Rags of Light

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2021-07-24: rags of light newsletter #2.

2021-07-18: Of course i can build a piano. great story of pluck triumphing over common sense: Here I discovered the most interesting sound and …

2021-07-16: arepas and macrobiotics? For lunch today i made my first batch of arepas. tasty! they were a bit doughier on the inside than …

2021-07-11: Soldering! I installed a new pickup in my lap steel and am very pleased with myself. I wasn’t sure if I …

2021-07-08: An extremely niche complaint: I don’t see why there can’t be a high-quality music …

2021-07-08: covid and “immunity debt.” Don’t avoid all the germs.

2021-07-07: Zoom, covid, & class. From an interesting discussion, looking back on our response to the pandemic: The last thing I …

2021-06-30: Internet information rot. The Internet is Rotting. Interesting and disturbing: a lot of the modern world’s important …

2021-06-29: my thing.

2021-06-29: The things you learn! Since gps appeared, Australia has moved 1.8 meters due to plate tectonics.

2021-06-22: residential segregation & racial inequality. interesting things here. but “the report does …

2021-06-21: best first line of a review that i’ve read in a long time: If HP Lovecraft had joined …

2021-06-21: rags of light newsletter #1.

2021-06-19: I just wrote two letters using a dip pen. The Butlerian Jihad (or maybe just Butlerian perestroika?) …

2021-06-16: I’m still enjoying the Marian Schwartz translation of Anna Karenina. I’d forgotten that …

2021-06-14: XKCD, “Base Rate”. So, so many examples of this.

2021-06-13: I received a product with this label : “WARNING: This product can expose you to nickel, which …

2021-06-02: The Day the World Stops Shopping. I’m reading The Day the World Stops Shopping: How Ending Consumerism Saves the Environment and …

2021-06-02: one thing i always liked about samuel beckett is that he looked just the way i thought samuel …

2021-06-01: Domes! Transfiguration Church on Kizhi Island in Russia will fully reopen this year. Good news for …

2021-05-31: Links: Somehow the newsletter of Russell Moore, former big person among the Southern Baptists, led …

2021-05-30: A beautiful morning included the baptism of our grandson by his father and our son, his and our …

2021-05-28: It seems that my leaving Facebook didn’t have a huge impact…

2021-05-25: How the pandemic really “ends”: Normal means we’ve reached a risk-of-illness-or-death …

2021-05-24: Smiles. This morning we went grocery shopping unmasked! (In accord with new state regulations). You …

2021-05-19: collectives. Here’s @ayjay on pluralities: The tragedy of social media is this: Each given social-media …

2021-05-18: boredom. We are less bored than our ancestors were, but we are more afraid of boredom. We have come to know, …

2021-05-17: “a sansdemic, … that’s been building for decades.” The population bust is already …

2021-05-13: They never really end a war.

2021-05-10: human snails. Memorable phrase: Smartphone users have become “human snails carrying our homes in our pockets” …

2021-05-08: “Eat well, move more, worry less” is a great slogan to live by. I’d do well to …

2021-05-08: Fear is the product. A good reflection on the online outrage drug.

2021-05-05: Why do Americans die earlier than Europeans? From the Guardian: There have been many efforts to account for the US mortality disadvantage. There …

2021-05-03: The “Any Benefit” mindset: if I can find some benefit to acquiring one more thing, get …

2021-04-26: A real way forward? Maybe because I’m old, I stick to the idea that the only way forward from our racial history …

2021-04-18: Glowing white like fire. Nick Cave wrote his very sad “Skeleton Tree” in the context of his teenaged son’s …

2021-04-11: Today’s phrase to live by: “fighting for what I love and not against what I …

2021-04-04: Invisible victory. God’s grace always assists those who struggle, but this does not mean that a struggler is always in …

2021-04-01: Caves within caves. A story about St. Silouan of Mt Athos (+1938): …toward the end of St. Silouan’s life, …

2021-03-30: The "lazy" path to salvation. Today (March 30) the Church’s calendar includes a wonderful, eccentric commemoration: The …

