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
Tuesday, March 24. 2020
Monday, March 23. 2020
Like butchering a White Tail deer, but much bigger. I've done lots of deer, but never with power tools.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:17 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, March 19. 2020
Yesterday (3/18) I was watching CBS Morning News. I do tend to watch in the morning before I catch my train, usually not more then 20 minutes to see headlines. Now, working from home, I have tended to watch the entire 3 hours (I watch the local morning portion from 6-7 as I work). I'm no longer surprised at the hyperbole and panic in their reports. Normally it shouldn't matter, but in these unusual times with people watching TV constantly, it's very concerning.
Yes, they do pepper in 'feel good' stories of people giving away products, time, and effort (this morning, a distillery that has shifted to making and giving away sanitizer) in order to limit the panic reporting. These are of a particular type, though. All are about people voluntarily giving of themselves. Key word "voluntarily", something which is rarely mentioned in reporting. I often wonder why.
I found out yesterday when one of the CBS anchors, Jeff Glor, exposed his massive ignorance with this statement (may not be exact, but close enough). "It's nice to see people putting capitalism aside and focusing on cooperation." Wait - WHAT?
Capitalism requires cooperation. Yes, competition is often pointed to as the hallmark of capital. Competition keeps prices down, competition produces innovation, competition leads to forward thinking and proactive behaviors. Competition is critical to capitalism. However, every company would fail if its workers didn't cooperate. Every exchange would fail if the two parties involved did not cooperate because every exchange has to be based on mutual benefit. Every deal between businesses would fail if there wasn't cooperation. Cooperation is essential to every facet of capitalism. I'll compare it to any team sport. The competition between the teams yields high levels of performance from the teams themselves (front office down to the field), but requires the cooperation between teams to set rules, engage in trades, and agree on method of determining winners. It also requires cooperation on the field between team members to make the competition itself intriguing and interesting to watch (or engage in).
This failure on the part of journalists is increasing daily, and it was happening before the panic of the pandemic. It's becoming more common. After all, they are playing to the fears every day. We were told that, at this stage, the number of deaths would double every day. Yesterday, 104 people in the US had died. Today, it's 155. That's close to a 50% increase, which is the highest it's been, and while the number of dead is likely to increase, we shall see if the rate increases. However, the 'model' is still what we're comparing to, and even in regions hardest hit the 'model' hasn't played out. Total worldwide deaths still haven't doubled every day, even with the worst hit places being accounted for. We haven't even topped 10,000. So panic is the only way to describe coverage. We do not know real mortality rates, mainly because we do not know real rates of infection. For what it's worth, I am still convinced I had a very mild form of it already, and several other friends believe they did, as well. None of us have been tested, and I see no reason to be tested.
Jeff Glor's statement, in my opinion, is starting to look more and more like the reason behind the panic. There is an agenda being pushed and it's incumbent upon us to be aware of - and push back against - that agenda with every opportunity we have. Keep informing people that journalists are just tools and these tools are often poorly employed and poorly informed.
Marat's eulogy was given by the Marquis de Sade, a rather fitting person given the ideologies he promoted, which led to the Reign of Terror.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:58 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
As I spoke with a friend this morning, we discussed the 'freak-out' and I immediately flashed to one of my favorite movies, so I thought I'd share. Wonka loved a good freak-out, and used it to his benefit to get to what he wanted. I don't think it's far-fetched to believe something too dissimilar is going on now. The boat ride was frightening, most of the participants were disturbed, uncomfortable and angry. It seemed the world was ending. Then...destination arrived, all was well and life went on, though not quite as before.
An interesting side note: none of the actors were told what would occur during this scene as it was filmed, many of the reactions are real. The children, unaware that Wilder was going to sing, thought he was going crazy.
Continue reading "What is This, a Freak-Out?"
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:04 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, March 16. 2020
Opening the books on running a restaurant: What Does It Really Cost to Run a Restaurant?
Restaurants have notoriously slim margins. Mei Mei in Boston reveals just how slim they really are. It is a terrible business, but thank God for restaurant and pub owners, and their workers, who are willing to do it for us.
