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Category Archives: Culture

Hastening their own demise

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, now a museum. Wikipedia photo. The Economist has an article today with the headline “Arabs are losing faith in religious parties and leaders.” The article reports not only a sharply declining trust of religion in politics in the Arab world, but also that Arab young people are losing their religious […]

Battlestar Galactica

My shortlist of the best television ever made would include Battlestar Galactica, which ran on the Syfy channel from 2003 until 2009. And guess what: It’s coming back. In September, the Hollywood Reporter and other news outlets reported that NBCUniversal will produce a new take on Battlestar Galactica for its Peacock streaming service. The new […]

A road trip to the real Mayberry

Here is a video from today’s road trip into the Blue Ridge Mountains. American readers will be aware of the “Mayberry” angle from the classic American television show with Andy Griffith. Those of you in Europe may not be aware of the cultural complications, which relate to the fact that Andy Griffith the actor was […]

Catherine the Great

Helen Mirren in HBO’s Catherine the Great The sets and costumes and colors are lavish. Helen Mirren is, as always, a remarkable actress. But one episode of Catherine the Great was all I can take. Just as every story with a classical structure needs a villain, so every story needs at least one decent human […]

Nigel Tranter

I wish I could say that the prolific historical novelist Nigel Tranter left us with a rich and readable lode of historical novels set in Scotland. Unfortunately, I cannot say that, having just finished Sword of State. Sword of State opens in the year 1214, when the young Patrick, the 5th Earl of Dunbar, is […]

Drag queens reading to children?

Photo credit: What is it about the conservative mind that totally flips out at the idea of drag queens? Even most of us liberals, I imagine, raised our eyebrows in surprise upon first hearing about Drag Queen Story Hour. It’s edgy for sure. But, upon reflection, liberals realize that children love costumes, and that […]

Harris tweed

Vintage Harris tweed jacket bought in Stornaway The Scottish island of Harris is remote, windswept, rainswept, and underpopulated. How, then, did it become so famous? For Harris tweed, of course. First, a technicality. The usual way to refer to this place in the Outer Hebrides is “the isle of Lewis and Harris.” That raises the […]

How hatred and racism are backfiring on Republicans

Periodically I hold my nose and look at the Facebook group of the Republican Party in my county. It’s a swamp of hatred and stupidity. There’s a sample above. Notice that someone named Sam Hill calls Democrats “Demoncrats.” Is the racism study cited above legit? I believe it is. Right-wing media made much of the […]

Some questions for the animals

Chaser. Wikipedia photo A few days ago, the New York Times carried an obituary for a dog. The dog was Chaser, a border collie who was taught to understand 1,022 nouns. Here’s a link to the story: Border Collie Trained to Recognize 1,022 Nouns Dies I often wonder if I should be ashamed of my […]

Clues to the future in how people talk

This video has been dubbed so that Trump is speaking with a British accent. His words are the same. How many fans would Trump have if he actually talked like this? We Americans believe that the British are excessively judgmental about how people talk (and they are). But not only are we Americans just as […]