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
Saturday, July 23. 2022
I had a conversation recently with a new member of my team. She was explaining to me why her dog (I'd name the breed, but don't want to put anyone on the spot - suffice to say it's a little yippy dog) was very "anxious". My immediate thought was of two items. The first was the breed is of a nature that has a naturally anxious demeanor. I had several friends who owned these, and they are definitely "anxious" dogs. The second was that she was anxious and transferred her anxiety to the dog. It's probable both points are applicable.
However, as I discussed this conversation with Mrs. Bulldog, she stated "anxious times make anxious people" and we discussed how for the last 2 1/2 years we were basically bombarded with frightening scenarios of Covid and, more or less, given 'permission' to be anxious. As a result, she stated, many people who were naturally anxious got it ramped up a degree or ten, while others on the borderline of being anxious were probably pushed over the edge. "No doubt," was my response.
Continue reading "Anxious Times?"
Monday, July 11. 2022
I would like to say I'm sorry for disappearing for so long. Not that I'm essential to the inner workings of Maggie's, but I've seen a few people (specifically Doc Mercury, who pulled me in) simply vanish. I'd prefer to not just disappear. But it's been a strange time for me the past 7 months. I'll share more on that at another time. I am writing specifically because I finished the podcast "Revolutions" which, frankly, is worth the time and effort if you have it. I listened on the train every morning and evening - and then at the gym when there was no train. As it turns out the most interesting revolutions were the French and Russian. Which were also the longest portions, by far.
So it's always fun to hear someone say "I'm a trained Marxist." Because Marx left no blueprints. Unlike most other economic systems, which follow some basic laws or guidelines, Marxism has none and never did. It was just an ideal propped up by bland sayings which pulled at heartstrings, morality, and a general feeling of what is "fair" and "just". I like to say that "fair" means different things to different people. There is no "fair". "Fair" is what a 5 year old says when it wants what it wants. "It's not fair."
The sad part is, even as Leftists push for "fair" they are the first to invoke "life isn't fair" as they destroy people along the way.
Ironic, and sad. But Eric Hoffer was wise to all that...
Thursday, April 28. 2022
I recently took a poll about whether the American Dream is a myth or fact, and whether it's more achievable or less so today.
I know my views aren't the same as most, but I think my take on the American Dream makes it more attainable than ever. The American Dream is whatever you want it to be, and ultimately it's whether or not you're happy with yourself and your life. It's not money, it's not home ownership, it's not success or fame. It may be, if those are things you believe will make you happy. However, if you're happy and you like yourself and your life, then you've achieved the American Dream. In many nations, just surviving is a problem, and in many advanced nations, living your life with limited intereference from elites, politicians, cranks and other non-essentials is impossible. In the US, it's not impossible to go through life while limiting external interference, and focus on your own happiness. (Allow me to clarify - there is always external interference, but how you deal with it and react to it is what enables you to limit its impact on your life.)
So why do a fairly large number of people believe the Dream is no longer achievable, or that it is/was a myth? Why are there so many people who currently feel the Dream is unachievable, or less achievable than when their parents were younger?
Continue reading "What Is The American Dream?"
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:22 | Comments (15) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, March 11. 2022
I've had to come into my NYC offices this week for executive presentations. Catching a train each morning at 7am, the usual pre-covid commuter grind. Hopefully going back to that in some format. Two days ago, however, it wasn't the usual grind. As I reached the platform and waited for the train, I noticed a young man with one eye in uniform, with his battle gear in bags next to him, and the Ukrainian flag on his shoulder.
I asked him the obvious question, "Are you headed over?" He smiled and said "I have a choice. But my friends and family do not. So, I have no choice. I have to go."
I wished him good luck and a safe return, and he replied "I am Ukrainian, but born in Russia. I had to fight my way out of Russia to get to Kyiv in 2002. I joined my extended family there, got my citizenship, and came to the US in 2008. I am very happy to be here, but I can't ignore what I left behind."
We chatted a bit, and he told me a few stories his friends and family were sharing from the war zone. He followed that up with a brief "I don't trust the news here any more than the news the Russians tell. It's not telling us everything, just one side." Then he showed me his coffee container, which had an "Occupy Mars" sticker on it. He smiled and said "this would be better."
