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Monthly Archives: March 2010

The Allusions in the Brothers Karamazov.


Let me start with the end of the first chapter of The Brothers Karamazov: Finally she fled the house and ran away from Fyodor Pavlovich with a destitute seminarian, leaving the three-year-old Mitya in his father’s hands.  Fyodor Pavlovich immediately set up a regular harem in his house and gave himself to the most unbridled […]

Still Plenty of Snow Up Here…


Photo taken March 27th, 2010 on the flank of Table Mountain, not far from my cabin.  While there is not much snow at the lower elevations, higher elevations of the Catskills, as you can see above, still have more than four feet of snow on the ground.  The snow is solid, too – you can […]



“For over five years this man has been chasing around Europe like a madman in search of something he could set on fire.  Unfortunately he again and again finds hirelings who open the gates of their country to this international incendiary.” – Adolf Hitler, describing Winston Churchill in 1941. Do we need any further proof […]

Life Without Principle.


Caught my eye: Yesterday Newt Gingrich outlined the Republican strategy going forward, saying that the Democrats “will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for forty years” by signing civil rights into law. Leave aside the deep cynicism of this view of racial equality: Gingrich was expressing the Republican belief […]



While it’s certainly likely that we’ll have a bit more snow – and I see 20 degree temperatures in the forecast – the snow is now almost all gone.  Yesterday it rained all day, and I watched it eagerly, thinking – “It’s rain!  Water!  From the sky!  Not snow!  What a miracle!”  I would look […]

More Tolstoy.


“The railroad is to travel what the whore is to love.  Just as comfortable, and just as horribly mechanical and fatally monotonous.” – Tolstoy, in a letter to Turgenev. !  This man’s capacity to shock and horrify me – while being ever-so-civilized – never seems to end.  Calling whores “monotonous”!

More Superlative Weather.


We are having weather which is more usual to April, in March; it has been so warm and pleasant, it feels like a great gift.  Everyone is in a good mood.  On my way down here my neighbors were sitting on deck chairs on their lawn – and raised their hands to me in complacent […]

Tolstoy on Music.


“They played Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata,” he continued.  “Do you know the first presto?  You do?” he cried.  “Ugh!  Ugh!  It is a terrible thing, that sonata.  And especially that part.  And in general music is a dreadful thing.  What is it?  I don’t understand it.  What is music?  What does it do?  And why does […]

Slow snow melt.


As I came up here I saw one thing which told me almost everything I needed to know about conditions on the ground in the Catskills: I passed the Neversink Reservoir and saw that it was not yet overflowing.  That meant the river was not flooding, which meant the snow had not melted yet. That […]

Tolstoy. Who Else?


“Go round the shops in any big town.  There are goods worth millions and you cannot estimate the human labor expended on them, and look whether in nine-tenths of these shops there is anything for the use of men.  All the luxuries of life are demanded and maintained by women. “Count all the factories.  An […]