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, June 19. 2013
When I was a kid, the Good Humor Man came down the street after suppertime, ringing his bell. I was partial to the vanilla thing coated with nuts, and the orange-raspberry popsicles.
How that guy made a living, just in summertime, with those 25 cent treats, is beyond me. Dad would give us each a quarter for them, but not every night. Maybe once a week. You would hear the jingle, and kids would evacuate their houses. Anyway, the union and gas prices put an end to that charming tradition.
Now they have the more urban Mr. Softee. He does not come into our village.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:57 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
It was better than ours.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:48 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, June 18. 2013
As she says, it's not from The Onion. The guy in the video is smart but pitifully emasculated. I guess it goes with the territory. Every assertion he makes ends with a question mark. Lame, and not a word about education.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:28 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, June 17. 2013
This morning, we linked James Taranto's brief discussion of a remarkable paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, titled Concepts and Implications of Altruism Bias and Pathological Altruism.
In just eight dense pages, Prof. Oakley covers a lot of ground and goes far beyond the Law of Unintended Consequences. She touches on psychology, science, medicine, philosophy, and politics. It's a remarkable paper which indeed pulls enough threads together to represent a potential paradigm shift. One quote:
Sunday, June 16. 2013
My heart beamed Friday night as my sons welcomed the Sabbath with perfectly sung prayers. My heart broke Saturday night as my sons fought while I grilled a perfect wild-caught salmon, and I got indigestion instead of the meal I thought I deserved.
I'm reminded of the saying, "A Man's children and his garden both reflect the amount of weeding done during the growing season." And, the growing goes both ways as we fathers grow, have to grow -- into the men we want to be under our children's careful observation, into the men that they need.
We yearn to please but, most important, to pass on life's lessons.
Father's Day is full of platitudes and real feelings, of missed and appreciated opportunities. And, of how much we care by just being there. I'm reminded of
There's a wisecrack, "If God is so perfect, how do you explain us." As fathers, we're not perfect, but we try to find and know the ways to be better, and most of us find it. We continue to strive, and so may our children, with a higher hand to reach for and give us the strength to be better and have hope.
It's not easy being the father or the child.
Saturday, June 15. 2013
It's not a game.
It's not a sport.
It's not a contest.
It's not a competition.
It's not really much at all.
It's just you, a field, a ball and some clubs, and the only fellow competitor within sight is a man who might have died twenty years before.
It can be made into a sport, of course, but golf, in its essence, involves no one but you and the course designer, perhaps long passed on these many years.
Even when others are on the field, you're not playing against these players. There's none of the sez you mentality you see in normal sports. It's just you, the course, and the fewest number of swings you can make to see it through to the end.
Except for the pros, where they really do have the option of cutting the corner by knocking it over the trees on a par-5 dogleg, for everyone else there's really just one shot in the bag, and you really want nothing more than for it to be your best shot — and the score and fellow competitors be damned.
In that moment you step up to the ball, it is nothing but essence.
This clip from The Legend of Bagger Vance demonstrates this fairly well.
You have to look with soft eyes.
Much more below the fold.
Continue reading "In the spirit of the green"
Posted by Dr. Mercury in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:29 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, June 12. 2013
We've been over this ground before, but somebody recently shared this with me: An Intuitive (and Short) Explanation of Bayes’ Theorem
The examples with medical tests are good:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:08 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Diamonds are not scarce, are not investments (they depreciate), and are no more "forever" than any other rock. Their popularity as stones in engagement rings dates to the 1930s with DeBeers' very effective marketing campaign.
On the economics of diamonds, the biggest marketing scam in history by the world’s most successful and enduring cartel:
De Beers believes that a fellow should spend two month's income on a diamond. Wiki has a brief history of engagement rings and wedding rings.
Carpe Diem recommends fake diamonds, and real love and reliable companionship.
