I freely admit that this "Skeptic's Collection" column is shamelessly self-indulgent. I wrote it about a year ago this coming Christmas, and it was one of the 2 or 3 most fun columns I have ever written in the five-plus years I have been Beguine's Skeptic-In-Residence. So, as a Christmas present to myself, I am republishing it here. Enjoy and merry Christmas!
OK! OK! So I am publishing the "stollen" column again, with minor emendations. Why? Because it was fun to write and to read. That's all!
I have good news and I have bad news.
The good news is that the week preceding Christmas Eve, my wife and I took the ferry up to Victoria, BC, where we had high tea at the venerable Empress Hotel.&nbs...
Every so often, a TV series proves to be a “sleeper,” not only in terms of its unexpected popularity, but also in terms of its ability to conceal profound philosophical, even theological, principles, under an unprepossessing but deceptive superficiality. Such a series is, and has been for the last four years, The Good Place. My wife and I started watching The Good Place in season one, and I initially was put off by its apparent – but, as it turned out, its only apparent – cotton-candy-lighthearted take on the afterlife and the various accompanying ethical and metaphysical problems. The Good Place is now in its final season, the writers and producers having taken to heart Aristotle’s common-sense rule that any narrative must have a Beginning, a Middle, and an End. Between the first sea
AMSTERDAM – It is impossible to spend any significant time at all in this city, i.e., more than one day, and not be conscious of the influence and the sheer perennial presence of two of the greatest spirits who haunt it most persistently: Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent Van Gogh. I spent a lot of time here in the middle 2000s on business for Boeing’s commercial airplane division, working out of the inventory-planning offices, at Schiphol Airport, of KLM-Royal Dutch Airlines. In the process, I had ample time to visit all the great art museums in the city – the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Stedelijk Museum of modern / contemporary art. My wife and I also spent a lot of time here, partly on business when Diane occasionally accompanied me on my business trips and partly for pl