Sunday, December 28, 2008
For those of you who don't - I cannot recommend the show enough: it always starts with a badly decomposed body and goes straight up from there using forensic science, inductive and deductive reasoning, and the genuine affection/sexual tension between the two intelligent and highly motivated main characters - a beautiful genius forsensic anthropologist and an virile and honest FBI agent.
And more good news! On New Year's Day, there's a Bones marathon on TNT!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Okay, who’s attaching those offensive footers to the bottom of my emails?
“Help make the earth a greener place. If possible resist printing this email and join us in saving paper.”
I…just…...can’t………..resist! [print] Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. It feels so good to be so bad.
First of all, who, exactly, is “us”? ‘Cause I know I didn’t write that stuff. Secondly, can I print it out in huge letters on lots of green paper and lay it out in the yard? That will surely make the earth a little greener, particularly right now. And finally, “if possible, resist”? (I added the comma. Apparently, they also resist punctuation.) Are you kidding me? I will do exactly what I consider to be the right thing for me to do under the circumstances and in no way will consider saving paper, unless, of course, I choose to save paper for some real purpose like not wanting to waste money, or needing to conserve the little paper I have before I can get to the store to replenish my supply! They do still sell paper at the store, right? It hasn’t been taken off the shelves for killing the planet yet, has it?
I have been tired of the greenies for a long time. I have obviously been aware of the companies who are adopting green policies, but concluded that it’s just a part of their marketing plans. Now the insidious propaganda campaigning to embrace the green outside of St. Patrick’s Day has spread so far that it has actually attached itself under my name. This, I will not tolerate and shall be met with my full fury!
All right. I’ll start slowly and work my way toward full fury.
I will begin by putting one of these on the bottom of all my email correspondence in a small effort to counterbalance the absolute tripe to which we have all become unwitting accomplices:
“Pave the world and slope it toward the ocean”; or, “Stop Plate Tectonics!”
They are neither more extreme, nor more ridiculous than heeding the global green siren and attempting to regulate the climate of the earth.
Regarding the color of our planet, I can say only two things for certain: I will never knowingly contribute to its “greening” and that I am slowly contributing to its whitening, which is much more of a concern to me.
Here is Stephen’s email signature contribution: “Please disregard any anti-industrial environmentalist propaganda that may be automatically appended to this message. Such messages not only contradict my own views, but are detrimental to the human race. - SRB”
He's a keeper.
Now Bare to the Beholder's Eye
Now bare to the beholder's eye
Your late denuded bindings lie,
Subsiding slowly where they fell,
A disinvested citadel;
The obdurate corset, Cupid's foe,
The Dutchman's breeches frilled below.
Those that the lover notes to note,
And white and crackling petticoat.
From these, that on the ground repose,
Their lady lately re-arose;
And laying by the lady's name,
A living woman re-became.
Of her, that from the public eye
They do enclose and fortify,
Now, lying scattered as they fell,
An indiscreeter tale they tell:
Of that more soft and secret her
Whose daylong fortresses they were,
By fading warmth, by lingering print,
These now discarded scabbards hint.
A twofold change the ladies know:
First, in the morn the bugles blow,
And they, with floral hues and scents,
Man their beribboned battlements.
But let the stars appear, and they
Shed inhumanities away;
And from the changeling fashion see,
Through comic and through sweet degree,
In nature's toilet unsurpassed,
Forth leaps the laughing girl at last.
Monday, December 22, 2008
I'm going to have to do go into extreme saving (or returning) mode. Do you think I can return the two new hubs assemblies and bearings I needed to get on the front wheels of my car today for the low, low price of $800? Nah. Me neither.
Well I'm sure I'll think of something because being from the Boston area, there is really no excuse to miss it this year. Besides, I think I volunteered to line up some museum field trips for other OBloggers.
I'm already pretty darn excited!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
And it doesn't show signs of stopping (but it does show signs of tree damage from the recent ice storm - and man! those downed limbs are heavy).But this is what it looks like inside.
The unbidden reading of the History At Our House notes by the 10 year-old to her father who is busy with holiday baking.
Life is good.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Having just come home from a whirlwind tour of a small bit of Manhattan at Christmas time with my husband and daughters, ages 10 and 15, I have accumulated and would like to share with you the following bits of wisdom.
1) Bring anyone under 14 (Could also be read as “Don’t bring anyone whose legs are not at least as long as yours, who thinks she needs to eat every 40 minutes, or thinks that the Harajuku Lovers solid perfume tops are the height of holiday fun”.) All right – you can bring them as sharing NYC with your kids is half the fun, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
2) Show up at Rockefeller Center and expect to get on the ice. If you want to skate at Rockefeller Center, get in line by 8:00AM for the 10:00 session. Sure, this endeavor blows over 1/3 of your time budget, but it is one of the quintessential New York experiences (which we didn’t have).
