June 2, 2020

Some do theater, Grant won battles. George McClellan could write about courage, but could not take the risks needed to win. McClellan was magnificent on his best day, petulant on his worst. Grant was calm and carried on every day and so won. The general on the other side died, but Grant calmly sat under fire, because his men need the visual lesson. When troops needed to be rallied, he led them into battle. In another war, he did a… Read more

June 1, 2020

In Praise of David Suchet  David Suchet is the greatest actor I have ever seen act in person.  I saw him play the father in the tragic A Long Days Journey Into Night. His leading lady was indisposed and her understudy inadequate, but he elevated her, nursed her along, and frequently made us forget her mediocrity. He did not do this by dominating scenes by hamming, but by delivering the play. He became subtle, large, and brilliant, but in service… Read more

May 31, 2020

Today I will pray, still online, with my parish and the prayers will be familiar. Our Orthodox Church will use language that helped create modern English drawn (with doctrinal modifications) from the Book of Common Prayer. Sometimes, say on Titanic Day, I need the right words to express feelings and an older version of the Book of Common Prayer (1820) has the right prayers for those lost at sea. I found this fine old prayer book in Wales for almost nothing,… Read more

May 30, 2020

What should we do: to end potential war between India and China? to secure justice for African-Americans in the United States? to feed the poor and house the homeless? to save lives in this global pandemic? to save babies from the scourge of abortion on demand? to save Hong Kong from the Communist government of China? Most of us do not know what to do about these issues and countless others filling our news feeds, yet by November citizens of… Read more

May 29, 2020

World War I continues to haunt the world as the mistakes of  the “peace” treaty in regions like Central Europe and the Balkans continue to plague us. Should the “peace” treaty have refused the Austrians the Hapsburg monarch (the saintly Karl) they almost surely wanted? What would have happened if Austria had produced a stable center-right government in Vienna? What of colonialism and the havoc weird borders drawn by the Great Powers and the great evils done (look up the… Read more

May 28, 2020

Yesterday, a person started ranting about a particular failure and how people needed to “get better.” He did not propose any big changes, just that we (as individuals) do better. That could be true, but it might be stupid. Why? Some problems are systematic.  Imagine an organization that kept failing in exactly the same way. The organization forms a committee, as organizations often do, and identify particular employees as the cause of the problem. These employees get help, but as the organization… Read more

May 27, 2020

Marie Antoinette. A great many people have an opinion two hundred and fifty years later. She almost surely did not suggest that starving peasants without bread should eat cake. She did not buy a hugely expensive necklace and try to cover this up. She was, especially by the end of her life, an extraordinarily pious Catholic. Was she frivolous? A good Queen? In league with her relatives in Austria? The noble lady lauded by Burke? Or the fast-living almost-modern portrayed… Read more

May 26, 2020

“Silver and Gold I have. . .” so said the televangelist to applause so overwhelming, he repeated the phrase. This made me shudder. The phrase is a twist on the Biblical passage where a man who is lame confronts Saint Peter in front of the Temple. The Apostle has no money, but he does grant healing: “But Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but what I have, that give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,… Read more

May 25, 2020

Hope E. Reynolds  recollects our heroes. Noble men and women reburied Union soldiers and so started this grand tradition. At 3:00 PM Houston time, we joined them in celebrating Union forever with liberty and justice for all. Read more

May 25, 2020

Do not despair, lose hope, say a prayer, fight for freedom, write a hymn, save the nation.  Georgia, the nation, not the state should never be far from our minds.  The little nation, a target for Russians, Turks, and Persians, has refused to vanish, lose her beautiful language, or be absorbed by bigger cultures. Here is hoping she can survive the moral and cultural colonialism of the decadent European Union and bribery from non-government organizations to change. I would bet… Read more

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