Monday, June 10. 2013
Mrs. BD gave me an early Father's Day/Anniversary present two weeks ago, and it pleased me greatly. It was five (legal) strong and energetic Mexican yard guys for 9 hours to clean up various unpleasant outdoor messes which had gotten out of control around the semi-elegant but rusticated Maggie's HQ.
If you knew me personally, you would know that I naturally worked alongside of them all day (with chain saw mostly, and some carrying of firewood, rocks, and branches), tipped them with $20 each, and gave them cold Coronas with lime slices at the end of the day. They arrived at 8 am with chipper, giant dumpster, tools, grass seed, hay, weed-whackers, an industrial tiller, etc.
Among other tasks, we cleared out almost 1/5 acre of weeds and dying shrubs and trees, removed roots and stumps, removed evil porcelain berry vines, thinned out some of my older spruce and cedar plantings, cut firewood out of some trees and large branches fallen from Sandy, shrunk my vegetable garden by 1/2, tilled, raked, and planted grass. While I tend to be opposed to lawns on principle, it was the only way to make this particular area not look like crap. Luckily, it has been cool and rainy almost every other day since we finished and the grass is coming in nicely. Thanks to global cooling, it's cool, windy, and rainy yet again today. Grass loves cool and wet.
Feels like Ireland up here. I like it. Got a sweet-smelling fir-log fire going right next to me as I type.
What a good present that day was. Thanks, Mrs. BD. These guys work as hard as I do, but they have bigger muscles. Well, I spent most of this past weekend trimming all of the hedges and misc. gardening, weeding, log-splitting, and transplanting at the direction of Mrs. BD. Are gardens ever done? Never. I do all of the outdoor work I have time to do. It's good exercise and the results can be gratifying. Next weekend, I plan to do the necessary lawn plugging but not, of course, on the new area.
Owning properties is an endless war against nature and her insidious Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Now I just need those 5 guys for one more day because I still have a to-do list and I need a dump truck load of mulch and a truck load of fresh driveway gravel. Maybe next Spring?
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:28 | Comments (14) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, June 8. 2013
This is fun.
Posted by Gwynnie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:30 | Comments (9) | Trackback (1)
Where would the American songbook be without him? Nowhere.
Here's his Wikipedia listing. It's the usual: made pennies from his songs, died drunk and alone in New York City. Only visited the deep South briefly, once, on his honeymoon.
A list of his songs here.
Photos of his German piano teacher in Pittsburgh, his first guitar, and the first piano he played, here.
Why the Swanee River? It fit the meter and the feeling. Here's "Old Folks at Home," a true heart-breaker of a sentimental popular song, with a lovely simple tune, as Foster wrote it in NYC for the minstrel shows.
And here's Dylan with Foster's Hard Times:
Wednesday, June 5. 2013
With up to 40% of American kids being born today to single mothers, often with neither alimony nor meaningful child support, alimony, like marriage, is irrelevant to the lives of many Americans today.
Some states are ending lifetime alimony. One must wonder to what extent the risk of alimony is a deterrent to marriage. (It certainly can be a deterrent to divorce, at least for a while).
Pew had this report last week: Women are now the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of households with children in the US. I'm not sure what that means because I don't know whether that includes the single moms or not. Maybe we can assume it does, in which case it's relatively meaningless.
Nevertheless, there surely seem to be a lot more two-income households today than there were in the 50s (even though many women did work outside the home then). However, in the 50s there were almost no single moms other than widows. It was considered shameful.
Women married to functional men take jobs not as a matter of economic necessity usually, or as a matter of personal fulfillment. It's usually a matter of people wanting an economically-higher standard of living, better financial security, or the ability to pay escalating tuitions and housing costs.
In other words, for the family.
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:15 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, June 3. 2013
Writers, like talkers, like to tell stories, and most people enjoy well-told stories. A well-told story is a wonderful thing in life, especially because most of our lives are made of humdrum stories - at least on the surface. The most revelatory stories can be touchstones for a life, eg the Bible stories.
