The Weekly Eudemon

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A round-up of good reading from the week

Saving your marriage from the Oxford comma, Bitcatholic, and rolling back restrictions. (Excerpts to follow in the Traditional TDE Blog over the next couple of days. “M” denotes “” and, therefore, you may need a subscription to read.)

Bitcoin is anti-institutional. It’s anti-authoritarian. It’s linked to buying sex and drugs. It’s . . . Catholic? That’s not exactly what Eric Sammons argues here, but he endorses the Bitcoin approach for the Catholic Church in the 21st century. Bitcoin is all about decentralization, especially online. In this era when Google, Twitter, and other behemoths throttle traditional religion, we need to embrace a decentralized approach. (Which is one reason I encourage everyone to set up a “junk” email folder and use it to subscribe to the heterodox writers out there you enjoy. I hope to set up a TDE newsletter this year, btw.)

“I like depriving myself of things,” said Kramer on Seinfeld. “It’s very monastic.” I think it’s a natural human trait, though people find it kind of weird and resist it. Even in my small town, middle-aged men want to “look cool” and “with it.” That’s one thing millennials seem to have right: they resist conventions, including the ones that say we should be obsessed with acquisition. Their bohemian resistance is often frustrating, but at times, it borders on the graceful, like when one millennial declares that “Owning a Decrepit Shack in The Middle of Nowhere Is The New American Millennial Dream.” (M) But warning: the article isn’t very good. It’s a Socialist rant against “unregulated” landlords and that’s about it. This is one of those articles in which the entire value is in the headline.

When you write a sentence with a list, do you put a comma before “and”? Example: I like garlic, onion, salt, and pepper. The comma before “and pepper” is the Oxford comma. Some people hate it, others insist on it. They say the debate over the Oxford comma has ended marriages. That’s how strong people’s opinions are. I’m a big proponent of it, simply because it is occasionally absolutely necessary in order to write clearly (primarily, when there’s an internal list within a sentence). The debate now appears to revolve around whether you like rules or hate rules. Those who hate rules, want to use the Oxford comma where necessary but not when it’s not necessary. For them, consistency is for hobgoblins. For those who like rules, consistency is important. The debate rages at this page (M).

Arizona reopened yesterday. That makes four that have pretty eliminated restrictions: Texas, Mississippi, Connecticut, and Arizona, and others are rolling back their restrictions rapidly.  And there are those states that haven’t been shut down for a long time: Florida, Indiana, and South Dakota (and probably others). (Important qualification about Connecticut’s easing: it kept is bars shut down.)