Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday Good Reads

Middlebury College in Vermont has become the poster child for campus craziness, after a student protest against a conservative speaker turned violent and ended up with a faculty member physically attacked and hospitalized. There’s been lots of commentary from all sides of the political spectrum (although it’s hard for anyone to justify attacking an unarmed woman or man because you’re mad about politics), and one of the best is a tongue-in-cheek article by Robert George: “Send Your Children to Middlebury College.” We are indeed what we read.

Education continues to be a cultural flashpoint; when it comes to the Common Core curriculum, you either love it or hate it. Joy Pullman hates it, and cites some statistics to prove her point.

Flannery O’Connor is finally going to get a documentary, and James Joyce has gone digital. Ben Franklin had a Calvinist father (who knew?), and Scott Slayton has some good reasons why Christians should read history (and why anyone should read history, for that matter). And speaking of making history come alive, a skeleton of a man buried 700 years ago at Cambridge in the UK has had a face put to it.

Poetry, art, photography, writing – good stuff is still being created.

Life and Culture

How Common Core Damages Students’ College Readiness – Joy Pullman at the James Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

Send Your Children to Middlebury College! – Robert P. George at First Things Magazine.

Moral Application - photo by Tim Good and text by M. B. Efthimiou at Musings of a Naked Alien.

Leadership Fails and Who Cares? – Jon Mertz at Thin Difference.


Enigmatic – Barbara MacKenzie at Signed…BKM.

The Night Guest – Lakan Umali at Curator Magazine.

My First Poet – Loren Paulsson at World Narratives.

A Season’s Passing (Found Poem) – Maureen Doallas at Writing Without Paper.

Ambiguous Intention – Jerry Barrett at Gerald the Writer.


Doing the most good – Doug Spurling at Spurling Silver.

Christ in the Desert – J.D. Flynn at First Things Magazine.

Why Christians Should Read History – Scott Slayton at One Degree to Another.

We All Fall Down – Jason Stasyszen at Connecting to Impact.


How Writing Just Might Save My Life – Molly Page at Thin Difference.

The Digital Joyce – Maureen Doallas at Writing Without Paper.

A writer’s fame is a flickering flame – David Murray at Writing Boots.

Flannery O’Connor finally gets a documentary – St. Rose Pacatte at National Catholic Reporter.

American Stuff

Ben Franklin’s Calvinist Father – Thomas Kidd at The Gospel Coalition.

British Stuff

Art and Photography

In the Beginning – John Dyess at Journal of Seeing.

Cover photo – Diana Matisz via Facebook.

Glencoe – digital art by Jeff Gerke.

I Won’t Let Go: My Song for Blair – Luke McMahon

Painting: Reading Woman with Parasol, oil on canvas by Henri Matisse (1921); Tate Museum, London.

Friday, March 24, 2017

He chose

After 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

He chose the foolish
over the wise
He chose the weak
over the strong
He chose the lowly
over the high
He chose the despised
over the celebrated


He became these things
and chose these things
so that
none may boast.

Photograph by Mike Coates via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

"Kickback" by Damien Boyd

Detective Inspector (DI) Nick Dixon of the Avon and Somerset CID is celebrating his release from hospital (and recovery from a stab wound in his shoulder). With him are Detective Constable (DC) Jane Winter and senior pathologist Roger Poland. While they’re eating, an argument breaks out at a nearby table and almost turns violent. Dixon intervenes, and calms a young man, on compassionate leave from Afghanistan to attend his younger brother’s funeral.

Hours later, the young man takes his father and sister hostage, and insists on talking with Dixon. He believes his brother wasn’t killed by an aggressive horse at the stable where he worked, which another police investigation determined, but was in fact murdered. Dixon meets with the young man, begins to check the investigation, and gets Roger Poland to check the post-mortem of the victim. The brother turns out to be right – the dead man was indeed murdered.

Damien Boyd
Kickback is Damien Boyd’s third DI Nick Dixon police procedural mystery, and it’s a riveting read (I read in almost one sitting). The investigation takes Dixon and Winter (who are more than just work partners) deep into illegal horserace gambling and how it’s done online, Albanian gangsters, cocaine smuggling, and pillars of society turning out to have more than a few cracks.

Boyd is the author of six Nick Dixon mystery stories. He has extensive experience in criminal law in the UK and worked for a time with the Crown Prosecution Service, and infuses that experience throughout his stories.

Kickback shows Boyd’s development with his craft and narrative control, and is the best DI Nick Dixon yet.


Top photograph by George Hodan via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.