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December 31, 2022

T.S. Eliot: Murderer?

Matthew Walther claims T.S. Eliot killed poetry (well, finished the slaying . . . it wasn't all TSE's fault). Perhaps. I think McGilchrist would argue the left hemisphere's approach--logic, dislike of metaphor, emphasis on calculation--killed it. No matter, the essay is worth reading, though I think you need an NYT subscription.

Poetry Died 100 Years Ago This Month
By Matthew Walther at the New York Times

Russell Kirk was a big TSE fan, and they were friends (though more on the correspondent level, I think). I believe Kirk took particular joy in his Eliot and His Age, but I could never get into it.

December 30, 2022


You need a New Year's Eve drink? I recommend the Tom Collins. Like NYE, it has that throwback feeling.

It's not a difficult drink to make, but it's a hassle, especially squeezing the lemons. You may want to try to pre-made sweet-sour mix. I've tried three so far and all of them are good. I'd just recommend that you avoid any with corn syrup. That stuff junks up everything it touches.

My favorite pre-made isn't available anymore, at least to me. A boutique in my town carried it and now it doesn't and I can't remember the name. At Amazon, this one is my favorite, but they seem to run out of supply and it's pretty expensive. I also like this less expensive one.

Note: If you're looking for a traditional Tom Collins, don't use one of the western-style gins, like Hendrick's or New Amsterdam. You want a traditional gin, with no flavors. Beefeater is my favorite for the Tom Collins, but pretty much any traditional gin would be fine.

Have a great New Year.

December 29, 2022

Russia and the Cult

I wrote this piece about 20 years ago. I dusted it off, updated it a bit, and ran it. It's a bit dry, and definitely not the "genre" of lighter stuff I've been trying to write lately.

Russia’s Freaky History with the Cult of Mother Earth
The Russian digs Mother Earth. This has been the case from Russia’s earliest years when dark and brutal paganism soaked her culture in blood.[1] The Russian venerates Mother Earth for her black depths, for the crops of life she provides, and for the resting home she gives at

December 28, 2022

More Like, "The Terror of the Administrators"

If you entertain any illusions about socialized medicine, read this.

Reign of the Administrators
By Theodore Dalrymple at City Journal

December 27, 2022

McGilchrist Pilgrimmage Starting

I've started my trip with Iain McGilchrist's two-volume magnum opus, which also promises to be his last lengthy work.

Starting the Trip: The Matter with Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions, and the Unmaking of the World
At $150, I’m trusting the trip will be worth it.

You can expect a lot of McGilchrist material over the next two years. The regular TDE posts will appear, along with Existence Strikes Back essays, but there will be a lot of McGilchrist-inspired posts. My hope is to present his ideas in small bites that can be digested in four minutes. You can judge if I succeed.

If I abandon the reading, I'll let you know, but after the first few pages and the reviews I've read, I'm optimistic that won't happen. Might it take me five years to get through it all? Perhaps, but I "feel" that I'll finish them.  

December 23, 2022

Matthew Walther deals with a flood during the holidays.

The Walther Family’s Christmas Staycation
By Matthew Walther at The American Conservative

December 21, 2022

Orwellian Essay Rules

Another installment in my effort to write lighter pieces

Bend It Like Orwell
Essay Rules from the Master

December 20, 2022

The Extremities of Christmas

"If you wish to go to extremes, let it be in sweetness, patience, humility and charity." –St. Philip Neri


I read The Triumph of the Therapeutic about 30 years ago. I remember the reading experience well: I didn't understand it, but I shouldered through it. I'll try to find my copy and provide a few of my notes here.

The Secret Life of Philip Rieff
By Blake Smith, at The Tablet

December 19, 2022

Weekly Column

The Gnostic is Never Satisfied
Part I of an Analysis of Eric Voegelin’s Six Gnostic Traits

This will appear in podcast form eventually. For now, I still can't string together 10 consecutive cough-less minutes, plus I'm still dealing with headaches and malaise, so a lighthearted verbal presentation of this material just wasn't "in the cards." Fortunately, I woke up this morning without a headache, the first time since this flu nightmare started, so I'm markedly optimistic.

As always, changes are coming to TDE.

