17 Nov 2014

Never Ever Be Any Good

16 Nov 2014

Andy Baxter Riding With the Berkeley Hunt

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BerkeleyHuntRoofShot

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

16 Nov 2014

Hitler Learns that Field Marshal Gruber Has Spilled the Beans

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15 Nov 2014

Social Justice Warriors Reduce Scientist To Tears

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GunerGirlsShirt
“Gunner Girls” Hawaiian shirt, sold out!

Sane people marveled world-wide as Social Justice Warriors ignored the fascinating story of mankind successfully landing a spacecraft on a comet and instead focused angry attention on the content of Astrophysicist Matt Taylor‘s Hawaiian shirt.

The Telegraph grumbled:

Political correctness officially went mad on November 14, 2014. It happened when Dr Matt Taylor, the man who helped put a rocket on a comet, choked back tears as he apologised for wearing a risqué shirt. And thus absurdity hijacked a moment in history. While some of us were following Rosetta’s landing on Philae with wonder, others were apparently rather more interested in what the scientists were wearing. It’s almost as though they suffer from some ocular defect that makes it impossible to correctly identify wood when looking at trees. Although, to be fair, trees can be offensively phallic.

Atlantic tech writer Rose Eveleth: “No no women are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dude in this shirt.” Astrophysicist Katie Mack: “I don’t care what scientists wear. But a shirt featuring women in lingerie isn’t appropriate for a broadcast if you care about women in science.” New York blogger, James DiGioia: “Technology advances while society remains decidedly retrograde.”

To remind you, Mr DiGioia is writing about a shirt. Not forced marriages in rural Pakistan but a guy wearing a tacky shirt with some ladies on it firing guns. And while that shirt was brutally occupying Mr DiGioia’s television screen like Germany invading Poland, a rocket was quietly touching down on a comet and making our dream of conquering the stars a little closer to reality. Wood? Trees? “You say potato, I say patriarchy.”

But Taylor was, of course, reduced to tearful apologies.

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But the Washington Post’s Rachel Feltman was not satisfied with Taylor’s tears. She thinks he should come back and apologize some more and repeat publicly the politically correct message he has learned.

Of course, I personally hope that one day (when he’s a little less busy) Taylor will say a bit more on the subject, and show that he understands why the shirt wasn’t okay. Science is not a welcoming place for women, even today, and the only people who can truly make it more welcoming are the men who run the show. If a stellar scientist walks into work — and then says hello to the whole world — wearing a sexist shirt, what kind of message are we sending to future scientists?

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Myself, I think it is appalling that an adult employed professionally as a scientist finding himself responsible to appear in public to address an international audience in connection with a historic scientific achievement has grown to adult years without any sense of personal dignity or knowledge of conventional etiquette, and thinks it proper to appear on television with a Hawaiian shirt (pretending to be a coat or sweater) layered over a polo shirt. And to top all this off, he is so far removed from the older model of the British gentleman, his upper lip is so lacking in stiffness, that he cries publicly over being criticized by crackpots. Jesus wept.

I will add, on the positive side, though, that though I don’t own or wear Hawaiian shirts, and would not be caught dead wearing one of them to a dogfight, as Hawaiian shirts go, I thought his was relatively cool.

14 Nov 2014

I Hate New York, Part 2

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All-GlassBathroom

The Times also describes a developing fashion for all-glass high-rise bathrooms.

Among the many vertiginous renderings for the penthouse apartments at 432 Park Avenue, the nearly 1,400-foot-high Cuisenaire rod that topped off last month, is one of its master (or mistress) of the universe bathrooms, a glittering, reflective container of glass and marble. The image shows a huge egg-shaped tub planted before a 10-foot-square window, 90 or more stories up. All of Lower Manhattan is spread out like the view from someone’s private plane.

Talk about power washing.

The dizzying aerial baths at 432 Park, while certainly the highest in the city, are not the only exposed throne rooms in New York. All across Manhattan, in glassy towers soon to be built or nearing completion, see-through chambers will flaunt their owners, naked, toweled or robed, like so many museum vitrines — although the audience for all this exposure is probably avian, not human.

It seems the former touchstones of bathroom luxury (Edwardian England, say, or ancient Rome) have been replaced by the glass cube of the Apple store on Fifth Avenue. In fact, Richard Dubrow, marketing director at Macklowe Properties, which built 432 and that Apple store, described the penthouse “wet rooms” (or shower rooms) in just those terms.