2021-03-27: Would St. Benedict Zoom? Good reflections on monastic life and the technopoly in which we live and breathe. The monks are …

2021-03-26: From the Desert Fathers: A demon once came to a monk as he prayed in his cell. Robed in light, the demon said, “I am …

2021-03-25: March 25 trivia. The Feast of the Annunciation, called “Lady Day” in England, was the date of the New …

2021-03-16: They changed the Bible again! My wife and I have a running joke: when we come across something in scripture that we’d never …

2021-03-15: True things. A phrase from @ayjay that stuck with me: people who make their money from encouraging us to hate …

2021-03-11: Listen to the crazies, sometimes. This from an amazing talk by Philip K. Dick. Now I’m going to read more of his stuff. He was …

2021-03-08: What's in the cup? You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes and bumps you, making you spill your coffee …

2021-03-07: Reading a story book to the 3-year-old grandson this morning involved an attempt to explain wealth …

2021-03-05: For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. – 2 …

2021-03-01: Means-to-an-end Christianity is always popular because it appeals to what seems immediate and …

2021-02-28: Let us resolve... “All right, wise guy. If our disorder can’t be cured by politics, what’s your big idea?” I haven’t …

2021-02-26:

2021-02-25: Am I a stone, and not a sheep? Good Friday Christina Rossetti Am I a stone, and not a sheep, That I can stand, O Christ, beneath …

2021-02-25: Feeling like victims makes us more selfish.

2021-02-20: The Machine Stops This morning we remembered E. M. Forster’s The Machine Stops. It was first published in 1909! …

2021-02-17: There is a natural human tendency, when things go wrong, to want to go back to the way things were …

2021-02-05: One Thing. Instead of asking yourself whether you believe or not, ask yourself whether you have this day done …

2021-02-04: Bombs into knives. I found this oddly inspiring. It reminded me of some church bells I once saw, …

2021-02-02: Today we celebrate the Meeting (Presentation) of the Lord, sometimes called Candlemas. The snow is …

2021-01-29: The beautiful signal fire sequence is by far my favorite part of the Lord of the Rings movies: it …

2021-01-25: "maybe that’s the calling of the hour, for all of us, to say what should be obvious and is tragically not." From Russell Moore’s newsletter: “If you ever find yourself somewhere in a crowd, and …

2021-01-24: Unplanned rewilding. For years now I’ve been oddly fascinated by falling global fertility, which will before long …

2021-01-23: A little aphorism that I return to regularly: The Church’s function is not to adapt Christianity to …

2021-01-22: The Gell-Mann Amnesia effect I loved this quote from Michael Crichton: Media carries with it a credibility that is totally …

2021-01-14: Today we commemorate the (fairly obscure) St Maximos the Hut-Burner, a personal favorite. We talk …

2021-01-09: Pray Now. Via email, I just read some bad news about an acquaintance, and remembered something I’ve …

2020-12-31: A dry run? A few strands of conversation today led to my wondering if God, in his mercy, has sent us this mild …

2020-12-30: Stimulate someone. It seems that, here in the US, we’ll all be getting “stimulus” checks of $600 or …

2020-12-14: Rise of the Nominals. This: So, Why is Evangelicalism Not Declining? Because Non-Attenders Are Taking On the Label. …

2020-12-10: Somehow, being angry makes people feel good. I mean, makes people feel that they are good. Hard to …

2020-12-07: Labyrinths. Shirley du Boulay’s The Road to Canterbury has a section on medieval mazes/labyrinths as …

2020-12-07: Blogging, email newsletter? Not enough! Start a printed magazine not available online. This article …

2020-12-01: The Sower. The many homilies that I’ve heard about Christ’s Parable of the Sower usually focus on …

2020-12-01: Angels. I came across this amazing painting, Angels Appearing before the Shepherds, on Gracy …

2020-11-28: "Christianity is not an intellectual system, a moral code, or a political stance." Here are perhaps the three most widely held interpretations of Christianity: Christ as the spokesman …

2020-11-28: Stuff From this interesting collection of statistics on how much stuff we own, I’ve picked out a …

2020-11-28: Trend: Neo-feudalism.

