Saturday, December 31, 2022

Quite Enjoyable


Fireworks in the Distance


My dog does not approve. I am explaining to her that she is in a nice snug house with people who love her and that she can relax.

It seems to work.

On me, at least.

Throughout the Coming Year, Let Us Be Wise, Kind, and Strong

[Photo by Shireah Ragnar at Unsplash]

First Paragraph

Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence, and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.

- From Emma by Jane Austen

Music Man

Some recent essential mixes from Cultural Offering:

Dougie MacLean with Auld Lang Syne


Hear the Chimes at Midnight


A Plan

Let's examine the assumptions, resources, strategies, goals, and risks. Let's do that quickly but - barring an emergency - with enough time for review and second-guessing.

Let's pick at least one very smart person to poke holes in our plan and note counter-strategies. 

Let's identify any areas that cause unease.

Let's have more than three options.

Let's have a clear view of the problems that may result from our proposed solutions.

Once the decision is made, let every action advance the cause. Avoid all that do not. Make all necessary adjustments. 

With all of that in mind, vigorously execute the plan.

Go with insight and courage.

First Paragraph

My new white shirt and black suit, freshly cleaned and pressed, went well with my uncharacteristically black-shined shoes as I stood in my room at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. My wife, Grace, reached up to straighten my new light gray tie. Since she is five feet seven inches tall and I am six feet five, it was quite a reach, but one she had made many times before. Applying the finishing touches, she spoke: "David goes forth to meet Goliath." Her words rang profoundly true.

- From Moving Mountains: The Principles and Purposes of Leon Sullivan by Leon H. Sullivan

Friday, December 30, 2022

March If the Spirits Say March



 Two years ago, I wrote an essay in which I tried to explore the growing sense, made more glaring during the first year of the pandemic, that whole parts of American society were breaking down before our eyes. The central idea was that we must accept what is broken beyond repair in order to build our communities and institutions anew.

- From Brokenism by Alana Newhouse, Tablet magazine, November 21, 2022

A Warning from 1975


Grand Discussions

Cultural Offering has an example of a high caliber of discussion rarely found on television today. 

Too much of modern discourse involves a prosecutorial mentality.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Orwell and Huxley Have Merged

 Forbes magazine in 2016: The World Economic Forum peeks at 2030. An excerpt:

Welcome to the year 2030. Welcome to my city - or should I say, "our city." I don't own anything. I don't own a car. I don't own a house. I don't own any appliances or any clothes.

Practical Gadgets

This post by The FutureLawyer reminds me of a small survey I took several years ago on how many people carry knives.

There were several quick responses and people confirmed their practicality.

My own choice is a small Swiss Army penknife. Well-made, beautiful, and yes, used every day.



Quick Explanations Can Be Convenient and Inaccurate

The ability to give a provide a quick explanation of an event is often an easy way to avoid examining its real causes. Once the explanation is accepted, we can move on. Be especially careful if those providing the explanation have a personal motive in doing so. Recognize that it is very likely that they do not want any examination of the causes. If they are wrong in their analysis, the causes will remain and may continue to distort reality in the future.

Hidden Motives

Caring can be an excuse for cowardice. 

Indifference can be an excuse for approval. 

Caution can hide control.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Michael Lind - Thought Provoker


Soundtrack Break


Big Erskine

The Paris Review in 1982 had an interview with novelist Erskine Caldwell.

If you have not read Tobacco Road or God's Little Acre, you are in for a memorable experience. Shelley Berman remarked about a lost Erskine Caldwell novel: "... as if anybody can forget an Erskine Caldwell novel. Frankly, I don't know why that man is seeking success, he can have so much fun sitting around thinking."

Racial Identity


The Arcane Nature of Plumbing

Kurt Harden, who lives in the cold country, has the details.

[Photo by Tiago Catulo at Unsplash]

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

On My List


The Uses and Abuses of Military History

Victor Davis Hanson in The New Criterion: "The degreed classes have deprecated military history." 

