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
Wednesday, October 1. 2014
I was recently driving from New Haven to Boston and picked up the first hitchhiker I've seen in quite a while. He was hitching to Augusta, Maine, a Navy guy on leave.
I asked him why he did it. He told me had hitched since his early teens, and just liked it. I told him I used to hitch all over the Northeast, mostly going to see gals. Nobody gave me use of a car when I turned 16, or even when I graduated from college.
It seems to me that hitchhiking in the Northeast is a disappearing tradition. Too bad - it was a good thing, always interesting, but maybe that was a more innocent era.
Seen any lately? Given any a ride?
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:28 | Comments (18) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, September 29. 2014
Sunday, September 28. 2014
At least in the northern climes, it's the last chance to aerate or plug, overseed, and fertilize if you want a half-decent "grass garden" which is suitable for walking and dog abuse. As I always say, lawn grass is a garden. It's not natural, and needs care just like any garden. Lawns benefit a great deal from fall fertilizing. If lawns are walked on at all, they require aerating. It's not a rug. If you have a small lawn, you can do that by hand with a hand aerator or a spade: stick it in, wiggle it, and pull it out.
A Spring or Fall aeration or plugging, a Fall overseeding, and three fertilizations per year ought to be good enough for any grass lawn, with or without irrigation but using a mulching mower. Readers know that I top-dress in Spring, but it might not be necessary for everybody. I like doing it.
(The only purpose of irrigation is to make a lawn green when it doesn't want to be green. It's fine for ahow, but spray paint might be cheaper.)
I advise doing those chores all at once. Do it now, and if you have a crabgrass problem, you can deal with it in the Spring with crabgrass-preventer. (You can't overseed and use crabgrass-preventer at the same time because the weed-preventer will prevent germination of your grass seed.)
Best, most logical plan? Minimize your lawn and grow lots of trees and shrubs, and mulch the heck out of them. It's a shame that the "gracious lawn" became the American Way, as if our little 1-2-acre plots were English estates. Heck, all anybody needs is room for Croquet and Badminton, some walking paths and maybe a cool little putting green, but the American lawn has become the expected standard.
Friday, September 26. 2014
I am more from the William F. Buckley Jr school:
The regulation-maniacs assume, of course, that we common folk have no sense, no information, and few morals, and constantly need their guidance, rules, and laws. Most of them, I suspect, have minimal contact with us regular folks.
How foolish and depraved are people anyway? We are told that we are an irrational tangle of biases, to be nudged any which way. Does this claim stand to reason?
It's an interesting article. I have always figured that humans are partly and sometimes rational and practical, often emotional, frequently uninformed or misinformed, etc. etc. I feel the same way about the regulators who seem to me to be irrationally obsessed with the idea of controlling others to try to make the world fit their fantasies. I'm sure Psychiatry has a term for that tendency. After all those who like to regulate are heir to the same human foibles and temptations as everybody else. Just more grandiose in their self-esteem and less humble and self-doubting.
Sunstein seems, currently, to be preoccupied by digital regulation.
I wish people like him would worry more about their own lives, and leave me alone.
Wednesday, September 24. 2014
Tuesday, September 23. 2014
Monday, September 22. 2014
Why Girls Tend to Get Better Grades Than Boys Do - New research shows that girls are ahead in every subject,
Does this question require research? Anybody who has ever sat in a classroom knows why.
Thursday, September 18. 2014
Our post on tipping the other day raised the issue. As Christmas season is quickly approaching, I reviewed in my mind all the people to whom I give gratuities (ie material Thank Yous) at Christmastime, and throughout the year.
- our two garbagemen - $50 each before Christmas - horrible job, hard work,
I believe that I am pretty much in the mainstream on this. I am missing a few on that list, can't remember them all.
What do you do?
Tuesday, September 16. 2014
Fascinating vid there from Prof. Hamburger. "Absolute power still thrives on the Continent."
Monday, September 15. 2014
Friday, September 12. 2014
Thursday, September 11. 2014
The Trouble With Harvar
Fine essay, with lots of content. One quote:
Monday, September 8. 2014
Interestingly to me, it's similar to how I dress today, and I was not even alive in 1948.
In 1948, college students believed that they were adults. Many had already been to war and were glad to get into sharp civvies and maybe meet a horny gal at a college tea.
What's the matter with the kids today?!?
Tuesday, September 2. 2014
You like to read serious books. You like to think about them, and to write essays about them. Should you be a literature major in college? Or just read the canon on your own, along with some of the classic critics?
Or, if you enjoy eloquent instruction and guidance, why not just take a Great Courses on Literature? They are wonderful, and the price (and probably the high quality) cannot compare with college.
Sometimes we forget that fiction is written mainly for entertainment and stimulation, whatever its depth or quality, refinement or sophistication. Same goes for music and visual and performing arts.
The English major has lost its way; here is a path back.
Monday, September 1. 2014
Some people (especially Leftists) bemoan how hard Americans work. Boo hoo.
