Wednesday, May 31, 2023

"Best Voyage Ever" - Titanic Passenger

Althouse has the polling.

Starring Catherine Deneuve? Don't Show Her in the Trailer!


Things are Bubbling Out There

 The Free Press: Peter Savodnik on "RFK and the Populist Wave."

Coaching and Control

My coaching practice often involves identifying what is within the client's span of control. That may sound obvious, but organizations frequently attempt to solve problems by seeking agreement among differing parties as if there is a common desire for a solution. When that is not available, things fall apart.

Do not rely on the cooperation of those who will rarely give it. Search for a solution that is apart from such cooperation. You may be surprised by how easily such solutions can be found.

Just Arrived


First Paragraph

A few years ago, a friend and I were out walking, and he told me that he and his wife were struggling with the decision of whether to have a child. He told me they had made a list of the costs and benefits of children, and after having done so, they still weren't sure whether it was a good idea. My friend asked for my advice.

- From Wild Problems: A Guide to the Decisions That Define Us by Russ Roberts

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Monday, May 29, 2023

Part of Us

The Free Press: H. R. McMaster on "The Soldiers I Remember."



Memorial Day


"We live in a free world today because in 1945 the forces of imperfect goodness defeated the forces of near perfect-evil."

- French consulate official addressing US veterans.

[HT: Quote provided by Alex Kershaw. Photo by Robert Linder at Unsplash.]

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Your Summer Reading List

Wally Bock has
some excellent tips on compiling a summer reading list.

I would not restrict this suggestion to summer reading but re-reading excellent books, such as War and Peace or Heart of Darkness, is a great practice if only to see what you may have missed the first time around.

First Paragraph

You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveler. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. Best to close the door; the TV is always on in the next room. Tell the others right away, "No, I don't want to watch TV!" Raise your voice - they won't hear you otherwise - "I'm reading! I don't want to be disturbed!" Maybe they haven't heard you, with all that racket; speak louder, yell: "I'm beginning to read Italo Calvino's new novel!" Or if you prefer, don't say anything; just hope they'll leave you alone.

- From If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino

Another French Romance


First Paragraph

Nina watched the laboratory clock; the hands sweeping across the large, clear face showed almost five. In thirty minutes, it would officially be Friday night, which meant an evening with her boyfriend and - for two whole days - no smelly chemicals. She would wait a few more moments, do her final round and then leave on time. She studied the hands of the clock. 

- From Bram: A Spy Story by Nicholas Bate

Rug Week

At Cultural Offering, another rug week has come to a close.

Beautiful. Civilized.

Very Interesting


Thursday, May 25, 2023

The Poison Spreads: High School Debate Judges

 In the past few years, however, judges with paradigms tainted by politics and ideology are becoming common. Debate judge Shubham Gupta’s paradigm reads, “If you are discussing immigrants in a round and describe the person as ‘illegal,’ I will immediately stop the round, give you the loss with low speaks”—low speaker points—“give you a stern lecture, and then talk to your coach. . . . I will not have you making the debate space unsafe.” 

Debate Judge Kriti Sharma concurs: under her list of “Things That Will Cause You To Automatically Lose,” number three is “Referring to immigrants as ‘illegal.’ ”

Read the rest of James Fishback's essay at The Free Press.

First Paragraph

 The European continent was at peace on the morning of Sunday 28 June 1914, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie Chotek arrived at Sarajevo railway station. Thirty-seven days later, it was at war. The conflict that began that summer mobilized 65 million troops, claimed three empires, 20 million military and civilian deaths, and 21 million wounded. The horrors of Europe's twentieth century were born of this catastrophe; it was, as the American businessman Fritz Stern put it, 'the first calamity of the twentieth century, the calamity from which all other calamities sprang'. The debate over why it happened began before the first shots were fired and has been running ever since. It has spawned an historical literature of unparalleled size, sophistication and moral intensity. For international relations theorists the events of 1914 remain the political crisis par excellence, intricate enough to accommodate any number of hypotheses.

- From The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark

The New Banana Republic

 Tablet magazine: Michael Lind on our weaponized legal system.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The Kitchen Project

 Nicholas Bate puts things in perspective

I'm just hoping the kitchen remodeling is not Dien Bien Phu.

