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, April 26. 2015
He's especially good on the role of education and training.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:23 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
A Deadly Dance - Two prominent doctors. One beautiful woman looking for romance. And a likable misfit who spun tall tales. Their lives intersected after an intense relationship turned sour, but no one guessed that the path to love would lead to murder.
It is a story as old as mankind.
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:36 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
An Einstein quote in Mauldin's Why Physics Needs Philosophy:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 07:18 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, April 22. 2015
Our (too-occasional) contributor Gwynnie sends me an email. Something like "We will be out of town, change of plans. Will you all be willing to fill in for us to host a small, semi-formal luncheon for Luis Palau after church?"
Well, I will do anything for Gwynnie and his family, and they for us, but that is an honor and a treat. You betcha.
G noted that the hispanic workers will be delighted. Well, sure - but not just them. Luis Palau. We'll just sit back, shut up, and listen to the conversations.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:09 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:56 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, April 20. 2015
I have seen money. Felt it in my hand. I have wasted it one day and built temples to my fellow man the next with money, with no good reason to do either. I have watched it slumber in a bank book with my name on it waiting for nothing more than a notion and a signature. All gone. Gone for good, I think but must not say. She hears everything I say. I utter the sounds but I don’t listen to what I’m saying
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:09 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:30 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
I've always had some kind of Asian influence, either art or literature, in my life. I suppose it's the result of my parents' years in the Philippines and then my father's subsequent time in Micronesia after their divorce. We children always received some kind of books or other material from his travels.
Recently, my sister commented that she'd taken my mother and half-sister to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the Kano Exhibit. I was jealous, until she told me it was a four-part exhibit due to the nature of the material. Yesterday, we drove down and joined them for part 2 - Ink and Gold.
Continue reading "Kano"
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:05 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, April 19. 2015
Inside the Mind of Poetry. A quote:
"Mind of poetry." I like that. A floaty state of mind to get into.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:47 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Over the years, I am convinced that it is.
I am not saying they are crooks. I'm just asking whether, if you are a reasonably-informed person, they are worth the cost?
John Bogle did not convince me. Reality did. I am a Vanguard guy and I never speak with them. I trust their people with their bond funds more than I would trust myself.
However, help with financial planning is always good.
What's your opinion?
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:21 | Comments (18) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, April 17. 2015
I posted about it earlier. Well, it's a "boot camp" deal, 15-30 seconds rest between strenuous exercises - some whole-body, some targeted - for an hour or more, 3 days/week. The aerobics is just built into the non-stop exertion.
He made me clarify my goals, and he tracks everything. I said I wanted to avoid muscle atrophy, to increase endurance, overall fitness, agility, and physical vigor. Going from 36" to 35 belt would be fine too. So he made a plan to destroy me.
A trainer will whip you along like you would never do yourself unless you are far more self-disciplined than I am. It is quite intense because there is no recovery time - and that's the point. When he senses that I need a two- or 3-minute break, he puts me on the elliptical or the bike instead of real rest to keep the heart rate up.
Battle ropes and medicine balls? Sheesh.
Guy says that if I don't hurt all over then he has not done his job. Says that if you are not sore after exercise, you've done no good and wasted your time. Even walking with intention for 30 minutes, he says, should leave you exhausted and sweaty. Says his goal is to get me barely stumbling out to my car, covered with sweat and gasping for air, in the dark around 6:15 am. For the final 5 minutes, he stretches me out and it hurts like hell and he laughs. So far, that has been working.
He caught me checking my watch 40 minutes in this morning, and laughed. Cruel SOB.
He says that, for now, to rapidly convert fat to muscle, he wants me mainly on protein, 4 small doses of food per day. Like one hard-boiled egg for breakfast, a small bowl of plain yoghurt or a little cheese around noon, a slice of meat mid-afternoon, a few slices of meat or fish for supper. No bread or mashed taters, no beans, no pasta, no bread, no fruit except perhaps half an apple with peanut butter on the slices in the afternoon. Non-carb vegetables if I want anytime, but, like me, he thinks they are nutritionally irrelevant for anything other than pleasure or filling a stomach. Says I can take a multivit for the placebo effect. Mind you, I have no weight issue but since I pay him, I might as well follow his dietary advice for a while. Stupid not to. I am determined to be a good and gratifying customer and the notion of converting soft weight to hard weight is appealing. I'll believe it when I see it.
