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, September 1. 2014
Some people (especially Leftists) bemoan how hard Americans work. Boo hoo.
They say Europeans have more leisure time. How's that working out for them? More time to drink in cafes? More time to wear thongs on the beach in Ibiza?
I always relate to farmers, other entrepreneurs, and self-employed people. We are on the job constantly, partly out of ambition, partly for survival, partly out of interest.
I am essentially self-employed, but of counsel for a law firm. I work around 55 hours/week, but only bill around 40. I'm not greedy. When I sit by the stream with a cigar and a scotch, I often think about knotty cases. It's fun.
How many hours do you work at remunerative work? If it's less than 50, you ain't really working.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:01 | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)
Below is a repost of a column I wrote at another venue for Labor Day 2006 and posted again here in 2011:
What remains of Labor Day? Some speeches about the hard work of our parents or grandparents, and some newspaper articles about current difficulties getting established or obtaining benefits for today’s workers.
Conservatives are distinguished by particular respect for the hallowed history from which current and future advantages spring, without which we would be rootless and at the whim of passing fancies or incitements.
Supposedly, the virtues and rewards of hard work are among these cherished principles.
The Left trumpets redistributive schemes from the affluent or hard working to the poor or lazy, most of which have relatively little benefit to the poor but create newly enriched bureaucrats and union leaders.
Conservatives’ answer is usually more along the lines of how to preserve and protect the fruits of the labor by those in the middle and upper rungs of the economic ladder.
Sebastian Mallaby steps on the Left and Right’s toes today in the Washington Post.
Mallaby points out the futility of most of the Left’s prescriptions, to the “point the left begins to seethe.” He then focuses on reducing tax incentives that mostly accrue to the middle and upper classes, to free up a quarter of them for $180-billion that could be used for increased earned income credits and reduced regressive payroll taxes.
The problem with Mallaby’s arguments is that they are another, albeit better, form of redistribution, and government has repeatedly proven its penchant for wasting such billions on other than targeted needs. More necessary is the unbridling of energies and rewards for labor. That requires investment which creates demand for labor, and skills-oriented education that creates competitive wage earners to fill those new openings.
As Mallaby correctly argues, many of the poorest workers are in service trades not impacted by international competition. Such positions that were once beginning rungs on the ladder now face a gap of steps up due to lack of skills.
Instead of redistributing tax incentives, more needed is redistributing our already huge tax outlays on education from schemes that create administrative and union positions, and posh campuses, toward greater vocational and skills education.
That honors labor, by providing the tools for all to benefit from labor.
"Working" in Italy
Then and Now Photos That Compare New York City’s East Village in 1984 to the Present Day
A Zoo Story - Bright animals need more than a concrete billet.
"Organic" Is The Latin Word For "Grown In Pig Shit"
America is so over homeownership: Why the shift to a renting economy might actually be a good thing
Assets are assets, whatever the specifics
I'm really scared
The thing about people in power is they don’t have a high regard for rich people.
The Stupendous Failure Of Big City Education: How The Philly Teachers Union Loots The Schools
Has Hillary Ever Been Right?
Who cares? She's a girl
Feds Still Studying Why Lesbians Are Obese - Update: Total government funding now $2.87 million
Maybe because they eat too much? I'm no expert, tho
Nobody’s Fault - Liberals make excuses for Obama
Shhh, Mr. President - When world already thinks you’re weak, saying as much on live TV is probably a mistake.
Feminist student claims Mormon university is slut-shaming students
A proud slut at Brigham Young. OK. Breaking news: females like sex
The Rich Have School Choice, Why Shouldn’t Everyone?
Rotherham: A Quintessentially Liberal Scandal - Modern liberalism forces us to fight Islamist evil with one hand tied behind our backs, if we're permitted to fight it at all.
The developing politics of “net neutrality”
Why the Salon folks hate Uber
I know people who love to use Uber
Why Ferguson might just prompt real change
"... it is in the self-interest of the Democratic Party to make sure racial discord is a permanent condition."
I have never seen racial discord in the US which was not invented and trumped up
Rotherham was sensitive to Moslem culture
How nice of them
In defense of Russia in the Ukraine
The punditry vs. the presidency - How the constant chorus of ‘do something’ Obama foreign policy critics gets it wrong
I tend to agree
Online posts show ISIS eyeing Mexican border, says law enforcement bulletin
I had a great supper last night: Cornbread, superb macaroni and cheese, ribs, cheesecake. A shame that I wasn't hungry because I could not do it all justice. I am rarely hungry despite enjoying some tasty food. Food is overrated, too important than it deserves to be as long as there is a little something around.
One smallish meal daily works well for me. Unless coffee is a meal. I still fit in my college Brooks Bros. tux. Money saved.
Sunday, August 31. 2014
This month a new Dylan album comes out. The author thinks he has Bob figured out:
Against happiness: Why we need a philosophy of failure
Scruton actually composed an opera, says it was the most difficult task he has ever undertaken. One quote:
Aren't modern musicals operas? Or operettas?
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:39 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
"...I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprize, and independance to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks."
