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, April 17. 2014
An interesting economic website.
Like Kudlow, his contributors understand the interactions between government, central banks, crony capitalists, hedge funds, and private enterprise. One sample link: When The Top Goes Over-The-Top: What The Soaring Price Of Ferraris, Wine And Art Tell Us
Wednesday, April 16. 2014
Tuesday, April 15. 2014
The otherwise-useful article concludes with the notion that "government could do more."
I have no idea what government has to do with it. After the basics, most lines of work are learned by apprenticeships and "practice" of various sorts. Just consider auto mechanics, cooking, gunsmithing, machine-tooling, law, medicine, bond sales, garden design, preaching, playing music, carpentry, jewelry design, flower arranging, cattle-raising, horse-grooming, dog training, leather-working, road-paving, politics and sales in general, fashion, etc., etc., etc. The list is endless.
I am very much in favor of the term and concept "apprentice," but I don't know what the heck government has to do with it. Why do so many people have this reflex that "government ought to do something"? As if it could.
People can figure these things out on their own.
Sunday, April 13. 2014
Why don't they simply raise lamb in fields of mint, saving us the trouble?
Well, the answer is probably because making your own mint sauce is fun, easy, and quick. That artificially-colored sweet mint jelly from the supermarket is to real mint sauce as canned cranberry jelly from the supermarket is to fresh homemade cranberry sauce.
Since everyone's garden mint is probably growing like crazy right now (but not up here, yet - is mint an herb or a weed?), here's the right way to make mint sauce for lamb. Make it when the mint is new, and it will last at least all summer.
Then you pick up that excellent butterflied lamb at Costco, marinate it overnight in a garbage bag (the best marination tool ever made) with olive oil, crushed garlic cloves, white wine, lemon juice, pepper, thyme and rosemary - then throw it on the charcoal, cook it on hot coals - blood-rare in the middle but almost burned on the surface, sliced thin, and have a feast fit for kings.
Got any leftovers? Not likely, but good for the best sandwiches in the world. White bread, salt, pepper, and mayo.
I like grilled lamb best with oven-roasted potatoes, and I will eat regular mashed potatoes or garlic mashed potatoes with anything. Salad first maybe, but no nasty vegetables to detract from the lamb. Perhaps olive-oil-and-garlic marinated grilled vegetables with the lamb if you are one of those people who think eating vegetables enhances life.
By the way, serving white wine with lamb is a crime. Why do people in America ever do it? Lamb is neither an oyster nor a lobster, and it demands a high-octane, heavy bodied beverage.
Photo: Sheep grazing on summer mountain pastures in 1912 near Casper, Wyoming.
Friday, April 11. 2014
Four families of equations expose the hidden aesthetic of bicycle wheels, falling bodies, rhythmic planets, and mathematics itself.
The spira mirabilis is a lovely thing, and the equation describing it is simple. He discusses the geometry of four interesting shapes.
I would never claim, however, that math can "expose" an aesthetic. "Expose" is the wrong word, because the aesthetic is immediately apparent, but it's the math that is not.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:50 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, April 10. 2014
Coase’s Tortoise - Federal bureaucracy gets in the way of complex ongoing relationships that serve civil society. Most people have heard of Coase's famous theorem, but don't really know it. A quote:
If the Desert Tortoise (a fine critter, for sure, and one the Indians liked to cook for supper) survived the buffalo, why not the cattle?
Walter Russell Mead:
The Coming Reformation of Higher Ed - See more at: http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2014/04/walter_russell_meadthe_coming_.html#sthash.7AxYNmjI.dpuf
But who would design that exam, Prof. Mead? I'd be willing to do it, but then higher ed would "teach to the test."
My BA test would include things like (for examples) Calculus, Physics and Physical Chemistry, Plato, Econ, the Ming Dynasty, John Locke, molecular Bio, Michelangelo, one or two languages, basic Law and Civics, basics of Engineering, Geography and Geology, Roman history, Sophocles, Bach's music, the Bible, and Augustine. Plus an essay on a random topic during the exam.
The degree would mean something, if done my way, and separate the slackers from the scholars. Could kids pass it? Well, how about just a score on it, then? But who would care? It doesn't take a fancy degree to sell software or bonds, to write code, or to make Chai Latte.
Wednesday, April 9. 2014
From Eye candy - The pleasure we take in beauty must have been shaped by evolution - but what adaptive advantage did it give us?
I'll give the essay an A- for Effort, but trying to discuss such topics as Truth and Beauty in reductionistic terms is certain to be disappointing in the end. I would argue that the human soul has no adaptive value at all. It's a gift and a curse.
What is the best-adapted and largest class of animals on earth in terms of population, biomass, range, and overall success? Class Insecta. Bugs. Or maybe it's bacteria, but I think I recall that it's bugs. Might have that wrong. It's definitely not the higher apes despite our love of music and our pleasant clothing.
Many bugs make music too.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:24 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the proportion of international students in graduate electrical engineering programs is 52.5 percent and, in computer science, 35.3 percent. At Stanford, 56 percent of graduate electrical engineering students and 43.7 percent of graduate computer science students are international.
Tuesday, April 8. 2014
Monday, April 7. 2014
Sunday, April 6. 2014
Non-stop rain in New England for a few days, converting the entire countryside to a
This fellow build a good one. I like the fact that the word "tile" is still used for PVC pipe.