Imagine What Zweig Would Say About Today's News Environment

 It seems to me a duty to bear witness to our lifetime, which has been fraught with such dramatic events, for we have all, I repeat, witnessed these vast transformations - we have been forced to witness them. For our generation, there was no other option, no chance such as earlier generations had of standing aside. Thanks to our new methods of spreading news as soon as it happens, we have been constantly drawn into the events of our time. When bombers smashed buildings in Shanghai, we knew it in our sitting rooms in Europe even before the injured were carried out. Incidents thousands of miles away overseas came vividly before our eyes. There was no shelter, no safety from constant awareness and involvement. There was no country to which you could escape, no way you could buy peace and quiet; all the time, everywhere, the hand of Fate took us and dragged us back into its insatiable game.

- Stefan Zweig, 1942



The Golden Age of Security

 If I try to find some useful phrase to sum up the time of my childhood and youth before the First World War, I hope I can put it most succinctly by calling it the Golden Age of Security. Everything in our Austrian monarchy, then almost a thousand years old, seemed built to last, and the state itself was the ultimate guarantor of durability. The rights it gave its citizens were affirmed by our parliament, a freely elected assembly representing the people, and every duty was precisely defined. Our currency, the Austrian crown, circulated in the form of shiny gold coins, thus vouching for its own immutability. . . . Everything in this wide domain was firmly established, immovably in its place, with the old Emperor at the top of the pyramid, and if he were to die the Austrians all knew (or thought they knew) that another emperor would take his place, and nothing in the well-calculated order of things would change. Anything radical or violent seemed impossible in such an age of reason.

- From The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig

Julius Caesar


As You Like It


Monday, December 26, 2022

Opening Lines

It is still the sea, obviously, but you can see that something has changed about the color. The low, broad rollers rock the ship as benevolently as ever; there is still nothing but ocean, yet the blue is gradually becoming tainted with yellow. And that produces not green, the way you might remember from your lessons in color theory, but murkiness. The glimmering azure has vanished. There is no more turquoise billow beneath the noonday sun. The boundless cobalt from which the sun arose, the ultramarine of twilight, the leaden grayness of the night: gone.

From here on: all is broth.

- From Congo: The Epic History of a People by David Van Reybrouck

Drinking Coffee, Talking Strategy


Thoughts were exchanged, weaknesses/strengths noted, and timing considered.

And throughout the session, the question of fit was important. What might work with one organization can be disastrous for another. 

All may change within a few months but the three key values will remain. All subsequent analysis will occur with those in mind because each value requires serious action.

An added bonus: Each one weakens our adversaries.

The Reign of the Administrators

 City Journal: Theodore Dalrymple looks at the management equivalent of eagles and termites.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

And On Every Night As Well

"May you never be too grown up to search the skies on Christmas Eve."

- Anonymous

[Photo by Calwaen Liew at Unsplash]



Have a Very Merry Christmas!

[Photo by Aaron Burden at Unsplash]

Friday, December 23, 2022

A Spaniard Motorcycling Through Africa


This YouTube series is oddly captivating and beats many modern TV shows.

File Under: I Can Remember When This Song Was On The Radio


Subtle Gifts

 Yesterday, I began giving out indirect Christmas presents by canceling meetings through the New Year.

First Paragraph

I sit with my wrists cuffed to the table and I think, But that I am forbid / To tell the secrets of my prison-house, / I could a tale unfold whose lightest word / Would harrow up thy soul. The guard stands by the door, watching me, like he's waiting for something to happen.

- From If We Were Villains: A Novel by M. L. Rio 

Gottlieb and Caro

 Althouse: The 91-year-old editor and the 87-year-old writer.

Love it!

Western/Sci Fi


Thursday, December 22, 2022

The Day

Kleenex. Water. Coffee. Medicine. Ginger tea. Coughing. Sleep. More ginger tea.

Not the day I had planned.

But I did complete a couple of chapters on a book I'm writing.

The hallucinations may have helped.

The Tide Turns



The doctor is in.

