Alan Jacobs


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Ah, Arsenal. They always, always choke. It is more predictable than sunrise and sunset. If they’d played Sheffield United today they’d have lost. Heck, if they’d played Grimsby Town they’d have lost. It’s who they are. ⚽️

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Trying to get a pic of one of our roses, I am confronted by a photobomber

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Start your weekend on a good note: listen to Sweet Honey in the Rock sing “Run Molly Run”

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Butterflies and bees 🐝

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From Adam Gopnik’s New Yorker essay on Maigret

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People sometimes respond to my essay on anarchism by calling me a libertarian. But — to give a very brief account of an important issue — I think libertarianism and anarchism are quite different. The goal of libertarianism is to increase individual liberty, while the goal of anarchism is to expand the realm of cooperation and collaboration.

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Good to hear that txt.fyi will be coming back. It was the best way to post chunks of text that you didn’t necessarily want on your own site or exposed to the toxicity of social media. People only saw it if they had the link. I didn’t use it often, but it was great to have around for special cases.

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I wrote about R. K. Narayan’s marvelous Malgudi.

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One of the first reviewers of Tolkien’s Silmarillion was Richard Adams, of Watership Down fame. Spoiler: He adored it.

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Everyone knows.

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I posted an update for my Buy Me a Coffee supporters.

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Sydney Railway map, 1939

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I love to see this terrific profile of Khruangbin, one of my favorite current bands, but I miss the days when listening to Khruangbin felt like a secret pleasure that you didn’t really want to share widely.

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I’m reading Nicholas Jenkins’s The Island: War and Belonging in Auden’s England — it won’t be released until June — and it’s staggering. I didn’t think anyone could still write this kind of book: biographical, cultural, critical, moving easily between the close reading of poetic lines and tracing the sweep of vast social movements. I’ll be reviewing it later for The Hedgehog Review, but for now here’s my three-word review: it’s a masterpiece.

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The last eclipse: “The last total solar eclipse will occur when the largest-looking moon just barely covers the smallest-looking sun. A bit of math involving the diameter of the moon and the apparent sizes of the moon and the sun yields an estimate for that eventuality of approximately 620 million years.”

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The eclipse as seen from a weather satellite (time-lapse photo).

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I’m sorta digging these slightly wrong pictures. (“Wrong” in the sense that I didn’t remember to disable the various software “corrections” to the image.) They sort of look like scenes from Malick’s The Voyage of Time.

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The eclipse, partial right now, is overwhelming my camera sensor, but this photo still looks kinda Genesis 1-ish.

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A justly famous image from Black Narcissus

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I wrote about The Pilgrim’s Progress and maps thereof. This should perhaps be read in conjunction with my review, from a few years back, of an amazing book called The Writer’s Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands.

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Sabine Hossenfelder’s story in this video offers a great illustration of the perverse incentives that afflict academia.

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A life of Benjamin Franklin with wood engravings