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The Cell Phone is a Monkey Trap for the Left Hemisphere
And Eight Other Short Observations about the Hemispheres

April 30, 2024

Art Appreciation: One Way to Reclaim Your Attention?
Nathan Heller at The New Yorker (“The Battle for Attention”)

April 29, 2024

Monday Column

Substack Frustrates Me
Substack frustrates me like only a lover can get frustrated with his beloved. It Suffocates. I get frustrated when I can’t breathe. Substack frustrates me. It buries me with unknown authors who I want to read, but I can’t possibly get to all of them. Access Isn’t Intuitive. I get

A TDE Reader Writes

"Starting on May 3, the bird-watching event will bring an estimated 90,000 visitors to the area."
TDE Reader Responds: "With so many visitors, we should be alerted to the possibility of human trafficking! Middle-aged men will stand around asking, "So where are the birds, eh?" [reference: 4/26/24 entry below]

April 27, 2024

At Catholic365

American Catholic: Oxymoron
On being an oxymoron: The American Catholic

BYCU: Saturday Edition

April 26, 2024


A Brit writes about bar hopping in Venice. Based on what I've heard about Venetian prices, this Brit must have money to burn.

Bar-hopping, Venetian style
The word ombra apparently became attached to Venetian bar culture because medieval winemakers used to sell their wares beneath San Marco’s
The word ombra apparently became attached to Venetian bar culture because medieval winemakers used to sell their wares beneath San Marco’s bell tower, its long shadow keeping their barrels cool. To go tavern-hopping then, is referred to as giro d’ombra, or “shadow tour.” Sounds a little more seductive than “bar crawl,” doesn’t it?
As for the word bàcari, this may derive from far bàcara — an old Venetian dialect phrase meaning “to celebrate” — or the Roman god of wine, Bacchus. By the 1300s, there were more than twenty bàcari surrounding the Rialto Bridge. The oldest still in existence is Cantina Do Mori, which dates back to 1462. It’s a long, dark slip of a bar just across the calle from All’Arco, and once a favorite date-night spot of Casanova’s, so they say.


The Washington Post takes an objective look at Christian Nationalism and this is what it finds.

From a TDE Reader

Human trafficking is a crime that often preys on large gatherings, so Attorney General Dana Nessel is urging those attending the NFL Draft, and residents, to be aware of the warning signs.
[WJR's Frank Beckmann (God rest his soul) used to call her "Frau Nessel"]

TDE adds: My gosh, this press release ranks in the top three inane things ever put into print, and I'm including presidential autobiographies. I've long excoriated the Establishment for covering up human trafficking (like it has with Jeffrey Epstein's connections), but now I'm beginning to think they're getting ready to ramp human trafficking up into a new major crisis so they can use it to do something devious, like centralize the digital currency.

AG urging NFL Draft attendees to be aware of human trafficking warning signs
Human trafficking is a crime that often preys on large gatherings, so Attorney General Dana Nessel is urging those attending the NFL Draft, and residents, to be aware of the warning signs.

At Medium: a previous OtML newsletter

Feeling Hurried? Blame Netflix
Modern life is hectic because we’re wealthy. We have so much to do. Lean into that hurried feeling and make time your servant, not your…

April 25, 2024

NPR is in Fine Hands, Indeed
Christopher Rufo at City Journal

April 24, 2024

Carlson on Rogan

Tucker Carlson’s Interview on Joe Rogan
A Few Notes about Episode #2138

April 23, 2024

The Massai

This is probably the best essay of the month. It's a monster, though: 55 minutes to listen to. 10,000 words or so.

Here's my commentary. I'm trying to apply the hemisphere hypothesis to, well, everything: faith, history, current affairs. This is one such effort.

Gulf Princes, Safaris, and Conservation Groups are Destroying the Maasai
Stephanie McCrummen at The Atlantic

April 22, 2024

Against Human Flourishing?
A few notes about a difficult essay.

April 21, 2024

Sunday Blogging

Sorry for the slow blogging. Major Internet problems have plagued production. (Curse you, Charter Spectrum! May a swarm of hornets hive in your nethers!)

I'm now back online, thanks to a nifty function that I've been trying to get installed on my phone for six months: a personal hotspot. I had to spend three hours at, and two trips to, the local AT&T store to get my phone plan all sorted out, which isn't exactly how I like to spend my Saturdays, but such inefficiency is the cost of efficiency.

