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, December 17. 2014
From our archives:
Christmas is a traditional feast day (but it was not for true puritan folk like Dutch Reform or Congregationalists, who did not historically care for Christmas), so you are expected to cook something tasty. We have done all of the things: turkey (again), goose, roast beef, crown roast of pork with apple stuffing (real good).
On the other hand, the southern Italians do a cool thing - they do the Christmas Eve fish dinner - because it is a vigilia di magro (fasting, Italian-style).That is darn good. Fried baccala, fried calamari, scungilli, clams, mussels, maybe lobster etc etc. I love the baccala, and those little fried minnows bagiggi - smelt - with lemon that you eat whole like french fries, and clams (if they aren't cooked), but hate those cold seafood salads - dolphin food. In Sicily, the tradition is seven fishes. Serious abstinence: cook a leg of lamb, and you burn in hell for eternity.
But back to Yankee Christmas dinner, and goose.
As regular readers know, we cook our Canada geese with the breast only, marinated and sauteed rare. We confit the legs and thighs.
Store-bought goose tends much smaller (maybe in Dickens' time they had bigger farm geese - if you can find a giant Christmas goose as big as Tiny Tim, great), and has lots more fat on it. In fact, it seems about 50% fat, which oozes out during cooking and fills the pan below. If you want to cook that traditional English bird, you need a few of them. I would say, one per 3-4 people, minimum, if you are using the supermarket birds. (Some might disagree with this.) One bird will not do it, as a turkey does, because once the fat melts off, there isn't much left except bones. The plus side of all of the fat is that they are self-basting.
This is a good approach. Overcooking a goose, at low heat, is not a bad idea. For a roast goose, you may really want the meat falling off the bone, unlike a nice rare breast of wild goose. Goose is, of course, a dark meat like duck (but more coarse in flavor, I think).
Make a tasty sauce out of the drippings, once you have removed the fat. Add a little red wine, maybe a handful of huckleberries or dried cranberries and a bit of sugar, and reduce/thicken.
What to serve with goose? Mainly braised and sauteed roots. Parsnip, carrot, potato, turnip. And how about a rutabaga puree? Or a celeriac (celery root) puree? Maybe a pile of braised, sauteed baby squash, too. Cranberry sauce? You bet.
Heading towards normal relations with Cuba? That's fine with me because basically Cuba is of little significance. Only the Cold War Russians put the place on the map, but that was 50 years ago and nobody, even the Russians, care about it anymore.
Nobody cares about Cuba anymore, same as Haiti.
Today I had to discuss business with him at a designated time and arrived as the last biscuit was handed out.
A group of people entered just after me, and were told the last one had be served. One fellow responded "Well, good, because I was conflicted."
"Conflicted about what?" I asked.
"I hate that company and everything it stands for. So I wasn't sure I wanted a biscuit. I'm glad they are gone so I don't have any moral qualms."
I started laughing and said "They make a damn good chicken sandwich, and that's all I care about. I can't stand many Hollywood actors and their politics, but I'll still see their movies because I want to be entertained."
He replied, "Well, that's not an issue for me. I like most Hollywood actors."
I could hear my point whistling past his ears.
There aren't many purchases I make while considering the politics of those things. If I did, I probably wouldn't spend much money. I'd have a hard time buying clothes, food, and putting gas in my tank. I'm a fan of Pink Floyd, went to see Roger Waters perform in concert, with all his political nonsense, and simply told my boys "Enjoy the show and the music, pay no attention to the political diatribes and imagery. We didn't ask for that, he's just decided to force it on his fans, many of whom don't think for themselves, anyway. We are here for the art and the entertainment."
I loves me my Chick-fil-A. I don't agree with their stance on homosexuality. But I'm not convinced my not enjoying chicken will alter their stance. To be honest, I'm not sure what one has to do with the other.
A Dylan performance for an audience of one
The Rising Cost of Felony Creep - Over-criminalization takes its toll.
1 in 5 Millennials Live in Poverty, Census Bureau Says
World-first ‘Bionic Bra’ inches closer to reality
London in Shakespeare's time
What Is a Suburb, Anyway?
