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
Sunday, August 30. 2015
TE Lawrence's 7 Pillars would be on my list. It's sort-of a novel.
The twenty greatest English-language novels
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:43 | Comments (17) | Trackbacks (0)
Reposted from a recent March
Cabo is famous for the fishing, but we were out for meat as much as for sport and, as I mentioned, we are not really into hassling the big fish from the big boats anymore. Leave them fish alone!
We set out early with Carlos in his super-ponga to find "Sierra" - Sierra Mackeral (similar to the Atlantic Spanish Mackeral, but larger) - for dinner for ten invitees. We needed the meat but good sport is always the bonus.
I always say, "Huntin' and fishin' ain't shopping." It's a risk to invite people before catching the fish, but it's never failed for me. The Lord provideth the tortillas and the fishes. We caught 8 but really only needed 6, so had leftovers for breakfast. (We Yankees believe in fish for breakfast.)
Being lazy and on vacation, we brought our 8 cleaned and skinned mackeral over to Solomon's Landing on the marina to prepare it for us all for dinner six hours later. Since we supplied the fish, it wasn't a big expense except for the cocktails.
It was a good dinner party. Margueritas the size of bathtubs. Here was the result at 7 pm that evening -
First course: Sierra Ceviche - the best ceviche I have ever had in my life. Sierra is said to be the best fish in the world for ceviche, and I cannot dispute that. I could live on Sierra Ceviche and Margueritas:
After the dynamite ceviche, they brought platters of our Sierras cooked three ways - chef's choice: Fried with coconut, baked with capers, olives and peppers, and baked Rockefeller style (like Oysters Rockefeller) - all wonderful Mexican cooking:
Story and pics below the fold -
Continue reading "Catching dinner for ten on the Sea of Cortez, with a pesky fish-stealing Sea Lion"
Thursday, August 27. 2015
Yes, it is as dangerous, or more dangerous, than drunk driving
How to Stay Awake on the Road: Tips to Combat Drowsy Driving. Those are some reasonable ideas, especially the quick nap in the car or a stop with a little walk. If it's a frequent problem that you have, and you need to drive long distances often, you might persuade your doc to prescribe some low-dose amphetamine or adderal for the purpose. That's what truck drivers do. Call it "Driving Narcolepsy."
It is odd, isn't it, that when you arrive at destination you can feel just fine?
I had been hearing how good it is for a while, so I have been giving them a try.
There are two versions of Crossfit - the Fitness version (general full-body fitness - "functional movements at high intensity") and the Sport (the cultish, extreme, heavy weight-lift) version. I do the Fitness version. It is a tough, exhausting group workout where people of all ages (I see age 16 to age 80) and all levels of fitness (fat ladies) do the same thing like a team, but each at his or her own level of ability.
In one of the sessions I like to go to, we have a blind guy. Also, a guy who had a stroke, and a couple of guys who have had heart attacks. It is good fun, bonding, and everybody helps and supports each other. It is also inexpensive, and a good place to meet gals. One of the cool things about the program is that you never know what they will have you doing. It's varied, so it stays interesting and challenging.
It has been surprising to me how quickly your body can respond to these sorts of demands. There are now 10,000 Crossfit "boxes" in the US.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:53 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:10 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, August 26. 2015
The New York senator was right—and not only about black families.
It was more black families 50 years ago, now the decay has expanded.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:43 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Walter Isaacson: Walker Percy’s Theory of Hurricane:
"The problem with storms is that they pass."
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:47 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, August 25. 2015
On Saturday morning, we'll be kayaking through the vast Nauset Marsh, checking out the wildlife, communing with the marsh gods, and getting a moderate workout for a few hours. It's a maze, easy to get lost when you can't see over the marsh grasses.
Everybody understands that water wants to kill you.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:16 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, August 23. 2015
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:17 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, August 22. 2015
Mrs. BD swam her daily laps, I didn't because my Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome - caused by my enthusiastic workout efforts - makes swimming too painful. If you workout hard, you will get aches and pains. Anyway, I did my cardio early this morning and am still stumbling around. I splashed in the salt water for a while, and worked on growing some skin cancers from the beneficial solar radiation. I dislike swimming in fresh water anyway. Grew up in salt water, even a salt water pool.
