The Polls of Nowhere

Nowhere, America Today, the subjects of the Assimilated Provinces of Megalomerica will go to the polls to vote. It’s mostly a formality, since the polls have already come to them, and everyone pretty much knows what will happen. When ...

News from Nowhere

Providence, RI There are in these recent days at least three matters of great importance confronting my beloved land, The Assimilated Provinces of Megalomerica. They are related to one another. Indeed they must be related to one another, be...

Something Better than a Giant

This Christmas my daughter bought for me a CD of Welsh hymns, folk songs, and patriotic anthems, sung by the burly baritone Bryn Terfel. He’s a tremendous performer, apparently renowned for his work in opera around the world. If you w...

There’s Equality, and There’s Equality

In one of my favorite movies, John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley, a family of coal miners is faced with the prospect of lower wages handed out by the owners of the mine, because the closing of the ironworks in a nearby village has re...

A Message in a Bottle

Every now and then we hear of a lucky homeowner who takes down a wall to make renovations on his house, and finds inside it a cache of wonders; dozens of original posters advertising movies from seventy and eighty years ago; a box of handwr...

Life Under Compulsion: The Minotaur

When we lose the sense of transcendence, when in our hearts and minds the things of time are no longer oriented toward eternity, then, writes Jacques Maritain in The Range of Reason, it is not only that “Truth and Justice, good and evil, fa...

Life Under Compulsion: Contemplation

I am looking at another painting by Norman Rockwell, a part of his Four Seasons Calendar: Grandpa and Me in Summer.  I know that I am not supposed to enjoy paintings by Rockwell, because the man had skill and humanity and wit and grace and ...

Life Under Compulsion: Saying Grace

The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Rom. 8:21) I am looking at Saying Grace, an extraordinary painting by Norman Rockwell. I’ve never caught the bug f...

Life Under Compulsion: Play and No Play

In East Bangor, Pennsylvania (pop. 800), there’s a little diner named for the trolley that used to take people to the once bustling steel town of Bethlehem.  The proprietors have adorned the walls with photographs of other local things that...

Life Under Compulsion: Noise

The child’s language is melodious.  The words hide and protect themselves in the melody – the words that have come shyly out of the silence.  They almost disappear again in the silence.  There is more melody than content in the words of the...