The Feudal Future


Flunking the Equity Test

 City Journal: Misunderstanding the substance of Critical Race Theory.

Inclusion Question

The Los Angeles Dodgers has reversed its decision not to invite The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to its Pride Night events. 

If a Catholic organization specifically mocked gays, would the Dodgers invite that organization to an event?

Back By Popular Demand


Monday, May 22, 2023

"We are All Jews Here."

Remembering Master Sergeant Rodrick Edmonds.

Very Smart Move

 The Free Press: Parents are saying no to smartphones.


If you have never encountered Eric Hoffer, go to
The Hammock Papers to read his commentary and watch the videos.

Even if you do know about Eric Hoffer, it may be time for a re-charge.

Bear with Me


The kitchen remodelers arrive this morning. Our kitchen has not been changed since 1954, the year the house was built.

Bad Trend


Available from Clown World.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Management Advice from Unlikely Sources

 An excellent tip by Wally Bock: Read fiction.

What? You don't think you can find management insight in The Godfather by Mario Puzo?

Rogan and Wright


And We Think Travel is Tough

"During the first year after his arrival in Santa Fe, the Bishop was actually in his diocese only about four months. Six months of that first year were consumed in attending the Plenary Council in Baltimore, to which he had been summoned. He went on horseback over the Santa Fe trail to St. Louis, nearly a thousand miles, then by steamboat to Pittsburgh, across the mountains to Cumberland, and on to Washington by the new railroad."

- From Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

Back to the Flip Phones

The Conversation: Gen Z Goes Retro.

There may be hope for our nation after all.

Friday, May 19, 2023

The Good Old Days


FBI: From Scandal to Farce

The Free Press: Eli Lake on the FBI's efforts to protect the Clinton campaign.

Free Speech Language

 Note the language by Robert P. George.

As set forth in Princeton University's Rights, Rules, Responsibilities section 1.1.3, this institution strictly respects the right to free speech of everyone in our community of scholars and learners. That right is sacrosanct in this class and is possessed by faculty and students alike. With the aim of advancing and deepening everyone’s understanding of the issues addressed in the course, students are urged to speak their minds, explore ideas and arguments, play devil’s advocate, and engage in civil but robust discussions. There is no thought or language policing. We expect students to do business in the proper currency of intellectual discourse—a currency consisting of reasons, evidence, and arguments—but no ideas or positions are out of bounds.

Equity Obsession


Back By Popular Demand


Thursday, May 18, 2023

Corporate Decision Making Update

The Los Angeles Dodgers withdrew a Pride Night invitation to The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

First, The ReBranding, Then The Renunciation

 Commentary magazine: Abe Greenwald on "DEI Goes Wobbly."

Nitwittery Update

The Washington Free Beacon: The poor devils taking the DC Bar examination will have to wear masks.

Going Retro

I was talking last night with a wills and trusts lawyer who avoids email. He sends each of his clients a letter stating that since many of them are uncomfortable using email, he prefers that contact be made personally or via telephone or regular old fashioned mail. He warns that responses to email will be delayed.

He does, however, respond quickly to text messages.

We had gotten onto the subject when I noted that email messages are often ignored but that text messages have a much higher tendency to be read.

I suggested that he drop the text messaging and insist that all correspondence be via parchment and a quill pen.

He has taken that under consideration.

[Photo by Chris Chow at Unsplash]

"Translations From the Wokish"

 Civil Discourses: A Plain Language Encyclopedia of Social Justice Terminology.

Follow the Science


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Alert the Press

 The "witch hunt," as Trump called it, turned out to be just that.

- Rebekah Koffler in Putin's Playbook: Russia's Secret Plan to Defeat America (2021)

I'm In the Mood for This


On My List


Found on the Internet

Boy oh boy will that guy be upset when he realizes he picked the wrong decade to stop smoking meth.

- Commenter (RideSpaceMountain) on Althouse's blog.

"A Politically Engineered Hoax"

Jonathan Turley on the Durham Report

In the 305-page report released Monday, special counsel John Durham concluded that the Trump-Russia investigation was launched without a required minimal level of evidence and shattered a host of departmental standards. Let that sink in: The Justice Department — as well as the media that covered it — effectively shut down a duly elected presidency, based on what turned out to be a politically engineered hoax.

