Musings on Turning 50

A Man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.
—Muhammad Ali

I turn 50 today. Humans make meaning out of randomness, and since we use base 10 math, birthdays ending in zero can be a big deal. I find that 50 is an opportunity for reflection on my life. I always had goals for age 50, some spoken and some just more understood. Part of the wonder I have is how I have changed in ways that Bryan of 30 years ago cannot even imagine.... [Read More]

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Class Dismissed

In Austen’s Emma, the eponymous heroine famously remarks that the yeoman farmers”are precisely the order of people with which I feel I can have nothing to do….a farmer can need none of my help and is therefore in one sense as much above my notice as in every other he is below it.”
I recently wrote about the unique obstacles involved in a long-standing cross- gender friendship. But additionally, he was a carpenter and I was a lady, (metaphorically, if you remember the Tim Hardin song). So it was also cross-class. If I’m gonna write about it all, may as well be blunt. Like Emma herself.
It’s two decades since I left the Philadelphia Main Line, and nothing stays the same. But back then it was a sort of palimpsest: a page upon which more than one text has been written, so both exist interlineates faintly on the same surface.
For instance, to say you lived in Bryn Mawr often elicited the reaction from people, “oh! Bryn MAAHRR!” with a mocking la-di-da affect. By that time the big mansions on large tracts, originally summer homes for the wealthy Philadelphians who commutes to them via the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad, were mostly gone, turned to schools or churches of just demolished and the demesnes subdivided, but, still, it was a wealthy zip code, where a lot of professionals had moved into the shells of the now etiolated families whose names were be found in the Social Register (original version only, not the newer one which included morganatic unions.)

That was one text. But there was another: working-class Bryn Mawr. Railroad Avenue. The streets off Lancaster. They were by no means slums, they were well-kept neighborhoods, well-kept by the workmen who also kept up the richer people’s homes: municipal workers, truck drivers, many of whom had second or third jobs as landscapers. They had not gone to college, although their children had or would.
And they were invisible to the wealthier denizens. Like Emma’s yeomanry, they didn’t need charity. And they didn’t have anything the socially-conscious wealthier people aspired to possess. So they were both above, and below, the notice of the professionals and the (rapidly declining) scions of the former aristocracy. ... [Read More]

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Rice Cookers: They Do it with a Magnet!

Back in May, 2018, we had a post here about rice cookers.  That was about a very high-end unit, but the bottom of the line products often used a remarkably clever means to cook perfect rice every time, regardless of variables such as the kind of rice, altitude, initial temperature of the water, and the exact quantities of rice and water (within reasonable limits) put into the cooker.  Here is a Technology Connections video about how they did it.

... [Read More]

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…That He Who Runs May Read..

We are all hoping, not without justification, for a quick disposal of the impeachment charges in the Senate. I’m going to try to not even watch the news, may’s well just await the outcome,at this point. It SHOULD go our way, we’ve been assured it will, our side has the majority in the Senate. Hope is not unfounded. Cautious optimism is warranted.

But I keep seeing Romney’s fixed plastic smile…so, um, what if they betray us?... [Read More]

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TOTD 2020-1-15: Impeachment 3.0

America had the first impeachment after the civil war. Andrew Johnson was the answer to the only president who was impeached. This lasted till the 1970s. In my life time this is Impeachment 3.0. Here is the list.

  1. Nixon 1.0
  2. Clinton 2.0
  3. Trump 3.0

This impeachment is for the crime of winning in my opinion. Do you know how many millions of dollars were lost to the Clinton Foundation by that not having Hillary be the First Madame?

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Champion Barr

I have great hope for Attorney General William P. Barr. He has staked out a position and seems to be marshaling the needed forces to hold that position. He clearly must be making them sweat, because the Resistance attacks on him are getting longer and more unhinged. The latest example is a very long hit piece that is the main feature in the New Yorker.

This latest hatchet job is by David Rohde. I do not recommend that you read it. I will supply a link in a comment.

Instead, read the take-down by Mollie. She rips it to pieces, not by defending Barr, whose defense she leaves to others. No, Mollie goes to work on turf that she owns. Her counterattack on Barr’s behalf is based on journalistic malpractice.

Continue reading “Champion Barr”

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What is up with Rush Limbaugh? Is He Okay?

Third straight day of “just one day, he’ll be here tomorrow” Mark Steyn guest hosting.  I’m just getting shades of Dean Barnett.

Now on Wednesday it’s supposedly the flu, but Monday it was birthday (observed), which was planned, and Tuesday it was all a big mystery.  If it was the flu on Tuesday, you would think Steyn would have said so on Tuesday.... [Read More]

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In Which I Wonder about the Possibility of Iranian Regime Collapse

Howdy, folks.  I don’t have anything to point at, and I’m not even following the news closely.  My favorite source for real information from Iran has dried up, or I just can’t find his new handle.

