We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, May 22. 2015
Tuesday, May 19. 2015
For finish coats on refinished or freshly done wood, Sippican recommends this stuff. It's what he used as a finish for his furniture: Deft clear finish.
I always listen to him. As an old-timey Yankee traditionalist, I figgered he'd go for for waxes or oils which I prefer on my gunstocks, but he likes a couple of coats of that Deft stuff, sprayed or brushed. I will not use polyurethane on furniture as my religion forbids it but that's not polyurethane. It's a lacquer.
I am still contemplating how to finish one of our old oak rustic, wide-board family dining tables which I sanded, steel-wooled, and stained. Why do that? Drink and other stains, and 90 years of grime, food, wax, dust, and dead mouse excretions. And rustic enough that I could not screw it up badly. Would never dare touch fine furniture. Maybe I'll use the
No rush. We have tables! Just no time to siddown.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:47 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
A friend sent this pic from Colorado yesterday. He was visiting Denver to see family, heard some slopes were open, rented some skis and boots and skied in his jeans. Arapahoe Basin.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 04:38 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, May 18. 2015
Cosmology has been on a long, hot streak, racking up one imaginative and scientific triumph after another. Is it over?
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:49 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, May 17. 2015
First time I've seen him interviewed. He is discussing destructive cultural trends.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:00 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Trying to learn about this. Linseed oil seems like a real pain, and pure Tung does too (diluted Tung seems easier to work with, but I know nothing).
Among other things I learned, 1) never use anything on a good piano and 2) that spray shine stuff is terrible for wood.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:52 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Sgt. Keller: Yeah, when he says that, you're not supposed to choose "get out of the way." It's supposed to embarrass you into leading - or at least following.
Pvt. Joe Bowers: That doesn't embarrass me.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:44 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
A wife comes home late one night, arriving early from being out of town and quietly opens the door to her bedroom. From under the blanket she sees four legs instead of two. She reaches for a baseball bat and starts hitting the blanket as hard as she can.
Once she's done, she goes to the kitchen to have a drink. As she enters, she sees her husband there, reading Maggie's Farm.
"Hi, Darling", he says, "Your parents have come to visit us, so I let them stay in our bedroom."
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:05 | Comments (0) | Trackback (1)
Here. A true New Yorker.
Here's the history of the Pratt Institute.
His story reminds me of Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel. I think I read that book out loud 200 times. Mrs. BD has it memorized, just like Good Night, Moon, Hungry Caterpillar, etc.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:12 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Another place where I imagine that I could happily live (were it not for my kids, my work, my church, our friends, our clubs, etc) - Nonquitt, MA
An Indian name, of course, but it's a good name in English too. Gen. Philip Sheridan's summer house was there. It's a waterfront village in the town of Dartmouth, MA.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 04:45 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, May 16. 2015
From the article:
I think this is far less true today than in the past. However, admission to a highly-elite school demonstrates something of value and speeds up the vetting process. My advice: Save your admissions letters but go somewhere you can afford.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:18 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
A cafe with some turbinado sugar and a Marlboro menthol or two. A while ago. I cannot spend too much time looking at (very pleasant) pottery and chicks' bespoke Capri sandals (quickly made for your own foot by sandalmen in the back of the shops with decoration of your choice). Better for me to sit and watch the pretty people passing by.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 04:57 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, May 14. 2015
The Economics of Tidying Up: An Economist Reads Marie Kondo. “People are wrong when they think that pair of jeans will ever fit again, Kondo is arguing. Optimistic predictions keep people from getting rid of things they don’t need.”
We adhere to the two-year rule except for jewelry, art, firearms, and heirlooms.
Wednesday, May 13. 2015
The guy who made Harlem black once tried to make a black amusement park there. Over 800,000 people are buried there: New York City's Island of the Dead
I'd recommend burning the mystery dead in the future, destroying the buildings, restoring the marshes, and making this unique spot a nature preserve like Jamaica Bay, as part of the Gateway National Park system. The guys from Rikers can do that work for us, as it seems to be their favorite work assignment (and rightly so).
I would be happy to plan it all, for free. I am sure the mayor checks Maggie's on a daily basis for our advice and guidance.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:34 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, May 12. 2015
I do not mean to disparage real boot camp - that is just what the trainers here named this program for middle-aged people, but they also modify it for young athletes and older folks. No comparison of course with real USMC or US Army boot camp which is full-time and not for those over 40.
As I posted before, my program is designed for my expressed goals - overall conditioning and endurance/fitness first, strength maintenance and improvement second, and fat loss third. I am not overweight despite a little pudge I do not need and which, honestly, does not look like my old self that I know and liked despite never having been muscular but slim and plenty athletic. My trainer is very attentive to my limits - and seems to sense when I can go further than I think. I like to push to muscle failure on my third sets to teach me humility and because I like to feel the burn. OK, OK, I am a weakling!
'He wants to leave me feeling like a wet noodle.
2 days/week focus on strength with "active recovery" (30 second rest or a 2-minute "rest" on bike), and one day/week is full-body exertion which he terms "functional" (eg medicine balls, steps, etc). It's a killer. As I say, aerobic is intrinsic to the constant exertion with minimal rests.
I have just been promoted to being required to add 18 minutes of high-resistance elliptical, rower, bike, or fast treadmill, as tolerated, for my off-days. Mix and match, just a few intense minutes of each. Until now, I really did need a full day off to recover from the high-pressure stuff. They call it "waking up your body," and it takes a month or so of high demand. When he thinks I am ready, he will add a bit more to off-day demands but not too much. I can do it - I am always up at 4:30 AM so I have time.
