Welcome to the second episode of Edit This!, the Ricochet editors podcast, hosted by Jon Gabriel and Bethany Mandel. Ricochet members Henry Racette, Sawatdeeka, and George Daelemans joined up on the chat about wokeness in private schools, threatened violence in Minnesota, and the overreaction to Covid.

Video below:

Maxine vs. Minneapolis


As usual, Maxine Waters is making things worse. The Democrat Congresswoman flew to Brooklyn Center, MN, to encourage violence in the police shooting of Daunte Wright.

Reporters asked “Auntie Maxine,” as she calls herself, what protestors should do if Derek Chauvin is acquitted in the death of George Floyd.  She replied, “We got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational, we’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”

Have we killed Homer for good? Stephen Blackwood and historian-farmer Victor Davis Hanson examine the state of the contemporary West by returning to its ancient Greek origins. They explore the richness of its first principles, including self-critique, the elevation of rational understanding, the democratization of learning, and the unification of thought and action. They also bring to light our current cultural crisis: the uncritical rejection of the inherited past, an intellectualism divorced from reality, and a surrender to relativism at the cost of true self-reflection. They close by reflecting on the lateness of the hour, and offer a vital call to seek and speak truth, to ignite the fire of independence of mind, and to remember that while we may know more than those who came before, they are, as T.S. Eliot said, that which we know.

James hit the campaign trail with Laurence Fox this past weekend (Mmmmmm, donuts…) and now we gather to talk a little treason and try to avoid getting arrested. Toby, meanwhile attended an FA semifinal match and, between the masks and the stadium Nazis, had an absolutely miserable time.

Our hero of the week is Rod Humphris, landlord of The Raven in Bath who threw Labour Leader Keir Starmer out his establishment.

The Road Back to Boston


A supplement to @percival ‘s post on this topic.

“During the whole affair, the rebels attacked us in a very scattered, irregular manner, but with perseverance and resolution, nor did they ever dare to form into any regular body.  Indeed they knew too well what was proper, to do so.  Whoever looks upon them as an irregular mob, will find himself very much mistaken.

QOTD: Concord Hymn


On the 246th anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
   Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
   And fired the shot heard round the world.

HumInt is working!


The term “HumInt” is from the Intelligence world, and it means intelligence gathered firsthand, by a person or persons on the ground.  It often signifies people who infiltrate terrorist groups, cults, or other kinds of groups who may be causing trouble for society.  Recently, it was discovered by a very dangerous group of real “domestic terrorists”, that their group has been infiltrated by law enforcement.

The group in question is called AntiFa, signifying their belief that they are “anti-Fascist”.  In reality, they ARE the Fascists, looting, burning, and destroying various government buildings and retail establishments at street level in their rage.

We Can Do This


When I woke up on Shabbat, I was hesitant to open my eyes fully, dreading the malaise that had been dogging me for days. But I’d already slept in longer than I wanted, and so I pulled myself out of bed and stood up. And I felt, well—almost normal.

After two interminable weeks of feeling so poorly (yes, malaise is the right word but yucky describes it more fully for me), I was so relieved to feel a sense of my former self. It didn’t last long, and throughout the rest of the day, fatigue showed up now and then. Yet I could have breakfast, even a small cup of coffee (!), do my Torah study and reading, have a decent lunch—well it was a very special Sabbath, to say the least.

As I did my meditation that morning, the thought came to me: I can do this. I couldn’t imagine enduring the whole chemotherapy regimen. But I realized that I had probably survived the worst, and there was more “worse” to come. Yet among those days would be good days: days where some of my energy returned, some days when I laughed and cracked jokes, days where I took a walk and breathed in the sunshine, other days when I could truly appreciate G-d’s presence. My friends had tried to reassure me, but I had to know for myself.

The Medical Bell Curve


As with most Ricochetti, one of @drbastiat ‘s posts, Strange Things Aren’t Getting Better, got me a-thinkin’.  Yeah, I know.  A-thinkin’ isn’t my best look.  The Lovely and Talented Mrs. Mongo probably echoes your thoughts.  She has told me numerous times, “Honey, go do something physical or dynamic or ballistic.  Go beat somebody up, or shoot up something, or blow something up, but in the interest of all that is good in this world, don’t set yourself to a-thinkin’.”

