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, January 28. 2015
There are several ways, all good.
A nice cashmere scarf like that one from Paul Stuart is fine, but one knitted by one's Mom, girlfriend, or wife is better no matter what it looks like.
Hat, scarf, gloves - ready to go do anything.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:40 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, January 22. 2015
Watch What Happens When a Firefighter Straps a GoPro to His Helmet (h/t, Insty)
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:42 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, January 21. 2015
Re our post on memory this week, this from the WSJ:
Posted by Gwynnie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:24 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, January 20. 2015
The (no math) science of fire
He included this oldie but goodie in his post:
Beechwood fires burn bright and clear
Oaken logs, if dry and old
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:47 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, January 18. 2015
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:42 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
I read somewhere that Bob Dylan (a self-described "song and dance man") once tried to meet a girl in front of NYC's Metropolitan Museum by asking her "D'ya want to come in with me to look at some pretty pictures?"
Cute, and right. Better than "Come up and see my etchings." The young woman in question, if I recall the story right, said "No, thanks" to the scruffy little guy.
Like most people, I do not know what art means. It's maybe a useless word. "Craft" is a very useful word. "Creative" is a useless word unless applied to Michelangelo, Picasso, or Shakespeare, but even then I dislike the word.
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 04:44 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, January 17. 2015
Friday, January 16. 2015
Thursday, January 15. 2015
It has always seemed grandiose to me, but I understand that Frankl needed to find some purpose or reason to hang on, as do most people in prison camps. In the end, he produced a work which is inspiring to many.
It's easier for me, with an ordinary life, to get my mind around the search for simpler things like money, good food, romance, being useful, raising kids, living with integrity, being a good friend and spouse, and the like. When it comes to ultimate meaning, I'll go with Jesus and won't presume to invent my own. I am not smart or inspired enough to do that even if I wanted to.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:22 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, January 14. 2015
Pic shows a pretty cup from our everyday set, a regular logo mug, a demitasse cup from my Grandpa's set which we are using for espresso now, a good old Dunkin medium styrofoam cup, and a coffee cup aka teacup.
Mrs. BD assures me that "coffee cups" like the Cuthbertson Christmas cup in my photo are actually teacups. I do not like to drink coffee from those things, because it's too delicate and precious, does not hold enough, and gets cold too fast.
What sort of thing do you like to drink your coffee or tea from?
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:53 | Comments (26) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, January 13. 2015
We linked about the failing Scandinavian welfare states this morning. We all know that everybody from China to NYC considers them contented blond cattle, weak wards of the State. Until the recent Muslim invasion, they were homogenous, all cousins.
Clearly, the Viking spirit is long gone, and the testosterone levels have dropped to the point that their males are now considered the least masculine and most risk-averse in the world - and that includes the Italians.
America is not Europe. America has no history of respect or trust in government, a history of defiance of the State, no history of serfdom, no homogeneity at all. And except for the (fortunate, in retrospect) Africans sold by their brethren and the Muslim slavers into slavery to Americans, America's traditions are based on its eager settlers, pioneers, and immigrants and are all about "leave me alone."
JFK spoke for all immigrants with his "Ask not..." speech, which stood in bold contrast to the Euroland of his time and, perhaps, in contrast to some of America today. As we say, America was not made for sissies, but for the few and the brave. Not for farm animals.
In the past week I have seen that spirit alive and well in three Hispanic immigrants and one Haitian, These four are here to try to mold their dreams and want nothing from anybody - just freedom to do their thing. In these people, I see my Polish grandfather's immigrant spirit.
He worked in an aircraft engine factory, saved every penny for 20 years, raised three sturdy athletic kids on beans, learned to speak, read and write English at night school, bought a farm, and the tough old SOB farmed it until the day he died at 82. Dairy. Also, chickens and eggs. Dug a big farm pond (pre-EPA) with a neighbor's bulldozer and filled it with catfish and white ducks and geese for special-occasion dining. Grandma would grab them, chop their heads off, gut them and feather them, and throw their feet and heads to the barn dogs to fight over.
Plenty of people, including our European forefathers, wonder if we are nuts not to want the soft life. They just don't know what they are missing. They are the benighted ones whose lack of vigor and pride are repeatedly proven. They won't even stand up for their culture anymore.