I thought I was on the mend but now what appeared to be a viral infection has shifted into what may be a common cold.

Have not had a cold in years.

My wife has a similar illness. We take turns as to which one is worse off.

So far the best treatment is ginger tea.

[Photo by Peter Kvetny at Unsplash]

Very Interesting


Unconventional Shakespeare


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Dakota Christmas

Joseph Bottom's powerful story.

One that returns every Christmas season. . . with a punch.

[Photo by Lydia Matzal at Unsplash]

How Many Today?



In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.

- Albert Camus

[Photo by Michal Pechardo at Unsplash]

I Am a Life-Long Member of the Second Group

In modern American politics, there are two types of people: those who want to control others and those who just want to be left alone.

- Jon Gabriel

B-Movie Territory?


Is there any novel published in the last twenty years that you'd rank alongside Tolstoy's War and Peace

Are any relatively recent films in the same league as Lawrence of Arabia?

We can avoid getting into the subject of political leadership but remember there was a time when President Eisenhower, Prime Minister Macmillan, President De Gaulle, and Chancellor Adenauer could meet to discuss foreign affairs.

One might say that we are in B-movie territory but that is unfair to B-movies.

[Photo by Simon Ray at Unsplash]

Cadillac Desert


The book by Marc Reisner was published in 1986. We need to re-read it today.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Better Living Through Science


The Tone of Our Times

“I’m going to vote for Biden in the 2020. But you shouldn’t believe me when I say that, because if I did intend vote for Trump, I would never tell you.”

- From a line developed and used by Glenn Loury

The Virtue of Traditional Education


Obligation to Past, Present, and Future

We shall return to proven ways - not because they are old, but because they are true.

- Barry Goldwater

How Can They Pass on the Joy of Law School?

 JD enrollments are down. Non-JD enrollments are up.

[HT: Instapundit]

Continuing My Shakespeare Kick


Words Are Not Little Things

Watch out for job titles, job descriptions, meeting minutes, instructions, policies, press releases, and labels.

Words can be bulldozers and snares.

Such Things Can Be Very Powerful


  • Understatement
  • Accountability
  • Kindness
  • Imagination
  • Patience
  • Candor
  • Silence
  • Generosity

Monday, December 19, 2022

"Gen Z Never Learned to Read Cursive"

 "I asked my students about the implications of what they had told me, focusing first on their experience as students. No, most of these history students admitted, they could not read manuscripts. If they were assigned a research paper, they sought subjects that relied only on published sources. One student reshaped his senior honors thesis for this purpose; another reported that she did not pursue her interest in Virginia Woolf for an assignment that would have involved reading Woolf's handwritten letters."

Read all of The Atlantic essay by Drew Gilpin Faust.

In addition to exploring Mars, let's explore the teaching profession.

Quick Look


In Defense of Genders

What produces stable, emotionally secure men who are equipped to provide for the needs of a family? All of the institutions the left targets: the family, the church, and functional schools that teach students how to think critically rather than nurse grievances. Destroy these institutions, and from the rubble of their foundations will emerge a joyless, genderless society comprised of people eager to hand over their money and their liberty in exchange for a government that promises to meet all their needs.

Read the entire essay by Anna Zeigler.

From a Review on Amazon

 "Book arrived ahead of time and in excellent condition."

Russo on Life

Even though most families are hurting in Russo’s fiction, the family, broken or whole, remains central to his work. In a commencement address at Colby College, Russo proffered the kind of life advice that college graduates rarely hear these days and that might have seemed unlikely coming from someone with his tough childhood. “Have kids,” he told the graduates. “Don’t worry that you can’t afford them, though it’s true, you can’t. Don’t worry too much about the world they’ll be born into, which will suck, because that’s what the world mostly does. You won’t be a fully vested citizen until you have someone you love more than life to hand this imperfect world over to. And don’t worry that you may have poor parenting skills, which you will.”

Read the rest of Steven Malanga's 2019 City Journal article on novelist Richard Russo.