With the virus issues, lots of restaurants and pubs might go under. It's a damn shame, very sad. Lots of jobs. People will suffer.
I blame Trump. Don't you? Or climate change.
Wednesday, March 11. 2020
This is about trim tabs and the Boeing 737 Max problems, "This aircraft should not have been built":
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:01 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, March 9. 2020
Fabricated Innocence: The Self-Exoneration and Re-Incrimination of Jens Soering
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:45 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, March 6. 2020
CDs are our basic home music.
We have superb speakers, extravagant. Living room and bedroom. We happily live with no TV out in the country. Music-lovers, on a Brahms kick now. Live music is better, but how often? And I do not like to waste my time on live music unless I have heard it at home a few times first to get the idea of it. Otherwise, first time is too complex for me to process.
Computer music is good enough for pop or folk, but not for serious "adult" music. Try buying a good 6-CD player now to run through your fancy amp and fancy speakers. I have 1000 CDs, all important to me. Many operas. My player must have gotten the coronavirus, because it seems to have died.
I have tried "used" or refubished players. Not a good idea, sadly. That is from experience.
I welcome your ideas. The ones I find cost almost double what they used to cost. Do I need to spend $500 for a CD component? I have two great old amps which have lasted forever.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:18 | Comments (42) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, March 3. 2020
Monday, March 2. 2020
Thursday, February 27. 2020
Pretty good advice for Liberal Arts students. A quote:
Wednesday, February 26. 2020
Friday, February 21. 2020
I make an effort, in my role as an older member of my department, to reinforce knowing history. Not only of the industry, which critical to avoiding errors already made, but also general history because it helps create a more advanced social order. The critical part of any social order is trust. Without it, markets fail, relationships fray, and good behavior is set aside in favor of self-interest. History, at its core, teaches the value of trust.
All good teams, departments, interactions, communities, and even nations are built upon a basic level of trust. It is rarely discussed, but absolutely essential.
In the U.S., trust has begun a slow dissipation. Think of an example of someone who did things the 'right way' and was moderately, or supremely, successful (let's say the Boston Red Sox of 2018) versus those who do things the 'wrong way' and are supremely successful yet go unpunished or are barely touched (the Houston Astros of 2017). When we fail to punish those who gain rewards improperly, we reduce the ability to trust our institutions. How often have you talked about someone you admire, only to have someone else say "if he/she is so smart or good, why did person X (who wasn't as 'clean') make all the money?" That kind of response typifies the slow fraying of fundamental trust.
Another example could be our recent trials and investigations regarding Trump. In this, we see an example of retributive anger (Trump won and I hate him so he has to go), which is very damaging and occurs with the complete loss of trust (can anyone argue that the Democrats trust Trump even a little?). Transitional anger, the anger we feel as we shift from one order to the next, that sense of loss yielding anger but without feeling the need to lash out, is manageable and useful. It can help people progress. Retributive anger is dangerous and undermines the fabric of trust that is necessary to move forward.
The Democrats are suffering now because of the fact they have engaged retributive anger. They're mad they lost an election they assumed was theirs, and rather than be angry at their own shortcomings and using that anger in a transitional manner to improve themselves, they've lashed out and are destroying themselves and potentially the nation (if their behavior is followed to its logical conclusion).
We are successful as a nation because we have an innate trust in our political institutions. That trust exists regardless of those in power because the Constitution protects us, as individuals. Even if bad people are elected, one person and even a few cannot destroy the system. Checks and balances assure that. We can survive a bad president (and have many times). There are reasonable methods to oust the truly awful. Engaging those levers in wrong-headed attempts simply because someone is 'offensive' undermines that innate trust of our institutions. It causes some, and possibly many, to question the validity of our original belief in our Constitution and our laws.
This doesn't happen because of one person. It doesn't happen because "Trump did it," it happens because a group of people are hoping and trying to undermine that trust, and it isn't the Russians. Or the Chinese. It has to happen internally.