Too late.

April Showers Me With Gifts


Yes, I did retire from teaching school two years ago. However, I also signed up with substitute services. It’s been a nice little side job and my teacher friends appreciated having someone dependable to call on.  Last November, I was asked by a friend who is the vice-principal at an elementary school to step in for a few weeks for a third-grade teacher at her building. We were still working online at that time, so it was not any problem. At the end of that first assignment, the teacher extended her leave, and then extended it at least twice more, until the first week of March when she submitted her retirement papers. So, now I drive twenty-five miles each way to finish out the school year. I just felt like I ought to finish it out because I had been their “teacher” almost their entire time in third grade. We’re a team. There are only five and half weeks left anyway, so I’ll be fine. Plus, I love their sweet little selves! It is a hazard of teaching. You bond with these small people! Occasionally, I grit my teeth over one or two children and just smile grimly to make it through the school year, but mostly, every one of them has a little place in my heart!

This week, for example, I got two little gifts. One boy brought me half of a peach pit shell. He was so excited for me to see it. It’s from his grandfather’s yard and the boy has told me about the peaches and how delicious they are. He gently laid the peach pit shell into my hand, and said, “You can examine it carefully later. It’s really just so interesting to look at.” He is the boy who asked me in early March if I minded “getting soil on my hands” and when I said that I loved to garden, the next day he brought me a little black seed and urged me to plant it at my house. (I did…but it hasn’t sprouted. Yet.) The other present I received was a small bag of green figs. We’d written a journal entry “Tell about a food that you really just don’t like to eat.”  I talked about ripe figs. I don’t like Fig Newton cookies, either. So, within a day or two, one of my little boys presented me the fruit! He got them from his backyard and was so pleased to treat me with something he knew, for sure, that I’d appreciate. They listen…

The Dangers of Hero Worship


Before I moved to Hilton Head, I practiced for 20 years in a small town in the mountains of east Tennessee.  I loved it there.  Everybody knew everybody, the schools and churches were wonderful, and it was a great place to raise my kids.  It had a cute little downtown (pictured at right), with cute little shops on each side of the road, and a traffic circle with a war monument in the middle.  Like every other small town in America.  Lovely.

One day when I left the office on my way home, I pulled out right behind a big green military truck, which was going maybe 25 miles per hour.  I grumbled as I followed for nearly a mile through town.  When we got to downtown, the military truck pulled off to the side, revealing a roadblock and lots of cops right at the entrance to downtown.  One of the cops walked up to my window and greeted me warmly:

Cop:  “Hey, doc!  Great to see you!”

COVID Theatre Across the Atlantic


The funeral of Prince Phillip, husband of the Queen, was one of the most moving royal events of the last few years. This was perhaps the most iconic shot of the entire event:

Quote of the Day: The Right Trousers


‘They can tak’ oour lives but they cannae tak’ oour troousers!’ The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett.

The Wee Free Men, be it rightly said, is another one of those books that I am a shameless recommender of – and the first in a sequence of what are called children’s books (but actually have an awful lot to them). They feature – well, you will see what it is they’re featurin’ – but I dinnae think it’s givin’ too much away to say that it includes fairies (nay, pictsies) whose swords, so it is said, glow blue in the presence of lawyers, and who really appreciate the importance of freeeedoooom!

At Least for Now, I’ll Take Tennessee over Texas: A Trip to Austin


I own a house in Texas, but I lay my hat in Tennessee, so you could say I have taken Sam Houston’s path in reverse, traveling east instead of west.  As a result, I sometimes wonder if the “hero of San Jacinto” ever missed the purple mists that regularly settle over the mountains where he once roamed with the Cherokee, or if he put where he grew up out of mind after establishing a new republic in the 1800s.

The truth is, in my case, I can feel deeply homesick for Austin a full year after leaving it, as I think of fresh-lime margaritas in hundred plus heat, as I recall the joys of live music in old beer halls where people two-step in cowboy boots.  There are few scenes as pretty to me as a sunrise over spring fields covered in bluebonnets, miles of highways draped on either side with the wildflowers that were once planted through the efforts of Lady Bird Johnson.  I miss the boats and bats by Town Lake.  I think it’s cool how children are still taught to be proud of being born in the place their great grandfathers’ settled.  The sky really is bigger on the plains, which makes a soul feel more free.