Conformity with a Regressive Ideology

The effort to resist gender ideology is reality’s last stand. We simply can’t ignore fundamental realities of our biology and expect positive outcomes for society. Pronoun rituals are extremely effective at normalizing and institutionalizing the abolition of biological sex in favor of gender identity. These rituals take advantage of people’s confusion and compassion to achieve compliance. But the time for politeness has long passed. The only proper response to the question “What are your pronouns?” is to reject the premise and refuse to answer.

Read the rest of Colin Wright here.

Crank It Up!


Never Forget

If you are not humble, life will visit humbleness upon you.

- Mike Tyson

Extraordinary? Yes!

Start your week off right: Check out Black Swan Europa.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Genius Within


The Burnout Challenge


Wally Bock has some interesting takes and resources on the problem of burnout.

The problem of opt-out is a related issue.

A Reminder of Personal Accountability


A Torpedo Right Below the Water Line

A Large Regular features an SNL portrayal that is remarkably close to reality.

A Slight Adjustment

In the aggregate, 10,500 net new jobs were added during the period rather than the 1,121,500 jobs estimated by the sum of the states; the U.S. CES estimated net growth of 1,047,000 jobs for the period. 

- From the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

The Old Apples and Oranges Game


Political bias by mathematics professors is restrained by the nature of the subject. Their colleagues in the liberal arts, however, have far more opportunities to inject their opinions. The situation may look the same on the surface but it is far different in practice.

During the Cold War, when the Soviet Union put more money into their navy, they were withholding it from their army. Their enemies, however, were far more worried about the threat from the Red Army in Europe.

The newcomer to politics is often attacked by the incumbent for having a sizable campaign chest. The usual newcomer, however, is not as well known as the incumbent and has to spend more simply to increase name recognition.

Organizations are often compared to well-oiled machines. They are more accurately compared to farms where certain chores have to be done at certain times in order to harvest a crop and where weather can have a more immediate influence. [You can easily replace a machine part but if you lose a skilled worker you may be harmed for years.]

The apples and oranges game is popular. Always look for important differences.

Scam in the Schools

 At nearby Ballou High School several months after Obama's 2016 speech, every one of the school's 190 seniors was accepted to college - remarkable considering that the previous year only 3 percent of students (including the now-seniors) had managed to pass their citywide English exams, and not a single student met the math standards.

- From Race to the Bottom: Uncovering the Secret Forces Destroying American Public Education by Luke Rosiak

Friday, December 16, 2022

And It's Not a Classic Comic

Minding the Campus: When a university's first year reading requirement is a comic book.

[Update: Spelling error corrected. Proof-reader flogged.]



Looking into the Abyss

The beasts of modernism have mutated into the beasts of post-modernism - relativism into nihilism, amorality into immorality, irrationality into insanity, sexual deviancy into polymorphous perversity. And since then, generations of intelligent students under the guidance of their enlightened professors have looked into the abyss, have contemplated those beasts, and have said, "How interesting, how exciting."

- Gertrude Himmelfarb, On Looking into the Abyss (1994)

These Will Be Done

Over the next four days, I am sentenced to complete:

  • the final segment of a major report.
  • the organization of a new desk file system.
  • the next draft of a book.
  • Christmas shopping.

Morgan Freeman Should Never Retire


Health Food Update

Chocolate Cherry Cake has real possibilities.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

News Lawyers Can Use

The FutureLawyer has info on getting "How to Start and Build a Law Practice" by Jay Foonberg.

Be Alert

A revolution is an idea that has found its bayonets.

- Napoleon 

Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX

 Amid all of the Sam Bankman-Fried interviews, I asked my wife, "Doesn't this guy know he's going to be arrested? Where is his lawyer?"

Read the James B. Meigs "Twilight of the Tech Gods" essay in Commentary magazine.

One of the Greatest Christmas CDs


Barbarians Love Bureaucracy

Daily Mail: Peter Hitchens sees Britain turning into a version of East Germany

I believe you could find a surprising number of people in the United States who would opt for the East German model. Check out campus arguments over free speech.

