Hello everyone, and the happiest of New Years to you all. We’ve all overdue for a good year, so with fingers liturgically crossed and prayers uplifted....
From John Bulwer’s Chirologia, or the Natural Language of the Hand (1644) — thanks to Richard Gibson for the link.
My chief New Year’s resolution is to eliminate the typos from this newsletter.
Last week I linked to my essay for newyorker.com on Thomas Merton. That published version is considerably shorter — perhaps better, but definitely shorter — than what I sent the editors. I posted that longer version here — using, by the way, a delightful service called text.fyi, “the dumbest publishing platform on the web”. You shouldn’t post anything on txt.fyi that you don’t have backed up elsewhere, and you can’t take down anything you post there (at least, not as far as I can see), or even edit it once it’s posted, so text.fyi definitely not for every use case. But in some situations it’s just the right thing.
If you ever think that a writer is wrong about anything and think you might want to inform said writer, then I have provided a handy flowchart for you. (I’m not saying that this is related to the previous item, but I’m also not not saying it.)
I have some thoughts about an excellent new book called Science and the Good. It’s a patient, thorough, fair-minded inquiry into a question that’s becoming increasingly important: Can science set our my, and your, and our, moral compass?
Some reflections on the state of the internet:
Walt Disney once built a (rideable!) miniature railroad in his back yard.
If you’d like to dig into some subjects, I organize both my Pinboard (“antisocial bookmarking”) page and my personal blog with tags. Here are what I believe to be some of the more interesting tags:
The Scotsman says my book The Year of Our Lord 1943 is “a stunning account.” And would a Scotsman leads you astray? Also, I had a lovely conversation with Crawford Gribben about the book, and you may listen to that conversation here.