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November 30, 2022

Beautiful (if hard to read) Tridentine liturgical calendar:

Dive Bar Patrons Understand More than College Professors
A sample from “Outside the Modern Limits.” This is the kind of content you’re missing if you don’t subscribe to the Saturday morning newsletter.

November 29, 2022

Distributism = Localism

I've known Dale for years, but I'm not sure I've ever known him to publish outside of Chestertonian circles, at least not outside of Catholic ones. This appeared lately in Plough.

Distributism Needs a New Name
Dale Ahlquist at Plough
The advantage of the term “Localism” is that it already has a recognizable meaning: the support of local production and consumption of goods; local control of government; promotion of local history, local culture, and local identity; and the protection of local freedom. It is about directness and decentralization, whether in government or in commerce. It is opposed to globalism.
There are many people who want to take responsibility for their own lives, but they are increasingly frustrated by the feeling that everything is out of their control, and they cannot even say who is in control. They are weary of the complexities and complications brought on by bureaucracy and regulation, with no one being answerable for anything.
Localism means having control over the things that most directly affect you. Another term for this is “subsidiarity.”

Funny aside: I was once riding with Dale in a Chicago suburb when a woman driver cut him off and gave him the finger. He'd done nothing wrong. He slightly grimaced, then chuckled, then muttered "God bless ya." That wouldn't have been my first instinct and I don't think it was his, but he had control of himself and, I suspect, turned immediately to his second instinct and asked, "WWGKCD?"

November 28, 2022

1st Sunday of Advent: Our Savior expects to find us ready. Link.

Whew, another long Thanksgiving weekend. It was a flurry of activity from Wednesday through Sunday. I'm glad I told everyone there wouldn't be a Monday column, but I was able to jot this out before the flurry started last week:

Eight Astonishing Facts about The Brothers Karamazov
Plus Six Unverified Facts and Five Interesting Facts


I tip my hat to Harbaugh's coaching on Saturday. The second half was probably the best half of Michigan football I've ever seen.

November 27, 2022

New Video Out

Catholicism for the Modern World is putting out some good stuff. I'm greatly appreciative that they've taken an interest in my work.

November 25, 2022

It seems when you put men and women in remote, isolated conditions, the men are not always gentlemen. The article notes that "white men" are especially a problem.

Scientists say harassment in the Antarctic must stop — but US plan falls short
National Science Foundation pledges changes to address sexual harassment and assault in its Antarctic research programme.

November 23, 2022

Special Edition BYCU

Ten Facts about Black Wednesday
“Drinksgiving” is simply lame. “Drink” doesn’t rhyme with “Thanks,” any more than “Moron” rhymes with “Dolt,” both of which describe anyone who uses that stupid term.

November 22, 2022

Kauffman on Nisbet

No one these days crafts funnier ledes than Bill Kauffman, who apparently wrote an essay last month about my favorite sociologist (which is kinda like referring to "my favorite soccer player").

Nobert Nisbet must be the only man ever to have written for both Reason and Commentary, which is rather like James Dean being the only man ever to have slept with both Natalie Wood and Rock Hudson.
Kauffman on Nisbet
Bill Kauffman at The American Conservative
Why Are We So Metaphysically Beleaguered?
He said the contemporary individual is “metaphysically beleaguered.” He said the modern man is alienated. Instead of being connected to others and higher realities through communities, he is tossed about in “vast institutions and organizations” that fragment him and leave him “existentially missing…

"Nisbet's best line ever, and he meant it: 'A square block in Manhattan has more community than the entire city of Tucson.'"

New Video

The Monday column video (the column from November 7th). More information about these videos to follow.

November 21, 2022

Shop Amazon Through TDE This Holiday Season

Remember: TDE is fueled almost exclusively by gin and a weird nervous energy that sane people find unsettling. If you want to help, please use a TDE referral link to Amazon this holiday season.

Weekly Column

Diving deeper into Voegelin. This time, riffing off The World of the Polis and his late essay, "The Eclipse of Reality."

A Dozen Quotes from Prometheus Bound: A Play about Spiritual Disease
Prometheus’ proud defiance of the divine order made him into a raving maniac. He lost his connection to the Tao: the transcendental router.



November 20, 2022

14 Funny Passages from David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster
which means that some staff photographer came in and popped a flash in the face of a traumatized kid at prayer.

Newsletter 7 comes out tomorrow morning. We're talkin' the limits of academics, The Clash, Hemingway. Don't miss it.