The Technology Paradox
The more efficient technology makes us, the less efficient we become. Of course, information technology saves time by doing things quickly. Or does it? Bosses save wages, but we become their new, unwilling wage slaves. Meanwhile, with the automation of more and more processes that used to take a five-minute

Accept Your Celebrations Where You Can Find Them

2024: 800-Year Anniversary of the Franciscans’ Arrival in England
The year 2024 marks the eight-hundredth anniversary of the arrival in England of the Friars Minor, sent personally by Saint Francis of Assisi, and the establishment of England’s first Franciscan friary in Canterbury in 1224. The Franciscans followed the Dominicans, who had already arrived in England in 1221, and

April 20, 2024

Something New: TDE at Telegram

Tucker Carlson sold me on Telegram. If he sold you too, or if you're already on Telegram, consider subscribing to TDE:

The Daily Eudemon
Telegram arm of TDE

April 19, 2024


Buying wine with the .001 percent.

Wine Collecting: Billionaire Frenzy
Kathleen Willcox at The Spectator

Buying wine with the flipside of the .001 percent.

Night Train: An American Legend
The tent city crisis continues. It was even the subject of a recent Econtalk episode, in which the guest explained that the tent cities result from

April 17, 2024

Pragmatism and the Saints

Pragmatism and the Saints
“Pragmatism” and “practicality” aren’t the same things. When a person says, “I’m just being practical,” he’s probably being highly impractical. It normally means he’s just thinking rationally: with the certitude of his left hemisphere, which excludes everything that the right hemisphere can teach him, which includes a massive and mysterious
The Fact Is, Saints Have Levitated
Daniel K. Williams at Mere Orthodoxy

April 16, 2024

Pirate Wires on Yesterday's Hamas Activism that Shut Down Traffic

The purpose of activism like this is not to persuade the masses so much as to harvest attention, and I hate to break it to you but it works, which is why the shutdowns are increasing in frequency. So, how do we end the cycle? Obviously, everyone wants way more of these idiots in jail, but that would only martyr these people, and further spread the meme. The better thing to do is invert the implicit story here — that these are fearless soldiers willing to serve time for their political beliefs — by publicly mortifying them. Long story short, it’s time to bring back flogging. Let’s televise these people crying while they’re literally spanked in front of giant, cheering crowds and see how long the protests last.

The Lamp Continues to Impress

I'm just now getting to Issue 21, and Issue 22 is arriving soon. An embarrassing wealth of enjoyable prose.

The Kriss post, incidentally, uses the "drill down" approach I've been developing at TDE. It works like this: Main essay, with a "Briefly" or other micro-essay linked into it, which in turn contains a footnote or blog post. I think it's a slick feature, assuming the reader has good Internet that allows him to drill quickly.

Sam Kriss: Drug Aficionado and Master Essayist
I don’t know whether I’m impressed or appalled, and I can’t tell if the writer is confessing or bragging. But boy, Sam Kriss, a “British writer and dilettante,” has written the most enjoyable essay of the year. The agnostic Kriss (”[m]y girlfriend believes in the Christian God and I’
Drug-Fueled Travelogue of the Post-Soviet Iron Curtain Region
Sam Kriss at The Lamp

April 15, 2024

An Expanded Version of Our Earlier Post

Cal Newport Never Allows His Cell Phone in this Room
No Cell Phones in the Focus Sanctuary

Weekly Column

Read Your Way Out of Left Hemispheric Hegemony
We’re human beings, not human doings. I don’t like cute slogans that punch above their weight (try to carry more meaning than their pithiness allows), but that one is great. The left hemisphere is the hemisphere of doing. It is tasked with the nitty-gritty of everyday life. It’s in its

April 13, 2024

It's Impossible to Pile on Too Much Sarcasm

In Related News, Alcoholics Tend to Have Other Behavioral Disorders
Sarah Parshall Perry at The Heritage Foundation’s “Daily Signal”

April 12, 2024

The Masters

I offer, with no comment and a few snickers, this picture from the debacle National Council of Women’s Organization protest against Augusta National back in 2004,


No More Boozy Bachelorette Parties?
By Ivy Manners at the New York Times

April 11, 2024

Another Defection from the Left

Here's the thing that strikes me about Uri Berliner's essay on Tuesday about NPR's: The guy is still working there.

He now has whistleblower status, which offers social and legal protections, but it makes him persona non gratia at the workplace. That's gotta be uncomfortable, though I suspect it signals that he knows others at NPR share his concerns about its exclusively-leftist agenda over the past eight years.

It also signals that he's simply fed up with the bad-faith bias.

