Monthly Archives: December 2009

Hot-Pots and Hotspots

The other day the lovely Nina and I met a friend for some shabu-shabu at an outstanding Japanese eatery in Greenwich Village. Such “hot-pot” dishes, for those of you who don’t know, consist of meat and vegetables cooked in broth at the table on a little gas stove. The waitress explained, as she placed a […]

Let’s Be Clear

There was an article in yesterday’s Times about friction between European Muslims and their host culture. In it we find the following: Youcef Mammeri, a writer on Islam in France and member of the Joint Council of Muslims of Marseille, says that the debates over minarets, burqas and national identity have angered many French-born Muslims […]

Geeks Bearing Gifts

I’ve been slacking off over the holidays. I’ve hardly even read the news, and I’ve had nothing to say even about the Mutallab incident (others have said it all by now, anyway; in particular, Janet Napolitano’s idiotic comment that “the system worked” has been ridiculed amply and deservedly). As usual, my family gave me books […]

Merry Christmas

To you all.

Sam Clemens Goes To Hell

The Senate today passed its version of the health-care bill. It is by no account a pretty thing — among the latest complaints about it is the payoff given to Ben Nelson in exchange for his vote, whereby the rest of the Union must absorb, in perpetuity, any costs Nebraska may incur whilst expanding Medicaid […]


I’ve been working late again, and have had no time this evening for writing. But I do want to take the time to mention to you all that our friend, the blogger Kevin Kim, is here in New York tonight at the hospital bedside of his mother, who is gravely ill with brain cancer. She […]

Over The ‘Precipice’

This from the WSJ this morning, on the shameful health-care machinations currently underway in Congress: Change Nobody Believes In A bill so reckless that it has to be rammed through on a partisan vote on Christmas eve. And tidings of comfort and joy from Harry Reid too. The Senate Majority Leader has decided that the […]

Haven’t We Covered This Already?

It’s been pretty thin gruel over here the past few days — the holidays being what they are, I’ve had scant opportunity for solitary labor. So for tonight I’ll send you along to Mangan’s, where our doughty heathen Dennis confronts once again (as we have also done at length in these pages, at various intervals) […]

Ho Ho Ho!

The snowflakes are aswirl here in Gotham today, and, lighthearted soul that I am, I’m so caught up in the gay holiday mood that spending hours at the keyboard grinding out a lengthy post seems entirely out of the question. So for tonight, in the joyous spirit of Christmas, here’s a little item about how […]

Good, And Good For You

Are you a vegetarian? Well, I’m not. Indeed, I so enjoy being a carnivore that it has occurred to me on occasion to bump up to the next level, and eat only animals that are themselves carnivores — which I’ve always imagined would be the nutritional equivalent of smoking “roach weed”. Anyway, the next time […]

Getting Warmer

Writing in today’s Times, Tom Friedman shows encouraging signs of coming around to a more realistic position on Islam and jihad, though he still stops well short of grasping the nettle. Related content from Sphere

Conflict Of Interest

It is no easy thing for an American president to wage an unpopular war. To make war effectively requires both secrecy and resolve, and neither can be relied upon under the American system. The transparency of government and freedom of the press that stand as bulwarks against tyranny and corruption make secrecy difficult and undependable […]

Cui Bono?

More muckraking from James Delingpole. Here.

Stupid Cephalopod Tricks

Making the rounds today is some marvelously entertaining footage that some biologists think is evidence of tool use amongst invertebrates. I think it’s safe to say you’ve never seen this before; see for yourself here. Related content from Sphere

It’s Back

It is Spring in Saturn’s northern hemisphere, and the gas giant’s north pole, which has been hidden in shadow for years, is visible again. NASA’s Cassini orbiter has now sent along some dramatic new images of the strange hexagon that girdles the planet’s upper latitudes — a curious meteorological feature that seems to be as […]

Words Matter

The lovely Nina and I were in Philadelphia this weekend, visiting some old friends, and today we took in the Arshile Gorky show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Gorky was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, and the show made quite an impression on us (fittingly, I suppose, given that […]

My Man Dan

I owe a substantial debt of thanks to my friend Dan Betz for his help in redesigning the look of this website over the past week or so. Dan, who is a younger “training brother” of mine down at the kwoon (and a formidable Hung Ga expert, and instructor, in his own right), is also […]

Waq al-Waq

A new link on the sidebar today: a blog that focuses on Islam and insurgency in Yemen, where lately the game, as Holmes used to say, has been afoot. (And yes, I rather liked the name.) Related content from Sphere

Wow, What A Crisis! It Slices, It Dices…

Writing in today’s Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer blows the whistle on an end run by the Executive Branch intended to bring a huge swath of US private-sector activity under the direct control of the EPA, in yet another example of fantastic utility of the Global Warming “crisis” as a justification for statist and socialist power-grabs […]

Please Forgive Our Appearance

If you drop by here over the next few days and things look completely out of whack, it’s because we are making some adjustments to the site’s WordPress “theme”. As they say on the highway signs, “Temporary Inconvenience — Permanent Improvement.” (As if THAT were true.) Anyway, thanks for your patience. Related content from Sphere

Cold Hard Facts

As I mentioned in a previous post, there are three central assertions being made by global-warming activists, each of which is contentious in its own right. The first — let’s call it W — is that the Earth is currently warming. The second — we’ll call this one A — is that W is caused […]

More Aquavit, Vicar?

In case you didn’t see this on the news: there were some very strange doings high in the sky over Norway this morning (take a peek below the fold). Story here. Related content from Sphere

Follow The Green

I’ve played the Devil’s advocate for a while now on the topic of Global Warmism, but I want to take a moment to remind readers that my attitude toward its central claims — namely a) that the Earth is warming; b) that the primary cause is an anthropogenic increase in CO2, and c) that the […]


It is a common view that consciousness has something to to with the degree of integration of different areas of the brain. The idea is not only a modern scientific notion: it is also a tenet of various esoteric schools (for example that of G.I. Gurdjieff; see here and here) that higher degrees of consciousness […]

More Navel-Gazing

We’ll get back to normal operations tomorrow, I expect, but for today I’ve still been twiddling around with this new layout. (Reactions have been mixed, and I’m still making up my mind about it.) It’s taking me a little while to figure out how to customize the design — there are various PHP and CSS […]

Bear With Me

I’ve just upgraded my WordPress installation, and am fishing around for a new visual “theme” for this site. (I’ve gotten very tired of the old one.) So the look of this place may vary for the next few days or weeks until I settle on something. Feel free to comment. Related content from Sphere

Beach Day!

We’re off duty today, and so the lovely Nina and I took a long walk this afternoon on the beach at Maguire’s Landing (a.k.a. Lecounts Hollow) here in Wellfleet. It being December, we had the place all to ourselves. (Well, almost, as you’ll see below.) It was very beautiful. I took a few pictures, shortly […]

Full Circle At Mangan’s

Well, the saga continues at Mangan’s. His old blog having risen from its ashes, Dennis has decided to carry on there, while taking precautions to ensure continuity if he is cold-cocked by Google again. So: it is. Related content from Sphere

Can’t Keep A Good Man Down

I’ll be traveling today, with scant time to write, but I wanted to let all of you know that Dennis Mangan is back in business: Adjust your links accordingly. Related content from Sphere

Half A League Onward

I watched the President’s speech last night. It was not encouraging. It had something for everyone: escalation for the hawks; an exit date for the doves; the usual rot about “distorting and defiling a great religion”, to keep the Muslims off the streets; some bean-counting for the frugal; some American exceptionalism for the true believers; […]


Now here’s something you rarely see: a prominent and powerful male, exposed publicly to have been a duplicitous, goat-footed philanderer — and having thereby humiliated, before a drooling global audience, his dutiful wife and mortified family — makes a sheepish statement (note the shift in declension, from caprine to ovine) in which he reassures us […]


It appears that our friend Dennis Mangan has run afoul of Google’s guidelines for acceptable content: as of late afternoon yesterday his blog’s homepage has been replaced by the dreaded Blogger Screen of Death. This happened also to Jeffery Hodges a while back, though in that case it appeared to be some sort of mistake: […]