I don't love Trump, I barely tolerate him. But I've not liked plenty of presidents. I've had trust in our system, though. Thankfully, after two clear attempts to undermine that system, it has stood up to the attacks on it, and I still trust it. It's a shame there's an entire party out there so far off base that its members no longer trust the system and are proposing potential candidates to destroy it.
Wednesday, February 19. 2020
Tuesday, February 18. 2020
I wish I had written this short essay about the one Great American Novel, Moby Dick.
To me, the story is like the Iliad, or some parts of the Bible. It destroyed Melville to write it, it seems. Destroyed him, or changed him. I blame the Transcendentalists although I might be sort-of one myself.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:44 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, February 15. 2020
"Fine art," folk art, cave art, graphic design, indusrtial design, religious art, illustration, artisanship, architecture, etc.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:53 | Comments (17) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, February 13. 2020
It seems as if the official Maggie's Farm view is that government should be put into humble shopping centers and abandoned buildings in odd places rather than in grandiose, imperial-style rockpiles.
I am all in favor of grand public building, though. Just not governmental. Grand Central Terminal, for example. Public places which uplift the spirits of the common man or woman and government structures which humble our public servants.
A podcast (with transcript): Why Classical Architecture Matters
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:58 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, February 12. 2020
I liked this piece of his at the Whitney last weekend. My photo lacks the detail and subtlety. It's a complex design, decorative.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:56 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, February 11. 2020
I read it in a college course. It's a long novel. In retrospect you could call it a bildungsroman. Tom was a good guy, full of vitality unlike his sour "brother".
At Great Books, an entertaining 30-minute chat about Tom Jones
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:56 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, February 5. 2020
Food fads have come and gone ever since humans had food choices (which has been a tiny fraction of human history). I saw this: Why we fell for clean eating.
I don't know who "we" refers to, but it didn't include me.
It was not long ago when the experts thought that cereal was the right breakfast food. That was mostly marketing, but Mr. Kellogg and others thought it might helpfully reduce sexual desire and promote clean thinking compared to "overstimulating" eggs, sausages, and pie for breakfast. Now "we" know cereal is garbage nutrition.
FYI, my usual breakfast is two coffees before my workout, and a protein shake afterwards. I am not claiming that that is "right" but it keeps me trim and strong. If I did manual labor all day on the farm, I'd go for eggs, toast, sausage, bacon, kippers, home fries, grits, and pie. We fed our young growing kids on breakfasts like that. Pancakes or waffles and bacon on Sunday.They grew, and got smart enough.
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:07 | Comments (11) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, February 2. 2020
Canada has wooden dumpsters.
Below is Part 1. Part 2 here. Part 3 here. Part 4 here. Part 5 here. There are many more, including segments about restoring the hoarder house into something delightful. I think a total of 16 or 18 youtubes. I watched them all over the past month. Tell me I need to get a life.
Another cool one: replanning the kitchen
The guy definitely knows his junk, but he also knows a heck of a lot about restoring houses.
It can be addictive to watch. The moral of the story is Do Not Leave a Bunch of Crap to Your Kids.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:13 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Lots of people are not thrilled with their lives in general. At Quillette: Work—the Tragedy of Our Age
It's a provocative essay, and meant to be.
I have sometimes wondered whether today's welfare states were designed to recreate The Garden of Eden. It didn't work. That ship sailed.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:18 | Comments (14) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, February 1. 2020
The entire USA will be at some football get-together on Sunday afternoon. Some people care about The Game, but for most, I think, it's just a good excuse to gather in the winter.
Nachos, guacamole, and other foods are classics. There are many websites dedicated to Superbowl party food, and some to "most disgusting Superbowl foods".
Beer is of course good. I like Coronavirus Extra with a slice of lime, if you have some. Nachos, guacamole? Disgusting.
What things are on your list for Superbowl disgusting food items?
Friday, January 31. 2020
Tuesday, January 28. 2020
Few people nowadays want to carry cameras around, especially bulky ones. This bulky point-and-shoot has an impressive zoom.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:41 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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