Month: September 2019


The Blog and Podcast Return Today. Just in time for . . .

Pot Cafe Opens Today

I favor legalization, especially when I’ve seen first hand people benefit from marijuana’s medicinal capacities, but I can’t get rid of the feeling that this is all going to end badly.

America’s first lounge to allow consuming cannabis opens on Monday in West Hollywood. It’s called the Lowell Cafe, and brings a bit of Amsterdam to the U.S. with a fancy name.

For the first time in the country, customers will legally be able to order pot as if it were a bottle of wine — and that in fact is the upscale analogue its owners are aiming for. The pot can be smoked in pre-rolled joints or vaped — even as the industry is grappling with a spike in lung damage and deaths linked to vaping.

Bad Metaphysics Makes Bad Practice

One interesting challenge in Bhutan [to wiping out malaria] was the Buddhist aversion, in this deeply religious country, to killing any life form, even a disease-carrying mosquito. Thus the officials spraying buildings with insecticide had to reframe this practice. Rinzin Namgay, Bhutan’s first entomologist, laughs when he remembers that they would tell anxious homeowners during IRS: “We’re just spraying the house. If a mosquito wants to commit suicide by coming in, let it.” Decades ago, some sprayers had to muscle their way into houses, accompanied by police.

Autumn Silver

It seems the fall promises one great movie after another. This is at least the third “must see” movie I’ve read about in the past month.

Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” is a coldly enthralling, long-form knockout — … Read the rest


Note: A death in the family has derailed TWE temporarily. Give me a few days . . .

Baptisms at Practice

Dabo Swinney’s faith has aided in the recruiting that’s made Clemson a college football powerhouse, while drawing the ire of groups that say he runs afoul of the First Amendment


Family Gonna Be Sorry When They Want Some Trail Mix From Dad’s Cargo Shorts They Just Made Fun Of

The Athlete’s Jezebel

The same people who years ago entrusted her with millions—from Ricky Williams to Dennis Rodman to Travis Best—wince today at the mention of her name. They’ll tell you how she left them broke. How she’s a “chameleon ghost witch.” How she’s a forgery of the American Dream. And every athlete’s worst nightmare.

Reading in the Family

I never claimed to be the world’s greatest dad or anything, but I certainly didn’t fail my kids on this front:

[W]hy some people grow up to derive great pleasure from reading, while others don’t. That why is consequential—leisure reading has been linked to a range of good academic and professional outcomes—as well as difficult to fully explain. But a chief factor seems to be the household one is born into, and the culture of reading that parents create within it. . . .

Studies looking at “family scholarly culture” have found that children who grew up surrounded by books tend to attain higher levels of education and to be better readers than those who didn’t, even after controlling for their parents’ education.

The mere presence of books is not magically transformative. “The question is, I take a child who’s not doing very well in … Read the rest


Family matters are taking me out of commission for a few days. Enjoy this mix of regular stories and drinking stories.

Priests Spray Drunks with Holy Water from Plane

I’m absolutely fascinated by this ongoing tornado born of Holy Mother Russia’s wrestling match with the social wrecking ball that was Communism.

Russian Orthodox priests in the Central Russian city of Tver took to the skies in a small airplane to save citizens from “drunkenness and fornication,” reported a Russian local media outlet.

On Sept. 11, Sobriety Day, an unofficial Russian holiday, the priests carried 70 liters (about 18 gallons) of holy water onto the aircraft.

Once the plane reached an altitude of 200 to 300 meters (approximately 800 feet) the blessings began. Clergymen held a prayer service before pouring the holy water out of the plane’s open door.

A Guide to a Shorter Bourbon Trail

I spent an evening in Bardstown last June. Lovely town.

As whiskey pilgrimages go, it’s hard to beat the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. What started 20 years ago with a handful of producers opening their doors to a public thirsty for brown spirits has slowly grown into one of the biggest attractions in the Bluegrass State. The official route packs in 36 distilleries, representing some of the oldest and newest whiskey makers in America. It would take weeks to properly tour each one, and if you have the time and liver function, you should do precisely that. In the meantime, however, find yourself a shortcut. From Lexington to Bardstown, Loretto to Louisville, these are the 13 best distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Anarchism, Farming, and Climate

I offer it for Read the rest


Abortion Mysticism

Douthat is the man . . .

The unapologetic grisliness of a Klopfer, or a Kermit Gosnell before him, haunts a Buttigiegian abortion politics more than it does a “safe, legal, rare” triangulation, because it establishes the most visceral of contrasts — between the mysticism required to believe that the right to life begins at birth and the cold and obvious reality that what our laws call a nonperson can still become a corpse.

Early History of the Potato

The author draws a parallel between early attitudes toward potatoes and current attitudes toward insects, implying that, just as we’re grossed out by insects now, we might change our minds. It’s possible, but man, potatoes don’t buzz and they don’t move and they don’t sting. It’s a stretched comparison.

