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
Friday, October 28. 2016
So, movies are important. We talked a little about one movie yesterday, and it elicited a discussion of many. What do movies mean?
Movies are stories. Some people think movies and other forms of visual entertainment like TV shows are inferior to reading books. I think that's sort of true. If your mind is forced to picture something that has been transmitted to you by the written word, the gray-matter horsepower it takes to make the picture in your head improves its effect somehow. Even a story spoken to you is like that a little. Having all the visual work done for you dulls the effect. It attenuates other effects, though. It's a form of mind control. You'll see my story the way I want it seen, or you won't see it at all.
It's the same for writing. Writing a word with a pencil on paper makes you understand it better than selecting it on a tablet computer. That's one of 6,176,158 reasons why is our children not learning.
Movies aren't more sophisticated than text. I think movies are actually closer to the normal way our pit-scratching, mammoth-pestering ancestors communicated ideas and feelings. The parts that work are a throwback. A pantomime by the firelight. Show, not tell. Or at least, tell, not labor over commas. People are affected by movies and television. Or more to the point, people are influenced by movies and TV.
There's a reason why everyone wears their hair like Laura Petrie one day and talks like Dirty Harry the next. There's a reason why the same people we used to treat like lowlifes -- because they are -- get made into griots and petty Caesars, raised on a pedestal of their residuals. There's a reason why colleges had toga parties in the early sixties, and then again in the eighties when Animal House reminded everyone of reminding everyone about sword and sandal epics like Ben-Hur. Our behavior, mores, speech, and appearance are affected by what we see on the screen. Unfortunately, right now, what we see is pandaemonium.
Let's see what Pandora's up to these days:
Wow, there are actual male humans on that list. I thought it would be Audrey Hepburn 10 times. It's a little light on Clint Eastwood, though, isn't it? You had to wear Dirty Harry glasses in the '70s. It was like a law.
Mel Gibson must be rehabilitated because he makes money in Hollywood. He kisses their ring, and they kiss his ass. Simple, really.
Go figure. Kevin Costner's name in the same sentence as "fraud." Must be a day that ends in Y. Of course, he's on the receiving end for a change, instead of the audience. He always sounds like he's reading a phone book with a bite from a peanut butter and Seconal sandwich in his mouth to my ear.
Like I said yesterday, "Four Dozen Julia Roberts Legal Thrillers You May Have Missed."
Oh, brother. That little piece of purple prose is appended to a ranking of the best 6-second video clips on a defunct service cancelled by a soon to be forgotten caterwauling service. That's Remembrance of Things Past to a Millennial.
Well, that's the links for today. Vote for the best pair of sunglasses in the movies in the comments.
Thursday, October 27. 2016
Clinton headlined fundraiser for campaign group which gave $500,000 to wife of FBI boss who investigated her emails - and it's closely linked to Hillary's bid for power
Forget an EU Army. When close allies can’t even buy equipment together, closer defense cooperation is a pipe dream.
Leaked Memo Exposes Shady Dealings Between Clinton Foundation Donors And Bill's "For-Profit" Activities
They currently have a show on Ros Chast's cartoons. I get a kick out of them.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:35 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Only Prussians could have designed the industrial, military model that American public education has applied since the mid-1800s. Then head-in-the-clouds John Dewey screwed things up even more in the US.
One of the fallacies is that kids are passive recipients of something called education. Another fallacy is that all kids are "creative," curious creatures who can be excited about "learning."
The industrial model focuses on curriculum, as it were a nutritional plan. Of course a curriculum matters, but everybody has his own opinion on what every citizen ought to know. I know I do. However, curriculum planners like to pretend that 50% of students have below-average IQs.
Don't Blame the Teachers - Years of misguided curricular theories are at the core of America’s educational shortcomings.
That might be just one part of the issue. As a victim of The New Math, I can relate.
I've never really understood movie lists. They're always curated under titles like, "The 40 Greatest Zombie Love Stories," or, "Four Dozen Julia Roberts Legal Thrillers You May Have Missed." The ones I really don't get begin with, "The 100 Greatest...
