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
Monday, March 9. 2015
I happen to agree with Bird Dog's statement, too. But I believe economists often do themselves a disservice. Usually it's the economists who make predictions about macroeconomic outlooks which do this. By and large, it's the economists with Progressive tendencies. Though certainly some in the Republican camp get a bit outrageous.
I'm fond of saying economists can't make predictions, nor should they. They should offer scenarios. That's what I tend to do. Options of potential outcomes. Economics involves far too many variables to be a predictive science, though the basic rules can explain many things we see quite well, and that's what science is for.
To better understand economists and economics, perhaps this would help.
I thought we knew the answer (in leftist politics), but it's getting muddled because "identity groups" can be so darn confusing. Now the Jews are hated on campi too because they are said to oppress Arabs, which makes Arab religion ok because they are termed a victim identity group even though religion of any sort is a negative for the left.
Almost every illegal hispanic immigrant is Roman Catholic, so does that make RC ok?
Sunday, March 8. 2015
Compared to their cohorts around the world, American millennials come in last or near-last by just about every metric.
That never made any sense to me. It's a myth.
"The picture of science and religion at each other’s throats persists in mainstream media and scholarly journals, but each chapter in Galileo Goes to Jail shows how much we have to gain by seeing beyond the myths."
Thursday, March 5. 2015
"Emotion" is sort-of an artificial construct, is it not? It - whatever it is - can rarely be separated from cognition, perception, ideas, and all other mental processes and biological instincts. We easily can identify, in ourselves, lustful desire ("urge to merge"), rage, despair, joy, fear and anxiety - but these extremes are rare and still more expressible by poets and musicians than by scientists.
Wednesday, March 4. 2015
Kevin Williamson has the ability to take on any topic and go straight to the heart of the matter. A guote from his piece about government roads:
Partly because of our temperamental skepticism, and partly from knowing the history of science (consisting of one discarded theory after another), we are interested in thinking about the idea (or is it a religion) of Scientism.
This is a challenging essay, The Folly of Scientism, but worth two or three readings. It begins:
One more quote:
When I was young, Sweet Briar had already evolved from an elite finishing school to a serious college for female children of the gentry, and especially those with horses. Skidmore used to do the same. Their goal had been to produce excellent young wives for gentry men; literate, infused with a dose of southern charm, graciousness and manners (even though at least half were from the north), prepared to help any kids with homework, to pour tea, to read a book each week, to go on fox hunts, to shoot shotguns and rifles, to throw a dinner party, to be equipped to run family affairs and to handle social relations delicately, to run Junior Leagues, church organizations, and garden clubs - and to discuss any topic intelligently with a hubby, from the sciences to art history to international issues.
Women well-equipped to create beautiful family lives for the gentry class and to raise lots of fine kids and future good citizens and future good parents.
The lovely college mostly kept to that mission until they responsibly recognized that the market was running against them. Sad. Many families over the past 100 years are grateful for their mission. Charming campus, with sweet, genteel and refined young women. It all fades into history and fond memory.
I admit I am old-fashioned. I married an extremely-bright Randolph-Macon girl. Lucky me to catch a southern gal from the horsey set. She is still ticked off about the War Between the States, but, thank God, she likes me and my friends up here in Yankeeland. Hostess of the Century, I think. I just show up, and there's a fun party with interesting folks. I pour, and enjoy the bright, interesting people she collects and who are drawn to her sparkling self.
Tuesday, March 3. 2015
Bigger than ISIS? Maybe or maybe not, but not as hair-raising. Bigger than Hillary using her personal email? Absolutely, but not as top-of-mind or intriguing. Bigger than Immigration Reform? Probably not, but interestingly the topics which are involved would play a role in hopefully reducing the influx of illegals by opening up markets more.
We are smarter than you, and we know what's best for you. Don't worry that you never voted for us, or that we are completely unaccountable. It's in your best interest.
Ultimately, it's a kind of boring topic. Which is why I like it, because it involves politics, law and economics. Economics being 'the dismal science', Net Neutrality has often been misconstrued and misunderstood in the media because it doesn't attract much thought beyond a populist angle. After all, most reporters and bloviators who comment on the topic work for companies that will benefit from Net Neutrality. Of course, they were never harmed without it, but hey, these populists are busy looking out for your best interests. Because, of course, nobody else will and you're simply not smart enough to know better. I'll be clear, I work for a company that supports Net Neutrality and conceivably benefits from it. Which is one reason the small level of anonymity which blogging provides is beneficial when writing pieces like this.
