A heartfelt thanks to Laura and S.K. for the interest they have shown in the novel.
Laura Wood, who maintains The Thinking Housewife, has graciously included a post about my novel on her blog. The post was inspired by an email sent by Steeple Tea blogger S.K. Orr, who referred to The City of Earthly Desire in response to another post criticizing pornography.
A heartfelt thanks to Laura and S.K. for the interest they have shown in the novel.
This evening my nearly eight-year-old son called me into his bedroom and informed me he would like to have a reading lamp placed next to his bed so that he can read every night before falling asleep. He then meticulously described how he we should rearrange the furniture in his room in order to make room for the lamp.
I never could have imagined that the mere thought of purchasing a lamp could bring so much joy!
Oszkár Glatz (1872 - 1958) was a Hungarian painter whose life spanned one of the most tumultuous and unstable periods in Hungarian history. Born five years after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, Glatz began life as citizen of an unsteady dual monarchy the Habsburgs hammered out after they quelled the unsuccessful Hungarian Revolution of 1848 that sought Magyar independence from Austria, only to see this political union evaporate immediately after the First World War. Austria-Hungary became the Hungarian People's Republic before Béla Kuhn successfully inspired a communist revolution that quickly ushered in the Hungarian Soviet Republic. In 1920, Kuhn's communist state crumbled under the backlash of a counterrevolution that saw the communists driven from power and the establishment of the Regency years under the leadership of Miklós Horthy. Hungary allied with Germany in the Second World War, but was occupied by Nazi forces who established a fascist government under the flag of the Arrow Cross Party after Hitler lost faith in Horthy in 1944. When the war ended, Hungary was under Soviet occupation and over the course of the next three years became a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Glatz's final years as an old man coincided with the so-called Stalinist years of 1949-1956, which were the most oppressive years Hungary experienced under communism. The communists succeeded in making life so unbearable that it inspired Hungarians to rise up against them in 1956. The uprising ultimately failed, but it opened the door to reforms and ushered in a more lenient form of communism in Hungary that eventually evolved into what became known as "goulash communism."
Though Oszkár Glatz lived through a great deal of political instability, his art remained remarkably apolitical throughout the bulk of his life. Instead of becoming bogged down in politics, Glatz dedicated his creativity to depicting traditional Hungarian family and community scenes. Many modern people would consider his painting to be over-idealized, perhaps even kitschy, but in my mind Glatz's paintings, despite their obvious idealism, are respectable and charming representations of Beauty, Truth, and Goodness. What I admire most about his art is his ability to capture scenes from Hungarian rural life, scenes portraying the positive essence of relationships within families and communities. Looking at his paintings motivates one to think "now this is what family and friendships are all about." In a way, he is could be considered a Magyar Norman Rockwell.
Oszkár Glatz was 74 years old when the transition to communism began in Hungary. He already had a long and relatively successful career behind him, a career in which he had avoided depicting the explicitly political in his painting. Of course, many would argue Glatz's idealized paintings of rural people and scenes contain an implicit political message, but for the sake of this post let us just assume he was aiming at representing nothing more than scenes from family life - that his intention was to represent loving relationships between family members. Had Glatz left his painting there, he would have remained an uncontroversial artist in Hungarian art history.
But Glatz continued to paint during the transition to communism, and his painting from the 1950s reveal some perplexing choices. The painting below is called "Young Pioneer Visits Her Village Friends." (Young pioneers were essentially communist boy scouts and girl scouts although in terms of being ideologically driven, they were more along the lines of Germany's Hitlerjugend. For example, the communists routinely indoctrinated young pioneers to spy and inform on their families and neighbors). The painting below follows the same "formula" Glatz employs in so many of his other works, but his inclusion of the young pioneer girl disturbs the aura of Beauty, Truth, and Goodness Glatz had maintained throughout his earlier representations of simple rural life.
Another painting, one depicting Hungarian young pioneers enthusiastically examining a globe with their North Korean communist peers, is pure Socialist Realism.
Attempting to understand how an artist like Glatz became so enamoured with communism so late in life is difficult and perplexing. I have read that he became disillusioned with the traditional scenes he painted. I read elsewhere that he merely developed his family themes to the communist level of the universal proletariat family. Some sources claim he became a true believer. Others argue his communist paintings had more to do with expediency than ideology.
