THE HOUSE WITH THE WEST IN ITS WALLS: I can't recall now what made me think of John Bellairs. I was on the S2, heading down 16th Street toward the house where I grew up, when I remembered his funny, weird horror books for kids. In Bellairs-land, Catholicism is more of an atmosphere than a creed; his towns are populated by struggling families, fierce nuns, librarians and professors, and people who've made pacts with the Devil. Probably my favorite Bellairs books are The House With a Clock in Its … [Read more...]

PSSST... WANNA BUY AN ORGAN?: Charles Murtaugh has some very good stuff on organ-selling and why we should welcome it. I'd add that I think some of the resistance to organ sales is based on one mistaken belief and one real danger. The mistaken belief is that we're discussing selling your organs while you live--like donating blood for cash, a la Midnight Cowboy. Poor people would line up to trade a kidney for the rent. I'm sure there are many libertarians out there who would love to see this … [Read more...]

"The work of the police, like that of women, is never over." --voice-over narration, "He Walked By Night" … [Read more...]

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER VS. SCALIA: For those following the death-penalty story. … [Read more...]

THE FUTURE IS OURS, COMRADE?: A list of the "50 Fantasy and Science Fiction Works that Socialists Should Read." I can't remember which blog I found this on, sorry... Ayn Rand is on there (to "know your enemy"), as is Wilde. I'd dispute Wilde's inclusion, since he gets on the list for The Happy Prince and other stories, which are much more Christian than anything else; their worldview is very different, I think, from that of "The Soul of Man Under Socialism." Anyway, thought you'd be interested. … [Read more...]

RETURN TO THE VALLEY OF THE PORN WARS: Kathy Kinsley has some incongruously non-bellicose things to say about my Roth post. Her main point: "[Eve] says: 'If sex were just another leisure activity, somewhere between horseback riding and scratching an itch, that book would be simply incomprehensible.' I agree, but Natalije and I were not relegating it quite to that lack of importance -- we have been comparing it to eating. I think one could write a similar book about someone who indulges himself … [Read more...]

"I guess you don't remember me, huh, Mae?" "I don't remember a lot of things." --Paul Douglas and Barbara Stanwyck, "Clash by Night" … [Read more...]