I smiled wistfully, shook his hand and told him to come home safe. He replied "There is no other choice."
This morning, as I rode in, I thought about where he was at that moment. I have no doubt he is in Ukraine. I wonder how close to the front lines he is, and I wondered at how different circumstances lead us to different situations - that luck is a huge part of life. I'm doing executive presentations, and he's hoofing to the front lines. I couldn't fathom the vast differences in our priorities.
Unfortunately, this isn't a war that was inevitable. It was avoidable. I don't believe Putin is a madman, and I don't believe he was right to invade. Sadly, in today's world many people feel these two viewpoints are contradictory and saying it means you're pro-Putin, pro-Russia. I'm not. I'm just realistic. There were paths to avoiding conflict, and we chose to not follow them. This costs young men like my train platform friend dearly.
We may sit here and comment on how the war hurts us because of price and supply chain disruptions. People will remind you that your home isn't being bombed, your family isn't at risk, so consider yourself lucky. I disagree. While our problems are first-world problems, they are important. If we don't worry about them, and we don't deal with them effectively, our first-world problems will become very big problems just like the one he headed off to. His reality can become ours, sometimes when we least expect.
Sunday, March 6. 2022
Most of you remember our Urban Hike as a springtime event. With Covid shutting down the 2020 expedition (tentatively The Bronx), we went with an autumnal perambulation in 2021 through Greenwich Village.
We had a great turnout in the fall, so I hope we can have another good one this spring!
Saturday, January 22. 2022
Was talking to a client yesterday and our conversation revolved around their mobile phone number, which indicated a South Jersey area code. They are in California. Another client is moving to California and has an NYC area code. Yet another is in Florida and has a North Jersey area code. I'm in NJ and have an NYC area code.
In some ways, the "anonymization" of life was one of the original draws of the internet. The classic New Yorker cartoon "on the internet, nobody knows you're a dog" was accurate, if not precise, at the time. It's absolutely NOT true today. It is this fact that keeps me working. In a panel discussion, I once pointed out to a college student, who said my company had "sold her data" (we do not, ever, sell data), I pointed out to her that many corporations do sell the data of their site visitors, but good corporations recognize the problems inherent in that behavor, so there are roles in my industry which exist precisely to keep that data safe - or as safe as it can be.
Maintaining a level of anonymity is important for the best parts of the internet to work as they were intended. Anonymity is often important to make meaningful commentary and points (Silence Dogood would approve). The fact the blockchain exists today is, in part, to solve some of these issues (the internet was not meant to be driven by advertising, but the lack of a good payments and anonymity system led to its development as one).
The days of knowing a location based on an area code may be coming to an end. In a lot of ways, that may be a good thing. Hopefully, the days of online anonymity will soon be back, though with some major revisions. It's hard to go back from where we are today. (Personal note - the EU's GPRA and California's CCPA do NOT provide you the protection you think they do, or that politicians have promoted)
Thursday, January 20. 2022
As I wrote my piece on Wokism, I stumbled on a quote from Algernon Sidney. Few know that Jefferson mentioned Sidney as a source and/or inspiration for the Declaration of Independence. Here is the quote which resonated with me: "We live in an age that makes truth pass for treason, and as I dare not say anything against it, so the ears of those that are about me will probably be found too tender to hear it. This my trial and condemnation do sufficiently evidence." It can hardly be more true today, as "credible" news sources spread lies masquerading as truth based on nothing other than these sources own claim that they, themselves, are "credible." Credibility is in the information, not the source - and we have precious few truly credible sources of news today.
Sidney was a supporter of the Roundheads during the English Civil War, and a member of the Long Parliament. Despite his opposition to the king and support for the forces opposing him, Cromwell found it necessary to have Sidney removed, as Sidney had become critical of Cromwell's authoritarian nature. His refusal to leave his seat led to Cromwell ordering the parliamentarians removal and Sidney fled England.
Continue reading "Algernon Sidney"
Wednesday, January 19. 2022
I've not been contributing since about September, and I apologize for the long gap. I apologize only because it's rude to disappear without letting people know where you're going and I do my best to avoid being rude. In a nutshell, I've been overwhelmed at work, which is a good thing. After not working for many months, I managed to land a (much lower level) position which is working out very well for me and my long-term prospects have improved dramatically in the last few weeks. Of course, improved opportunity means additional responsibilities. Which means more time at a desk, at least in my current role. At my age (pushing 60), that's something many others cannot say. They're either at or near the pinnacle of your career, or winding it down. As I have done 4 other times in my life, I'm winding up again and feeling great.
