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 22. 2024
Will write more later, just an update.
First - finally done with steroids, which has finally left me with my first full evening of sleep! Yay. After 19 days of less than a single 7 hour evening, I got 8 hours, deep sleep and the doctor confirming it was all steroid driven. The steroids were great and limiting physical back issues. Today? Still feeling good but sleepier last night, so all good.
Second, SKM visit today by 11 in NYC. Heading out shortly and 2 sons joining us to have a conversation. No information no knowledge just learning to start. 3 other potential docs to speak with or potentially meet, one in Florida with a very new learning I have and one at Duke College. So conversations will be interesting and needed. High likelihood may be no switches and having to make some choices of who/where/when in about 6 weeks. But right now I'm leaning that we may stick with the current group.
Third, visit from my brother yesterday, just a walk to town and lunch at a diner which was great. Good exercise, but he already knew several people with various versions of my particular result. Most have lost lives already, which is a known, but luckily knows several others who survived for years. Will share more later when I'm back.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:06 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, February 20. 2024
Sunday, February 18. 2024
Not much today on Saturday in terms of activity and effort - snow made that a bit of a delay and reduction for some things.
Two sons and one girlfriend, we took the dog and went to our local brewery. Lions Roar Brewing in Westfield, NJ.
We played some card games. I struggled a bit recovering and understanding the rules, we all had a great game and I guess I was ok.
I tried Red Ale. I didn't want beer originally, but figured why not one small one. I used to brew Red Ale and liked it as an old brewing. Today? Sorry, no taste. It wasn't bad. Just bland. So I drank half, and I guess beer is now done for me. There just wasn't anything I enjoyed. Not sad over that at all.
Continue reading "Drinking, Movies, Fun"
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:43 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, February 17. 2024
Nothing much, really, not today.
One regular physical which actually predated the surgery and current situation. I'd set that a month and a half ago PRIOR to the sudden outcome of 2/2-2/6. The meeting 2/16 with the 29 year old son (who I asked to join me for knowledge and conversation) went VERY well. Could be analyzed as "sad" but I said "Nope - not going for that." The doctor smiled and laughed and said he appreciated my approach which "just remember - anything could happen."
Steroids still IMPROVING my short term health. But may be a short term option until other tests or treatments become straightforward. It will always be engaged if necessary, even if they have no positive outcomes. It's always for a high hope and belief that it may assist.
Sleeping? Still odd. Plenty. At least 6 hours for now (I would only get 6-7 before all this anyway, but usually not as easily then). Today? Great 6 hour deep sleeps but then 4 - 6 am wake ups regardless of when I go to sleep (10-2am varies). A few daily naps of an hour or so. All expected or temporary as my health (doctors' view) improves.
Watching lots of sports (I have been down on Purdue college basketball and football for 2 years. Today? Did a long conversation and review - they are my #1 NCAA choice based on my analysis for college basketball. I was right about them for 2 years. Now? I have a very strong feeling of their play and potential outcome this year. Not my school, but I love reading what I'm seeing and THEY are my #1 belief.)
Music! Love it a lot right now.
Son is an excellent cook and has been prepping food wonderfully (and frankly, I am stunned how delicious everything has been for the last 5 days - wow! I don't know why I'm having GREAT food results.)
People - 99% love, kindness and friendliness. 1% anger, open results, honesty if it's "mean" because I do not care if you choose to be an idiot. One person, very nice guy I like a lot, former drug abuser who was arrested many years ago and cleaned up his life - built a business, he and I became really friendly with. Then, 3 months ago he became aggressive and lied about my sports commentaries. Literally lied and expanded how he responded to my results! At first I was nice about it and boosted the honesty and truth! He pretended to "joke" and called me stupid names. "Arrogant" "Wrong" "Liar of proof" "Don't consider the teams properly or the coaching." UGHHHHH I finally ended by saying he needs to stop being a dumbass. I have the highest respect for people like him who improved their own and other people's lives. I've never supported his teams (Dallas) and have always been open or honest about my responses - no lies. No falsehood. He then made a poorly supported claim about SF and several players - I checked with sports writer friends and I was 100% correct. He called me more names and a "liar" after my surgery. I reminded him I have great information and friends - and what my surgery is or why my outcomes were likely sad. That I RESPECTED AND SUPPORTED HIS PERSONAL IMPROVEMENTS. He again sends an aggressive and 100% incorrect response to me! I told him simply - stop or end our relationship. That's your problem. Nothing I wrote was wrong. He just didn't like it or agree with it and got angry at me for no good reason or an open discussion outside of calling me names. Nonsense. Unnecessary. I hope we regain our caring and friendly stuff. I don't think he knows what reality is - he never did properly, at times.
