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
Monday, November 24. 2014
Sunday, November 23. 2014
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:29 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, November 22. 2014
This is a re-post:
One historical detail I picked up in reading Philbrick's wonderful Mayflower is that the Pilgrims only permitted civil marriage ceremonies - no religion involved, and no preacher present.
As Calvinists, the Pilgrims/Puritans/Separatists of colonial New England viewed the Anglican sacraments as Papist, and thus representative of the Anti-Christ - and they meant it. As a consequence, Congregational Churches, the heirs of the Puritan movement, still have no sacraments per se, although many have liberalized (or backslided?) to the extent of doing baptism, communion - and, of course, weddings which, even if not technically sacramental, are viewed as sacred vows. People long for a touch of the sacred and sacramental.
It is fascinating to be reminded that our nation's deepest roots are in Calvinist theocracy: pre-enlightenment, for better or worse. They viewed the Indians as equals (though living in spiritual darkness), but they hung some Quakers in Boston as blasphemers (but mainly tried to just send them away).
They even hung an ancestor of mine, who ran away from her husband and kids in Kingston, Rhode Island and was caught on a trail outside of Boston, headed north. Her crime? She refused to return home. We suspect she was not overly fond of her husband, who had previously been suspected of throwing his first wife overboard on the way to Rhode Island in 1640.
Thursday, November 20. 2014
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:06 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, November 16. 2014
What I am reading now - judge me if you must, but be gentle because there is too much of our culture to keep up with, and it is up to each of us, as a duty, to contain and to transmit all of it that we can. Duty.
The Geography of Nowhere by James Kuntsler (the first half is better than the second)
The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization by Arthur Herman
Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel by David Limbaugh (it's ok, not great but raises plenty of interesting issues to talk about)
The Salt book: Lobstering, sea moss pudding, stone walls, rum running, maple syrup, snowshoes, and other Yankee doings (a good deed to write all that stuff down)
Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics by Charles Krauthammer MD (delightful - can't help but admire that fellow)
On my to-read pile:
The Ruby in her Navel by Barry Unsworth
The Real Nature of Religion by Rebecca Bynum
Your God is Too Small by J. B. Phillips
The Long Ships by Frans Bengtsson
Books maybe of interest:
The Joy of Automotion: Musings From a Vehicular Dilettante by Dale Franks
Where Have You Been?: Selected Essays by Michael Hofman
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:45 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, November 13. 2014
From Violence is Golden:
I'm talking about good casual leather shoes and boots, and dress/dress work shoes. "Casual," of course, is relative.
Well-made examples of these should last a lifetime, and often would except that our feet increase in size somewhat with age (due to gravity).
If cheap shoes are disposable items, that's one thing, but $300-$500+ men's shoes deserve some attention and the custom-built deserve the most, for sure (for example, John Lobb's custom leather shoes cost as much as a lady's fancy handbag).
Guys with fancy jobs wear $1000+ shoes, but I would die first. Lady footwear is beyond my ken, but I overhear things about it from my daughters and it sounds insane to me. With the cost of appropriate womens' shoes you need to be a Saudi to afford your harem. (We had a fun time last year waiting in the Milan airport while Mrs. BD identified the multi-thousand dollar shoes under the black burkhas.)
Hard-work shoes, hunting boots (if resole-able) and athletic shoes (which you throw out when worn out) are different topics.
- Everybody knows that you should never wear the same pair of nice shoes two days in a row. They do not get time to dry out from your foot sweat. I often ignore that rule out of laziness.
- New shoes, I am told, should be polished and maybe waterproofed before wearing.
- Waterproofing is not a bad idea, does not damage or discolor leather (but mink oil does).
- If your feet expand a bit and you want to keep the good old shoes with the patina of age, shoe stretchers do work.
- Rule of thumb (for men's and women's footwear) generally speaking, I think, good shoes are not noticeable except to women and to gay guys but bad or ugly shoes are, and make a bad impression. You have to be either very rich or very powerful to get away with wearing bad or inappropriate clothing.
- Cleaning and shining are not just for appearance. They are for endurance. Pros do a better job (your local shoe man, or those guys in Grand Central Terminal if you ever pass through there and have a spare 20 minutes). It can be a good exercise to do it yourself: The Perfect Shoe Shine
- Good source for shoe care stuff: Shoe Care Supplies.com . Paste stuff is better than the hard waxes, it seems to me. It doesn't take much. The challenge is matching the colors.
Pic is Brooks Brothers' cordovan tassel loafers - for some people they are casual weekend shoes, and for some - like me - they are more like dress shoes but my life does not require dressy tie shoes altho I have one or two. That applies up here in Yankeeland and the Northeast US, anyway, where lizardskin boots would be an affectation and Ralph Lauren things are for wannabes. Choice of dress in general, besides appropriateness and just plain "what you are comfortable with", is part of tribal identification and signaling, like Indian headdresses.