2020-11-20: A sizable portion of the American public appears to crave enemies. – Damon Linker, …

2020-11-20: Just plain harmful. Despite its conveniences, the internet is catastrophically harmful. We’d be much better off if …

2020-11-19: I need to get over being furious whenever some media source misuses “exponential.” It …

2020-11-18: First snow. We have a family tradition of reading James Joyce’s beautiful story “The Dead” on …

2020-11-17: The temperate techie. In my long-ago techie days, the name of Edsger Dijkstra (d. 2002) was familiar to anyone who was at …

2020-11-16: Found by the wife on FB. Couldn’t resist posting it.

2020-11-13: Phones! I’m part of an online community that gets very excited about new phones. All these phones make …

2020-11-10: Hoping for the collapse of the attention economy Reflections on how the sale of identities to advertisers has molded our whole conception of online …

2020-11-09: How to walk across a parking lot. I enjoyed this. I always aim for an area with few other cars. …

2020-11-05: Reading now. Great cover image.

2020-11-05: My Blue State’s presidential vote map. The rural-urban divide as always. Every blue county …

2020-11-04: Surveillance begging. I graduated from college almost 50 years ago, have moved many times, and have …

2020-11-03: Remembering Metropolitan Maximos Metropolitan Maximos of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America reposed yesterday, and I want to …

2020-11-02: Vileness and regular people. An installment of Nick Cave’s fine newsletter (read it, even in you don’t especially …

2020-11-02: C. S. Lewis on the news. ‘It is one of the evils of rapid diffusion of news that the sorrows of all the world come to …

2020-10-29: The Blues and the Greens, revisited. Factions that aren’t really firm about what they believe, shift positions, but are dead-set in …

2020-10-24: Vanity Fair improvements... Many passengers stop to take their pleasure or make their profit in the Fair, instead of going …

2020-10-22: “On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and …

2020-10-08: Sports viewership is way down across the board. This discussion offers a few possible reasons, …

2020-10-05: Entrance Requirement. [At] the Moscow Seminary in the seventies… The young man at the opening interview was not …

2020-09-28: The local political campaigns are ramping up, and so far I’ve seen nothing but attack ads. The …

2020-09-16: Cookbook Peeves. I got a new (old, really, ordered a used copy) cookbook that I’m enjoying very much. One of …

2020-09-10: Against Originality. From maybe my favorite cookbook, Viana LaPlace’s Unplugged Kitchen: In my family we basically …

2020-09-06: Reflections on "dialect" and "language". I’m reading Elena Ferrante’s truly great Neapolitan Novels, which follow the lives of a …

2020-09-05: Began the day with the Epistle reading about “the wisdom of this age… the rulers of …

2020-09-04: A big day in music. Today (Sept. 5 2020), the ongoing Halberstadt performance of John Cage’s As Slow as Possible …

2020-09-03: On the folly of political endorsements by church leaders. Recognizing the eschatological nature of the Church and that her citizenship is in heaven …

2020-09-01: Human Protection. Two verses from our services that I especially appreciate these days: Put not your trust in princes, …

2020-08-31: marriage & faith: ecstasy, discipline, bondage, freedom. Many misconceive religious life in the same way they misunderstand married life: They expect …

2020-08-30: The Rise and Fall of the Corporate R&D Lab. I link to this article because it brings back many memories. I grew up in New Jersey, and my dad was …

2020-08-29: The Non-Voter. The Non-voter. Each election there are three choices and the winner is always not voting. In 2016 …

2020-08-26: Two Thousand Years. “I have thought very much about the effectiveness of nonviolent action — how it is that one …

2020-08-23: Listening to Morton Feldman, For John Cage. Have you ever listened to that interval? Let’s …

2020-08-23: China's War on Religion China’s War on Religion. A very good (grim) summary of where things stand. “First they …

2020-08-21: Difficult books aren’t out to manipulate us. Writing that grabs your attention, is accessibly …

2020-08-19: Are you voting for the War Party, or the War Party? The Anti-war Wing of Both Parties is Dead. Not that either had much power or influence to start …

2020-08-18: “When we start to speak what the world wants to hear, the critiques of the Church will …

2020-08-16: Happy birthday to Charles Bukowski. Here’s his poem “Nirvana”.