Everyone wants a window, said Vickey Barron, a broker at Douglas Elliman and director of sales at Walker Tower, a conversion of the old Verizon building on West 18th Street. “But now it has to be ­ a Window.” She made air quotes around the word. “Now what most people wanted in their living rooms, they want in their bathrooms. They’ll say, ‘What? No View?’ ” …

If there’s a view, there should be glass,” [Minimalist architect John] Pawson said. “It’s not about putting yourself on show, it’s about enjoying what’s outside. Any exhibitionism is an unfortunate by-product. I think what’s really nice is that at this level you’re creating a gathering space. You can congregate in the bathroom, you can even share the bath or bring a chair in.”

On a recent Thursday, there were seven people standing in the master bathroom of an apartment on the 20th floor of 737 Park, another Macklowe project that’s a new conversion of a 1940s building by Handel Architects. (The apartment, three bedrooms in 4,336 square feet, is listed for $19.695 million.) At 21 by 11 feet, there was certainly room in the bathroom for a few more. Along two opposing walls, two toilets and two showers faced off behind glass walls. The by-now-familiar egg floated in the center of the room.

“Some people don’t mind showing a little, and some don’t mind showing a lot,” said Gary Handel, the principal of Handel Architects. “They are totally comfortable in their bodies.” …

Nine of the building’s C-line apartments expressed an even clearer idea: a wall of glass with two toilets at either end and a shower in the middle, which raised many an eyebrow among brokers and their clients because the toilets face each other. Design clarity — and a well-lit room — suggests questions about how private we want to be in our private spaces.

Jill Roosevelt, a broker at Brown Harris Stevens who has been leading her clients through a few of the new, glassy offerings, said 737 in particular sparked conversations about habits of intimacy. “It’s about how much proximity do you want to your partner who is performing these tasks?” she said. “It doesn’t affect sales, but there is always a reaction, ranging from nonchalant to amusement. It depends on how comfortable you feel with your spouse or partner. My traditional couples will say, ‘We’ll frost the glass.’ ”

One couple — “this would be the amused couple,” Ms. Roosevelt said — pondered the dueling commodes of the C-line at 737 Park with interest. “Well, I guess we could watch each other read the newspaper,” the wife said finally. …

Privacy, of course, is not an absolute value, but a value that has changed over time and circumstances, as Winifred Gallagher, an author who has written about the behavioral and psychological science of place, pointed out.

“And like everything else, the rich can buy more of it,” she said. “In the city, privacy is about shielding yourself from all the stimuli. Most of us can’t drop the shield entirely even when we’re in our own homes, because the city is right outside. But if you’re high enough, you can waltz around pretending you’re in the garden of Versailles.”

Furthermore, Ms. Gallagher added, for many the bathroom can be the focus of a lot of anxiety. “You have the scale and there’s the magnifying mirror so you don’t put your makeup on and look like a clown,” she said. “And imagine yourself striding around the bathrooms with all that glass. It puts the pressure on you to be thin and fit, which are also perks of the rich. If you’re thin and fit, why wouldn’t you have this jewel box to show yourself off in?”

Read the whole thing.

Ann Althouse observes: “the rich folk of New York don’t mind if you look at them naked while they use the bathroom… as long as you have to look way, way up.

14 Nov 2014

I Hate New York, Part 1

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AveryFisherHall

“But, what has he done for me lately?” is a characteristic New York approach to memorial institutional names commemorating historic instances of philanthropy. Yet, paying off a donor’s heirs to let you take his name off the building so you can sell naming rights all over again constitutes a very special pure-New-York kind of tackiness.

New York Times:

Since its adolescence more than four decades ago, the New York Philharmonic’s home at Lincoln Center has been known as Avery Fisher Hall. Now, as the orchestra prepares for a major renovation expected to cost more than $500 million, the Fisher family has agreed to relinquish the name so the Philharmonic and Lincoln Center can lure a large donor with the promise of rechristening the building.

The unusual agreement, announced on Thursday, is a significant turnaround from 12 years ago, when the family of Avery Fisher, the music philanthropist who gave $10 million in 1973 to support the building, threatened legal action if the concert hall was rebuilt or renovated under a new name.

