Words I Wish I’d Written: Provision for Discourse

On every formal visit a child ought to be of the party, by way of provision for discourse.— Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility … [Read more...]

Merry Christmas!

Nativity Stained Glass

Merry Christmas to all of my readers! May the memory of Christ's birth, the Incarnation of Almighty God as one of us, stay with you and fill you with joy for the whole of the year.I intend to keep blogging through the Christmas season…but, really, you can catch up when your extended family has gone home.____ photo credit: TheRevSteve via photopin cc … [Read more...]

Clouds of Witness, by Dorothy Sayers

In Whose Body?, Lord Peter Wimsey's brother the Duke of Denver wishes that Lord Peter would give over his hobby of sleuthing; and Lord Peter promises him that he might have cause to be grateful for it. This promise pays off immediately in Lord Peter's second outing, Clouds of Witness. Lord Peter returns from an extended vacation in Corsica to discover that his brother the Duke is on trial for the murder of the fiancé of his and Lord Peter's sister Lady Mary. The Duke's family and friends were … [Read more...]

Too Introverted to Evangelize?


People were discussing the New Evangelization on a Catholic forum I read, and one fellow asked, "What do I say to someone who says he's too introverted to evangelize?" Someone suggested pointing out that Jesus commanded that we do it, which is true; but in this context not, I think, especially helpful. Our introverted hero is clearly familiar with the notion that evangelization is something he's supposed to do; he simply questions his ability to do it. Or, possibly, he's making an excuse not … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Divine Office, Part I

A few days ago I talked about the value of regular devotions to the interior life; and yesterday I talked about the Rosary. Today I'm going to talk about the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office.The Divine Office is a set of prayers based around the Psalms. It is called the Hours because there are different prayers for different times of the day, and if you read the kind of fiction I do you'll recognize the older names for some of the hours: Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, … [Read more...]

Sea Chanties

So yesterday I posted Ewan MacColl singing about Nancy Whiskey; which led a Facebook friend to start singing it; which led her son, to point out that the video game Assassin's Creed 4 has almost an hour of sea chanties that get played in the background whilst you are sailing about. The whole thing is on Youtube:It's quite a good selection of songs, many I've heard and many that I've not; and there are some (like "Spanish Ladies") where I know the words from Patrick O'Brian's … [Read more...]

Disney Hall

Disney Hall

In 2003, Jane and I went to hear a concert at Disney Hall in Los Angeles for the first time. Here are my impressions, which haven't changed particularly since: silly building, beautiful acoustics. This was first posted in November of 2003.Last night, Jane and I were fortunate enough to hear the Los Angeles Philharmonic play Ravel, Saint-Saens, and Francesconi at the new Walt Disney Hall. This was a bit of a fluke—we were given tickets—but it means that I can now weigh in on the whole Fr … [Read more...]

Woof Guide to Popular Music: Fairytale of New York

"The boys of the NYPD choir are singing Galway Bay; and the bells are ringing out for Christmas day."Today being the Friday before Christmas, I'm presenting you with the Pogues' song "Fairytale of New York", a poignant (and occasionally vulgar) duet between Shane McGowan and the late Kirsty MacColl, in the personas of two people who are clearly no good together and yet somehow no good apart either. In my travels around the web I see this song mentioned more often than any other by the … [Read more...]

Classics of the Season

Santa Claus, as we know, goes everywhere, every year. This year, courtesy of photographer Ed Wheeler, he's been visiting a number of classic works of art. For example, here's Botticelli's Santa. There are many more on Wheeler's "Santa Classics" site, which I discovered courtesy of Julie Davis. (I've no idea how she finds these things.) … [Read more...]