Glad I do not need any of them, though. In 1824, farmers did not build their houses where they would get flooded, where there was an underground spring, where there was poor drainage, or where they would have wet cellars. They checked first.
They did not consider every piece of land to be a building site. Nobody builds on a flood plain, a beach, or on a hilltop. It's just stupid.
Photo on right is a shallow French drain. Holes down, of course. (Dummies are known to install them with the perforations facing up.) You can rent one of those mini-backhoes, have a load of gravel delivered, and make one yourself. A plain old-fashioned ditch or swale works too.
Photo below is a constructed swale. Man-made or natural, a swale is just a pleasant drainage ditch or depression. A small vale, you might say.
In all likelihood, making these today probably violates some federal laws. After all, the EPA now claims to regulate ditches. At the farm, we have plenty of man-made ditches and swales, but none made recently.
Saturday, April 5. 2014
So only political speech requires adult restrictions? Not commercial speech, not speech of the press and the MSM, not porn, not commercial advertising, just political speech of individuals?
Why not limit those Viagra ad budgets, for the children of course.
Even if this is all un-American and strange, it seems hardly partisan since the very wealthy tend to support the Leftist control freaks. What's up with all of this? And what the heck is "the collective will"? There is no collective will except nominally and only in totalitarian states.
Let's face it: When politics and government are too important, freedom is in trouble.
Wednesday, April 2. 2014
On a related topic, Star Parker has this: The Problem Is Liberalism, Not Racism
As we have pointed out here, there is far more white poverty than black poverty in the US. It's not about skin tone.
Truth is, poverty is not a unitary phenomenon, and it's not all a problem. There are hundreds of sorts of poverty: poverty by life-style choice, poverty by location choice, poverty by bad luck, poverty by illness, mental illness, and addiction, poverty by personality traits or weak character, poverty from long-term unemployment, temporary poverty, poverty from being in grad school, poverty from being improvident, new immigrant poverty, poverty from having been in jail, poverty from being embedded in a poverty culture, poverty from trying to live on Social Security, poverty from being a single parent (a life-style choice, I suppose), fraudulent poverty from cash businesses and illegal activities, and so forth. It's not all a collective "societal problem."
Why don't the pundits talk about that? They never do. Even Charles Murray doesn't. I'd like to see a statistical break-down, but it doesn't exist. Worse yet, poverty stats fail to include government or charitable benefits so I am skeptical about all of it.
America offers great freebies even for those for whom poverty is a life-style choice because we do not let people starve in the streets, without shelter. Need a cell phone? We even have Obamaphones. America is a great country in which to be poor.
Tuesday, April 1. 2014
For your gardening and yard work calendar: overseeding, aeration (plugging) top-dressing, and Crabgrass prevention
Lawns are not natural, and they are a pain in the ass. However, they are needed for kid play, croquet, and summer cocktail parties. They can also look gracious and neat, when healthy and when surrounded by good plantings. They are really just one sort of garden, or part of a garden. Grassy garden paths are fine things.
Around here, most years you can overseed a thin lawn area in April (although the best time is early Fall). When I overseed an area in Spring, I follow it by raking in a thin top-dressing of my own concoction - a mix of sand, compost, rotted manure, a little peat moss.
What about crabgrass prevention? Crabgrass preventers need to be put down around the time the Forsythias bloom, or slightly before that. The problem is that it cannot be used when seeding a lawn - it will prevent germination of your grass seed. That's why overseeding is best done in the Fall.
What exactly is Crabgrass? It's an annual grass, Digitaria. It's not native to the US. It likes dry and compacted soil where it feels free to smother your lawn grass. Irrigated lawns tend not to grow much crabgrass, but lawn irrigation is for the 1%. Grasses are meant to go dormant in mid-summer.
What about lawn aeration? Heavily-used lawns (by people, dogs, wheelbarrows, lawn-mowers, etc) benefit from it annually. In Spring, you can do it after the third mowing. Not good to do it in mid-summer when the soil is too dry and the plugging tines cannot penetrate. I always go over an area a few times, not just once. It's a good work-out. Those plugs disintegrate quickly.
Heavy towable aerators are made for pastures, sports fields, and golf courses. Some do plugging, some do slicing, but I think deep plugging is best. 3" is the bare minimum because healthy grass roots are deeper than that.
A side-benefit of lawn aeration (and top-dressing) is earthworms. Earthworms cannot live in compacted soil, but they can happily aerate a soft and healthy turf themselves during all of the warm months. Besides aeration, they need food: your top dressing, grass clippings and mower-chopped leaves.
Grass is not Astroturf. Here's how to aerate:
Monday, March 31. 2014
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:57 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, March 30. 2014
Friday, March 28. 2014
Here's a good piece on the latest: Proof of the Big Bang - A stunning discovery made at a research station in Antarctica indicates that Albert Einstein was right about the nature of the universe:
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:13 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, March 25. 2014
Saturday, March 22. 2014
One snippet from the linked quote:
Thursday, March 20. 2014
What he preached:
Wednesday, March 19. 2014
Now, the lefties just use name-calling and "Shut up" as debating tools.
As a youth, I used to debate my Conservative friends over beers and/or a little weed. My political evolution from adolescent Lefty to conservatarian began happening when I entered the adult world and learned more about human nature and how it is expressed, in part, through the miracle of markets. My evolution continues, because each year I realize more how precious and rare freedom is, and how dangerous and oppressive the State is.
Monday, March 17. 2014
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