Whatever the case, somewhere in the late 1940s, when Glatz was already well into his seventies, he made a conscious decision to move away from the subject matter he had painted his entire life and begin painting idealized scenes of communist life. He was an octogenarian when he painted the scene with the young pioneer visiting her friends. Though some maintain Glatz had been more or less forced into shifting into communist themes, my intuition tells me his choice had been voluntary - that he honestly believed in the paradise communism professed to offer. If he hadn't, he would not have bothered to make the transition. After all, the communists permitted retirement, especially to people in their seventies and eighties - but Glatz chose to remain active. He could have put away his brush and hung up his apron and simply say he was too old and tired to paint anymore, but he didn't - and that, in my opinion, pretty much says it all.
Hungary's history can best be summed up with one word - turbulent. This holds particularly true for the twentieth century, which was among the most chaotic the country had ever experienced. In the span of that particular one hundred years, Hungary lived through the First World War, territorial dismemberment resulting in a loss of about sixty percent of its former territory and about thirty percent of its population, a short-lived, but violent "Red Terror" communist regime under Béla Kuhn, a reactionary "White Terror" movement and the establishment of the Horthy regime, the Second World War, Nazi occupation followed by Soviet occupation, the worst hyperinflation in recorded history, a second and longer lasting communist regime, the collapse of that communist regime, and the ushering of Western liberal democracy. Simply put, most of the twentieth century for Hungary was characterized by little more than instability and disorder.
Despite all the upheavals and uncertainties the twentieth century unleashed upon Hungary, the country's population increased for the bulk of those tempestuous one hundred years.
As the graph illustrates, the upward trend in population growth from 1910 to 1960 is marred by three notable periods of decline – the First World War, the Second World War, and the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956. These declines are a result of terrible military and civilian casualties suffered during times of armed conflict; however, on the graph they appear as blips in the overall upward trend of population growth. In other words, the country managed to recover from these catastrophic times and resume its upward population growth trend even against the backdrop of an underlying fertility rate decline that started shortly after the First World War. Hungary’s population eventually peaked at about 10.7 million in 1980 and was quickly followed by what appear to be irreversible declines in both the population and the fertility rate. Unlike the previous three dips in the overall population, the decrease that began in 1980 cannot be attributed to war or armed conflict, but rather to emigration and, more notably, a plummeting fertility rate.
Though Hungary’s population continued to grow for much of the twentieth century in spite of many disasters and instabilities plaguing the century, the country’s fertility rate over the course of those ten decades reveals a significant downtrend. Hungary’s fertility rate was a remarkable 5.28 in 1900, but this dropped by roughly 1.0 per decade until 1930 when the rate settled at 2.84. Between 1930 and 1946 – a period that included the Great Depression and the Second World War – Hungary’s fertility bounced between 2.5 and 2.8. Although these numbers are half of what they were at the beginning of the century, they are still above the minimum 2.1 figure required to ensure population replacement, which in turn helps explain why Hungary’s population continued to grow despite the falling fertility rate and the sizable casualties the Second World War had inflicted upon the country. The fertility rate managed to remain above sub-replacement even in 1946-47, which marked the worst case of hyperinflation in recorded history,
Much of the decline Hungary's fertility rate between 1900 and 1946 can be attributed to conventional factors such as urbanization and the changing role of women in society, but the slow and steady weakening of the traditional Christian family and social framework that had dominated Hungarian society since its inception certainly played a role as well. Although fertility rates dropped rather drastically in the first half of the twentieth century, Hungarians maintained some semblance societal health by upholding a fertility rate that exceeded replacement levels.
The waning of Christian social norms in the first half of the century were ground into the dirt when the communists seized control of Hungary in 1946. The communists officially suppressed and controlled religion within Hungary. They openly mocked any mention of the metaphysical, made a hobby of rounding up and imprisoning the clergy, and worked tirelessly to establish a purely materialistic dictatorship of the proletariat within the country’s borders. The first decade of communist rule was particularly violent and oppressive, which caused the fertility rate to continue its decline. However, it remained above replacement levels despite all the turmoil and uncertainty the communists induced within the country. For example in 1956, the year marking the failed Hungarian uprising against the communist regime, the fertility rate in Hungary was still slightly above replacement levels at 2.44 .
