Skip to content

Monthly Archives: March 2023

Slowly, reality returns

Source: Wikimedia Commons. Many news outlets are reporting this morning that MAGA-world is freaking out about Trump’s indictment. Are they? I don’t see much sign of that. It looks to me to be just the usual theater in which the usual passengers in the MAGA clown car perform in front of the cameras for “the […]

Great Expectations, but not what we were expecting

It’s certainly not my intention to be so contrary in my taste in books and films. It seems I just can’t help myself. While everyone is raving about The Last of Us, with its 96 percent RottenTomatoes rating, I thought (at least after three and a half episodes, which was all I could endure) that […]

When design was soft and kind

My IBM Selectric I, made in 1974, restored by a former IBM field engineer. The Selectric I typewriters were introduced in 1961. Click here for high resolution version. I have written in the past about how today’s taste in automobile design is for aggressive-looking, mean-looking, vehicles. Even Volkswagen, whose designs used to charm people, now […]

Euell Gibbons, 1974

Euell Gibbons, near High Point, North Carolina, February 1974 I came across this photo today while going through an old box of photos. I have sometimes mentioned to people that I once went foraging with Euell Gibbons and took a nice picture of him, but I had never scanned the picture, and I had forgotten […]

WorldCon will be in Glasgow in 2024

I have never been to a World Science Fiction Convention, but I hope do that in August 2024, when it will be in Glasgow. The annual Hugo Awards for science fiction and fantasy are given at WorldCon. Hugos are voted on by the fans who attend the convention (unlike the Nebula Awards, which are given […]

A seriously good novel, now 85 years old

The Hopkins Manuscript. R.C. Sherriff, Macmillan, 1939. This book got to me. I finished it just before sunset, and all evening, as a nearly full moon rose, I was spooked by a sense of unreality as I worked my way out of the world of the novel and back to the real world. I considered […]

Saturday afternoons at 1

Vineta Sareika-Völkner, the new concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic. Once upon a time, Saturday afternoons at 1 (at least, on the east coast of the United States where I live now) was when the Metropolitan Opera broadcast on American radio, from New York, a live Saturday matinée from the Met. I don’t think they do […]

The noble and neglected soybean

I neglect soybeans myself. I go for months without cooking any, and then suddenly I realize that I’m out of them. Most recently I was reminded of soybeans by this piece in the Washington Post on the environmental impact of foods: Which food is better for the planet? Nothing ranks better than soy. Something like […]

Justice as spite

Source: Wikimedia Commons Paul Waldman has an important column this week at the Washington Post. It’s “On student loans, conservatives turn ‘fairness’ upside down.” Waldman writes: “The justices sounded almost as though they were advocating a strict version of communism, under which no one should receive any government benefit that isn’t given to everyone. You […]