One thing I do is try to go for a walk each day for at least an hour. Fresh air and exercise enables me to be nimble of body and mind. I'll listen to history podcasts while I walk, or just think. Recently, after a particularly difficult conversation with a friend who has gone full-on Woke, I chewed the mental cud and began to wonder where all this Wokism is headed.
It suddenly struck me what the essential problem of Wokism and Cancel Culture represent. In the name of creating and expanding opportunity, these people are limiting it severely. I wondered what history would look like if Woke and Cancel mindsets had been in place for a longer time than just the last decade or so. Not that we need another discussion on Wokism, but I felt this was a good mental exercise.
Continue reading "Ruminating on Woke History"
Thursday, October 14. 2021
Today I received a note from a friend about the Christmas "risk" and it gave me pause. After all, we humans tend to think so linearly at times, we tend to miss the bigger picture. I'd never actually fallen for the 'Christmas is at risk' story, though for reasons entirely different than what I'm about to share. Her note is as follows:
"The latest fear tactic is saying that "Christmas may be at risk" due to supply chain issues. Christmas is not at risk. The ability to buy a bunch of crap no one needs or knew they wanted may be at risk, but Christmas is not at risk. Let's not allow these fear-mongers to screw with our joy, please. The joy of Christmas isn't stuff, it's family and tradition and celebrating love. And, if you're religious, it is about Jesus' birth. Not STUFF. Christmas is not at risk. Christmas will go on. Maybe in a different way for now, but...
The real story of Christmas won't be the TV we couldn't get on time, or the doll your daughter didn't get. It's going to be the time we spend together with friends and family and enjoy each others company. That isn't at risk, though Fauci is trying very hard to push it, and we should continue to look forward positively and set aside most of the fear-mongering that the Democrats and Democrat-oriented media push our way.
Her note has altered how I was thinking about the upcoming holidays in a very positive way, and I am 100% in agreement with this point of view.
Monday, October 4. 2021
I've read, and watched, quite a bit on this Facebook Whistleblower. I can't say I disagree with much of what she is saying, although I think you can apply all of it to most of our major media outlets today, not just Facebook. I began to question her motivations, in particular after she told her story of a friend who went from being a like-minded Progressive liberal to something other than this (implying 'lies' on Facebook turned that person into a conservative, I'm assuming). God forbid information should make you change your mind or your views - particularly if there's one less of these Progressives in the world!
I may agree with much of what she says she's seen or even believes. I'd even like to stop what she's hoping to stop (hate speech, misinformation, lies, bullying). I can't say she knows how to stop those things. In fact, I know she can't. She THINKS she can. After all, she writes algorithms for a living, and she believes algorithms can fix anything. She's clearly a socialist of some nature, after all, she points out that Facebook puts 'profit' before stopping 'hate speech'. I found that claim interesting, since all major media outlets do this. After all, what are CRT, Cancel Culture or Wokism if not hate speech? And the major outlets are sharing those ideas quite freely and openly. So yes, profit is put ahead of stopping hate speech.
The critical part here is that she seems to think it can be reduced or stopped. I suppose it can, to a small degree. But if you want to (as she does) rely on algorithms, which she writes for a living, then what she's really saying is "I'd like to be able to control what information is fed to people at all times, and limit it to what I believe is acceptable."
I believe in choices. And we all make them. We choose to be on (or off) Facebook, social media, the internet or TV. Once we've chosen what to engage, we choose what to believe or not believe in our information resources. Sometimes (whoops) it's a lie or misinformation, though most times it's probably not (though I suppose if you listen to Biden and Fauci and assume they are authorities on anything, you're welcome to believe almost anything is 'truth' or 'science'). Part of adulting is learning to use common sense and pursue productive, effective, and meaningful parsing of data and information. I'm not sure what the whistleblower is hoping to achieve, but if it is to 'save' Facebook (as she claims) then I'm likely to believe that she's hoping to engage more situational design leading to social outcomes she believes are 'best for society'. I doubt I share her views on what's 'best' for society.