Although the revolt against the communists ultimately failed, it did succeed in loosening communism's iron grip somewhat. True, Hungarians remained oppressed, but they were not as oppressed as they had been before 1956. Nevertheless, Moscow’s attempts to provide the nation with a kinder, gentler version of communism – one emphasizing increased material comfort, social stability, and slight increases in personal freedoms – did nothing to improve the fertility rate, which sank to below replacement levels for first time in Hungary’s recorded history.
I surmise the unprecedented 2.02 sub-fertility rate recorded in 1960 had much to do with the despair communism induced in the general population. Though the country maintained acceptable standards of living from a historical perspective, Marx’s promise of utopia showed little signs of materializing. Communism may have provided enough to live on, but it provided little to live for. Unsurprisingly, alcoholism and suicide rates rose as the fertility rate continued to fall. By the early 1970s, Hungary’s fertility rate had cracked below 2.0, prompting the communists to begin pushing a three child policy to increase fertility among the population. Amazingly, the social schemes the communists promulgated had an immediate and positive effect on the fertility rate, which quickly jumped above sub-replacement levels again and remained above sub-replacement levels for the better part of four years. However, the boost the communist family schemes provided proved to be the equivalent of a sugar high – they gave a quick burst of energy, but lacked the nourishment required to make the social engineering sustainable. By 1978, the fertility rate was back below replacement levels again at 2.08, despite the communist's desperate efforts to counteract it, remained below replacement levels for the remainder of their time in power.
Hungary’s population peaked in 1980, which was around the same time communism peaked. Though it would take another nine years to officially collapse, communism in Hungary grew observably weak and fatigued in the 1980s; yet this political devitalization did little to revitalize the country’s fertility rate. On the contrary, the more liberal and laissez-faire the communists became, the more the fertility rate fell. After 1980, the rate dropped to below 2.0. By the time the Iron Curtain came down, Hungary’s fertility rate was a pathetic 1.78.
When the Iron Curtain was dismantled, Hungary became part of the liberal West. After nearly fifty years of political oppression and despair, the country hungered for the personal freedoms and material prosperity Western liberalism offered. It certainly was an optimistic time, and one would assume rejoining the West would have an overall positive effect on the country’s fertility rate, and for a few short years it did. Coinciding with the hope inspired by rejoining the West, Hungary’s fertility rate climbed slightly in the early 1990’s, but by 1999 it nosedived all the way down to 1.29 and remained at those abysmal levels all the way to 2011 when it sank to 1.23, which is the lowest recorded fertility level in Hungarian history.
If nothing else, fertility rate statistics reveal Hungary’s response to communism had been despairing and suicidal. Nevertheless, these stats also show Hungary’s response to Western liberalism after the fall of the Iron Curtain has been even more despairing and suicidal. Though sub-fertility stains both periods, the numbers show Hungarians chose to have more children under communist oppression than they do in the apparent freedom of Western liberalism. As pernicious as communism was, it appears to have been less despair-inducing and suicidal than Western liberalism has been in Hungary - at least as far as fertility rates and societal health are concerned.
Of course, communism and liberalism are both forms of Leftism. Taken together, it is quite apparent that both are detrimental to a country’s fertility rate and overall demographics, which is hardly surprising considering the basic tenets of Leftism. All the same, it is rather startling to discover that liberalism, which is touted for its apparent love of freedom, tolerance, and human rights, is far more despair-inducing and suicidal in demographic terms than communism ever was. As unbelievable as it seems, Hungary's immersion into Western liberalism only exacerbated the demographic malaise communism had initiated in the second half of the twentieth century.
Surprisingly, Hungary’s fertility rate has experienced a slow but steady increase this decade. The fertility rate has risen nearly every year since the 1.23 trough set in 2011 and now sits at 1.49. Though the figure is still paltry, this minor turnaround could be attributed to Viktor Orbán and his push to make Hungary an “illiberal democracy.” Recognizing the suicidal path the country had been on, Orbán's government has launched a massive campaign to increase the fertility rate to above replacement levels. The actions the government has taken appear to be having positive effects. Marriage rates are rising and fertility levels remain stable. Nonetheless, it is too soon to know if Orbán’s well-intentioned schemes will bear fruit. After all, the communists initiated similar policies in the 1970s, but the positive outcomes their policies produced were incredibly short-lived. When all is said and done, I fear Orbán’s policies might suffer a similar fate unless the real root of the demographic problem is dealt with.