Gerard posted a snippet of the best-told story in American history. It won't make you "good", but it's at least as rich as sausage gravy. I should say, as rich as spermaceti.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:13 | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, June 1. 2013
I grew up down the road from Bernstein's weekend house. My Mom was friends with Mrs. B. and I recall that they did garden designing together. A gay friend of mine who had met him at a party acknowledged that Lenny was "as gay as a Christmas Tree", but I guess he and Mrs. B. worked it out somehow and they had three kids.
Who cares about that? Bernstein was a rock star, and contributed a heck of a lot to American culture. As best I can recall, I only heard him conduct the New York once in youth, but I wouldn't know the difference anyway. Conductors do their interesting work in rehearsal, not on stage. If you want to learn about music performance, attend a rehearsal instead of the final performance.
His remarkable bio at wiki here.
He loved Mahler. When he grew older, Bernstein devoted himself to musical education. His Young People's Concerts on youtube are valuable to any adult. They were always sold out in NYC. Here's one of his Young People's Concerts at Carnegie Hall:
Bernstein claimed that Copland was his real teacher. West Side Story had to be one of his composing masterpieces, an opera, it is Romeo and Juliet:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:59 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, May 30. 2013
Musical theater is great entertainment even with vapid plots. A Sondheim aria:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:59 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
It's very simple, and you wordsmiths out there might already employ it subconsciously.
I had a perfect example just the other day, which prompted me to write this piece. I had written in a post:
I pondered whether it was a common enough acronym to leave out the periods, like 'NASA' and 'NBC', but I knew it was one of those things the 3-Notice Rule would catch, so I left them in. This was the first 'notice'.
I finished up the post and hit the 'Save' button, then the 'Preview' button to proofread it. I got to the above line and hesitated, thinking it might look better without the periods, then read on. This was the second 'notice'. I knew what was coming, but rules are rules.
Then I posted the article and gave it one more proofread (the actual Web page is wider than the editor, so things look a tad different) and noticed it again — that is, the sentence just didn't flow like it should have — and that was it.
I popped open the editor and changed it to:
Then I read it through again and this time I flew right through the line without hesitation.
I guess you could say I'm quantifying a bit of common sense here. By making it a 'rule', though, you're forced to stop at that third 'notice' and change the damn thing, no matter how trivial it is. In other words, yes, it's a pain to open the editor just to change one tiny little thing, but this is about readability — which overrides everything else — including our own inherent laziness. So, if the 3-Notice Rule catches it, you're obligated to fix it right then and there — or throw the damn rule out.
More examples below the fold.
Continue reading "The 3-Notice Rule of Writing"
Posted by Dr. Mercury in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:00 | Comments (31) | Trackback (1)
Wednesday, May 29. 2013
It's such a wonderful memory!
I'd also note that the link under the 'Trackbacks' at the end of the article is of the same genre.
Gather 'round, friends, and let me tell you of the most wonderful, relaxing three months I've ever spent in my life.
It was at beautiful Camp Elmwood.
Ah, friends, therein lies the mystery.
Continue reading "Beautiful Camp Elmwood"
Posted by Dr. Mercury in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:40 | Comments (22) | Trackback (1)
Monday, May 27. 2013
Sunday, May 26. 2013
At dinner Friday night I was chatting with a lady about all of the farm stands that were here in Connecticut when I was growing up. Every truck farm had one: a rickety structure on the roadside with a little dusty space to pull up on, with baskets of eggs, tomatoes, corn, eggplant, red and green peppers, cut flowers, potatoes, apples. melon, raspberries, blackberries, turnips, bundles of fresh herbs, honey, dried strawflowers, giant Sunflowers, squash, pumpkins, corn stalks for fall decorations - whatever was ready that day.
Business, if steady, was never sufficient to justify manning these roadside booths. They usually had the prices written on pieces of cardboard, and one of those large mason jars to leave your money in.
The nice lady told me that Holbrook Farm in Redding, CT still uses the honor system, but not during the height of the season when things are too busy. Hearing that cheered me very much.
