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Monthly Archives: November 2021

A Boy Called Christmas

There are many B-grade Christmas movies, of course (and lots of A-grade ones as well). But not all the B-grade ones have a cast that includes Maggie Smith and Jim Broadbent. The B-grade budget is apparent in some of the sets. But some of the Old World scenery is gorgeous, filmed in Finland, the Czech […]

The Rose

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and so the Christmas season begins. As a heathen and pagan, I prefer the word Yule. If we set aside the centuries-long war on Yule by the church, then some pretty nice hard-to-kill things remain — yule fires, lights, greenery, feasting, gift-gifting, conviviality, and, most of all, music. The best Yule music, […]

Radish sprouts

Radish sprouts are my new favorite sprouts. They’re also one of the healthiest kinds of sprouts you can eat, very high in antioxidants. They do have a fairly strong flavor, though. Not everyone likes them. If you don’t like radish sprouts raw, they work very nicely in stir-fries. They’re almost as big as mung bean […]

Winter greens

I wish I had started experimenting with winter greens in a cold frame a long time ago. This mustard was planted in early October and is now ready to start picking. I’ve decided to make a little ritual of it, though, and have the first winter mustard on Thanksgiving. For comparison, I’ve also got some […]

Fiona Hill for president!

There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century. Fiona Hill, Mariner Books. 432 pages. I rarely read political memoirs, but I made an exception for Fiona Hill. She made a strong impression on millions of people during the House impeachment hearings of 2019. She was a visible example of the kind […]


A right-wing protester at a Trump rally in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Sept. 1, 2020. Source: Wikipedia. Farhad Manjoo, in a column this morning in the New York Times, draws attention to a novel right-wing claim of self-defense, in which a right-winger with a gun points the gun at unarmed people, then claims self-defense out of fear […]

The intelligentsia and civil war

Etel Adnan in Marin County, California. Photo by Simone Fattal. Source: The New York Times carried an obituary this morning for Etel Adnan, who died yesterday in Paris at the age of 96. I was saddened to hear this, because I knew Etel and her partner, Simone Fattal, during their Sausalito years, when I […]

New from Acorn Abbey

The newest title from Acorn Abbey Books will be released on December 30. The book is The Outnation: A Search for the Soul of Japan. This is a new edition (with a new foreword) of the book, which was first published in 1992 by the Harvard Business School Press. The author, Jonathan Rauch, is an […]

Louis Wain

Cat fans — not to mention fans of Benedict Cumberbatch — will want to see “The Electric Life of Louis Wain.” Louis Wain (1860-1939) was the late Victorian artist who charmed the world with his paintings and drawings of anthropomorphized cats. It is a sad story in many ways. Wain’s eccentricity eventually became overt mental […]

Finch ★ ★ ★ ★

Could a movie possibly go wrong with Tom Hanks, a teenagerly robot, a dog, and a post-apocalyptic plot? That would be difficult. Of course the plot, the situations, and the sentiment are predictable. But who cares if you’ve got Tom Hanks, a teenagerly robot, a dog, and a post-apocalyptic plot? This is a classic, family […]