Comedians in Togas

Busto di Solone (640 a.C ca-560 a.C ca), marmo June 4, 2015
The Greeks were funny. We don’t usually think of them that way; we think of them as marbled patriarchs in togas, Really Important Men We Revere for Some Reason. Admittedly, we don’t usually think of them at all these days;…
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The Bar Jester Considers the Vanity of Doing Good

8509919-Samuel-Johnson-1709-1784-on-engraving-from-the-1800s-English-author-who-made-lasting-contributions-t-Stock-Photo June 2, 2015
Give away a third of your wealth.
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On Commencement Addresses

Graduation-Quotes-13 June 1, 2015
Holland, MI It is graduation season. On campuses across the country graduates will be subject to the last compulsory and least remarkable rite of passage: the commencement address. By my calculations I have attended nearly 30 graduation ceremonies. Of the…
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A Presidential Proposal Worthy of the Porch

May 28, 2015
[Cross-posted to In Medias Res] The blogger, pundit, screenwriter, and all-around mensch Noah Millman has come up with a brilliant idea–Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont, and Jim Webb, former U.S. Senator from Virginia, both of whom (the first officially,…
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Townsman, cont.

macbeth May 27, 2015
Returning were as tedious as go o’er.
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Tom Fleming Retires

cover0105 May 21, 2015
Rockford, Illinois.  After thirty-one years at Chronicles Magazine—thirty of them as editor—classicist, poet and polemicist Tom Fleming has retired. During his tenure at this small but influential magazine of the paleoconservative right, which was founded by Polish emigre Leopold Tyrmand…
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Townsman of a Stiller Town: Death on the American Highway

car-accident-damages May 19, 2015
Earth's the right place for love.
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Witchcraft in Church? Against Glamorous Worship

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA May 19, 2015
Recently, our local Trappist Monastery, the Abbey of the Genesee, unveiled a renovation of the sanctuary of the Abbey church. To the shock of some — those who often claim to have their ‘finger on the pulse’ — the remodel did…
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The Soul of Facebook Venting: Empowered Alternatives to Ranting Online

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 4.00.28 PM May 18, 2015
In the old days, when you saw something in your morning newspaper that bothered you, you could vent your ballooning anger with a minute or two of hearty breakfast-table grumbling. Today, we have Facebook for that.   I know I…
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Hanging Out with, and Learning from, Some Thoroughly Material Benedictines

May 15, 2015
[Cross-posted to In Medias Res] A few weeks ago I was able to, once again, do something that I enjoy doing immensely–take a group of students out on a local food tour, so they can learn firsthand about more sustainable…
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Remembering a Good Oak

unnamed May 14, 2015
Trees cannot talk, but they do speak. With our eyes focused on franticly flickering screens, perhaps our ears have grown dull to their still small voices, yet they whisper on. Edmund Burke described society as a “contract between the past,…
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Why Bigamy is a Bad Idea

OscarWilde May 13, 2015
P.S. I don't hold with Oscar Wilde on that one.
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The Trouble with Limits

Dore Paradisio 31 May 12, 2015
Modern persons have a problem with limits, three in fact. They want every good thing to be unlimitedly available for their desires, and scarcity is taken for a cause of fear and anxiety. Hence, “sustainability” is our new environmental shibboleth.…
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The Absurdity of Personal Contact with Natural Beauty

wilderness1 May 6, 2015
In Wildness is the preservation of the world.
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How Beauty Fits

7136686269_99e3b7220d_z May 4, 2015
The most fashionable and defensible position on aesthetics is to maintain that beauty is entirely subjective. Beauty doesn’t exist, we are assured, at least as a quality uniting such diverse phenomena as a painting, a comfortable old house, a song,…
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Contemplation and the Empire of Desire

acedia-brueghel1 May 1, 2015
Philadelphia, PA R. R. Reno of First Things has recently identified the “Empire of Desire” by its odd combination of regulation and libertinism. On the one hand, we cannot ride a bicycle without a helmet or let our children play…
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