Month: May 2011


literatureCatholic Arts and Letters Weekly

The quiet Catholic convert and scholar Gerard Casey reviews the case for conservative libertarians. Required reading for everyone who clings to the worn-out idea that libertarians are godless antinomians. . . . more

Gadgets zapping your brain power? You might need to go on a digital diet. . . . more

Is the guy a psychopath? How can you tell? This article tells you, complete with a 20-point test. . . . more

Slavery is increasing . . . in the United States. And the slaves aren’t mowing the lawn. Many aren’t even 18. . . . more (R-rated)

Military desertions on a massive scale have been with us since the Revolutionary War. This man deserted after army bureaucrats revoked his discharge without explanation. . . . more

What exactly is a bestseller? When did we start tracking? And is it me, or do all bestsellers kinda look alike today? . . . more

Minimum wage laws? Pshaw. You just give your favored industries an exemption and call ’em “interns.” . . . moreRead the rest


Happy Memorial Day. I expect a dearth of traffic today, consistent with past holiday experiences. I expect the traffic to be especially light, since the country is drying out for the first time in a week. We’re expecting mostly sunny skies and our first 90-degree day. I’m not a fan of hot weather, but after the miserably-cold and damp May, I’m kinda looking forward to it.

Just this for today: interview with Jim Grant. It’ll give you things to think about as you ponder your summer investments. Excerpt:

Q: Where should people put their money now?

A: The trouble with the present is that nothing is actually cheap. My big thought is that our crises are becoming ever closer in time. The recovery time from the Great Depression was 25 years. The stock market peaked in 1929. It got back there in 1954. We had a peak in 2000, crash, levitation, then the biggest debt crisis in anybody’s memory. The cycles are becoming compressed. The temptation to become invested at peaks of these shorter cycles is ever greater.

Perhaps one way to proceed is to hold cash at the opportunity cost of not much in Treasury bills. You make nothing, but you want to have this money when things are absolutely, not just relatively, cheap. This time of full or overvaluation shall pass. On recent form, it’ll pass in a thunderclap and there will be a panic and it’ll seem as if the world’s ending. And that’s when somebody who is nimble can get fully invested in a comfortable way.

It won’t feel comfortable, it will feel awful, but I think that’s the way

Read the rest

Something for Sunday Morning

“You cannot learn humility from books; you learn it by accepting humiliations. Humiliations are not meant to torture us; they are gifts from God. These little humiliations–if we accept them with joy–will help us to be holy, to have a meek and humble heart like Jesus.” Mother Teresa… Read the rest



Not Just for Pancakes

George Washington had his own beer recipe. It actually sounds a little scary: bran hops, yeast and molasses. Molasses? I guess I haven’t lived enough. I’d never heard of molasses as a beer ingredient. According to, it’s a common ingredient in “small beer” (which is how they have labeled GW’s concoction). The same site reproduced GW’s recipe in a legible format:

Take a large Sifter full of Bran Hops to your Taste — Boil these 3 hours. Then strain out 30 Gall. into a Cooler put in 3 Gallons Molasses while the Beer is scalding hot or rather drain the molasses into the Cooler. Strain the Beer on it while boiling hot let this stand til it is little more than Blood warm. Then put in a quart of Yeast if the weather is very cold cover it over with a Blanket. Let it work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask. leave the Bung open til it is almost done working — Bottle it that day Week

Mind Games

If it’s good for the soul, it’s good for the mind: Red wine and chocolate are good for the mind and even better when consumed together, scientists claim. They recommend a glass of Merlot and an after-dinner chocolate mint. Based on my reading, it sounds like the combination has many of the same effects of an energy drink, which I still drink occasionally, especially if I’m grappling with some intense recreational reading. Maybe I’ll try the wine and chocolate route, but instead of a glass of Merlot and mint, I’ll try a Hershey … Read the rest


tornadoFreaky May

This wild May has blown me away. Not literally, thank goodness, but figuratively. I actually watched the Weather Channel this week for more than “Your Local Forecast.” I don’t remember a May with a mix of snow, 85-degree days, storm-after-storm, and a string of tornadoes. But is such weather rare? Cafe Hayek ran a great little post earlier this week that breaks down the figures. From 1940 to 1979, the number of annual American fatalities from natural disasters was 290. Over the past three decades, the average is 160 (194, if we include the Katrina deaths, which resulted largely from the levee breach). The figures surprise me, but then again, I was born in 1966. I don’t have many weather memories from the pre-Reagan years. * * * * * * * Do tornadoes look eerie because of what they do (a subjective thing) or because they are objectively eerie-looking? * * * * * * * I cheated TDE readers out of Catholic Blogging Wednesday, but I think I can compensate for it with one link: The Pulp.It. I found it via NC Register. The blogger there does a great round-up, twice a day. Perhaps the best Catholic blog I’ve ran across in nearly two years. * * * * * * * Yesterday, The Pulp.It linked to a Christopher Dawson tribute. I read a ton of Dawson in my twenties. This makes me want to break out his Dynamics of World History. I remember that I enjoyed it, and my copy has a lot of my notes and underlinings, but I simply don’t remember much about … Read the rest


literatureCatholic Arts and Letters Weekly

Chesterton sighting, and it’s a big one: Ian Kerr has written a new monster GKC biography. And the Telegraph reviews it. Unfortunately, the Telegraph pretty much pans it. . . . more

Do bloggers need imprimaturs? If so, people are taking bloggers too seriously. Maybe it’s not a bad thing. . . . more

Get in the back of the sanctuary. The role of black nuns in the fight for desegregation. . . . more

Exploring Tolkien’s faith. . . . more

Flash crash meet the splash crash. . . . more

Eleanor Roosevelt hagiography, but a frank acknowledgment of her sapphism. . . . moreRead the rest