Category Archives: General

Whatever doesn’t obviously go anywhere else.

12/8

It’s been a busy week, with scant time for writing. So just a couple of brief notes: First, it was a month ago tonight that an amazingly wonderful thing happened: we sent the Clintons packing. I still can’t believe we really did it. But we did! Also, I should note the death of John Glenn. […]

Different Animals

Consensus is orthogonal to truth.

Flags, Speech, and Symbols

Not long ago I had a little rhubarb on Twitter with my old e-pal Kevin Kim on the subject of flag-burning. Kevin had quoted George Carlin’s remark that he preferred to leave symbols to the “symbol-minded”. The meaning of Mr. Carlin’s remark, and of Kevin’s quoting it, is clear enough: that the flag is just […]

Happy Thanksgiving!

…to all of you. Given recent events, I’m sure it will be a contentious gathering in millions of homes across the country. That’s a shame, because we ought, if we really want, to be able to put social and political externalities aside for one day. Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday, and a necessary idea. All […]

The Umbrella Man

Today’s offering, courtesy of War on the Rocks: an essay on the study of history, from MIT’s Francis J. Gavin. Here.

Not To Worry

My liberal Jewish friends are on the fainting couch after the Trump victory. One said to my wife that as a Jew he now felt very afraid of what might be coming. I think they should relax. Here’s the economist David P. Goldman, whom you may know as the pseudonymous Asia Times columnist “Spengler”, and […]

Socratic Method – NOT

My old e-pal Kevin Kim and I have just had an unpleasant falling-out, the result of what I thought was a spirited, but not unfriendly, back-and-forth on Twitter last night about flag-burning, the power of symbols, and the persistent truths of human nature. The topic is an interesting and important one, and one that is […]

Service Notice

Our daughter’s visiting from Austria with our infant grandson, and we are all out of town for a wedding this weekend. Back soon. Chat amongst yourselves, if you like.

Rise And Fall

Here’s a fine animation showing the expansions and contractions of religions and empires over the past two thousand years.

Sunday Sermonette

Just a couple of links to get the ball rolling on this busy Sunday: first, a pungent jeremaid by Lewis Amselem, a.k.a. Diplomad (nothing we haven’t all been saying, really, but a fine summary of where matters stand), and then John Schindler with a retrospective look at the F.B.I’s role in Mrs. Clinton’s email affair. […]

That Time Of Year Again

Tomorrow will be the first day of autumn, my favorite season. Here’s a musing on the topic from ten years ago.

Star Trek

Last year about this time I spent a delightful weekend on Star Island, a rocky speck off the cost of New Hampshire, and this weekend I’m doing it again. Why leave the charming seaside village of Wellfleet, and all the comforts of home, for spartan accommodations on a remote, craggy islet? It’s because I have […]

Temporal Provincialism

Our reader Robert, a.k.a. Whitewall, posted in the comment-thread to our previous post a link to an editorial piece from The New Criterion (by way of Instapundit; the original is here). It deserves promotion from comment to post. The piece, which is presumably by Roger Kimball, the editor of New Criterion, uses a beautiful phrase […]

Right, Then

Now that all the fuss is over, it’s time to relax a little. The lovely Nina and I will be here in the heart of Europe for another week or so, and may do a little touring around. After that is August, when this blog traditionally goes mostly silent for a summer break. I’m sure […]

Liam Brendan Wright

With his mother, our daughter Chloe, about an hour ago. A very happy day for us all. Related content from Sphere

Notes From Abroad

We’re still in Austria (and will be until the 6th). It’s hot over here, but from what I gather it’s much worse back home. It’s nice to be here — Vienna is, as everyone knows, a gracious and beautiful city. One of the first things you notice, though, is how unhurried it feels. In New […]

Service Notice, and Open Thread 18

The lovely Nina and I are off to Vienna this evening, where our daughter is due to give birth to our first grandson. Things may be a little quiet around here until we get back, in early August — though I expect I’ll put up a post or two from over there. If my tone […]

Happy Fourth!

