Fav Things

It’s funny, but of all the cutting boards I have, the two I use almost every day (one for meats and another for veggies–that one IS every day) are a couple I made in shop class 53 years ago (or was it 54? *heh*).

One (the solid mahogany board) was a Xmas gift to my paternal grandmother, and family “put it in my pile” when she passed away 37(?) years ago. The other (walnut and maple) was a Xmas gift to my mom, and she left it with me about 28 years ago when she was paring things down for a move.

While I have–and have had over the years–others, these serve almost all my needs quite handily, and have worn very very well over the years.

simple things, but real favs.

I Just Loves Me Some Free Stuffs

(Yeh, well, you’ll have to just take the fractured English, cos I say so. So there. *heh*)

A couple of months ago, a very generous Lovely Daughter and Husband gave this to me:

OK, so it’s an eight-year-old semi-mini-system they had already scheduled to be donated somewhere. I’m not belittling their generosity, though. Quite the contrary. It’s still more than enough sound for the 18.5’X12′ room I put it in, and produces a little better sound than the 17-year-old Pioneer tuner and KLH speakers I had been using there. And it even plays DVDs very nicely. No remote (at the time), but there was a solution for that. A couple of weeks ago, Lovely Daughter even brought up the remote they’d found.

Bonus: while I’ve been getting some work done here, I’ve been playing this:

Also free, sent to me for listening/commenting on an Internet “radio” site six or seven years ago. The set I have isn’t exactly like the one linked. It has just disk one and disk two (both in the Samsung CD/DVD changer now) but also includes a booklet with the text of Bush’s September 20, 2001 address to Congress. While that’s nice to have on hand I would probably prefer to have disk 3, and will have to locate and purchase that. Amazon, I suppose.

See the list of pieces performed for the recordings below the break. Some aren’t actually American in origin (the “Colonel Bogey March” stands out there) but have been adopted into the American experience so thoroughly as to be “American” for the typically expansive values that characterize the melting pot America*. 🙂

Enjoying (and enjoying this break as well :-)) the music and the sound system. Thanks, generous folks, all!

Continue reading “I Just Loves Me Some Free Stuffs”

Spinning the Moral Compass

First, the lede:

Morality is modified in the lab

Scientists have shown they can change people’s moral judgements by disrupting a specific area of the brain with magnetic pulses.

Now, the crux:

“The study suggests that this region – the RTPJ – is necessary for moral reasoning.

“What is interesting is that this is a region that is very late developing – into adolescence and beyond right into the 20s.

“The next step would be to look at how or whether moral development changes through childhood into adulthood.”

As far as I’m concerned, this adds weight to parents setting clear limits and doling out consequences for misbehavior that gives children a “moral compass” to guide them through childhood and youth.

Reason #1,546,328 “Why I Love the Internet”

I’ve commented before about the availability of really high-quality reads on the internet–for free, no less.

There are things like Project Gutenberg, where one can freely read or download for offline reading any of thousands of public domain works–literally a lifetime of reading if one wishes.

Then there is “MIT OpenCourseWare [which] makes the course materials that are used in the … all MIT’s undergraduate and graduate subjects available on the Web, free of charge…” FREE courses. From MIT. Wonderful!

And I’ve also mentioned before that one can read many of the books available from the Chicago University Press for free online, books like The Founders’ Constitution which retails for $475 (and can be bought for anywhere from $80 for a not so good used copy all the way up to retail). For free, though… online. (And once again, I HIGHLY recommend The Founders’ Constitution for all American citizens and citizen wannabes. Highly recommended. Very highly. Seriously.)

Other books available there as well, such as biographies (a great book on Fred Hoyle, for example), history, and more, much more.

And then there are singular finds sprinkled all over the web. One such is find number 1,546,328 (approx. :-)): Revolt of the Masses by Jose Ortega y Gasset, an amazingly prescient work written in 1930 (from lectures/essays dating earlier). Consider this extremely short excerpt from Ortega y Gasset’s introduction to the work:

The characteristic of the hour is that the commonplace mind, knowing itself to be commonplace, has the assurance to proclaim the rights of the commonplace and to impose them wherever it will. As they say in the United States: “to be different is to be indecent.” The mass crushes beneath it everything that is different, everything that is excellent, individual, qualified and select. Anybody who is not like everybody, who does not think like everybody, runs the risk of being eliminated. And it is clear, of course, that this “everybody” is not “everybody.” “Everybody” was normally the complex unity of the mass and the divergent, specialised minorities. Nowadays, “everybody” is the mass alone. Here we have the formidable fact of our times, described without any concealment of the brutality of its features.

“…the brutality of its features” indeed.

May I seriously commend this book to your attention? Revolt of the Masses by Jose Ortega y Gasset may be a dense read for those not enamored of the rather pedantic tone it sometimes assumes, and Ortega y Gasset’s view of the accomplishments of the common man may shock contemporary American sensibilities, but in this day and age where the democratic urges the Founders rightly feared are wreaking havoc on our society as a whole, it’s a very important read.

And it’s available for free on the web. Amazing. Dontcha just love the internet?

Trackposted to Maggie’s Notebook, Shadowscope, The Pink Flamingo, The Amboy Times, Democrat=Socialist, , CORSARI D’ITALIA, Dumb Ox Daily News, Conservative Cat, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

The Bells

I used to feature a Rudyard Kipling Tuesday at twc. I might just reinstitute that, but today’s a Wednesday and “Wednesday’s child is full of woe” and so I thought of Edgar Allen Poe. Well, actually, since the onset of ths Monster Winter Cold (the worst in living memory–mine, at least) a week and a half ago, my tinnitus has been so loud and fierce, I thought me of Poe’s,

The Bells

Hear the sledges with the bells –
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells –
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.


Continue reading “The Bells”