Baron Haussmann’s Story of the Murderous Innkeepers

From Mémoires de baron Haussmann, 1890                 excerpted from a section called Excursions           These events take place in the 1830s, Haussmann on his way to his new job at Nérac, the post he held in our last story of his assisting George Sand. […]

Assorted Opinions: Stupid Loyalty

Posted by ractrose on 20 Jul 2020 in Non-Fiction

Assorted Opinions Stupid Loyalty                 Scenes from America’s protests, which began with the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and continue as general dissent under the banner of Black Lives Matter, play onscreen like a surreal clown show, tragic and brutal, while the enforcement conduct often seems comedically […]

The M Word That Isn’t Moscow (opinion)

Posted by ractrose on 1 Feb 2020 in Non-Fiction

Assorted Opinions The M Word That Isn’t Moscow                  From one of the books I’m reading, Heaven Cracks, Earth Shakes, by James Palmer (Basic Books, 2012), on the last days of Chairman Mao and the horrific Tangshan earthquake, comes this translation of a Maoist anthem:     The […]

Republicans’ Last Chance (opinion)

Posted by ractrose on 20 Jan 2020 in Non-Fiction

Republicans’ Last Chance Or, advice from an observer                           As to politics, I believe in doing what works and not doing what doesn’t work. Human society has never been able to figure out why this principle is so difficult, rather than so easy, […]

Assorted Opinions: Plastic

Posted by ractrose on 4 Jan 2020 in Non-Fiction

Assorted Opinions Plastic             The thing you’re doing isn’t wrong. In most cases. What comes athwart environmental activism is the scorn, distrust, frustration of people who feel themselves harried over things that were always “okay in the past”. When you drink a Diet Coke and faithfully drop your bottle in […]

Best of the Season to You!

Posted by ractrose on 25 Dec 2019 in Non-Fiction

    And, for today, I have a small historical anecdote, from the American Civil War, with a certain lesson to be derived.      Respect the Flag   A day or two after we established headquarters at the City Hall, the national flag was hanging over the street, when one of the principal ladies […]

Assorted Opinions: They

Posted by ractrose on 16 Nov 2019 in Non-Fiction

  Assorted Opinions They                   2020 seems a bad time for the Democrats to become the party of pronouns. History shows, of course, that they can pull it off, this snatching of defeat from the jaws of victory… And liberal forces appear to be gathering towards a […]

Frédéric Boutet: The Ghost of M. Imberger (part four)

Frédéric Boutet The Ghost of M. Imberger (part four)                                 His voice broke a little, his eyes became grim. A brilliant thing, that was a tear, rolled down his long nose. “What is your opinion on his disappearance?” He said […]

Of Cats and Birds (non-fiction)

Posted by ractrose on 12 Oct 2019 in Non-Fiction

  Readers, I wrote the essay below a couple of years ago, in response to the thinly supported “science” that is routinely trotted out when the subject of bird losses comes back into the news. Recently we’ve been hearing that 1/4 of the bird population is gone, which didn’t happen overnight. We haven’t been paying […]

Baron Haussmann’s story about George Sand (conclusion)

From Mémoires de baron Haussmann, 1890 (conclusion)           I had taken care to forewarn the Lieutenant of the Gendarmerie, and upon our return to the Sous-Préfecture, we found him ready to leave with a brigade. The expedition was put in motion without delay, and in good order, thanks to the post-chaise […]