No spy cameras either - just good old-fashioned American country-style trust in one's neighbor. I do not think I would like to live in a place where a shop could't have an honor system, but I guess credit cards and sales tax collection complicate things these days.
Collage below from the Holbrook Farm site -
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:05 | Comments (20) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, May 24. 2013
Our friend at the Q&O site is having problems with his semi-expensive watch, so I thought I'd repost this.
We posted a while ago about expensive watches, Vacheron Constantin, Patek Phillippe, and all that. I've had a couple of moderately-expensive ones over the years but over time the repair and maintenance seemed foolish and, sad to say, an Accutron cannot be effectively repaired anymore.
As cheap watches go, I don't like digital watches. I like to see the sweep of time.
When I last went for a dreaded and long-delayed medical check up on the insistence of Mrs. BD, I noticed that my fancy doc wore the same one I did - a Timex Expedition. They are good for about ten years or more, and when you need to replace the leather band it comes with with a nice leather band, the band costs 3X more than the watch.
Any watch I wear gets banged around quite a bit, but I feel naked without one. Are they male jewelry, social signals, or are they tools?
Amazon sells them, real cheap. $31. That is indeed a fashion statement: it declares that you are a sensible person.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:22 | Comments (18) | Trackbacks (0)
Are Savages Noble? The parts about war and sex (naturally) are especially interesting. So I guess war and sex are natural, too.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:03 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Buggy whip industry.
Herewith, I am going to spell out my own little list, dismantling each word in turn. While I'm aware some harsh critic could come along at any minute and point out how this is nothing more than an academic exercise in sophistry, solipsism and semantics, I'd like to go on record as stating that that's exactly what it is.
In a generally ascending order of interest and/or importance:
The Easy Ones:
So, let us begin.
Continue reading "Meaningless Words"
Posted by Dr. Mercury in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:00 | Comments (24) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, May 23. 2013
As for coyotes, he seems to think they're a cute, cuddly bunch, but a Google search proves otherwise:
Well, this menace to society is back in the news, again preaching his particular brand of anarchy, this time against the very foundation of our language, and thus society, itself:
I've been using "they" in this regard for over 20 years.
In fact, you could even say that the subject is a part of blog history. As I note in my bio, I was 'blogging' on a daily basis on my BBS a decade before the word was coined. In one of the first pages I wrote for the board, the 'Welcome' page, I told everyone that they'd see two variations from standard English in my articles; using 'they' for 'he or she' and putting punctuation outside of quote marks. (I'll cover the latter some other time.) So it could be said that one of the first blogs in history mentioned this very subject. Twenty-two years ago.
Here's the famed James Taranto quoting other people in his daily column. James is a stickler for following the rules.
What this is really saying is, Broken is okay. I'm sure James and associated sticklers would like to fix every other broken thing on the planet, but for some reason they happily exclude this one obvious blow-it from their agenda. The question for James is, Are you planning on doing this for the rest of time eternal?
Here's the bottom line:
They does not necessarily equal plural. And I can semi-prove it.
My very first week in the South, I was alone in a diner. The waitress walked up and asked, "How y'all doin' today?" The exact same thing happened at a different diner a few days later.
That's when I realized that y'all doesn't necessarily equal 'plural', and 'they', in this context, is no different. To refine it even further, you could say that 'he or she' is the they, because more than one person is involved.
Coyote got it exactly right. Unlike any other language on the planet, English was built; constructed; formed from a collage of many languages, even varying forms of English, itself, and is thus designed to change with the times as the building process continues. While a total bitch for the outsider to learn, we who are fluent in it are offered an immense, descriptive vocabulary that no other language comes close to. In many, if not most languages, the exact meaning of a spoken word is based upon inflection. In English, we have a whole different word for every single variation, and then we still have inflection for the nuance.
Put another way, using 'they' for a singular person might feel a little awkward, but [sic]'ing every use of it for the rest of time eternal sounds a lot more awkward.