The Washington Free Beacon on the media's incompetence and bias on the Russiagate story.

FIRE Defends a Professor

This triggered a freedom of expression controversy.

On My List



 The election interference by the CIA and the FBI raises the danger of demokratur.

Back to The Old Pueblo

I will be speaking in Tucson on May 25 at a meeting of the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR).

[Photo by James Lee at Unsplash]

First Paragraph

 In the Bay of Bengal between India and Myanmar lies North Sentinel, an island about the size of Manhattan. In 2018, a 26-year-old American paid a group of fishermen to take him there. He was never seen again.

- From Generations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents - and What They Mean for America's Future by Jean M. Twenge, PhD

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Time for the Original


Speak Up

Spoke up too soon. Spoke up too late. Didn't speak up at all. Expected others to speak up. Would have spoken up if anyone else had done so. Didn't speak up because it would have been unkind. Didn't speak up for fear of repercussions. Didn't speak up because the timing wasn't right. Didn't speak up in order to obtain certain rewards. Didn't speak up in the hope that an adversary would be harmed.

Who says people are not creative?

Digital Detox

Some Generation Z members are moving back to flip phones.

That's an encouraging sign. 

Will a return to cursive be next?

Read the Book First


Monday, May 15, 2023

Definitely Worth a Re-Watch


What's Happening in Schools

 An interesting blog: educationrealist.

Rod Serling's Enduring Appeal

 City Journal: Jonathan Clarke on Rod Serling.

Check out the biography by Joel Engel:

Bud Light Envy: It Would Be Great to Have a Transcript of the Discussions That Produced This


In the Near Future

 A world nation in which election results are tilted by people who learned next to nothing about American history or government in school and who get their current news by scrolling through TikTok.

What's Going On?

Kurt Harden at Cultural Offering points to a Department of Homeland Security project straight out of Orwell's novels.

First Paragraph

 "It's freezing - an extraordinary 0° Fahrenheit - and it's snowing, and in the language that is no longer mine, the snow is qanik - big, almost weightless crystals falling in clumps and covering the ground with a layer of pulverized white frost."

- From Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Friday, May 12, 2023

On My List


Evening's Creativity

People have different times for peak creativity. Mine tends to be in the evening. Distractions and obligations have dwindled. Silence abounds.

The ideas drift in.

The question, of course, is how they will look in the morning.

Michael Shellenberger on The Censorship Movement


The CIA Influenced a Presidential Campaign

 Kimberly Strassel's column in today's Wall Street Journal should be the story of the day. Unfortunately, it is behind a paywall.

It reveals key items missing from the original story that former CIA officials signed a letter stating that the Hunter Biden laptop story had the earmarks of a Russian disinformation campaign. 

What was missing? That current CIA employees assisted in the preparation process and 26 former CIA officials refused to sign the letter. 

Both items emerged from the House of Representatives investigation. 

Let that sink in. The CIA has participated in an American presidential campaign.

Invisible Man

A friend of mine is here on a green card. For months, he has been going through the lengthy process to become an American citizen. He wants to obey the law.

People like him are seldom (never?) mentioned in the news reports about immigration. 

Robert P. George


Thursday, May 11, 2023

Hidden Books


A few good ones that are too easy to miss:

  • Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
  • An Operational Necessity by Gwyn Griffin
  • The Wall by John Hersey
  • The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
  • Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis
  • Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
  • Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter
  • The Rector of Justin by Louis Auchincloss

Old Man in Search of an Overhead Projector


Teaching an "All I Said Was" workshop. Back soon.

[Photo courtesy of Cultural Offering.]

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

The Grad School Scam

 At Yale, in an English department that was perennially ranked in the top ten, we were overjoyed if half our graduating [graduate school] students found positions. That's right - half. Imagine running a medical school on that basis. As Christopher Newfield points out in Unmaking the Public University, that's the kind of unemployment rate you'd expect to find among inner-city high school drop-outs. And this was before the financial collapse. Since then, the market's been a bloodbath - often only a handful of jobs in a given field, sometimes fewer, and, as always, hundreds of people competing for each.