2020-08-15: How to deface a book. I’ve gotten more into marking up the books I read, with lots of underlining and notes in the …

2020-08-14: The Gandalf Option From an interview with Alan Jacobs (aka @ayjay): (edited a bit) Question: In the midst of our …

2020-08-14: Medieval Death Pits, continued... …in which I find support in this piece in The Nation: It’s time to abolish nursing …

2020-08-12: The good that lies at hand. We turn to Christ and wonder, “What should we do?” The answer, I think, is simple and immediate: Do …

2020-08-11: Faith, Death, Pandemic. A remarkable reflection by a priest’s widow.

2020-07-25: Ethiopia's Church Forests. Ethiopia’s Church Forests. Beautiful & encouraging. The video is part of a long essay with …

2020-07-24: 68 Life Lessons. I liked some of these 68 Life Lessons from Kevin Kelly. (Thanks Rebeccah Toh) Snippets: Trust me: …

2020-07-24: What would be cool: Today the Turkish state reconverted the Great Church (Agia Sophia) in Istanbul into a mosque, and …

2020-07-23: Medieval Death Pits, continued. Again: If COVID19 does one good thing, it will be to make us look at the state of elder care, …

2020-07-23: Holy Bees. Our friends at Holy Cross Monastery in the wilds of WV have a bee-keeping business that includes …

2020-07-20: Outside the Box. I love this tiny record player. It drives around on the surface of the record like …

2020-07-12: Confusing religious liberty and religious power. Good thoughts.

2020-07-08: War. A statue of Emperor Haile Selassie was torn down in London. I thought this might be an especially …

2020-07-06: Here is a review of books entirely about the ampersand. Image: the 62 distinct ampersands included …

2020-07-02: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, 1969: The Church will become small. Beautiful.

2020-07-02: Found in a pocket notebook from last year. All I know is that I must have been sitting in a meeting.

2020-06-25: The art of speaking Don’t speak unnecessarily. When speaking, think carefully and be concise. Be …

2020-06-25: An allegorical approach to life. This fully Christian way of living requires a kind of allegorical approach to life and to people: …

2020-06-22: Samuel Johnson, anti-racist pioneer His life (1709-1784) was more or less bookended by the beginning and end of the British …

2020-06-19: The world is a burning bush of God’s energies. – St. Gregory Palamas

2020-06-12: Surrender playlist. Today I was musing about some of my favorite “Spirituals,” – a word I’m using …

2020-06-09: Silence is a mystery of the age to come, but words are instruments of this world. – St Isaac …

2020-06-08: Pentecost O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, who art everywhere present and fillest all …

2020-06-01: Here’s an excerpt from an essay by Fr Stephen Freeman, The Violence of Modernity The whole …

2020-05-29: In my reading today (Epistle of St James, it happens) I was struck again by how often, and how …

2020-05-26: On Giving. This C S Lewis Quote was on my mind for a couple of days. I tracked it down to his Mere …

2020-05-26: On Systematic Theology: Such reasoning is rare in the Fathers. They did not think of theological …

2020-05-26: Peace. Peace is the integrity and health of the soul; to lose peace is to lose spiritual health. …

2020-05-25: You laugh. (source: xkcd).

