Skip to content

Category Archives: Culture

The long, winding road to Denmark

A festive business dinner in Denmark with a technology team from the San Francisco Chronicle and employees of the Danish company CCI International. That’s me in the black shirt, second from the right. The year is 2002. The curmudgeon H.L. Mencken left us a rich legacy of fine quotes. One of his best is about […]

Watership Down

I watched the first episode of Watership Down last night on Netflix. It’s the best thing I’ve watched in a long time. This is a new production of the Richard Adams novel by the BBC. There are four episodes. Watership Down was originally published in the United Kingdom in 1972. The American edition was published […]


Hay bale sculptures are a thing around here (we grow lots of hay). Obviously there are even competitions, because there was a sign beside this sculpture saying that it had won first prize in something. It’s in Mayodan, North Carolina. Those of you who are not up to date on agricultural machinery may not know […]

Let’s hear it for the P.O.

Many things have vanished in rural America. Jobs and people (particularly young people) are at the top of the list. One institution that remains is the U.S. Postal Service, which has shown a remarkable ability to change with the times. Though I lived in San Francisco for 17 years, much of my life has been […]

1953 lunch counter deliciousness

Egg and bacon sandwich. Photo with iPhone XR. I have written here before about the Red Rooster, a drug store lunch counter in Walnut Cove, North Carolina, which not only is thriving but is beating the fast food competition. The Red Rooster happens to be only about 200 steps from the county headquarters of the […]

The authoritarian lust for scapegoats

Transgender teenager Ally Steinfield, who was murdered last year in Missouri. Her body was mutilated and set on fire. We live in a strange society in which a rather sad, vulnerable, harmless teenager like Ally Steinfield is seen as sick and dangerous. Whereas the people who have a mysterious need to scapegoat people like Ally […]

Buffalo: Who knew?

Quorn cutlets in Buffalo sauce with mozzarella I was Googling for ideas for what to do with Quorn faux-chicken cutlets. I came across chicken breasts in Buffalo sauce with mozzarella. Hmmm. But what the heck is Buffalo sauce? A little Googling revealed Buffalo sauce to be a zesty sauce served with chicken wings. It originated […]

Chicken pot pie, Quorn version

Click here for high-resolution version. The Quorn chicken nuggets make a very fine chicken pot pie. I previously wrote about Quorn here, and Scottish meat pies here. I am acquiring the opinion that crusts for pot pies and meat pies don’t need to be flaky, and that lower-fat hot-water crusts work just fine. The 4-inch […]

Heathen enchantment … and Alexander Borodin

Don’t click to listen yet! Maybe we could use a little music right now to take our minds off of politics. A few days ago, I was writing here about the project of the re-enchantment of the land. And then tonight, while YouTubing to hear the voice of a Russian mezzo-soprano recently mentioned in a […]

Privilege and humiliation

The American people are getting some excellent — and I suspect lasting — new insights into the ugliness of unearned privilege. But unearned privilege is only half of the problem that requires fixing. The flip side of that coin is undeserved humiliation. The two things together — the increasing humiliation of the many and the […]