I wasn't going to do a clippings post this week (I have at least 850 unread items in Google Reader right now), but I did find a few items I wanted to share.
(The photo above, by the way, is from my New Years last year, where a dear family friend prepared us a traditional New Years feast. It was so delicious, and I realized I never shared the photo, which I love for it's opulence in color and lighting.)
Alain de Botton, on the WSJ Blog "Speakeasy," discusses the problems with internet pornography from a strictly secular and scientific perspective. And it is really a fantastic and thought-provoking article:
However, anyone who has experienced the power of sex in general and internet pornography in particular to reroute our priorities is unlikely to be so sanguine about liberty. Pornography, like alcohol and drugs, weakens our ability to endure the kinds of suffering that are necessary for us to direct our lives properly. In particular, it reduces our capacity to tolerate those two ambiguous goods, anxiety and boredom. Our anxious moods are genuine but confused signals that something is amiss, and so they need to be listened to and patiently interpreted – which is unlikely to happen when we have to hand one of the most powerful tools of distraction ever invented. The entire internet is in a sense pornographic, it is a deliverer of constant excitement which we have no innate capacity to resist, a system which leads us down paths many of which have nothing to do with our real needs. Furthermore, pornography weakens our tolerance for the kind of boredom which is vital to give our minds the space in which good ideas can emerge, the sort of creative boredom we experience in a bath or on a long train journey.
Meanwhile, on First Things, a defense of Starbucks that will surprise. It is so-spot-on in it's larger point about business in culture, that I feel I must engrave the final sentence in all of my day-planners, should I ever actually fulfill my desire to run a business of my own. (Though I still really do not like Starbucks.):
However, in reality all human action is moral and cultural; this system doesn’t actually remove moral and cultural formation from business, it just requires businesses to conform to whatever beliefs are so socially predominant that the majority don’t even recognize them as beliefs, or see that anything significant is at stake in requiring companies to affirm them. Business is culture making, and we should let culture makers be culture makers.
A history of sequins (Threaded)
The 100 Best Lists of All Time (The New Yorker)
The Best of 2012 -- a music mix chosen by Kate Miss (For Me For You)
My friend MR posted about a pizza and jam night her family hosted over Thanksgiving. We made a bajillion pizzas, and then if that wasn't enough, we make Jam! And she took pictures! Check it out! (WhoopsYummy!)
The only thing I can think of to make Rye Bread better is adding anise seeds! (Le Voyage Creatif)
The sweetest thing I saw last year. I love our Pope! (Catholic World Report)