Here's the thing. A person can hold dogmatic views but still object when co-religionists engage in violence, which is what the legacy media has been doing over the past eight years. A Nazi guard might sneak food to a prisoner; a Klan member might refuse to participate in more lynchings. At some point, people within a deformed movement refuse to participate in the deformity.

I think that's what we're seeing with the growing spate of leftists who are tired of seeing non-leftists vilified and their views suppressed or distorted.

"Look, I don't like conservatives or libertarians, either, but do we have treat them as sub-human?"

That appears to be what's happening with these defections from the left. They're not even defections: Joe Rogan is still liberal; I'm sure Berliner is still on the far left. They're just people who see a gross deformity and refuse to participate in it anymore.

From whence this gross deformity?

Everyone knows the deformity became gross after Brexit and Trump 2016. When that happened, the Establishment knew it had to get things under control . . . and fast. The suppression campaign was thorough.

But what I find most interesting is that the Establishment brought into its efforts the furthest reaches of the left. The Marxists.

Leftism as asserted by outlets like NPR, WaPo, NYT, and most universities is now Marxism. Or at least more "Marxist" than "liberal." It's not "liberal" any more than today's Unitarianism is Christian.

Marxism has an exclusive worldview: all institutions rise from the mud, are built from the mud, and reflect the mud. The mud is "economics." The institutions are part of the superstructure. If a person thinks otherwise, his opinion is valued as much as a Catholic's opinion would be valued in a mosque. The opinion is simply wrong. It can be discarded, ignored, and righteously suppressed if the opinion starts to interfere with the Leftist's program to change the economics and superstructure of society.

In the social production that men carry on, they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material forces of production. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure, and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production in material life determines the general character of the social, political, and intellectual processes of life. It is not the consciousness of men which determines their existence; it is on the contrary their social existence which determines their consciousness. Karl Marx, Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy

The uncompromising worldview fit well with the Establishment's uncompromising opinion that Brexit and Trump must be stopped at all costs.

April 10, 2024

Three Micro-Book Reviews

I never could "get into" Bell's Crowd Culture. This micro review kinda makes me want to try again, but only "kinda." The book falls into "snobbish conservatism," which I've never much cared for.

We tend to think of liberalism as elitist. Liberalism, after all, dominates higher academics. Its attitude pervades the wealthiest, whether evidenced by the scary idiocy of Melinda Gates' donations or the general mindset of "country club Republicans" who embrace degenerate moral norms and eschew all religious pursuits, except the most banally ritualistic ("Christmas and Easter Christians"). Liberalism controls all the levers of power. Liberalism is elitism. If you want to rise above the rabble, then think like a liberal. If you don't think like a liberal, you are a dolt and/or reprobate, deserving, at best, pity for your innate idiocy.

The problem is, conservatism has a deep (very deep) snobbish streak. I could give a dozen examples, but Henry Adams' Education is a good candidate for "Exhibit A."

The snobbishness figures heavily into conservative libertarianism and its disdain for the common man. Mencken's coverage of the Snopes trial is this strain's "Exhibit A," but perhaps the most shocking is Albert Jay Nock's bizarro-anthropomorphization of beggars who dig in the garbage. Such men, he explained, used to disgust him, but didn't anymore because it suddenly occurred to him that they morally aren't any better than dogs and ought to be judged accordingly: not at all.

Although I dislike liberalism's elitism and conservative snobbery, they're not the same thing and, in particular, have a crucial difference.

Liberal elites want to control society because it's filled with scum-sucking rabble. Conservative snobs want to hold themselves aloof from society because it's filled with scum-sucking rabble.

And though both miss the larger point of Christianity that the likes of Mother Teresa and Dorothy Day emphasized (all people are made in God's image), conservative snobbery is preferable because it respects the image or at least gives it room to develop. Liberal elitism neither respects the image nor gives it room to develop, but rather, expects the image to serve its mental construct of how things should be.

What We’re Reading - VoegelinView
Lee Durkee, Stalking Shakespeare. Lee Durkee’s memoir and exposé in the art history of painting Shakespeare is a fun, intoxicating, and, at times, shocking read. We all know what Shakespeare looked like, right? Not so fast! Stalking Shakespeare reveals the memoir of a funny and, at times, tortured soul, moving from Mississippi to Vermont to…

April 9, 2024

Curbed is Permanently Parked

The last Curb Your Enthusiasm aired Sunday. It will be sorely missed, even if I think this last season hasn't been as good as the previous ones.

