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Monthly Archives: June 2010

In Bloom.


Rhododendron Maximum, in the Catskills.

From Dostoevsky.


The conclusions of one of the revolutionaries in Demons: “I got entangled in my own data, and my conclusion directly contradicts the original idea I start out from.  Starting from unlimited freedom, I conclude with unlimited despotism.  I will add, however, that apart from my solution to the social problem, there is no other.”

This Ugliness Brought to You by the Beautification Committee.


One of the impressive things about modern ugliness and inefficiency is that it has always gotten the approval of committees specifically designed to preserve the aesthetics and functionality of neighborhoods.  But since committee-humanity is unable to make a subjective judgement – saying, “This plan is ugly and it should not be built” seems insufficiently objective […]

Society Without the Father.


An anecdote from Richard Rohr which caught my eye: When I was giving priests’ retreats in Peru, a sister working in the main prison in Lima told me a story I have never forgotten.  She said as Mother’s Day was approaching the prisoners kept asking for Mother’s Day cards.  She brought card after card so […]

Christianity and the Survival of Creation.


For the Feast of John the Baptist: this extremely good essay by Wendell Berry; highly recommended.  Proof – as if it were needed – that the Magisterium of the Church resides not in the priesthood – which is almost always wrong – but in the Prophets.  As it was, is now, and ever shall be. […]

For the Latinists.


A Latin job for 2010-11 has opened at Regis in New York City – a program which should be (should not is) the best Latin program in any American high school.  The school’s history has been shaped by the formative deed which started it – a large, anonymous gift which paid all the school’s expenses […]

Catskill Native Nursery.


Yesterday was my first day of paid physical labor ever, I think.  I took a job with Catskill Native Nursery.  “Gardening For a Better Environment.”  Landscape restoration, native plant propagation, gardening within nature’s parameters.  And for me, using my body and working outdoors.  A good beginning.  Someone recently asked me if I’d ever work for […]

A Good, Brief Refutation of Libertarianism…


Edward Glaeser, via Andrew Sullivan: Consider the purely hypothetical case of a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The traditional libertarian would argue that regulation is unnecessary because the tort system will hold the driller liable for any damage. But what if the leak is so vast that the driller doesn’t have the […]

Chill Winds Still Blow, by Alexander Pushkin


A literal translation of the poem mentioned so often in The Brothers Karamazov, source of the phrase “sticky little leaves.”  Translation by Stephen Boykewich. The cold winds are still blowing And carrying the morning frost. The first little flowers Have just appeared through the spring thaw holes, As though from some miraculous, waxy kingdom, The […]

Punjab Love Festival.


Greetings from Richmond Hill, Queens, home of the 2010 Punjab Love Festival.  This poster in a shopfront on Jamaica Avenue caught my eye, but the festival – which offered “free food, free game, unconditional love and more” – had already passed.