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Category Archives: Culture

Turning our political radar north

The countries of the Baltic Sea. Source: Global International Waters Assessment via Wikimedia Commons. Today, Sweden and Finland formally applied for membership in NATO. (Washington Post story here.) This is a very big deal. Remember when the Neocon war hawks of the Bush-Cheney administration tried to teach us that diplomacy no longer matters and strove […]

Young Russians

Yesterday John Twelve Hawks posted on Facebook a link to this YouTube recording. A screen shot of his posting is below. John Twelve Hawks is reminding us that it’s not just Ukrainians who are dying in this war. Young Russians are dying by the thousands. The recording is from 2019, so clearly the composer, Kirill […]


This series is British, but it comes along just when it’s needed in the United States: that is, as Republican states such as Florida and Texas try to invent ugly new laws designed to make the lives of young people miserable and to intimidate and punish anyone who dares to try to make the world […]

Banned in Texas

Better Nate Than Ever, Disney+ If you haven’t watched a Disney feel-good flick for a while, then here are two reasons to watch Better Nate Than Ever. One, it’s very funny and very sweet. It’s even got Lisa Kudrow. Two, the book the film is based on is a good example of the kind of […]


HBO Max Who could have guessed that one of the most unforgettable Americans to come out of the 1960s would be Julia Child? And who could have guessed that we’d be as interested in her life as in her cooking? I’ve watched only the first episode so far of this new series, but clearly it’s […]

Sir Walter Scott: a great writer, but oddly Frenchified

Once again, unable at present to find any newer fiction that seems worthwhile, I have turned to Sir Walter Scott — this time, Ivanhoe. Reading Sir Walter Scott can be hard work for contemporary readers. Even in the early 1800s when his novels were being published, Scott’s style would have been pretty florid, I think. […]

The Batman (2022)

If it weren’t for the occasional blockbuster, woods-dweller that I am, I’d know next to nothing about popular culture. The super-hero genre wasn’t really my thing even when I was eleven years old. But I did love comic books. Batman and Uncle Scrooge were two of my favorites. The new Batman movie will require two […]


Particularly now, with Russia attempting to crush and take over Ukraine, it is important to know the history of World War II. The film Anthropoid is based on events that occurred in Czechoslovakia in 1942 under German occupation. The Czechoslovak government-in-exile (in London) sent highly trained Czechoslovak soldiers into Czechoslovakia by parachute to assassinate Reinhard […]

Twitter, schmitter. And Musk, schmusk.

A breakdown of Twitter content. Source: Wikipedia. From its beginning, the whole idea of Twitter seemed ridiculous to me. How could 140 characters possibly convey anything useful or meaningful? Surely the contemporary attention span can handle at least 190 characters! And (glory be!) now we’re up to a breathtaking 280 characters, doubling the speed at […]


This is to be a post about a 30-year-old BBC Scotland series, ā€œStrathblair.ā€ But first let’s talk about a theory of stories. Orson Scott Card is the only writer I’m aware of who has a well developed theory of stories. (In mentioning Card, I should say that I respect him as a writer, though he […]