3) Stand in a cordoned-off line around the corner from any department store to see the windows. This will eat up an inordinate amount of your time and the payoff is zilch. You can see about as much as you need to from the regular part of the sidewalk.
4) Eat in established or chain restaurants. They don’t try hard enough to make the customers happy – though don’t discount McDonald’s which is amazingly consistent, expedient, and inexpensive (memory from last time) when those things are a priority.
1) Remember to wear light layers – the temperature may vary wildly from packed stores (inside Macy’s approximately 97 degrees F) to the windswept concrete canyons (approximately 13 degrees F).
2) Go to the top of the Empire State Building. It’s worth the time and money, particularly if you’ve never seen the views. Unfortunately the gorgeous interiors of the lobby are under restoration right now – but do try to walk around in there when they have been restored. The Art Deco plaques, ceiling, and general design are simply fabulous!
3) Do try to see the Bergdorf Goodman windows – very cool.
4) Take lots of pictures, particularly of the streets and places you’ve heard of and possibly sung about!
5) Do pay for the hansom cab ride through Central Park. Yes, it is for tourists, but, lest you forget - you are a tourist. It gives you an opportunity to rest, recombobulate, and take in the sites of the surrounding city listening to the clop-clop-clop of the hoof beats.
6) Be sensitive to the likely confusion of any old women who may be around when you attempt to replicate some silly fun with revolving doors or escalators as in the movie Elf. (You should also warn those in your party that you are likely to do either of these at any opportunity as well.)
7) Remember to warm-up before trying the escalator stunt mentioned above – a pulled groin muscle will hamper the rest of your fun.
8) Bring a map. NYC is quite easy to get around, but if you have a map, you can make the best strategic plan.
9) Make a strategic plan. Sure, you can let Seredipity be your guide, or you can be a Tourist on a Mission and make the most of your limited time.
10) Remember to wear your mink coat if you have one. All the fine ladies who lunch were wearing theirs and my daughters were trés impressed by this profusion of fur.
Things for Next Time (or Other Things I Meant to Do):
1) Visit the permanent exhibits at the Museum of Natural History.
2) Buy a Michael Kors pony hair knock-off.
3) Have Breakfast at Tiffany’s (which is to say, eat a croissant while looking in the windows just because I can).
4) Eat at Craft (love Tom).
5) Visit the Frick.
6) See Wicked (did that 3 years ago – am ready to do it again, particularly with my Wicked score loving 10 year old).
7) Visit the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.
8) Find Mood Designer Fabric store and buy some fabric for girls’ dresses (the patterns for which they will get for Christmas).
9) Find the Atlas building that the designers of Project Runway live in (cool looking building).
10) Go to all the museums.
There are only so many hours in a 12 hour day (12, to be precise) so plan to go back.
I certainly have.
Monday, December 15, 2008
After much discussion, we determined that
After all, these are American
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Wisdom, and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; especially the university at Cambridge, public schools and grammar schools in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings; sincerity, good humor, and all social affections, and generous sentiments among the people.
So says the Chapter 2, section 5 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts adopted on June 16th, 1780. From this brief statement (actually, one quite-long sentence as is the style of legal ease and parathetical personal comments) we arrive at the now bloated, bleeding (as in pouring out money, not necessarily a reflection of the teaching institutions churning out those liberal hearts), and broken system of public education in our state.
Industry and frugality? Yeah, right. Has anyone received a list of things that students must have in high school these days? TI-84 graphing calculators ($150-200) are all the rage. Screw knowing how to develop and envision the graph of a line in your head - just follow the calculator instructions and go! Using tools, which should take about 4 minutes to learn, has replaced the knowledge required to build new ones. And most disgustingly, personal industry has given way to community service.
I think they left out the inculcation of environmentalism, altruism, collectivism, and the complete overriding of personal judgement in the lower grades (everyone must be included).
Most importantly, however, this 228 year-old sentiment has warped from cherishing literature and science education in order to have a wise and knowledgable citizenry who will, in turn, be able to uphold our rights and liberties, into funding with individuals' tax dollars, institutionalized, one-size fits all, good citizenship education which will, in turn, guarantee future in-kind expectations and the self-feeding and incessant growth of the monster.
Monday, December 8, 2008
At first glance this might strike you as alternatively beautiful and crazy, but it made perfect sense inside a medieval courtyard when light was good, but space was limited. Because this maximizes sunlight on the branches, this manipulation is also a way to grow fruit trees in cooler climates where they would not normally grow.
I think it's beautiful, and unlike topiaries, has a more than just decorative purpose.