Posted by Dr. Mercury in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:00 | Comments (33) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, May 22. 2013
From the article:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:26 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, May 20. 2013
Here's one of them. More here.
Posted by Gwynnie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:23 | Comments (6) | Trackback (1)
Friday, May 17. 2013
Here's the story of the creation of the dioramas. Those hunters sure had fun.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:05 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Two weeks ago, I wrote a piece about Jason Collins and one comment made a comparison to the gay Jason Collins getting all the media attention, while Tim Tebow was being run out of the NFL for being a vocal Christian. I think the first part was true, while the second part was primarily a longshot opinion. There are too many Christians, and some very vocal ones, like Kurt Warner, who have played the game and not suffered.
I do believe Christians in the US suffer far more media abuse than gangster rappers, but that's another story. I'm writing this about Tebow, who I happen to like. He's a smart kid, a hard worker, and a good leader.
But sometimes even that just isn't enough. While his introduction to the NFL signaled an appreciable change in the nature of the QB position, unfortunately his skill set is not up to snuff.
That said, the guy still has more playoff wins in Denver than a certain Peyton Manning. Which perhaps says more about Tebow than it does Manning.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:11 | Comments (13) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, May 16. 2013
As our paleontological readers know, we are currently living in an Ice Age, right now in a minor somewhat warm (but not today) interglacial respite between the last and the next major glacial incursion.
History does matter, boys and girls. The most recent major interglacial (as opposed to the mini warm spells as in the past few thousand years) is known as the Eemian Interglacial. It lasted around 15,000 years, beginning about 130,000 years ago, and ended with our current ice age cycle.
Via Gene Expression:
The Eemian was the time when Homo sapiens began moving north out of Africa and the Middle East.
Sometimes it's a good idea to put things in perspective. Just for fun, here's the past 500 million years of climate change. We're still in an alarming and great 50-million year glacial, cold period, period with ups and downs within it. It's a fact that the earth, right now, is about as cold as it has ever been in the past half-billion years.
That's the big picture. Here's more detail, of just the past 65 million years but even on this scale the Eemian doesn't show:
Sunday, May 12. 2013
I am sure that the energetic and ridiculously-productive (blog, books, newspaper opinion pieces - plus a day job teaching) Prof. Glenn Reynolds would enjoy having a law named after him.
A reader reminded us of Reynold's Law. Good comments there, too.
1. Dang compressor died in our icebox. Replacing it would be a few thousand $, half the cost of a new one. OK, get a new one. The KitchenAid lasted 20 years. Nice timing, it died 2 days before our Mother's Day party and cook-out. Ribeyes on the grill for 12. But why, I wonder, does the 55 year-old Frigidaire at the farm still work fine? The very pleasant, amusing, and smart refrigerator repairman (retired NYC cop on 75% salary) explained that it's because the old ones were low-tech. He said KitchenAids are the best, and Sub Zeros are just for show, not worth the $. He said modern refrigerators require surge protectors. Besides the cost, worst thing is that the failure defrosted my year's supply of frozen cranberries.
2. Gwynnie always tells me I need to get out more. Mrs. BD drags me out constantly for social events. Whenever I go, I meet charming ladies and guys who are far smarter and more accomplished than I am. That is life-enriching and humbling. At a cocktail party on Friday nite, besides touching base with old pals, I met a guy who builds nuke plants around the world and a physicist who loves modern dance and speaks intelligently about Thomas Nagel. He kept pressing me on whether I was a materialist (in the metaphysical sense), but his lovely wife said he had had too many gin and tonics. I kept saying "I don't know," which made him think I was smart.
3. Worked on the vegetable garden yesterday, with the lad. Deconstructing parts of it to make it smaller. It just got too big to keep up with. I realized that all I really care about growing are tomatoes, cucumbers, rhubarb, and herbs. Everything else is just as good from the store, and no weeding required. In the afternoon, I split logs from a tree we took down in the winter. I ache all over. The good kind of ache. Some days I feel like I'd like to bring back slavery, but it just wouldn't be right in today's political environment. I don't mean black slavery - any color would be fine.