I overheard 2 languages from my beach chair. One was French and the other was Cute American Teen Girl (which is closely-related to High Gay Dialect).
Meanwhile, NYC daughter and boyfriend went out for a long sail with our pup on board. They said the pup enjoyed it until they grounded the keel on a rock. It was insensitive of me, later, to remind them that I have all of the charts. Always consult a chart in unfamiliar waters. Sheesh.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:37 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Best car ride ever filmed: C'était un rendez-vous by Claude Lelouch
Cherchez la femme. What is he driving up to Montmatre? Great film, but an excellent fake by a fine film maker. The truth ruins it, so do not watch the part after the rendez-vous.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:32 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, August 21. 2015
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:07 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, August 20. 2015
I keep learning more about exercise physiology. A few thoughts:
- Strength training and cardio go hand-in-hand because without increasing strength, one can't accomplish the effort and apply the power needed for intense cardio. I do resistance 2/wk, mixed cardio-resistance 1/wk, and cardio 3/wk (that's for 2015, not forever).
- Walking, hiking, jogging, recreational biking and swimming, and most sports are not cardio exercise unless you are in cardiac rehab. They are just applications of your fitness. Of course, the whole purpose of a fitness pursuit is to have something to apply vigorously in real life. I think of it like learning math: You internalize this hard thing so you can do that other thing that you really want or need to do. Like hike up Mt. Greylock or Mt. Washington, or ski all day with good control, kayak a few miles, etc.
- Cardio workouts have to be as intense and powerful as possible. It seems that plodding along is not worth the time unless you are in your 80s or 90s. Intervals are best, probably. As the trainer said, if you can talk you aren't working it and if you are not dripping and stumbling you didn't do it.
- If you are not too fit or strong, I think difficult cardio builds some degree of strength along with the endurance and the heart challenge/stress it provides. In other words, "cardio" is not pure cardio at all for most of us ordinary schlubs.
- Around 30 minutes is enough. Many cardiologists say 20 minutes 2-3X/wk is good. I do 3X for now. When up to 30 mins, you just increase the intensity, challenge, and power-required in the same time box. That's efficient, because you have a job and a family. It's not time - it's intensity. I am at 30 mins and working on increasing difficulty, stress, and intensity each week.
- I like to mix up a cardio session to keep it interesting. As long as there are no breaks at all between things, that works to maintain an elevated heart rate and pushes the fatigue envelope to the limit. Gotta jump quick between things. I think my ideal lunatic cardio morning would be 15 mins elliptical intervals, 20 fast heavy ball smashes and 20 fast mini-squats with low-weight mil. lifts done twice, then 15 min intervals on inclined treadmill. Finish up and rest with a one-minute plank of some sort. That will leave me pooped and panting for a while, and ready for the day. I would mix in a row but it inflames my back and hip flexors the same way sit-ups do.
- When I am done, I go home and have a well-salted hard-boiled egg for breakfast. A little protein, just in case. Trainer says to have 2, but one egg is all I want. Plus coffee, an Advil, and a cigar of course. Rewards. And Mrs, BD says "Whoa - lookin' good. How do you feel?" "Tired."
Wednesday, August 19. 2015
As I mentioned previously, my fitness goal is not body-building per se, just overall fitness for life. No real weight-loss goals. Strength-building is necessarily part of it, but balance, posture, and endurance for stressful activity is more important to me for things like steep hill hiking, 2 hrs of singles tennis, hunting in deep snow with weighty boots, rock-hopping in trout streams, lugging heavy stuff, kayaking, chain-saw juggling, and churning out morning links on Maggie's.
