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, March 6. 2014
Yet a case like this seems - I say seems, because we can't ever know all the details - to be indicative of many things that are wrong in American society today. Entitled kids? Maybe, that's very common. Abusive parents? We've seen that, so it's possible. Litigation to solve something which should be worked out privately? I have no idea why this is in court, but there are plenty of cases in the courts which have no reason being heard. These people need counseling, not lawyers.
I believe in a 'my house, my rules' environment. Children, even some young adults over 18, often don't understand why rules exist, don't want to know why they exist, and want only what they want. Furthermore, once a child turn 18, and particularly if they decide to leave home permanently - for any reason - they have to accept responsibility for themselves. As a parent, if my child left on good terms, I would offer and provide assistance when it was needed and requested. If they left on bad terms and immediately made demands on me and the rest of the family, let's just say things may not work out as well. The child should expect and understand why that might happen. If they were willing to take steps to remedy the situation, they would always be met with welcome arms.
I can't say Rachel Canning is entitled, I don't know. The superficial information seems to indicate she is and simply isn't happy living within her parents' somewhat strict governance. But that's part of the the parent/child dynamic. I don't put limitations on who my boys can hang out with or date, but I have had long, and often difficult, discussions with them about the types of kids they spend time with. Other parents take a much more active role. We all have a different approach, and it's my opinion that the house makes the rules regardless of how I make my own house rules. If the child lives in the house and relies on the parents, then that is part of the package.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:47 | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (0)
Dave Barry Learns Everything You Need to Know About Being a Husband From Reading 50 Shades of Grey:
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:21 | Comments (3) | Trackback (1)
Wednesday, March 5. 2014
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:57 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, March 4. 2014
Thursday, February 27. 2014
Recently, while Bird Dog was lounging in the Caribbean, I was sent to do a presentation at a conference in Palm Desert, California. Since I was a featured speaker, the conference was paying for my hotel, and as these things are typically boondoggles held at high-end resorts, I asked my wife to join me and she reluctantly agreed. It took a tremendous amount of arm-twisting, two lines of text at a minimum.
My presentation meant a day in a ballroom with 200 of my closest industry competitors. It provided a great opportunity to discuss issues at the heart of my business and I managed to deliver a 30 minute presentation in what seemed like 5 minutes. I'm still learning to present well, though I was pleased to hear my work referenced several times by the speakers who followed me.
Once I got past the fun part, it was 'boondoggle on' and the wife and I availed ourselves of the surrounding region. We took a bike tour of Palm Springs, headed out to Joshua Tree National Park and did an hour's hike up Ryan Mountain for some spectacular views. I highly recommend a visit to Joshua Tree, if you're ever in the area. It has a beauty which is very hard to describe. It may not be for everyone. I found it fascinating. I also wanted to visit the Salton Sea, but time didn't permit.
As we were preparing to leave, my wife noticed an article about Mid-Century Modern architecture in a local magazine. What caught her eye was a house owned by the Kaufmanns, a family I recently wrote about. Apparently, this family was rather innovative in their tastes. Successful in the business of retailing, they expanded the American cultural landscape by contracting with ground-breaking architects, in this case Richard Neutra. Success really does breed success. Their home in Palm Springs is considered the premiere example of the Mid-Century Modern home.
Continue reading "Mid-Century Modern Architecture in the Desert"
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:22 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
We do not seem to have very many Olympics fans, or even TV-watchers, among our commenters here. However, the closing ceremony music was by Dimitri Zinovievich Tiomkin*, a Russian Jewish composer who emigrated to America and became one of the most distinguished and best-loved music writers of Hollywood. He won a hallowed place in the pantheon of the most successful and productive composers in American film history, earning himself four Oscars and sixteen Academy Awards nominations.
The music was composed for a movie celebrating independent capitalist values as they developed and matured over 25 years in rural Texas. The movie was Giant with Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean and Carol Baker. You can listen to some of the theme in the trailer below. Think Vlad Putin knows?
Continue reading "Answer to yesterday's music quiz"
Posted by Gwynnie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:42 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, February 26. 2014
It's fascinating how crowded Everest is becoming these days, with queues of mountain tourists for the rope lines. The highways are all mapped out, ladders installed, ropes installed, sherpas hired, etc., so it's almost like a rich man's chilly Disney World.
The medical part - and the risk of bad weather - seem to be the greatest challenges. First World Problems, if you will, because nobody needs to do this. However, if it is made too safe, where's the credit?
As with the Olympics, I think it's wonderful that some people want to try these sorts of adventures in life, but I do not admire the amateur tourists. Good film:
How many of our faithful readers recognized the majestic music that dominated the Closing Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Sochi?
Posted by Gwynnie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:25 | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, February 24. 2014
"Public service" and non-profit "service" are highly overrated as signifiers of virtue.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:27 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, February 23. 2014
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:18 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, February 22. 2014
It was one year ago that my Mom died of complications from a hip replacement. Dad died four months later from the same thing, but he didn't really desire to live without her sparkling, upbeat, and charming company.
I learned at her funeral, from one of my sisters, that she had been writing a weekly gardening column for two newspapers for 25 years. Had she been younger, she might have had a gardening website.
A little snobby and discriminating, perhaps, but she had good taste and she had good pals from every walk of life, and lots of them. She had a talent for connecting with people, so home always had friends and neighbors stopping by unannounced for tea or cocktails. You would never know who might stop in but it was always fun and interesting. As a kid, all sorts of people came by: old farmers, Leonard Bernstein and his "Mrs.", Robert Penn Warren, neighbors, bankers, the local Pediatrician, retired yard guys, lonely widows, the Pastor looking for a glass of Scotch and a jolly chat. Relatives looking for a warm chair by the fire and a hot toddy. Robert Frost and his family stopped by too, but I was hardly conscious then. Mom was pals with his daughter, I think, or his niece. Their two homes - town and country - were open houses, and everybody knew it. Their kitchen (with fireplace and comfy chairs) was rarely empty of people.
