1. What profiteth it a man?
  2. Tomatoes
  3. Not just two fronts, two wars
  4. Not so clear-cut


I am not going to join the throngs hastening to the political grave of Anthony Scaramucci for a festive little dance. He is too pitiable for that.

He quite thoroughly reorganized his financial life, selling profitable going concerns, to shed conflicts of interest so he could join Team Trump officially. His wife reportedly derided such devotion to Trump and is divorcing him. He didn’t even make it to the birth of his son. He vilified some of his colleagues, chased out Reince Priebus, and then got his sorry, uh, self, fired by Priebus’ successor.

Ten lousy days in the service of this most unworthy President. And the price was totally screwing up his life. What profiteth it a man …?


What matter are tomatoes. There is an excellent crop this year, like the tomatoes of our youth that we ate right off the vine, juice running down our chins. There is nothing like this. For years, I dashed into supermarkets and scooped up whatever was available, tomatoes bred for long shelf life that tasted like wet cardboard, and now I go to a farmers market and I’m astonished all over again. A spiritual experience. The spontaneity of the tomato compared to the manufactured sweetness of the glazed doughnut. An awakening takes place, light shines in your soul. Anyone who bites into a good tomato and thinks about Trump is seriously delusional.

(Garrison Keillor, We will survive this) I don’t like the noun-verb matching of that first sentence, but otherwise ….


The faithful conservative must now choose sides in two different culture wars.

First, we conservatives must understand that everything that happens in this administration will be tied directly to Trump, and unless we can undertake the difficult task of forging and maintaining an independent identity, even our longest-held and most cherished beliefs will be defined as part and parcel of “Trumpism.” …

As a practical matter, this means conservatives should do their best to advance conservative goals while at the same time loudly and unequivocally condemning this administration’s absurd excesses. No one should be more angry at Trump’s tweets than conservatives. No one should be more concerned about Trump’s conduct toward Russia than conservatives. And, yes, no one should be more alarmed by White House chaos than conservatives. In reality, until the next round of voting, only conservatives have the true power to keep Trump in check.

The second truth that’s emerging — on both the #Resistance left and the angry populist right — is that there are now two fronts in the culture war. There’s the classic Left/Right split — the battle of pro-life versus pro-choice, say, or of single-payer versus market-based health-care reforms. This fight rages, and it will continue to rage for the foreseeable future. The second front, however, is between those people of all political persuasions who continue to believe in constitutional processes and basic democratic norms on the one hand, and those people who’ve adopted the anything-goes, end-justifies-the-means tactics of the campus social-justice warrior or the “Flight 93” Trump supporter on the other.

(David French, Don’t Let the Left Define Conservative Opposition to Trump)


There are times when watching progressives try to grapple with their own conceptual contradictions is like watching a blind man with Crisco on his hands trying to juggle chainsaws. Broadway theater, an aggressively leftist institution, is today presenting the following spectacle: A white actor has been shamed out of playing a white character in a Broadway show because it would have been hurtful to black actors.

Mandy Patinkin … was set to take over the lead male role in the musical Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, replacing Josh Groban, whose popularity is widely credited with making the oddball show a success …

When Groban left the show on the expiration of his contract on July 2, the boyish baritone was temporarily replaced by an unknown, Okieriete “Oak” Onaodowan, whom Patinkin would have replaced. Onaodowan is black. Patinkin isn’t. So an utterly routine fact of Broadway life — star replaces non-star — was dressed up in racial outrage.

So Great Comet, which now doesn’t have a big-name star in either lead role, is in even more severe danger of closing soon.

(Kyle Smith, National Review)

I can see both sides of this one. Kyle Smith gives one side (and I really like Mandy Patinkin). But for a hard-working black actor, “you aren’t a star yet and the gate is bad” plus “the character is white” add up to “good luck becoming a star; don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

* * * * *

Fiat justitia ruat caelum

There is no epistemological Switzerland. (Via Mars Hill Audio Journal Volume 134)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

2 thoughts on “Tomatoes

  1. I don’t like the noun-verb matching of that first sentence …

    I don’t know why not.

    If this sentence:

    Tomatoes matter.

    … is grammatical, then so is this one:

    Tomatoes are the things which matter.

    and so is this one:

    Tomatoes are what matter.

    And if that is grammatical, then surely its simple inversion:

    What matter are tomatoes.

    … is equally grammatical. Keillor’s construction may be unusual, but it is certainly correct.

    In technical terms, the pronoun what is not inflected for number (unlike I/we, thou/you, and it/they), but it nevertheless takes the number of its antecedent; and like all nouns and pronouns, it governs the number of the verb of which it is the subject. Tomatoes is the antecedent and is plural; what is therefore plural; and the verb matter must therefore be plural.

    What I have given you are the grammatical facts (unless you think that I should have said is “what I have given you is the grammatical facts.”).

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