They say Europeans have more leisure time. How's that working out for them? More time to drink in cafes? More time to wear thongs on the beach in Ibiza?
I always relate to farmers, other entrepreneurs, and self-employed people. We are on the job constantly, partly out of ambition, partly for survival, partly out of interest.
I am essentially self-employed, but of counsel for a law firm. I work around 55 hours/week, but only bill around 40. I'm not greedy. When I sit by the stream with a cigar and a scotch, I often think about knotty cases. It's fun.
How many hours do you work at remunerative work? If it's less than 50, you ain't really working.
Thursday, August 28. 2014
Wednesday, August 27. 2014
That's an assertion by AVI, but I don't know whether he refers to high school or college students. Presumably every college-bound kid would have taken Alg ll in high school, if not AB Calc (most do that too, it seems). He also says:
I'm not sure what I think about this. How much math is enough to make a person functional and numerically-literate, and how much to be considered well-educated? I think all of these areas are excellent training for rigorous and critical thinking. It's basically a logical language, and seems best approached that way.
I have heard experts say that around 5-10% of high school grads are truly eager and ready for rigorous higher ed. The rest are just postponing adulthood.
Tuesday, August 26. 2014
(A good, non-academic intro is Tom Sowell's Basic Economics (2nd Edition): A Citizen's Guide to the Economy.)
We all seek all of the kinds of basic literacy we can attain: Moral, Religious, Mathematical and Scientific, Historical, Literary, Artistic, Recreational, etc., but it's a never-ending pursuit because life is so full of riches. Most of us join the heavenly choir before the job is done. Either that, or begin to forget what we once knew and need to start at the beginning again.
For example, at lunch I have been trying to figure out how Hannibal fed his 90,000 troops, plus the elephants and horses, during his march from Carthaginian Spain over into what is now called Italy around 218 BC. I learned about it once, but have forgotten. Talk about logistics...
Prof. Jacobson found this: New study finds economic illiteracy correlates with political preferences. I find that basic economic illiteracy is rampant, and thus is replaced by emotion.
Monday, August 25. 2014
Photo below is the Marsh Mallow plant which is a native of marshy areas in the Old World, now wild in North America. You can read about it here.
Apparently it is easy to make your own Marshmallows at home.
I prefer my Marshmallows plain, on a stick over an open fire, preferably permitted to burst into flame to produce a black crust before blowing them out. Few can resist some campfire S'mores, but I can. Too sweet for me.
In three years, any ordinary, motivated kid can get through the HS basics: Essay-writing, grammar, basics of research papers, math up to or through Calc 1, American History, World History, Bio, Literature-reading, Chem, Physics, Civics, and whatever.
Why not just complete HS requirements as quick as you can, and then leave?
I still do not understand the mission of Middle School.
Sunday, August 24. 2014
We noted in our piece on Visiting Colleges that responsible parents can decide what their kids need to learn in college, even if they go somewhere with minimal core requirements.
This should not be left to the kids to decide, because 1. It's too important 2. We know better than they do what they need to know to be educated adults with an openness to the richness of life, 3. We should have our own ideas about what we want our own kids to know (eg, any kid who doesn't know basic geology is a bore), 4. Colleges, in their pandering to students, tend to not want to tell them what they need to know, and 5. Who pays the piper calls the tune.
Here's an example of Mom and Pop's Minimum Required College Courses for a Liberal Arts education, regardless of major or interests (these can be met with High School APs or equivalent too):
Math and Science: Math through at least first year calc (BC calc), Statistics, Bio with lab, Physics with lab, Chem with lab, Geology intro, Astronomy
General: History of Western Thought (or Western Civ, or whatever it might be called), Art History Survey, Music History Survey, a political science course, Micro and Macro Economics, a Bible-based Christian Theology course, Intro to Accounting (if you can find something like that in a fancy college. If not, take over the summer at a local college. It will be a huge help to anything a person does in life, including volunteer jobs.)
History: American History, European History, Classical History
Literature: Shakespeare plus 2 other lit courses
This is a minimal foundation for "lifetime learning" and reading. A young person with this foundation ought to be able to discuss almost any subject that comes up - if maybe only superficially - and to know how to learn more about it efficiently when they want or need to do so. Corny but true.
nb: Before you debate me on this, note that these are minimal requirements. You ain't eddicated if you don't know this stuff. Of course, you can get it all at Great Courses.com, cheaper and better and without exams.
Saturday, August 23. 2014
Thursday, August 21. 2014
Wednesday, August 20. 2014
I have never had a super-rich client, but I have dealt with many wills and estates.
Some people say "Die broke." Most prefer to leave something for their kids and grandkids and make some modest sacrifices to do that. There is no "should." People ought to do whatever they want, even if it ruins their kids.
I am completely opposed to any death taxes. They are legal theft, and the money has already been taxed once. When families can accumulate assets over generations, families achieve independence and freedom.
More from McArdle: Money Won't Buy Your Kids a Future
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