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, December 2. 2022
We routinely use a lot of phrases in English which derive from the days of sailing ships.
This lengthy list does not include "true colors," which refers to the naval warfare trick of sailing under false colors (false flag), and the gentlemanly tradition of raising your true flag before firing a first shot. My error - it does include that term.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:00 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, December 1. 2022
And those are just the ones that were reported.
I am reposting this because I had a chimney fire yesterday morning, shortly after our men's Bible study group left my study. This has been my second chimney fire here. Fortunately, I am not too far from the firehouse. I had this flue cleaned last winter, and my sweep was scheduled to come again next week. (I use my fireplace daily.) I climbed a ladder and sprayed the top of the chimney with a lawn hose. Seemed to work.
If you use a fireplace regularly, you need a chimney sweep. In the past 20 years, we have had two chimney fires here, and one at the Farm. It's not a joke.
Spring and summer are the cheapest times to get it done.
Addendum: What burned down Parliament?
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:32 | Comments (28) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, November 29. 2022
Wednesday, November 23. 2022
Monday, November 21. 2022
I saw a eulogy that went viral. I see or hear the thoughts shared regularly because of where I live - not in eulogies, just everyday commentary from time to time. The eulogy itself was quite unfortunate.
My personal view is, at worst, if I had a parent whose views I truly disliked as much as the speaker did, then I just wouldn't go to the funeral or (at least) show and keep my mouth shut. Speaking ill of the dead, of someone incapable of defending themselves, is rather disrespectful. There are moments and situations, rare enough, where it makes sense. I think we can all speak ill of Hitler and few reasonable people will feel bad about it. In general, doing this says more about the person speaking than those they speak about.
I really doubt her father was racist or misogynistic, based on several facts I've learned about this woman since - but I suppose it's enough that he supported Trump for her to apply the broad brush. I know this happens because I didn't support Trump, ever, and often been painted with the same brush. Here's the video so you can have your own POV.
Continue reading "Sad, and Shocking, Eulogy"
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:23 | Comments (24) | Trackbacks (0)
The tradition of Thanksgiving Day has its roots in the 1620 Pilgrim settlement in Plymouth, MA.
Those people had little to be grateful for, by our comfortable standards:
They arrived in November, late in the season, because the Mayflower's companion ship, the Speedwell, had to reverse course to England so the leaky Mayflower accompanied them back.
Imperfect navigation and bad weather had them sighting land on Cape Cod instead of the small Dutch trading post which would later become New Amsterdam, now New York City. They tried twice to head south, but November storms drove them back north.
During the first winter 45 of the 72 passengers on the Mayflower died. Men, women, and children.
A lonely Squanto, who was a Godsend to the Pilgrims (few of whom were farmers, I think) died in 1622. He spoke English, having been sold in slavery in Spain, later taken to England. When he returned to North America, he found his entire tribal group dead from European diseases spread by explorers or Portuguese fishermen. (The large Indian farms were the ones that the Pilgrims took over.)
Their investors got screwed and the Pilgrims were in serious debt. Their London company, the Merchant Adventurers, hoped for good returns from timber, fur, and dried fish. Nope, never happened. Might well have happened had they arrived at the Hudson River. Those investors were unhappy.
Surely those Pilgrims were grateful for food, but for what else? I think gratitude was just bred in their bones. I would not compare them to Job, but it was rough.
Good summary: WHY WAS LIFE SO HARD FOR THE PILGRIMS?
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:41 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, November 17. 2022
Thursday, November 10. 2022
I have more or less stopped watching Saturday Night Live, but it is intriguing to read that Dave Chappelle, who I find to be very funny, is hosting. What is more intriguing is that a large part of the writing staff has said they will boycott the episode. This is a benefit of youth, and one I'm interested in because I have my own story in this regard.
One of my majors in college (I had 2) was Television Production. I wrote, produced, directed and filled various roles in the studios at the university for both class and the university television network. Top-tier stuff, mind you. The kind of stuff you watch at 1am in the dorm lobby when you're half in the bag or snogging with your latest love interest. Nevertheless, it's what you did to learn the ropes. Back then, I was hoping to make documentaries.