I don't know about you, but I don't think there are 100 movies, total, worth watching twice. A list of 100 Greatest Movies wouldn't need any additional qualifiers. There are maybe a hundred great movies, period. Even a good movie is pretty rare. Office Space is a good movie.
It's good because it played small ball. It used offbeat actors and looked at mundane things in a fresh way. Your job sucks and you're lonesome and your boss is just going to have to go ahead and ask you to come in on Saturday. Galaxy Quest came out the same year, and had the same fresh feeling despite the subject matter being pretty well picked over already.
If I had to explain to an alien what the American cultural and business landscape looked like when the clock was about to strike the millennium, I'd show them Office Space. Since they were aliens, I'd have it dubbed in Spanish. The movie is a Swiss army knife of quotes, too. There's one for every occasion. Let's look at the business news today, and see if the little world Mike Judge invented between the lo-pile carpeting and the drop ceiling of Initech still holds up:
I was told that I could listen to the radio at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven, I told Bill that if Sandra is going to listen to her headphones while she's filing then I should be able to listen to the radio while I'm collating so I don't see why I should have to turn down the radio because I enjoy listening at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven.
I'll bet I'm the first one laid off! Just the thought of having to go to the state unemployment office and stand in line with those SCUMBAGS...
The ratio of people to cake is too big.
I don't know, man. I just get that feeling lookin' at her like she's the type of chick that just... [shudders]
We get caught laundering money, we're not going to white-collar resort prison. No, no, no. We're going to federal POUND ME IN THE *** prison.
So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that's on the worst day of my life.
Good luck with your layoffs, all right? I hope your firings go really well.
I'm thinking I might take that new chick from Logistics. If things go well I might be showing her my O-face. "Oh... Oh... Oh!" You know what I'm talkin' about. "Oh!"
I did absolutely nothing, and it was everything that I thought it could be.
Milt, we're gonna need to go ahead and move you downstairs into storage B. We have some new people coming in, and we need all the space we can get. So if you could just go ahead and pack up your stuff and move it down there, that would be terrific, OK?
That's what I'm talkin' about when I talk about America!
Wednesday, October 26. 2016
Exercise science is clear that the recovery phase from intense exercise is when the benefit is obtained.
Intense exercise (meaning resistance) is designed to damage and deplete nerve and muscle and to stress bones. This is why I only do each of the big exercises (deadlifts, barbell squats, pull-ups, bench press, rows, military press) once per week. (nb: Those exercises are for women too.) 5 sets of each after a light-weight warm-up, increasing weight, once a week. I do 3 of those exercises one day, 3 of them 3 days later. That is enough frequency for a strength-building or maintenance program. More is not always better.
Like most fitness-oriented people, I do auxiliary strength exercises too but those are not so essential, like arm exercises and core exercises for my tennis and my skiing. Those more focal exertions do not need much recovery.
It is generally accepted that most cardio and calisthenics do not need more than a 24-hr recovery. Hybrid programs like Crossfit deserve a couple of days of recovery unless you are age 18-25. My middle-age fitness regime is 2 days/wk of heavy weights plus a little calisthenics, 2 days of cardio intervals (25 mins only), and one or two days of calisthenics (maybe 45+ mins), depending on my sports schedule. I play lots of sports but recreational sports, and even things like mountain hiking, are not really exercise. They are for fun even if you play hard.
Recovery days for a strength-building program can and should include cardio and calisthenics, but no heavy weight on the movements which need repair.
Good recovery entails a decent amount of sleep and hydration, and an above-normal protein intake in a normal diet. Your muscles, nerves, ligaments, and bones will be grateful for that reward.
No surprise to me, since I have seen that blindfolded wine tasters can hardly tell a red from a white. Same thing goes on in the art world.
If nothing else, counterfeit products should encourage humility on the part of the experts.
"There are two methods, or means, and only two, whereby man's needs and desires can be satisfied. One is the production and exchange of wealth; this is the economic means. The other is the uncompensated appropriation of wealth produced by others; this is the political means. The primitive exercise of the political means was, as we have seen, by conquest, confiscation, expropriation, and the introduction of a slave-economy. The conqueror parcelled out the conquered territory among beneficiaries, who thenceforth satisfied their needs and desires by exploiting the labour of the enslaved inhabitants. The feudal State, and the merchant-State, wherever found, merely took over and developed successively the heritage of character, intention and apparatus of exploitation which the primitive State transmitted to them; they are in essence merely higher integrations of the primitive State.
