Sunday, June 30, 2024


Deep in the Weeds of English

A young woman properly can be said to be an "ingenue" and at the same time to be "disingenuous."

Saturday, June 29, 2024


Cry, the Beloved Country

The expression belongs to another time, another place.  Out of principle, I won't look it up.  If memory does not fail (failed memory serendipitously holding center stage), the place was South Africa, and the time was under apartheid.  But it is apt for the here and now as America, like one of those drone-wounded Russian armored personnel carriers, careens pilotless towards a ditch, with its turret spinning hopelessly out of control.

Thursday, June 27, 2024


She Said It in Wonder but Without Hubris

She said it as if she were outside herself, as if she were looking on from above, perhaps from a high hill.  She said it almost anthropologically -- "My soul magnifies the Glory of the Lord!"

In 20 centuries, who else has been entitled to say it?  Perhaps the bodhisattvas, but even then only in the hour of their ultimate death, when they are said to be irradiated, for all to see, in pursuit of Nothing at All.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

For Us As For the Children of Pompeii

Did not the Bible tell me so?  Did not Jesus Himself say it?  He said that there would be no time at all for us to gather our things, to pack our bags, when the "blood-red tide is loosed upon the world."

We will be like the children of Pompeii.  We will be like the wife of Lot, arrested in flight, our very eyes turned saltine, caught gazing back at the Twin Cities -- Sodom and Gomorrah, Chelsea and Everett, Methuen and Billerica, East and West Orange, Minneapolis and St. Paul,  Buda and Pest.  No one, I say, will be spared.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024


Ask Your Doctor About Padloxidoxicillimen (TM)

It's the only drug clinically proven to eliminate the side effects of other prescribed medications that are marketed on television.

(Padloxidoxicillimen itself may cause bleeding gums and shortness of breath that in rare cases progresses to respiratory arrest.  Do not take Padloxidoxicillimen if you are pregnant and operating heavy machinery.)

Cut to a husband and wife who are barely able to contain their joie de vivre.  He is about 60, black with a helmet of grey hair.  She is much younger, Asian-American or perhaps a Pacific Islander.  She has just said something that has precipitated a laugh from her husband while they wait for a white man at the counter, equally carefree but servile, to spray disinfectant inside their bowling shoes.

Monday, June 3, 2024


The Blood Red Badge of Nihilism

Every day now, you can tune in to an X/Twitter channel that will allow you to witness the destruction of Russians in the fields of Ukraine, unexpurgated.  Of course, if the drone that does them in is a kamikaze, the video will end with impact.  More often, though, the same drone that dropped a bomb on them will record the aftermath.  Sometimes the killing seems clean and antiseptic; the "200" cooperate by lying face down as they bleed out.  Sometimes bodies come apart in the explosion; more often they are shredded by little bomblets designed for just such anti-personnel work.

More often as well now, a wounded Russian will abandon all hope of medical assistance or retreat, and end it all himself by blowing his brains out.  (We think of the expression -- "to blow one's brains out" -- as metaphorical, like "to work one's ass off" in the factory, but when you put a Kalashnikov under your chin and fire a round, the damage done is not metaphorical.)

«Петя!  Сколько раз мы тебе говорили, што спрашивать Дядю Ваню о СМО запрещено?»

"Petey!  How many times have we told you not to ask Uncle Vanya about the Special Military Operation?"