Archives for July 2011
There are a few pleasant melodies still hitting the charts:
As you all know, Sadie has been helping out while Bookworm is away by sending links to all kinds of sites that interest her. Here is your chance to play Sadie for a day. Treat this as a special kind of open thread in which you post links to things you’ve found on the Internet that you think the rest of us might be interested in. Check out each other’s links. Then, if you want to comment on the other links, the price of admission is supplying a link yourself. Let’s have some fun with this.
I’ll start with a different subject matter than we usually cover here — the National Football League. The link is to a column in my local paper talking about how the NFL has dominated people’s attention, as much or more than the debt ceiling crisis. Monte Poole, the columnist, is right, of course, as to Americans in general, who are consumed by the NFL. But are the Bookwormroom readers fans? Do you think spectator sports are a healthy release or an unhealthy distraction?
Do you know Mike over at Castra Praetoria? (He is a Marine E-8. He calls himself America’s First Sergeant.) He and I are having a friendly war.
Would you consider linking it: http://themellowjihadi.com/?p=1293
It is for a good cause. I am giving away Marine gear to a future Marine if I get him to come to my blog and comment. . .
I think I’m getting done with Europe, since I’m less charmed with every passing port, explaining TODAY’S POST:
We spent the morning in Portofino, which is a seaside resort town. It’s charming, hot and humid. Nothing there piqued my interest, which allowed me to think about other things.
One thought is that, although Europeans smoke less than when I came to Europe in the 1980s and 1990s, they still smoke a whole heck of a lot compared to Americans. As a very libertarian person, I believe that if smokers want to throw away their money destroying their health, they should be allowed to do so. As someone who hates the smell, though, I cannot figure out why I should be made to suffer so greatly for their pleasure. This is one of those things where two individual freedoms come crashing into each other.
Another thought is that, while I was once charmed by Europe’s static quality, I now find it dull. Tradition is one thing; stultification another. Europeans seem particularly adept at progressing swiftly and stylishly in small things (awesome bathroom sink designs or small, high tech grocery stores, for example), but they also seem to have such a small field in which to play around when it comes to innovation and experimentation.
In cities where law, custom and tourist dollars dictate that buildings look now more or less as they did one hundred or two hundred years ago, you don’t get a sense of forward societal momentum. I understand, of course, they tourist money comes in if Europe looks like Europe, but that cash cow seems to have trapped the Europeans in an unending time warp.
Too much Europe, rather than charming me, apparently leaves me jaded — or maybe it’s just the heat cooking my brains.
My last thought is that ugly Americans aren’t just a cliche. Last night at dinner we found ourselves sitting next to the most boorish people I’ve ever seen on a cruise. I’ve met people before who lack refinement, but these people were like a bad stereotype. They were loud, obscene (with children right next to them), and rude. The irony was that one of the party looked just like Lord Byron, who was himself “mad, bad and dangerous to know” (although I’ll bet his manners were better than this obnoxious young man’s).
Fortunately, these people are the exception, not the rule. Most of the people whom we’ve met have varied from nice to delightful, whether American, Canadian, German, Dutch, or whatever other point of origin.
GE moving X-ray business to China
Thanks again, Sadie.
Mark Steyn is always a good read, so I recommend this link from Sadie (who else):
A Post-American Planet
Decline starts with the money, but it doesn’t stop there.
-everything in between-
America has had two roles in a so-called “globalized” world: America’s government was the guarantor of global order; America’s economy was the engine of global prosperity. Right now, both roles are up for grabs. And there are no takers for the former. Pace Nancy Pelosi, “life on this planet as we know it today” is going to change, and very fast.
We ditched the kids today and headed off into Rome ourselves. It’s amazing how effortless sightseeing is without two whining, squabbling kids in tow. I’d forgotten!
Our first stop was the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, a private home that’s been in the same princely family since the 1640s. For someone like me, who prefers simplicity and coziness, the lavishly decorated rooms and emotionally overwrought paintings got a 10 on the hideous scale, but I realize that my reaction is idiosyncratic.
Despite the assault on my senses, I found the tour delightful. For one thing, it was fun to see how the richest of the rich lived in Rome. For another thing, the audio tour (included in the ticket price) was narrated by the current prince, who has a lovely voice and a nice repertoire of family anecdotes.
I appreciated the Prince’s story about the scolding he and his sister got when they were caught rollerskating on the ancient tile floors, which are still polished I’m the ancient way, with beeswax. It made this lavish palace seem like a living, breathing home — and, indeed, Doria Pamphilj family, although it seems to be based in England, still lives there periodically.
From the Palazzo, we simply wandered around, admiring Rome’s endless blending of old and new. Along the way we stumbled into the Jewish Quarter, which boasts a beautiful synagogue. We didn’t have time to go in, so we were left wondering how such a lovely structure survived Nazi depredations.
This is my third visit to Rome, and I continue to like the city. This is actually somewhat rare for me, as I usually find European cities too overwhelming to enjoy. Rome, though, has a warm and friendly feeling that’s very endearing. We’re back on board ship now, heading for new and interesting ports, but I look forward to our final port of call which is, once again, Rome.
The headline in my morning papers made me think of an idea for a post. The headline, from the Fremont, California Argus read:
“Debt crisis seen as fault of GOP’s tea party faction.” Subheading: “Movement’s resolute stance laying siege to Republican unity.”
Why don’t all you readers who still read papers find your favorite headline and share it with the rest of us? Tell us what it says and what paper it is from. It doesn’t have to be about the debt crisis, though it certainly can be. But, if we all do it, we should get a pretty good picture of what the MSM, print version, is up to at this critical moment.
Thanks and I look forward to your responses.
Sadie sends along a link the what Harry Reid was saying years ago. Surprise — he was against raising the debt ceiling.
Now, I know that Zach makes the argument that raising the debt ceiling is the responsibility of the majority and the minority is free to cynically take pot shots for doing so. But I’m just odd enough to demand some level of consistency and even statesmanship in my representatives. Yes, I know that is too much to ask of members of Congress, but it shouldn’t be.
Received a magazine today from the Association of Mature American Citizens. Was a bit disappointed that the article suggesting repeal of taxation on Social Security made no serious effort to say how the lost tax revenue would be replaced (the one suggestion, get it from trial lawyers, while a good idea, wouldn’t begin to make up the difference). Still, it is nice to see an organization for seniors that actually represents the interests of seniors. if you are interested, this is the link to their web site.