One day I had to prepare a news piece for the 1984 election. It was a talk show with some local luminaries talking about various topics like nuclear war (it was right around the time that ABC ran The Day After, which some of you may remember), feeding the poor/welfare, deficits, etc. Standard fodder for any political news program. One fellow who showed up hung flyers on the set showing elephants dropping nuclear bombs on poor people of the world. I took them down. He put them back up, I took them down. My job was set design and management. The producer that day, a fellow student, came by and asked what I was doing. I told him the set was my responsibility and I felt the flyers would imply a bias of the programming, and that they personally offended my own sensibilities. The producer told me to honor the guests' wishes and put them up. I told him "since this is my set, then I'm asking to be relieved of my responsibility, I'd rather sit this one out."
Continue reading "The Benefit of Youth"
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:45 | Comments (16) | Trackbacks (0)
How Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes Revolutionized Dance. Rupert Christiansen on the Modernization of Ballet
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:58 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, November 7. 2022
Recently, I've had a number of bad events occur. Supposedly, these things happen in threes, and I'm hoping that's how it goes. I won't share the first two event details. Needless to say they are both very upsetting and expensive events. The third event was VERY expensive. And very avoidable.
What made it particularly galling was how it happened to me, someone who is ridiculously careful online because among the roles of previous jobs I've held, one has been the management of online privacy and data. Compelling partner companies to take extra effort, steps or other precautions to protect user data and information.
If your company is like mine, you take tests each year to identify several different forms of potential identity capture. Phishing, Spearphishing, downloading Trojan horses, etc. There are many ways to do it, and I'm familiar with all of them. I've always passed these tests with flying colors, and I've even caught several transgressors over the years.
Before I tell my own, very humbling, story, let me say this kind of event is not just an issue of being online. My stepmother is not as adept online as I am, so does not engage the internet to nearly the degree I do. Yet several years ago she was scammed out of several thousand dollars in attempting to do something good for her grandchild - so she thought. Unfortunately, she (much like I am about to detail) missed one or two key details in her situation, and fell victim to a con over the phone. Anyone can be a victim.
Continue reading "Some Useful Advice"
Sunday, November 6. 2022
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:08 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, November 3. 2022
Merit, say, for employment in my field, is relatively easy to assess. We want to hire people who are personable enough to be good colleagues, bright, eager, good writers and speakers, and easily-trainable. If they don't work out, they have to leave. We do not care about your golf game.
So, in my view, merit has to do with the right fit for a job or task. The right talent stack, as Adams would put it.
I know that many private secondary schools (the PSSAT) and, of course, still most higher ed wants test scores. The SAT and ACT are basically proxies for IQ or, at least, functional IQ as it has to be applied to a test. But is IQ a measure of general merit as a human being? Of course not. It matters, but how much?
Let's say you are head of admissions at a competitive higher ed school with far more applicants than spaces. Your job is to try to field a group of smart kids with enough talents to field sports teams, an orchestra, some math geniuses, etc. Fill each bucket.
What would you do?
Monday, October 31. 2022
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:46 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, October 30. 2022
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:11 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, October 23. 2022
Fishing is work. Halibut is a delicious fish, one of my favorites along with Grouper and a few others.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:57 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, October 22. 2022
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:56 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, October 21. 2022
Lots of Cod too
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:48 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
True colors (or colours). Naval war etiquette required taking down your false flag before initiating battle.
Learning the ropes. Sailing ships had over 300 ropes and lines. Newbies had to learn them all, on the double.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:18 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, October 20. 2022
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:26 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Amateurs, but not complete beginners
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:33 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, October 17. 2022
About the book.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:46 | Comments (11) | Trackbacks (0)
Living with dangerous people in cages
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:44 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:27 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, October 16. 2022
Do they exist, or are they just humble human efforts to grasp the structure of creation?
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:14 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:55 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
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