But I wonder if the Iranian regime might go suddenly in the near to mid future.  The Iranian citizens — proud heirs of the Persian civilization — have been out to demonstrate and chant Death to the Mullahs before.  One of the Obama administration’s more shameful failures in my eyes was the “shut up and die quietly, we’re doing diplomacy here” approach to the 2009 Iranian protests.  By the end of his tenure, of course, we saw graphic (cold, hard) proof that our ugliest accusations about Obama were true — that he supported the Iranian regime, and opposed our preemie ally in Iraq.  The same was shown to be true in Libya and Egypt, where under Obama, the US explicitly supported Islamist hard-liners even in transparent “one vote, one time, one right answer” costumes, and their mobocracy rabble in the streets.  The so-called Arab Spring was more Robespierre than Dubczek.  As I recall it, Iran’s Green movement of 2009 was ideologically and demographically similar to Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution of 2005, in which pro-Syrian elements were debased following their assassination of Rafik Hariri.... [Read More]

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Mars: Communist Propaganda from the Red Planet

Mars series: National GeographicThe television series Mars, produced by National Geographic and originally aired on their cable channel in 2016, is a curious mix of present-day documentary and fictional story of the human settlement of Mars, with the first crewed landing mission launching in 2033.  The first season is set in the years 2033–2037 and chronicles the establishment of the first settlement and its growth into a fledgling base, similar to scientific research stations in Antarctica.  The series cuts back and forth between the present and the fictional future, with the present-day segments interviewing figures such as Stephen Petranek, author of How We’ll Live on Mars, upon which the story is based, Robert Zubrin, creator of the Mars Direct mission plan, Elon Musk of SpaceX, Andy Weir, author of The Martian, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.  The mission is mounted by a fictional international consortium called the “International Mars Science Foundation” (IMSF), which has all of the squabbling and politics you’d expect for something with such a name.  The fictional part of the first season is pretty good, and in line with capabilities expected to exist in the time in which it is set.

The second season is something else entirely.  Set in 2042, it chronicles the arrival of the first private venture on Mars, “Lukrum Industries”, aimed at resource exploration and development.  Lukrum has negotiated a deal with IMSF in which it will produce solar mirrors from in-situ resources which will be employed in IMSF’s terraforming project, which hopes to warm the planet to release water trapped as ice below the surface.  This veers immediately into the “corporations bad, government agencies (especially multinational ones where all of the minions speak perfect English with suitably exotic accents) good” trope.  The present-day segments are almost entirely about human despoliation of the Earth, with a concentration on “climate change”.  This feeds into the fictional future story, where the evil corporation (eventually in cahoots with the Russians, who were too tempting to leave out as villains), is simultaneously thwarting the noble goals of the taxpayer-funded scientists, while using its lucre to manipulate IMSF back on Earth to acquiesce in its evil schemes.... [Read More]

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The Bible and the Final Frontier

My husband and son went to DC this past weekend for a guys’ sports trip – encompassing  a college basketball game and wrestling match at son’s alma mater, American U, and hiking around his undergrad haunts in the beautiful spring-like weather.

They went to the National Cathedral for Mass Sunday morning and were surprised and pleased when an unexpected little ceremony took place. The priest introduced to the congregants the Episcopal Bishop of the Armed Forces and the Chief of Chaplains, who came to dedicate a Bible for the newly formed United States Space Force.... [Read More]

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A Feminist View of Guns

Somehow, I don’t think this talk will be pro-gun.

Senior Lecturer Caroline Light, who is Director of Harvard’s Undergraduate Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, will give a historical view on visual depictions of armed femininity and discuss her writings on “America’s love affair with lethal self-defense.” Light refreshments will be served.... [Read More]

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Within the Live Ash Circle

I think maybe the world, or at least our little world here, our corner of the “conservative blogosphere” ( really? Is that what our Mischief is?) may be ready for a palate cleanser vis à vis the British royalty, after the rebuke of Prince Andrew and the tawdry tantrum of Morganatic Meg. Hey! remember that the Kings of England were the subjects of Shakespeare’s great plays, remember King Arthur and all that the Camelot myth once meant to us, pretty much throughout the Anglosphere. Maybe we’d like to blow off the glitter and see if we can catch just a fleeting gleam of the gold.

If you’re up for that, I recommend Mark Helprin’s 2005 novel, Freddy and Fredericka. It’s a hilariously funny book in which a young Charles-and-Diana-esque royal couple are dispatched to our shores to recover the colonies for the Crown. But funny isn’t all it is. “Live ash circle” is an anagram, as is the name of “Mr. Neil”,an irascible old gent the Queen summons when it appears that maybe Prince Freddy isnt, yet, quite the kingly thing. It’s kinda a picaresque, like the Grail cycle itself.... [Read More]

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