I am now into my 5th month. In middle-age, it takes a while to adapt to intense new demands, to ramp up - and I was in worse shape than I realized. I am developing muscles where I had never had them in my life (eg triceps, lats). I do barbell squats, bench presses, dead lifts, barbell work, and all of it. I have aches and pains where I never had them, too, so my guy has to find ways to accommodate that (damn Piriformis Syndrome, damn old shoulder injuries). My grey Brooks suit is getting tight in the shoulders. As I have reported, it's still 3 days/wk with sadistic trainer, and 3/days/wk doing whatever cardio etc he asks me to do. Since I pay him, I try to do whatever he says.
Mrs. BD is doing a similar program with the same fine fellow, but I head out at quarter to 5 am and she goes at 7. She is supplementing her program with some sort of impossible yoga which she loves (I term Yogurt) 3/wk, in the evening. It's isometric and I could never do it. Holding a headstand for 3 minutes? Two minutes of Down Dogs (is that s sexual pose)? Holding a squat for minutes?
Trainer has advised me to up my carbs a bit due to my workouts, no more wt. loss, but I'd like to eliminate another 4-5# of disgusting mid-body Daddy-lard if possible. Vanity. I am about 12# down in pudge and maybe 4# up in muscle.
My favorite day is Fridays, my day for Total Body Break-down for one hour, combo cardio and resistance, no rest except a few seconds for water. Crossfit-style. Destroy Bird Dog to the point that he can not walk or lift a Dunkin coffee cup without shaking. When you catch your breath 2 or 4 hours later, you feel pretty mellow but are ready for a nap in the sunshine.
Bonus fitness tips:
Core strength and fitness. Do it right with tight butt-cheeks and tight belly, pulling belly-button into your spine. 47 fun plank variations:
True, sit-ups, crunches, and crunch machines can hurt your back and hip flexors. Planks can't. Take it from one who knows - me. I will never do those again. Just plank varieties.
To you exercise-doubters: I am with you, sort-of. Fitness does not extend life, is sort-of narcissistic, and all that. All that I can say is that it's a cool and highly-demanding adventure for somebody like me who is trapped in his head and lacks enough outlets or time for productive, difficult physical labor. First World issues. You feel stronger and good to be in fighting shape.
I had tons of Higher Ed. This is my Phys Ed.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:32 | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, August 17. 2015
She is excellent: Janice Fiamengo explains why she’s happy to be called an “anti-feminist”
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:25 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, August 16. 2015
Used Uber twice today in NYC. One time, driver took 3 minutes to show up. Second time, one minute. It's like having your own black car. Cars spotless, new, a/c blasting. Drivers polite. Cheap too.
And speaking of cultural interests and highbrow, lowbrow, and all that, I should mention how packed the Metropolitan Museum of Art was today. You even had to stand in a line to leave.
Rambling here, but, speaking of the Met, last time we went was to see the Sargent show. Went to look at something else today. However, our NYC friend has a link up about Carmencita who Sargent did a stunning portrait of. A Spanish dancer captivates 1890s New York.
Watch her dance. Good grief. I can't dance a lick, but I can dance better than she could.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:47 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, August 15. 2015
Pop culture tends low-brow because that is where most peoples' tastes run, whether in food, music, pictures, reading, architecture, style, etc. The big money is in lowbrow mass market. That's fine.
It's not really an economic class thing although it might correlate in some ways. I consider myself solidly middle-brow, but have tried to educate my appreciation and enjoyment of the finer things all of my life. I may be partly limited by my IQ and by my imagination. I suppose we all have tastes that sometimes run the gamut. I love the Beatles and I love Bach.
Hillary Clinton had herself photographed lunching at Chipotle to indicate that she can relate to lowbrow tastes. That was just once. Where does she usually lunch without the press? Not Chipotle or McDonalds, I am sure. She looks well-fed.
I'd consider T.S. Eliot to be a highbrow. From A Culture Warrior Contemplates Defeat:
A Culture Warrior Contemplates Defeat
I am not alarmed. High culture is alive and well. Silent snobbery is good, but spoken snobbery is snotty and you have to be careful because some people with proletarian tastes are darn smart and just unilluminated. Well, sometimes snobbery is appropriate. During the Renaissance, 99% of Western people were illiterate peasants who never heard of Michelangelo. Admittedly, they had some exposure to fine things if they went to a cathedral, but they never did - or maybe one pilgrimage in their life. I try to remember that Verdi was the rock star of his time, far from "high culture". How many Greeks studied Plato?