November 18, 2022

Lining up for tonight, like guys on a girl's dance card. It's been a brutal week.

November 17, 2022

My Urban Farm This Morning

Last Thursday, I was working on my half-acre garden in shorts. Today?

Civilization is Slow Hard Work: A Review of Lee Oser’s “Old Enemies”
Darrell Falconburg at VoegelinView

November 16, 2022

The Rise of Urban Farms

Urban farms/gardens might be the feel-good story of the 2000s so far. They're apparently now providing food in more than negligible quantities.

And they often give it away, which makes urban farms symbiotic with the food stamp program that, under the influence of a massive snack food lobby in DC, lets people use their food stamps for potato chips, Monster energy drinks, and candy. Poor people can use their food stamps for junk food and then go to the urban farm for good food.

Perverse, but such is everything touched by the federal government.  

Urban Farms Are Stepping Up Their Roles in Communities Nationwide
Rachel Surls at Civil Eats

November 15, 2022

Politicians’ Self-Interest and Dishonesty
By Pierre Lemieux at Econlib

November 14, 2022

Weekly Column

The Tao: Your Transcendental Router

The Tao: Your Transcendental Router
For the fortunate few, that router is hard-wired with fiber optic. Most of us only get a wireless connection, and a wobbly one at that.


The Tao: Your Transcendental Receiver

November 13, 2022

I'd never even heard of this dude. I'm intrigued now.

Planning and The Politics of Beauty: Reflections on Stewart Udall
By Russell Arben Fox at Front Porch Republic

November 11, 2022

Mencken: Ready to Follow the Science

November 10, 2022

Are You Humble?

17 signs that you're not.

I'd add an 18th: You read a list like this and worry you're not hitting enough of them (which is what I do):  

Are You Humble? These 17 Signs from St. Josemaria Will Help You Know
From the Magis Center

November 9, 2022

Holly Math Nerd, a pro-choice person who otherwise appears to be on the right side of the political spectrum, does a good job of summing up my impressions of last night. She then goes on to lay the blame on abortion's doorstep, and I think is correct. Pro-life is political suicide, and Catholics like Pope Francis aren't helping matters:

This is a dramatic underperformance. In the era of modern statistics (which I’m roughly citing as World War 2), when the President’s approval rating is under 50%, the out-of-power party picks up 43 House seats on average. (If the President is more popular, the pickup is about 28 seats.)
This is right and good. The founders designed the House to be an immediate popular response to government. This is why they’re all, always, up for re-election. And it’s fantastic that we always have a way, as citizens, to tell the President to watch his P’s and Q’s.
With the economy in the toilet and inflation at record highs, after years of COVID bulls*** that murdered many small businesses, the Republicans should have slaughtered the Democrats. The Democrats ran someone with literal brain damage in Pennsylvania and picked up a Senate seat.


Blue Morning After

A very bad night for the unborn, it would appear. I'm afraid "pro-life" means no victory, at least in Michigan. Based on the preliminary numbers, I'm guessing at least 50% of Catholics voted for the wicked Proposition 3. It's astonishing.  

November 8, 2022


I love Casablanca. It's one of those movies I wish I'd seen more than twice. Nice reflection here.

Casablanca is a peerless illustration of Hollywood high style, exemplified in countless little details: the angle of Bergman’s hat, the crisp whiteness of Bogart’s dinner jacket
At eighty, Casablanca embodies Hollywood high style
By Peter Tonguette at the Spectator

Feverish Demand for Used Car

I had to sell my kids' 2008 Ford Taurus: 250,000 miles, but in great shape for such vintage. He posted it to Facebook's local marketplace on Sunday and received two inquiries within five minutes. He sold it to one of the guys for $1,000 Monday evening. He went to shut down the notice and saw he'd received 32 more inquiries. I'm not sure what that says about things.

November 7, 2022

Weekly Column

Voegelin’s New Science of Politics Put Gnosticism Back into Our Awareness
💡If you want to understand how gnosticism flourishes in our modern world, you need to understand why it developed in the ancient world Time magazine ran a peculiar feature in 1953. It used a five-page analysis of The New Science of Politics to celebrate the magazine’s 30th anniversary, stating


Eric Voegelin and the Rise of Ancient Gnosticism

November 6, 2022

Coming tomorrow:

Best Catholic Essay of the Year?

