Latest musings, analyses, and general madness

Fear and Shame

How many elderly people will spend the last year of their lives isolated from most of their kin, wishing in futility for one last family holiday gathering that will be denied them by holier-than-thou politicians and self-righteously “compassionate” family members? — all those politicians and family members pretending that they are depriving these old folks of their last moments of earthly joy out...

Random Sunday Reflections

Michelle Obama notoriously said, in reference to her husband’s nomination for the U.S. presidency, that this was the first time she had ever felt proud of her country. To borrow her inflection while reversing her sentiments, I can honestly say that this year is the first time I have ever felt ashamed of my species. I just read the headline, “Alex Trebek Was...

The COVID Rhetoric Shell Game

Coronavirus “cases” equal positive tests. They do not equal “deaths.” The recent trend in panic-button headlines around the world is increasingly to emphasize case numbers, and particularly numbers of new cases, as though these represent an inherent cataclysm. Fact: If you test far more people, you will likely find far more cases. Another fact: If everyone in the world tested positive for hangnails,...

A Few Worse Plagues Than COVID

This autumn, Pope Francis shocked the world by finally saying something rational, religious, and rhetorically out of step with this progressive moment — the occasion was duly noted here in Limbo — namely that “gossiping is a worse plague than COVID.” As my adopted home of South Korea gradually returns to something the government calls “Level 1.5” social distancing (don’t ask), thus more...

Seven Billion Voices

If everyone in a crowded room were speaking at the same time, who would be the audience? Would each person not merely be speaking to himself? Would each person not therefore be failing to attend to anyone else? In such a condition, would not each voice beyond one’s own be reduced in one’s awareness to the status of background noise, a distraction? In...

Patience and Eternity

There is life, even when death rules — which means that death rules only by the grace of life. The ascendancy of evil only means the recession of good, not its evaporation, for privation is not a substance. Beauty lurks and abides through the ugliest moments, waiting in dark woods…

Coronavirus Context: A Personal View

Here are some numbers that might interest you — or might not. In fact, I really don’t care if they do or don’t. I report them for the record, for posterity, for my soul, or merely for the satisfaction of typing what I would rather not scream. Ten: The approximate number of humans on this planet — beyond my friendly band of Limbo...

Opinions in Transition

Michelle Obama, I read in a headline today, says of the transition of presidential administrations, “This is not a game.”  This is important news, partly because many people apparently thought this was a game, but mainly because Michelle Obama is a deeply knowledgeable and experienced statesman who understands and profoundly respects the nature and traditions of republican government. Joe Biden, the U.S. President-Elect-by-Media-Pronouncement,...

Losing Ugly

John Bolton, a career bureaucratic climber who plays a tough guy on television, says that his old boss — to whom he sucked up on national television for months in the hopes of landing a glamourous administration job — has no “character.” Donald Trump, a career self-promoter and insecure child who plays a tough guy on television, says that his old national security...

Beware Those Who “Care” About Their Country

A dear American friend who had been silent for weeks finally e-mailed yesterday to explain the cause of his recent absence, although no explanation was needed. The thrust of his missive lay in these words: It’s quite impossible to know loss or suffering if you’ve never known love, just as sunny weather all the time produces only desert. I know the great pain...