More information about the trees, shrubs, vines, and patterns of espalier can be found here.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Danny Kaye, seen here in one of my favorite songs from White Christmas (in which he and the lovely Vera-Ellen really define the art of pole dancing) is just plain wonderful. His few lines delivered after the dance are hilarious. I love watching him on screen.
Though a little younger than Kaye, Donald O’Connor was to play the role of Phil Davis in White Christmas, but in another bit of irony, fell ill due to a disease from the mule, of Francis, the Talking Mule fame. I’ve linked to a previous post about the sheer happiness his tap dance as part of “Good Morning” team from Singing in the Rain brings. Yes, Gene Kelly is awesome, but Donald is awesome AND hilarious.
And finally, Dick Van Dyke, whose dancing talents were somewhat lost on me in my youth (despite being a big fan of The Dick Van Dyke Show), but whose recent jig at the end of Night at the Museum renewed my interested in his abilities and sparked a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang evening at my house. I couldn’t find his bit in Night at the Museum, so instead, I hope you enjoy the following new-to-me clip combining Dick Van Dyke, the incomparable Mary Tyler Moore, Christmas, and dancing!
And, as if this weren’t enough joy to sustain one for an afternoon, I leave you with this extra bit of delight: Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian is expected to be out May 22, 2009, starring most of the original cast (including Dick Van Dyke) and starring Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart, no less!
(Someday, I'm going to post on the absolute joy that comes from watching Danny Kaye, Donald O'Connor, and Dick Van Dyke. Maybe even later today.)
Secondly, for health reasons, I'm contemplating the idea of fasting and the effects of Vitamin D. That's all. No decisions. It's really no more than contemplation at this point. [File under irony: as I am writing about diet and health, my darling husband has brought a lovely grilled cheese on fresh Italian bread to my bedside. Perhaps I need to be comtemplating these things out loud.]
And lastly, I haven't been blogging because I've had relatively little to share. I've been going about the business of being me, and I have gone into hibernation-prep mode (loading up on the essentials, not to mention the non-essentials like chocolate and pie, and now, grilled cheese sandwiches, which may have much more to do with my lack of blogging than I am willing to herein admit). But, I have been reading, trying to keep up with the wit and wisdom of my bloggy friends, and making comments hither and yon (maybe yawn is more appropriate here, for when I'm preparing for hibernation, my mind struggles to make connections beyond the cold of winter and the warmth of sharing the holidays with my husband and children).
I will be back in full swing when the inspiration or desire to share more strikes me. Maybe this practice is just the jumpstart I need.
In the meantime, I'd like to direct you to my friend Fiddler's blog which is consistent in presenting the joy of music and poetry. Enjoy!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Here is an interview with Lee, not about the show, but about his passion about art and artists.
In the show, he's more like the Billy Mays of the art world, but I guess he can't help himself. Art is cool.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Am I the only one who has never seen the Peanuts version of the Voyage of the Mayflower? It was on last night after the 1973 Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving. Apparently, it was part of a series called This is America that ran between 1988 and 1989. Somehow, I missed the entire series. I don't know if it's the presence of the adults, or the Peanuts Gang in semi-historical clothing, but I found it slightly disconcerting. Not nearly as good as Schoolhouse Rock, but worth a watch.
Monday, November 24, 2008
This is good stuff, so I've added the blog to my sidebar. Thanks, Fiddler.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Okay, so I’m not usually compliant at all. In fact, what is the opposite of compliant? Pain in the ass? Yes, that’ll do. Normally, I’m a pain in the ass, but as the request from AmyMossoff is just one of the little things, I figured I’d give it another shot.
Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write 6 random things about yourself.
4. Tag 6-ish people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know he/she has been tagged.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Numbers 1. and 2. are taken care of above.
1) My left eye is tremendously far-sighted with a serious astigmatism. My right eye is slightly near-sighted. This means that when I wear my glasses my left eye appears quite a bit larger and my right eye appears somewhat smaller than they really are. Yup. Just call me googly-eyes. Don’t really. I won’t respond.
2) My pre-teen alias was Jacqui Nestlé.
3) I hold my pen as if I have been trained to write at Ug’s School for Cavemen.
4) I am obsessed with concrete as a residential building material.
5) My teeth hurt when I think about the applications of ‘4)’
6) I wouldn’t make a good spy because when I walk down stairs, noises emanating from my knees could wake the dead. I’m pretty sure that is the only reason.