As a first step, "The Lives of Others" should be shown to high school students along with "Schindler's List."

Deep State

The Civil Service has a vested interest in someone who wants to make the Civil Service more powerful. What happens to an Administration that wants to make it smaller, less powerful? Can it be done? I am telling you there is a lot of evidence that the answer is no.

- Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 1977

Just In


Memorable Scenes - A Series


Wednesday, December 14, 2022

The Fifth Estate

Mike Solana at Pirate Wires examines our friends in the media. An excerpt:

But throughout the 20th Century thousands of media outlets gradually consolidated, and by the dawn of our internet era only a few giants remained. These giants largely shared a single perspective, and in rough agreement with the ruling class the Fourth Estate naturally came to serve, rather than critique, power. This relationship metasticized into something very close to authoritarianism during the Covid-19 pandemic, when a single state narrative was written by the press, and ruthlessly enforced by a fifth and final fount of power in the newly-dominant technology industry. 

I Could Use This Right Now



A World report on Methodist churches leaving the United Methodist Church denomination.

Life Line


I cannot tell you how many times my spirit has been revived by the music of Aaron Copland.



Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Time to Re-Read

Fascinating book.

"How Fauci Fooled America"

 A very interesting opinion piece in Newsweek.

When They Slide From Facts to Personal Truths

In the end, perhaps the deconstructionists were right; perhaps a society's emphasis on facts, data, and actual truth reflects the values of that society. Such a society values the individual, since facts are accessible to individuals and aren't the select preserve of a priestly caste. Such a society allows the possibility of consensus by appeal to verifiable facts. If facts don't matter, there can be no common polis - or there can only be a polis as dictated by those in power. And perhaps that's precisely the point.

- Ben Shapiro, If It Ain't Woke, Don't Fix It

I Believe I've Seen This Movie Before


When Institutional Memory Walks Out the Door


"What was the reasoning behind the adoption of that program? Were any alternatives considered? I'd like to know if there was any discussion of potential problems."

[Blank stares.]

"No one knows?"

"Ed and Charlotte probably would have known but Ed retired and Charlotte left five years ago for a job in Santa Fe."

"Nothing has been jotted down anywhere?"

"No. If there were any questions, we just asked Ed or Charlotte."

"I hope we can reach them."

Welcome to Pandemia

At the beginning, the very beginning, the hide-in-your-basement, stock-up-on-bottled-water, shut-down-the-world-the plague-is-here panic made sense.


But within a few weeks, even as the United States and Europe had just begun lockdowns, anyone paying attention could see the cure was worse than the disease. In our desperation to control Covid-19, we had done more damage to ourselves and the world than the virus ever could.

By then, though, it was already too late.

- From Pandemia: How Coronavirus Hysteria Took Over Our Government, Rights, and Lives by Alex Berenson

Monday, December 12, 2022

Signs of Decline


Blue Books are no longer used?

Memorable Scenes - A Series


Education School versus Basic Training

 In too many ed schools, would-be teachers feel as if they’re attending elementary school, not preparing to teach it. In a 2022 Wall Street Journal op-ed, a teacher named Daniel Buck described making Black Lives Matter friendship bracelets, attending classes that sound like group-therapy sessions, and completing assignments—in graduate school—consisting of acrostic poems and rap videos. This is not a recent phenomenon. I still have the vocabulary picture book that I made in ed school 20 years ago of out construction paper, glue, and pictures clipped from magazines. I got an A each time I submitted it. In three different classes. 

Read the rest of Robert Pondiscio in Commentary magazine.

Types of Bias

Come with me on the early days of my journey. Hear how I came to realize that there are two harmful types of slant in news reporting: bias that is intentional and that which is unwitting.

- Sharyl Attkisson, Slanted: How the News Media Taught Us to Love Censorship and Hate Journalism

Della, Take a Letter


Accountability and Progress

When was the last time that it was widely acknowledged that the elementary and high schools were doing an outstanding job teaching math, history, science, and English?

