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Monthly Archives: July 2022

The Essex Serpent

I was hesitant to watch this. What I’d read about it made the story seem contrived. A sea monster? Really? Was it a bodice-ripper? If so, that’s not my genre. I also knew that the story was set in the flats and fens and swamps of southeastern England — a part of England you probably […]


I am embarrassed to admit that, for the longest time, I didn’t recognize the difference between Marmite and Nutella. I filed them both away in the seldom-referenced category of mysterious European goop in small jars that people make jokes about. But Marmite and Nutella are very different. Nutella, made in Italy, is a sweet concoction […]

Another forever home for another typewriter

I have written here in the past about empathy for mechanical things. The syndrome must surely be related to the feelings — should I call them moral intuitions? — that cause us to adopt homeless cats. The mechanical version is the conviction that beautiful old machines ought to have a home. They ought to be […]

How reason propels the arc of justice

The Expanding Circle: Ethics, Evolution, and Moral Progress. Peter Singer. Princeton University Press. Second edition, 2011; first published 1981. 208 pages. Peter Singer, born in 1946, is one of our most progressive moral philosophers. In 1975, he published Animal Liberation. For years, he has argued for altruism, from utililitarian principles. In 2015, he published The […]

Planting pumpkins

I’ve written here previously about the nearby farm where I’m buying most of my summer vegetables this year. They sell the vegetables for $1.50 a pound (mix and match) from the shade of an old barn right beside the fields. You can see in the upper right of the photo that the corn will be […]

Young lives, ruined by Hitler

Generation War, a German production, 2013 We Americans have seen many movies about World War II, but we probably haven’t seen a movie about how the war looked from a German perspective. Generation War is hard to watch, as the misery and disillusion of the Germans escalate year after awful year. The stories of the […]

The epistemology of derp

Paul Krugman’s column today is about crypto currency, “Crypto Is Crashing. Where Were the Regulators?” But my subject here isn’t crypto currency. Rather, it’s the many, many ways in which people allow themselves to be deceived, and the many, many ways in which people try to deceive us. As for how people allowed themselves to […]

Cigar boxes

Tobacco and “vaping” stores seem to be all over the place these days, but I had never been inside one until today. My mission was to see if the shop would be useful as a drop point for Amazon packages. It’s the nearest Amazon drop point, and I’d like to keep those big Amazon trucks […]

An 18th Century cooking show

Delicious has a remarkable 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was released in France in 2021 as Délicieux and is now available for streaming at Amazon Prime Video. It’s set in 1789, just before the Revolution got violent. A duke’s chief cook, humiliated by the duke’s obnoxious dinner guests, leaves the duke’s household and […]

Squash and walnut fritters

Squash and walnut fritters with pesto Especially if you have a garden, you’re always looking for ways not to get tired of summer squash. I made squash fritters a few days ago and noted that they were just a bit too mushy. They needed something to give them some extra substance and a better bite. […]