4. Since I already tagged Kim, Fiddler and Stephen, was marginally successful with TheAestheticCapitalist, and not successful with Manoj or C. August the last time I tried to induce anyone to divulge six things about her- or himself, I would like to share this challenge with Shez, Deb, Beth, Sue, Janelle, and Trixy. [All right. Those last two are just friends of Jacqui – see ‘2)’.] If any of the aforementioned previously tagged bloggers want to play, or anyone who reads this, has not been tagged, but would like to, please consider this your invitation and let me know in the comments so I can be sure to read your list.
5. Does this mean more than writing this in my blog? How shall I get in touch with them? I’ll try it.
6. Okay Amy – it’s up!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
"The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error."
John Stuart Mill, philosopher and economist (1806-1873)
Monday, November 17, 2008
"I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.
"Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.
"There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period."
Michael Crichton (1942-2008) from a lecture given in 2003.
Why isn't this better understood?
Sunday, November 16, 2008
As the authors of the 1955 play, Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee said, "It might have been yesterday. It could be tomorrow".
Friday, November 14, 2008
My favorite black velvet dress,
My Precious Metal Clay,
Our Nancy Drew 1930’s/ 1940’s DVD collection.
I wore the scarf early in the month of October, but couldn't find it toward the end. It's bright, but small, and could have easily been misplaced within the house. It may show up yet (passive, I know, but I've looked!), but it runs the risks of having been worn outside the house into the big, big world. The PMC was left in a box on my desk in the kitchen for about a year because I didn’t know what the heck to do with it. I finally cleaned off my desk and it is nowhere to be found. I’m guessing that we lent out the DVD’s, so I’ll do some asking around but, seriously – how does one lose a dress?
Picture this: You own two expensive velvet dresses – synthetic velvet, but they’re expensive nonetheless. You really like those velvet dresses. But you don’t like the expense and effort of getting the velvet dresses dry-cleaned. So you buy a wildly inexpensive synthetic velvet dress (at Sears – I’m not proud) in order to be able to dump it in the washing machine. You find that the dress is so neat looking, can be dressed up or down, actually fits well, is, dare I say, flattering, and is so comfortable to wear, that you amortize the cost per wear to something like $1.25 in the first year! This is your “go to” dress. In short, you love this dress. Then you lose it.
This is not like losing my keys or my glasses which I do approximately 5 times a month each. Those aren’t really lost. They’re just not exactly where they’re supposed to be. But a dress? There are really only so many places that a dress can be.
The worst part of being a loser is that I have a cocktail party to go to on Saturday night. An actual cocktail party – it says so right on the invitation! I would have loved to have worn a dress like the one on Betty Draper (the blonde) for the occasion, as I consider cocktail parties to be right out of the MadMen era, but I would have happily settled for my “go to” dress. Now it looks like I’ll be wearing my jeans, t-shirt, and marled wool sweater coat (also known as my house coat) because over the age of 28, one’s birthday suit is never in style.
If only these things had fit into a 3 Ring Binder.
Update: I really needed to access my inner Nancy Drew on this. Once I figured out the last time I wore the dress, with no less than photographic evidence, I found it hanging out with my husband’s tux in the downstairs closet. Bonus! My orange scarf was wedged in between two as of yet unworn winter coats in there (how it got there, I really can’t explain). The PMC ended up in my de facto sewing area, a corner of the abandoned school room which has become a catch-all for craft projects.
It just proves the adage: A place for everything and everything in its place. When I have more than one viable place to keep my stuff, I’m busted. Now regarding Nancy herself – I’m sticking with this one: Neither a borrower nor a lender be!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Of course it is a good idea. What's the downside to it?
We've gone through the exercise in the past, though incompletely, and have now let our emergency kits get old. I downloaded the lists and suggestions (I've included the links below for you), and am determined to get it started this weekend.
Here are some links to help build your Family Emergency Plan and Kit:
Overall Family Preparedness
Family Emergency Plan
Tri-fold personal plans to carry
Check list for Emergency Supply Kit
Building Your Family's 72 Hour Kit
That last link is good because it suggests 20 weekly activities to build your kit over time.
And of course I recommend keeping these helpful documents in a clearly labeled 3 Ring Binder.
Update: If you'd rather buy than build, Rebecca left a comment for the vendor, shelfreliance. The site has lots of storage systems, food information and recommendations, and pre-made kits, not to mention a clever name.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
"To qualify for the new program, homeowners whose loans are owned or packaged by Fannie and Freddie must be 90 days or more past due on their payments for single-family dwellings in which they live. They must prove hardship, can't be in bankruptcy and their outstanding loan values must be at least 90 percent of their homes' current values."
"The goal could be achieved three ways: The loan could be stretched into a 40-year fixed-rate mortgage; the interest rate could be reduced; and/or money going to the mortgage balance, called the principal, could be deferred interest-free until the end of the loan and recaptured in what's known as a balloon payment. Fannie and Freddie will pay $800 to financial institutions for each loan they modify."