Bring Back Shop Class

Even those of us who are far from handy have good memories of Industrial Arts classes in elementary school.

Auto-Valve Inc. favors bringing back "shop class." I was shocked it ever left.

In the Pipeline


A frequent assumption is that a decline in religious belief weakens families. This book looks at how the decline of families affects religious belief.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

In the Background


Have You Got a Minute?

Consultant, author/novelist, teacher (aka The Man Who Never Sleeps) Nicholas Bate points to the devious culprit faced by millions every day.

Bock's List

The perceptive Mr. Bock
points to some leadership book recommendations/reviews.

You Can Learn a Lot About Strategy From Novels

 "It's difficult to explain exactly, but it's rather like bridge as compared to belote. When we make war, we play belote with thirty-two cards in the pack. But their game is bridge and they have fifty-two cards: twenty more than we do. Those twenty cards short will always prevent us from getting the better of them. They've got nothing to do with traditional warfare, they're marked with the sign of politics, propaganda, faith, agrarian reform ..."

- From The Centurions by Jean Lartéguy

Find Your Calling


Friday, December 09, 2022

Decoration Deficit

David Kanigan notes a town in Australia that hands-down wins the award for worst Christmas display.

What to Get a Maths Enthusiast for Christmas

An abacus? 

Political Calculations has a better idea.

Not for Moral Agnostics

A revised edition of The Book of Virtues is out.

Monster Story


Faux Friends

Facebook's very premise - and promise - is that it makes our friendship circles visible. There they are, my friends, all in the same place. Except, of course, they are not in the same place - or rather, they are not my friends. They are simulacra of my friends, little dehydrated packets of images and information, no more my friends than a set of baseball cards is the New York Mets.

- William Deresiewicz. The End of Solitude

[Photo by Glen Carrie at Unsplash]

Elon and the New Censorship

What [Silicon Valley] recognised was that; ‘you know what? We can use our monopoly power in service of the objectives that the new Left cares about, to censor or take down hate speech or misinformation as that new progressive movement defines it. But just like the Wall Street, guys, we won’t do it for free, we effectively expect that new Left to look the other way, when it comes to leaving our monopoly power intact. 


See Vivek Ramaswamy on UnHerdTV.

Thursday, December 08, 2022

One of the Most Dangerous Men on the Face of the Earth


Re-Reading This Excellent Book

 Two friends drive me ten miles into the desert, north from the highway, away from the bus stop where they had met me on my arrival. We had planned to go farther together, thirty miles, to a place called Stone Tanks - the first natural water hole - but the unmarked dirt road becomes obscure, then difficult, soon impossible. If we drive any further we'll wreck the car; a low-slung, under-powered, high-geared luxury machine designed for the autobahns of Europe, not for sand, rock, brush, the Sonoran wasteland.

- A Walk in the Desert Hills in Beyond The Wall

What's On Your Wrist?

 Popular Science: The best watches under $500 of 2022.

"Social Credit: Could It Happen Here?"

Corbin K. Barthold explores the possibility in City Journal.

My take? You bet.

First Paragraph

The postwoman Eva Kluge slowly climbs the steps of 55 Jablonski Strasse. She's tired from her round, but she also has one of those letters in her bag that she hates to deliver, and is about to have to deliver, to the Quangels, on the second floor.

- From Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada

Wednesday, December 07, 2022



Fat Possum Records

The Motto of the Year Award goes to Fat Possum Records of Oxford, Mississippi:

"We're Trying Our Best"

I also love their email list card's questions:

what record did this fall out of?

from where at did you get this?

how much money do you make a year?

please trace your house key in this box 

Remember Pearl Harbor

"Sunday in Hell" and others: Best books about Pearl Harbor.

[Photo by Carl Nenzen Loven at Unsplash]

Money and Happiness.

Show me someone who thinks that money buys happiness, and I'll show you someone who has never had a lot of money.

