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
Thursday, January 21. 2021
Being lazy with dressing, I tend to prefer loafers to tie shoes although tie shoes are a better look. With many people getting back to regular work now, it is an issue.
For ordinary casual or outdoor shoes and boots, no issue. You manage that with socks.
Do any of our readers have this issue? I'd actually imagine that it's more of a problem for women than for men, but I don't know.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:18 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
I have posted several times about my Food Bank work. I'm not doing this to say "Hey look at me aren't I so giving?" After all, I'd barely done any work over the years with them, aside from donations and occasional assistance at the pantry.
I'm a firm believer in giving back in some form, and doing it quietly. In the Bible, Jesus made it clear you shouldn't promote your good works in order to promote yourself, and I believe that. My grandfather also felt this way, his donations always came from "A Friend" and no other ID was provided. I tend to do this, as well. Anonymity (or some degree of it) here helps reduce the impact of me promoting myself via 'good works'.
On the other hand, drawing attention to needs, and providing useful information about charitable works is not easily done without a reasonable voice. To a degree, I give some celebrities a pass when they promote their 'good works'. A lot depends on just how they are doing that work. If they make it about themselves and what they are doing (Ed Begley, Jr. and his incessant BS about how 'green' he is would be an example - he's wealthy, so it's easy to be 'green' and it's a means by which he can draw attention to his declining celebrity status), then I tend find their points less credible.
Continue reading "On the Nature of Charity"
Monday, January 18. 2021
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:25 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, January 15. 2021
Anthropomorphising is always an issue when humans think about animals, but from observation I know that no bunny rabbit is indifferent to being grabbed by a Red-Tailed Hawk.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:45 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, January 14. 2021
Life in the Western world, right now, is better than it has ever been in history anywhere. We live in a Golden Age. Complaining is easy and fun but gratefulness is not as fulfilling...or is it?
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:20 | Comments (24) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, January 12. 2021
I will read it. Hugh Jackman recommends it, from this delightful Tim Ferris conversation with Jackman. (The ads end at the 8-minute mark.)
Jackman is a good talker.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:25 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, January 10. 2021
Mrs. Bulldog and I went into the city to meet our boys for brunch and decided to visit the "new" Penn Station which is formerly the US Post Office (across the street from the "old" Penn Station and Madison Square Garden). It is designed to handle what were very crowded spaces in Penn (ugh...some nights were unbelievable, especially when trains broke down) and provide a bit of a 'link' to the past as the old Post Office's architecture and interior were somewhat similar to the original Penn Station, which was destroyed (tragically) years ago.
I have included 2 pictures. I am not impressed. The open interior, with glass ceiling that lets a ton of light in, is excellent. What was formerly an interior parking area is now the main part of the terminal. Beyond that, as Mrs. Bulldog said, "The great train halls of Europe need not worry of competition."
It is antiseptic, utilitarian and lacks a soul. Clean (though new), bright, cheery - these are all positives, but in terms of originality and whimsy, there is none. I found nothing interesting or inspiring. Where Grand Central has all kinds of angles and views to catch your eye and keep you interested, Moynihan Train Hall has none. It's boring and uninspired.
But maybe it's not supposed to be inspiring. Millions will pass through there on the average week, mostly commuters to Long Island and New Jersey. Who needs to be distracted?
Continue reading "Moynihan Train Hall"
Saturday, January 9. 2021
Friday, January 8. 2021
Hopefully calm will be restored as the nation moves back toward some semblance of whatever it is we consider 'normal' for the last 9 months. I hope things continue to improve as we move out of the Covid scare and fear mongering (yes, Covid is real, I had it as have many friends, but no it's not so bad for 95% of the people who get it). If we can move past all this, my job opportunities may improve.
Then again, who knows? I know few of you are on Facebook, but I am (or was). It allowed me to reconnect with friends and family and it's a useful tool. I've also shared Maggie's articles there with my friends, and met many other people who I share interests with. I am well aware of the privacy issues, but I know how to navigate them (part of my everyday job) and manage them effectively. There is, however, one thing I can't manage. It's the real problem we're facing today. It's the reason I deactivated my Facebook recently (after letting people know how they can reach me if they want/need to).