The State, then, whether primitive, feudal or merchant, is the organization of the political means. Now, since man tends always to satisfy his needs and desires with the least possible exertion, he will employ the political means whenever he can – exclusively, if possible; otherwise, in association with the economic."
Albert J. Nock, Our Enemy the State, 1935 (h/t Reader)
From Peter Robb's Midnight in Sicily: On Art, Food, History, Travel and la Cosa Nostra:
That is an Italian luncheon. Until halfway through the book when I decided to google her, I had thought that Marta was fictional. Nope. She befriended the author. While married to Count Umberto Marzotto, she managed a long affair with Sicilian artist, movie-maker and famous Communist Renato Guttoso who figures prominently in the book. A close pal of Picasso. Colorful people, adding a lot of life to life. La dolce vita, so different from life in Yankeeland.
I get this weird vibe when I read the newspapers. I'm looking for things to amuse or delight this audience. Nothing seems amusing and delightful to me. Lots of things are funny, but Will Ferrell funny, not Mark Twain funny. Lots of things are delightful. They still publish the obituaries, after all, and there's always people you don't like in there. You have to take your amusements where you find them.
The vibe I'm referring to doesn't really have a coherent theme I can point out. Just the opposite. I'm pointing out the lack of a theme. It reminds me of the interlude just after a trip to Chipotle. You know what's going to happen. You just don't know if that trip to Costco for toilet paper was enough to handle it.
So if you're looking for a theme in today's links, you're bound to be disappointed. It's a burlecue out there, people:
The average person in the United States in unemployable. They are unable to concentrate on anything but a cellphone. You're only hired because they can't get anyone better, and they can't wait to get rid of you. You must become freelancers because there's no other way to force you to pay attention to your work, or starve.
Look high. Look low. Go around back. Dig a hole and look at the underpinnings. A number of any kind never appears in that story. I wonder why that is. Wait a minute. No I don't
Google made its money completely by accident. They had a rock in their pocket that kept away tigers in Palo Alto, and they think it will work in the Punjab.
Remember the crack "epidemic" of the 90s? Politicians said prison or midnight basketball would fix it, take your pick. Neither did, but they both took credit. The problem disappeared only after it had utterly destroyed everyone it touched. Cellphones are just like that.
The tech industry is incredibly sanctimonious about imaginary slights to any aggrieved minority. Except anyone older than 35, the hell with them. I have no sympathy. Ten years ago, the aggrieved parties here were snickering in conference rooms about an adult who applied for a job at their startup. Welcome to the wonderful world of freelancing! Now put down the phone, or starve.
Job mobility is important. Otherwise you just end up with a bunch of people over 35 at your workplace. Ewww.
There are 600,000 Chinese people in France? Who knew? Say, I was wondering. Are there any French people left in France? I hope they keep at least one around to insult Americans on vacation. It lends a certain charm to the place.
Say, isn't that about the same age as the two people currently applying for George's old job? George retired eight years ago. Ten, if you count when Pelosi took over the country. Is president listed on Old Geek Jobs?
Books are heavy. The people who believe "studies" should lift more of them.
Like two elderly wrestlers leaning on each other in the ninth round.
Waterfront homes are always ugly. Always.
That's such a wonderful formulation: He is known at the strip club. Are you known at the strip club? Out of the way, peasant! I'm known at the strip club. How do you get known at the strip club? Do you bring quarters instead of dollar bills?
Well, it's Wednesday, people. You might as well swim to the far shore. You're already halfway there.
Tuesday, October 25. 2016
Anyway, tuning in to another person's experience is no substitute for thought: Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion
Long-distance migration remains a mystery, at least partly, in birds.
The Amazing Science Behind Pets That Find Their Way Home
How Do Animals Keep from Getting Lost?
Passive entertainment does no kid any good. Go outside and play.