- David Geffen 

Be Sure to Take Notes


Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Some Midnight Oil

Among the reading material:

  • The End of Power : From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn't What It Used to Be by Moises Naim
  • Strategy: A History by Lawrence Freedman
  • The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die by Niall Ferguson
  • Risk: A User's Guide by General Stanley McChrystal

[Photo by Jez Timms at Unsplash]


Cultural Offering is onto Tim Cook, Apple, Big Brother, and the Chicoms.

[Photo by Christian Lue at Unsplash]

Fiction That Provided the Most "Wow" Moments for Me in 2022


  • "Slow Horses" by Mick Herron [I also read other titles in the series: Dead Lions, Real Tigers, Spook Street, and London Rules.]
  • "Gideon the Ninth" by Tamsyn Muir
  • "Death and the Penguin" by Andrey Kurkov
  • "All for Nothing" by Walter Kempowski
  • "The Aubrey-Maturin" series by Patrick O'Brian [A re-read and pure pleasure.]
  • "Mexico Set" by Len Deighton
  • "Berlin Game" by Len Deighton
  • "Strange Pilgrims" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • "The Wall" by John Hersey [A re-read and still powerful.]
  • "After Midnight" by Irmgard Keun
  • "The Passenger" by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz

Very Interesting!


First Paragraph

You can open an envelope and take out something which bites or stings, though it isn't a living creature. I had a letter like that from Franz today. 'Dear Sanna,' he writes, 'I want to see you again, so I may be coming to Frankfurt. I haven't been able to write for some time, but I've been thinking about you a lot. I'm sure you knew that, I'm sure you could feel it. All my love, dear Sanna, from Franz.'

- From After Midnight by Irmgard Keun

Monday, December 05, 2022

Quick Look


Fifty Years Ago!!

A Layman's Blog has a classic by Townes Van Zandt.

Updating "Radical Chic"

If Radical Chic were written today, the Bernstein party would be filled with Fortune 500 CEOs and they'd all be writing checks.

Just In. Fascinating.


Twitter Is Fun Again!

 Matt Bivens weighs in on Twitter, the media, and the intelligence agencies.

Another Day at the Office


Doubt on the Official Covid Story?

The scientists who assured the world that the Covid-19 virus could not have been engineered in a laboratory based their pivotal decision on a single piece of flawed evidence. Their discussion of the scientific facts was interspersed with frequent speculation about the public impact of their findings. Theirs was no openminded search for the truth; one scientist expressed his determination from the start to disprove the possibility of a lab leak. In the rush to publish their predetermined conclusion, they ignored a critical viral feature that points to manipulation.

Read all of the essay by Nicholas Wade in City Journal.

Classical Music and Blind Auditions

Yes, there are groups that want to ban blind auditions in the name of social justice. I have read some of their analyses and the reasoning would not pass basic scrutiny in a discrimination case.

Vichy Mandarins

To paraphrase Burke, all that is nevessary for barbarism to triumph is for civilized men to do nothing: but in fact for the past few decades, civilized men have done worse than nothing - they have actively thrown in their lot with the barbarians.

- Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Saturday, December 03, 2022

Elite Communication

The first disadvantage of an elite education ... is that it makes you incapable of talking to people who aren't exactly like you, for the simple reason that you never meet any of them. Elite schools pride themselves on their "diversity," but that diversity is almost entirely a matter of race. With respect to class, these schools are largely - indeed increasingly - homogeneous. Visit any elite campus in our great nation, and you can thrill to the heartwarming spectacle of the children of white business people and professionals studying and playing alongside the children of black, Asian, and Latino businesspeople and professionals. At the same time, because these schools tend to cultivate liberal attitudes, they leave their students in the paradoxical position of wanting to advocate on behalf of the working class while being unable to hold a simple conversation with anyone in it.

- William Deresiewicz, "The Disdvantages of an Elite Education" [The End of Solitude: Selected Essays on Culture and Society]

Ben Gleib: Glad We Got a Handle on It


U.S. Manufacturing Is Not Dead

Wally Bock points to a variety of sources on The Titanium Economy. 

Memorable Scenes - A Series