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
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"
Monday, October 21. 2013
Thursday, October 10. 2013
He always told me if I'd like a glimpse at what a government run program for health provision would resemble, take a look at the VA. My extended family members who have utilized the VA did so mainly because they could, and they lacked any other access to health services. None were particularly happy with it, except to say it didn't cost them much when they needed it.
I don't want to imply this kind of abuse can't happen in private practice. Certainly Hollywood stars have managed to find their fair share of enablers. But when it is the government running things, we're supposed to expect better, and when it's a single payer system, we won't have the range of choice to avoid charlatans.
Wednesday, October 9. 2013
He uses the purchase of a house as the basis of negotiation, and compares the current shutdown to a potential buyer threatening to burn down the house being negotiated. This is not only extreme, but wrong. Clearly, he's never negotiated the purchase of a home.
A better comparison is to picture the potential buyer saying "I don't like the price you're asking, because there is an oil tank buried in the back and it may start seeping and destroying the ground soon. I would prefer that you have that tank removed. In the meantime, I'm willing to buy the house at this significantly reduced price." At that point, Harry Reid (the seller) replies, "No you don't have the right to ask to remove that tank and the alternative offer you've made is not under consideration. I choose to no longer speak with you. Come back when you're realistic with a 'clean offer' on the house and just forget about getting rid of that tank. I've grown to love that tank, and you should too. I'd rather see the whole thing fall apart than speak with you."
President Obama Explains the Shutdown
Yesterday, eight days into the Republican government shutdown, President Obama spoke from the White House about the need for Republicans in Congress to stop threatening another recession just to sabotage Obamacare, stop demanding ransom just for doing their jobs, and just vote to reopen the government. He talked about the toll this shutdown is already taking on our country and the economy, and warned against the dire consequences of a default if Congress doesn’t act to prevent an economic shutdown.
Keeping the government running and paying the nation’s bills aren’t bargaining chips or a matter of negotiation – they’re a fundamental part of Congress’s job. Here’s how the President put it yesterday:
As the President has made clear -- and the press has reported -- the government could be reopened, today, with the votes of reasonable Republicans and Democrats if Tea Party Republicans would allow a simple yes-or-no vote on a Senate-passed compromise bill to fund the United States government. It’s time for Congress to just vote and end this government shutdown now.
Toward the end, the instructor decided to discuss healthy foods. She correctly pointed out what you eat can impact how you feel throughout the day. While I believe this, what I got was a lecture on food 'toxins'. The minute I hear someone talking about toxins in food, my eyes glaze over. Another nut talking about their perfect diet. Which is exactly what we got. I decided to play along, because being snarky can be fun.
The instructor admitted alcohol is a toxin, but we all need to unwind, so you should be careful about what kinds of wine or beer you choose. Obviously, fewer preservatives is 'better'. I told her I brew my own beer, and I prefer craft brews to standard national brands. I was lauded for being so careful about my food choices.
However, when she moved into chocolate, caffeine, and other standard fare, the word 'toxins' became more common. I asked her if she ate almonds. She replied almonds are very good for you, very natural. I then pointed out wild almonds (and to a significantly lower degree domesticated almonds) contain cyanic acid which can be toxic, since it is the basis of cyanide. So my question was, how much of my natural diet could be too much? Unaware of this fact, she stumbled a bit, and mentioned moderation.
So I did a bit of research, and sent her a list of natural foods which contain toxins (I particularly like this link - the politics of healthy eating - as if politicizing food choices can save us all from ourselves!). Some I was aware of, others not so much. I pointed out what she considers 'toxins' (usually preservatives) enable a much larger percentage of the world to eat. In fact, it allows them to eat good foods and healthy foods, and is part of the reason why the world is a better, healthier place in general. If we were to move to an all-natural farming structure, eating only natural foods, not only would we likely starve half the world, but we'd be spending far too much time farming.
Tuesday, October 8. 2013
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:36 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, September 16. 2013
Three years ago, I was playing tennis during the final weekend of summer. The previous two weeks, I'd had some calf pain, nothing significant, I just kept stretching to keep it loose. Suddenly, while chasing a shot down the line, I collapsed with a sharp pain in my calf. At first, it felt like a hot stone had hit my calf. This feeling matched the description my brother had given me of tearing his Achilles, so naturally I was concerned. However, I was able to stand and walk, although stiff and in pain.
This past Friday, while on a golf outing with a client, I was walking down from the first tee when I was hit by the same 'stone' in my other leg. Luckily, this time I knew what the issue was and completed the round, though I used my clubs for support at times.
I suffered, both times, from a tear or strain of the Plantaris tendon. The Plantaris is a vestigial muscle in the calf, often harvested for repair work because it has a tendon which runs from the heel almost up to the knee, attaching a very small muscle. It's length and relatively low capacity makes it attractive for harvest when the need arises. The tricky part is that about 7-10% of all people don't even have this tendon.
Tennis players often suffer strains and tears of the Plantaris. My guess is this is due to less attention being paid to the calves by most workouts. At the gym I rarely see people stretching or even working out their calves. But the calves require more attention than they typically get. I'm resting it now and avoiding my usual leg workout at the gym.