Ol' Rodney stopped by too, at least twice a week for a morning coffee. The autistic son of a local farmer who had died, farm sold out to developers, he rode his bike year-round all around town. Mom would let ol' Rodney do some yard work, but he would not accept payment. He just wanted connection and to be useful. Rodney was a true old-style New Englanda' with the old accent, and he never missed Sunday at church.
"One could do worse than to be a swinger of birches." My wish is that my kids will absorb all of this family tradition.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:04 | Comments (17) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, February 20. 2014
In college basketball, this was best exemplified by the Larry Bird/Magic Johnson NCAA Final in 1979. The NBA had Bill Russell and the Celtics in the 50's and 60's. When a reboot began with Bird and Johnson, Michael Jordan joined them and created an era of his own. Football experienced a similar revitalization with the arrival of the West Coast Offense and Joe Montana. Baseball has gone through multiple reboots recently, though few have had a positive spin. Steroids and strikes have had bigger impacts on the face of baseball than the arrival of a dominant player or a new method of playing the game. Sabermetrics have been a net positive, and even my interest in the sport has grown over the last 15 years because of the new math which opens a window onto what real productivity is in the sport.
I haven't watched much of the Olympics, but I've been fascinated with Ted Ligety for some time. In a sport which is usually decided by hundredths of a second, Ligety crashes down slalom courses with seeming abandon and winning by what can only be called massive margins. His dominance is of the type rarely seen in any sport, let alone skiing.
Ligety is one of those people who has reinvented his sport. I did a limited amount of downhill racing in my youth, and I remember the coach telling us the point was to find the fall line and make the course as short and fast as possible. For years, that was the formula for reaching a victorious finish, often by slim margins of a second. Giant Slalom, in particular, was usually a visual of tight turns around the gates and keeping as close to a straight downhill line as you could accomplish.
Ligety, on the other hand, takes wider turns and gets as parallel to the ground as he can. This approach has turned the US team into a powerhouse. Ligety creates power on short portions of the course where others coast briefly, and as a result he is able to smash the competition by moving rapidly, and effectively, from turn to turn. Long ago, someone told me Beckham was a geometry genius because he could figure out how to get a ball from Point A into a goal around the wall. I doubt he understood much about geometry at all, but he certainly understood how to make a ball do what he wanted it to do. Ligety, by the same measure, is a physics genius. He's determined how to turn portions of his run from potential to kinetic energy and power himself faster than others are able.
Most of the Olympics has been a bore, outside of hockey and Ligety.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:19 | Comments (16) | Trackbacks (0)
Here at Maggie's, we are convinced that a degree of financial security is a more meaningful goal than retirement. At the same time, we seem to feel that a miserly life is a sterile one and that life without skiing and boating is a wasted one. There's a balance somewhere. Even if you have some bucks in the bank, picking and choosing expenditures carefully on their life/family enhancement makes sense. In those cases, we like spending a lot to make it great and memorable. Penny-wise and adventure foolish.
I believe in creating great memories to enjoy when I'm over the hill.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:25 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, February 19. 2014
A friend sent me this link and quote, with his comment about Fleck:
This guy Ludwik Fleck was an MD virologist. Really interesting fellow and life. He was put in concentration camp by Nazis and told to make vaccine against cholera to give to soldiers. He made the vaccine, vaccinated his fellow inmates and gave barrels of neutralized (useless) vaccine to the Germans. Lived to emigrate to Israel. Notice how they call him a Polish-Jewish scientist.; would be like calling me a German-Jewish or Polish-Jewish scientist. I think he was a fore-runner to Thomas Kuhn.
The quote below is from Ludwik Fleck -
"When people begin to exchange ideas, a thought collective arises, bonded by a specific mood, and as a result of a series of understandings and misunderstandings a peculiar thought style is developed. When a thought style becomes sufficiently sophisticated, the collective divides itself into an esoteric circle (professionals) and an exoteric circle (laymen). A thought style consists of the active elements, which shape ways in which members of the collective see and think about the world, and of the passive elements, the sum of which is perceived as an “objective reality”. What we call “facts”, are social constructs: only what is true to culture is true to nature. Thought styles are often incommensurable: what is a fact to the members of a thought collective A sometimes does not exist to the members of a thought collective B, and a thought that is significant and true to the members of A may sometimes be false or meaningless for members of B."
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:26 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, February 18. 2014
A sense of local community, "community spirit" if you will, can only arise organically and spontaneously. An outsider cannot make it happen with a few rounds of Kumbaya. In my limited experience, these things are less likely to occur in wealthy communities and in God-forsaken inner cities.
I do not think De Tocqueville experienced either of those during his remarkable study of America. I suspect that most Maggie's readers are ready to serve their communities when needed. It's the Yankee spirit - do what needs to be done outside of government.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:23 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, February 12. 2014
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:03 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, February 11. 2014
I don't know what motivates the nanny state. People just want to be left alone.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:41 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, February 10. 2014
Posted by Gwynnie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:24 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, February 9. 2014
A pal who read my piece about humidors in winter was thoughtful enough to deliver me an Opus X along with two 72% Boveda gel-packs. Those packs are news to me.
He promised that putting two Boveda packs in there will get your humidor through three months in the winter up here, where our humidity can be quite low in winter. The packs don't activate until opened.
Thank you, friend.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:21 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:52 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, February 8. 2014
Inside the Dream Palace by Sherill Tippins – review - An entertaining history of the legendary Chelsea hotel's slide from sociological experiment to den of iniquity
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:37 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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