Three Priestesses Deciding Whom to Sacrifice

full fathom five

There are three priestesses at the heart of Max Gladstone's newest book in his Craft Sequence, Full Fathom Five, and none of them fit easily into the traditional split of Maiden, Mother, Crone.In his last book, Two Serpents Rise, the action took place in a city that had thrown out its gods and had replaced it with a more mechanical means of keeping communion flowing between souls.  This book also takes place in a city without gods (Kavekana's gods went out to the wars, and never made it ba … [Read more...]

Of Morality and Mandelbrot [Pope Francis Bookclub]


In 2014, I’m reading and blogging through Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus.  Every Monday, I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.This week, in my Pope Francis reading, I found his description of… for lack of a better word, the discretion of higher truths a little confusing: Truth has great value, but it lacks immediate clout, whereas power coerces.  Paradoxically … [Read more...]

You’re Invited! To My Birthday Argument!

Twins 6th birthday

My birthday is still about a week away, but my friends and I are celebrating tonight in the best way... with assigned reading and an argument. Two years ago, I got my friends to all watch Stephen Sondheim's Company and Passion, and then we had a symposium on the nature of love that spilled over onto the blog, with guest posts from some of you who watched at home. This year, I emailed everyone a collection of excerpts from the Friendship/Philia chapter of C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves and we're co … [Read more...]

“Just Treating Symptoms” can be a great approach

therapist couch

In a review of Thrive: The Power of Evidence-Based Psychological Therapies, Jenny Diski is suspicious of CBT as a form of therapy.  She's concerned that it's focused on managing symptoms of distress, rather than causes, and that, ultimately, it's more focused on making mental illness bearable for bystanders than for the person who is ill.  She writes: CBT fulfils the authors' admirable desire for an improvement in mental health provision. It takes at most 20 sessions, often far fewer; it is so s … [Read more...]

7QT: Cakes, Corpses, and Cyclones

cake monster

--- 1 --- I've been back stateside for a week, but I've still been doing Ireland reading, since I wound up with more books than could fit into a vacation.  Here's the Hibernian reading that got done this week:A Wizard Abroad by Diane Duane Strumpet City by James Plunkett, which was the book all of Dublin read together in April 2013 Tis Frank McCourt, much less enjoyable than Angela's Ashes Cuchulain of Muirthemne: The Story of the Men of the Red Branch of Ulster by Lady Gregory, w … [Read more...]

Supporting Parent and Child in Extremis


At her own blog, Elizabeth Bruenig has weighed in on yesterday's discussion of the mother who abandoned her baby in a subway station, and she does an able job teasing out the two tangled questions: what the mother ought to do, and what the law should do in response.  (I'm selling it short by excerpting, so check out the whole thing) [T]he question then becomes when looking at legal tools: what kind of a world are we trying to create? But I think this question very often becomes confused w … [Read more...]

Compassion for Child Abandonment

subway baby

I've been rooting for the cops to not catch the mother who abandoned her baby in a NYC subway station.  Turns out they did, and she's facing a felony charge for abandonment of a child.The reason I'm feeling queasy about the trial is the poor incentives it creates for desperate parents.  Given her limited options, the woman picked a pretty good place to leave a child.  I can see the logic in picking a busily trafficked subway platform where there would be a slew of witnesses to see you push a … [Read more...]