4. This morning, we had a Mother's Day wren in the bedroom. The house painter had not put the screens back on the windows. I figured it was a good luck thing of some sort. At least it wasn't a rabid bat. It was indeed a House Wren. Kind-of funny, because I saw this morning that a pair of Chickadees are nesting in one of my wren houses. We love to house the homeless here at Maggie's HQ. Still hoping that a pair of owls will use my Screech Owl house. I've heard them around a couple of times in the early morning, but I am not sure that they like my placement of the thing. My experience is that they seem to like their houses in full sun.
That's the news from Yankeeland.
Friday, May 10. 2013
What a character he was. He embodied all contradictions and futilities and was possibly the best pub or dinner companion of all time. Boswell's stuff is great fun to read (Boswell was quite a character himself), but nobody has run out of things to write about Dr. Johnson.
Thursday, May 9. 2013
Should the youth "follow their passions" in career direction? And what if they have no career passion? And is "passion" necessarily a wise guide to major life decisions anyway? (It's definitely a good guide to hobbies and avocational pursuits, but not always a good guide to talent.)
The topic is raised here: I Know I'm Supposed To Follow My Passion. But What If I Don't Have A Passion?
I have more to say about it, but I don't have the time. Our readers probably have some thoughts.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:26 | Comments (15) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, May 8. 2013
Good advice. The rentier economy is going nowhere but downwards.
On the other hand, the President advises abandoning your personal ambitions. Sort of odd for him to be saying that: Graduates, Your Ambition Is the Problem - Obama's commencement speech at Ohio State on Sunday would have perplexed the Founders.
The worst news yet: The Jobs Of The Future Don't Require A College Degree
If you have the ambition to energetically create the life you want, clarify your goals, clarify your principles, learn all you can from your errors, be a helpful but tough manager of yourself and of others. It worked for him.
Sunday, May 5. 2013
There seems to be something wonderful about something new.
We recently picked up a new car, an SUV of course to help prevent global cooling. (I wanted a Suburban but that is not what She fetched - thought it was too long for her to park.) An off-lease car, because we like the idea of letting the previous owner take the hit on the depreciation nowadays. Stupid not to, since they all come with 4-year warrantees anyway.
Happily, we are down to only three - or 2 1/2 - vehicles and, finally, no boats to worry about.
However, it got me to thinking about the charms of new things. New camera, new car, new house, new dog, new gun, new girlfriend or boyfriend, new painting for the wall, new horse, new piece of furniture, new iPhone, new place to visit, new landscaping plan and new plantings, new paint job, new chain saw, new tweed sport jacket, new TV. New sexual position.
The charm of the new never lasts, but it delights for a while before it lapses into the routine. Unless your new car is a Maserati, perhaps.
What is it about the new that so enchanting, when we know that new becomes old and familiar so quickly? I ask this as someone for whom old things are the most comfortable.
Saturday, May 4. 2013
It would take me all day to solve simple problems with algos. My brain thinks by jumps. Computers need them though.
"Well, howdy there, nei-ei-ei-ei-gh-bor!"
I credit Mr. Ed (played by the incomparable Bamboo Harvester) for initiating a lifelong love of horses within me, although why they would train a horse to harvest bamboo is anybody's guess. Remember how he used to move his lips to the words? Trick photography? CGI? Someone glued some puppet strings to his lips and pulled on them? By way of Wikipedia, here's the lovable Wilbur, himself, played by Alan Young:
For you equinistic aficionados out there, below the fold I'll review a number of horse-related movies and documentaries and provide over ten video clips of some choice moments. I'll also drag the concept of Intelligent Design into the mix, then we'll examine four ways a single person can manually bring down a horse to lying flat on its side, then touch upon the mysterious 'fifth gait' and its role in ancient history.
Just another day at the races.
