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Category Archives: Culture

A podcast with Ken

Regular readers here will remember Ken, who lived here at the abbey on and off for a number of years and who wrote his books here. He’s featured in a new podcast from The Art of Manliness that I think is brilliant. The podcast is about Ken’s first book, Walden on Wheels. Podcast #980: Walden […]

Remember Madras?

I can’t remember what made me think about Madras shirts last week. It might have been because we were having uncommonly hot weather for early spring, and that started me thinking about whether I needed new warm-weather shirts. I’ve made a bad habit of buying Harris tweed jackets on eBay, so of course I went […]

The Taste of Things

Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel I have some complaints about the plot of “The Taste of Things,” but the plot really isn’t the point. The point is the food and what happens in the kitchen and at the table. The amazingly beautiful food in this film makes me feel like a complete slob in the […]

Feðgar á ferð

Click here for high resolution version. The Old Man and His Sons. (In the Faroese edition, the title is Feðgar á ferð.) By Heðin Brú. Published in Faroese, 1940. English translation by John F. West, 1970. I got from this book just what I hoped to get — an impression of life in the Faroe […]

3 Body Problem

Last night I watched the first episode of Netflix’s new “3 Body Problem.” It looks very promising. It’s smart and complicated, and it focuses on dialogue and drama rather than action. The series is based on a book by the Chinese science fiction writer Liu Cixin. The Netflix project was done by David Benioff and […]

Neither here nor now, please

Faroe Islands sheep. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Click here for high resolution version. I was on jury duty all of last week. It was educational, but it also was suffocating. There were more than a hundred people in the jury pool, and sometimes we were obliged to sit in a too-small holding room for more than […]

A snapshot of Scottish cooking, 1925-1946

Newly rebound in cloth, with the old cover used as a label I hope I am wrong, but I am reluctantly inclined to conclude that traditional Scottish cooking is almost completely lost, just as my native cuisine, Southern American cooking, also is almost completely lost. Though there are older people who remember it (both here […]

Falling for Figaro

Would it be possible to go wrong with a smart and sweet romantic comedy set mostly in the Scottish Highlands with an operatic soundtrack? Not to my taste! Some of the critics didn’t like it as much as I did. For example, the Wikipedia entry quotes someone at “The performances are what make Falling […]

The arc of justice

U.S. marshals escort Ruby Bridges to school. New Orleans, Louisiana, November 1960. Source: Wikimedia Commons. “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by […]

Yes, someone still writes rags

I haven’t had a musical post for a while… If you do a YouTube survey of ragtime playing, I think you’ll find that, like country music, ragtime playing is an area in which a great many poorly trained musicians are in it a for a good time and wearing bowties and funny hats. I’m all […]