Saturday, September 25. 2021
We have a new record - 2 Maggie's Farmers arrived to join us from Los Angeles, which represents a new long-distance visit. Always pleased when our readers travel to join us.
Originally, I was worried nobody would make it. As it turns out, we had a hardy group of 10 people and we had a great day. Thank you to everyone who joined us, each of whom had a little bit extra to add to the commentary as we wound our way from Chelsea, through Greenwich Village, the East Village and down into the Lower East Side. MacDougal Street allowed us to work through a Beatnik/Rock and Roll section, which was followed by a series of Stanford White buildings, among a variety of other interesting and fun items like Edna St. Vincent Millay's townhouse, Commodore Vanderbilt's first Manhattan home (replaced by a more modern building), Triangle Shirtwaist Fire building, the Turkish and Russian Baths, and many other locations.
We had a great lunch and a few beers at McSorley's. As I was mapping and herding, I didn't take too many pictures. Bird Dog was, and I'm sure he will share them.
Thanks to our good friend, the Manhattan Contrarian, for purchasing some delicious muffins at Magnolia Bakery, which we all shared.
We missed many of our regulars, and hope you will join us in the Spring when do this again in 2022.
Saturday, September 18. 2021
For all you hardy souls, a gentle reminder. Dylan, Stanford White, Peter Cooper, Hamilton, McSorley (whoever he was), it's all going to happen next week on Saturday. 10 am in front of the southern entrance to the High Line on Gansevoort St.
6.6 miles, give or take. Figure 3.5 to 4 hours, lots to see and do. No masks required, though if you want to eat in a restaurant you'll need your vaccine card (thanks to the ever-caring nanny state of Warren Wilhelm, Jr.
It's rain or shine. I'm expecting the best shining to be on the smiling, shining faces of our attendees. Looking forward to seeing you all!!
Sunday, September 12. 2021
Just a reminder that the Urban Hike will be Saturday, 9/25. Anyone traveling into NYC or living in the region is welcome. Well, ANYONE is welcome...regardless of where you are, but being in the NYC area certainly helps. I'd do a Zoom of the whole thing, but even that seems a bit much.
The theme this year is Greenwich Village. We'll be starting and ending outside of the Village, and seeing some sights outside of its domain (Chinatown, Five Points, etc.), but the hike is a reasonable distance. It's almost 7 miles and without stops it's 2 and a half hours. So let's assume 4 hours, with stops and a bite to eat. We'll find a pizza place, as we always do.
Wednesday, August 18. 2021
Today I signed an offer letter, so after 9 months I will finally be going back to work. The role is a step below where I was, but after pursuing lateral and better positions, only to find myself making final rounds and going no further (for obvious reasons that shall not be discussed), I felt just getting back on the playing field was important as long as I wasn't going bankrupt. I have always been realistic about just wanting to get back in the office, so the fact it's a step back isn't bothering me. It's a challenging role that suits my talents well and I'm appreciative of the people who recognized I could provide a value to their organization.
Employment opens up other opportunities for me which I'd been reticent about pursuing while I wasn't working. One was to attend a memorial service in Florida to scatter the ashes of a close friend who died during Covid (not from Covid, or even 'with' Covid). With my financial situation sorted out somewhat, I let friends know that I would be attending. One promptly replied they would not be attending due to "Gov DeathSantis" and the "disaster" he "created" down there. I chose not to argue. The statistics are readily available, and this association can't be further from the truth. It is just an example of the truly annoying politicization of the virus. I don't understand anyone who really believes there is a political solution to this. There isn't. New Zealand is unique in attempting to achieve a zero case situation. As an island nation, they have some unique qualities that should allow them to achieve this, at lease in theory. Even they are learning it's not possible in real life.
Afghanistan. I never thought I'd see a repeat of Vietnam in my lifetime. You'd think we learned a valuable lesson there. Apparently, we didn't. Or I should say certain members of our government didn't. It's shocking and must be infuriating for allies of ours to see what is happening and wonder "can this happen to me?" The likelihood is no, our relationship with Afghanistan was not typical or standard. However, to see Biden abandoning tens of thousands who the US did have a legitimate and standard relationship with in such callous fashion is concerning. As a result, it does raise one's eyebrows as to the state of affairs in the White House. I know the 'credible' media spent 4 years telling me that Trump (who I certainly was no fan of) had no policies, was erratic, and unreliable. I think that assessment is more applicable today.