Britannica has a great entry about Curb basics. I don't think you'll need a subscription to access it. Two excerpts:

  1. Curb is unscripted, with actors given just outlines for the plots and improvising the dialogue. “You have to be so in the moment and listen to what everybody’s saying and respond because it’s improvised, and it’s just pure play,” Essman told Vulture in 2018. In an echo of Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm pokes fun at the everyday irritations of life, from David’s aversion to the stop and chat to his view that toasts are meaningless. David often shocks characters on the show by speaking his mind freely. . . .
  2. The real Larry David said that the Curb Your Enthusiasm version isn’t him, but it’s close. “I’m a total fraud,” David said in a trailer for The Larry David Story, an HBO documentary. “And the Curb outlet for me is this guy I wanna be. He’s completely honest, just the opposite of who I am, and it’s a thrill.” “The reason people respond to Larry’s character is that he’s saying what everybody’s thinking but is afraid to say—and that’s basically the role of comedians,” Essman told Saval in Variety in 2022.
A Brief and Cringe-Inducing History of Curb Your Enthusiasm
How a show people couldn’t bear to watch became a must-see.
Why Curb Your Enthusiasm is Funny
Make no doubt about it: Humor is like a frog. Once you dissect it, it’s dead. But if you want to be a funny guy, it helps to understand how humor works. It works from incongruity. A drunk man is funny because it’s incongruous with his rational existence.

April 8, 2024

Tolkien Letters

I guess an expanded edition came out last year. I enjoyed original, which is reasonably thick. I wish they had come out with "Volume II" instead of a comprehensive volume. Oh well. If that's my biggest disappointment today, I'm a blessed guy.

Tolkien’s Letters: Revised and Expanded
Isaiah Flair at University Bookman

Happy Total Eclipse Day

The Greek historian Herodotus mentions that in a battle during a five-year war between the Lydians and the Medes, “suddenly day became night” on May 28, 585 BCE. The astronomer Thales had already predicted that an eclipse would happen that year, and informed the people of the Ionian Islands. But the Lydians and the Medes never got the news and “when they saw night instead of day before their eyes, gave over the fight.”

April 7, 2024

Religion Rising?

That's what one writer thinks. He has even released a podcast series about it, which I'll start listening to later today.

In this article, he references a lot of my favorite personalities, from yesterday (GKC and Lewis) and today (Rogan, Bret Weinstein, Jonathan Haidt, and Peterson).

Influencers such as Joe Rogan and Douglas Murray are increasingly talking about the value of Christian faith and the dangers of casting it off.

That's a huge improvement for Rogan since his pre-Covid days, when he would obliviously let his left hemisphere dogmatize all dogma.

More Skeptics are at Least Scratching Their Heads about God These Days
Justin Brierley at Spectator World

April 6, 2024

The Weekend

I don't have Covid but I feel bad.** I'm guessing it's just allergies, but it's pretty vicious.

So, no "OtML" this morning. My apologies. I had one started, but I didn't have enough octane to push it out.

I did, however, have the octane to revamp TDE. I've started a "Trending" and "Recent" feature. These will get flushed out as time goes on. I hope you enjoy this tweak.


**I don't "feel badly." Just as I don't "feel well." If you're talking about your general sense of well-being, you use the adjective, not the adverb. When someone says, "I feel well," my (internal) response is, "It must be nice to have such tactile sensation in your fingertips."

The thing is, if you say, "I feel good," the self-righteous ignorant will think you're the ignorant one. I just say, "I'm doing well." That works for everyone.

Dunning-Kruger effect | Definition, Examples, & Facts
Dunning-Kruger effect, in psychology, a cognitive bias whereby people with limited knowledge or competence in a given intellectual or social domain greatly overestimate their own knowledge or competence in that domain relative to objective criteria or to the performance of their peers or of people in general.

April 5, 2024

Free Society

I've never been a big Cato Institute fan. For awhile, it became the LBGT arm of the libertarian movement. I think that has calmed down a bit, but it's still more in the Chicago School of economics rather than the Austrian School. Empiricists, not natural law theorists.

Still, I agree with most of its positions, and I'm on its mailing list for some reason. It recently sent me a complimentary copy of its new flagship publication, Free Society. It's pretty good.


It seems alcohol is reeling. Every week, I see stories about another industry that's hurting, but few stories point to the culprit: legal marijuana.

In my generation, I see many adults who drink far less but smoke far more (or eat edibles). I've known at least one guy (and there are probably more) who is no longer an alcoholic, but he's smoking a lot of weed (I'm guessing this isn't a technique approved by AA).