That's what David Scott is calling it and I trust David Scott. Link.

Sister Maria D. Jackson, assigned to Our Lady of Pompeii, where my paternal grandparents were married in 1929, was a stranger to me. But my mind was on that childhood picture of the Devil, and I was anxious to start balancing the ledger of my actions. As we went from house to house, I was candid about the behavior that had brought me to her and took pains to let her know that the marriage had never been violent. Just a boatload of selfishness for which I wanted a do-over, itself a form of selfishness.
She reached into a pocket of her black skirts, took out a Rosary, and handed it to me.
“Here,” she said. “Try this.”
Try This
By Rafael Alvarez at The Lamp
Since the beginning of my devotion to the Blessed Mother, I have kept a notebook on the radiator in front of the window titled “Rosary Ntz,” in which I take down what comes to me during the meditation.

November 5, 2022

The marauders at Anonymous and 4Chan are digital Vikings.

They strike at everything and everyone who thinks they're better than everyone else. Maybe that's why those fearsome creatures from the North are so popular in our culture today.

The Viking War on Woke
By Dominic Sandbrook at UnHerd

November 4, 2022

Why Do So Many Gin Brands Have Indian Names?

“The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen’s lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the empire.” Winston Churchill
Why Do So Many Gin Brands Have Indian Names?
The simple cocktail with so much history.
In early 19th century India, under the colonial rule of the British Raj, there was an onset of malaria. It was considered deadly then, but quinine was found to be a helpful cure. An alkaloid, quinine is a naturally occurring chemical compound that is added to tonic water. While today we have a range of flavored tonic water on grocery store shelves, it was an extremely bitter-tasting liquid back then. The soldiers started making concoctions to make it more palatable by mixing soda, water, sugar, lime, and eventually, gin. Voila! The gin and tonic was born.
If you have wondered why so many Indian names, such as Jodhpur, Bombay Sapphire, Maharani, or Chai, are on gin labels, or why classic tonic water is called “Indian tonic water,” you now have your answer.

November 2, 2022

The Master and His Emissary

Enthusiasts have described McGilchrist’s insights as a Copernican revolution in metaphysics. He himself would more modestly claim that he is simply reminding his readers, with the aid of the hemisphere hypothesis, of older and more enlightened ways of thinking.

The New Criterion has run a great book review of Iain McGilchrist's new book, which contains a great summary of his first book: The Master and His Emissary. Like others, I believe McGilchrist is doing the best scholarly work of the past 50 years.

The Master and His Emissary: Summary
By Jonathan Gaisman at The New Criterion
In a healthy brain, both hemispheres constantly work together. Since many aspects of language engage the LH, however, our overwhelmingly verbalized modern existence promotes LH dominance. The results are seen about us: the fragmentation of society, the atrophy of value, the sterility of contemporary art, the increasing dominance of mechanical and bureaucratized thinking, the triumph of procedure over substance, and environmental despoliation. Today, we exist in a hall of mirrors where our self-validating left-brain modes of thought continually push us in the wrong direction. Recent phenomena such as critical theory and its baleful progeny are part of this picture.

November 1, 2022

LA Bio

I've been fascinated by Los Angeles' history for decades, at least since watching L.A. Confidential (1997). I've looked for decent histories but nothing seemed quite right.

But apparently, recently-deceased Mike Davis wrote one that might be exactly what I've been looking for: City of Quartz. I'm thinking it'd make a great Audible-Kindle combo purchase. My hand hovers over my mouse; Marie whispers in my ear ("Don't do it"). . . . stay tuned.

Urban Jeremiah: Mike Davis, 1946-2022
By Sohrab Ahmari at Compact

A Festivus for the Rest of Us

Well, tomorrow anyway. For today, let's remember the great ones we never knew.

Happy All Saints Day.

This is hugely important. In brief: Enlightenment rationalism is all about left hemisphere control over things it can't understand. The right hemisphere respects the things it can't understand, including things like "love" and the intuitive, implicit, poetic, tacit knowledge that comes from grappling with life in the trenches.

Disembedded knowledge is no knowledge at all. In fact, it's anti-knowledge.

"[W]e must now go back to St. Augustine to restore the balance of our cognitive powers." Michael Polanyi

Mark Mitchell, Michael Polanyi (ISI, 2006), p. 61

BTW: Descartes probably had a daughter who died young. It supposedly deeply affected him, so I'm not sure it's fair to lump him entirely with this group.

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