Sand in the Gears

Archive for the ‘Curmudgeonry’ Category

A more perfect union

Monday, October 10th, 2016 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Art of Parenting | 14 Comments »

“So, Dad, did you know Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are having a debate tonight?” “Yep.” “Are we watching it?” “Nope.” “Why not?” “For the same reasons we don’t watch German porn, or videos about how to treat gangrene.” “Dad.” “Also because I rented Jungle Book.” “Dad.” “Trust me—it’s ...

The dividing line

Friday, September 2nd, 2016 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 13 Comments »

Look, maybe it’s time we cash in our chips. Blow this popsicle stand and buy that cabin in the hills we’ve always talked about. Sink a well, set out the rabbit traps, and settle in for a long-ass winter. Don’t get ...

Backwards in a sideways world

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 20 Comments »

When I was twelve, we were evicted from our house in Florida, a consequence either of Reaganomics or our failure to pay rent for three months, depending on whose story you wanted to believe. We faced a long, hungry drive ...

Intolerant mercy

Thursday, November 19th, 2015 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 14 Comments »

Most of us have never endured war amidst our homes and so we can only imagine, if we care to, the terror that drives people to take their children and elderly parents and spouses and flee all they have known. ...

Politics, porn, and football

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 Posted in Curmudgeonry | Comments Off on Politics, porn, and football

Some of you may like my attempt, though it probably deserves more thought, to articulate why we pay little attention to big-money sports in my home. Here's an excerpt: Now, let’s not quibble over semantics; I know the Canadians spent millions ...

The turned back

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Sermons | 79 Comments »

I will tell you something about courage and cowardice. I will speak primarily about men, because I am a man, and because the evil that grieves me was glimpsed by men, and these men turned away their eyes. News accounts from ...

On just saying no

Friday, July 18th, 2014 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 1 Comment »

Related to my previous post, I have an essay at Good Letters digging into the hypocrisy of evangelicals, as represented by the American Family Association, who simultaneously support the Drug War while demanding that we reject child refugees from that ...

Cantering to the gas chamber

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 11 Comments »

A society doesn't capsize all at once; it leans by degrees. It tilts, and the opinion mavens who are its deckhands rush about reassuring everyone that it's the horizon that is at fault. We are finally leveling things, they say, ...

Scientific passions

Thursday, May 29th, 2014 Posted in Curmudgeonry | Comments Off on Scientific passions

Forty days have passed quickly and the feasting is over, so I suppose I should start putting together words again. When it's not on this novel I'm revising, my writing mind has been on science—on the art that is genuine ...

Civilizing the civilizers

Monday, March 31st, 2014 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 1 Comment »

What happens when you gather thinkers in thrall to scientism, and ask them to list the most important books for civilization? A compendium that includes books on robot sex and immortality, but nothing on plumbing, or farming, or the God ...

The worldly vision

Friday, March 28th, 2014 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Sermons | 22 Comments »

(Note: An expanded version of this essay—which attempts to address some of the objections leveled in the comments below as well as at The American Conservative—is over at On Faith.)   I am angry, and so I hope you will forgive me for whatever I ...

Children and pornography

Monday, February 24th, 2014 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on Children and pornography

Some of you might appreciate my latest essay for Good Letters. Others of you may not like it at all. Maybe it's proof that I'm no less angry today than I was ten years ago, when some of you first ...

On scientism

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 4 Comments »

Those of you who read what I scribble here and elsewhere know I nurse a few curious theories about science, like that it ought to remain distinct from scientism, and that the scientific process taught in schools is hokum, and ...

The lost conservative mind

Monday, August 19th, 2013 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 1 Comment »

I recently read Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind, and composed a thought about it in relation to the state of this country, which perhaps more than ever before mirrors the state of man today—outwardly self-reliant, inwardly flailing. My thought is ...

White ashes

Thursday, March 21st, 2013 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 20 Comments »

Last I checked there were 36,000 mentions of Jimmy Fallon in the news, and 8,820 of Kermit Gosnell. It's understandable if you haven't heard of Gosnell. He's a Philadelphia abortionist on trial for, among other things, murdering newborns by snipping their ...