There are cultural elites just as their are elites in every other arena of life. We ordinary people rely on our elites for many good things.
Two highbrows talking on TV. Right-wing neanderthal dude on the left played Bach on the harpsichord to relax at his seaside home in Stamford, CT. and had a pianny on his sailboat. If you are too young to know, Bill Buckley and Gore Vidal:
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:39 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
When you visit Vienna, pick out, in advance according to Bird Dog's Museum Rules, what you want to see in a museum in one hour - and then leave and go to a cafe for a vino or a Vienna caffe, and walk around.
Last time we went, we just saw the Peter Breugel rooms in the Kunsthistorishes Museum. Worth the trip to Vienna and the climbs up the marble stairs. The wealthy Viennese loved those Dutch painters. Me, Mrs. BD, and lad. Another day, a daughter and I did the Belvedere while others did other things. We two had a fine day together, as she had figured out the train system in minutes and is loads of fun to explore with. Adventurous. We even visited Freud's apartments. Nice.
(My wife and kids are so adventurous, I just tie my sneakers and follow them. I love their company, but I think I am naturally more of a lazy cafe person. I rely on them all to enrich my life.)
Now they have a show of their 16th C tapestries. Faden der Macht. I'd like to see it but Vienna again is not on our 2-year Master Plan. We need to plan one or two more total-family parental trips before we grow old. Cape Cod, Tuscany, Provence.
Friday, August 14. 2015
Here. They think it's pregnant.
Are Great Whites edible? Makos are delicious.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:14 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Mrs. BD and I have birthdays only days apart. Leos. I gave her a pair of Le Chameau that she wanted for fall and winter, and she gave me a set of Harry's shaving equipment. German blades. I can never find the right shaving stuff, so, good. I'll try not to look homeless altho I don't really care too much. Hope I do not slice my jugular or cut my head off.
Seems that Harry's now has a barbershop on MacDougall St. I have plenty of hair with a touch of grey.
Then I took her out for dinner to her favorite place. Heck, I like Northern Italian, Mezzican, Indian, Thai, Jap, Chinese, BBQ, etc. etc, but for Occasions it has to be fine French. And it has to be damn good, because for spiritual and dietary reasons we are abstaining from vino at present - but fine Frog food sucks without vino and, furthermore, I do not enjoy recreational eating anymore anyway. It's not about the food on the table; it's about the people on the chairs.
- Their amuse bouche du jour was a little slice of mallard-scallion spring roll with a gibier reduction in droplets
Memorable supper. Happy wife, happy life. Funny detail: Turned out that we each had made reservations there for the same night at the same time as a treat for each other.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:08 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, August 13. 2015
Wednesday, August 12. 2015
Tuesday, August 11. 2015
In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education—and mental health.
It has little to do with coddling. It's letting the lunatics run the asylum, by submitting to their bullying. Nobody believes all of this nonsense.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:51 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Growing kids need breakfast. Adults do not, except athletes. A coffee and maybe a smoke is perfect, same as the Italians do.
If you listen to government experts, you can bet you'll be wrong every time: Gov’t recommendations on breakfast were based on basically nothing, probably wrong
I love a good diner breakfast (pancakes, bacon, fried eggs, hash browns with ketchup, white toast) about once a month, but I don't need it. It just makes me tired and useless. My trainer forces me to eat a hard-boiled egg after my morning work-out, so I do that.
Quote via reader:
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts."
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:55 | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, August 9. 2015
The sleek, no-frills esthetic of Modernism and the gray-flannel ’50s both influenced the utilitarian mindset that dictates the rules of usage in ‘The Elements of Style.’
For better or worse, I was raised on S&W. Dad made me read it in 6th Grade and quizzed us on word usage. White privilege, I spose.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:34 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
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