The communists saw sub-replacement fertility as a material problem. As such, the remedies they offered were also of a material nature. Unsurprisingly, these material solutions did nothing to address the underlying immaterial cause of the problem, which was spiritual in nature. Orbán also recognizes the material dangers of sub-fertility. Like the communists in the 1970s, he is attempting to counteract the low fertility rate by offering material solutions. However, unlike the communists, Orbán seems to understand the root of the problem is spiritual in nature, which helps explain why he often praises Christianity and lauds the necessity of Christian values. Orbán may understand the root of the sub-fertility catastrophe is spiritual in nature, but the million dollar question is this - Do contemporary Hungarians understand this as well? If they do, Orbán’s admirable attempts at reversing the decline in fertility stand a chance. If not, Orbán’s family support schemes will inevitably meet the same fate the communist schemes of the 1970s did.
If history is any guide, material provisions alone will not aid the fertility rate and may actually cause more harm than good in the long term. The only solution to sub-replacement fertility - in Hungary or any other Western country for that matter - is spiritual reawakening. Anything less will only serve to accelerate or prolong the despair-induced demographic suicide plaguing Hungary and the West.
The two population pyramids below illustrate the gravity of the problem in contemporary Hungary and highlight Western liberalism's exacerbation of the demographic dilemma the communists had inadvertently initiated in the mid-twentieth century. As bad as communism was for Hungary's demography and fertility, Western liberalism has been undeniably worse.
When I arrived in Sopron in 2015, I rented a rather bleak and overpriced apartment in the historic downtown area of the city. The apartment was spectacularly dilapidated, overlooked a busy street, and was situated in a crumbling, rat-infested building. The only positive things the abysmal place had going for it were its location - it was quite literally in the middle of everything - and the views it afforded from its front and back windows. The front windows offered a clear view of the St. Judas Thaddeus Church on the adjacent side of the square, while the steeple of the St. Orsolya Church filled the frame of the back window.
As bad as the flat was, the view I took in every morning upon waking up more than compensated for the drafty windows and crappy plumbing.
We moved out of the squalid flat shortly after we purchased our house in the countryside, and though I was relieved to be out of the dingy apartment, I missed seeing the St. Judas Thaddeus Church every day. The church is one of five located in Sopron's historic downtown area and was maintained by the Dominican Order for centuries, which helps explain why locals simply refer to the building as the "Dom Church." I will skip going into the church's history and focus instead on its aura and atmosphere.
Though the Dom Church was right across the street, I chose to attend Mass at St. George's Roman Catholic Church a few hundred meters away because it offered a Latin service. Nevertheless, I probably spent far more time in the St. Thaddeus Church, which I would pop into on my way to or from work at least two or three times every week. I liked to stop there whenever I could partly because the building itself was a veritable oasis of peace and tranquility, and partly because the interior of the church is, for lack of a more original word, sublime.
My stops at the Dom Church usually lasted about thirty or forty minutes. I spent half of this time praying and the other half marveling at the interior's Baroque flourishes. I was perfectly at ease and perfectly at home sitting in the pews immersed in quiet contemplation. Every time I exited the church, I felt the time I had spent within its ornate walls had placed me closer to God.
For reasons I cannot explain, I stopped popping into St. Judas Thaddeus after I moved away from Sopron. This has nothing to do with the place being far removed - you see I commute to the city every weekday for work, and the church is just around the corner from my office at the university, so technically I could visit the church every day if I wanted to. But for some reason I haven't felt inspired to do so.
Upon first learning the official name of the grand white church framed within the window of the squalid flat I had rented in Sopron, I dug into catacombs of my nearly forgotten religion lessons at Catholic school and recalled that St. Judas Thaddeus is also referred to as John the Apostle. He makes an appearance in the Fourth Gospel (John 14:22) where he is referred to as "Judas, not Judas Iscariot, apparently an apostle." He is also venerated as the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes.