I am aware of many HR Departments doing sweeps of social media to find things out about people. I have heard several stories of pro-Trump people losing job offers. This doesn't surprise me at all in NYC today. The shift here has been significant from not just hating Trump to full-fledged belief that anyone who supports him is a deranged psychopath. I have never been a Trump supporter, but that doesn't mean anything because I've never hated him, either. It's best to hate him with the passion of a thousand suns in order to win approval with many organizations today.
I haven't loved him, haven't hated him, I've merely tolerated him, and realized his persona was a massive problem but that he was accomplishing some good things. I was for honesty and balance of thought and reason. Today, you can't be that way. You have to be a true believer, or at least not come across as a believer of "the other side". In other words, it is almost a requirement to be Progressive to be "acceptable". Such is the nature of modern definitions of Diversity - be like us or you're not acceptable. I'm all for Diversity. Diversity of thought, and respect for other views, without accepting the enforcement of those views on others by law, social shame, or other means of behavioral modification (brainwashing via education, for example).
Continue reading "A Dose of Reality"
Wednesday, January 6. 2021
Monday, January 4. 2021
Actually it's always the season for House Mice. We have an issue with them right now.
In cold weather, their numbers can be supplemented by outdoor wild mice.
The solution is good old (humane) Victor Mousetraps. $11 per dozen.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:31 | Comments (15) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, December 29. 2020
I took a survey today about working, and first jobs. One question asked the age of your first job:
Prior to 15
Once I started working, I never stopped. I had a job every summer, sometimes during school, always on breaks or holidays (ski resorts needed lift operator assistants during these periods) afterward. I'd sometimes offer to work off the books and under minimum wage if it meant I could get the work. I know I got most of the tax money back since I was a student, but that never bothered me. Money in the pocket beats waiting for it after April.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:24 | Comments (86) | Trackbacks (0)
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:40 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, December 26. 2020
Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? My son says no. I say yes. My brother says yes, the director John McTiernan says yes, and a host of others say no.
Others play Solomon and split the baby. It's not a movie with a Christmas theme, but does include the element of Christmas. So, "no, but..."
Another way of looking at this is to ask if there was a message regarding "the system" in Die Hard. It was based on a book which was clearly anti-capitalist in nature, and McTiernan states it was supposed to be anti-capitalist. Frankly, I think he lost on that score. The proletarian nods don't really add up well. Capitalism had been so successful in providing more for all that by the time the movie was made some of the items he felt delineated 'wealth and privilege' from 'working class' were no longer meaningful. They are even less so today (assuming our economy had not been locked down, which has only exacerbated some of the divisions of wealth which were barely noticeable before).
That said, the most noticiable delineations of class today are not wealth-related, but power related as our "leaders" lock us down and lecture us on how to behave, only to go do the exact opposite things which they suggest we do. The real 'class warfare' today is power vs. the lack of it, not whether one has more money than someone else. Of course, that was always the nature of 'class warfare', but Leftists love to obscure that fact with a veneer of basic economic BS that only people with common sense can see through. McTiernan, therefore, fails miserably in his goal of making a legitimate anti-capitalist story. Mainly because there is no legitimate anti-capitalist story to be made. Unless you are a "trained Marxist" and know how to create one out of whole cloth. (For what it's worth, the term "trained Marxist" always made me laugh. I studied Economics at The New School, which tried very hard to push the Marxist agenda, and I read quite a bit of Marx, Hobsbawm, Gordon and a host of other Marxist garbage. So I'm a "trained Marxist" and one of the things every single Marxist professor said was "Marx left no blueprint, only an idea with no path forward and no clear goal except revolution." That's why Marxism and Leftist thought is such utter BS. Unlike Classical, Neo-Classical, Monetarist or even Austrian schools of thought, Marxism is just an idea and not a fully-formed one, but full of childish and misleading binary concepts. Though I will credit Marx with completely shifting the study of History in a very meaningful and useful fashion.)
