William Hazlitt in “On the Pleasure of Hating” (1823): We are cold to others only when we are dull in ourselves, and have neither thoughts nor feelings to impart to them. Give a man a topic in his head, a throb of pleasure in his heart, and he will be glad to share it with the first person he meets.
This is off topic for me, but I can’t stop thinking about all the stupefying, horrible contradictions inherent to the Trayvon Martin shooting. We live in the wealthiest nation on Earth. We teach fear to our children to the point where they aren’t allowed to look at or talk to strangers under even the most benign circumstances; where we fear adult predators and other dangers so much we...
n. a bissel of schmutz; a Photoshop tool; a spiritual ceremony; dense smoke v. to smear
n. ritual suicide, originally practiced by samurai Japanese writer Yukio Mishima committed seppuku in 1970.
An arcanum from where history and language collide: The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. […] In 455, they sacked the city of Rome. […] Renaissance and Early Modern writers characterized the Vandals as barbarians, “sacking and looting” Rome. This led to the use of the term “vandalism”, to describe...
Speaking of Redwall: Should You Make Your Own Elderflower Cordial? And speaking of exceptional elders: In Are Innocent Parents Being Prosecuted for Killing Their Babies?, Emily Bazelon highlights 96-year-old pediatric neurosurgeon Norman Guthkelch, who co-coined “shaken-baby syndrome” more than forty years ago. In Dr. Guthkelch’s third act, he works to ensure parents and...
From E.B. White on the Free Press: For a citizen in our free society, it is an enormous privilege and a wonderful protection to have access to hundreds of periodicals, each peddling its own belief. There is safety in numbers: the papers expose each other’s follies and peccadillos, correct each other’s mistakes, and cancel out each other’s biases. The reader is free to range...
n. (biblical) the oldest person to ever live; (parlance) someone very old, usually used for comic effect; (Redwall) the elderly recorder mouse Last night I bought my friend Andy D. a beer at a bar with low tables at which I could not arrange myself comfortably. We ended up talking about aging and he asked if I’d seen a specific TED talk featuring a dude with a serious beard. “Was his...
n. a vegan meat analog made from wheat gluten
From Plato’s Symposium. The sexes were originally three, men, women, and the union of the two; and they were made round—having four hands, four feet, two faces on a round neck, and the rest to correspond. Terrible was their strength and swiftness; and they were essaying to scale heaven and attack the gods. […] Zeus hit upon an expedient. Let us cut them in two, he said; then they...
n. a member of Chicago’s city council (regardless of gender; frowny face)
adj. a buildup of some magnitude then a letdown
n. software that assumes it knows what you mean to say
adv. resistantly and with baditude
adj. thoughtful in a sort of dark fashion
n. small bits of colored paper; a socially acceptable thing to throw at people
n. a fellow employee
adj. the most mean or sadistic
adj. portraying as evil
I play volleyball with a sassy young dude who doesn’t remember my name yet. Once I was preparing to serve and I heard him say, “Take your time, bitch.” Later we were watching two other teams play and he asked, “What’s your name again?” I said, “You called me a bitch earlier! While I was serving!” The dude balked. “I didn’t say that! You...