Links, 6 February

In addition to the post of beautiful things put up a few moments ago, some reading for your Thursday:

  • An excellent review of a new collection of fiction from Elizabeth Spencer, that also serves as a superb introduction to her work.  Spencer is one of our greatest short story writers; she is woefully under-read.
  • Why sitting through sermons is good for our spiritual lives; lesson to be taken for secular situations, as well.
  • An unsettling, and thought-provoking, little piece about the dangers of schooling, written in the 16th century.
  • Why you don’t ask a Russian “How are you?”  Perhaps especially apropos with the Sochi Olympics beginning tonight.
  • Two different takes on the good of being mediocre.  Very rarely are any of us actually special.  This fact is good.  That we preach a different gospel to our children is a recipe for civilizational disaster, and keeps us from respecting the talents of others and cultivating our own.  We need more amateurs and dedicated dilettantes.  We need fewer special little snowflakes who never get their feelings hurt.
  • Background readings for Augustine’s City of God, through which I’m currently making slow and steady progress.
  • The Ordinance of 1784.  This was Jefferson’s plan to colonize the Transapplachian region.  Though it passed, note that certain significant sections were struck out. Among the sections which Congress removed were a provision that would have ended slavery in 1800.  Interesting to think how history might have changed if that provision remained in the Ordinance.

Finally, the first episode of the unfortunately short-lived radio drama, The Frontier Gentleman:

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