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December 30, 2023

Detroit Pistons Relegated To WNBA
DETROIT, MI — After suffering a record-tying 28th straight loss, basketball fans across the country and the other 29 NBA teams voted unanimously to demote the Detroit Pistons to the WNBA.

December 29, 2023


Beer is on the Decline
2023 has been a terrible year for the nectar of the gods U.S. beer shipments fell more than 5% in the first nine months of the year and by year’s end are expected to hit their lowest level in a quarter-century, according to industry tracker Beer Marketer’s

December 28, 2023

Another "Non-Story"

I continue to experiment with this new genre. Input and opinion (trans. into loathsome-ese: "feedback") is appreciated.

Celebrate the New Year in Edinburgh
Scomo collapsed from a heart attack near the new commercial center that he detested. Hurried and busy pedestrins left him there, figuring he was a drunken tramp, until a feeble-minded woman knelt to care for him and discovered he was dead. That’s how the writer George Scott-Moncrieff died in Edinburgh
Introducing the Non-Story
I’ve been noticing a new type of Internet article: Sites making podcast episodes into news stories. The gimmick’s approach: A flashy “news-like” headline, followed by a story about the podcast’s content, sprinkled with quotes, which give it the feel of a journalist who conducted an actual interview. I find it

December 27, 2023

Repair Culture: Mouvement Du Jour

The new issue of Plough magazine pushes for a return to repairing things. The thrust of this new movement: "throwaway culture" is creating all sorts of problems, from landfills to euthanasia. And big business is the reason. Starting in 1923, it stopped making products intended to last for decades, subject to occasional repairs, and instead started making crap that would be obsolete, either because of fashion or the costliness of repairs or, today, technological hurdles designed to force consumers to throw away their old gadgets and buy the new model.

Consumers have begun to push back and, more importantly, central governments have, too. New laws are forcing companies to make products that last and can be repaired.

It sounds great, except: If central governments are passing these laws, that tells me one thing: Someone in business stands to gain from these new laws. There is probably a group of politically connected people who stand to profit enormously from this new movement, so I don't trust it.

I could be wrong, of course, and I hope I am, but if modern economic history (since 1688) has taught us anything, it's that Hudge and Gudge are never far apart . . . and they never sleep.

In Praise of Repair Culture
Do farmers have a right to repair their own tractors? The American Farm Bureau Federation thinks so. That’s why this year it reached an agreement with John Deere in which the manufacturer promised to enable farmers, as well as third-party mechanics, to fix their own green-and-yellow machinery, for example

December 26, 2023

Introducing The Non-Story

It's the holidays: a time to take a break from one's grinding left hemisphere, which, for me, means taking a break from writing about the need to take a break from the left hemisphere. I took the opportunity to write one of those "articles about an article" that I mildly criticized a few weeks ago.

In this case, I've written about a lovely essay that really doesn't lend itself to this kind of thing, but hey, it is the holidays so what the heck.

Added bonus: When I started to write this "non-story," I set my timer and said I'd have this piece finished in 30 minutes. It helps one focus and kneecaps Parkinson's Law. I succeeded (actually, writing it in 25 minutes, though that doesn't count subsequent editing).

Jeremy Clarke: A Great Reader
It’s arguably the most popular column in Britain’s oldest newspaper. The “Low Life” column of The Spectator has entertained readers since 1975, when Jeffrey Bernard provided readers with, to quote Johnathan Meades, “a suicide note in weekly installments.” After Bernard’s death, an assortment of men wrote the column but eventually,

December 23, 2023

Convent Christmas

I always thought it would be sad to be in a convent at Christmas. It turns out, I was right. Convents are far more joyful places than people realize, but it's hard this time of year, especially on the new sisters. Pray for them . . . they're praying for us.

First Christmas in the Convent
Carino Hodder at the Lamp

Tolkien Estate: Taking No Prisoners

The NYT has since put this piece behind a paywall, but it's pretty interesting. As a commercial lawyer, I need to have a working knowledge of basic copyright/trademark laws. My gut impression when hearing about this case: the author's work would be protected, but I'm guessing there was a lot more Claudine than I originally thought.

Santa and the Lamp

I started a new job this year: Playing Santa to my grandkids. Unfortunately, my two-year-old won't be hear on Christmas Eve, so I did a dry run Thursday night with her. I got into my costume too quickly and had to kill ten minutes before she got here. Marie snapped this picture.