(From Hayek's illustrated The Road to Serfdom).
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I found this project on Homeschooled Twins blog and thought it was really a fun idea. As I am not the fun homeschooler, I kept the idea for myself rather than share it with my child as Shez suggested (okay, I’ll share it with the wee lass later today.)
Here are just a few sorted books in my home right now.
The secret of my success:
The worry and wisdom of middle-age:
And a political one for good measure:
Now that I look these over, I might have to change the order of the titles for clarity (and work on better lighting).
Most importantly, I have to restack those books!
If you try your hand at sorted books, post your efforts and let me know.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I understand the importance of identifying, applying, pursuing, and achieving those values which will contribute to my life, not just in the immediate sense (which every child understands), but in the long-term sense (which develops with experience). This is not to say that I’m really good at always identifying, pursuing, and achieving those values, or that I remain consistent in my applications of them; merely that I had already understood that this selfishness was the key to my happiness when I was relatively young. The importance of the fact that I understood I was responsible for my own happiness can not be overemphasized here. What I didn’t realize until much later was that this idea was controversial or that it had been developed into a philosophy called Objectivism.
As all children do, at an early age I sought to achieve my own immediate happiness. This is a natural state, often as short-lived and as short-sighted as our experiences will allow and as reality dictates (i.e. how fast your parents can knock it out of you or reality gives you negative feedback). As we mature, we begin to realize that immediate gratification is more like candy than a meal: not fit for a steady diet. (How many of us have dined gleefully and exclusively on candy only to throw up later? I know I have.) Indulging childish whims is not selfishness – it is self-destructive.
It is unfortunate that the immediate gratification stage of a child is most often mistakenly identified as “selfishness”. As we begin to interact with others, and more importantly, to appreciate some people as values in and of themselves, we learn that achieving our own happiness may often include the happiness of those we hold as valuable (as in friendship and love). When I value someone, their happiness is also important to me. I want them to be happy for selfish reasons. This is in keeping with my desire to be happy rather than in conflict with it. If you can not divorce the word “selfish” from the castigations of youth, then “rational self-interest” may be used in its place. Upon being introduced to Objectivism, I preferred to redress my mistake and properly define selfishness as the key to not only life, in and of itself, but moreover, to a happy life.
With experience, we begin to broaden our identification of things that will make us happy. We pursue longer term values which are important to us - truth, knowledge, friendship, love, health, etc. – and begin to apply those values to our decision making process. This identification and application brings satisfaction, a form of happiness. Our increasing abilities to accurately assess things, proves the efficaciousness of our minds and lessens internal conflicts. A rational approach to life, that in which the application of reason and logic based upon our understanding of the way the natural world works, in turn brings happiness.
It is important to note that altruism is the antithesis to selfishness. Altruism is the “unselfish concern for the welfare of others” and is in disastrous, direct conflict with rational self-interest. This is not a definition of convenience, but the actual meaning of altruism. I reject altruism in every form.
When someone is repeated told that he must put the welfare of others before himself, he begins to develop a sense that his worth is somehow linked with his concern for others, extending as far as those unknown to them, and unidentifiable by the values they hold – as if each human being is responsible for the life of every other human being regardless of that other’s choices, values, or morality. This moral code dictates that one reject cause and effect and assume that every human being, by virtue of being a human being is worthy of his efforts in the form of his time, money, and consideration before he, or his loved-ones are worthy of his efforts.
If you care about others at your own expense, shortly, you will be depleted. The destructiveness of altruism is really that simple, and should in no way be confused with the concern of others based on your own self-interest, nor should it be confused with simple good will or benevolence.
Consistency with Reality
We’ve all heard, “You can’t fight City Hall.” In fact, no matter how complicated and messy it may seem, you can fight against any man-made system in existence. What you can’t fight are the rules of physics, chemistry, biology, geology…natural laws. We can and should try to understand those immutable laws and make them work for us, but you can’t alter the facts of reality. Objectivism, at its foundation, requires adherence to reality.
While this sounds self-evident, I was surprised to discover that not all philosophies are based on reality. Mystics base their philosophies on unknowable, unworldly magic-guy-in-the-sky morality whereas skeptics base their philosophies on the lack of absolutes – a “nothing is knowable”, “anything goes” morality. Objectivism does not lie between the two, but rather identifies through reason that we know what exists by adjusting our thinking to reality, not that reality mirrors our thinking.
There are absolutes, both good and bad. Being able to identify the good (that which contributes to human life) and the bad (that which seeks to destroy human life) is critically important.
I am not an intellectual. No one who knows me or reads this blog needs to be reminded of this fact; I just want you to know that I am painfully aware of this fact as I am writing this piece.