The Inevitable Evolution of Bad Science - A simulation shows how the incentives of modern academia naturally select for weaker and less reliable results.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:49 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
So, someone knocked on my door yesterday. That's rare. It was a quiet knock, I barely heard it. I spotted a car I didn't recognize in the drive. Also rare. I answered the door. There was a young, soon to be importunate young woman at the door. She was wary and pushy at the same time.
On to the links!
I hate to blame the victim, so I won't. But the definition of "online retailer" should include knowing how to be online. Just sayin'.
Like most things in the news, I quickly came to the conclusion that everyone in the story and everyone involved in the production of the story was an idiot.
It's really hard to produce a civilization. It's much easier to wreck it. There's no reverse gear in entropy. Enjoy.
I have a habit now. When I want to find out something about any news story in the United States or elsewhere, I go to the Daily Mail. It's an awful newspaper, but it publishes all the info it can get its hands on. Great pictures. An amazing find.
Have a loverly day, everybody!
Monday, October 24. 2016
You do this by arching your upper back and raising your chest (while keeping butt on bench) as you lower the bar to your chest, then flattening your upper back against the bench during the press. While this will help you move more weight over time, what matters more is that it stresses more muscle groups in the same exertion.
Remember that eccentric exertion, aka "negatives," are a valuable component of strength conditioning.
This guy tries to explain it:
The highly-distinguished Drs. Paul McHugh and Lawrence Mayer have put together a major treatise directed towards the general public: Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences
It's a hot topic, mainly because it has been so politicized in recent years. As with the study of climate and weather, or research into some diseases and approaches to them, politicization is no friend to a pursuit of truth. When addressing data directly can be career-damaging or socially-damaging, scientists tend to be as human as everybody else.
During my career in mental health I have seen the societal normalization of things that I had been taught were perversions. Except for pedophilia and sexual sadism (so far), former perversions tend to be viewed as normal variations. It has been fascinating to watch these societal shifts. It has also been fascinating to watch the once-simple term "gender" shift into an almost hallucinatory array of meanings. It seems to me that cultual shifts, in this case, have led medical attitudinal shifts, rather than the reverse.
Human sexuality is a sexy topic.
If you've been under a rock, you might have missed out on the news that the internet sorta crapped out on Friday. You couldn't twit, or twat, or twunt, or twisp, or whatever you call that internet grunting you guys do. You couldn't go to Reddit to visit subreddits that consist of one founder, one reader, and one moderator, adding up to one person. You couldn't binge-watch Game of Cards on Netflix. Or was it Harry of the Rings you like? I forget. Anyway, you couldn't do it.
I didn't notice. You know, if you ask me, the internet is now old enough to be judged on its merits. It kinda sucks. When it doesn't work because your baby monitor and a Cuisinart in the next country don't want it to work, it demonstrates that it was set up and is being run by fools.
Still, here we are. On to the links!
Tech oligarchs buy real businesses with borrowed money from fake businesses. You're going to see a lot of people without swim trunks when this tide goes out. I'm not sure this guy is smart enough to buy a real business, so he really better keep a weather eye on the tide chart. At least Bezos has a paper route to fall back on.
I never had one. Now no one has one. I feel some Latin coming on.
Hard to tell. He's not playing In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
The purpose of rigging polls is not discouraging opponents and attracting money from people who want to back the winner. That's gravy. The real purpose is cover for stuffing ballot boxes. James Michael Curley could have told you that.
Do they hand out Nikes and purple blankets? Oh well. No children to pull the plug on you in the hospital when the nurse isn't looking. The nurse will do it when she notices no children come to visit you.
Well, it's Monday, and last time I checked, the internet still worked. You're going to have to think of another excuse for not getting anything done this week. Tell them your Samsung Galaxy phone caught on fire, ignited your car's air conditioner, and you got oversampled at Sunday's wine tasting. It's worth a shot.
Took this pic of a grand pair of early 19th C. houses in downtown Nantucket. For some reason, I always expect to see a funeral home sign in front of Greek Revivals. Merchants or sea captains? I forget. Nantucket went through a brief period of prosperity then, not to see wealth again until its fashionable real estate boom since the 1970s: NYC money, mostly.
Interestingly, Greek Revival architecture was introduced to Greece by Greece's early 19th C. monarchs, King Otto from Bavaria and King George from Denmark.