Next week he'll tell me what routine he will require me to do on days between and after sessions. Oh boy - can't wait. Says he just wants to keep waking up my body for a few weeks first. Sheesh. For now, he just wants me pushing the elliptical on off days to stay loose and to keep the muscles awake. The guy is a sadist. Don't most of us prefer comfortable "exercise" most of the time? He says ordinary walking is worthless unless it's just for fun - unless you are over 75.`
Man, I knew my endurance was slacking but I did not realize how badly until there was a guy with a whip (altho a gal with a whip might be more interesting). Ladies, if your hubbie is going a little soft (I mean in general, not you know) and you don't really like it, give him the present of a couple of months of boot camp so I don't feel so alone...
These guys will negotiate fees for a package deal especially during their slow hours. I go at 5 am instead of milking the cows. Some American ladies I've seen in Walmart could use this too but, around here in Yankeeland, many or most ladies do hard things to stay trim, youthful, and desirable. Admittedly, it is social class-related to some extent. However, as Murray says, social class (not $) is correlated with self-discipline and goal-orientation.
"Letting yourself go" gets just so easy, like letting a garden fill with weeds. I do not want that for myself.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:21 | Comments (23) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, April 16. 2015
Tuesday, April 14. 2015
A friend skied it last week with his 7 year-old son. He ended up carrying the kid's backpack and his skis up. Just one torturous hike up and one wild and hairy run down. Pick your ski route down carefully. It's rugged, lots of rocks. Hiking up Mt. Washington in summer is a good outing, much easier but still a leg challenge.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:40 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, April 13. 2015
Photo: I look in pretty good shape for a country boy, don't I?
Mrs. BD decided that my lazy middle-aged, sedentary-working ass needed a trainer. Well, I happily do outdoor work all I can on weekends, but there is church, theater, museum, music performances, etc...
In long-past years, I would routinely swim a mile a day racing friends, or run 5-20 miles. As I say, middle-aged lazy ass now. It's crazy, isn't it? In America, many people pay for physical exertion while, mostly, the whole world prays for work with no lifting. I love sort-of mindless physical work like ditch-digging or log splitting or chain-sawing. Mental work fatigues me.
How in this world can physical labor be a luxury good? Anybody, no matter how impaired; every person can do at least useful simple physical work and I am not talking about Steven Hawking who works 10 hrs/day.
I haven't even been playing tennis regularly since the organizer of our group died (dropped dead on the tennis court, which I said he would have always wanted, but not right then. I feel the same way, but one would feel bad to interrupt a good doubles game that way).
Anyway, Mrs. BD gave me 20 beginning sessions for Christmas with this young trainer she uses, quite inexpensive, in a hole-in-the-wall gym (not Equinox). (For presents, our family goes more for the experiential than the material.) 5 am sessions, fine with me. Get it done before work. An Ohio farm lad. He is good, cheerful, not a body-beautiful type and with just the right amount of sadism to laugh when you feel pain. He asked me what my tolerance for aching muscles was. I honestly told him that I love the feeling of physical fatigue and ache - bring it on - and only hate mental ache and worry.
Naturally, he asked me my goals. I said maintaining and improving strength, fitness, and endurance in middle age. I have no weight problem or physical problems (thus far). I can ski all day and hike up hills all day, do manual labor all day, but I do tire. My many sibs are all exercise nuts, wiry, a bit too skinny, hard-bodied, and far more fit than I am.
For no good reason I can see, Mrs. BD wants me alive so she made me get a physical and an echo stress test before starting. I avoid "physicals" like the plague, and figure every 5-7 years is just barely tolerable. Anyway, I went. Passed. I quickly found out why she wanted that. This guy said I won't need too much aerobics for a while because his fitness training plan for me will be highly aerobically stressful in itself. He does not allow rest periods and claims any endurance improvement will come from that. It's called "boot camp." Whew!