Nothing Succeeds Like Liberal Secession: Blue America Without Red America Would Be A Basket Case
Sarah Palin hunts feral hogs. World ends.
Tim Scott: Why Marriage Matters for Fighting Poverty
NIH Has Spent $100.2 Million on Mindfulness Meditation
Government Job Security
Bye, Bye “Bailout”: CROmnibus Takes a Small but Important Bite out of Obamacare
A Winning Alternative to Obamacare
Gluttony and Global Warming: We’re Eating Ourselves to a Warmer Planet
Sony Exec Reaches Out to Al Sharpton – Will Hook Up This Week for Race Conference in NYC
Taxpayer-Funded Immigrant Advocacy Group Blasts Republicans - Helps those seeking deportation relief, tells them to vote against GOP
Sydney: One ‘Irritation’ Too Many
Sen. Rand Paul on ISIS, the Middle East, and when America should go to war
Tehreek-e-Taliban Takes Credit for School Attack That Left 131 Children Dead: “We Want Them to Feel Pain”
Sept. 11 detainees in Guantanamo get copies of CIA torture report
The True Victims of Torture - The Democrats, suddenly shocked by the CIA’s tactics, dishonor the people who died on 9/11.
Sorry, Putin. Russia’s economy is doomed
Newly Released NSA Documents Show That China Captured American Soldiers During The Vietnam War
Tuesday, December 16. 2014
...because a cute, perky young gal held the door for me at the gym at 5 am this morning. Sheesh.
And because my lad now fits into my tux. He borrows it when he needs it, but the legs and sleeves are a little bit short but not so's you would notice at a crowded event.
I've had mine for many years. Admittedly, Brooks did let out the waist an inch for me (35 to 36) a while ago and it has been dry cleaned many times.
The lad fits into my formal dress shirts too, and I am happy to loan him my grandpa's gold studs and cufflinks. If one is not wealthy, as I am not, a classic Brooks tux remains a bargain, is always appropriate, and is cheaper than an ordinary fancy suit. They last forever unless you get fat or live a far more hoity-toity life than I do. It's holiday season now and, in Yankeeland, you have to dress up a little for special occasions. Year 'round, really. At Christmas and New Year's, I just do it by adding my red holiday cummerbund and red bow tie.
It's a uniform. Maybe we remain a little old-fashioned. Nowadays, we easily forget that the tux was invented (in Tuxedo Park, of course) as a casual dinner get-up for the jazz-age youth who rightly rebelled against wearing vests and tails to dinner and parties.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:22 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
It's called "horizontal gene transmission." The gene that jumped - Genes that leap from one species to another are more common than we thought.
The know-nothings out there know nothing about biology.
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:46 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
We'll leave out the billionaires, because they are too few to move the dial. Let's just look at the very high-income people who make America look unequal in the statistics.
Who are the piggish people with multi-million annual incomes?
Pop music stars
I don't begrudge any of these people their incomes, but I sometimes envy it while aware that I would not be capable of doing what they do. Still, if we taxed them all 100% over 1 million, we'd eliminate the statistical crisis.
Who am I missing on my list?
Disgusting greedy capitalist pigs: Highest earning musicians of 2014
Office work is dangerous
Highest earning musicians of 2014
Black newspaper takes on black-on-black violence
The mob is alive and well in the unions
Which Costly Family Most Deserves to Enter the Moocher Hall of Fame?
How ignorant jerks are going to treat good cops now; ‘I’m scared for my life . . .he’s trying to Mike Brown me
Social conservatism, marriage, and class:
Media swoon: Elizabeth Warren, unlike Ted Cruz, hailed as a principled crusader
The Democrats Double Down - Will Republicans seize the opportunity?
VDH: Epitaph for Hope and Change - Obama has fundamentally transformed America, all right — but not as he intended.
“If you make jokes about people who are going to kill you, there is a sort of tendency to hold back a little.”
‘He Must Have Loved Ones, Too’ - Pathological altruism in Sydney.
German Leader Denounces Anti-Immigrant Surge
Last week the news arrived that the most popular name given to boys in the UK in 2014 was "Mohammed." The reactions and non-reactions to this story betrayed the deep unease and denial that are now part of the debate around Islam in modern Britain.