Here we are again: Independence Day! The future of the Republic is perhaps more uncertain than it has been at any time since the Civil War. To quote one insightful observer: More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total […]

Service Notice

Things might be quiet here for the next few days — the lovely Nina and I are entertaining guests over the Independence Day weekend, and “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind” will forbid my spending hours banging away at the computer. Feel free to chat amongst yourselves, of course. Related content from Sphere

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, Neither Let It Be Afraid

I write a lot about the desperate fix we’re in, and how we got here. I know many of you who visit here are worried and upset about it all. I understand: once you see how broken our civilization is, you can’t unsee it. It becomes very easy just to dwell on it all, and […]

Name That Blog

I’m thinking of changing the title of this blog. It seemed apt eleven years ago, when I had no idea what the focus would be, but now I’m getting tired of it. That said, it’s just an itch at this point; maybe I will leave it alone. Comments? Suggestions? Related content from Sphere

After the Storm

A brisk cold front blew through the Outer Cape late this afternoon, with dark clouds and heavy rain. As the front went past, just before sunset, the sky opened up on the western horizon, out over Cape Cod Bay. I went out to have a look. The first thing I saw was a magnificent double […]

Service Notice, and Open Thread 15

We have house-guests this holiday weekend, and it would be unsociable of me to roost at the computer. Back next week. The floor is yours, if you like.

This Sceptical Doubt…

While taking a three-mile constitutional this afternoon (we of the American Right never, of course, forget the importance of constitutionals), I had a listen to John Derbyshire’s latest Radio Derb podcast. It was a particularly good one, with fine segments on immigration, automation, and social engineering. You can listen to it here, or read it […]

The Real Victimhood

Our recent post, Douthat and Reaction, featured a link to a video clip of a young woman disrupting a speaking event at the University of Massachusetts. She is seen flailing her arms and shouting obscenities — in short, having a child’s temper-tantrum. The video clip has gone “viral”, and its star has been the object […]

Bayesed and Confused?

You’ve probably heard of Bayes’s Theorem, but if you’ve yet to get your head around it, here’s a nice visual explanation, including a simple Bayesian explanation of the perplexing “Monty Hall problem” (which we last discussed in here way back in 2009). (Also, from the same website, here’s another Bayes tutorial.) Related content from Sphere

Keeping Me Honest

Our newest commenter, Jacques, is holding my feet to the fire once again in the comment-thread to our recent post on the “Black Pill”. (These things tend to scroll down and disappear, so I thought I’d mention it; J. is prying open some old (i.e., eternal) questions I haven’t written about in years.) Related content […]

A Potpourri From Dr. V

Bill Vallicella, the Maverick Philosopher, is in fine form this week. Yesterday he published an excellent meditation on free will, and today he’s breathing fire upon the political Left: It is hopelessly naive to think that we can have comity without commonality… we have reached the point where we agree on almost nothing and that […]

Service Notice

Yet another outage today with my hosting service. Apologies to all.

Back

Time to start betting back to regular operations around here, I think. It was good to take some time off, and I thank all of you who visit here regularly for your patience. I’ll confess that it’s been a little harder lately for me to keep to daily blogging; I’ve had many distractions, and I […]

Service Notice, and Open Thread 14

Need a few days offline, folks. Back later this week, or early next.

Open Thread 13

Haven’t had one of these for a while. Ask me anything, propose a topic, chat amongst yourselves. Whatever you like.

Four Faiths

I’ve just run across a glum and deeply reactionary essay by Gregory Hood, written in November of 2014, on the spiritual exhaustion of the West, and the durable appeal of Islam. It examines four possible foundations for the future of our civilization: Christianity, paganism, techno-liberalism, and submission to Islam. Some excerpts: To most people, being […]

Coincidence?