Trainer said my weight is fine, but I am soft, with some signs of age and muscle loss. Gee, thanks - but I knew that. He wants to build muscle weight and eliminate soft weight so it comes out about even. He said quit carbs and eat a hard-boiled egg, or a small plain yoghurt, or one slice of meat or 2 of cheese after hard work-outs as breakfast, to inject a little protein in the bloodstream. Nothing more. Said that was plenty for a guy doing a hard morning workout since I have mostly sitting or just walking afterwards. I guess I can handle that, altho I never have eaten any breakfast except coffee since I was a teen and do not like to eat in the morning. 2 coffees and a smoke is a perfect breakfast.
I am not a big eater at all but I am known to nibble. I can appreciate fine food but I don't need it - a small sandwich or a small bowl of soup for supper is plenty for me. I am not a carb addict other than mashed taters (in a lifetime of Dunkin Donuts, I have almost never bought one of their pastries - maybe one a year at most).
I'll confess it's a good, luxurious feeling to put part of your well-being in the hands of an expert.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:28 | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, April 12. 2015
OLD WORDS AND PHRASES REMIND US OF THE WAY WE WORD by Richard Lederer
About a month ago, I illuminated old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology. These phrases included don’t touch that dial, carbon copy, you sound like a broken record and hung out to dry. A bevy of readers have asked me to shine light on more faded words and expressions, and I am happy to oblige:
Posted by Gwynnie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:57 | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, April 11. 2015
We have posted in the past about NY's cool Tenement Museum. They didn't have it so bad, considering what they were coming from.
Here's another one: MoMath - The Museum of Mathematics. Wonderful for all curious ages. E. 23rd st.
Thursday, April 9. 2015
I am not diagnosing the genius Robin Williams, but is this amusing, disturbing, or some of both?
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:05 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
I think it's generally a bad idea, but I have done it many times including around NYC. A good adventure for sure at night, but daytime is fine. Here's something, but it's the half-drunks and the immigrants in cars that are the problem and I do not think this will have any impact on them because they are too busy jostling cars and dinging pedestrians to worry about bikers:
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:04 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, April 8. 2015
A major essay from a Maggie's hero, Roger Scruton, with a survey of the evolution of the modern university. He begins:
Tuesday, April 7. 2015
But the final game last night was a masterpiece, with lead changes galore and a personnel chess match which eventually led to Duke's fifth championship banner.
The real story, though, was who got them there. Their stars carried them all season, but got in foul trouble. So a forgotten freshman steps up with the team facing a considerable deficit, and single-handedly changes the tide of the game.
His story, one of great expectations which were never really fulfilled on a team loaded with talent, is one we can all learn from. I shared it with my sons, pointing out that you never know when your chance to make a difference will arrive. But if you're not prepared to make that difference, if you've let your skills diminish, if you've stopped caring, then your chance will arrive and pass.
I reminded them of the Prodigal Son. His celebrated return wasn't about how great he was, but how he returned to the fold. The personal recognition of his fall from grace and the need to redeem himself, returning to his father. Grayson Allen may not be the prototypical prodigal that leaps to mind. But all talented people, that is everyone, suffer down moments. What defines them isn't how they got down, but how they are able to pick themselves up and keep moving and make the most of what they have. Allen did that.
There are hundreds of elitist, WASPy, old private communities like this scattered around the Northeast. Many operate as, or like, private clubs and some are more informal. I know about a lot of them, but have not been to many of them. They tend to be so discreet that you would not know about them.
Blooming Grove is great with thousands of acres, several streams and lakes and great old houses, but you have to be related to one of the founders to have a house there.
We all live in different realities.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 04:48 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, April 5. 2015
Our great art institutions are cheating us of our artistic patrimony every day, and if they wanted to, they could stop.
Inside the museums, Infinity goes up on trial
Michael O'Hare has plenty of complaints about art museums in Museums Can Change—Will They? Our great art institutions are cheating us of our artistic patrimony every day, and if they wanted to, they could stop.
