Skip to content

Category Archives: Culture

Cucumber sandwiches

Here in the U.S., cucumber sandwiches are thought to be an English thing. I’m not sure if that’s true, though it sounds reasonable, and stores here sometimes sell what we call “English cucumbers.” In any case, when I was a boy in rural North Carolina, cucumbers were plentiful, but I had never heard of a […]

Foundation teaser

Today Apple released a teaser for their Apple TV production of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, which we will get to see in 2021. I have read Foundation three times, I believe. It’s bound to present a challenge for filmmaking, and they’re bound to have to improvise. As beautiful a piece of fiction as Foundation is, I […]

Do we really need so much stuff?

It took almost a month to build the new shed up above the garden. For ten years, a shed has been much needed here, because I did not have a place to store the lawn mower, or the tiller, out of the weather. Plus my beloved Jeep needs to be sheltered. But when I stand […]

Two Years Before the Mast

“A Clipper at Sunset,” Edward Moran, 1829-1901. Whenever I have one of my fits of despair that writers can’t write anymore, I look for a classic to read. This led me to Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast. My main interest in this book was Dana’s account of sailing around the Horn from […]

How the South Won the Civil War

How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America. Heather Cox Richardson, Oxford University Press, April 1, 2020. 240 pages. This book was published only 60 days ago. Every day since then, its premise has gotten more and more true. In the U.S., we’re now seeing […]

Jonathan Haidt

White House photo A couple of days ago, The Atlantic published a flattering portrait of Jonathan Haidt: Jonathan Haidt Is Trying to Heal America’s Divisions. “Over the past decade,” wrote Peter Wehner, “no one has added more to my understanding of how we think about, discuss, and debate politics and religion than Jonathan Haidt.” Haidt […]

Ken in the Washington Post

Ken on the Scottish isle of Ulva, September 2018 Ken has an op-ed in today’s Washington Post on the right to roam and why we need it now more than ever: America may be opening back up, but most of our land is still off-limits. Let’s change that.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood — the soundtrack

Fred and Joanne Rogers, circa 1974. PBS photo. Last night I watched “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” the Tom Hanks film about Mr. Rogers. There’s no need for a review here, and you’ve probably already seen the film. But I did want to comment on the soundtrack, which I thought was extraordinary. It was […]

Ken writes about Doomsday at the abbey

Ken, who has been a featured author at the Wigtown Book Festival in Scotland for several years, has written a piece for the festival’s web site about being stuck here at the abbey during the Pandemic. Regular readers of this blog will recognize the characters. Please think of it as an interpretation of the American […]

Brochs again

The Mousa broch in the Shetland Islands. Wikipedia photo. An article in Smithsonian Magazine says that archeologists are planning to build a replica of a broch. Brochs, found only in Scotland, are a kind of prehistoric castle. They are towers with very thick double walls. What a place to live! I wrote about brochs in […]