Category Archives: Impressions

Quick thought pieces, often in response to something I’ve recently read.


Conserving our self-image

I like birds, as you may notice if you read much around here. I find them fascinating. I’m alternately amazed by and fearful for the complexity of habitats and migratory patterns; I worry about the impact on them of things … Continue reading

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Tools, adaptation, and seriousness of work

The stuffed wingback chair in my office puts me at eye level with my woodworking books, which was not deliberate but maybe not entirely accidental either. Last week I noticed a book I’d forgotten I’d bought: The Village Carpenter, written … Continue reading

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Smart tools, dumb craft

I have a new microwave, or rather I have an old microwave that is new to me. I don’t like it. It is bigger and more powerful than my old microwave. I didn’t need a bigger and more powerful microwave, … Continue reading

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The devil of false precision

Eating lunch today I noticed on my bottle of soy sauce the words expiration date on label and, an inch away, a dot matrix stamp: 2019.03.28 14:48. I expect that the stuff was bottled on March 28, 2016 at 2:48 … Continue reading

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Further perils of authenticity

Completely by accident awhile back I ran across this ad from Life magazine: Heinz ran that ad in August 1958, at the height of the popular interest in Pennsylvania Dutch food, when that cuisine was being made over in the … Continue reading

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Ethical sales, selling ethics

NPR’s Natalie Jacewicz asks whether Millennials are hypocrites when it comes to chocolate: In a survey of participants ages 18 to 35, millennials reported caring about ethical issues like environmental sustainability and social responsibility in chocolate production. But when choosing … Continue reading

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Corrupting the youth

I have four bird feeders in my small urban yard (tube, thistle, platform, hummingbird) but can’t see any of them from my second-story study window, which is veiled by a maple tree far taller than the house. So I fixed … Continue reading

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Building an ethic behind the food movement

Sales of breakfast cereal are down, and I have trouble being sad. I eat boxed breakfast cereal for the same reason everybody else does — it’s convenient – but generally only as a midnight snack. For quick breakfast I’m more … Continue reading

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Some thoughts on planning, remembering, and the body (a.k.a. “getting things done”)

First, a note of explanation: What follows is not a post on “getting things done” or on the merits of various productivity tools. It is, rather, some thoughts on the ways I’ve found those tools to shape my thinking and … Continue reading

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That which cannot be possessed (not by you, anyway)

Dan Cohen’s “review” of the Wu Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin (HT: Alan Jacobs) is primarily a meditation on the nature of art and ephemerality, but I have trouble getting past the story that sparked it. This … Continue reading

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