The Weekly Column, for instance, will become more varied. I put a lot of (probably too much) time into each column, with the result that the weekly publishing schedule is simply untenable. I had decided on this weekly "substantive" column approach in 2021, when I thought my work load at the office would be slowing down, but it hasn't (just the opposite . . . sigh), making the weekly publishing schedule a source of stress instead of an outlet.

I plan on publishing a column every Monday, but there will be lighter pieces interspersed between the more substantive ones.

I hope everyone enjoys this last week of our extended Advent. It is, indeed, the most wonderful time of the year.

December 18, 2022

Coming Tomorrow

December 17, 2022

Dion had left the Catholic Church, but he's back now.

Dion: The Wanderer Has Never Left the Building
By Rafael Alvarez, at Village Voice
Nor did anyone see the folk smash “Abraham, Martin and John” coming from doo-wop royalty at the height of the late ’60s hippie era. Perhaps the best-known tale of American assassination (“I just looked around and he’s gone.…”), the single had sold well over a million copies less than six months after it was released, in 1968. That was the year Dion kicked heroin, gave up booze, and began life as a serious Christian, a journey of a half-century—documented in several 1980s gospel LPs—that eventually returned him to his Roman Catholic roots.
“I’m a visual learner,” he says. “And I see life as a relationship with God, that’s what gives you your identity … your mission comes out of that.” The dual missions of Dion: Make music and follow Christ. He doesn’t proselytize, but he doesn’t hold back when asked. “You can’t judge anybody’s heart,” he explains.

December 16, 2022

I'm just catching up over these past nine days of hell.

Mystic Alcohology
By Michael P. Foley, at First Things
American Christmas, American New Year
Christopher Flannery at Imprimis
The Flu Ravages Your Soul and Strips You Bare. Maybe That’s a Good Thing.
I’m walking the rest of the way to Bethlehem

December 12, 2022

Juan Nico

My grandson ("Nico"), dressed as Juan Diego for the Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration at our local parish.

Michigan Wolverines

Matthew Walther writes from Three Rivers, which is the rival city in my rural Michigan county. We've talked on the phone once about local matters. Nice guy. I didn't realize that he is a diehard Wolverine fan. Good man, that Matthew.

The Entire Nation Should be Rooting for the Wolverines
By Matthew Walther at the New York Times

The gist of the op-ed: Things have been hard for Michigan since its last national championship. Maybe another one would mark the return of better times.

For the Wolverine faithful, winning a national championship again is not simply about football. It is also about our state, and what we have lost, and what we hope to be again. Unlike the Michigan State Spartans, whose fan base seems to be made up entirely of people who attended the school, the University of Michigan commands the allegiance of millions of “Walmart Wolverines” like me who had no chance of attending such an elite institution.

My youngest son, Max, is a freshman in Ann Arbor this year. The stunning season has been quite the rush for him.

December 10, 2022


I'm still alive. I can even stand without whimpering.

I had the flu for three days . . . felt like three weeks. This brief blog post is the most productive thing I've done since Wednesday afternoon.

Now, if you'll excuse me, this exertion has pretty much worn me out. Smile.

December 6, 2022

The Incredible Shrinking Future of College
Kevin Carey at Vox

December 5, 2022

These Six Traits Make a Person a Gnostic
A Diagnostic of the Gnostic Eric Voegelin was to modern gnosticism what Knute Rockne was to Notre Dame football. Rockne didn’t start the ND football program and Voegelin didn’t discover modern gnosticism, but they took their subjects to much higher levels. The Swiss theologian, Hans urs Von Baltha…

December 4, 2022

Coming to TDE tomorrow

December 3, 2022

Shutting down another piece of history.

The Woke Chokehold
By Theodore Dalrymple at Taki Mag

The incident is also one of the subjects of discussion at the "Picket Power" podcast episode at Compact.

‎Compact Podcast: Picket Power on Apple Podcasts
‎Show Compact Podcast, Ep Picket Power - Nov 29, 2022

December 2, 2022


Frank Kelly Rich is always worth a read if you feel like drinking and laughing.

The Drunkard’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays | Modern Drunkard Magazine

December 1, 2022

A Tribute to David L. Schindler: Teacher and Friend
By Conor Dugan, at Catholic World Report

Read previous Scrolling Blog entries