Continue reading "In the Spirit of Equus"
Posted by Dr. Mercury in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 09:30 | Comments (47) | Trackback (1)
Monday, April 29. 2013
A commenter said this:
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:46 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Do not miss this speech - it is fascinating video: The State of White America. It's 60+ info-packed minutes. Murray is like a statistically-armed de Toqueville for our time. I needed to hear it twice. The guy is delightful to listen to.
It's not really about politics, but he does mention American principles, American Exceptionalism, and what is required for a self-governing citizenry. "Self-governing," of course, has a dual meaning.
A lot of it is about class and "social capital" in America.
One quote from him: "The upper middle class seems to be keeping all the good stuff to itself: religion, marriage, morality, civic and social engagement, industriousness, and long work hours..."
Another: "The federal government can be accused of confusing itself with the rooster who believes that his crowing is what makes the sun rise..."
Another: "Marriage civilizes men." (Yes, the gals do try, don't they? And we guys fight back, pathetically, by not shaving on Saturday morning.)
Another useful phrase: "The people who makes things more difficult for their fellow citizens..."
All very interesting and relevant. I don't care much about class, college degrees, or elitism, but I do care about integrity, responsibility, curiosity, industriousness, and a number of other character traits. And of course I do care about traditional American culture and the work ethic. Like Murray, I do not buy into the European "relaxation" ethic and the aspiration for a stress-free life: humans are not cattle, and cannot have dignity or pride without being productive or constructive in whatever ways they can find. Anybody can make themselves useful if they want to.
Early 19th C. American fiction was wild and crazy: Philip F. Gura’s ‘Truth’s Ragged Edge: The Rise of the American Novel’
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:39 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, April 28. 2013
From Dalrymple's Destructive Creation:
It's all interesting, but I think Dalrymple's larger point is that, in life, unpleasant things: poverty, ugliness, cruelty, dishonesty, etc. are the default settings. Special qualities are required to move the dial above the default setting, whether for an individual or for a society.
But back to the arts: there is no "progress" in arts. Just changes of fashion.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:23 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, April 26. 2013
Thursday, April 25. 2013
Dalrymple: No Cant in Immanuel
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:49 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
I greatly enjoy contemplating urban issues. As someone who grew up frequenting NYC, I suppose my bias is towards the high-density, mixed-use (ie residential and commerce combined), mix of very old and brand-new buildings, and the mixed-use (ie residential and commerce combined) environment that makes downtown New York such a vibrant and constantly interesting place, day and night. The city that never sleeps.
If I could afford a pied a terre there, I would do it. (The only reason NYC real estate is so high is because of government controls.) Take the elevator down, say Hi to the doorman, walk seven blocks to a neighborhood French bistro or your favorite pub past all the people taking their dogs for a walk. Nice way of life. New Yorkers are skinny because they walk everywhere - including to work in the morning. Well, subway if it's over a mile I suppose but it depends on the person.
Here's the article: Houston Rising—Why the Next Great American Cities Aren’t What You Think - While urbanists and developers tout the oldest and priciest American cities, they ignore or deplore the real growth that’s happening in more spread-out urban newbies, writes demographer Joel Kotkin.
It was a tiring, three-plane, 24-hour flight, getting in late the night before, April 7. We stayed at a delightfully friendly inn near the Prime Minister's residence, about a 15-minute stroll to the Old City. We slept and had a hearty breakfast from the inn's large, delicious buffet. After 2-minutes of sirens all over Israel during which all stop to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day, Jason's Bar Mitzvah took place at 10:02AM on April 8 at the Haas Promenade overlooking all of Jerusalem, the Old City at the center of view. Here we're carrying the Torah to the Promenade, then part of the view over Jerusalem (hazy due to a sand storm in Saudi Arabia blowing sand far into Jerusalem's skies).
