Finished reading Bulgakov, The Master & Margarita. 📚

My college basketball viewing season just ended. FDU beat Purdue.

East Palestine

Several teams of researchers at Purdue testing water samples taken in East Palestine, Ohio, reported this week they’ve found contamination Ohio officials haven’t been looking for since a Feb. 3 derailment of a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous materials.

And a lead researcher, in what has been a volunteer effort by faculty, students and staff at the West Lafayette campus, warned that state and federal officials in Ohio need to align how they test and what they test as cleanup continues.

“Otherwise, they’re just wasting their time,” Andrew Whelton, a Purdue professor of civil engineering and environmental and ecological engineering, said Tuesday. “And they’re not doing what they need to do to protect people.” …

(From Based in Lafayette, a pretty-darn-good Substack by a Gannett retiree who’s making the dying paper look even more pathetic on local coverage.)

The Purdue team’s report in a PDF

For the first time ever, I set aside my annual vehicle registration papers and forgot to send them in. So I appeared at the BMV in person to remedy the problem.

O felix culpa! I got my first up close look at 7’4” 305 pound Zach Edey, likely NCAA Men’s player of the year.

Don’t forget to spring forward for Gaslight Savings Time.

It’s good to see that the Purdue Men’s team is still capable of a blow-out.

Currently reading Bulgakov, The Master & Margarita. 📚

Damon Linker: Ron DeSantis Is Not a Fascist

Tens of millions of our fellow citizens don’t like where they think our country is headed, and they’re expressing that dislike at the ballot box. The response to them shouldn’t be you’re not allowed to dislike and attempt to change the country’s direction. The response should be here are reasons why you should be less hostile to recent trends and more fearful that the illiberal reforms you favor will end up making you less free in the long run, too

Damon Linker, Ron DeSantis Is Not a Fascist

One of the most impressive things about Barack Obama was that he could make the conservative case more eloquently than 90% of conservatives. One of the most infuriating things about him was he would then do the progressive thing — invariably in the Senate, oftener than not as President.

Damon Linker had replicated that impressive feat with contemporary right-illiberals, like Ron DeSantis. But he remains a liberal (center-left, I’d say). The linked column (and I think the link will get you to it for free) is one of his best and is food for productive thought both for right-illiberals (or those tempted by it) and liberals of both left and right.

I think this is the first time I’ve unsubscribed from a podcast that’s really excellent. I did so because (a) too many podcast subscriptions and (b) annoying, self-congratulatory mannerisms on the part of the regular legal expert of the pod.

I must be growing up: I just saw a third rail and declined to grab it.

Harry Potter orders a black coffee

Alex Wicker is used to odd looks from baristas when he stops by his local coffee shop. His order is unusual: black coffee.

“Asking for just ‘coffee’ with no added context, without going through a round of 20 questions with the server, has become impossible at this point,” said Mr. Wicker, a 23-year-old student from Shelbyville, Ind.

In a nation awash in Pistachio Cream Cold Brew and Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso with Chestnut Praline Syrup, black-coffee drinkers like Mr. Wicker are becoming a rare breed.

Hold the extras. Yes, really.

What lovers of straight black consider simple, easy-to-pour orders can wind up stuck behind a jam of customized, multipump concoctions, they said. Sometimes their pristine black joe is lightened with sugar or cream anyway. Some baristas seem bewildered by the concept of coffee taken plain.

Mr. Wicker said his purist take on coffee makes him feel like an outcast. “I don’t know a single person within my age range that enjoys drinking black coffee,” he said.

​Ticket for Coffee Shop Frustration: Ordering Black Coffee - WSJ

A tip for Mr. Wicker. I have finally watched a Harry Potter movie and I can report that the proper Starbucks incantation is and long has been “Venti bold, no room.” If they’re out of “bold” (dark roast - which they tend not to brew in the afternoon), they’ll tell you and you can get a Pike Place — or you can wait for a “pourover.”

I know no further incantation for getting your coffee quickly, ahead of all the frou-frou drinks of people who don’t really love coffee and who drink it only for fashion. But there’s no reason why the person who takes your order can’t fulfill it on the spot.

Or just order this and make it at home.

This is why I read David French, uninspired though he be much of the time.

To understand the Fox News phenomenon, one has to understand the place it occupies in Red America. It’s no mere source of news. It’s the place where Red America goes to feel seen and heard.

David French

“No, I can’t believe this. No. My ancestors did not come here on the Mayflower,” - Angela Davis, on being told exactly that by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

I have no idea what this means, but on Friday Peggy Noonan and David French both published admiring articles about Jimmy Carter’s 1979 “Malaise Speech.”

You’re welcome.

Getting the *question* right

Fr Alexander [Schmemann] pointed to the adverse results of that confusion:

In my opinion, the Orthodox, when discussing the problems stemming from our present “situations,” accept them much too easily in their Western formulations. They do not seem to realize that the Orthodox Tradition provides above all a possibility, and thus a necessity, of reformulating these very problems, of placing them in a context whose absence or deformation in the Western religious mind may have been the root of so many of our modern “impasses” And as I see it, nowhere is this task more urgently needed than in the range of problems related to secularism and proper to our so-called secular age.

Healing Humanity: Confronting our Moral Crisis

There must be an alarmist news feed, because my local TV station’s noon news always clocks in around 12:20 with some new medical study that shows I should give up yet another pleasure.

I offer in response Study Shows You’re Nobody Until Somebody Loves You.

Do not trust AI, Defense Department edition. (Trigger warning: do not read if subject to giggling.)

Do not trust Chat GPT, Supreme Court edition.

Weather notes: Weatherman notes that snow evaporated today rather than melting, so dry is the cold air. Also, my wife reports none of the usual aches and pains today.

And we’re just adjacent to @JMaxB and the northeasterners who will be seeing record cold.

A poem by Jorie Graham, Then the Rain. H/T Nellie Bowles.

Consensus Winner of Most Embarrassing Op-Ed Ever: If He Loses, Trump Will Concede Gracefully, (Mick Mulvaney, 11/7/2000)

After a 25-year hiatus, I am reading once again about Science and the Christian Faith. What drew me back was that this book is by an Orthodox Christian — a priest and astrophysicist.

The difference from other Christian treatments is material, as I expected it would be. 📚

I ought to just sit here placing calls threatening to cancel subscriptions this snowy afternoon to see how much money I can save us. Hit paydirt with AT&T recently, Wall Street Journal minutes ago.

My main blog is the Tipsy Teetotaler,