His food program is 3-4 quite small high-protein meals/day with one fruit snack. I won't do that fruit. He says we American eat far more than we need and I agree. He wants to get rid of fat and build muscle - not big muscle, just useful muscle. By a meal, he means like 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs, or 2 slices of meat with some vegs, or a cup of yoghurt with fresh fruit on top, or a few a few slices of cheese with salsa or Greek olives, and so forth. It is spartan but high-protein, and not for the long-term. I have stuck with it with rare exceptions. If you are paying for advice and direction, take it or quit it. Mrs. BD is on the same program.
After 4 weeks, how do I feel? Good. Tired. The good kind of tired. Losing 6 lbs. per month and do not have much more fat left to lose. My posture is much better. My stride is more vigorous. I get less out of breath during exertion. My heart gets a good workout. My appetite is way down, and I only want smaller amounts of tasty things. Not to sound new-agey, but I sort-of feel "in my body" more than before. I feel muscle and bones moving when I am moving and I mostly always ignored feeling their activities. That's cool. After another month of this, I hope for another ramp-up of that interesting feeling of physical connection and energy. Most of my life, I have been more in my head with body as a necessary accessory which only came in handy for fun sports and etc.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:32 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, May 10. 2015
Surber's American stories are inspirational and great fun. Sometimes I wonder whether, in retrospect, that war against Parliament really needed to be fought. Feel same way about the US Civil War/War Between the States. Maybe I am an outlier, though.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:15 | Comments (21) | Trackbacks (0)
A business and life classic: The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu Goldratt
Highly recommended. It is a novel about management. Management is a tricky business, which is why I try to avoid it as much as I can.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:02 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on my list.
(more below the fold)
Continue reading "Paraprosdokians"
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 09:53 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
We posted about Armenia this week. Armenia is a mountainous nation. It is said that Noah's ark grounded on a mountaintop there. The Caucasus mountains.
It's the area whence Caucasian carpets. Of all of the varieties of "oriental carpets" (ie Middle Eastern,) it's the Caucasians which most intrigue us at the BD homestead. The antiques, hand-loomed with vegetable dyes are the only ones really worth having, and they come so costly that people often hang them on walls. Folk art.
They were only made in small sizes, always smaller than 5'X8'. As with any type of valuable antique "oriental" carpet, you can only find them in the US and Europe. Not in the Middle East. Today, like 100 years ago, they were made in the villages for export.
Photo is a cool antique Kazak carpet in perfect shape. Would you want to step on that with your work boots? I'd guess you could own that small one for between $6-10,000. We can't afford this stuff but it's fun to look at.
I have a few more modern imitations for high-traffic places and you can tell the difference instantly.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 04:40 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, May 9. 2015
On sale at Great Courses: The Nature of Matter: Understanding the Physical World
Minimal math needed.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:50 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, May 8. 2015
It may be a phony Capitalist commercial day invented by Hallmark to sell their stupid cards, but we Americans are generally forced to observe it now. That's ok, but every day should be Mother's Day (and Father's Day too). It's #6 in God's Ten Suggestions.
We'll have 3 mothers here for lunch, along with misc. other family. I'm cooking of course, but maybe a daughter or two will lend a hand. Darn well had better do, with 10 or so of us here.
My simple rustic American menu:
Grill: A few fat one-and-a-half-inch thick Costco ribeyes - or maybe butterflied lamb
Creamed spinach and/or grilled vegetables with olive oil. (I usually grill onions, sweet peppers, yellow and green squash, mushrooms, maybe some asparagus or eggplant, and toss in a bowl with oil, basil, parsley, and salt and pepper.)
A Trifle for dessert, with Bird's Pudding (but no sherry, rum, or Riesling to flavor the Pound Cake - makes it better but we have some careful teetotalers and kids). Somehow, I have two large English glass trifle bowls. (For a very large crowd, a punch bowl works well but it takes a lot of stuff to fill a punch bowl and it doesn't really fit in the fridge, so for over 15 people best to use individual stemmed glasses)
Strawberry, Blueberry, Kiwi, Raspberry, Banana is my plan. A good few hours in the fridge is good for a trifle.
Tuesday, May 5. 2015
From Dalrymple via Driscoll's The welfare state has led to remarkably similar trends among the white underclass in England over the same period via Sowell's The Inconvenient Truth about Ghetto Communities’ Social Breakdown:
I get the point, but I disagree. Just as with those who inherit a living, some would rise to the challenge and some would not bother. Being poor and in the chronically-dependent class does not always mean lacking in character, pride, and intelligence resources (although it clearly often does). Nobody in America today is as poor as Abe Lincoln was.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:30 | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)
The nation has a complex and fascinating history. Most recently, they had been part of the Soviet Communist Empire. They were the first nation-state to embrace Christianity as a national religion in around 300 AD. They have the oldest cathedral in the world. They speak Armenian, and have the Armenian alphabet. There are roughly 11 million Armenians; 3 million in Armenia and the rest in Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan - and a huge population in the New York City area where most Armenians in the world, outside Armenia, live.
The latter are not all rug (rug - not drug) dealers, but it seems to be an Armenian specialty. Names usually end in -ian. I'll post on Caucasian rugs (mostly from what is now Armenia) later.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:20 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, May 3. 2015
I am grateful for these high energy, botanically-knowledgeable guys doing the work which, apparently, Americans do not want to do. It is highly pleasurable to feel effective on a large scale.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:01 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
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