Robert Frost

Snowy woods today with ground fog obscuring the meadow in back of my house and transforming it into mysterious and haunted place.  Thinking of Robert Frost as I explore it:

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


Culture And Biology

The Washington Post had a piece today about a teacher encouraging her class to have their DNA tested here.  Looks like a lot of fun.  But the article then falls into a serious error serious people should understand.  Here’s the last sentence of the piece in order to illustrate:

“What makes America great is we have all those cultures combined.”

But culture and biology are two different things.  Biology is biology and culture is defined as the highest level of civilization or sophistication in language or organization attained by a people.  And so a child of American civilization with the DNA of a Native-American doesn’t feel more comfortable living in a tepee by virtue of their genetic make-up and certainly is not motivated by stories long ago told by long vanished peoples.

Put it another way; an Italian-American child born in Brooklyn isn’t born speaking Italian that is and so doesn’t automatically or shall we day biologically transmit that culture.  Do they?  Indeed one culture – the Italian to greater or lessor degree,is left behind and a new one assumed.  Vestiges may remain and often do but they will sublimate further in the next generation and in the next yet again.

Not that one culture cannot contribute to the other which is why all Americans eat pizza and why we use words like “pasta” and “calamari” rather than noodles or squid when we’re talking about food.  But the mainstream culture continues on until wrecked by an encounter with a superior one somewhere down the pike.

Bret Stephens The Bile Meister

Back in May 2016 Bret Stephens Deputy Editorial Page something or other with the Wall Street Journal said this on national TV:

It’s important that Donald Trump and what he represents — this kind of ethnic quote, ‘conservatism,’ or populism be so decisively rebuked that the Republican Party, the Republican voters will forever learn their lesson that they cannot nominate a man so manifestly unqualified to be president in any way, shape or form.

bret-stephensSounds like the righteous blather of a parent who has come to the conclusion that rather than believe in their child and help them out of a serious jam it’s better they go to trial, go to jail and learn their lesson the hard way.

But guess what?  The kid Bret Stephens had in mind was not only acquitted but carried out of the courtroom on the shoulders of the jurors and met by a cheering crowd outside on the street.

Which sort of lands Bret Stephens in the useless, clueless, mindless box doesn’t it?

For those who care Stephens has only doubled down since.

Christmas Tree

No children at home now and so several years ago we went to a pop-up tree which actually looks pretty nice.  But one of my son’s has a four year old son and my wife made the trek to the Christmas Tree farm in bitter but sunny weather yesterday.  Good timing because this morning we woke up to a winter wonderland of snow.

christian-sue-christmas-treet-2016 christian-sue-frank-christmas-tree-2016

A Real Head Scratcher

The U.K. Mirror headlines Extremist Defeated as Green Party sweeps to victory in Austria.

Reading further it appears the extremist was extreme because he wanted to restrict Muslim immigration and somehow that makes him Adolf Hitler reincarnated.  While the Green Party isn’t extreme because all it wants is to take individual energy consumption back to the level of 1875 when there was no central heating, hot water on demand, air conditioning, cars, airplanes and so on; a position which I guess seems quite reasonable when measured against the Muslim desire to take Austria (or at least it’s blond haired blue-eyed women) back to the seventh century.

On Racism

Loyld Marcus in his wonderful piece The Myth Of Racist America in American Thinker here the other day here wrote:

Black seniors are prone to experiencing “racism paranoia.”  I am in my late sixties.  (Did I just say that out loud?)  I remember suffering racism in my youth.  Consequently, there have been situations in which I found myself anticipating racism only to be greeted with warmth and hospitality.  I know blacks my age and older who are suffering racism paranoia – imagining racism in every situation.

A point about human nature parodied in the Seinfeld episode when Uncle Leo attributes a overcooked hamburger (and much else in his life) to anti-Semitism.  And in almost exactly the same fashion, when my son’s Japanese in-laws invited us to dinner in an upscale restaurant and the service was horrible my son’s father in-in-law turned to me and said “you have to expect that when you’re Japanese.”

I held up a finger as if to say “watch this”, turned in my seat and signaled the waiter only to have him turn his back on me. “See” I said “it’s not just you Japanese he’s nasty to it’s everybody he serves” and we all  laughed.  A story I told to a Jewish couple we know and they laughed themselves, “when that happens we always think it’s because we’re Jews.”

People are S.O.B.s for every reason besides bigotry as well as bigotry.

But it’s rarely bigotry. That’s not the way we roll.  Most Americans just aren’t that way and haven’t been.

The first time I heard the term Spic it had to be explained to me. I learned the word Nigger from Huckleberry Finn, I never heard either word used by my parents or their friends and Bay Ridge Brooklyn was strictly White and a pretty social place in the nineteen fifties. In fact every adult that I knew growing up called Italians Italians and Poles Poles. Jews were Jews and I was much older and moving around outside of the neighborhood before I ever heard the word Kike, Guinea or Polack.  My father was Irish and I had blue eyes, red hair and freckles, lots of freckles but my friend Wally Bogan had to explain to me, like it was a big secret, why us two might be called “Micks.”  Micks?  How interesting but then I forgot about it.

It’s not that people of that generation didn’t have dislikes. My grandmother whom I loved dearly, was Swedish, who were the best people in the world of course, and she was often vocal in her sense of superiority to and dislike of Italians. Indeed it wasn’t until her sister’s granddaughter married one that she discovered all manner of previously unsuspected virtues in the Roman race.  And would hotly deny ever thinking any different.

And of course this time was before the Civil Rights movement. “We reserve the right to refuse…” was the custom and law beginning about a hundred miles south of New York City and extended over a nation inside a nation Grant once described as “an empire in extent.”  In many ways a brutal too one because Blacks were denied the right to vote inside that empire and up until 1964 or thereabouts as many as forty to sixty lynched each year there with many more judicially murdered.

But as it turned out what Whites were really afraid of wasn’t Blacks but the attitude of other Whites if they violated the color bar, that is acted kindly. I remember the story of the man who owned a hotel and brought bottles of ice cold cokes out to a group of Blacks who had integrated his pool by jumping into it fully clothed.  Startling because the day before he had poured acid into the water on a similar group.

When tasked with the contradiction he explained that the Civil Rights Act has passed so no one could blame him that “it was the law of the land.” But it wasn’t the law of the land because even thought it had won a majority in Congress the day before,  President Johnson was yet to sign it.

He just needed the excuse.

Like sometimes, we all do I guess.