The Ukraine: Who cares? Russia is a crappy, deteriorating third-world country with a bit of oil and with Czarist imperial delusions. Not our problem. If Europe cares, let them put on their big boy pants and do whatever they want. Start a European war. Last I heard, the Ukraine was not one of the United States.
Israel? They can handle things themselves. Their battles will never end just as in biblical days.
China? They want to be a big deal again. Well, they are, sort-of. They own most of the US debt, sadly. But that's our fault. If they want to be a big deal, it's ok with me. Why anybody would chose to live there is beyond me. Horrible, charmless place of desolation, with too many people and the stupid, paranoid, autocratic government they deserve. To each his own.
These sorts of things are not "crises," they are just ordinary life on planet earth. The "American Imperium" isn't over - it never really existed. Go ahead, try a round of golf - and tell me why I am wrong not to be hysterical. Trouble, conflict, and war is the way of the world.
I am going fishing now, happy to be a rebel American.
He's only 69. Looks 79. Acts 89. We appreciate his work, though.
Somewhat related: Wind and solar power are industries that are destined to remain in their infancy, if not forever, then certainly for the indefinite future.
It's all so stupid, if not malevolent.
From today's Lectionary: ...those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
We had a few leftover Cape Cod lobsters from our birthday party (because many of the gals could only handle half a lobster). With these critters over one and a half pounds, I like to split them with a cleaver and a mallet, and guests like it that way.
I hit the jackpot with these three - all gal lobsters with abundant delicious roe. I like to eat that green liver too. Tasty.
In Maine, they call lobsters "bugs."
Even if you do not love lobster, it's a festive food. Lobster-buying tip: the meat-weight ratio increases with increasing lobster weight. Bigger lobsters are thus always a better deal. Somebody could do the math. Big lobsters are no more chewy than smaller ones.
Our lobster place in Wellfleet had an 8-pounder and a ten-pounder. Seafood stores will always steam them for you without charge.
Another comment about lobster fishing: government regulations determine keepable sizes and, in government's wisdom, it's ass-backwards just as it is with Striped Bass. Best for the species for fishers to keep the smaller ones, few of whom will ever reach breeding age anyway, and not keep the big breeders. But that makes too much sense.
Saturday, August 30. 2014
Staib cooks early 1800s food, at Taste of History
Il Gattopardo. A wonderful novel which will help you understand Sicily when you visit (which you should - it's not the same old Italy - it's not really Italy at all). Wonderful place, insanely governed (like most places) but the people seem to ignore the government. They have been ignoring governments for thousands of years, despite constant invasions by everybody - including the Vikings.
The movie starred Burt Lancaster. I haven't seen the movie.
By coincidence, I have just finished a birthday book, Di Lampedusa's novella, The Professor and the Siren. It reads like poetry.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:50 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Government publishes detailed instructions on how to safely roast marshmallows
Their instructions are way wrong. You set them on fire, then blow it out. Perfect black crust.
Housing Costs Drive Americans Out of Blue Cities
These aren't the rapists you're looking for
Dear PBS, I don’t think there’s a compassionate way to murder infants
Obama: “The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America...”
Another Ferguson? Wait, Wrong Race, No Interest
The Normalization of ‘Spiritually Polygamous’ Marriages - A Utah judge bizarrely casts opposition to polygamy as racist.
Sustainability: The Universal Solvent of Private Property Rights
Market-based alternatives to Obamacare
War in Europe is not a hysterical idea
Russia's Slow-Motion Invasion of Ukraine - Is Putin waging a new form of warfare, or a very old one?
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
WS was right about that, wasn't he? How did he know how long his lines would live?
Friday, August 29. 2014
Hope y'all will be on a salt-water beach or on a boat this weekend. Stupid not to be.
I'll do both. Such delights are hard-earned. See ya out there on Block Island. I'll be the youngish guy near the dock with the Coors Light. I'll raise a can for Industrial Labor, but not for government labor unions. So the unions drive the auto industry to Mexico - we still have Unemployment and Disability. Mexico loves our Labor Day! Viva Mexico!
On the other hand, a great weekend to bang around NYC too. Nobody there, so it's all yours.
Real life resumes next week for better or worse.
Obama headlines three fundraising events on Friday, including two in Westchester County and a third in Newport, Rhode Island. Busy guy.
Is the "common good" - as if there were one of those - best served by freedom or by government expansion and intrusion?
Both Dems and Repubs are guilty of the latter, but during the Obama years it has reached a fever pitch. The EPA, the Dept of Education, the NSA, Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, the IRS - etc. Why aren't these expansions of power - oppression really by our moral and intellectual superiors - over the individual, frightening to our political "leaders" of any stripe? Why not frightening to the mainstream press? Government has the power and the guns - and our money.
The federal government is out of control. Where are the Minutemen?
I have very little paranoid tendencies, but I am far more uneasy about what is happening here in the US than about ISIS or Russia or Syria or whatever other crappy shitholes where people can't or do not wish to get civilized. Israel can take care of itself, however it feels best.
