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Category Archives: Culture

A strange book about fairies

Source: eBay The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries. W.Y. Evans Wentz, Oxford University Press, 1911. edition The English historian Ronald Hutton has persuasively argued that there is no continuous history of paganism in the British Isles. Rather, during the 19th Century there was a revival of, and a romanticization of, interest in Celtic paganism. This […]

Only for the woke

I was greatly amused a few weeks ago to read that right-wingers were having fits because Chick-fil-A, a company that struts its “Christian” right-wingery, was market-testing a cauliflower sandwich. I had never been to a Chick-fil-A for two good reasons: I don’t want to patronize a company that struts its right-wingery, and I haven’t eaten […]

Great Expectations, but not what we were expecting

It’s certainly not my intention to be so contrary in my taste in books and films. It seems I just can’t help myself. While everyone is raving about The Last of Us, with its 96 percent RottenTomatoes rating, I thought (at least after three and a half episodes, which was all I could endure) that […]

When design was soft and kind

My IBM Selectric I, made in 1974, restored by a former IBM field engineer. The Selectric I typewriters were introduced in 1961. Click here for high resolution version. I have written in the past about how today’s taste in automobile design is for aggressive-looking, mean-looking, vehicles. Even Volkswagen, whose designs used to charm people, now […]

Euell Gibbons, 1974

Euell Gibbons, near High Point, North Carolina, February 1974 I came across this photo today while going through an old box of photos. I have sometimes mentioned to people that I once went foraging with Euell Gibbons and took a nice picture of him, but I had never scanned the picture, and I had forgotten […]

Carnival Row

Vignette and Philo, before Philo got his ridiculous hat and his bad haircut. When the “Carnival Row” series started in 2019, I ignored it because I misconstrued what it was. It’s fantasy. But because of the name, and because of the stupid hat that Orlando Bloom wears in the promotional photos (under which is a […]

Don’t we have heretics anymore?

Babel: Or, the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution. R.F. Kuang, Harper Voyager, 2022. 546 pages. I almost never read bestsellers, and this book reminded me why. This book makes me want to go read some Jordan Peterson or something to wash the politically correct taste out of my mouth. […]

The Berlin Philharmonic, on line

Months ago, I downloaded the Berlin Philharmonic’s app on my Apple TV. But the slowness of my rural internet connection wouldn’t support it — not even close. Using a cellular hot spot, my download speed typically was about 2 Mbps, though sometimes in the past it was even slower than that. And then suddenly, when […]

When retro is way better

That was my telephone number in San Francisco for many years. I apologize to whoever has that number now. A little Googling shows that the first cell phones became available in March 1984. I admit that I was fascinated and aspired to own one. It was not until 1995, though, that I first acquired a […]

Now fully in the public domain: Sherlock Holmes

Illustration from the December 1892 issue of Strand Magazine Each year on January 1, copyrights that are 95 years old expire. It was 95 years ago, in 1927, when the last Sherlock Holmes stories were published. (Copyright laws vary by country. In the U.S., copyrights expire after 95 years.) Those who profit from copyrights will […]