More random shoe topics -
Most comfortable shoes for men and women? Definitely Mephisto. They might not be proper for high-level white collar work, but they are, by far, the best for comfort.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:18 | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, November 12. 2014
Our urban hike just won't go away. Yesterday, Bird Dog posted pics of Trinity Church. Today I'm posting one location we didn't happen to visit. It was on the original agenda, by the time we got to Washington Square, taking a swing west would have added too much time to the walk. Spirits were high, but it seemed too much to ask. There's always next year.
As a young arrival in New York, I was single and had small amounts of cash to spend on entertainment. There were plenty of ways to find that entertainment at South Street Seaport, midtown in some of the (much more expensive) watering holes, Greenwich Village, and even portions of the West Village. In particular, The White Horse Tavern (warning - the full article, if you wish to read it, requires joining the site, but there is plenty in the portion I've linked to) was one of my favorite places to go after work on Thursday and Friday. For some reason, I never stopped in on the weekends.
Continue reading "The White Horse"
A few more pics below the fold -
Continue reading "Trinity Church"
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:00 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, November 11. 2014
Humans are innately tribal, are we not? We have ways of communicating our tribal identifications by dress, manners, comportment, tone of speech, appearance, etc.
People can almost instantly identify a fellow tribesman/woman, and can just as easily tell the real from the fake (eg, Ralph Lauren Polo is fake).
Here's the preppiest website I have ever seen. It's for real, and done by a gal named Muffy: The Daily Prep.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:41 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
Hooray for sexual liberation! Now I can die lonely and poor
I’m 41, Single and Pregnant. Welcome to the New Normal.
She sounds like a 14 year-old, maybe got the numbers reversed
"We should stop putting women in jail. For anything.”
Innocent little things, victims of oppression.
It takes a village
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:09 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, November 9. 2014
Let's first accept that men, especially young men, tend to be hormonally sexually alert and curious most of the time. Flirtatious too, when feeling confident. Doesn't that mean that the catcalls and other uninvited words simply come down to a matter of manners?
Here's a related question:
A good and mannerly young fellow on the subway finds himself standing next to a young lady who is reading Jane Austen. Cupid's arrow strikes him. From her appearance, her movements, etc. he feels that this is the girl God has made him for and he can't keep his eyes off her.
Should he say "How do you like the book?" Or should he decide not to be taken as a creep, let it pass, and kick himself for a month for passing up what might have been a life-changing opportunity to meet the woman of his dreams?
Friday, November 7. 2014
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:03 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, November 5. 2014
Tuesday, November 4. 2014
No, I am not talking about intelligent design and all that. Also, I understand that evolutionary theories (of which there are several) say nothing about "progress," just adaptation to current conditions. It's just that I find the science and the logic of it all puzzling.
So did the fine essayist Stephen Jay Gould. I enjoyed this, but had to read it twice: Challenges to Neo- Darwinism and Their Meaning for a Revised View of Human Consciousness
Sunday, November 2. 2014
What are the three primary colors? This is fun: 5 Science 'Facts' That Are Plain Wrong
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:18 | Comments (5) | Trackback (1)
Saturday, November 1. 2014
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:37 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, October 30. 2014
More info on the topic: We Are All Confident Idiots. A quote:
You think you cannot appreciate art music. Well, you have not been properly introduced. Pop music needs little introduction but art music does because we do not automatically know our way around it. You know your way around a Lacrosse field (and so do I - played it like a redskin, lost a tooth).
This is an excellent intro, much better than I got in college: The 30 Greatest Orchestral Works. Readers know how much we love Bob Greenberg. My Mom loved him too. Buy it, or ask me to lend you my copy (which is actually on loan from a friend with whom we exchange Great Courses).
The Great Courses is one of the most life-enriching things we know of. We generally do one session of some course every evening.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:39 | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, October 29. 2014
Tuesday, October 28. 2014
Seems like everybody wants to be a therapist or counselor these days.
Everybody has problems of various degrees, and indeed sometimes it is helpful to talk it over with a trusted person. I have no problem with Biblical counseling. Anybody in a "helping profession" needs to know his limits and needs to be humble about his capacities.
My guess is that biblical counseling as some form of psychotherapy (as opposed to help with relationship to God which I would call Pastoral Counseling) can be most helpful for those whose guilt is honestly come by. By that I mean people who have every reason to feel troubled by guilt and remorse because they have done wrong, have not earned self-respect or earned a feeling of deserving God's love (which is another complicated topic). In other words, non-neurotic guilt.
Monday, October 27. 2014
Henri was a founder and one of the better known members of the Ashcan School, along with several others who were known as the "Philadelphia Four." Among these four artists was Everett Shinn. Everett felt one of our tour stops, Washington Square, was the "most beautiful place in New York."
It certainly is a wonderful place, vibrant and active on nice days. Shinn caught its beauty on a wet and windy night, as well.
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