If you're in Northern California and join a group of guys who "drink fine wine, listen to opera, and gaze upon expensive artwork" ... shouldn't you wonder a bit?

... the plaintiffs asserted that the organization has a dark and “secret” side

Six men allege ‘rampant, unceasing sexual abuse’ at secluded Northern California nonprofit
Six plaintiffs are suing religious group the Fellowship of Friends, founder Robert Earl Burton and an award-winning winery, alleging gender violence and human trafficking.

December 22, 2023

Holiday Brews You Can Use

Holiday BYCU
A Splendid Micro-History of Mulled Wine “Glow Wine” At Christmas Markets Worldwide, the Holiday Spirit Comes in a Little Red BootAll over Europe and the US, Christmas markets bring good cheer and warm mulled wine, often served out of a curious collectible mug. Here’s the story of the coveted

December 21, 2023

Welcome to the Shortest Day of the Year

The holidays are heating up. Two more kids arrive today and things are mellowing at the office.

And I received my first Christmas gift: A year-long subscription to the American edition of The Spectator. I'm pretty stoked about it, especially since it comes with the print edition as well. I've explained previously that copies of The Lamp, First Things, and The New Criterion arriving at my house send my dopamine rocketing. I expect a similar reaction when the Spectator arrives monthly.

TDE readers will receive part of the benefits through excerpts in The Scrolling Blog and larger excerpts under "Latest," but alas, copyright laws are laws, so I'm restricted to what I can reproduce. That being said, the gist of this excellent point can be found pretty quickly (the headline says it all):

Bowling Alone Reads Like a Nostalgic Look at the Good Ol’ Days
Bridget Phetasy at The Spectator

One of the best things about the subscription: access to Bill Kauffman essays.

Bill Kauffman
Politics, international news, life & arts from the oldest magazine in the English language.

Christmas Fare

No Room in the Inn — What Inn?
Dwight Longenecker at The Imaginative Conservative

December 20, 2023

Birzer on Nisbet

The Quest for Community at 70
Brad Birzer at University Bookman

Waugh at Christmas

Evelyn Waugh liked to send out satirical Christmas cards, and the apex (or nadir] of this practice was reached during the Christmas season of 1929. Waugh's card that year consisted of extracts reprinted from unfavorable reviews of his first novel, Decline and Fall. The harshest passage of all was taken from a review by Chesterton. [Christopher Sykes, Evelyn Waugh,Boston, 1975, p. 98]

December 19, 2023

My apologies for the hiatus. It was the in-law's Christmas, followed by granddaughter's baptism, followed by a medical consultation at the University of Michigan.

I wanted to write about the looming war between microculture and macroculture, but I have to leave it with this piece that I posted yesterday. Suffice it to say, I view TDE as a small soldier in the microculture army.

The Battle Between Macroculture and Microculture Is Turning into a War
Ted Gioia at The Honest Broker

Brief Thoughts on the Summit, Decline, and Advance of Western Civ

Western Civilization Hit Its Apex During Advent 1273
A civilization can, indeed, advance and decline at the same time. Eric Voegelin, New Science of Politics, 132. As civilization advances, the sense of wonder declines. Abraham Heschel, God in Search of Man Modern civilization is gnostic civilization. Gnostic civilization is left-hemispheric civilization. Gnosis: Knowledge. Specifically, explicit knowledge, the kind

Four Oldest Grandchildren

December 16, 2023

A Miscue

I accidentally hit "Publish and Send" this morning when shipping out the last Outside the Modern Limits email newsletter of 2023. I can't unpublish it without botching the email, so the feature piece is now published here and will stay here, though you need to be a member to access it. Enjoy.

How to Make a Cocktail
Start by approaching it with your right hemisphere

December 15, 2023


You ever get overwhelmed with a feeling of thankfulness? That was me last night, sitting at dinner, absolutely exhausted and somber from a long week at the office, but then my wife telling me the public school Christmas band concert starts in 25 minutes.

I didn't have to go.

I was in a pretty decent mood the rest of the evening. I even finished reading this essay at The New Criterion, which in turn made me want to reach for a bottle of the Green Fairy.

Absinthe Minded
Barnaby Conrad III at the New Criterion

Seasonal Miscellany

The Great War Christmas Truce: ‘They Were Positively Human’
For a brief moment in 1914, the guns went silent and the men risked court martial to play soccer, smoke and sing---with the other side.
"As an event in the history of war, the Christmas Truce of 1914 is barely a footnote; it had no major effects on the fighting or outcome of World War I. But in the history of peace, the truce is a powerful story."