Sunday, January 11. 2015
Thursday, January 8. 2015
I always wondered whatever happened to organ grinders. I'd never seen one in the US, except on cartoons or in old movies. I saw quite a few when I lived in London in 1983 (I have a picture of a particularly colorful one). I had no idea LaGuardia outlawed them, or his reasons for doing so. With the swipe of a pen, he outlawed a form of employment (beats the hell out of other forms of begging, if you ask me). But you can be assured, it was in the "best interest of the people" (and the monkeys!). I'm certain this is precisely how Mayor Bill feels about horse carriages. His views are the only ones that matter because nobody else really cares about those poor horses, right? It's in our best interest, of course. Below is a picture of one of the last legal organ grinders in NYC.
Tuesday, January 6. 2015
Monday, January 5. 2015
Late church on Christmas Eve was a miracle, as always. Tears of course. We brought mostly the whole team along, as always. Gals' boyfriends, etc. Gave each of our pastors a good Christmas hug after because they deserve it.
Photo is the car in my driveway at Christmas. Darn - not from Santa - it was a daughter's boyfriend's wheels. Disappointing, but I did get Christmas socks, and good ones, along with the espresso machine from my in-laws which I wanted but really have no space for. Some rare, fancy stinky cheeses too. Simple pleasures.
Married too long? Mrs. BD and I gave each other the same gift by complete chance. We had already planned out our 2015 travel/vacation sched a while ago, but I gave her an additional "5 Days Anywhere You Want in March." She gave me 5 days in rustic and wild Dominica rain forests in March for birdwatching, diving, swimming, hiking, and snorkeling. Not the DR, Dominica.
Who wrote the best bird ID book for the West Indies? James Bond. That's where Ian Fleming got the name for his famous character!
Christmas Day dinner for 20 or so went just great, and I made it all myself to give Mrs. BD a break from the holiday season craziness, parties, gifts, etc. Fireplaces blazing nicely. Crown Roast of Pork with stuffing, Corn Pudding, Applesauce, Brussell Sprouts, Scalloped Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese; apple, pork and fresh sage stuffing - "best stuffing I've had in my life" said many - and Christmas cookies for dessert. Beer, wine, and mulled cider. Jolly indeed, and Mrs. BD and a daughter on the olde pianny with carols and some homemade Tchaikovsky too. Tchaikovsky is growing on me lately.
Can't beat it. God willing, I will repeat the same next year because it can't get any better. Well, the Porsche would be like totally ok for driving to Dunkin Donuts but I would rather the adventurous travel if I had to choose and, anyway, I know how the cops single out the Porsches and Aston Martins for the tiniest infractions.
Sunday, January 4. 2015
Do you know what it is? There are now Crossfit gyms all over America. It's a new arena for athletic, especially strength, competition.
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:21 | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)
It's not "sometimes" - it's frequently. Intelligence and rationality are separate things. Rational and Irrational Thought: The Thinking that IQ Tests Miss
Saturday, January 3. 2015
When returning to the US, Global Entry is a cool thing.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:30 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
After a holiday brunch this morning, the tree goes outdoors for a while dressed in his CVS lights with an extension cord. Thus the dude abides. It saddens me to see and hear how many people use fake trees these days. Me? Never. There's enough fake and phony in the world, I feel. Why add to it?
We like our farmy-comfy parlor. We do not use it enough, because we work too much and have too much to do. We can shove the furniture to the side and fit 40 people in there for jolly sit-down dinner parties, Are cigars allowed? Definitely yes. All tobacco is welcome. Boob tube? Absolutely not. Home-made and recorded music? Certainly. The pianny is excellent. Bring yer fiddle.
Best instruments in the world? The fiddle and the pianny. Just my opinion. Ye organ is just a different pianny. Ye guitar is just a half-baked fiddle.
Thursday, January 1. 2015
It's time for 2015 travel planning if we have not done that yet (most have done so already, I suspect, but some people are last-minute "planners").
I have a new case of a fellow who has developed a travel phobia. To be accurate, he has not really developed it, it has just been exposed by his frustrated family.