This story out of California, though, mentions that marijuana is cutting into wine sales, thereby exacerbating California's current wine industry crisis. The crisis would exist anyway, due to wildfire smoke that damaged the grapes, drought, rising labor and equipment costs, ongoing COVID mandates, and a glut of cheap foreign grapes that are surreptitiously "blended" into the California wine.

All those things will presumably level out. The drought will end; the COVID mandates will cease (well, maybe not).

But "a tectonic shift in generational drinking habits" is the one that probably isn't going to change.

The thing is, alcohol is bad for us, at least on the surface. I tend to think that a moderate amount is good for us, especially on the spiritual level. At a minimum, it shows a level of detachment from obsession about health. But it also fosters a measure of detachment; specifically, detaching our left hemisphere from its jackboot stance on our mental necks.

California Wine Struggles
Louis Sahagún at Los Angeles Times

April 4, 2024

The Ukrainians Can't Even Figure Out How to Have Kids

If Russia hadn't invaded, the Ukraine would've imploded anyway. They seem to realize that now. Their solution to a problem caused by ignoring Humanae Vitae? Veer even further from Humanae Vitae.

And when your culture no longer has a healthy relationship with sex? You need the State to afflict the culture with a ham-handed substitute.

Dr. Khmil believes that cryoconservation should not be voluntary but obligatory, with every enlisted soldier freezing their gametes before going to war.
How Ukrainians are reviving their birth rate
For Ukrainians, the falling birth rate is not just a side issue but is fundamental to the battle now being fought

Staycation on Steroids

I'm still waiting to take my first staycation. I've been wanting one for over 20 years but it never works out.

But now I want a staycation on steroids: shutting off my electricity for a week. It sounds wonderful. The thing is, I'm not even sure I know how to turn off my breaker. I also don't know if it'd affect my water supply or toilet. And what about the freezer and fridge?

Such things are addressed in this nifty article. I seriously doubt I'll do a S-squared, but ya never know.

The Grid-less Vacation
Power Down Week is April 21-27, 2024

April 3, 2024

Why Taibbi Doesn't Waste Time on the Republicans

The Republicans have very little institutional power nationally. It’s not their point of view prevailing in schools, on campuses, in newsrooms (where over 90% of working reporters vote blue), and especially in the intelligence and military apparatus, which has openly aligned itself with Democrats. Even if Donald Trump were a “threat to Democracy” he lacks the institutional pull to do much damage, which can’t be said of Democrats.
Matt Taibbi on Threats From the Left vs. Right - LewRockwell
Writes Ginny Garner: Matt Taibbi on Threats From the Left vs. Right Lew, Journalist Matt Taibbi was asked “why doesn’t he pay much attention to the sins (or threats) from “the right”?” He gave a great answer: Why I don’t spend a lot of time on the Republicans: 1) There is a enormous army of MSM reporters already going after them from every angle, with most major news organizations little more than proxies for the DNC, to the point where stations hire Biden spokespeople as anchors; 2) The Republicans have very little institutional power nationally. It’s not their point of … Continue reading →

April 2, 2024

Joe Serwach on the New Shroud Movie

New Movie about The Shroud
The Shroud: Face to Face moves audiences. Robert Orlando crosses boundaries to show scientific and historical evidence that “He is risen, indeed.” The new film documentary, which debuted on Good Friday, is about the Shroud of Turin, “but the Shroud is a significant symbol pointing to something bigger: I want

April 1, 2024

Toni Morrison

To my knowledge, I've never read anything by Toni Morrison. I've never even wanted to read anything by her. Not out of animosity. She simply rarely crossed my mental radar screen, except when there was a reference to Oprah, and that was enough to shoot it off my radar screen.

But then I saw this nifty review-essay about a book of her rejection letters. I deeply respect anyone who does anything well, especially if it's something that most people consider beneath them. Here, a woman who was (I assume) a first-rate stylist with a lot of worthy literary projects of her own, took enormous efforts to compose thoughtful rejection letters to budding authors while she was an editor at Random House.

And now someone took the time to anthologize the rejection letters.

Wendell Berry writes occasionally about the little art of making something out of nothing. It's an activity I've long admired. If someone takes refuse, cleans it up, and organizes it into something beautiful in a dilapidated area of their backyard, I appreciate it a lot more than someone who pays a landscape designer.

I don't know why. I plan on exploring it at some point, but for now, I'll simply appreciate things like this, a work of art, produced from mini works of art that were built from the refuse of literary ambition.

Toni Morrison’s Rejection Letters
Melina Moe at the Los Angeles Review of Books

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