- From "The Defunding of the American Mind" in The End of Solitude by William Deresiewicz

When the "Cure" Is Far Worse Than the "Problem"


Fred Siegel, RIP

 City Journal: Roger Kimball remembers the extraordinary work of Fred Siegel.

The Scam


Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Austen Break


At Any Given Moment

At any given moment, major organizations can be found to be immersed in fake action; action that is meant to be regarded as serious and substantive but which, upon scrutiny, is designed to deceive the organization into thinking it has taken action. Sometimes, the deceit is not present. Sometimes, the organization genuinely believes that serious action has been taken.

Those, of course, are the most dangerous situations of all. 

Either way, searching for and correcting fake action is one of the most important responsibilities of leaders.

It is also one of the most neglected.

First Paragraph

Political philosophy is found in great books - those by Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Rousseau and others of the highest rank - and in books by professors. You should spend much more time with the great authors than with the professors, and you should use the professors to help you understand the great authors; you should not allow yourself to be diverted or distracted from the great books by the professors. Why not go for the gold? Why be content with the dross? I am a professor; so take it from me that I am only a subordinate guide, one with the office of introducing you to the true guides.

- From A Student's Guide to Political Philosophy by Harvey C. Mansfield

Robert P. George: The Real Thing


Monday, May 08, 2023

This Is Not a Good Situation


A Unifying Force


Black Swan Europa on the value of the British monarchy.

Communication and Simplicity

The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.

- Joseph Priestley

Back By Popular Demand

The Britannica Kids encyclopedia definition of "Communism."

"King and Country" Debate: 1933

Churchill Archives Centre: The infamous Oxford Union debate.

Consider how close an equivalent question would be today at Harvard, Yale, or Stanford.

What Sort of People Are We Producing?

Once glance at social media and news stories and it is evident that we need to think more about what different laws, policies, and behaviors do to people. 

Are they encouraging:

  • Responsibility or Irresponsibility?
  • Courage or Fear?
  • Candor or Cowardice?
  • Strength or Weakness?
  • Initiative or Passivity?
  • Intellectual Curiosity or Indifference?
  • Sophistication or Crudeness?
  • Maturity or Childishness?
  • Self-Discipline or Instant Gratification?
  • Cleanliness or Filth?
  • Kindness or Cruelty?
  • Vigor or Sloth?
  • Show or Substance?
  • Fame or Achievement?
  • Advance or Decline?

Sunday, May 07, 2023

Saturday, May 06, 2023

The Hose of Common Sense

On fire that glows

With heat intense

I turn the hose

Of common sense,

And out it goes

At small expense!

- W. S. Gilbert

Leaders are Readers

Wally Bock's Three Star Leadership Blog: Always an excellent source for leadership reading.

First Paragraph

Colonel Jacques Moussac, chef de gendarmerie of Port Afrique, looked down at the dead woman on the floor as his men moved quietly about him in the living room of the big plantation house. They were very quiet, very competent, very anxious not to disturb the colonel's feelings about the woman, until finally one of the men came over to stand beside him.

- From Port Afrique by Bernard Victor Dryer

Teaching Kids to Hate Their Own Country


Early rise. Work. Water. Nap.

Some days center on necessities.

Off the Grid


Back soon.

Friday, May 05, 2023

Good Times Ahead

A Layman's Blog has just added to my book stack.

First Paragraph

On May 12, 1949, at 12:01 A.M., our trains and trucks, carrying food and coal, crossed the boundaries between the Anglo-American zones and the Soviet Zone en route to Berlin. The steady drone of the airlift planes was still heard overhead. They had broken the Soviet attempt to drive the Western Powers from Berlin by denying them access by land and water. That same morning I flew to Frankfurt to join my British and French colleagues in approving the Basic Law which would bring into being the federal state of West Germany.

- From Decision in Germany by Lucius D. Clay

Attorney at Beach


FutureLawyer gives an eloquent defense of the evil no-index practice of many publishers.

I look forward to reading his next book: "The RV Lawyer."

Thursday, May 04, 2023

How to Question


I Hope the Meeting is Televised

 Associated Press: Vice President Kamala Harris will be meeting with CEOs on artificial intelligence risks.

Parkman: Historian and Pioneer

Ricochet: Jon Gabriel on historian Francis Parkman

I highly recommend his work "France and England in North America."