Sodas and guns and minimum virtue

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 13 Comments »

On the radio I heard a shill for some agglomeration of sugary drink manufacturers inveigh against NYC mayor Bloomberg's attempted regulation of soda sizes. "We believe New Yorkers are smart enough to make these decisions for themselves," he said. If you've ...

The scandal of the evangelical intellectual’s mind

Thursday, February 21st, 2013 Posted in Curmudgeonry, Theology | 1 Comment »

A reasonable response to the accusation that the evangelical mind is insufficiently expansive is to ask to what dimensions its critics would like to see it expanded. That question springs to the lips when considering Biblical scholar Peter Enns's contention ...

Cheaper by the dozen

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 Posted in Curmudgeonry | Comments Off on Cheaper by the dozen

There is a difference between being anti-intellectual and being anti-intellect, and this is where Russell Jacoby foundered, in his essay last year about the lack of intellectualism among conservatives. As Peter Lawler notes, it's shoddily done for want of defining ...

Slippery words

Friday, February 1st, 2013 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 2 Comments »

You might like my latest post at Good Letters. An excerpt: "We are used to words not meaning anything, you see, and so who cares if foot-long is not supposed to mean eleven inches, that cheese is not supposed to be a vegetable ...

An open letter to the weeping conservative

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 5 Comments »

Look, it's not the end of the world, or America, or really much of anything. In fact, it could become the beginning of something. Here are eight reasons you should take heart from what you consider last night's loss. 1. Congressional ...

The Little Pope

Sunday, September 9th, 2012 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Sermons | 14 Comments »

Perhaps you've heard of Mark Driscoll, the tough-talking young Calvinist in the Pacific Northwest, the one who preaches with his shirt untucked and likes to be called "Pastor Mark" and writes about the righteousness of blow jobs. In a recent blog ...

Letter to an Aspiring Kingmaker

Saturday, September 1st, 2012 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 4 Comments »

Hey you. Yes, you, the one poring over push-poll numbers and wondering how you can get more smug college kids to accost people with clipboards in swing districts. We are ten weeks from The Most Critical Election in the History ...

An Apple in time

Friday, August 24th, 2012 Posted in Business Reviews | 3 Comments »

Another working road trip. My colleague needs a piece of equipment from the Apple store, which is in a mall. The Apple store is swarming with people, but in less than 30 seconds, a salesman comes alongside to take us ...

Stream of conscience

Friday, July 6th, 2012 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 3 Comments »

Whenever I have a lot to do, and I finally muster the resolve to do it, I'll say "time to get down to it." This always reminds me of that Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song, which makes me think ...

Hunting dogs

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 30 Comments »

"When the law is against you," goes the adage, "argue the facts. When the facts are against you, argue the law. When both the facts and law are against you…." Here we may turn for instruction to Jerry Taylor, ringleader of ...

Professorial logic

Monday, February 13th, 2012 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 1 Comment »

There are many plausible explanations for why men commit nearly all murders and start most wars. It could be that we're just hard-wired to smash skulls. Or perhaps it's that we've learned how much chicks dig a man in uniform. Or ...

On the vice of chimps with shotguns

Friday, February 10th, 2012 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 5 Comments »

"Voting is a universal right." This wisdom from Victor Sanchez, president of the United States Student Association, explaining his efforts to get more college students to vote. Mr. Sanchez is himself a recent college graduate, and a fine illustration of ...

On the Virtue of Hemlock

Sunday, February 5th, 2012 Posted in Curmudgeonry | Comments Off on On the Virtue of Hemlock

In his recent Boston Review essay, philosophy professor Carlos Fraenkel manages the neat trick of advocating a sensible position -- that high-school students should be taught philosophy -- so ineptly that he ends up proving the opposite, namely, that while ...

On Conservatives as Rapists

Saturday, January 28th, 2012 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 5 Comments »

It used to be required, of an intellectual seeking to hold forth on an idea, that he define his terms. Words are slippery things, after all. But then so are intellectuals, and perhaps this is why they often play faster ...

The SitG New Year’s Pop Culture Leave-it-Behind Countdown

Saturday, January 1st, 2011 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 4 Comments »

This is the time when we resolve to do things differently. I've certainly resolved to do a number of things differently, but most of these are neither here nor there to most of you, and probably little different from your ...