The passage, last week, by the FCC of a policy which treats broadband providers as "common carriers" under Title II of the Telecommunications Act basically means they are now utilities. Not completely, but close enough to make that claim without much disagreement. But what sparked this vote, why is it needed (or why do populists feel it is needed), and what does it potentially do?
Continue reading "Net Neutrality"
When people lose family bonds and family help, they pathetically turn to government, and government is always happy to make you dependent on them. It is a sick and sickening cycle of money and power, and weakens human spirit and integrity. Where's my money?
I am fortunate that my clan is tight, and from immigrant cultures (Poland + Italy), too proud and grateful to to America to look to government for anything. We were taught that freedom is our precious gift, and nothing more can or should be asked for. It's an American thing which relatively-recent immigrant (1920s) families appreciate best.
Today? I am not sure. We have a decadent gimme culture, it seems.
I was thrilled and surprised to see one pass by this week, low over my garden. Must be cold up north. I am sure he or she is hurrying north to nest in the snow.
The Snowy Owl breeds around the world at the northern edge of the tundra. Depending on food supply (lemmings and similar rodents), they regularly migrate further south during the winter.
I have only seen a handful of them in New England although they are regular visitors to tundra-like, wide-open places in New England and other areas of the northern US: golf courses, marshes, beaches, large fields and meadows. The last one I saw was sitting on a snow-covered sand dune in Montauk, L.I., but I have seen them perched on farmhouse roofs. They are diurnal owls, and usually perch on a high spot to watch for the movement of little critters.
You can read more about the Snowy Owl here.
Monday, March 2. 2015
Sunday, March 1. 2015
Pic: A salt marsh in Wellfleet, MA
A Canadian reader asked for a post on this topic. A complicated topic, because it depends on the season and on your interests. It's a varied place for such a compact area, with rivers, lakes, mountains, coasts, islands, rural lands, some charming antique towns, lots of decrepit small towns with tattoos, meth labs, and empty old mills; a handful of booming suburban towns of little interest, plenty of music, theater, and dance festivals, and a small handful of pleasant cities.
When driving around, one must bear in mind that most industry, and farming, fled New England in the past 60-100 years for more business-friendly and farm-friendly locations, so it is no longer the prosperous heart of America. Now it's mostly "Blue states", if you know what I mean.
For road food, I'd recommend diners, diner-like one-off places, and seafood shacks instead of fast food chains. There is even an excellent southern barbecue joint on Rte 91, as rickety as heck and the real deal (only during summertime - owner lives in Mississippi). With all the immigrants, there is good Thai food almost everywhere, but the Chinese food in New England tends to be terrible as does Italian food outside of cities except for pizza.
Rather than describing the places I know and enjoy, I'll list just a few and refer you to some good resources. For local flavor, I like Grand Manan Island (between Maine and Canada), Monhegan Island, Camden, Maine, Kennebunkport is touristy but Acadia Park, Cape Cod (Chatham, Wellfleet - lots of Quebec and Ontario license plates there in August), Block Island, The Massachusetts Berkshires - Lenox, Stockbridge, etc - Boston (haven't been there for years though), touristy Woodstock, VT, Stowe, VT, Lake Winnipesaukee and Squam Lake (New Hampshire), Watch Hill and Newport (Rhode Island) - well, it's too much to list and I'll leave too much out so I'll quit there.
We like Karen Brown at lot (her guides for places all around the world are our favorites), and she avoids fancy modern hotels that can make you feel like you are anywhere.
Maybe readers can offer some of their favorite charming New England spots - with interesting things to see, do, and eat - in the comments.
Yummy, quick, cheap and easy for an early winter supper. Best with pancetta, but bacon will do in a pinch. Thin spaghetti, please, always, and more ground pepper than you think. Maybe linguine instead of spaghetti is ok.
Tyler shows you how.
It's sort of a Southern Italian version of bacon and eggs, also good for a 3 am meal after bar-hopping and flirting all night.
But the classic for that purpose is Whore's Spaghetti, the highly-flavored Spaghetti Puttanesca. Capers, olives, and anchovies. White anchovies in jars or fresh, not the disgusting brown ones in tins.