- Ah, yes. Reader reminds me that these homes were built by the Starbuck family. Great name.
Here's a more humble Greek Revival from the same era in Nantucket, which I found for sale on line today for a lousy $1.2 million:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:00 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, October 23. 2016
Last Saturday night a jump up and feel Revival was held at Hilltop Center in Fallsbrook, CA. Actually, that was the theme of a variety music hall fest produced by Ken Rexrode. Ken is an extraordinary music production impresario whose sell-out shows at one of southern California's premier show rooms, Belly Up in Solana Beach, are unique.
The father and leader of one of those wonderful groups of musicians -- Daring Greatly, he and his sons moving here from Canada last year and staying because of the special energy of kindred musicians, adorned the guise of Reverend Dail to start things off. His words are supposed to come from as if a Revival in 1876, but they ring true and needed today. He let me steal his notes from the lectern.
Good evening. What a beautiful congregation, and what an incredible night we will have.
It's 1876 and lots is happening. There's a contentious election, with suspected cheating and corruption. -- I wonder how much better, how far we will have come in the next 140 years.
Its 1876, and the US signed a treaty with American Indians, then soon after, discovers gold on their land, and even with the treaty, the US removes the natives from their land. (Sounds like North Dakota?)
It's 1876, Serbia and Montenegro declare war on Turkey -- multiple others...Race riots in South Carolina heat up....
I wonder, how will we measure how far we have come over the next 140 years? GDP, technology, average income per family, number of TVs per household...
OR, our ability to love, our levels of compassion, everyone having clean food, water, and air, are we happier, more connected?
I wonder how far we will have come...how much will our lives be better...how much will we have learned...how much happier...
Well...it's up to us now, isn't it!
In my line of work, I meet many people who are lost, sad, lonely, unfulfilled...and they ask me, How do "I" get out of this rut, this funk?...How do "I" feel better?
Do you know what I tell them? Do you know what I say to these people?
I say...you start by not using the word "I" so much. Stop making this whole life and world about you! It starts with you but doesn't mean more selfish, self-centered, misunderstood. It's about happinesss.
We are all one energy..,.in this together...then you realize...every time...pick somebody up...smile, hug...help...give of your time...you are really raising the vibrational energy of the entire planet.
When we bring others down, we bring ourselves down...and it works the other way, too!
If you want to feel better, make someone else feel better. It's amazing, it's addicting...it's perpetual...
So, the next time you feel sad, or lonely, or lost, or disconnected...put your beautiful and unique genius to great use...everyone has one or more of these...EVERYONE...
When we give a little...when we pick someone up...when we make a difference in someone's life...when we inspire someone to do something they were afraid to do...when we are a model or a mentor for someone...if each one of us takes on this universal truth and responsibility...there is NO way...no possible way...a major shift does not happen...it would be impossible for our lives not to get better.
There is some incredible vibrational energy increases that comes from participating in music. From the pounding drums, to the deep bass that rattles your heart, to the complementary sounds of the piano and guitars, to the beautiful melodies and harmonies.
Music is the perfect reminder constantly, that we can always get higher!
Tonight in true Rivival fashion, we have some beautiful people who are going to share their "genius" with you. They will be pouring their hearts out for you...they will be sharing their creations in the most sincere, human, vulnerable way possible with you.
A moment ago I said "participating". Music is not complete until there is an exchange and connection between the artist and the audience. When the artist is vulnerable and so is the audience, that's when MAGIC happens.
When an artist is emotional, vulnerable, sincere, the audience will feel that, and the artist will feel the audience right back.
So, open up your hearts tonight, to the music, to the artists, and to each other, and feel the music and the deep connections that it inspires. Fill your heart with as much love as you can possibly handle.
Let's celebrate together...right here and right now! The best way we know how...through LOVE...and MUSIC.
How New York became the focal point of the American art form—and why it will probably remain so
Jazz is meant to be heard live, in dark smokey places. A little marijuana definitely helps with any music appreciation, but especially jazz. Jazz and Folk were commercially destroyed by Rock and Pop in the late 50s. Niche music now, but still happily abundant in NYC.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:40 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
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