Finally, Cuomo. I recently read a piece by a person who got their first job from Cuomo. He had glowing things to say about Cuomo. Not to rationalize what occurred, but to point out that even those we admire have flaws. I agreed and acknowledged his comments as justifiable. After all, I remarked, I worked for Roger Ailes twice and I won't spend any time trying to rationalize his personal flaws. But I, too, have many stories of his great treatment of employees, his loyalty and promotion of them, and how he really did run a great shop. As leaders go, Ailes was top-notch. However, since he was a Republican, his behavior is demonized while Cuomo got the kid gloves. I doubt one, let alone two, movies will be made about Cuomo's sexualizing of women.
Wednesday, July 14. 2021
Today Marco Rubio made a statement on Cuba that is both timely for the citizens of that nation and for those of us here in the US. "We don’t just condemn this tyranny. We condemn this communist, this Marxist, this socialist tyranny.” Rubio then demanded that America make “clear about whose side we’re on.”
“The first lesson we need to take away from it is that Marxism, socialism, doesn’t work."
Rubio continued, “The way socialism, the way Marxism has always worked, the way it’s always empowered itself, is it goes to the people and immediately divides them. It says there is an oppressor class and that there is this victim class and these evil oppressors, capitalists, in the case of socialism or traditional Marxism, they oppress the victims.”
I visited Cuba several years ago, when I had the opportunity. I felt it was a good chance to see Communism in action, and to see a nation that is (rather literally) stuck in the late 50's and early 60's (and earlier, based on some of the cars I rode in). I was clear that the people, as we are seeing now, want freedom. Many know that Castro hoodwinked them, but once in, there was little they could do to get him out. Castro was good at convincing many, whose families at one time had little or nothing, that his way was 'better'. Over the years, most have learned this is simply not true. Cubans are now aware of the reality of the world, mainly because of (in spite of the government's restrictions) the internet. They lack many modern conveniences and opportunities. But they are not lacking in skill or entrepreneurialism. A nation that can survive, and thrive, in the face of communist limitations says more about its people than it does about its government or system.
I wish the Cuban people well and hope they can somehow manage to toss off their yoke of oppression. If they do, Venezuela's tyrants may not last for long, as Cuba is their last reasonably-sized supporter in this hemisphere.
Cuba still has a lot to offer, and we can hope the people find a path forward in spite of Biden's insistence to avoid the obvious. I notice Bernie and AOC, both believers that Cuba is somehow special and different and 'better' than the US, have been silent. Rubio hit the nail on the head, though, and within his statements, he was taking a swipe at BLM, Antifa, and the other leftists in the Democratic Party.
Tuesday, July 13. 2021
It seems an odd thing to think about, but I'd recently heard a comment about the world's first novel. If you'd asked me prior to hearing this comment, I'd have replied it was Beowulf or Canterbury Tales, mainly because these were items of Western Literature and it's what we read about in school. So you tend to think about what is familiar. I suppose you could also point to The Odyssey or The Iliad, though these are technically 'histories' of a sort, and are also classified (like Beowulf) as epic poems. Given this, the comment struck me as intriguing. Because not only was the first novel not from Western culture, but it also started an entire genre unto itself - the Romance Novel.
The Tale of Genji was written sometime in the 1000's, and was written by a woman, Murasaki Shikibu. This may not be her real name, as daughters' names were rarely recorded, and as a noblewoman, her name was more a title and descriptor of status. Shikibu means "Bureau of Ceremonial" - a post held by her father, and Murasaki is the name of the heroine in the novel. While reading and writing, for a woman of status, was not rare in Japanese culture, what Shibiku accomplished elevated the form, and introduced new aspects to writing as an art. She was creative, unique, and thoughtful. As such, she has been held in high esteem within Japanese culture.
Continue reading "The First Novel"
Thursday, July 8. 2021
We typically do the hike in the Spring, but with Covid we've missed 2 events which involve traipsing amidst the urban confines of New York City.
