most Dangerous Band performed a brief songlet which caught my ear.I was just out of college, and my sense of humor, as well as the tune, was off-kilter enough to generate a chuckle, as well as stick in my head for...oh, about 23 years.
Yes, that's about it. So when I was trying to think of places to take a four-day respite with the (much) better half, I thought why not someplace nutty? Bermuda was booked, my parents agreed to watch the dog and the house-bound son, and we went winging our way southeasterly. It's only a 2 hour flight from NYC, and just like that the cold weather was a temporary memory.
Continue reading "Bermuda, It's a Nutty Place"
Thursday, December 5. 2013
What can be more fun during Thanksgiving break than shooting a gun with family and friends? It can be the best time of year to get some target practice. I will usually grab my father-in-law and my boys and head out to a local range. This year, we didn't go. However, we typically visit family on Fire Island the following weekend, and they provided a surprise. Skeet shooting off the deck into the Great South Bay. 12 gauge pump actions and a 12 gauge over/under were the tools available.
Continue reading "Thankful For Our Guns"
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:12 | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, December 3. 2013
Wednesday, November 27. 2013
The most interesting thing I noticed was how ill-prepared our Parks Department representative was. Leaves were all over the courts and needed to be removed. There were 3 men with small bags doing this work. Slowly. Clearly union work. I offered to grab some bags and start getting the leaves off, but was told no, these men would do it. After removing about one-eighth of all the leaves, they left. Gone, finished. Nothing left behind to finish the job of removing leaves. Our representative had all the tools we needed to paint - but we were going to have to paint with leaves in the way and blowing all over the courts. I saw, at the start, this was a clinic in how the government manages things.
Continue reading "Some Observations Upon Volunteering"
Tuesday, November 26. 2013
(cough, cough. bullsh-t)
Friday, November 22. 2013
I'm not sure I'm a Tesla guy. Nothing against the technology, but they are expensive to buy and maintain. They take too long to 'refuel'.
Regardless, these are cars that more or less sell themselves. So why in the world do they need to engage in false advertising and hyperbole? My father, a surgeon, never advertised even after the law was changed and he was allowed to. Why, I asked? His response was that good product and good service sells itself. His business was always strong. Sometimes, however, it pays to advertise if your product is very good. But it doesn't pay to create your own standards when you do it.
Thursday, November 21. 2013
Wednesday, November 20. 2013
He was a good student, too. As a result, he opted out of the NFL, and decided the working life was a better career choice. He was a bit tired of the culture of football. He loved it, but it's grinding work. He wanted to use other skills he'd developed. I don't blame him.
As the hiring manager and I spoke, she commented "Well, he has the added benefit of being diverse."
I looked at her and said, "What do you mean, exactly?"
"I think you know what I mean, he's ethnic."
"So he's black. You're telling me this makes him more qualified?"
"No, not more qualified, but you know how things are today. We have to remain conscious of this fact, diversity is so important in the workplace."
"Yes, I agree, it is important. But having me as part of the team doesn't make us more diverse? I'm curious if I'm diverse?"
"Well, you're diverse in terms of thought. You think in ways nobody else here does, but that's not what we focus on in diversity."
"So I'm not diverse?"
Continue reading "How Do I Become Diverse?"
Wednesday, November 13. 2013
I have complained that the cost of my son's education is primarily to support spending on new 'stuff' rather than better education. I'm glad to see the former president more or less agrees. It is a problem which is not isolated to Miami, I've seen similar activity taking place on every campus I visited.
It doesn't help that Federal loans and grants are helping to fuel this work, either. Ultimately, whether you have a child at university or not, this is costing you money.
Wednesday, November 6. 2013
Scott Adams has a unique understanding of human nature. He also understands management reality, which he juxtaposes with the goal-based thoughts of standard office denizens. The result is a very humorous and informative strip.
His advice on how to manage your career is equally useful. Most of us are so far along, it may not benefit us at this stage of our careers. You're never too old to learn, though. My career improved after I made some alterations in office demeanor in my late 40's, and I continue to evolve.
I shared the linked article with my staff and my sons. It makes several points which I truly believe.
Continue reading "Career Success"
Sunday, November 3. 2013
No, it's not a post with Biblical quotes are references. In some ways, it's just another listicle, but more informative and thoughtful than your standard "10 reasons why...".
Monday, October 28. 2013
I've always felt it was a place I needed to see. I was correct. It lived up to every expectation. Pictures don't do it justice(but I'll share some anyway). The story enhances the visuals to a degree I had not prepared myself. You could visit this several times a year and get a substantially different feel each time.
Wright had something very particular in mind when he built this, and he clearly achieved what he set out to accomplish. It wasn't easy. He exceeded budget, there were disputes, and Wright was not easy to work with all the time. But the owners of the home, the Kaufmans, had bought into his vision, and the results are spectacular.
While their original budget was only $35,000, total costs eventually topped $155,000 (roughly $3mm today). While it would be nearly impossible to build this structure today due to environmental impact issues (this structure has been assessed regularly has having a negligible impact on the environment, which says something about environmental regulations, as well as Wright's ability to deliver on a vision), the costs would clearly be far higher than the inflation-adjusted figure of $3mm. In addition, you'd have to account for the costs of ego, which were significant in this project.
Continue reading "Frank Lloyd Wright"