2020-05-25: Grace apart from Faith. (For the Sunday of the Blind Man)

2020-05-15: On the Unreality of Money: A reflection on the fact that one American will soon be …

2020-05-15: Rule of Thumb: When a recipe calls for a “clove of garlic,” obviously that’s a …

2020-05-14: In this present time of verbal inflation that only aggravates loneliness, only the man of prayerful …

2020-05-09: RIP Little Richard, aged 87, which, boy does that make me feel old. The link will take you to his …

2020-05-08: Happy Birthday to Gary Snyder, who is 90 today. “Changing the filter, wiping noses, going to …

2020-05-05: Some powerful words, I thought, on grief and bereavement, from someone who’s been there. We …

2020-05-04: Here’s a powerful testament to writing actual letters, from a plain-text advocate: Q: Is …

2020-05-01: Alan Jacobs, Against the Common Good: Wendell Berry once wrote, “Community is a concept, like …

2020-04-22: P. D. James’ Children of Men is set in 2021! I read the book after being impressed by the …

2020-04-21: The Amish Health Care System. Fascinating, subversive. Things could be really different in a society …

2020-04-17: Pet peeves (one in an ongoing series): Confusing “Axiomatic” with …

2020-04-12: Very strange times. No political or sociological commentary here. But I wonder if there’s been …

2020-04-12: Here in Orthodoxy, it’s Palm Sunday. As I heard one of our bishops say today (on video of …

2020-04-11: No place like home. I’ve been realizing how much, spiritually, the Church – the physical …

2020-04-06: Anger vs. Hatred, along with other good observations. Really to reject hate is a job most of us do …

2020-04-05: I listened with gratitude to Queen Elizabeth II’s address to her nation on the coronavirus …

2020-04-04: Choral singing for our new Lockdown Life: Down in the River to Pray. 36 voices, recorded at …

2020-04-02: Politicos. I loved this bit from an appreciation of recently departed Senator Tom Coburn: Both …

2020-03-31: I enjoyed Tom Standage’s The Victorian Internet, a short, engaging history of the development …

2020-03-31: Kitchen reform. This from the good Roden Newsletter moved me to take a hard look at the kitchen. I …

2020-03-28: Snail mail. I try to send a postcard to my (2 ½ year old) grandson every week or so. Lots of …

2020-03-25: "Today is the beginning of our salvation..." Today is the beginning of our salvation… – Troparion for Annunciation I sometimes feel …

2020-03-21: Two Book recommendations, now that you have the time. Since so many of us are in a place of opportunity to read more, here are a couple of not so well …

2020-03-16: Memento Mori Since the current contagion has slightly increased my wife’s and my chance of imminent death …

2020-03-14: Happy Pi Day. The mnemonic I learned for remembering the first 15 digits of pi: Now I want a drink, …

2020-03-12: I finished Camus’ The Plague. What a book. I’ve read various speculations about it being …

2020-03-02: In defense of 'passivism'. In a probing, quirky essay, Alan Jacobs joins reflections on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park to …

2020-02-28: Entranced by Erling Kagge’s Walking. All my walks have been different, but looking back I see …

2020-02-18: Converts and “cradle” believers. Sometimes I feel a little envious of those who came to …

2020-02-17: What is a merciful heart? This by St Isaac of Syria gets quoted out of proportion to the rest of his …

2020-02-17: Eye Candy of the week: For 30 years a Japanese chef made beautiful drawings of everything he ate. …

2020-02-16: Open Hiring. I enjoyed thinking of ways to extend this to non-entry-level jobs, college admissions, …

2020-02-14: Here I learned that Uranopolitan is what I want to list in response to all requests for national, …

2020-02-14: Still reveling in my discovery of Edith Wharton. She’s everything you love about Henry James, …

2020-02-14: Nothing strikes me more when I read the controversies of past ages than the fact that both sides …

2020-02-13: This engineer wanted a rotary-dial mobile phone because, really, who doesn’t? So she built …

2020-02-12: I’m just discovering, at this late date, Edith Wharton. She is wonderful. Everything you like …

2020-02-10: Cloud Neutrality? For all our concern about “net neutrality”, the massive physical …

2020-02-10: We Orthodox have entered the period of the Triodion, whose odd name is explained here. The book …

2020-02-08: I learned that there are exclusively B&W digital cameras! Extremely crisp images. Really …

2020-02-08: Contrasts. (Rev. Gary Davis and Phil Ochs’ daughter. The 60s!)

