Three largely un-related items that could’ve blossomed into full-blown essays/posts, but for whatever reason, didn’t:
1. “Some people have fallen for the naïve turkey-style belief that the world is getting safer and safer, and of course they naively attribute it to the holy ‘state’ (though bottom-up Switzerland has about the lowest rate of violence of any place on the planet). It is exactly like saying that nuclear bombs are safer because they explode less often.” Nassim Taleb, Antifragile.
2. “Sodom by the Sea”: Nineteenth century moral reformers’ nickname for Brooklyn’s Coney Island, where a lot of dancing took place. Thaddeus Russell, A Renegade History of the United States. It’s a wonder the nickname hasn’t caught on for San Francisco. Of course, today’s ideological descendants of the Social Gospel reformers adore homosexuals, but still. It’s such a catchy nickname.
3. “Santayana says that, as we approach death, the world itself begins to look dark to us because we cannot imagine it being much good without us in it.” Joseph Epstein. I’m not sure Santayana is correct, but, if he is, it’s a great observation about the vanity we all need to fight against.