This last recollection might help explain why I was so drawn to the church after I arrived to Sopron. Back then, in those cold and bitter March days, there were times when I very much felt like a desperate case and somewhat of a lost cause. Thankfully, I have not experienced those feelings for years, which may shed some light on why I no longer feel the need to be in Jude the Apostle's presence - though I still have nothing but the highest esteem for him and the church bearing his name. How can I not? After all, both helped pull me through a rather trying time.
I recently wrote a post in which I put forth a conjecture that the primary role of contemporary Western corporations is to incorporate. Nearly all corporations are part of the System, and they operate under the banner of a clearly understood Agenda. The primary operational goal of nearly all corporations is to combine and assimilate countries, societies, and communities into a unified whole under the flag of world government. My definition of a corporation is rather extensive and includes most non-profit groups, NGOS, municipalities, charities, political organizations, and other apparently non-corporate entities because, regardless of legal status and structure, most modern organizations operate under a conventional corporate framework, and nearly all of these organizations work diligently to incorporate everything into the existing System. Some recent events in Hungary provide a clear illustration how corporations aim to incorporate all aspects of society into the unified System following a singular Agenda.
As a nation, Hungary is already intricately incorporated into the System. The country is part of the UN, the EU, and many other international organizations. Its economy is heavily dependent on a slew of multinational corporations in a variety of industries. In exchange for EU infrastructure funds, Hungary has essentially sold its domestic market to a host of multinational conglomerates. Though the country has retained its own currency – the forint – the EU and its unified euro currency heavily influence Hungary’s finances. These factors and many more not mentioned show Hungary is very much a part of the System.
Now Hungary may be part of the System, but under the leadership of Viktor Orbán it has often resisted and rejected the Agenda. For example, Orban’s government forced the International Monetary Fund to close its Budapest office in 2013, and it has not sought additional financial arrangements from the IMF since. Orban’s government also rejects open borders and mass migration, refuses to recognize same-sex unions as marriage, supports family-friendly policies, and aims to increase domestic fertility to above replacement levels by providing young families and couples with financial and housing subsidies. Concisely, Orbán’s Hungary, is physically part of the System, but it is clearly not fully committed to the System’s Agenda. Of course, the System cannot abide Hungary’s lack of commitment to the Agenda because this lack of commitment reveals the System has not succeeded in fully incorporating Hungary into its fold.
Predictably, Orbán and his government have been the focal point of repeated political and media attack campaigns over the past decade. The attack campaigns focus almost exclusively on the Agenda items Orbán has rejected – primarily mass migration, human rights, and LGBT rights. Political bodies such as the European Union and domestic and international NGOs such as Amnesty International have been at the forefront of these attacks. However, the drive to incorporate Orbán’s Hungary fully into the System does not end with political entities and NGOs, but extends to multinational “for-profit” corporations as well.
Case and point – a prominent soft drink manufacturer recently launched an ad campaign promoting gay acceptance in Hungary. Now many are under the assumption that companies like soft drink manufacturers are merely businesses involved solely in business activities such as profit maximization, market expansion, product promotion, and so on. Though true to an extent, a cursory visit to the homepage of any large soft drink manufacturer, or any large multinational business for that matter, quickly reveals that corporations are interested in far more than expanding their businesses. Simply put, contemporary “for profit” corporations also operate as Agenda pushers and can often be found in the front lines of what many today refer to as the “culture war.”
The soft drink manufacturer pushing the LGBT Agenda item in Hungary met fierce resistance from members of Orbán’s government who immediately called for a boycott of the manufacturer’s products. This “controversy” appeared in nearly all Western media outlets which vociferously defended the soft drink manufacturer’s right to promote human rights and coldly condemned the Orbán government for its hatred and bigotry. The soft drink manufacturer doubled down on its investment and issued even more posters and placards, which motivated even more resistance from the Hungarian government. Then, to everyone’s seeming surprise, the soft drink manufacturer mysteriously relented and withdrew its ads, which led to another series of scathing articles in the Western press.
Members of Orbán’s government were quick to congratulate themselves for having won a battle, but anyone familiar with the demonic strategy of “two steps forward, one step back” will recognize the underlying strategy the System has employed in its desire to enforce its Agenda upon Hungary. It may appear that a battle has been won, but in my mind, the System is merely reassessing the battlefield and gathering new troops before launching its next assault. Who or what leads the next assault is anyone’s guess, but it will most certainly be another corporation, profit-driven or otherwise, because the war will not end until Orbán and his government agree to Hungary’s complete incorporation into the System, which includes full assimilation into the Agenda. Anything less is simply unthinkable.