At its 27th birthday parade, Hamas vows to destroy Israel
The earlier written narrative of the Maccabean revolt against Hellenization and outlawing Jewish worship differs in emphasis from the later “official” Jewish take on the result.
The portion of the Apocrypha (biblical era writings not included in the Jewish Bible) dealing with the events does not mention a miracle of one day’s sanctified oil for the Menorah lasting 8 days. The Book of Maccabees speaks, instead, of eight days of rejoicing the victory to substitute for the eight days of the Torah requirement to celebrate Sukkot, which were missed due to the fighting. The eight days celebration of Chanukah (i.e., rededication) became a custom for every year.
Several centuries later, in the Babylonian Talmud (finalized approx. 5th century, Common Era) interpreting Jewish law and customs, the narrative takes on a new twist, emphasis on G-d’s “miracle” of the oil, which downplays the emphasis on the accomplishment of mens’ arms to retrieve the Temple and Judaism from Hellenistic extinction.
What had happened?: The fall of the Temple and the dispersal (Diaspora) of surviving Jews. No longer having a state, Jews had to survive through craft or accommodation (different than assimilation) to the religion and politics of the states they lived within and not by emphasizing their abilities to fight, not to mention win, when persecuted.
The rise of Zionism in the late 1800s and early 1900s emphasized Jews’ ability to fight and win, and to deserve and have a state to protect Jews from thousands of years of oppression, persecution, and murder, based on thousands of years of roots, presence, worship, investment, hard work, and unceasing yearning for Israel. The more secular Zionists’ pragmatic emphasis stood in stark contrast to the more pacifist or accomodationist teachings that had dominated for almost two millennia.
Today, although a small minority within Israel still cling to illusions of a “miracle” of Palestinians and Muslims transforming their hate into peace, a larger proportion of Jews in the US and Europe – less existentially threatened – cling to such illusions. In Israel and elsewhere, Jews light the eight lights of the Menorah with the extra “helper” light, but the emphasized meaning behind the ritual differs. Adherence to G-d may have given Jews the internal strength to fight and survive, but it was not (as during the Exodus) G-d who directly intervened.
Regardless of this difference, the overriding and more important thing that unites Jews is that regardless of how to get there, either way requires faith and hope. Without faith and hope, necessary for resilience, Jews would not have had reason, cohesion or the internal strength to survive the depredations and challenges to existence of the past two-thousand years since the fall of the Temple to the Romans. Hatikva, Israel's national anthem, means The Hope.
As long as the heart within
Our hope is not yet missing,
Chanukah starts tonight. Come celebrate the miracle of endurance and survival.
The Credo, by Zionist poet Saul Tchernichovsky:
Laugh at all my silly dreams!
Monday, December 15. 2014
Pic was the Maggie's HQ tree set-up in the parlor last year. Yes, there is an outlet in the floor. This year, we're in process of going back to colored lights for the darn pagan tree.
Tree is a fire hazard, but the fake ones just feel fake and seem to create the unpleasant feeling of bank-lobby to me. I don't like to keep a real dead tree up for over 14 days but maybe I'm a scaredy cat.
I like the tree in the middle of the room, away from heat and far from a fireplace. I keep the water full, and I use this tree water recipe. Same trick that makes cut flowers last longer. Best to use warm water to soften any sap that would block water uptake. Cut trees are thirsty.
I use a heavy and heavy-duty welded steel stand like the one below. It holds a gallon of water and could easily hold a 12' tree.
After 14 days or so, I carry the tree with its stand and lights out to the front of the house to abide a while, or even months, with an extension cord to keep it lit. I don't even try to keep last years' lights anymore.
Good news: Mrs. BD is already practicing her carols on the pianny. It's a delight for Bird Dog, even the missed notes.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:49 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
It's about time for a real Indian in the White House.
I agree with this author
The Cheapest Generation - Why Millennials aren’t buying cars or houses, and what that means for the economy
Study proves high heels do have power over men
Pope Francis Confirms Cats Still Going To Hell
Declare CO2 a nutrient
“Rape Culture,” Debunked
Police: Armored Military Vehicles Needed for ‘Constitutionalists’ with Firearms
Greenfield: Life in Post-Truth America
Al Sharpton Leads March in DC as NYC Protesters Chant: 'What Do We Want? Dead Cops!'