Saturday, February 28. 2015
A good organization: Maine's Chewonki
They might be a bit too Greenie, but mainly outdoor-oriented. All sorts of (affordable) programs for kids and adults. They even have useful wilderness medicine programs.
Friday, February 27. 2015
Marketing can work wonders, as can the placebo effect. Don't be a sucker.
He advises people with lower net worth (eg under 10-50 million) to stay away from the equity casino where the master poker players will beat you, but ordinary people like me are naturally a bit greedy and ignore wisdom. As a commenter says, "The man knows exactly what he doesn't know and builds his portfolio around that. Genius." As I listen, I see the huge role that central banks and governments play in the international games of money. There are no free markets today.
His funds require a minimal investment of many millions. Enjoy this, despite an annoying Maria. And who is she to call him "Ray"? I'd like to ask him about the necessity of central banks and their role in creating the economic swings.
Thursday, February 26. 2015
The problem with this, of course, is that most respectable medical research turns out to be wrong too. I recently read that coronary bypass has no value compared with the alternatives, but they are done constantly. I also read that prostate cancer surgery may be pointless after age 65 or 70, yet they are performed constantly.
When politics gets involved, it all gets worse. If you need a doctor, get one with grey hair (who has seen it all) and a male (not bound by all the idiot rules).
Wednesday, February 25. 2015
What drives the disease craze? Big Pharma, and insurance. Normal variants are labeled as diseases and disorders. Think ADD, ED, infertility, fear of dying, and on and on. I term them, smirkingly, "life-style disorders."
Here's an emerging new disorder: A Pill That Boosts a Woman’s Sex Drive Is Almost Here. But Do We Need It?
What shall we term the medical disorder which this pill fixes?
Thanks to ski lifts, snow cannons, and plenty of dynamite, what used to
It's not too cheap, the hassle factor is huge, but it is great cold weather fun and excellent exercise.
Like many, I grew up skiing at a small local place with rope tows and poma lifts, and one two-seater chair lift, and slowly advanced to more challenging places as funds permitted.
I love it. For me, winter means skiing, spring means fishing, summer means boating, fall means hunting. It's that simple.
Tuesday, February 24. 2015
We have said here at Maggie's, for years, that a "healthy diet" cannot be defined without evidence, and there has never been any evidence. "Healthy" has just been bias, old-wives tales, and happy-sounding ignorance like "eat your peas and kale and fruit". All nonsense.
It's a big deal that even the slow-witted government finally comes around to what we have all known. America, go easy on the carbs, eat veggies only if you like them, use butter and olive oil, enjoy a fine steak when you can afford it, and do not become food-obsessed.
Sorry, Whole Foods, food quacks, and food faddists. You have been wrong all along. Docs finally now feel free to share the real facts, which they have known for years. I've never known a doc who would refuse a rare ribeye steak or filet mignon. Never known a vegetarian doc either, or a scientist who ate organic food. In fact, the biological scientists I know like to go to fancy French and fancy Italian restaurants as often as possible.
Monday, February 23. 2015
Government regs always disadvantage the little guys. That's why the bigs guys don't mind too much.
A case: The Big Banks
A better example: Sheri's Ranch Versus Sugar Babies
Sunday, February 22. 2015
My favorite winter puddings are Indian Pudding, Bread Pudding, and Plum Pudding (with hard sauce, please).
Bread Pudding is the easiest to make.
All of these puddings require something to be served on top. For Bread Pudding, I've seen Rum Sauce, Lemon Sauce, Vanilla Sauce, etc etc.
Or the old standby, English Custard Sauce. No need to make it yourself - you can buy Bird's at Amazon. Ol' Mr. Bird invented it because his wife had an egg allergy. A bird, allergic to eggs...
God made pitchers for pouring custard.
What are your favorite cold weather desserts?
"... where did the Magnum come from? Again, it was Doug Wesson who made the call. The Major was a renowned connoisseur of fine champagne, and in the vintner’s world the term “magnum” refers to a slightly larger than standard bottle. When Wesson went out to dine, he never ordered anything less than a magnum bottle, and it seemed to him a natural extension of the term to the slightly larger than standard case of the new cartridge. And so was coined one of the most enduring—and misunderstood—labels in firearms and ammunition history. "
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