Some of his gripes are reasonable, but some are not. Here are some of my points:
Museums are not just show places. They are safe repositories. Their stored things are used for sharing with other museums, for special exhibitions, study, etc.
Can looking at pictures be brain-deadening? Sure. I call it "museum brain." My limit is one hour, to see some things targeted in advance. It's overstimulating.
Are museums sort-of deadly environments? Yes. They are designed to highlight precious stuff in a sterile, non-distracting environment where everybody has access. Access is a good thing. However, little or nothing that one sees at the Met or at the Kunsthistorisches Museum was made for museum viewing. It was all made for a function, or for decor, in non-museum places - public or private. For entertainment, really, whether in church or in secular. Treating pictures as sacred relics in a Church of Art distorts the thing. When you see a single Picasso oil in somebody's living room, it's a different experience and you see it for what it is - totally cool and interesting decor mostly.
Related to that, the most comfortable museum I've used is the Belvedere. It is one of the first public art musems in the world. Everything is just hung or placed in the old Hapsburg palace as if it belonged there. Give it a try. The Frick is a bit like that too. It was somebody's house and people can still throw parties, weddings, etc. there with the Fragonards doing what they were meant to do - produce delight.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:33 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, April 4. 2015
For Passover, a friend sent along his reminiscences of growing up Jewish:
Brisket is not the same as Corned Beef!
Before we start, there are some variations in ingredients because of the various types of Jewish taste (Polack, Litvack, Deutch and Gallicianer). Sephardic is for another time.
Just as we Jews have six seasons of the year (winter, spring, summer, autumn, the slack season, and the busy season), we all focus on a main ingredient which, unfortunately and undeservedly, has disappeared from our diet. I’m talking, of course, about SCHMALTZ (chicken fat).
SCHMALTZ has, for centuries, been the prime ingredient in almost every Jewish dish, and I feel it’s time to revive it to its rightful place in our homes. (I have plans to distribute it in a green glass Gucci bottle with a label clearly saying: “low fat, no cholesterol, Newman’s Choice, extra virgin SCHMALTZ.” (It can’t miss!) Then there are grebenes – pieces of chicken skin, deep fried in SCHMALTZ, onions and salt until crispy brown (Jewish bacon). This makes a great appetizer for the next cardiologist’s convention.
There’s also a nice chicken fricassee (stew) using the heart, gorgle (neck) pipick (gizzard – a great delicacy, given to the favorite child), a fleegle (wing) or two, some ayelech (little premature eggs) and other various chicken innards, in a broth of SCHMALTZ, water, paprika, etc. We also have knishes (filled dough) and the eternal question, “Will that be liver, beef or potatoes, or all three?”
Other time-tested favorites are kishkeh, and its poor cousin, helzel (chicken or goose neck). Kishkeh is the gut of the cow, bought by the foot at the Kosher butcher. It is turned inside out, scalded and scraped. One end is sewn up and a mixture of flour, SCHMALTZ, onions, eggs, salt, pepper, etc., is spooned into the open end and squished down until it is full. The other end is sewn and the whole thing is boiled. Often, after boiling, it is browned in the oven so the skin becomes crispy. Yummy!
My personal all-time favorite is watching my Zaida (grandpa) munch on boiled chicken feet.
For our next course we always had chicken soup with pieces of yellow-white, rubbery chicken skin floating in a greasy sea of lokshen (noodles), farfel (broken bits of matzah), tzibbeles (onions), mondlech (soup nuts), kneidlach (dumplings), kasha (groats), kliskelech and marech (marrow bones) . The main course, as I recall, was either boiled chicken, flanken, kackletten, hockfleish (chopped meat), and sometimes rib steaks, which were served either well done, burned or cremated. Occasionally we had barbecued liver done to a burned and hardened perfection in our own coal furnace.
Since we couldn’t have milk with our meat meals, beverages consisted of cheap soda (Kik, Dominion Dry, seltzer in the spritz bottles). In Philadelphia it was usually Franks Black Cherry Wishniak (vishnik).
Growing up Jewish - below the fold -
Continue reading "Brisket is not the same as Corned Beef!"
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:44 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, April 1. 2015
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:11 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
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