2020-02-07: Analysis of why comment threads deteriorate. I liked points 2 & 3.

2020-02-07: The Red Wheel From a review of the latest-to-be-translated volume of Solzhenitsyn’s Red Wheel epic: …

2020-02-02: Every Holy Church is a piece of Heaven upon the earth. And when you are in Church, you are truly in …

2020-01-22: Partly prompted by this, I thought today that, with some care, the clothes I own may be all I need …

2020-01-20: Consumer update: I’ve tried Impossible Burger, and yes, it’s a very convincing ground …

2020-01-20: Rise of the "Nones" as part of a wider trend toward social isolation. Thanks to @ayjay’s Pinboard feed for this article. Excerpt: Before the 1960s, say, it was …

2020-01-18: I’ve been working my way through Richmond Lattimore’s translation of the New Testament. …

2020-01-13: “Yes, comic book movies really have penetrated Hollywood at every level, including the Oscars …

2020-01-10: Polenta for Breakfast. Polenta has a reputation for taking a long time to prepare, so I was glad to come up with this easy …

2020-01-10: How to think about time. I loved this image in Austin Kleon’s newsletter.

2019-12-31: Strong and useful counsel from Cal Newport, along with some helpful challenges. when it comes to …

2019-12-27: The quest for equality: Swedish school lunch cook’s meals were too tasty, unfair to students …

2019-12-23: A new reality. The classic example of this comes from German philosopher Martin Heidegger, who …

2019-12-20: The real Benedict Option: Benedict. A line from a fellow-supporter of monastic life: >As I always say about MacIntyre’s …

2019-12-16: The Daily Apocalypse Father Thomas Hopko, of blessed memory, liked to point out that, when we pray the “Our …

2019-12-08: Just read Martin Mosebach, The 21: A Journey into the Land of the Coptic Martyrs. A powerful book, …

2019-12-08: +Elder Ephraim of Arizona (1927-2019). Memory Eternal.

2019-12-06: Think how different modern Christianity would be if we accepted that ours is inescapably an ascetic …

2019-11-30: Xi Jinping will be the 21st century’s Stalin. Meanwhile we waste our anxieties on declining …

2019-11-26: On following the media: This story, “Why a Certain Priest Refused to Read a Newspaper”, spoke strongly to some …

2019-11-22: there can be more genuine fellowship among those who share the same disposition than among those who …

2019-11-18: Voting: parties of death My thoughts this morning turned to voting after I read, and mostly agreed with, this manifesto by …

2019-11-16: Digital Feudalism.

2019-11-14: You think you’ve read the New Testament, then you find something like this. Hmmm… For …

2019-11-06: Memento Mori. At St Tikhon’s cemetery. No immediate plans to move in.

2019-10-30: Kitchen window.

2019-10-29: A couple of possible homilies, and social observations, in one cartoon.

2019-10-29: Spiritual joy is not an emotion.

2019-10-24: Robert Alter on his preference for the King James Bible: The faults in the KJV come from inadequate …

2019-10-23: A book to encourage us to write actual letters. May I not just read it, but actually write letters.

2019-10-18: Can Local Food Feed an Urban World? In Cleveland, for example, converting 80 percent of every …

2019-10-18: “Our society tells us that pleasure is bad and sinful…” What? Source of this …

2019-10-17: American de-churching. More on the rapid decline of Christian practice in the US, from a Pew Report, In U.S., Decline of …

2019-10-17: Nick Cave grieves: This is not for our eyes After learning about it, for a while I became a bit obsessed with the story of Nick Cave’s …

2019-10-14: The Saint. The Saint shows us a human being purified from the dross of all that is less than human. In him we …

2019-10-12: What is worship for? What is worship for? in the Scriptures (and through church history) worship was intended to be …

2019-10-10: Wendell Berry, still ahead of us. A good portrait of the thinker who’s had it right all along.

2019-09-25: cucina povera I’m making a batch of bean and celery soup, based on an italian recipe. In the notes I noticed …

2019-09-20: Remember usury? The collapse of Christian society follows from the church’s embrace of the world. “the …

2019-09-18: Micro.

