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Monthly Archives: December 2022

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical

If you still have a gloomy taste in your mouth from The Banshees of Inisherin, then here’s the perfect antidote: Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical. We had recently been discussing Jane Eyre here, and I couldn’t get Jane Eyre out of my mind as I watched this. But Jane Eyre, of course, is not exactly […]

Are you ready for power failure?

⬆︎ My solar panels can produce, at most, a modest 150 watts of power. That’s enough to keep some deep-discharge batteries charged at all times. The solar power also is a supplement to my small generator. Clearly the risks to the power grid are growing. This is true not just in the United States. Just […]

Cigar boxes for storage

At least around here, tobacco and “vape” stores seem to be everywhere these days. Normally I would have no reason for going inside of one. But I’ve been picking up my Amazon packages at an Amazon “hub counter” so that trucks don’t have to drive down my unpaved road. The nearest hub counter is a […]

The Banshees of Inisherin

I should have known better. When Rotten Tomatoes shows high critic ratings (97 percent in this case) but much lower audience ratings (76 percent), that’s a red flag for me. I almost always agree with the audience. Why would a filmmaker waste a superb cast and beautiful settings on a meaningless and depressing story that […]

New trains!

The Washington Post has a story about yesterday’s announcement by Amtrak describing the $5 billion worth of new trains that Amtrak is buying. The trains will be named Amtrak Airo, and they’re beautiful. Yes, the trains will be made in America — Sacramento — though the company is German. Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg is not […]

My last Walter Scott post for a while, I promise

I had high hopes for The Bride of Lammermoor, the sixth novel by Sir Walter Scott that I have read. But it let me down. Though there was some fine Scottish gothic atmosphere — seaside castles, witches, and violent storms — the story really came down to little more than youthful folly and parental cruelty […]

All trans children should be so lucky

The above is a three-minute Christmas ad by J&B scotch. It leaves kind-hearted people in tears and probably leaves authoritarians in a state of rage. We are surrounded by people whose intellect and moral sensibility are so meagre and so perverted that they actually believe that they know the mind of God. Even worse, as […]

Roquefort & carrot pie, pub style

After five or six days of cold, rainy weather, it was time to give the clover sprouts a rest and have some proper comfort food. The Roquefort & carrot pie was inspired by the recipe for blue cheese and leek tartlets in The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook. The idea of rolling walnuts into the pie […]

Afraid of AI? Not me.

There’s a lot of buzz in the media right now about a new artificial-intelligence chatbot that anybody can try out. It’s ChatGPT, from a project called OpenAI. I tried it out. It’s interesting for about ten minutes, at which point it becomes apparent that, though it’s a beautiful piece of software engineering, its usefulness is […]

How we model the world, and how well we adapt to it

Hidden Order: How Adaptation Builds Complexity. John H. Holland. Addison-Wesley, 1995. 176 pages. This is not a book review. Rather, this is about why I think the ideas in this book are important, and how those ideas apply to what we think and what we do. This is one of the most important books I’ve […]