At any rate, to me Die Hard is very much a Christmas movie and very much a pro-capitalist one. After all, Hans Gruber himself, like so many Marxists before him, only cared about the power he was managing (his gang) and the money he was trying to collect, and was utilizing a facade to perpetrate his crime...you know, like BLM and Antifa today. These movements are cargo cults, full of images that seem to 'make sense' but cannot ever effectively achieve the goals they have set for themselves because they are inclined only toward one thing. Perpetual Revolution.
Virginia, your learned friends are wrong.
Jingle Hell - The debasement of Christmas songs
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:03 | Comments (22) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, December 25. 2020
A Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season to all of our readers and to all of our contributors, with thanks for being part of our humble Yankee enterprise
(No innocent trees were murdered for this card to compensate for murdering our Christmas tree)
I've been to a bunch of parties and some fancy parties this season, and heard some great music too, but the best was a neighborhood caroling get-together Friday night - adults and kids. Good food and drinks with around an hour of singing practice around the piano (divvying up the voices of the wise men, the soloist for O Holy Night, etc), then out tramping around and driving around in the dark to our target audiences. Shut-ins, an old friend and WW 2 Navy vet with Alzheimer's, guys on the job, friendly families. Mrs. BD feels that this neighborhood event is the most Christmassy thing we ever do.
I can guarantee that none of the kids who participate will ever forget it. Maybe they will pass it on when they grow up. Hope so. Fine traditions of family, friends, community, and faith do matter because they become embedded in our souls like little candlelights, lighting our dark corners through our entire lives.
O holy Child of Bethlehem
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:18 | Comments (108) | Trackback (1)
Thursday, December 24. 2020
Moore is buried uptown. We almost got to that cemetary on our last urban hike.
Somewhat related, The story of the Christmas tree is one of resistance, breakthrough, and change. From the NY Times, 1883:
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:57 | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, December 21. 2020
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:35 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, December 20. 2020
I always need to spend some time in NYC at Christmastime regardless of weather or viruses. We feasted with family and took a nice slippery walk through Central Park. Lots of bundled-up people walking. Mostly cheerful, some masked-up and some not.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:51 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, December 19. 2020
Podcast #668: Outdoor Competence With an Expert Backcountry Hunter
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:28 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, December 11. 2020
Image: Opening reception for NYC's Metropolitan Museum in 1872.
From Unmaking the Met by James Panero. On the past, present, and future of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:02 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, December 9. 2020
A New Look Inside the Most Extravagant Apartment Building in NYC. How the Dakota has stayed at the top of Manhattan real estate for more than a century.
The funny thing is that it was built for the middle class. I've been in there. Kitchens as large as my entire first place in NY.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:05 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, December 6. 2020
Our Christmas Tree is a museum of sentiment. Essentially no store-bought stuff except things we found on our travels that stick on a tree, and all of my small bird ornaments. We have our kids' rattles, things they made in kindergarten, things like that. It's all personal.
The BD genius was to store them all in a living room bureau. 4 steps to take 'em out, 4 steps to throw them back in. No boxes, no wrapping ornaments, no fuss, almost no hassle. Bureau is a lovely 1500s hunk of wood.
If some old things break, it's ok. Nothing material lasts but Christmas lasts. We're planning a few small get-togethers, and we are signed up for Christmas Eve service (outdoors, I think).
When grandkids, will ask them each to pick one ornament to take home for their own tree.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:57 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Our post on tipping the other day raised the issue. As Christmas season is quickly approaching, I reviewed in my mind all the people to whom I give gratuities (ie material Thank Yous) at Christmastime, and throughout the year.
- our two garbagemen - $50 each before Christmas - horrible job, hard work,
I believe that I am pretty much in the mainstream on this. I am missing a few on that list, can't remember them all.
What do you do?
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:15 | Comments (52) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, November 30. 2020
At the time, that was savannah, not rain forest as it is now.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:33 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
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