Winter: The official announcement

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(My dad in the snow, sometime in the 1940s.)

Winter has arrived in earnest. The snow, like a snowy quilt, covers the snow-covered landscape like a quilt of snow. And it’s cold as… cold as a quilt is not. I note this for the record; I’m not sure what else to say about it. I knew about winter when I enlisted. Could have stayed in Florida if I’d wanted to take the coward’s way out.

I should spend more time being grateful. Unlike my dad long since, I don’t have to go out twice a day to milk cows, and throw hay down from the loft, and shovel manure out of the barn. If I get really sick, I’ll be able to just call in and tell the folks, “Carry on—somehow—without me.” I won’t have to drag myself out of bed, wrap up in three layers, and do the danged chores anyway, finding something to lean on when I get lightheaded, because you can’t let the animals starve.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Hannukah (or Channukah). Best wishes to our Jewish friends (or friend).



Aitchmark
sent me this link to a review from The Wall Street Journal, of the book Last Exit to Utopia, written by, of all things, a Frenchman. Looks excellent.

Have a good weekend. Stay warm. Or cold, if you prefer.

Author Allegedly Abused by Border Police

Canadian Author Peter Watts apparently put the wrong foot forward with U.S. border police in Port Huron, Michigan, because while on his way home, he says he was punched, pepper-sprayed, kicked, and jailed for three hours. He is considering a lawsuit, and some are raising money for him.

Author David Nickle says Mr. Watts is “effectively going up against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and he needs the best legal help that he can get.”

Editor & Publisher Magazine Folds

Editor & Publisher, a magazine which has covered the newspaper industry for 125 years, is closing down this month. The editor, Greg Mitchell, says it wasn’t a complete surprised, but it kinda was.

Describing E&P, Mitchell states, “I don’t think there are too many trade publications that were as independent and critical as we are, and we made some people angry because of that. We were calling for more Web focus way before it was fashionable; we were critical of many moves the industry was making and not making . . .”

“They Oslo serve who only stand and wait”

Apparently the Norwegians haven’t been bowled over by Pres. Obama’s charm in Oslo, as he stopped off for a half an hour to pick up his award and buy some postcards in the VIP lounge in Gardermoen Airport. He stood up King Haakon, who’d invited him to dinner, skipped the Viking Ships Museum tour, and—and this really stung—failed to pose for the traditional “Edvard Munch’s ‘Scream’” photo.

I don’t suppose today’s speech, in which he stunned the civilized world by suggesting that sometimes it’s actually necessary to wage war, helped him much. The Norwegians are still trying to live down the eternal shame of having carried on a resistance to the German invaders in World War II. Lives lost, infrastructure ruined, the economy smashed, ski holidays missed, and for what? Freedom. Independence. What an embarrassment. If the Nazis were still in charge, think how efficiently they’d be implementing Green policies today!

But in fact, insult has been the Democratic Party’s stance toward Norway for years now. I remember my last visit to family over there, when my relatives were discussing a presidential visit by Bill Clinton. The big thing they remembered was that Clinton had sipped from a water glass while somebody was giving a speech. That’s not done in Norway, apparently. (This bothered me a little, as I’d done the very same thing during a wedding reception I’d attended in Haugesund a few days earlier. But then I don’t have a protocol office to advise me. On the other hand, Pres. Obama doesn’t seem to have one either.)

I recalled an article I’d read some time before in a Norwegian paper, about how (the divine) Sissel Kyrkjebø had sung for a gathering in Washington, and Hillary Clinton and Al Gore had talked loudly all through her song.

Despite all this, Norway loves the Clintons.

Because that’s the way to a Norwegian’s heart. Kick him in the sardines.

The Germans should have tried that.

Christmas Books

Here are some Christmas book recommendations from the good people at Reformation 21. Stephen Nichols, who adds in another post Richard Doster’s Crossing the Lines, which I reviewed last summer.

Sean Lucas, who actually links to the books in his post.

Derek Thomas

All of these men recommend a new, beautiful release of Pilgrim’s Progress by Crossway Books. What I’ve seen of the illustrations look superbly fantastic. It’s worth our attention.

Leaving Their Names Off

Did you hear about The Manhattan Declaration a few weeks ago? The document says in part:

While the whole scope of Christian moral concern, including a special concern for the poor and vulnerable, claims our attention, we are especially troubled that in our nation today the lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are severely threatened; that the institution of marriage, already buffeted by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is in jeopardy of being redefined to accommodate fashionable ideologies; that freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized by those who would use the instruments of coercion to compel persons of faith to compromise their deepest convictions.

Here are a few very respected men who left their names off the declaration and their reasons for declining to sign.

Picasso’s violations

I don’t know why I write about art occasionally. I’m a confirmed middlebrow–if I don’t care for black velvet matadors or Thomas Kinkade, I don’t get Modernism or Abstract Art at all. But I liked to draw when I was a kid. I guess that gives me an illusory sense of comprehension.

Anyway, Joe Carter at First Thoughts posted a short piece on Picasso today that fascinated me, as it confirmed my prejudices.

What begins in the glow of realist love—or at the very least infatuation—ends in the violent disgust of Cubist distortion. Picasso’s love/hate relationship with the visible world was a visual expression of his love/hate relationship with the particular woman in his life at the time. Cubism, according to the evidence in Picasso’s paintings, is less the abstract juggling of shapes and colors than an index of sexual disgust.

Makes sense to me. See what you think.

Instead of posting, I’ll post this post

I’m barely functioning tonight. Last night I needed sleep and wanted sleep, but my brain (which hates me. With some justification) wouldn’t let me sleep. So just a few links.

My new novel, West Oversea, was just reviewed at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, a journal for homeschooling families. Nice review, too.

One of my favorite blogs, Mitch Berg’s Shot In the Dark, has begun a series of hard-hitting exposes of the true, never-before-revealed roots of organized crime in America — the Norwegian mob. Mitch calls the Capo di tutti capi De Godenfar, but I prefer the name we used (in hushed whispers) back home — The Codfather.

Part One here.

Part Two here.

Part Three here.

More to come.

Also some scintillating comments from one of America’s finest young novelists.

Book Reviews, Creative Culture