Sorry everyone if I say anything misspelled or long or incorrect! Please feel free to let me know when I do something improperly! I am sticking with the "I need to keep working on this" approach. Thank you again for prayers, support, happiness and love. You've all been so friendly!
Maybe as my health starts to shift a little, this all slows down or changes. I hope not!
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 04:27 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, February 16. 2024
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:37 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, February 15. 2024
Brief hello and update! Good Morning! This may be long, but I spent a lot of time over the past few days having sports conversations and thinking about my growth and youth. So this may be broad and not overly specific in some ways. It's more of a combination of open conversations with friends who have happily swung by to speak and get together to see if I'm holding my head together and speech well.
I am slowly working on the reading, writing and updating. Will keep things as simple as possible. Some things are actually going way better even today than I'd expected! A few personal family and home things - oof. LOL. Frustratingly slow and asking help as words are struggled or forgotten, and I'm slowly reviving others which work!
Sorry if some of you have, or have families, friends or others who have had similar health issues like mine. I am not trying to make anyone feel bad or feel the need or desire to discuss. If I do speak about my situation in any way, I'm just happy to say what even others in my family have asked me to avoid raising. Mainly because I feel nice openly discussing as i need to work out the details! Hoping for great things as I may need to work through it all!
Continue reading "Sports! Good Morning!"
Wednesday, February 14. 2024
Such a pleasure as I work to recover! I will make one more statement that sounds mean but I'm not afraid to finish this finally, regardless of what anyone replies with. I make so few, but this is so overdue in my life and so damn annoying from the office. Zachriel, who I shall name once because I learned so much about his deep trouble, and his shit and his stupidity, who he is where he is from, his lies, his evil, his deepness that was often overlooked. I have no trouble if his mind is eliminated. He must go. His work is the most evil and I dug up so much about him in my online work, prior to my recent health issues, to know him, without exposing him, and I hope he finally got my recommendation to corporations who insisted delivery of my information. So many people opposed him and I agreed. I feel right to oppose his deep evil. I know he thinks I do NOT know who he is - but I do. I know where he is from, who he is, but I had to, due to the office, keep it all quiet publicly. That's how social groups handle this. But he fell into a range of BS that I had to keep raising because he is deeply evil in my POV and not afraid to lie and be an asshole as a person. So now I won't be the same toward his action. I'm sure someone or he thinks there is more information I don't know. That is incorrect. I'm far more intelligent than he ever knew or admitted. Far more connected, far more knowledgeable and he literally told me once I didn't know about him (or his group as he used to say) when I did. Corporate handling required ME remaining quiet...so I'm being as polite limited as I can. I know everything. He'll say I don't - and he should know he's lying if he doesn't realize it.
No more naming of him. He shall leave and we shall return to happiness and love without the truths I exposed about him.
Now I will share other information because that's my last negativity...I've had several things on a few issues I've had to pressure and move on the last few weeks and now I've told everyone I'm ending that.
Continue reading "Good Morning!"
Wednesday, February 7. 2024
Tuesday, February 6. 2024
Maybe knowledge of Greek, Latin, or whatever old languages would help. What does the word "holy" mean? I guess it sorta means "sacred," but what does that mean, exactly?
