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Category Archives: Culture

The moral status of animals

The gorilla Ndakasi, shortly before she died in the arms of her keeper, Andre Bauma. Source: Virunga National Park via Twitter. Ndasaki was 14 years old when she died, after a long illness, according to the BBC. When Ndasaki was a baby, her mother was killed by poachers. Andre Bauma, who remained her keeper at […]

Remember the stars?

The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars. Jo Marchant, Dutton, 2020. 388 pages. Marchant is concerned about how modern people and our cultures have lost touch with the sky. Paradoxically, we think of ourselves as living in a larger world than our ancestors. But in truth, by cutting ourselves off from the sky, we live […]


Whatever this is, it’s not Foundation. If Foundation is what it’s supposed to be, then it’s a complete failure. It’s something entirely different from Foundation. Whatever the difference is supposed to be, it’s nothing new. After watching the first two episodes, I find myself angry, partly because it’s not Foundation and partly because it tries […]

Apple News+

There are two versions of Apple News. The free version, called just “Apple News,” is on all Macintosh computers, iPads, and iPhones. The subscription version, called “Apple News+”, costs $9.99 a month. For some years, I had casually used the free version on my iPhone, because it often showed me things that I had missed […]

Who doesn’t love a band?

Stokes County’s biggest public event is the Stokes Stomp, an outdoor music festival that happens each September on the weekend after Labor Day. The Democratic Party had a booth, of course. But I sneaked away from the booth when the army band arrived. As the band regrouped at the stage for the national anthem, I […]


When I was a young’un growing up in North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley, corn of the type one wants for corn on the cob was called roastnears. I learned in school, around the fifth grade, that roastnears means roasting ears. Back then, I thought of that as just the way people talked. Now I would see […]

The Heart of Mid-Lothian ★★★★

“The Porteous Mob,” James Drummond, 1855. The painting is on display in the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Click here for high-resolution version. A couple of weeks ago, I came across an article in The Herald of Scotland in which a scholar of literature urged filmmakers to make “blockbuster” movies from Walter […]


I’m two years behind on this. It took a while for Watchmen (2019) to show up on my radar screen. I’ve watched only the first episode so far, but rarely have I seen a first episode as original, as surprising, and as good as this. A friend recommended Watchmen (in a texting conversation) while we […]

Church culture

A tent revival I drove out during the cool of the evening yesterday to pick up the mail and look for more canning jars. At Sandy Ridge up near the Virginia line, people were gathering under a big tent for a tent revival. I stopped to take pictures, but I kept well back from the […]

On sliding from note to note

Listen link #1. Please read the first two paragraphs before you listen. Want to start a barroom brawl in a place where the musical cognoscenti hang out to drink? Easy. Just say the explosive Italian word portamento and run for your life. The Italian word is about carrying something. But portamento singing, in English, better […]