I am currently re-reading Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov (yes, again). Every time I read Brothers, I am amazed by Dostoevsky's discernment and clarity when it came to understanding the deep metaphysical catastrophe that was slowly enveloping Russia in the late nineteenth century. Very few writers match him in terms of insight and intuition, and as far as exploring the metaphysical in fiction, he is, in my opinion, second to none.
The passage I read last night - taken from Part II, Book IV, Chapter III: Conversation and Exhortations of Father Zossima - is a penetrating example of Dostoevsky's perspicacity. What struck me most about it was how the same problems the Elder Zossima identifies in this passage continue to plague us today. In fact, the passage remains just as relevant as it was the day Dostoevsky wrote it, which in my mind is a testament to greatness all on its own.
Look at the worldly and all who set themselves up above the people of God, has not God's image and His truth been distorted in them? They have science; but in science there is nothing but what is the object of sense. The spiritual world, the higher part of man's being is rejected altogether, dismissed with a sort of triumph, even with hatred. The world has proclaimed the reign of freedom, especially of late, but what do we see in this freedom of theirs? Nothing but slavery and self-destruction! For the world says:
“You have desires and so satisfy them, for you have the same rights as the most rich and powerful. Don't be afraid of satisfying them and even multiply your desires.” That is the modern doctrine of the world. In that they see freedom. And what follows from this right of multiplication of desires? In the rich, isolation and spiritual suicide; in the poor, envy and murder; for they have been given rights, but have not been shown the means of satisfying their wants. They maintain that the world is getting more and more united, more and more bound together in brotherly community, as it overcomes distance and sets thoughts flying through the air.
Alas, put no faith in such a bond of union. Interpreting freedom as the multiplication and rapid satisfaction of desires, men distort their own nature, for many senseless and foolish desires and habits and ridiculous fancies are fostered in them. They live only for mutual envy, for luxury and ostentation. To have dinners, visits, carriages, rank and slaves to wait on one is looked upon as a necessity, for which life, honor and human feeling are sacrificed, and men even commit suicide if they are unable to satisfy it. We see the same thing among those who are not rich, while the poor drown their unsatisfied need and their envy in drunkenness. But soon they will drink blood instead of wine, they are being led on to it. I ask you is such a man free? I knew one “champion of freedom” who told me himself that, when he was deprived of tobacco in prison, he was so wretched at the privation that he almost went and betrayed his cause for the sake of getting tobacco again! And such a man says, “I am fighting for the cause of humanity.”
How can such a one fight? what is he fit for? He is capable perhaps of some action quickly over, but he cannot hold out long. And it's no wonder that instead of gaining freedom they have sunk into slavery, and instead of serving the cause of brotherly love and the union of humanity have fallen, on the contrary, into dissension and isolation, as my mysterious visitor and teacher said to me in my youth. And therefore the idea of the service of humanity, of brotherly love and the solidarity of mankind, is more and more dying out in the world, and indeed this idea is sometimes treated with derision. For how can a man shake off his habits? What can become of him if he is in such bondage to the habit of satisfying the innumerable desires he has created for himself? He is isolated, and what concern has he with the rest of humanity? They have succeeded in accumulating a greater mass of objects, but the joy in the world has grown less.
Endre Ady (1877 - 1918) is regarded as the most significant and influential Hungarian poets of the twentieth century. I am currently wading into some of his work, which has proven to be rather intriguing. Ady broke with the traditional folksy style made eminent by poets like Sándor Petöfi and embraced a more symbolist approach that instantly revolutionized Hungary poetry.
Ady was an interesting character who, among other subjects, frequently addressed religious themes in his poetry. He was one of those poets who spent the bulk of his life wrestling with God, which means most of his religious poems are at best, ambiguous. In any case, his unique style, coupled with the peculiarities of the Hungarian language, has made much of his poetry 'untranslatable.' Regardless, I thought I would take a crack at it here by translating one of my favorites from Ady.
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Blogs/Sites I Read
Bruce Charlton's Notions
Meeting the Masters
From The Narrow Desert
The Postil Magazine
William Arkle Blog
Twisting the Tail of the Cosmos
Deep Britain and Ireland