This year, it appears we are going to be able to have an Autumnal Perambulation. While we've done parts of Greenwich Village, the conversation right now is that it's hard to really "do" the Village completely. So why not give it a shot?
I've already lined up about 20 stops which include a few interesting historical sites, architectural sites, restaurants, bars, and museums. We've enlisted our good friend, the Manhattan Contrarian, to assist us in finding the best stops. Some we've seen already (that's OK, I always enjoy visiting interesting places more than once, and I'm sure we'll be accompanied by new people who haven't seen these locations), and others will be newly 'discovered' by myself, BD, and MC.
We just need to pin down a date, but I'm guessing late September or early October will work best. Not too hot, not too cold. As usual, rain or shine (I still think the best hike was the last one, which was done in the rain and was very enjoyable, nonetheless).
Hopefully we can choose the date and start making solid plans early this year - hope we get to see all our regular attendees, and I'm hoping more will join us!
Sunday, July 4. 2021
Doing some reading, and musing, on this 245th year of the greatness which is our fine nation. Right now, we live in a world where we're supposed to be humble, and there are factions which would prefer to not tout American Greatness. Still others believe our best years are behind us. My view is some of our best years are behind us, but our very best is still ahead, as long as we understand where we've come from, and the principles for which we stand.
I don't believe in being humble about our national identity. No other nation has done many of the things our nation has. Our Constitution was one of the very first, and certainly the first that enshrined individual rights as primary over the predations of a government. Our Constitution started a period of constitutional revolution which spread around most of the world at that time. And while our nations' flaws are evident, we are among the few nations which air our dirty laundry, not proudly, but to learn and improve. Other nations can point to civil or human rights failings we have now, or have had in the past, but none of them have a track record better than ours improving these rights.
Continue reading "Happy Independence Day"
Monday, June 28. 2021
At this point, I should note that in the 5 months I've been laid off, I've now spent 5 hours on the phone with NY State Unemployment trying to solve problems with my account. The idea is to get me back to work - and those are 5 hours I could have spent productively elsewhere...even searching for a job or replying to other inquiries I'd engaged.
One may be inclined to say "would you rather have the 5 hours back or solve the problem?" I'm inclined to reply I would prefer to not have had the problem and not wasted the 5 hours - which were not my fault, but due to a bureaucratic error on the part of some unknown official somewhere who hit the wrong processing button.
Errors happen. They happened even in private business, I remember enough that I had to fix at my old job. But the point is private business is far more accountable and I am willing to believe that there is a fraction of the errors or problems that I've experienced with government work, in private industry.
Unaccountable and faceless bureaucrats, or as my father-in-law likes to say "Assholes with a clipboard" cause more problems than they solve. If they didn't, the Soviet Union would still be around.
Sunday, June 27. 2021
I know many who follow Maggie's may be unfamiliar, at best, or skeptical, at worst, of Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency. But there is a lot of promise in the technology, and the tokens (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.) are modern versions of 'value transmission' which are not unlike money. They represent the value of the technology.
So, to understand why cryptocurrencies are important, it may help to understand the technology. Here is a brief video which explains the tech behind the currencies. Not all blockchains are the same, that's an important thing to remember. Improvements are made almost every day on all the different kinds of blockchains, and their uses. It's my personal opinion that the next 'big' one may be Cardano, as it has solved many issues behind the concept of 'smart contracts'.
For what it's worth, if you've heard of NFT (Non-Fungible Tokens) and still aren't clear what they are, the best way to think of them is that an NFT is a representation of a contract of ownership for a product.
Let's say I take a digital photo and I create it as an NFT, and you purchase that NFT. This is like purchasing any other work of art, but instead of getting a certificate which says you own it, you get the NFT. If anyone uses a representation of that NFT, you receive a payment for it. In a way, NFTs are a means by which trademarks and copyrights may be enforced more effectively (there are still issues with this, but they are being overcome).