Lincoln Center is essentially paying the family $15 million for permission to drop the name and has included several other inducements, like a promise to feature prominent tributes to Mr. Fisher in the new lobby of the concert hall.

While the ability to raise money through naming opportunities has become a staple tool for arts organizations, perhaps no event speaks louder to its utility as a fund-raising mechanism than Lincoln Center’s willingness to pay the family of a veteran donor to step away so it can court a new benefactor.

Organizations like the Philharmonic and Lincoln Center cannot hope to raise the sums required for ambitious reconstructions or expansions without being able to dangle the carrot of a donor’s name emblazoned over the door.

“This unties the Gordian knot,” Katherine G. Farley, Lincoln Center’s chairwoman, said of the agreement. She said it was too early in the process to discuss whose name might replace Mr. Fisher’s on the building or what the price tag for such a high-profile philanthropic mantle might be.

Read the whole thing.

13 Nov 2014

Amoskeag to Auction Kid Curry’s Colt

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KidCurryColt
Lot 103. Colt Single Action Army Frontier Six Shooter Revolver Owned And Carried By Harvey “Kid Curry” Logan Of Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch

Amoskeag Auction Company, Sale No. 104, November 22nd & 23rd, 2014, Lot 103, Estimate: $50,000-75,000.

Harvey Logan, “Kid Curry” originally rode with the Black Jack Ketchum gang, formed his own gang sometime in 1897 and eventually wound up with Butch Cassidy and The Wild Bunch. He was described as “the wildest of the Wild Bunch” and before his career would end he had purportedly killed nine peace officers and two other men in an about 10 year career. While he was described by William Pinkerton (Pinkerton Detective agency) as having “not one single redeeming feature, he is the only criminal I know of who does not have one single good point”, he was evidently always kind to the ladies; in fact would often spend his “take” from the Wild Bunch robberies laying up in brothels with friendly ladies and good liquor, until his share was exhausted. Logan rode with Butch and Sundance until they left for Buenos Aires in early 1901. In July of that year Curry, “Tall Texan” Ben Kilpatrick and “Deaf Charlie” Hanks decided they would rob the Great Northern Railroad Coast Flyer No. 3. This they did on July 3, very professionally and well, Logan commandeering the engine with engineer and fireman intact. The train was stopped a few miles outside of Malta Montana, engineer Thomas Jones was made to disconnect the baggage and express cars from the passenger cars and pull the train forward some miles. When safely away from the other train cars, Logan commanded the mail clerk and express messenger, each a Jimmy Martin and a C.H. Smith, to open the express car doors and jump out telling them he would not hurt them, Logan saying all he wanted was “Jim Hill’s money” (Hill being the president of the railroad). The men did so and, although it took three attempts, the outlaws blew the safe open and gathered their loot, amounting to 800 sheets of banknotes, each with four notes each of $10 and $20 denominations. They also took about $500 in notes from the American National Bank of Helena, a package of watches and a bag filled with silver coins, all told about $40,000. As the trio was leaving express messenger C.H. Smith hollered to Logan that he wanted his Colt pistol. When Logan asked him “what for young fellow” he told him as a souvenir of the day, Logan obliged by emptying the revolver into the air and tossing it to Smith saying “thanks for your help”. Logan would later be captured in Knoxville Tennessee in 1902 and during his trial for the train robbery, eyewitness testimony, from the train’s fireman M.F. O’Neal and C.H. Smith himself both related the incident identically, of the outlaw emptying his gun and tossing it to the young express messenger. … The backstrap is very neatly engraved in small script, during the period of use, showing appropriate oxidation and wear from the years: “This pistol was given to me “C H Smith G.N. Ex. Mess” by Harvey Logan during train robbery July 1, 1901”.

KidCurrywGirl
Della Moore with Harvey Logan

13 Nov 2014

10 Hours of Princess Leia Walking in NYC

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13 Nov 2014

Ed Wood Directs Jonathan Gruber

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Tweet66

12 Nov 2014

“I Will Take the Ring to Mordor!”

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mordor

12 Nov 2014

Obamacare Was Passed Because of “the Stupidity of the American Voter”

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ObamaCare Architect Jonathan Gruber admits Obamacare was passed only because America was intentionally deceived. “…call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever…”

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Fox News Megyn Kelly reports on the scandal resulting from Professor Gruber’s remarks, and find that this was not the first time Jonathan Gruber publicly gloated that American voters are “too stupid to understand” how democrats were flimflamming them.