Spanish conquistadores were the first Europeans to encounter potatoes, in South America in the 1530s. It took botanists years to breed varieties that grew well in Europe, but it was worth it. Potatoes produced two to four times as many calories per acre as cereal crops – and they grew far faster, and in most kinds of soil. Potatoes were an efficient, reliable foodstuff.

Many ordinary folk were unconvinced. Clergymen warned that since the Bible didn’t mention potatoes, God hadn’t meant people to eat them. Herbalists believed that potatoes’ resemblance to a leper’s gnarled hands suggested that they caused leprosy. But attitudes began to change when Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, a French scientist, promoted the potato in a series of publicity stunts.

The Farce that is Snopes

Snopes is the most-overrated and partisan “fact checking” service since the fact checkers at Pravda under Stalin. This is fitting Read the rest


Catholic Intelligentsia Waging War

Let’s be a part of the Catholic Dark Web that must emerge in order for this to succeed.

As Deneen was speaking, blueberry pie was served to an audience that included Rod Dreher, the well-known American Conservative blogger and author of The Benedict Option; Matthew Schmitz, an editor of the ecumenical religious journal First Things; and Bria Sandford, editorial director of Penguin’s right-of-center Sentinel book division. The next morning, the New York Times columnist Ross Douthat arrived.

In the year and a half since the conference, other writers who have staked out public positions on the nonliberal right include the Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule, the First Things editor R.R. Reno, the former Washington Examiner managing editor Helen Andrews, and the University of Dallas assistant professor of political science — and deputy editor of the journal American Affairs — Gladden Pappin. One might add Mary Ann Glendon, the Harvard law professor and former ambassador to the Vatican, who in July was named the head of President Trump’s Commission on Unalienable Rights

The Devil and Mr. Seinfeld

Damn. Seinfeld reruns are still my “go to” when I’m too tired to go to anything new.

Netflix will hold the global streaming rights to “Seinfeld” for five years starting in 2021, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the deal. The contract will commence once Hulu’s contract ends with Sony in June of that year.

Another (Social Justice) War Casualty

Amen to the casualty’s observation that, as a comedian, he must take risks.

Live from New York, it… won’t be Shane Gillis. The comedian, one of three new cast members recently … Read the rest


Paid to be a Jerk

Gunderson survived what many might consider the worst job in professional sports: playing for the Washington Generals. He was the team captain and starting point guard for a team whose sole existence is to lose to the Harlem Globetrotters.

Soccer Concussions

Well, maybe you can stop heading the ball? That’s one thing I’ve never understood: How can a sport turn a blind eye to such a brazenly dangerous play, when the play itself isn’t very important to the game?

Yet, we know that female athletes have endured repetitive blows to the head, too. Girls soccer players, in particular, have been found to be about as likely to suffer concussions as boys football players—and three times more likely than boys soccer players. But very little is known about what that means for the future, because researchers are hardly studying the long-term consequences of repetitive hits over time in women.

CIA Unmasked

I would write more about the CIA, but the very nature of its role makes all writing and analysis based on speculation. When you get even the smallest glimpse, it’s fascinating.

Decades later, however, spectacular revelations cast Olson’s death in a completely new light. First, the CIA admitted that, shortly before he died, Olson’s colleagues had lured him to a retreat and fed him LSD without his knowledge. Then it turned out that Olson had talked about leaving the CIA – and told his wife that he had made “a terrible mistake”. Slowly, a counter-narrative emerged: Olson was disturbed about his work and wanted to quit, leading his comrades to consider him a security risk. All of this led him … Read the rest

The Weekend Eudemon

Marco . . . Polo

Western civilization’s first secular bestseller.

The world-famous explorer Marco Polo is credited with many things, but perhaps the greatest is compiling one of the world’s first best-selling travelogues. Published around 1300, the book chronicles his experiences during a 24-year odyssey from Venice to Asia and back again.

Polo did not write down his adventures himself. Shortly after his return to Venice in 1295, Polo was imprisoned by the Genoese, enemies of the Venetians, when he met a fellow prisoner, a writer from Pisa named Rusticiano. Polo told his stories to his new friend, who wrote them down and published them in a medieval language known as Franco-Italian.

Lining Up to Get Raped

The article says, “And fans have no choice.” Well, um, yes they do.

It’s not your imagination: Concert ticket prices are going through the roof.

And not just for the super wealthy who pay thousands of dollars to see the best acts from the front row. Fans of all types are paying more to see their favorite musicians.

The average price of a ticket to the 100 most popular tours in North America has almost quadrupled over the past two decades, from $25.81 in 1996 to $91.86 through the first half of this year, according to researcher Pollstar. Along with pro sports and Broadway shows, concert prices have far outpaced inflation.

Public Service Announcement

15 things you should never put in a dishwasher. “Communist” isn’t one of them.

4. Wooden Cutting Boards & Utensils
Wood and dishwashers just don’t mix. The heat of the dishwasher can cause wood to warp, and the drying cycle can make it crack. … Read the rest