Yesterday my server was down for several hours. This hardly ever used to happen, but lately I’ve had a lot of little outages, and my hosting company’s technical support (the company is Bluehost) has also been outsourced to India. It used to be that when I opened a live chat with tech support I would […]

Commentus Interruptus

We had another outage today. Both this website and my email server were down for hours. (My hosting company, Bluehost, isn’t what it used to be, and I think I’m going to have to start shopping around for another service.) Apologies to all. Related content from Sphere

Make Much of Time

I was remiss not to have noted here the death of the great George Martin, who left us, earlier this week, at the age of 90. He was a visionary artist, and by all accounts a gentleman. The Beatles would not have been what they were without him. Now he is joined in death by […]

Forward!

I want to thank everybody once again who emailed me in response to my previous post, and to all who commented. I had begun to have very serious doubts about whether I was really doing anything useful or helpful here, or just shouting up a drainpipe, and the many responses I received were enormously encouraging. […]

What am I doing here?

Our commenter ‘Musey’, in response to our previous post about Special Relativity, wrote from Australia to tell me her husband Martin said I’d “explained that very well”. Readers, if you look at my early archives you’ll see that I used to explain a lot of things in here that had nothing at all to do […]

Antonin Scalia, 1936-2016

It was with the profoundest shock and sorrow that I learned, early this evening, of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. This is devastating news. I was an enormous admirer of this great jurist — not only as an irreplaceable defender of the Constitution, but as writer, a philosopher, a scholar, a humorist, a raconteur, […]

Service Notice

I’ve been using the hosting service Bluehost for eleven years now, and until recently I’ve been thrilled with their service, and have recommended them often to other bloggers. Lately, though, they’ve been scaling up, and downtime’s increased. Worse, their tech support, which used to be prompt and helpful, has been all but unreachable lately. We’ve […]

Sherp

I. Want. This.

Res Ipsa Schmipsa

“Evidence is fact that discriminates between one theory and another. Facts do not “speak for themselves.” They speak for or against competing theories. Facts divorced from theory or visions are mere isolated curiosities.” — Thomas Sowell, A Conflict Of Visions Related content from Sphere

Bob Elliott, 1923-2016

Bob Elliott, the surviving member of the great comedy duo Bob & Ray, has died. He was 92. Nobody much younger than I am will even know who these people were. It’s the curse of the old that only they know, as the great mill of history grinds the past into dust, what has been […]

Plug

Readers will be aware that I’m recovering, slowly, from having my left knee replaced. (It’ll be three weeks tomorrow since the surgery.) The operation was actually a redo of the original job, last March, which turned out to have been botched. Total knee replacement is major surgery — it inflicts a grievous wound, and the […]

What Say You, Tea Leaves?

It’s been almost a year — it was February 28th, 2015 — since I predicted that Hillary Clinton would not be the Democratic nominee. (Readers can find the historic vaticination — upon which I immediately staked a bottle of whisky in a wager with our commenter ‘The One Eyed Man’ — in the comment-thread here.) […]

Rules Of Order

Here’s an extended meditation on that modern Sisyphus, Wile E. Coyote, and on the genius of his creator, Chuck Jones.

The Kindness of Strangers

Just got a package from Amazon containing a CD by the rock band Clutch. I have no idea who sent it to me, but I do get the occasional item in the mail from readers (mostly books). Anyway, thanks, whoever you are. This is not exactly the sort of thing I usually listen to, but […]

Service Notice

OK, off for knee-revision surgery at 4:30. Back in harness before too long, I expect. At the very least I’ll post something, just as “proof of life”, as soon as I am able. If not, carry on! The barbarians are at the gates. Update, January 13th: I’m back home, but completely knackered. It was a […]

Dead Man Walking

I don’t know if you’ve been following this crazy Sean-Penn-El-Chapo story, but what an incredible dope Sean Penn is: The Man Who Got El Chapo Arrested. He will now have every neck-tattooed La Santa Muerte gang-banger south of the Rio Grande hunting him down until the end of his days. I reckon that at this […]

Friday Miscellany

Sorry for another grab-bag post, but even with all that’s going on in the U.S. and abroad I just don’t have the “bandwidth” to do much writing at the moment. (It may not be until I’ve recovered a bit from Monday’s surgery that things will get back to normal around here.) I’m also so fatigued […]