Our English bibles are titled "Holy Bible," so it matters. Might be a translation from Latin or Greek or something, but from what? I get that "holy" is a Germanic term, later anglicized by those Anglo-Saxons. It seemed to mean whole or complete or, by extension God-connected in some special way, like Heilige Nacht.
Having been raised Protestant, I do not quite get the ideas of holy or sacred. They feel like kind of pagan terms to me, like the unapproachable statues of Athena or Apollo in Greek temples, or the Holy Cow, and there are the Holy Roman Empire and the Holy Grail and The Holy Land. I guess the ideas I was raised with do not connect much that is material with the transcendent - except Jesus - but what do I know or understand? Not much, but I do appreciate CS Lewis' discussions about imagination and every kind of mental life.
I am not a materialist. I do not understand existence at all but I feel it's beyond normal, or beyond human comprehension.
Help me out, genius readers.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:06 | Comments (25) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, February 4. 2024
Thursday, February 1. 2024
Tuesday, January 30. 2024
Still undergoing renvoation by its Chinese owners. I always enjoyed the 1930s feel. It was a pleasant, elegant place with a good friendly bar.
The project has been mired in difficulty, starting when the holding company owning it was replaced in 2018 by another Chinese holding company. More recently, the chief executive in charge of the Waldorf project resigned after the price tag for the hotel/condo project ballooned to nearly $3B.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:29 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, January 1. 2024
Tomorrow we are out of the official 6 week window from Nov 20 (the earliest the holiday season starts prior to Thanksgiving) to Jan 3 (the latest you can have a work day if Jan 1 falls on a Friday).
Meetings were canceled, postponed, or otherwise put off unless absolutely necessary. Which was pretty common as the end of year approached. Some tasks have to be completed and goals met.
Which isn't to say nothing happens during the 6 week fiesta. There's always work, and I've seen it get pretty busy (this year a lot of firms were sprinting to their year end budgets - almost all coming up short). But it's definitely treated as a mild work period.
Many management comments will basically sound like "We really need to put in some effort these last few weeks to make the budget, but don't forget that the office party is on Tuesday Dec X and you'll need to get your self-evaluation in no later than the 29th of December. Have a great season."
I always worked the week between Christmas and New Year - mainly because most people wouldn't, and it was an easier week. I remember taking those days to go to long lunches and see movies after lunch, then finish up at the office. Working from home takes a bit of that out of the equation, but I still did quite a bit of work last week.
Hope all of you, particularly if you share our points of view, thoughts, or opinions, have a great new year. Which isn't to imply those who don't should have a bad one. I don't wish ill on anyone at all. Some people just have bad years. I've had one or two along the way, and I've always looked for ways to flip that script. I am pretty good at that. There is always someone who injects themselves into your life and just know they have to in order to somehow make your life 'better' or feel like they somehow belong, and they aren't really welcome. They show up anyway and feel like they are doing a service. I work hard to be civil and cut those people out of my life as much as possible. You have to maintain positivity and those people are simply not positive. One of those people, recently, learned something about me which completely altered their view.
They had gone to HR not too long ago and had crafted a story, reporting me. After some angst, HR basically ignored it. That person treated me poorly for a while until taking the time to learn about me. The script has flipped. After a non-apology, I simply said "I don't spend too much time worrying about nonsense. It doesn't move me forward and I try to be optimistic. It pays dividends." Since that time, my work life has become immeasurably better, though busier.
We all have similar experiences and hopefully all of you will take Colin Powell's old comment (which is part of a list of 'rules' I try to employ) that "Optimism is a force multiplier."
Oddly, the list of 'rules' were given to me by one of the most negative, mean, people I ever worked for. I added that comment when another co-worker suggested it as a means of dealing with the list of rules, which are generally very good.
Whatever rules you live by - live well and benefit from them. Just remember, you're not here because you have to make other lives better. If you do, and if they accept it, great and good for you and them.
If all you do is keep showing up and you haven't read the room - maybe there's another room that's better for you and others. Find a way to be beneficial and live better in whatever way works.