December 14, 2023

Tech Problems

I have four ways to log into TDE. All four failed this morning. Three are now back, but my blogging time today is spent, so I offer this early Christmas present. It was last week's OtML newsletter feature (see the good stuff you miss every Saturday if you aren't subscribed . . . I save you from being "that guy" during the holidays). Enjoy.

Don’t Let Your Left Hemisphere Ruin Christmas
“I wouldn’t upset my plan for anything. I’d rather upset life than the plan.” The Anonymous Schoizoid The left hemisphere doesn’t live. It thinks. It plans: “How to do this?” “How to tackle that?” The best way to develop a plan is to break it down into smaller

December 13, 2023

Back to Normal Programming

Thank you for checking out the first two pieces of my new series at Catholic365. I'm happy with the results.

I think this site has the "mojo" to handle everything I'm looking for. It's curated, but only lightly, leaving writers to publish whatever they want, as long as it's Catholic. The site pays its writers based on the readership. The pay is minimal but fair in the online publishing world. And, though it's up to the writer to generate readers, the site advertises heavily on Catholic websites so it's also generating readers for its writers. Basically, it's like they handle the advertising to generate money to pay the writers, which is exactly what I've been looking for. I don't want to deal with advertising here at TDE (though I might advertise eventually through the same company that runs Catholic365). is hopelessly bogged down in its algorithm, which is merely a neutral way of saying it's bogged down in its ideology-masked-as-technology. And its ideology tilts hard-core left. I can tell you stories about how my payments dropped to zero for no apparent reason, like when I mentioned Matt Taibbi during the time he was testifying before Congress. It's like the Medium algorithm had been programmed to kill any writer that even mentioned Taibbi: readership and money dropped to nothing. I removed that story and shortly later, readership and money returned.

Anywaaaaay, thanks for going to Catholic365. I hope to publish pieces there at least once a week, but I won't follow any sort of schedule. I need another deadline project like I need hornets in my shorts.

Please rest assured: TDE will continue. It's been plugging along since 2004 (btw: I think it started in 2002, but my memory is shaky and I can't prove it). It won't stop now.

Avenger Piece

It's just a short review and, if I'm being honest, a bit difficult to parse, but it's interesting and I liked this factoid from the last paragraph:

[O]ne of the first American poems written by the Revolutionary War poet Philip Freneau notes that American are much more concerned with commerce than with poetry.

I'll have to stick that in my (flagging) One-Thing file.

The Age of Avengers
Jesse Russell at VoegelinView

December 12, 2023

Christmas Humor

Michael Rodney graces TDE with this piece of unapologetic irony.

Catholic Elementary School Christmas Play: Review
When my wife asked if I could come with her to watch her 4-11-year-old students in a Christmas play, I can’t say I was expecting much. But as a lover of theater, the no-admission fee was too good to turn down. This Christmas play, directed by third grade-teacher Miss

Part Two of the Two-Part Introduction to the Catholic Hemisphere

You know what was one of the most devilish parts of this launch? Trying to figure out whether to capitalize "The" in "the Catholic Hemisphere." Such is my demanding attention to detail ("You're petty, Scheske! Hung up on stuff no one notices, much less cares about!").

Catholicism’s Claim to the Hemisphere Hypothesis
The Hemisphere Hypothesis helps Catholics survive and thrive in modernity.

December 11, 2023

"The Catholic Hemisphere" Launch at Catholic 365

The Catholic Church is the Proper Master
Iain McGilchrist’s Hemisphere Hypothesis can help Catholics understand and thrive in modern times.

December 10, 2023

The Catholic Hemisphere

I've been wrestling mightily with the Hemisphere Hypothesis for the past two years. I've tied it into the Existence Strikes Back project, which is something that has occupied my attention off and on for the past 25 years.

My labors (of love) with THH and ESB aren't over, but starting tomorrow, they will take a noticeable shift.

I will be writing a "Catholic Hemisphere" column at Catholic 365.

All columns will be linked through TDE. I don't think this new emphasis will detract from TDE. Indeed, I think it'll enhance TDE, especially if you're Catholic or traditionally Christian.

Why the Shift?

