I was thinking of writing a lengthy piece over lunch, when I wrote up my task list and realized that "lunch" needed to be no more than twenty minutes long. So instead, I present a number of pieces that struck me as interesting lately, but which I don't have a whole post worth of things to say about.
InsideCatholic just reprinted a lengthy piece by medievalist Sandra Miesel discussing the realities of witch burning in the Middle Ages through "Age of Reason". It's an article well worth the time to read, avoiding both the slanders of anti-Catholics and the overly rosy rebuttals used by some apologists.
Entrepreneur Paul Graham has an interesting essay on what an essay should be, why people ought to write them, and how high school English classes do a pretty poor job of teaching people this skill. I've always thought it would be really cool to develop a 1-2 year high school course on the essay when our kids get closer to that age, and I find Graham's thinking on the topic fairly sound. He has quite a few online essays himself, and several others are interesting in the extreme. I'm hoping I get the chance to write about some of them later.
One a somewhat related note, the book editor of the LA Times writes about how the tempo of modern life trains one out of the habits necessary to immerse oneself in a book.
Farmer Blake Hurst has a response to the "agri-intellectuals" such as Michael Pollan, Rod Dreher and Mathew Scully. I follow some of the agri-intellectuals as far as the "one should eat real food most of the time" point, but have often found their economic views rather frustrating. Hurst expresses frustration that many of their practical views on farming are not all that based in experience either -- and also takes some affront at city-living non-farmers telling farmers how to be more "in touch" with the land.
The White House is apparently in a tug-of-war with a concerned physicians group pushing for vegan and vegetarian options in the National School Lunch Program. The group has put posters up in Union Station featuring the eight-year-old daughter of one of the activist with the line, "President Obama's daughters get healthy school lunches. Why don't I?" The White House (probably understandably) doesn't think using the president's daughters to score political points is acceptable. Clearly, I'm a heartless conservative, because my first thought was: A vegetarian lunch could be as simple as a peanut butter sandwich, an apple or banana, and carrot or celery sticks. Indeed, that's exactly what I used to carry in my lunch bag every day when I was going to school as an eight year old. Plus all those items are covered by WIC if you're low income. So while I get the "healthy lunch" push, how about pushing for parents to take five minutes to pack their kids some food?