If You Were Trying to Start a Race War…..


…. would you change a single thing from what the far-left of America is doing now?

I know the title may seem provocative to some as this idea is but a subset of a universe of things we proles are not supposed to even think about, much less say out loud. If it seems provocative, good, because it seems to me to be high time more people started talking openly about what is happening all around us every day.

Quote of the Day: Seen By One


“The lover sees this plain woman crowned with the light of heaven. She walks in beauty. Her eyes are windows to Paradise to him. Her body, every inch of it, is an incarnation and epiphany of celestial grace. In her he finds the ecstatic vision that his heart has sought. All this passionate intensity […] is not illusion. [….] The lady is as glorious as he sees her to be. It has been given to him who loves her, to see the truth about her. The rest of us bystanders, mercifully, have not had our eyes thus opened, else we would all go mad. It would be an intolerable burden of glory if we all saw unveiled, the splendor of all other creatures, all the time. . . . We cannot bear very much reality.” — Thomas Howard

In The Evidential Power of Beauty, Fr Thomas Dubay makes the following claim. Who knows you best? Almost invariably, the answer is the person who loves you most. Love is interested. Love digs deep.

Five Things You Don’t Know About Me


Usually people want Ten Things, but let’s make it easy for everyone:

1. In 1999 on Kauai for a conference called Storytelling in the New Millennium, I interviewed Todd Rundgren, Thomas Dolby, Graham Nash (a super nice guy), and Dennis Muren of Industrial Light and Magic for video press releases.

For Your Viewing Pleasure…


In the event that you either A) missed yesterday’s podcast, or B) are morbidly curious enough to see the podcast being made, here is the video version.  Actually, it really is fun to watch Troy Senik’s animated reactions to the mischief our conversation generated, so I do hope you will enjoy the proceedings:

O Canada


I’ve always had a fondness for Canada. Not the actual thing, but the idea of Canada I have in my head. Unspoiled forests, resolute Mounties, briny fishermen in hardscrabble towns where traditions go bedrock-deep,  magnificent architecture. It’s like a parallel version of the US:  select the top tier of the US states, do a copy-drag, reproduce it, and run a simulation to see how the cloned version would do if you moved the French sliders to the maximum settings,  and tweaked the national character settings vis-a-vis their powerful neighbor so they were always trying to balance pride and envy, contempt and admiration, resentment and gratitude. 

In the Canada of my old imagination, it has cosmopolitan cities with dreadful 70s cement architecture built by men with egregious sideburns, and I still like it. They built a whole nation up there, another iteration of Western Civ. Australia without the lethal fauna and convict history. It’s fun to think about a nation that fused the US and Canada, how it might have shaped our own culture. 

Rusty Young, RIP


The great pedal steel guitarist of Buffalo Springfield and Poco, Rusty Young, has died at 75. He always struck me as one of the nicest people in rock — and among the most loyal, too:  he stayed with Poco, through all of its incarnations, for 50 years. He is best known for three songs, the first being “Kind Woman” for the Buffalo Springfield (he was invited to one of the band’s recording sessions … and stayed).

When the Springfield broke up, he and his fellow band member (and lifelong friend) Richie Furay formed Poco and, in the footsteps of Gram Parsons, invented country rock. Poco was never a giant success, but it remains highly esteemed among aficionados. Young did contribute two of the band’s best songs — which are also among the most beautiful in the rock canon:

In this Martini Shot Classic episode, Rob exhorts his fellow writers not to dwell in cynicism and self doubt about their new projects, but rather think of them in terms of wonder, enthusiasm, excitement, curiosity, gratitude, joy, and adventure. Strong advice — if only he could convince himself to take it.


‘Have You Completed Cultural Competency Training?’


CAQH is a website that serves as a sort of repository of data on doctors. I have to re-attest every 120 days and update my data. For example, uploading my latest renewal for my malpractice policy, did my office address change, hospital affiliations, and so on. I’m not sure who runs this site but, apparently, insurance companies, etc., use it to get info from one central location.

I got a notification that my “Education & Professional Training” data was out of date, so I went to look and see what the problem was. There is a new question, that I have to answer in order for my file to be considered “Complete.” It gave me the chills: