Category Archives: General

Whatever doesn’t obviously go anywhere else.

And Then My Heart With Pleasure Fills

It’s just spring here in Wellfleet, and suddenly there are daffodils everywhere. I love daffodils; they seem perfect to me. They sing of warm spring sunlight, and cool clear air, and dark fertile soil, and of beauty unvanquished. I’ve always thought that daffodils are pure joy. I’ve written in these pages, from time to time, […]

Hate Speech

I just took an online survey called “How Stereotypically White Are You?” It offers a hundred criteria, and asks the respondent to check all that apply. Most of them were things like “Have you ever listened to John Mayer while hooking up with someone?” (The sort of questions I might have asked — “Have you […]


We’ve been hacked, it seems. Perhaps it’s that ‘Heartbleed’ business, although my understanding was that Bluehost, my hosting service, had not been affected. Thanks to Matt Walker for leaving a comment on one of the (now deleted) spam posts to tell us that our RSS feed is corrupted also. Our in-house team of cyberterrorism experts […]


Too much social/political stuff lately. Will lay off for a while.


– Zoomable panorama of the Milky Way. – “Wrong again, dear.” – What women want. – :-( – Privilege!. – How the blow-fly flies. – Biohazard. – Now that’s a rat. – Mate In 10! – Warning: major time-sink. – WWI as bar-fight. – How is this man alive? – Aesop updated. – Good clean […]

Women At War!

I’ve written before (see here, here and here) about my mother-in-law, Lily Renée Willheim Phillips, who was born in Vienna, fled the Nazis in the Kindertransport, and made her way first to England and then to New York. Once she got here, she took up a job drawing comic books, working at a company called […]


– Learn a card trick from Penn and Teller. – Credit where credit’s due. – A survey of meteorologists on “climate change”. – Where the wild things are. – Unintended consequences of Britain’s welfare state. – Bead chains in action. – Why Intelligent Design retains its broad appeal. – Height and IQ. – The Museum […]


Boy, what a week. Not being a man of independent means, I still must toil for my daily crust, and this week that included a 24-hour-long workday spanning Tuesday and Wednesday (a software crisis in the Antipodes, now resolved). I used to do a lot of those as a youthful studio rat, but for a […]

Current Events

Well, it appears from yesterday’s referendum that the people of Crimea would rather be Russian. Vladimir Putin is glad to welcome them back to the Motherland. The Obama administration, which didn’t want to see the referendum happen at all, imposed some punitive measures on a few Russian big-shots, but nobody over there seems to mind […]

Shoulder-High We Bring You Home

It was a sad day today: the lovely Nina and I drove to Philadelphia to attend a memorial service for the twenty-eight-year-old son of some dear friends. The young man, who died suddenly and unexpectedly, had made a very deep and very positive impression on a great many people’s lives, and hundreds were in attendance. […]


XKCD is always clever, and often brilliant. I like this one in particular.

Service Notice

We’ll probably be offline for a few days. Meanwhile, here’s something interesting to read. Update: this is a good one too: with a hat tip to Bill K., a fine rant from VDH.


Yep, they’ve been piling up again. (Just like the snow is supposed to do, again, here in the Outer Cape tonight.) – Life, and love, in Russia. – The GDP of American states and foreign nations. – Theodore Dalrymple on the suppression of dissent. – See above. – More from Russia. – The most beautiful […]

Cheer Up!

Here’s your antidote for those Monday blues: two stories to warm your heart. First you’ll be glad to see that New York State residents can own an AR-15 after all, and at the same time show just how foolish these hysterical “assault-rifle” bans — which prohibit, on the basis of superficial appearance, weapons that are […]

Selected Shorts

Some good reads from the Web today: Matt Ridley on inequality. Kevin Williamson on feminism. From the Statistics Lab at Cambridge University, a look at some climate-alarmist buncombe.


I’ve been working long hours this week, and haven’t had the time — nor sufficient sleep — to write anything worth reading. Meanwhile, the links have been piling up, as they tend to do. So it’s time once again to flush, as we programmers say, the cache: – Another reason that I hope humans never […]


Boy, do these things pile up quickly. – Ice balls. – I can almost hear him say “I told you so.” – Maybe we can get the Dems to primary this guy in 2016. – Well, whaddya know? – Satan’s Kimchi. – Common sense from Jim Cramer. – Even more personality tests. – Race trumps […]

The New York Times And Benghazi

A lot has been made of The New York Times’s recent article, by David Kirkpatrick, about the sacking of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi on September 11th of 2012, in which four men, including our ambassador, were killed. The Obama administration’s partisans have given the article a triumphal reception, and have announced repeatedly that […]

Service Notice

I’m having a busy stretch here; the blog might be rather quieter than usual for a few days. Back to normal soon.


I haven’t anything substantial prepared for tonight, so just a brief salmagundi: – Fun with sound waves. – A lexical-distance graph of European languages. (Where’s Basque? So far out it’s off the chart, maybe.) – “Exponential medicine”. – VDH vs. Pajama Boy. – Amazing to see this, from the Times’s senior science writer. Is the […]

Memento Mori

It’s a sad day here at waka waka, where we’ve just heard that an old friend, Dr. Clive Sell of Phoenix, Arizona, has died unexpectedly of a heart attack. I got to know Clive many years ago, and hadn’t seen him in a long time, but he was a fine man: a charming Southerner, exceptionally […]


They’ve been piling up a bit, I’m afraid. – Graphene: the gift that keeps on giving. – Remember what happened to the Shakers, kitten. – How to keep your man. – The Daily Telegraph, just a century ago. – “You will know us by the trail of dead.” – Ice, Ice, Baby. – Eagle grinders: […]

The Weather Outside Is Frightful

As you may have heard, there’s quite a storm on in the Northeast tonight. The lovely Nina and I are riding it out in our snug little dacha at the far end of Cape Cod, twenty-five miles out in the Atlantic. It’s been snowing all day, and we’re supposed to end up with about two […]

Search Me!

Once again, here’s our New Year’s selection of some of the search-engine keyphrases that have brought visitors our way in the past year: dark enlightenment mola mola compelling natural force washington monument syndrome freedom go to hell what is a moral fact he’s no fun he fell right over hirsutative nipples brooklyn outwash moraine fools […]

Here’s To You

Happy New Year, everybody. And have a rip-roaring Hogmanay. Thanks again. See you in 2014!

Merry Christmas!

A warm and happy holiday to each and every one of you. Thank you all, as always, for reading and commenting.

The Flood

By now, I imagine, you are all familiar with the smug, epicene Eloi putz that the Obamacare P.R. machine recently chose to promote their product. He has entered the popular culture as “Pajama Boy”, and to an awful lot of people he has become an icon of American decadence and enfeeblement: a vain and useless […]

Memo To Mo

Making the rounds today is a rant by one of the online community’s preeminent dyspeptics, Fred Reed. In it he responds to the New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s opinion that men are no longer necessary. Ms. Dowd sums up her little idea as follows: So now that women don’t need men to reproduce and […]


– As above, so below. – Forget engineering: here’s a degree that will always be in demand. – An excellent article about the Second Amendment. – Farewell to the Warthog. – Yet another example of the importance of social cohesion. – Ralph Nader and Charles Murray examine their differences and similarities. – Jersey’s “Jackson Whites”. […]


The post just below this — “Small World” — was originally posted back in August. I took it down to mull it over some more, but really never got around to mulling it over very much at all, and thought I might as well just repost it more or less as it was. It is […]

Small World

A while back somebody remarked to me that the world was “getting smaller”. It’s a familiar expression, but this time it evoked in me a literal image of a closed container whose volume was actually shrinking. The metaphor led in interesting directions, and the more I thought about it, the more fertile it seemed to […]


– That’s life. – Democracy! Meh. – Do you ever get the feeling… – Well, they do love to play with yarn… – A Protestant Manifesto, 1942. – Quip of the month. Orwell smiles. – We don’t need no stinkin’ Constitution. – Floral design. – A negative income tax? (We could look at that universal-suffrage […]


Nelson Mandela has just died. Waiting for President Obama to release a tribute featuring himself. … Update: …aaaaand — here it is! Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela. — The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 5, 2013 A twofer this time: a picture of himself, AND he quotes himself, too!

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanks to all of you, readers, for all your time and attention these past eight years. Thanks especially to those of you who have joined the conversation here. It’s why I started this blog in the first place.

Lingo Links

Here are a few language-related links I’ve collected over the past few days: – The Webster’s that wasn’t. – Lost in translation. – More of the above. – Some old-school cussin’. – OK, this last one isn’t about language, but here it is anyway: break-dancing Turks. No need to thank me.

Sing, O Muse! … …Muse?

I apologize for the lack of substantial content here these past several weeks. There has been so much to comment on — if nothing else, I’ve been missing out on one of the great Schadenfreudefests of modern political history — yet somehow I’ve found it difficult to lift the pen. Of course this has been […]

Service Notice

I’m back home in New York, but I’m completely exhausted. These past few weeks have really taken it out of me, and it may be a days or two before I’ll get back to posting here. Thanks again to everyone who has written, posted, and Tweeted their condolences. I really appreciate it.

A Life, In Brief

My father’s obituary is in today’s New York Times. You can read it here.

Kansas City, Here I Come

I’ll be there all week, on business. The days will be long, and there will be scant time for the blog, I’m afraid. I’ll do what I can, but it’s likely that political outrages will go unremarked, scientific breakthroughs will transpire in silence, amusing links will go unposted, and fatuous comments will even go unrebutted. […]

Pic Of The Day

Saved myself a thousand words here:  


Spare a thought tonight, all of you, in the comfort of your homes, for the poor people of the Philippines who are suffering the horror of Nature’s awful wrath. Many will not see tomorrow.


– Hovercrafts. No eels. – Safety first! – Thomas Sowell on race war in America. – From Isegoria: the original Peabody & Sherman! – Hayek rips Keynes a new one. – Gordon Ramsay explains how to cook a perfect steak. – A mendacious montage. – Jowls a-flappin. – It’s always in the last place you […]

Home Again

I flew home today, and will be glad to put this awful week, and Southern California, behind me. Thanks so very much to all of you who wrote to offer support and sympathy. It was a great comfort to me at a very difficult time. We’ll be getting back to normal here soon. So much […]


My father, Dr. William Pollack, died at about 8:25 this morning, after having slipped into a coma last night. He was a remarkable man. I will have more to say when the words come.

Service Notice

I’m still in California, where my father is slowly sinking, and is now almost completely unresponsive. I have put everything else aside — in particular writing, and work — but will try to get back to both in the next few days, as he lingers on. If nothing else it will be a distraction. Thanks […]

Service Notice

Things may be quieter than usual here for the next few days. My elderly father, who has been in declining health for some time, has taken a very serious turn for the worse, and is gravely ill. I am flying to California to join my brother at his bedside.

Soon I’ll Hear Old Winter’s Song

As noted in these pages seven years ago, I’m a “fall guy“. It’s always been my favorite season. Here are some lovely photos of autumn in America. (I mean that literally, not figuratively, of course.)

Quote Of The Day

From an item at SFGate: People whose 2014 income will be a little too high to get subsidized health insurance from Covered California next year should start thinking now about ways to lower it to increase their odds of getting the valuable tax subsidy. Slip-slidin’ away…


– Steve Sailer comments on the tendency of women who are interested in science to go into the “life sciences” (medicine, biology) rather than fields like physics and chemistry. – Mark Steyn on King John and Barack Obama. – A “must-know” endgame from Susan Polgar. – Iron Man. – Walter Williams on guns, and the […]

A Visitor From The Antipodes

The lovely Nina and I met a very interesting gentleman today: Paul Sheehan, a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald. (He has also served as that newspaper’s Washington correspondent, and its day editor.) Mr. Sheehan is an old friend of our friend Allen Kurzweil, and is in Wellfleet for a visit. This afternoon Allen, who […]