A friend of mine recently described the upcoming year as 'tumultuous'. I won't disagree with that description. Despite that, we'll find a way to make it all a good one.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:24 | Comments (11) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, December 29. 2023
For most people, though, that math likely overestimates because due to rural and small towns, social class, religion, castes, etc., there was more inbreeding than the math reflects. Cousins of various sorts,, etc.
I do have the names, approximate addresses (towns), and burial sites of almost all of my ancestors back to around 1600 and some to the mid-1500s. After that, even church records have deteriorated. A DNA check is fun to go way back. I know mine.
Maybe a smart reader can take on this topic.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:32 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, December 21. 2023
As with church, I find feeling confined in a seat difficult. ADHD? Who knows. I am restless. Most of us know Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, but it is interesting to watch the 10-12 musicians. Instead of getting a wall of sound from a recording, it's easier to watch each musician making a sound.
I understand why chamber music was meant to be performed in a room where you can move your chair, maybe talk with somebody, have a cocktail - and not in Alice Tully Hall. You can barely hear the harpsichord in an auditorium.
Regarding brains, how does the bass fiddle guy remember every note to play for 6 Bach concerti? Or everybody else on the music team? It is complicated music.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:05 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, December 20. 2023
Around the HQ, we stick with the un-Yankee, Southern Italian/Sicilian Christmas Eve fast, which means seafood. In past years, I have had the real 7 Fishes with fried baccala, steamed mussels, scungilli, etc etc. A wonderful fish feast which it would be a stretch to term "fasting." The Catholics are very clever with their concept of fasting.
The best-known Sicilian Primi is Pasta Con Sardi - pasta with anchovies (ie small sardines) - what I term Pasta With Minnows aka Pasta with Bait.
What is an "anchovy"? Never, ever use those tinned brown over-salted anchovies that they put on cheap pizzas. Disgusting stuff, cat food for a cat you hate. If you can't get fresh anchovies (they are white) at your local fish market, use the canned white anchovies in olive oil. Tasty. Good Italian markets have good fresh or oiled white anchovy filets.
Here's the recipe. Yes, to be authentic it needs the breadcrumbs. And here's another Vigilia favorite: Fried Baccala Balls. I've also had these with mashed potato in the cod mix to hold it all together. Nothing is more delicious.
Traditionally, you have to have Struffoli for dessert even though I find it inedible.
Truth is, in recent years we just make poached salmon with yogurt-dill sauce, to be ready to serve at room temp. after getting home from church.
Monday, December 11. 2023
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:46 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, December 6. 2023
Yeah, I get a kick out of all such things - including architecture.
OK, last weekend we went to the Picasso show at the MOMA. Wonderful. An easy and interesting one hour. This weekend in NY we checked out the Met Museum's Manet and Degas show on Saturday. Too much, too many masterpieces I've seen in books, and it would have taken 2 hours to get through it with good attention and my natural interest. Yes, it's a very popular show.
And yesterday a 2+ hour Baroque concert at Lincoln Center (Alice Tully Hall). Mind you, Mrs. BD is far more advanced in music and dance than I am, but by intermission she seemed to be fading due to music overdose. (Opera and dance never have that effect on her.)
Here's my point of view: Re visual arts, these were made to decorate churches or, in recent centuries, wealthy homes. You checked out one or two at a time. Nice pictures, but not lined up in museums for the masses. Fun. Re music, it's different because there's all sorts. Pop music with lots of rhythm and repetition is easy but more ambitious music - masses, or symphonies, or long concertos - were not mostly written for 2+-hour performances (except opera). However best in world The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is, after a while you get music-museum brain. Or I do.
Another thing that bugs me about museum art and what I call "museum performances": the reverential attitude. Sure, cool things are precious but if you feel you can't cough it is silliness. Things are made mainly for entertainment and sales. Much as I admire, envy, and respect musicians and musical composers, they would let me cough or make a snarky comment to my wife. It's not church.
