A Turn of the Worm

This won’t be the last turn of the worm, to be sure; but it is hard to see how he could twist himself up any further than this, without brasting all to flinders.

My wife and I were exploring Sonoma County this last weekend. It is a beautiful, hilly, forested redoubt, a difficult hour and a half north of San Francisco, and so spared the downside of American urban life, while at the same time blessed with abundant good cheeses, markets, restaurants, chocolates, beer, and the like – wines, too, of course, with gorgeous world-class vinyards on every side – and most importantly for yours truly, good coffee. We stopped at my favorite chain, Peets Coffee of Berkeley (Alfred Peet is the fellow who started the North American coffee craze with a little store in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, about forty years ago), with their glorious oaky smoky dark roasts, as dense and roborative as beef. My wife stopped in to the restroom, and returned with this photo:

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Another Day in the College Classroom

Dear Student:

You will notice that the “hats off in the house” rule is included in the course-syllabus.  It is an item in the “Guidelines for Classroom Decorum”:

Hats and head-coverings off during class-time.  A college-level humanities lecture is a serious, adult occasion and a civilized, professional activity even quasi-solemn in character.  The Instructor therefore institutes the “no hats” rule to help students, especially the hat-wearing ones, make the sometimes-difficult transition from their state of pre-critical high-school-and-popular-culture conformism to that of adult, civilized, intellectual reflexivity and ethical independence.  In practice, the “no hats” rule applies mostly to men, but in principle it includes women.

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Pulp Fiction, the Trinity, the Samurai Trilogy, and the Old City Hall Tavern – or What I did over Winter Break


Some time ago when The Orthosphere was novel, Kristor, in addressing the issue of how I might best contribute to the enterprise, suggested to me in private correspondence that not every posting needed to be a fully worked out, objectively couched essay.  Shorter, more personal or subjective postings might serve justifiably – postings that reported, say, moments of intellectual clarification, attempts to live in a context of liberal soft tyranny, important formulations discovered in reading, objects of longstanding connoisseurship, or the like.  A posting might even be modestly autobiographical or self-explanatory.  What follows is an amalgam of all that.

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Focus on Preparing for Your Marriage, Not Your Wedding

I recently stumbled across a classic piece from a delightfully cantankerous Catholic priest, sternly lecturing an insouciant (and probably made-up) bride-to-be for her frivolity with respect to her coming wedding. (The priest, Father Richard Simon, is presently in the Archdiocese of Chicago, and runs a worthy blog). It’s worth reading.

I’m interested to hear what our readers did to prepare, not for their weddings, but for their marriages.

There’s no fun so wholesome liberals won’t hate it: Mutton busting edition

My girlfriend and I took the trip to the Houston rodeo at Reliant Stadium last weekend. I’d never been to a rodeo before, and I’m still a little bedazzled by the massiveness of the phenomenon. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Picture the county fair, plus a massive concert, plus an arts festival (tenth graders making photorealist paintings — phenomenal!), plus a livestock show, and also, there’s folks riding bulls and racing horses. Cowboy boots and hats and giant belt buckles everywhere.

I have to admit, though, my favorite part of the rodeo was the event called mutton busting. It’s like the rodeo, but for little kids, no more than five or six years old, I’d say. Instead of riding bulls or horses, they ride sheep. It’s just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen: stressed-out sheep running around with earnest toddlers gripping on, their tiny little hands full of wool. I admired the kids’ pluck and courage. They’ll grow up to be fine men. (And there were a few girls in there, too!)

Anyway, it turns out — surprise! — liberals hate mutton busting. Check out the comments at the Huffington Post or ABC News. It stands to reason. Bonald argued once that liberalism is going so far now that it’s becoming anti-friendship, because friendship, after all, is discriminatory, exclusive, and particularist, and these are things against which liberalism has set its face. Is it possible that liberalism is also now becoming anti-fun? Think about it: all this wholesome fun could be distracting these kids from the important things in life, like sodomizing one another.

Plus, think of the sheep!