Back in Saigon: The Senate Intelligence Committee Report
Gaza Is Almost Totally Cut Off From The World, And It's Getting Ugly
Sunday, December 14. 2014
My only problem with Messiah is that my brain changes "We like sheep..." to "We like lamb...". Here's Fred Plotkin's Searching for Messiah, in Dublin and New York.
And here 'tis -
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:18 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Despite the formality of the title, it's a very readable and persuasive book about our experiences of reality and the role of our local cultures in shaping our experience of reality.
Berger was on my mind because Pastor Keller had mentioned the idea of "relativizing the relativizers." I like that idea, because nobody can really think outside their own culture, and relativists and multiculturalists of all sorts tend not to be aware of how deeply Western and, indeed, parochial their views really are.
Anyway, that's a chapter from another book by Berger, A Rumor of Angels: Modern Society and the Rediscovery of the Supernatural. I have not read it, but I think I will.
‘Microaggression reporting service’ set up by Princeton students.
The argument here: Retreat is a Choice - Review of Bret Stephen’s ‘America in Retreat’
Especially if not a believer, this ordinary sermon will give you an idea of what the fuss is about.
I do not recall the history of it, but in the early days of American settlement, celebration of Christmas was a crime. It was considered Anglican or, worse, Papist. Talk about political correctness! Even baking a pie at Christmastime was a crime. Somewhere along the way, Protestants came to embrace Christmas but only in minimalist ways. I still think of it as a partial Saturnalia (which is how it really began, sort of - and is why it's celebrated on or close to the Winter Solstice. Ancient Roman, plus some German paganism.).
But, ok, the birth of a savior from sin is worth celebrating. We're all sinners for sure.
Saturday, December 13. 2014
(I've also heard some claim that it's to make it easier for guys to unbutton ladies)
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:35 | Comments (8) | Trackback (1)
Lots of good Yale photos. Scroll down
78-year-old Iowa legislator is prosecuted for having sex with his wife, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s
I doubt she was suffering. It's real clear reality that causes suffering.
Dogs in Heaven? Pope Francis Leaves Pearly Gates Open
Whew, that's a relief. But what about rats, mosquitoes, and snakes?
Colleges are run by morons
Glenn, my friend, you are nuts
‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’: Differences Between the Movie & the Bible
SHOULD CHILDREN MAKE UP THEIR OWN MINDS ABOUT RELIGION?
Courtship today: Atheist Coffee and Feminist Envy
I worry about this constantly
Democrats Prep Media for 2016 Anti-GOP Onslaught
What if Obama had been honest?
A.B. Stoddard: Dems sick of ObamaCare
iAl Sharpton at the White House - It sometimes seems as if he spends more time there than anywhere else. Why?
"Sometimes I wish I could just passively accept what my government monarchs and their mainstream media mouthpieces feed me on a daily basis. Why do I have to question everything I’m told? "
The whole thing is a splendiferous rant
Sultan: Leftist lynch mobs
Yup. Asked for it. Enjoy!
The torture report as the ultimate harvest of media bias
"The report is nothing more than a death rattle from the “blame America” crowd within the liberal Democratic majority."
I would torture anybody to save a family member. Who wouldn't?
Fury as Mention of Israel is Banned from Forthcoming Holocaust Memorial Day in Ireland
The Last Pain
This last pain for the damned the Fathers found:
Maggie's Farmers are fans of William Empson, more for his books than for his poetry. For many of us, his 7 Types of Ambiguity (written at age 22) opened a door to a new world. A commenter here claimed that his The Structure of Complex Words is the best book ever written. Better check it out.
Took this snap of a sort-of fun Christmas party we attended last night - Mrs. BD's garden club's annual Christmas bash. Garden club holiday parties are cool and uninhibited but one wearies of this sort of festivity after a while. Exhausting.
For the next two or three weeks, it feels like almost every night is a party night. Is this Saturnalia Season?
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