I liked this casual painting in the Manet/Degas show: Manet's painting of the Monet family on vacation. The kid looks bored. I do have a spot in my house for that pretty picture, but it's not for sale:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:28 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, December 3. 2023
1950s and today, in Litchfield County. Can't make a living fairy farming in CT now.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:28 | Comments (20) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, November 24. 2023
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:26 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, November 21. 2023
Penn Station is a sort-of terminal in NYC for the Long Island Railroad, AMTRAK, and the New Jersey Transit - all heavily used. One cool - if only 150 years late - is a new stop for the LIRR in Grand Central.
Grand Central Terminal has a total of 67 Metro North tracks serving the New Haven line (to Boston), the Harlem Line (s commuter line to Dutchess Co., NY), and the Hudson Line which connects to Yankee Stadium but mainly goes to Poughkeepsie. There is also a train to Montreal (The Adirondack). It might be AMTRAK - I get confused about all of the lines and destinations because there are so many.
The magnificent old (1910) McKim, Mead and White Penn Station was knocked down in the 1960s. Apparently there were some good reasons to do that . Since I almost never use that station, I am grateful that the also grand Grand Central Terminal, which I use frequently, was saved from the urban renewal wrecking ball. Lifetime of memories there.
I have not seen the new Penn Station (sort of renewed in time for the holidays). What do readers think about it?
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:00 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, November 11. 2023
Spent a great day in NYC, mainly looking at the Picasso Fontainbleau show at MOMA, urban hiking, and getting to one of our favorite lunch places. Readers know that I am a Picasso junkie, and the amount of varied stuff he produced during a 3-month summer vacation is mind-boggling.
However, on our walking we happened to see the crane lowering the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Cool.
City jammed with tourists. All good, mostly.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:04 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, November 6. 2023
Mrs. BD dragged me down to Brooks, cuz moths destroyed my wedding and funeral suit. Plus she wanted my dressing to be up-to-date. Spent a fair amount of money. We do go out quite a bit and I am lazy with clothing because I am not looking to pick up chicks these days and have nobody to impress with clothing except to be appropriate for the occasion.
FYI, they have excellent help and service, and also do bespoke stuff if you want with good Italian wool. She was not entirely satisfied with the fit of the two suits she wanted for me, but the title tells you the response. Yes, well-tailored by their folks, but not perfect like some prosperous people have. Whatever.
Mrs. BD is right - men look their best in well-fitted suits, assuming they are in decent shape. Can say the same for womens' dress, of course.
I'm happy to use this stuff for a wedding, but want no more damn funerals right now. Or my own.
Local Italian men and women look great. That's how you can tell them from the tourists. Not the kids though who try to look American.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:34 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, October 31. 2023
I was about 55 years old the first time I went to Disneyworld. I'd been to Florida and Orlando several times before, but never any of the theme parks. I'd been to Disneyland with my boys while I was in my late 30s. The comparison between California and Florida is stark. Not that Disneyland is bad, if you're into theme parks and Disney in particular. Orlando just offers so much more.
I'm not writing about Disney, though. What I found really intriguing was, when I visited Disneyworld, I was surprised to see how well it has adapted through the years (Disneyland still has work to do to catch up). I realized, upon visiting Epcot, what Disney's original goal was. At a time when long distance travel was rare, and still a luxury, he sought to bring foreign lands and foreign experiences to the United States. As authentic an experience as possible, whether from abroad or from entertainment. Disney hired locals from the regions represented in Epcot, and they continue to do so. In fact, when I was in Britain I met a former pub owner who was one of the first Disney had brought over to run the "authentic" English pub in Epcot. My Italian dinner in Epcot was served by a native of Tuscany.
Continue reading "Some Thoughts on Travel and Authenticity"
Sunday, October 29. 2023
In the Veneto, outside Venice, we stopped by a few Palladio designs around Padua and Vicenza.
This is Villa Foscari (aka Malcontenta) from the back, in the rain. The grander front faces a canal.
When Tomas Jefferson saw Palladio's work, he ripped up his design for Monticello and just copied.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:38 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
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