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Ian Tuttle observes that no one should be surprised by any of this. Progressives commonly fail to conceal their sense of moral and intellectual superiority based upon being progressive.

Jonathan Gruber is smart. He is an economist. He teaches at MIT. Do you teach at MIT? Of course you don’t. He is also the architect behind Obamacare. He is really, really smart. Did we mention that?

Of course, when you are as smart as Jonathan Gruber, it is difficult to resist the temptation to pull your light out from under the bushel on occasion; thus every once in a while there comes an embarrassing revelation. The conservative group American Commitment recently unearthed one such moment. During an interview at the University of Pennsylvania in October 2013, Gruber revealed that

    this bill [the Affordable Care Act] was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO [the Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in — you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed. . . . Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass. . . . Look, I wish . . . that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.

One could call it an “admission” or “confession,” but Gruber does not seem particularly conflicted. The ends justified the means. That is something the millions of people who have been forced from their insurance plans

When a different economist, Thomas Sowell, quipped that “the road to Hell is paved with Ivy League degrees,” he spoke more truth than he realized. Indeed, smart people often have bad policy ideas. But Hell is not about mistakes; it’s about sins. And despite its pragmatic, do-what-works rhetoric, the progressive Left is convinced not only of its own intellectual superiority but of its accompanying moral superiority. Among progressives, stupidity is sin.

Gruber’s comments are a perfect illustration of this belief. The “stupidity of the American voter,” of which he is obviously disdainful, is not an ignorance of facts. If Obamacare proponents had believed that was the case, they would simply have sought to explain the legislation, trusting that more information would be persuasive. The obfuscation in which they engaged would not have been necessary.

No, Obamacare proponents were certain that Americans could not be persuaded, no matter how much information they absorbed. The voters were incapable of recognizing that Obamacare was in their own best interests — or, to put it another way, they were (and remain) morally deficient, a failing impervious to reasoned argument. Their stupidity was a sin, against themselves and each other. Gruber and company were the messiahs they did not know they needed.

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Breaking: University of Pennsylvania tries to suppress the Gruber video.

11 Nov 2014

Remembrance Day Hunting Braid

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RemembranceDayBraid
The Tin Man out with the Worcestershire Foxhounds

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

11 Nov 2014

One That Got Away

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ItalianDagger375

Ebay lot 381041066398 was sitting there at $230.00 on Saturday as the auction drew toward its close at 8:27 pm. I had just bought a rifle on Gun Broker, so I was feeling a need for some restraint, but I certainly was not going to let this sell for $230.00 without bidding a bit higher. So I left an Esnipe bid somewhere near $300.

It’s impossible to tell what some auctions are going to do in their final moments, when all the snipers open fire. You can bid double the current bid sometimes and still find that you came in too low. I had no idea what this dagger would fetch. It was obviously worth a great deal more than $230, but beyond that I hadn’t a clue.

It sold, as things turned out, for $599.90, and I still think it was worth much more than that.

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The seller described it as an “Old antique Italian Hunting knife/dagger SUPER NICE RARE.”

You are bidding on an antique Italian hunting knife. This is an exceptional example well made and well preserved. It probably dates from the first half of the 19th century. It is large 15-1/2 inches long, solid blade 11 inches long with two decorative fullers and mirror engraved images as well as a small section of brass inlay, the blade is 2 inches wide at the base. The handle is made from wood with two decorative brass side grips and a very interesting tang section that can be seen on the back. Nice file work on the mid section. Super nice knife.

But, what was it really?

I looked through George Cameron Stone’s A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor in All Countries and in All Times, Together with Some Closely Related Subjects, and my conclusion is that it was an anelace aka anelec aka anlace, a long dagger variation of the cinquedea featuring a triangular double-edged blade tapering sharply to a point: used from the 13th to the 16th centuries. This weapon was often carried at an angle at the small of the back and would be the only weapon carried in cities, at court, traveling on horseback or riding during the hunt, also used to slide between the plates of platemail armour.

It does not look old enough to me to be 16th century. It has an 18th century look to me. But, I suppose, it might have been an extremely high quality 19th century reproduction.

11 Nov 2014

Ladies Rejecting Marriage Proposals

,

Bye
Sir William Quiller Orchardson, The First Cloud, 1887

lol bye< /em>

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