Hinkle says this: (my bolds)
Related at Zero: The primary problem with centralized power is that sociopaths
“No Complaints”: An Interview with Pete Best, the Original Drummer of the Beatles
Uncle Stupid’s Sugar Buzz - Big Sugar’s legal thievery
Underemployed college grads
Huge Wine Cellar Unearthed at a Biblical-Era Palace in Israel
Kill export subsidies. Kill the Ex-Im Bank.
Export-Import Bank faces rocky path to renewal as Congress returns
Judge finalizes ‘Sister Wives’ ruling as both sides prepare for appeals
HOLDER CUTS LEFT IN ON $17 BILLION BANK OF AMERICA SETTLEMENT
Why ‘Islamophobia’ in Europe cannot be equated with anti-Semitism, either in nature or degree
West Point report describes Islamic State threat as crisis 4 years in the making
Obama Urges Calm in Face of Crises in Ukraine and Syria
I actually tend to agree
Live Free and Learn: NH Supreme Court Upholds School Choice
Illegal alien “children” with graying hair enrolling in schools
Germany’s Energiewende: A Cautionary Tale
Success Academy’s Expansion Plans Put de Blasio in a Tough Spot - Success Academy Charter Schools Force Mayor Bill de Blasio to Confront New Law
High tide, inner harbor, 5:15 am with dog and fresh Cumbie coffee
There is far more to do up there than one could do in a month - or a summer. Very pleasant not to own a place - no real work. The locals grow the local veggies for us. Cheap and good. We had 9 of us just in our (large) place alone including my vigorous in-laws (and not counting the rambunctious 2 year-old), and my relatives were all local too for a week or two. One bought a place up there, but I prefer the freedom of renting: ownership is just work, worry, and expense. With the $ from a second home one could explore the world for the rest of one's life. Why bother, unless a billionaire with servants and property managers? What's the point of ownership? We are brief sojourners here on earth, and all is on lease from God if not from a bank or a landlord.
August is an annual family tradition up there on the Cape. A fine thing indeed, but still a little strange with my parents gone even tho my fun sibs (5 of us) and their kids pop in daily for coffee or free beer, or a harbor swim with our pup.
- Two stage theaters and ye olde South Wellfleet Drive In - no time for that this year
- Body-surfing on the ocean at low tide - 2 times - not enuf. It's the supreme activity, IMO, along with skiing and sex. Is it cold? You betcha. Glacial. The gals use boogie boards to minimize the fun of boobs popping out; I just use my youthful body the way my Dad taught me to.
- Pond swimming to de-salt after ocean - only twice. My bro introduced me to Dyer Pond though - you hike through the woods to find it. It's another kettle pond way off the roads. Post-glacial.
- Long swims in the harbor with the pup, in our back yard - daily at higher tides
- Breakfast at The Lighthouse with all - once. Waffles or pancakes with eggs and bacon.
- Lobster supper buffet for BD and Mrs. BD's birthdays for 22 people - family and friends - at our place - only once! Twenty-two 1 1/2 lb. lobsters (thanks, Pops) plus wine, beer, potato salad, green salad, grilled corn on the cob, and birthday cake.
- Swims at Duck Harbor - twice and nother time to play with the rugrat.
- Great Island 7-mile hike - once
- 5 am walk in the harbor over Uncle Tim's bridge for the pup to sniff around and poo - daily
- Dinners out: Once at Pearl, only once at Mac's, once at Moby's. Mac's is perhaps best, but I just like the Moby's family place. I had the gluten-free chocolate cake at Mac's for dessert, but I had to ask for extra gluten because of my gluten-deficiency disorder.
- Dog woods hike - once. Lots of poison ivy but lots of ripe wild blackberries
- Marsh kayaking and pond kayaking - no time on this trip
- Fishing - not enuf time
- Whaler rental to zoom all around - a pupette did that with her friend. Great fun of course. Dramatic arrival to our birthday party
- Lunch at The Beachcomber - no time
- Biking - the lad did quite a bit with the rugrat in the bike trailer. The Cape seems designed for biking.
- Harbor Freeze for after-dinner ice cream - only twice. The gals like peppermint with sprinkles and chocolate sauce. Sheesh.
- Time lazing on some beach like a lazy lump - zero, as usual. Our family is terribly lacking in the decadent talent of "relaxing". Relax when dead.
- All the galleries - we always stroll through many of them. John Grillo still alive and working at 92.
- Shakespeare in the Park - no time for it
- Tennis at the club - only once
- Shopping? Only for seafood and produce. Lots of it. Oh - some wine and beer too.
- Yoga? The gals were too busy.
- Golf? Our golfer was home with a new little bitty one but there is a lovely links-style course there
- Daily morning 5-10 mile run concluding with a one-mile pond swim? My sibs do that, often with their kids. I provide coffee or water for them. Lunatics. I usta do that, but it no longer charms me.
- TV and/or movies? Zero
- Surfing internets? Zero
- Clamming ? - no time to even get the license. Tons of them, tho, in the mudflats.
Carpe diem, friends.
Thursday, August 28. 2014
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