I do, however, know enough about myself and the importance of intellectual leadership in our culture to understand that while I am not yet a very capable person regarding the explanation of the philosophy of Objectivism, I am making efforts to become so. Understanding of philosophical systems requires tremendous effort and study. As someone who has never studied philosophy, I lack ownership of some basic philosophical terms (i.e. metaphysics, epistemology) and I can be trapped by people who are unabashed in their employment of logical fallacies (it can take me some time to recognize and refute them). This is my way of explaining that I am clearly not attempting to be an intellectual spokesperson here.
This being said, the works of Ayn Rand, who developed the philosophy, are the best source if you are interested in exploring Objectivism. I recommend that you read one or all of her works of fictions (there are only four novels and a play, and you needn’t begin with Atlas Shrugged, though it is my favorite). You should visit the Ayn Rand Institute and read her introduction to Objectivism to which I have linked. I do strongly recommend that you read her works prior to reading any applications of her ideas by others and judge for yourself.
I cannot say that identifying myself as an Objectivist has made me a happier person; I grasped the importance of selfishness when I was young, well before I had heard of Ayn Rand. However, I can say that if the promise of religion doesn’t appeal to you, if the uncertainty of skepticism leaves you feeling empty, or if you have embraced the doctrine of altruism all the way to its logical end, the destruction of self, perhaps Objectivism will make you happier. Knowing that Objectivist intellectuals exist does in some small way contribute to my hope for the rest of the world.
Everything I have read by Ayn Rand only deepens my understanding of exactly how Objectivism is an excellent philosophy based on the morality of the life and sovereignty of the individual man. There is no mysticism or skepticism in Objectivism, and unless you think that conformance with reality and living for your own sake is cultish or too extreme, then Objectivism may resonate with you too. If you choose to live for no man and would not force another man to live for you, but would rather cultivate relationships based on mutual benefit and shared values, then I urge you to read more from Ayn Rand herself.
Objectivism is a philosophy which gives a moral foundation to man’s rational pursuit of happiness – that is why I am an Objectivist.
This is just my first attempt on this much larger subject, and is not my last (nor, hopefully, best) word on the matter. I have not touched upon the politics, nor fully developed the metaphysics or epistemology of Objectivism herein, but rather limited my thoughts to the ethics of selfishness as that is what I understand best.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Okay. I wouldn’t give up black or be quite so quick to dismiss chartreuse, but you have to love her. She steals the scene from eveyone but Paris itself in this number "Bonjour Paris!"
As a fan of the Eloise movies, and of Audrey Hepburn, I was thrilled to discover this information only yesterday and be able to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this remarkable woman’s birthday.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Who knew that Lullaby of Broadway, We're in the Money, Shuffle Off to Buffalo, let alone I Only Have Eyes for You (or as Stephen says, I have eyes for only you - it's one of his pet peeves)were in it? I didn't! Sure, the story set woman's lib back a good 30-40 years, but the song and dance numbers were great.
Enjoy! I know I did.
If you're interested, one of the advisors, Sharon Long, was interviewed in a SciAm podcast. She says she knows nothing about economics or politics and then goes on to talk a little about both. Overall, I liked what she had to say (probably because I like well-spoken scientists). While she didn't say anything about Global Warming, its spectre hung about when she spoke about the limits of science, and Obama's promise to step-up government research funding with our tax dollars. I just hope she wasn't suggesting that regulations should precede the scientifically proven, but somehow, I think she was.
Another little frightening tidbit of an interview with Obama by the ScienceDebate2008:
SD2008: How do you see science, research and technology contributing to improved health and quality of life?
Obama: These are difficult problems, and science and technology can solve only some of them. The effectiveness of medical care can be improved, and its costs can be reduced , by greater emphasis on best practices, electronic medical records, hospital safety, preventive strategies and improved public health surveillance.
Any way you look at it folks, we're in for a bumpy night.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear;
Those of mechanics--each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong;
The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work;
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat--the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck;
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench--the hatter singing as he stands;
The wood-cutter's song--the ploughboy's, on his way in the morning, or at the noon intermission, or at sundown;
The delicious singing of the mother--or of the young wife at work--or of the girl sewing or washing--Each singing what belongs to her, and to none else;
The day what belongs to the day--At night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.
Today, somehow, this poem makes me sadder than all of Emily Dickinson's strung together. I think it's the implied pride of each of the singers in what belongs to him. They each had reason to sing. Do we still?
I'll try not to dwell on it too long.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
You should have learned that by giving ever increasing amounts of money you've received and saved from your labors (earned) to other people for the simple reason that they have less money than you do (unearned) that you will encourage them to buy things, or encourage them to think they can afford those things...all on your dime. You will not only stimulate the economy you will also feel good about yourself: in fact, you might even feel virtuous.
