Why is the sea boiling hot?

I had planned to post a selection of epigrams for this year’s post-a-favorite-poem entry today, but Maureen Mullarkey’s commentary yesterday on Chicago finger food as served by Cardinal Cupich calls for more Lewis Carroll. So, here’s “The Walrus and the Carpenter.”

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright —
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done —
‘It’s very rude of him,’ she said,
‘To come and spoil the fun.’

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead —
There were no birds to fly.

Continue reading “Why is the sea boiling hot?”

Rusting away

I gather that youngsters have not heard of Neil Young. He was a musician popular about fifty years ago, noted for having the thinnest tenor of any professional singer. He ranks third on the list of the most whiny vocalists in rock, surpassed only by Kurt Cobain and Thom “Creep” Yorke. He wrote one listenable song, but Petrus Ratajczyk did it better.

Continue reading “Rusting away”

Great moments in civilization

From the comments at Isegoria:

Years ago, I drove a visitor from the Middle East around the suburbs and countryside of my beautiful Rust Belt city. He observed, that in his country, one felt safe in the cities, but you feared going into the exurbs, as you would be at the mercy of bandits and other lawless types. He admired the fact that we had managed to reverse that order, which has held for most of human history.

Being shameless

Severian tells a little story:

I got offered a mask walking into a store; I gave them a cheery “no thanks, I’m disabled!” and walked around doing my business, seemingly oblivious…. but I saw more than one person pull theirs down, and in the checkout line I had a woman (no less!) say something like “I wish more people would do what you did… but I gotta ask….”

“What’s my disability? It’s that I just can’t put up with scientifically illiterate bullshit, and I’m allergic to fascism. It’s a serious handicap, trust me.”

She took her mask off and gave me a high five right there. I know, I know, cool story bro… but it happened.

Today’s quotes


One of the most bizarre things about the Current Year is how quickly and thoroughly the shenanigans of our globohomo pirate overclass has turned me into a goofy Commie. I sound exactly like — if not far worse than — the goofiest hippy-dippy professor I mocked so mercilessly back in undergrad. I will never, ever wear Birkenstocks, nor a long gray pony tail behind my bald dome, but in every other way I’m just like those guys.

US out of everywhere? Hell yes, and much faster! The CIA is starting wars for fun and profit? Not only are they doing that, they’re trying to provoke insurrections right here at home, too, with the eager help of their Mini-Me’s in the FBI, who are so corrupt that the only decent thing to do is root for the Mob and the drug cartels. Manufacturing Consent reads like a how-to manual these days, and 1984 is the 50 Shades of Gray of the political class. They were right by accident, those hippies, and for all the wrong reasons, but… they were right.

Maureen Mullarkey:

As of October 24, the number of roses sent was 14,159. Had anyone thought to send Pelosi a dead fish instead? The stink of some 14,159 fish carcasses piling up in the mail room of her DC office would correspond perfectly to the stench of the abortion regime she represents.

Today’s quote

J Greely:

I used to think that the world-building of Fallout 4 was the least-believable thing about the game, with people failing at even the basics of creating a pre-modern society after a full 200 years, and still living in rubble-filled open-air unheated shacks in Boston. They’re not even keeping out the rain, much less the snow, and are wearing filthy clothes scavenged from the ruins. Twenty years, sure; fifty years, maybe, but two hundred years of taping together rotting lumber and pulling clothes off of mannequins?

Then I saw how people responded to Covid-19. China didn’t need nukes to destroy American society…

In related news, I am disappointed to find that there are no In-N-Out Burgers in Kansas.


Bonus quote, from Maus at Severian’s place:

I’ve never felt like a typical Boomer, a fact that I chalked up to having much older parents (1916 and 1927) who ran a fairly strict, traditional household. But my focus shifted to much more obvious conflicts with the later Millenial and Zoomer cohorts, whose world views are materially and spiritually foreign to me. Ultimately, I’ve concluded that generational parsing is driven by cosumerism’s need for market segmentation, for which emphasis on conflicting differences is the sine qua non. It’s simply not a useful heuristic for assessing the worthiness of any particular individual I might encounter with an inclination to form a deeper association of any sort.

Language, language

If you view the Constitution of the United States in the National Archives Catalog, you’ll see a curious notice on a background of light blue. You’ll see it also if you look at the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights.

Yeah, this warning about language probably appears on every single National Archives Catalog page, not just these three. The website crew can’t possibly think the Constitution itself contains “potentially harmful content.” Right?


Illustration from The Traditional Catholic Weeb.



I’m writing this because I think it’s time for everybody to figure out their hard limit in the creeping totalitarianism we are experiencing. I’ve thought about mine, I have figured out what it is, and it’s very calming to know it. I highly recommend thinking about where you stop accommodating the totalitarians. What is off limits? We are all different, and everybody will put their boundary in a different place. That’s OK as long as we all find the boundary.


Morgan Freeberg:

When we know something is *not* so, there’s no need to censor it. There’s no need to censor phlogiston theory. There’s no need to censor “That wrestling match was totally legitimate.” There’s no need to censor “The moon is made of cheese.” The need for censorship exists when the message is provably true, or open to question with an outright refutation being impossible.

Joseph Moore:

History is full of Richard Richs.


The Z-Man:

The thing is, Alex Jones claiming the vaccine will alter your DNA is no nuttier than much of what is in the mass media. In fact, a ridiculous claim is far less harmful than the plausible, but inaccurate claim. Few people will think the vaccine will turn you into Big Foot, but most people will believe we need to make kids wear masks. Far more people have been harmed by official lies than by goofballs on the internet.


J Greely:

There are two kinds of people who say, “don’t tell your parents what we did today”: child molesters and woke teachers.

Okay, maybe that’s just one kind of person.

Notes on fairy tales from a Chesterton conference:

Some modern renditions of Cinderella replace the “…and they lived happily ever after” for things like, “…and they lived and had their ups and downs, sometimes angry with each other, sometimes sad, and sometimes happy.” But this destroys the point of the tale, which is that Cinderella and her prince (in Grimm’s German literally, “the king’s son”) are an image of Christ and us, and that the “happily ever after” is Heaven. In an effort to make it more realistic they unwittingly make it less realistic since Heaven is, in fact, happiness ever after.


Welcome to the new dark age:

The history of the computer is the destruction and replacement of record making and keeping systems by newer ones that are not backward compatible. Computers destroy history. Future historians (if any survive, 2525) will label our current era as a dark age, because there will be no records of what happened.


Bonus: a B. Kliban record cover from 1977.

Joyous multiples

It’s been a while since I last ran a poll. Let’s see if I can remember how to set one up.

(For the significance of “joy multiplier,” see here.)