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Monthly Archives: August 2021

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 […]

Late summer

Abelia Those of us who live in southern climates are usually glad to see cooler weather return after a hot summer. But there’s also something melancholy about the idea of summer’s end. As Shakespeare wrote (sonnet 18), “… summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” The abelia bush is in full bloom. The bush […]

A profile in courage

Rep. Barbara Lee at an anti-war powers protest in 2020. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Twice in my life I have had the experience of living through a period of great collective danger, periods in which many of the American people completely lost their minds. One of those times was November 2016, when, though he lost the […]

Country-style seitan

Country-style steak made from seitan I have bought seitan in the past (it’s very expensive), and I didn’t really like it. Homemade seitan is a whole ′nother thing. The key ingredient is gluten flour. Gluten alone would be impossibly rubbery, so a certain amount of ground legumes (I used garbanzo beans in the seitan in […]

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 […]

Tomato day

Canning is serious work. But it’s very satisfying to put up vegetables for the cold winter that you yourself grew during the hot summer. I canned tomatoes today. I have so many tomatoes that I probably will need to do it again. I worked on the deck to the keep the heat out of the […]

What ended the Mediterranean civilizations?

The Mediterranean today. Google Earth. Click here for high-resolution version. 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed. Eric H. Cline. Princeton University Press and Oxford University Press, 2021. 278 pages. Reading about ancient history before the time of the classical Greeks is a challenge. We want a reasonably clear narrative and a good story. But the […]

It was much worse than I thought

Until this week, I would have thought that all the events that occurred between election day (Nov. 4, 2020) and the Capitol insurrection (Jan. 6, 2021) were just the random, malignant thrashings of disinformed idiots. But now it appears that there actually was a plan and a conspiracy to overturn the election. The key to […]