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Monthly Archives: May 2022

The long, long culture war

Enemies of the Enlightenment: The French Counter-Enlightenment and the Making of Modernity. Darrin M. McMahon. Oxford University Press, 2001. 262 pages. Merely reading about the violent history of France is enough to get a case of PTSD. France, already damaged by the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century, lurched from monarchy to revolution and then […]

The theater of intimidation

The U.S.S. Nimitz under the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Fleet Week, 2006. Source: Wikimedia Commons. We all want to be as aware as possible of the political environment that we are immersed in. An important element to watch for is: Who is trying to intimidate us? How? Why? Are they trying to intimidate us […]

Obi-Wan Kenobi

I had been eagerly awaiting this new Disney+ series. But after watching the first episode, I was disappointed. Ewan McGregor does his best, but he couldn’t make up for a ho-hum story and a ho-hum script. Disney, I suspect, needs to try to please kids. That may not work very well for oldies like me […]

Cooler summer cooking, outside

Even if cooking on the deck didn’t keep the heat out of the kitchen, cooking on the deck would still be worth doing. Cooking outdoors is as much fun as eating outdoors. I have long used my gas grill for cooking on the deck. But not everything wants to be cooked on a grill. Today […]

Remember old library books?

When I was writing the post about Edna St. Vincent Millay a few days ago, I thought about the 1964 Rowse edition of the Shakespeare sonnets that I used to own. That book was destroyed in a house fire in 1974. Having recently gotten a new shelf to occupy the last remaining shelf space in […]

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 […]

Centrist misdirection

After an 18-year-old with an AR-15 killed 10 people in a Buffalo supermarket, The Atlantic was quick out of the gate with a piece typical of its radical centrism. The article was “America’s Gun Plague,” by David Frum. Was the shooter a left-wing extremist? asks Frum in the first paragraph. A vegan animal-rights zealot? But […]

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 […]

Millay’s diaries (and sonnets)

Rapture and Melancholy: The Diaries of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Edited by Daniel Mark Epstein, Yale University Press. 390 pages. I’m not going to review this book. I couldn’t possibly top the New Yorker’s review: How Fame Fed on Edna St. Vincent Millay. One of the reasons the New Yorker review caught my interest is […]