Quote of The Week

“In politics what begins in fear usually ends in folly.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge


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This web site is a nineteenth or even an eighteenth century artifact, concerned with language and ideas, whimsical humor and (sometimes) serious reflections – an electronic hangover from another age. Every week or two you will find here a ‘Featured Essay’ about almost any subject from my vast archive. Under the heading ‘Writing Life’ are thoughts about some aspect of this antique occupation.

An addition from September 2019 is the (very occasional) ‘Rediscoveries’ page which will feature authors and fragments of writing that I have found in odd corners and hidden places on my dusty bookshelves, or that have been recalled to mind by something I have read, or by one of my clever friends. The first of these rediscoveries introduced the remarkable teacher and critic Richard Mitchell, known as “The Underground Grammarian.” There’s nobody like him. A another posting contemplates the remarkable life of H.L.Mencken, the “satirical sage of Baltimore,” and offers one of his comments on Presidential elections. The newest of these choices, just added, features C. Northcote Parkinson who revealed the only 100% true sociological law, which is named after him.

Under Books and Audio the latest arrival is Dark Matters: Delusions, illusions, lost causes and absurdities in modern America – a collection of long essays on politics, religion, the pursuit of happiness, and just about everything. Those who have read some of my previous books may be surprised by this one. I am a little surprised by it myself. But, like any other essay writer I have followed my personal thoughts and opinions into some difficult and controversial territory and, like it or not, this book is the result.

Present and future lectures etc. are listed under ‘Courses and Events’ and (in season) ‘Music.’ My weekly public radio essays can be read and heard at www.wshu.org and heard again on the podcast “A Few Well-Chosen Words.”

Topics of the Week

The Featured Essay: In The Plague David’s recalls an age of innocence when he played a very small part in virus research.

Writing Life: Repetition remarks (yet again) on the obvious fact that – like a public television show – all life and art is likely to be a repeat.

Podcasts:

All my broadcasts are now available as podcasts on iTunes and Google. Just enter my name in the Search box.