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Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Embrace of Opposites.


I was speaking with a friend about Rudyard Kipling, who is to most of the people I know (as to me) more of a familiar name than a familiar author.  When I explained that his most famous work was probably The Jungle Book, and explained that it contained animal tales often told to children, my […]

New York City.


Forest Park, Queens.  February 2011.

Richard Dawkins’ God Delusion.


The Richard Dawkins book The God Delusion is not a good book; it is unorganized, gossipy, filled with tangents, of little depth, and boring.  Oscar Wilde said there were no moral or immoral books; “books are well written, or badly written, that is all.”  The God Delusion is badly written.  I could tell I was […]

Into Eternity.


I saw the well-reviewed documentary “Into Eternity” last week, and was not too impressed, though I don’t quite regret the two hours.  There has to be some excuse for making a movie out of what might be a thousand-word essay; and “Into Eternity” does not offer that kind of visual or experiential payoff.  The facility […]

Caltha Palustris.


The snow is clearing away quickly in the city with this blast of warm weather, disclosing the life already growing beneath.  The most striking are the marsh marigolds, Caltha Palustris, which have already formed leaves despite having a good foot of snow on top of them just last week.  The fact that nature keeps to […]

A Breath of Spring.


The Pronunciation of Newtown, Queens.


Lord knows I should have made a stink about this before, but it’s been done: the people who run the subway have corrected their shameful mispronunciation of the neighborhood of Queens known as Newtown.  They called it “Newton” (as in Sir Isaac).  But even New Yorkers who have never been to the neighborhood have crossed […]

Bank of America, Wikileaks, and America.


A most disturbing post from Glenn Greenwald, highlighting apparent Bank of America plans to target several journalists, including Greenwald and Jennifer 8. Lee.

Christopher Hitchens, Religions, and Life Without God.


I’ve been impressed recently by the intelligence, articulateness, and unapologetically rakish character of Christopher Hitchens, and curiosity about and respect for the man prompted me to take a look at the fashionable atheist books of the day, beginning with his God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.  As is always the case with modern […]

D.S. Carne-Ross.


A snippet from a vanished culture.  While I know military men who can recite Kipling and the purple bits of Henry V, I think this kind of thing is of the past: “If I were to write my memoirs — which I do not propose to do, nor does the world require such a book […]