2019-09-17: No such thing as "secular." Fr Stephen Freeman on “Make it to be” vs. “Show it to be”: Fr. Alexander …

2019-09-17: Here’s a great profile of one of the dwindling number of human fire lookouts. He stands in the …

2019-09-16: Provocative swap. I ordered a vegetarian Chinese cookbook that turned out to be mostly disappointing at the recipe …

2019-09-13: So good. First paragraph: For a human character to reveal truly exceptional qualities, one must …

2019-09-12: The Medieval peasant diet. A cookbook reconstructs 12th-century commoners’ diet. Bread, beans and ale were the foundation …

2019-09-12: Prayer is Plural. From Our Fathers’ Bible: There isn’t any great chasm fixed between “Bible Times” and today. …

2019-09-04: It’s a good day. Science says I can slouch all I want to.

2019-09-04: Fall down seven times, get up eight.

2019-08-31: Considering monastic life? Probably not, but you might still appreciate these comments by Abbot …

2019-08-28: Smudges. I’ve been reading the new Orthodox Christian Prayers from St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press. …

2019-08-21: Airships return! There’s a move to bring back lighter-than-air craft, which has been a fantasy of mine for a …

2019-08-17: You probably don’t need air conditioning. We’ve mostly done without it for decades. In …

2019-08-14: Grandparenting.

2019-08-13: The not-tragedy of missed possibilities @ayjay’s real blog reflects on how Middlemarch is (among other things) a story of just-missed …

2019-08-11: Gentle. Small. Humble. Slow. Simple. The author’s summary of principles in the book I just …

2019-08-07: Vegetarians who became butchers. It’s all about ethically sourced critters.

2019-08-05: We’ve had this little framed quote in our house for a long time. Today I noted that my beloved …

2019-07-31: Admission Lotteries. Do College Admissions by Lottery. Colleges would set admission criteria that applied to everyone, …

2019-07-30: Not even bad science: non-science. Here’s a good rant about the state of nutrition ‘science.’ The nutrition world has …

2019-07-29: Years ago I went through a very enjoyable phase learning to tie knots with my son. So I liked …

2019-07-25: The iconostasis & the storm lamp. Recently I had the pleasure of proofreading the autobiography of a friend who had been active in …

2019-07-20: Wake up first! Archimandrite Andrew Konanos has a powerful account of his encounter with St Porphyrios (+1991): I …

2019-07-19: Making do is a deeply pragmatic philosophy. It means asking of our things the only question we …

2019-07-18: Home: feels like a city when you walk/drive around in it, but step back and it’s just a …

2019-07-17: One of the great things about this book is that it has not a single photo. More and more …

2019-07-14: Music: another purpose This piece, The Story Behind John Cage’s 4’33”, reminded me of my earlier post on …

2019-07-13: Coffin Clubs This little article describes the rise of Coffin Clubs in New Zealand: a mix of woodworking class, …

2019-07-12: Here’s an interesting-looking book that continues the theme of an earlier post: that the …

2019-07-10: Cosmic, man. I’ve been reading a new translation of the sayings of the Desert Fathers, Give Me a Word. In …

2019-07-10: More Friction, please. Good observation: The Internet Needs More Friction. It was pointed out a long time ago that setting …

2019-07-03: Listening to Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin. My aversion to high drama in music …

2019-07-03: Wow, someone other than me thinks the American Revolution was a mistake.

2019-07-01: Boots: Grandpa and Grandson.