So while NFTs are not cryptocurrencies, they operate within the cryptocurrency 'system' because they utilize the blockchain (and many utilize cryptocurrencies as a means of payment). While a currency is fungible - that is, it can be exchanged or used for a variety of different things - many things of value are not fungible (or at least easily fungible). You can use a currency to buy a loaf of bread, or instead of bread you can use it for soup, or a pack of gum. It's fungible because it can be used to purchase any substitutable product or service. A work of art is non-fungible because, well, you're not paying for a cup of coffee with that Degas print you purchased.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:07 | Comments (20) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, May 14. 2021
I am now a proud "anti-vaxxer." Actually, I'm not. But Merriam-Webster does define me as one. The funny thing is, I've gotten vaccinated. For polio, smallpox, MMR, tetanus, and even recently I received my second shingles vaccine. I got the shingles vaccine on the day I turned down the coronavirus vaccine. I have my own personal reasons for turning down the new vaccine. After all, I've had covid, and it was a bit tough, but nothing I couldn't handle. I have other reasons, too, which I won't share since the information on all of this is convoluted and tends to spark arguments (not discussions). It is not hard science by any stretch. Even my doctor, when I gave my reasons for rejecting it, tried to convince me to get it by saying "we know so little about it, the vaccine is a good idea." I replied that if you know so little, it seems odd that you're convinced that the vaccine will help me. I hardly see that as a reassuring argument. She agreed (which surprised me) and said "just realize you may get it again." I told her I've gotten the flu many times, too. Even after I was vaccinated. My reasons are mine alone and I'll get the answers and make my determinations as I go along. I have that right (in the old United States I did...).
I'm not opposed to the coronavirus vaccine, either. I suggested my father (85, with heart issues) get it when he asked me if he should. He is a retired doctor, I laughed when he asked me, but I was honest. He agrees with my reasons for not getting it. It could be he's not seeking to have a discussion, but I know he has his own questions. Mrs. Bulldog got it (and, as I suspected, had no side effects, as she has been exposed to covid several times and never gotten it. Long exposures, both from me and friends. She really is a Viking.) and I supported her decision to get it. My mother (85 and frail) got it. Other members of my family have gotten it. I just have my own questions about this particular vaccine. I have a right to question it, and be skeptical.
Even today, it's not uncommon to see or hear about fully-vaccinated people testing positive. I doubt this means they have covid. In fact, I'm willing to bet heavily the tests are incorrect (as so many are). I'm also not afraid of getting covid again. I dealt with it once, and it wasn't bad. I'm in better shape now than I was then (lost about 5 lbs, lifting more, using the elliptical for longer stretches - I made it a goal to get in better shape), and know how to deal with it (low sugar, lots of water, Vitamin D and lots of sun and fresh air). There are also improved treatments if I'm wrong.
All that said, I'm not an anti-vaxxer. Not even a little. Not even a tiny bit. I'll get the vaccine IF my questions are resolved by my doctor AND if I reach a point that I feel it is useful and necessary. In the meantime, I'm not a threat. At least not health-wise. That said, I do oppose mandates and forcing people to do things they don't necessarily want to do. And if opposing mandatory vaccine programs makes me an anti-vaxxer, then I am a political problem to some people.
What annoys me is that I'm defined by Biden and Merriam-Webster as an anti-vaxxer. That's wrong. The dictionary has extended its definition far too broadly. It's also wrong to have a President tell me that I have to choose between a mask and a vaccine. He, of all people, is unqualified to make this determination. He's just a power-mad elderly man with dementia (at least I think he's got dementia, he certainly behaves that way). I've gone without a mask pretty much everywhere (mostly outdoors, though I keep one in my pocket). Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Block Island, New Orleans, North Carolina - I've done quite a bit of traveling. I wear the mask if I'm asked to, but not otherwise. As time goes by, people will see I'm not a risk. But for now, politically, I am. I am a massive risk politically. And I'm loving it. I won't make people do things they oppose. I appreciate others who realize this is the essential reason for the creation of our great nation.
Friday, May 7. 2021
Recently, the term "Man of Kent" was mentioned to me. I supposed I could have responded with a limerick about his nose being terribly bent, and the fact nobody knows where he went. Of course, the limerick was about a young woman from Kent, and the term did specify Man of Kent. This term may not seem much to us here in the U.S. On the other hand, there can be an interesting delineation of culture if, in fact, you are from Kent.