What fresh hell is this? No, it's not the ghost of your mother's misguided efforts at raising good Christians or her second-handed "what will the neighbors think of my spoiled children" mentality. It's the advice and dire warning of the next presumed POTUS.
Read it here yourself. You know, that is, if you want to be selfish and actually try to improve yourself when you could be spending your time on bettering someone else. Of you could just sit around and rot and wait for the thinkers and producers to bail you out until they're bled dry and then we'll see exactly how morally critical selfishness is.
Now, even I'm offended.
Am I just a cranky old witch?
Friday, October 31, 2008
I like to call this one "Sarah and the coven".
Except for the fact that I needed to remain mute all evening (that is one hard accent to master), I enjoyed walking in Sarah's shoes - only not literally. After dinner at a neighbors, but before trick-or-treating began, I needed to put on my Alaskan boots in order to maintain my caribou Barbie look and actually be able to walk.
And one last time: what's the difference between a homeschool mom and a Pug?
Yup. Lipstick. Oh, and not barking near as much.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Does anyone have any music that has come out in the last five years or so that they actually like?
And I've tried. Lordy, lordy knows I've tried. But after Maria McKee from her Lone Justice days, I just can't bring myself around to enjoying any country music. Sorry, BIL.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Your words become your actions;
Your actions become your habits;
Your habits become your character;
Your character becomes your destiny.
Tell me something. Is it just me, or is this just great advice to give your teens and tweens? I don't know who said it originally, but I've found it very appropriate for two of my three children during that time period.
The other one got this Eleanor Roosevelt classic:
Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
It was interesting. And confusing.
Which ones are mine?
Friday, October 24, 2008
Actual photograph of the interior of some of my friends' heads. And you know who you are!
Is this the curse of homeschoolers everywhere? Or is it just me unable to go with the flow? I'm willing to accept that it's my problem with being too rigid, but then I wonder, how do they get anywhere on time? Surely there are things in life that absolutely require them to be on time. Somehow, miraculously, they get there on time.
Is it possible that my time is just not a priority for them? Hmmm. I'm going to have to think about that one.
As we like to say around here, "I've got issues."
There. I feel a little better now.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
In it, I am not trying to explain Objectivism inasmuch as I am attempting to explain why I identify myself as an Objectivist. Oddly, I am finding that my essay requires much more effort and editing than I originally thought it would. After all, how hard could it be? It's all about me - a subject on which I am a uniquely qualified expert! In its current state, however, my essay lacks precision and the depth necessary to clearly explain the importance of this moral philosophy. In short, it is perfectly reflective of my intellectual short-comings in this area.
There is one thing of which I am certain regarding Objectivism (or any philosophy for that matter): if you are really interested in its ideas, you should read the original sources of the philosophy, in this case, the fiction or non-fiction works of Ayn Rand. While there are many Objectivist writers whose books and essays on Objectivism and its application I enjoy reading and often find inspiring, Ayn Rand is unsurpassed in her clarity, precision, and application of the philosophy she developed.
My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.In the meantime, you can peruse this week's collected posts of some of the Objectivist bloggers.
Monday, October 20, 2008
While I would certainly not agree with his politics, Aime-Jules Dalou created this inspiring bronze entitled "Wisdom Supporting Liberty" displaying an armored Athena holding up an unarmed and exhausted Liberty.
There were 10 casts made, one of which grabbed me at the Clark Art Institute this weekend.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Instead of this:
Well at least they did heed this:
Because except for being opened and empty, the envelope was in perfect condition.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
(Where have I been? I just read the "Caribou Barbie" in a comment on Pharyngula - that's hilarious!)
I've got to get a red Chanel-like suit and and work on the Alaskan (by way of Wisconsin) accent. I've got the glasses and the hair and a push-up bra, so I won't need one other thing.
Oh yeah, except the party to go to. I think my efforts will be wasted on the neighborhood kids.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
All four wheels were stolen from a Honda on ****** St. overnight. The car was left on blocks.
Yes. My poor parents were rudely jolted into action early Friday morning by a call from their concerned neighbor. It appeared that all four tires were stolen off of their new Honda Fit and the car was left on cinder blocks in their driveway, approximately 40 feet from where they slept in their little house on the incredibly safe dead end street where I grew up (I'm still waiting for copies of the photos).
My father is downright apoplectic over it, while my mother seems to be handling it with more humor (which is in turn causing my father to have more apoplexy). I have to admit, it's kind of funny in a National Lampoon's Vacation kind of way, but really, they must feel horribly violated.
