Singing Gold

When I was a kid, we lived within an easy walk of a forest. An unkempt sort of forest, sort of an orphan. There were hills, including a great one for sledding, a desultory creek, and some permanently damp places full of frogs. What may have been an abandoned Christmas Tree farm. Great for kids.

There was a hill, what passed for a hill, a rise or swell that overlooked that creek. The hill was covered with maple trees mostly 15 to 25 feet high. One year, one day, probably in my late teens, I found they had all turned bright yellow at once. It was a bright day, and I got a glimpse of what Tolkien may have meant by “singing gold.”


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Pro Tip

After refilling your pen with an ink named “Antique Copper,” do not, forgetful, go back to work and, later, scratch your nose.

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Anne Kennedy laments over the remodeled Anne of Green Gables. It occurred to me, because I am very slow, that of course the Father of Lies would attack reading in general, and how we read.  And we’re always ready to listen to lies.

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12 Rules

I’ve read and enjoyed Jordan Peterson’s book, and intend to read it again soon. Parts of it are very good; the section on listening, for example, and other parts are fun – it’s always fun to take a few swings at Rousseau. What it is not, is a book of theology or spiritual guidance. It’s more akin to the long line of practical advice books, from Poor Richard  on.  It’s not an Imitation of Christ for our time – more akin to a Norman Vincent Peale for our deteriorating culture. This is not to denigrate –  it’s a needed bracer against the sheer loopiness of our times. It’s influence might well lead one two Christianity, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about how not to mess up, or if you have, how to scrub out the mess you’ve made.

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Returning, On His Shield

I’m back, in part, more deliberately than slowly, evaluating activities before I resume them. I told a friend that it’s as if I missed two seasons, summer in a slow decline, autumn in recovery. Or recuperation. Or, putting it another way, I blinked and moved from grilling to stews. After a good start at the beginning of the gardening year, way back in February and March, soggy weather stopped things in the squelch. Now, thorns do in fact infest the ground, is Watts’ phrase that we’ll soon enough be singing. I said to her that “beating back the thorns and weeds” was a good enough description of the Christian secular life.
I’m reading an early and possibly obscure Michael Innes mystery, so early that Sir John isn’t Sir, yet, nor even a highly ranked policeman. He has a sister, whom I do not recall from other Appleby yarns. The atmosphere of the book is a little musty, a little dusty. I’m reading it while wrapped in wool and a snug comforter on the cold nights we’re having now, and the book somehow reminds me of my grandmother’s house. The book preserves, I suppose, the late 1930s atmosphere that somehow curled around her house, the hint that prosperity might be coming again, laced with the fear of war that hovered, unacknowledged by chokingly present. Vanished worlds, both.
Speaking of grandmothers, didn’t any of these men who have gotten into such trouble for being boors have any? Grandmothers were the instructors and enforcers of good manners. “Keep your eyes and hands to yourself!” “Stand up when a woman enters the room!” And so on. All washed away in the spring tides of early feminism, leaving young men confused and sometimes concussed “Do I hold the door for her or not?” All those dull old-fashioned, courtly, chivalrous manners were ways of moderating and confining the bumptiousness of male interest. All gone.
Well, having destroyed that moderating influence and replaced it with nothing, now everyone is agape at the result. Can’t imagine why.

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A List

1. Donald Trump should not be president.

2. Hillary Clinton should not be president.

3. Bernie Sanders should not be president.

A dog’s breakfast of an election. Usually there’s at least one who’s not entirely repellant. Gary? Too confused. Evan? Please.

4. Donald Trump is the president.

5. Donald Trump has made some good appointments.

6. Those good appointments are no better than those an actual conservative might have made.

7. Donald Trump is beginning to turn against those appointees.

I’m always going to be grateful for Justice Gorsuch. It was, way back then, a sign that President Trump could listen to and follow good advice. While Candidate Trump’s policies were mostly obscure, his character was not. Now, his character is coming to the fore, and there’s a real chance that the White House will become a revolving door.

Mr. Trump won the election due to (1) the sheer incompetence of Madame’s campaign and (2) a revolt against mandarin, top down, we-know-best government. He doesn’t understand that, of course.

8. Donald Trump does not have coat tails.

9. Donald Trump has no clientalia among Republicans at any level.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens when the Members of Congress return from recess. The more conscientious ones spend some of the time listening to their constituents.* What will they hear?

10. I have a hunch that Dame Fortuna is about to give her Wheel a mighty turn.

*This doesn’t apply if your Congressperson is an Illinois Donkocrat.

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O Altitudo

All of CSL’s The Great Divorce is glorious. The last pages, including the dialog between the Lady and the Tragedian, with George MacDonald’s running commentary, is stunning, terrifying. It illuminates, dreadfully, common human behavior. It reminds us of how cheap and low so many of our current cultural obsessions are.

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Shrinking Violet

Found these two hiding under some daylilies, themselves lurking behind a big lilac, in a shady, neglected part of the garden that I’m reclaiming this summer. I let violets go – they don’t hurt anything, and they often surprise, as the lower one of these is doing.

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When the History of 2016

is written, if it’s written, there will be no heroes nor innocent victims, just scoundrels and fools.

I’m largely in agreement with Mr. French on this. The free-speech absolutist response to bad speech is usually better speech. I admit to a itch to find some soap and a washcloth, though. There’s a difference between fame and reputation. My fellow alumnus has fame aplenty, but a little less reputation today.


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Jumble Sale

The Battle of Helm’s Deep is over; Gimli’s heart has been overthrown by the Glittering Caves; and the Riders are moving toward Isengard but are still on their way.

Some springtime pics taken yesterday:

A blue lilac getting ready to lilac all over the place, and a variegated dogwood leafing out. And Otto, being Otto.

The Benedict Option

Making slow progress, not sure about all the details, but I’m mostly in sympathy.  I might have more to say when I finish. In the meantime, it’s hardly surprising that Mrs. Clinton’s alma mater should beclown itself with this editorial from the student newspaper. “Orwellian” is overused, but might be accurate here. The author(s)(Just cause it reads as though written by a committee doesn’t mean it was) does seem to say that the purpose of post high school education is to instill Goodthink, and that those who cannot accept or conform to Goodthink must be exiled. Yes, upsetting.

While I can get away with it, A Joyous Easter to the couple of readers out there. Let sing Gloria and Te Deum. 

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