Instead of a long post with deeper observations, maybe to come later, instead this post will simply present some of the joy on Jason and younger brother (8) Gavin's faces at their experiences. (Jason was totally jazzed, and performed his prayers and Torah portion with enthusiasm and ease. Gavin was a bit jet-lagged in the morning of the 8th but recovered his boisterous energy and spirits by noon.) A few photos with me may sneak in. But. for me, these of Jason and Gavin are the most important. Look back at your albums. The photos of sites are nice momentos but the photos of your children at the sites are the heart that beats and stirs.
Both boys rose to be champion travelers, terrifically behaved and engaged, and their reflections on what they saw and experienced have been all that a father could hope for from this exposure to the land, history, and traditions of our Jewish religion and peoples. Jason acts and takes seriously that he is now a young man, with such responsibilities following this core rite of passage. Gavin says he will be nicer after experiencing and discussing the centrality in our faith of replacing bad with good in ourselves and the world, bolstered by meeting so many pleasant Israelis and visitors from all over the globe.
(Many more photos below the fold; There is a 10-hour difference between California and Israel, so the dates on the photos reflect San Diego time, not Israel's)
Continue reading "Jason's Bar Mitzvah Trip To Israel"
Wednesday, April 24. 2013
In my professional opinion, younger guys seem to be OK and relatively calm with sex twice daily. They are monkeys. Older fellows seem to get by with anywhere from daily to 3-4 times/week, depending on how hard and long they work at their jobs. Women are an entirely different topic, but my general advice to women is to remove the TV from the bedroom. Not to worry ladies - they will put it back in our bedrooms 24 hrs/day when we're demented widows in the nursing home. We can catch up with our shows and movies then. Carpe diem.
Apropos of the topic, I saw that Glenn Reynolds linked this book: Lube Jobs: A Woman's Guide to Great Maintenance Sex. Library journal commented about it, "Most people spend the largest part of their adulthood slogging through committed relationships, and they need books like this."
Good cozy marital snuggles can make up for a lot of troubles. But "slogging"? If you're slogging, it's your own darn fault. I have patients deep into their 70s and 80s with quite satisfying and jolly sex lives even when they know far more than they want to know about their spouses, and when their equipment is not what it once was. We are, in part, biological beings.
Sunday, April 21. 2013
Listening to music while drinking. Charming.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:09 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
— The same day repeats itself, over and over again. He wakes up, and it's the exact same day. He, alone, is stuck inside of some kind of crazy time loop.
— At first he's in despair, then he realizes he can use it to his advantage to land the fair damsel.
— This he does, then everything goes back to normal and they live happily ever after.
Yep, the movie 12:01 sure is fun.
Ah, but I know what you're thinking. Just another pale imitation of the immortal Groundhog Day, right?
Except it came out a year before 'Groundhog Day'.
Oh, and there might have been a few other small differences. What was his ultimate goal in Groundhog Day?
To get into her pants.
What was his ultimate goal in 12:01?
To save her life and the world.
Did he actually care for the girl in Groundhog Day?
Not in the slightest.
He truly cared for her deeply and sincerely, if only from afar.
Of course, convincing someone you're actually stuck in a time loop — without them calling for Security or the medical staff — might not be quite as easy as it looks. Here are his first two attempts.
All in all, a warm, sensitive movie about a caring guy on a noble mission.
In other words, nothing at all like Groundhog Day.
We'll be Unstoppable below the fold.
Continue reading "Movie Review: '12:01', 'Unstoppable'"
Posted by Dr. Mercury in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:00 | Comments (19) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, April 18. 2013
(The reading of Milton's classic On Time on Dr. Merc's sim-gaming post here this morning is a perfect example.)
Here at Maggie's, we have always posted a Saturday Verse, with the general advice to read them out loud. One poem per week, like one masterpiece of art, is about all most people can or are willing to process. We might be tempted to read more poetry if they were Juvenal writing poems from the standpoint of a Roman switch-hitting prostitute servicing both his master and his master's wife to good and profitable effect. The wife first, one might hope.
Via AVI's doctor's wall, A 1950s Creed:
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:34 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
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