Saturday, April 27, 2019

NYT abandons “literally Hitler”

I guess the editors decided portraying Jews as dogs was best left out of the domestic edition.

Thursday, April 25, 2019


A clear explanation of the dishonest distortions of Roger Scruton.

A decade ago I was asked who I thought was the most destructive person in American politics. I chose Jonathan Stewart, the high priest of drive-by distortion. I still like that choice. This is an example of why. I was also asked what I thought the biggest single problem in American politics was. My answer is that most people think ad hominem is a valid argument. I still like that answer too.

UPDATE: This from Althouse is on point. I agree perfectly. Think about it: Day 1 and he has already ceded the moral high ground, to Donald Trump.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Mini mystery reviews

I have read only a few mysteries recently.

Till Death Do Us Part John Dickson Carr. Is Dick Markham's fiancée Lesley Grant a serial poisoner who committed a series of locked room murders? Another man is killed in the same way ... This is one of Carr's best books, from 1944. I did not solve it, or even get very close. 5/5

Chef Maurice and a Spot Of Truffle J. Lang. A modern cozy about a chef in the Cotswolds, a trufflehunting pig, and murder. It's often pretty funny, sometimes a bit cloying, and has an okay mystery. Somewhere between 3 and 4 out of 5. Several mystery bloggers liked it a lot.

An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good H. Tursten. Maud is pushing 90, and she eliminates some annoyances in her life, by murdering them. Five stories. Droll, but the last two linked stories are a bit of a let down. Short. 3/5

Laura Vera Caspary. The basis of the famous movie, with Clifton Webb as Waldo Lydecker, and Gene Tierney in the title role. The movie is quite faithful to the book; Lydecker is big and fat in the book, but Webb catches him perfectly. There are several narrators in the book, but Waldo is most interesting.
The movie is better, see it first, but this is well worth reading. Cheap in Kindle. 4/5

Puzzle For Fools Patrick Quentin, 1936. The first of the Peter Duluth books, set in a psychiatric ward. Some of the characteristic QPQ humor, and some nice points in the solution, but it felt artificial and contrived to me. And not enough Iris, whom I usually image as Myrna Loy. I found this the least satisfactory QPQ so far. 3/5, just barely.

There's Trouble Brewing Nicholas Blake 1937. The third Nigel Strangeways. This is so obvious from the start that it makes all the investigation and theorizing tedious. I have liked other Blake books but not this one. 1/5.

The Reader is Warned Carter Dickson 1939. Can thoughts kill? Henry Merrivale thinks not, but bodies start dropping. This is one of Carr's most complex plots, and so other aspects of the story suffer a bit. It's easy to partly solve, but the core of the solution I missed, as does nearly everyone. 4/5  if you like complex puzzles. If Agatha Raisin is more your style, pick another Carr, like The Judas Window.

Fat Woke

A fat sex therapist, woke. But if the standard woke mantra is right, why wouldn’t it apply to fatness? The wrong answer is objective truth, because wokeness rejects that.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Julia Beck

6 minutes

Trump is Middling Awful, part 400

Bernie Sanders is a crook. He raised campaign money and used that money to buy his own book, giving him royalties. House Speaker Jim Wright pulled a similar stunt in the 1980s and had to resign. Sanders won’t have to resign; ethical standards are lower now than they were in the age of Michael Millken. Trump is middling awful.

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Great Awokening

An excellent article about the woke lunacy and its underpinnings.

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 Nusrat Jahan Rafi.

I'm guessing CNN would cover this story if the women had used Trump brand kerosene.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Is this, at last, peak stupid?

I wouldn’t bet on it, but today we have two serious contenders.

First Maggie Haberman of the NYT seems to think Edelweiss is some sort of Nazi anthem, and that this proves something nefarious about Trump. It is from The Sound of Music. It is sung by Captain von Trapp and it is a song of sorrow and lament that the Nazis have taken over his country. It was used in the titles of the Netflix series The Man in the High Castle —which is about Nazis taking over America — in exactly that sense. Perhaps she just didn’t know anything about the song when she decided it was important and damning, but she didn’t bother to check before Tweeting, and then she doubled down. Details.

But I think Max Boot has her beat:

It's that “inter alia” rodomontade which secures him the win.

Monday, April 15, 2019

An Antidote to Woke

The most interesting article of the week, a British convert to Islam explains his conversion.

UPDATE: A moderate Muslim has harsh words for Ilhan Omar. Bravo.

I think I know why

A common theme at Coyne's site is, why don’t people like atheists?

Here is what one atheist commenter said about Notre Dame
the only church that illuminates is a burning church

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Zuber Wall

While in Natchez, Mississippi, I saw the Stanton Hall home. It has on the second floor an enormous hall, featuring a Zuber wallpaper. I have not found a photograph of it but here is a smaller Zuber, to show the kind of work.

The one at Stanton is much larger, covering two sixty foot walls. 

Zuber's wallpaper is made by pressing finely cut blocks of wood daubed with paint. Each color requires a separate block, and so many pressings are required for each strip. The pattern at Stanton was carved in 1809, but the wallpaper was made in the 1930s; the wood blocks had been in storage. Here is a 10 minute video showing the manufacture.

Their catalog is online; here is a design comparable to the one I saw. 1265 blocks, carved in 1807!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Monday, April 1, 2019

Franken Follow Up

Endorsed. If you look back you will see I said he should not resign and that the ethics committee should investigate it. And I thought him an awful senator.

Cartoon, please don’t riot.