How does one properly direct one's anger here?
I wonder if this means they'll be packing up and heading toward me? I think that might be an improper overreaction at this point.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
In related news, the 30 Rock season starts October 30th!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
We're singing this song in chorus this year. I love the memories of watching this on TV when I was young, but even more, it sounds beautiful when we are singing it all together now.
I hope Martha Stewart has some awesome, low-cost things to make for Christmas this year. I'm going to need the help budget- and spirit-wise.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Check out today's DJIA. It's not pretty. Right now it's down 768 points. And now we're out that $700 billion to boot.
Go Legislators! Go Legislators! Go! Go! Go Legislators!
I thought they might want some chanting of their own. It seems that feeling like a rock star and/or part of a tribe is more important than understanding how a government of laws, not of men, sets America apart.
Update: So the Dow Jones closed only 369.88 points down - below 10,000 (9955.50).
Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,
Was this A.L.(Anno Libertas) convention, conventional? How long did it last? Does this mean that our Founding Fathers tried to buck over 1000 years of history? Or was it a sign of how strong their convictions ran regarding the establishment of the greatest nation on earth?
I feel defeated to admit that it seems but a quaint notion now held dear by so few of us.
Article I. Section. 7. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Because the House voted down the bailout last Monday, the Senate had no choice but to scavenge a technically live, but substantially defeated House Resolution, gut its insides, replace its language with something more suitable to the immediate purposes of the Senate, leaving behind only the number (in this case H.R. 1424) and originator’s name and then it can effectively originate a resolution in which Revenue is raised.
The fact that this Frankensteinian practice is widely accepted as a “congressional vehicle” disgusts me and just adds insult to the injury caused by our elected officials.
I suppose I should be running out of shock and awe, but this little tidbit of information came as quite an unwelcome surprise to me as I read it (via HBL) yesterday morning.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Now that it's a done deal, maybe quick thank you notes to the brave hold-outs are in order. I'll think about it.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
No doubt inspired by my frank discussions with her twenty year-old brother about his uncertain future due to his lack of enthusiasm in college, she suggested that perhaps the turkey “is living in his mother’s basement”.
Maybe I should stop wearing this t-shirt around the house.
Update: my daughter may have been onto something this morning. This afternoon Butterball decided to grace his family (and our back yard) with his presence, so there are still seven of them.
Lately, when I'm not channeling Peter Frampton, I've been feeling like this grumpy looking fellow (just the curmudgeonly sqwinched up face, not the whole head on a pike thing).
If you'd rather make the shrunken head look out of apples than with your own face, visit Martha Stewart's Halloween Idea of the Day, today.
This is what I understand so far: the crisis, or credit crunch, is due to overextension of credit for housing loans, much of which was originated (?) or purchased by the government sponsored enterprises (GSE), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or through other private institutions that were encouraged to extend this credit risk through various regulations and government policies. The mortgage seekers, who, not meeting the market standards of good credit risks, were granted loans through these GSE’s and other less shrewd lenders, began to default on the loans (which means – not pay them back) and the loan owners began to foreclose (which means to take back the right to redeem) on those properties. Now there are a whole bunch of people who can’t afford to pay for their houses (because they never could afford it) and a whole bunch of companies who are going belly-up because their customers defaulted on the bad loans they wrote them due to government interference in the market.
The proposed solution: more government intervention in the form of a massive influx of fiat funds (more on that below in the first referenced WSJ article) for failing GSE’s and unscrupulous companies for which the taxpayers will pay now and in the future.
And they have the audacity to call this a failure of the free-market.
Three weeks ago, it appeared that no one in the government saw this coming. We, the people, seemed outraged at the sudden request of the President to bail out these companies at the price of $700 billion. The House resisted, possibly fearing the unpopularity of the bill and their chances for reelection. With the help of one bad day – not the worst – on Wall St. to point to, the Senate bulldozed it through and the House will likely revisit it tomorrow.
I know that the above is an oversimplification of the situation – it just has to be – but I think it is essentially correct. Please feel free to straighten out any of my incorrect assumptions or facts. I want to know.
In the meantime, please read this excellent article on the roots and solution in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, and today’s eye-opening entry, What They Said About Fan and Fred.
This fiasco is a perfect example of the tendency of those in power to improperly expand the function of government garnering more power for themselves under the distortion of what principle of government exactly? Promoting the general Welfare? Again, you can’t mandate the stupid out of people, but you can certainly subsidize it. This is contrary to promoting the general welfare.
We get the government we deserve. What will it take for us to realize that that crushing sensation is not from our strenuous efforts to achieve our personal values within the individual rights protected by our government, but from the Red, White, and Blue Hippo sitting on our chests claiming to save us from ourselves?