Many people with fears of all sorts never have them exposed because they find ways and excuses to avoid the things that make them uncomfortable. Typical excuses: "I hate cocktail parties," "I hate going to sports stadiums," "I don't want to go to that stupid place," "It's dangerous," "I hate cities," "Airplanes suck," "It's too expensive," "I don't need any new friends," etc etc.
Phobias are more often identified by avoidances than by real episodes of fear or discomfort. How does one tell what is a phobic avoidance from a plain dislike? Well, a little ruthless dose of self-scrutiny can answer most of your questions about your own fears and insecurities.
Like agoraphobics, travel phobics dart from place of safety to place of safety and familiarity no matter how often over-visited, never enjoy the trip or the adventures of life, and constrict their experiences and the richness of their lives in the process. Carpe diem. Life is short and shorter with each new day and each new year.
Men are particularly reluctant to admit flaws and weaknesses. Pride and shame prevent people from owning up to the personal weaknesses of their fears and frailties. I give blogger Ann Althouse, for example, credit for acknowledging her travel phobia (she feels that a driving trip from Madison to Austin is a daunting adventure). Properly naming one's fears, instead of making excuses, is the first step towards addressing them and conquering them.
What we term "simple phobias" are among the easiest things we shrinks have to deal with. In my experience, people with travel phobias and adventure phobias, once mastered, want to go everywhere and do everything.
Wednesday, December 31. 2014
I was just informed by my social secretary that "we" had accepted a black tie cocktail party, and then later a late-night black tie dinner event with music and dancing, for tonight. I had been happy to imagine that we had no plans.
Glad I had my dress-up uniform cleaned. The rules which apply to me generally seem to be "Suit up and show up" - and shut up.
I hate New Year's Eve and I will never watch that idiotic Times Square thing, but I am a curmudgeon. Of course, I was there for that once in youth, and once was enough.
I will not have a drop of ETOH, and I do not like champagne, but I greatly enjoy the stimulating and amusing people we'll be seeing. I will ask our readers to be careful out there today. We need all of the live readers we can get, so drive defensively because there are lots of amateur drinkers out there.
Tomorrow, I am told, leg of lamb for family. I got Prosecca and a very nice Mt. Etna Rosso. Life goes on, God willing.
Best curmudgeonly wishes to all for a happy, healthy, grateful, and prosperous 2015.
Tuesday, December 30. 2014
From Wikipedia, where I was doing some background research on various football teams:
In 1930, there were still many who questioned the quality of the professional game, claiming the college "amateurs" played with more intensity than professionals. In December 1930, the Giants played a team of Notre Dame All Stars at the Polo Grounds to raise money for the unemployed of New York City. It was also an opportunity to establish the skill and prestige of the pro game. Knute Rockne reassembled his Four Horsemen along with the stars of his 1924 Championship squad and told them to score early, then defend. Rockne, like much of the public, thought little of pro football and expected an easy win. But from the beginning it was a one-way contest, with Friedman running for two Giant touchdowns and Hap Moran passing for another. Notre Dame failed to score. When it was all over, Coach Rockne told his team, "That was the greatest football machine I ever saw. I am glad none of you got hurt." The game raised $100,000 for the homeless, and is often credited with establishing the legitimacy of the professional game for those who were critical.
Not an insubstantial sum, it represented .6% of per capita government welfare spending in the New York area. Total government (federal, state, and local) spending in 1930 was $11.9bb and only $300mm was on welfare. By 1934, those totals were $12.8bb and $1.0bb. By 1940, the same figures were $20.4bb and $2.1bb.
For all the problems the NFL faces, there is still plenty to feel good about, though I don't think it would be easy to match that $1.4mm figure today, unless all the ticket receipts were just turned over.
Sunday, December 28. 2014
I was glad to inherit my Mom's huge and complete set of Cuthbertson Christmas china - including the coffee cups. She kept expanding it, so the designs vary a little as the company made minor changes over the years.
My sibs still get to use and see them here at the Maggie's HQ, every Christmastime. It is sentimental for all of us.
Like most nice stuff, they are not ok for the dishwasher despite what they may say.
Frederick Cuthbertson of Greenwich, CT, designed these classic and charming things in 1922 for his shop in NYC. Still made in England, though. You can buy them today and leave them to your kids. They don't get heavy use.
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