Director Whit Stillman on Jane Austen and James Bond


Preserving and Promoting Conversation

Our ruling oligarchy has made it socially difficult even to think about the difference between what is right and wrong. This itself presents us with an important crossroads. Eliminating the intellectual and moral conversation that made the American republic unique has been the oligarchs' effect if not also their objective. Their success in this enterprise haunts America's future. China does not.

- Angelo M. Codevilla, "The Specter of Chinese Civilization" in Where Next?: Western Civilization at the Crossroads, edited by Roger Kimball. 

[Codevilla's essay was written shortly before his death.]

Bring Back the Index

A major irritant in recent years is how often one finds books that lack an index.

I assume the reason is cost but omitting the index is a huge disservice to the reader.


Real art is a work of love; fake art is a work of deception.

- Roger Scruton

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

New College of Florida

A different approach.

Fashion Tip


Book Review: "Scalia's Rise"

“The first thing you’ve got to teach your kids is what my parents used to tell me all the time,” Scalia explained to Joan Biskupic in 2008. “You’re not everybody else.… We have our own standards and they aren’t the standards of the world in all respects, and the sooner you learn that the better.”

Read all of Adam J. White's review of "Scalia's Rise" in Commentary magazine.

Summer of Scruton

Started this last night. Have already found some valuable insights I can apply to my life.

The Contemporary Passion

If I have not done so already, let me make myself absolutely clear. The contemporary passion to classify and divide the American people is a portent of fascism both red and black. Where the communal approach rules (Yugoslavia, the Middle East, Northern Ireland, Soviet Central Asia, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia), blood flows and no one is treated fairly. We, on the other hand, have fought many times for the sake of being apprehended not as classes of people but as individual souls.

- Mark Helprin, "Diversity Is Not a Virtue" in Reinventing the American People, edited by Robert Royal (1995)

Classic. Bring It Back.


Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Just In

Truly Essential

Cultural Offering has Gordon Lightfoot essentials

A Still-Timely Warning From the Blackberry Days


The Summer of Scruton is On

Cultural Offering has started. So has A Layman's Blog.

[Photo by Tom Podmore at Unsplash]

First Paragraph

The late Elizabeth Kübler-Ross described the five stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance, and depression. Her model applies to America's response to the rise of Chna as a global power. For the past decade, we have been in denial. We couldn't believe a country that for generations has been a byword for poverty could compete with us. With the election of Donald Trump in 2016, we have transitioned to anger. As matters stand, we will be bargaining before long.

- From You Will Be Assimilated: China's Plan to Sino-Form the World by David P. Goldman

Saving Our Civilization


Greatest TV Theme Song of All Time?

FutureLawyer has a nominee.

A reasonable effort but does it really hold up to the following scores?

The Warren Buffett Diet

I am completely confident that I will be able to stick to this diet.

[Photo by Madeline Tallman at Unsplash]

Monday, May 01, 2023

The Cadre in the Code

City Journal: Robert Henderson looks at ChatGPT and finds that it likes Mao and communism.

[Photo by Nick Fewings at Unsplash]

First Paragraph

 When we read texts from a bygone era that relate to the present, we often think things like, "It seems like the author was reading the news today," or, "How did the author know this was coming?" We marvel at the author's foresight and are surprised a text so old could be so relevant.

- From Edmund Burke and the Perennial Battle, 1789-1797, edited by Daniel B. Klein and Dominic Pino

The Overclass

Americans find it distasteful even to speak of their elites. In a supposedly egalitarian society, the idea strikes most observers as improbable. The mere mention of an elite class can sound sinister and un-American. Compared to the Left, conservatives are even less inclined to criticize elite manners and mores, even if Tom Wolfe could be their unparalleled anatomizer. But the truth is that, far from the magnanimous elites of old, today's overclass increasingly seeks to direct what we see, what we read, what we say, and what we hear. They consolidate and monopolize. They inflate and devalue to their maximum advantage. They also tip the scales, cook the stats, stack the deck, and rig the games while championing the fairness of the outcomes. 

- From "Going Under with the Overclass" by James Panero in Where Next? Western Civilization at the Crossroads, edited by Roger Kimball