After all, the difference between a Kentish Man (or Maid) and a Man (or Maid) of Kent may (or may not) be significant. It all depends on how you look at it, and whether or not you care much about the term itself. I suppose it's not unlike people being from Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. Both are from Pennsylvania, and if that's how you're looking at things, that's fine enough. On the other hand, don't think a denizen of Philly is going to relate easily to one from the Steel City. Even setting aside the rivalries in hockey and baseball (football not being played commonly enough between the cities to be of great importance), Philadelphia has a proud history. It is a birthplace of the Revolution, the Constitution, and was the nation's capital city for a brief period. This is countered by the economic power and free-spirited nature of western PA. After all, divisions from the Whiskey Rebellion still defines socio-political culture, and our transportation systems and urban landscape owe a great debt to the steel plants.
But this is about Kent, and the nature of what it means to be a Man (or Maid) of Kent.
Continue reading "A Man (or Maid) of Kent"
Thursday, April 22. 2021
YouTube, being so bold, fearless and brave, has awarded its CEO the "2021 Free Expression Award", which was then accepted by the CEO, Susan Wojcicki. Wojcicki, in her acceptance speech, detailed how she works to deny freedoms because "The freedoms we have, we really can't take for granted, we also need to make sure there are limits."
I suppose I'd be aghast at the irony, hypocrisy, and outlandishness of all this. But when the Committee of Public Safety arrives, a distinct lack of intelligence is the norm. To paraphrase Monty Python, "Nobody expects the French Revolution." Except we're reaching a point where if you don't expect it, you're just not paying attention, or you love the new-fangled guillotines these modern Jacobins utilize.
Monday, April 19. 2021
The most recent one to implode is "the 1/6 insurrection led to the death of a police officer." That is now absolutely not true. Assuming you believed that (or the "insurrection" meme) is what happened. Being a natural skeptic, I didn't believe much of the official nonsense 'news' that was shared. After all, I knew many people who were there that day, and none of them were in the Capitol, all were outside protesting. While appalled at the few who did rush the building and do damage, they all said it was a small number by comparison to the group outside, which was peaceful.
Other Progressive narratives are breaking down, too, though. Progressive stronghold Portland is still a hot mess. Pulitzer Prize winner Andrew Cuomo's mismanagement of Covid is set aside for a more Progressive-friendly sexual misconduct. Maxine Waters has in the past, and is now, inciting 'insurrection' and won't face impeachment. Gaffe Machine Biden keeps putting his foot in his mouth. His son is on a make-nice tour answering softball questions to clear his image. Wikileaks published emails showing Dominion's legal firm offered assistance to the Clinton campaign in 2016. All this dirt is readily available and very little is going to make the mainstream news (frankly, I'm shocked the Russian bounty story's dismissal made it to the mainstream, as that was one of Biden's memorable hot buttons).
It's hard to understand why anyone pays attention to mainstream news. DeSantis' treatment is such that one can only shake their head in wonderment at the brazen nature of the lies and deceit. Living in one of the few (there really aren't many - just look at the map of popular votes for all the blue sections) bastions of Progressive thought, I am often stunned at what people are willing to listen to and believe. Comfortable lies rule the day.
Say what you want about alternative news sources being 'fake news'. Determining what's real in the supposedly 'credible' media is a feat in itself.
Wednesday, March 31. 2021
Funny to be mentioning the Urban Hike. It's been a long time. We were trying to plan out an Upper Manhattan/Bronx hike last year (much more technically difficult than it may seem), but if we do get to have a hike again, maybe it will be in the fall of 2021. I hope so. I'm thinking movie sites or movie-related sites - which could be very engaging.
I told Mrs. Bulldog that I had found this and decided it was a place we had to visit. Normally, Mrs. Bulldog isn't very interested in this sort of thing, but one thing made me realize she had to go with me.
Untapped New York struck a chord today, by publishing this little item, which we could have "visited" on the last Urban Hike. Those of you with us on that hike may remember standing on the hillside of Coogan's Bluff, just north of 155th Street, which leads to Macombs Dam Bridge, and hearing the brief commentary about walking down to the Polo Grounds from that spot.
The Urban Hike is very much on my mind and I hope we have a chance to run another one this Fall (and then get back on a Spring schedule in 2022). Movies, and movie-related, sites may be a fun source of material. Any thoughts or suggestions from our regulars - or from anyone hoping to join?