2019-06-28: I cook a lot of rice. Over the years my water:rice ratio has shrunk steadily from 2:1 to 1:1. I …

2019-06-23: Anti-information. Following the news, and higher education, can make us less well informed, at least about our …

2019-06-22: Can you remember your mental pictures of the Lord of the Rings characters before you saw the movies? …

2019-06-20: Yes, the “mindfulness” fad is awful. But in my own experience I’m struck over and …

2019-06-20: The odd, new meaning of "elopement." This discouraging article talks about the trend of couples (often already massively in debt from …

2019-06-19: Anti-suspense. I’ve been on an extended Anthony Trollope reading kick, so I enjoyed this essay comparing him …

2019-06-18: The night the lights went out. Drew Magary, one of my antisocial self’s favorite writers (who’s another? Charles …

2019-06-17: Legal commercial surrogacy is an abomination, which ought to be obvious, but apparently isn’t. …

2019-06-14: What is it to read a book? In a conversation last year, a (Facebook) friend wrote about having read a book. Then it came out …

2019-06-14: Working Colleges. According to This NYT article, there are only 10 working colleges in the United States: colleges at …

2019-06-12: The way of broken rice. Today I ate a bowl of white rice for lunch. (Not quite that simple – I jazzed it up with soy sauce …

2019-06-12: Succinct advice for new internet users: “Welcome to all the new users! Don’t click the ads, …

2019-06-11: Home sweet home.

2019-06-09: Faith, fertility, and the future. This very interesting piece by demographer Eric Kaufman predicts a demographically-driven shift in …

2019-06-06: Prayer and Joy I loved this passage by Elder Aemilianos of the Holy Mountain on joy as the criterion of true …

2019-06-04: Candy bars and Peak technologies. Drew Magary meditates on why there have been no fundamentally new candy bars in decades. It’s …

2019-06-04: Downsizing higher education Rachel Lu points out a fact we don’t talk about: American higher education is facing a …

2019-06-03: Garden Therapy. The Brain Pickings blog explores Oliver Sack’s thoughts on the therapeutic side of gardens, …

2019-05-24: Awed by the beauty Awed by the beauty of thy virginity and the exceeding radiance of thy purity, Gabriel stood amazed …

2019-05-23: In praise of kitchen shears. Kitchen shears are the most under-appreciated tool in the kitchen. For a long list of uses, …

2019-05-21: Read! If you would like to read more than you do, here’s some useful advice. Its main point: when …

2019-05-20: Women and men on abortion. This Vox article, Men and women have similar views on abortion establishes an important point: In …

2019-05-20: In a nutshell. I wish I could find an exact source for this from Yuval Hariri: Modernity can be …

2019-05-20: Too many children? No. This from a post on the Earther blog, Is the World Really Overpopulated?: We live in an era of …

2019-05-18: Mexit: Americans moving to Mexico. I loved this man-bites-dog story on the surge of Americans emigrating to Mexico. Some just like …

2019-05-18: The obsolescence of repentance. Alan Jacobs remembers John Profumo, a British politician whose career was destroyed by a sexual …

2019-05-15: Finally some good news: Parrots are taking over America. Needless to say, our local Cornell …

2019-05-10: Two stones. Writing about the “Rags of Light” title of the blog, I remembered an old Rabbinical …

2019-05-08: "Asking myself why I breathe" Wim Wenders, director of some of the most interesting movies (Wings of Desire; Paris, Texas) asks …

2019-05-06: Divine Liturgy: "Byzantine" or Universal? We sometimes hear or read that the usual Orthodox liturgical cycle is culturally foreign even to …

2019-05-03: Jaron Lanier is too optimistic. In a recent post, I mentioned Jaron Lanier’s Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Media Accounts …

2019-05-01: Taming the Octopus, Part 2. Today I de-activated my Facebook account. This turned out to be emotionally more difficult than …

2019-04-29: Further Up and Further In: a few words to a new convert On Holy Saturday we were blessed to witness the reception of five catechumens into Holy Orthodoxy. …

2019-04-22: Library Hand. I’m a fan of Wanda Gag’s classic children’s book Millions of Cats (which, among …

2019-04-22: The Upside of Social Media Blackouts. Sri Lanka imposed a social media blackout after the massacres. This piece reflects on the risks …

2019-04-21: End Race. From an interview with the author of a memoir by a “mixed-race” author: It ended as an …

2019-04-21: Report from the trenches: “I have a friend who teaches philosophy. They have a student who …