I'm making the shift because it's the end game. It has always been the end game. Although I didn't know how, I always knew Existence Strikes Back would lead back to Catholicism. When I came across the Hemisphere Hypothesis, I started seeing how it would all come together. I'm still feeling my way and, like St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, seeing through a glass darkly, but I think I see enough at this point to make the jump and land on the other side without stumbling too much and making an ass out of myself.

Starting tomorrow, I will no longer be coy nor academic. No more background and lengthy explanations. You can find all that under the Existence Strikes Back tags, supplemented by the pieces under the Hemisphere Hypothesis tag.

Starting tomorrow, you'll see brazen Catholicism.

December 9, 2023

Three bullet posts today. The John's Penance, Reading without the Left Hemisphere, Travel.

December 8, 2023


Fine Drunken Literature Returns
Dopamine flooded my brain and I immediately wanted gin to fill my veins: An email announced a new issue of Modern Drunkard Magazine had dropped. My immediate reaction, “It’s not dead!” “Will I get a hard copy in the mail?” “How many of the pieces are available online now?” “And

December 7, 2023

A Huge Conversion

From Islam to Atheism to Christianity

I think many of us know what the next stop is for Niall Ferguson's brilliant wife. (As an aside, I'm gonna have to bite the credit card bullet and buy a subscription to UnHerd . . . I wish there was an aggregation site where you could pick, say, five publications and pay one annual fee for all of them at a discount.)

Why I am Now a Christian
Ayaan Hirsi Ali at UnHerd

December 6, 2023

Don't Follow the News

The drumbeat grows louder: more people realize the corporate media can't be trusted and smaller media don't have the resources to provide full coverage. On top of that, we know that the corporate media has never been trustworthy, including "trusted men" like Walter Cronkhite.

So what does one do?

Ignore the news. It's not radical and it's not ostrichy. It's sane and, in my opinion, the only option.

Here's the thing: You can't keep the news out. The real news will get to you somehow . . . a friend's text, headlines on the Internet, overheard bar conversations, the obnoxious office worker. You'll have more than enough information to survive and make good decisions.

And if you spend your time developing your knowledge in other areas--philosophy, history, literature--you will be far more capable of correctly processing and applying the 'real news' that invades your mental sphere.

And if a particular news item interests you (like the Palestinian crisis has interested me), Bryan Caplan says it's effective to read the Wikipedia entry. It's constantly curated and updated by scores of contributors who don't all think alike (caution: Wikipedia itself has an agenda that lines up with the Beltway-Silicon-MSM Hegemony, but I trust Caplan to know such a thing and, after using Wikipedia to keep up on the news, to have taken it into account with his recommendation).

December 5, 2023

A Lot of Thinkers Have Intuited that We Have Two Minds

McGilchrist deserves the credit for connecting neuroscience to the intuition.

This is a sample of the long intellectual tradition, which includes Pascal's heart has reasons the head can't understand, Newman's illative sense, Bergson's intuition and intellect, and Wendell Berry's rational and sympathetic.

Clearing Ground
Adam Smith at Front Porch Republic

December 4, 2023

Monday Column

It's more like a set of notes tossed into a half-baked essay, but I think it's interesting.

Paragraph 7 of This Newman Sermon is Stunning (Plus a Thomas Sowell Kicker)
“Sermon 13: Implicit and Explicit Reason”

December 3, 2023

The Importance of Manners
💡George Washington, the first President of the United States, was known to have studied a book called Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation. This book was based on a set of rules compiled by French Jesuits in the 16th century and was a guide to proper behavior

December 2, 2023

Cedar Rapids golf bar offering free beer until Iowa scores

I think the Pope is talking about something entirely different than diluting genders (he's been pretty solid on that fundamental truth, at least), but I still found it humorous.

Pope Francis: ‘Demasculinize the Church’
CV NEWS FEED // Pope Francis asked members of the International Theological Commission (ITC) to “demasculinize the Church” during a Thursday audience at the Vatican. “The…

Lady Ballers has been on my radar for a few days now, but my nephew texted me the trailer this morning, just as I was opening my morning Catholic Vote email.

Welcome to December

Everything You Need for Your Holiday Cheer

Memoirs of an Oenophile It reminds me of a book I once bought solely because of the great title: Memoirs of an Amnesiac by Oscar Levant (available at Amazon for only $147 . . . used versions as low as $27) “Whenever I see the word ‘oenophile,’ I picture people saying, ’They

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