Casual Essay Articles


Where Angels Fear to Tread

David Skinner, intrepid traveler.
Dec 07, 2015

Friends of mine once saved for a trip to Europe by emptying their pockets at the end of each day and placing any money in a big plastic jug. Occasionally, when short of cash, they had to turn the jug upside down and withdraw a bill or two with a pair of tweezers, but the system worked. After a couple years, they bought plane tickets and were on their way. 

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The Constant Gardener

Terry Eastland, gardener au Courant
Sep 14, 2015

Most summers I’ve had a fruit and vegetable garden, but rarely has my summer reading included much about gardening other than nursery catalogues and seed packets and basic how-to articles. This year has been different. My Summer in a Garden by Charles Dudley Warner, first published in 1870, has had my attention, and it’s a book I’ve found hard to put down. 

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A Life that Made Sense

David Gelernter on Herbert Gelernter, 1929-2015
Sep 07, 2015

The difference between man and woman is the force that hauls life forward (as the Talmud remarks) and the origin of everything that is most beautiful in our world. I thought I understood that, but I didn’t until my father died. The whole can transcend the sum of parts, and that’s why Judaism deems marriage sacred. I never truly understood that either.

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Fly by Night

Christopher Caldwell, astir among the aphids
Aug 03, 2015

Lately my home life has felt like a camping trip. I have been waking at 3 a.m. or so and staring. Stirring at night is one thing—rolling over, drifting into semi-consciousness, having a stray thought or two either to be remembered or not remembered in the morning—but staring is quite another. In the weeks since May, when my father died, those stray thoughts have been vivid enough to seize my attention. Then they bring with them other thoughts, practical and metaphysical. After a few minutes, I’m wide awake. 

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Midnight's Child

Joseph Bottum, morning truant
Jul 06, 2015

Morning comes like a great bird, sailing over the dark curve of the earth to illuminate the hills and trees. Dawn arrives like an angel’s burning sword, expelling night from the garden of this world. Sunrise melts to fresh dew the last wisps of frost across the lawn, a diamond sparkle in the golden angle of the sun’s first rays, and in the background always plays “Morning Mood,” the opening movement of Grieg’s first Peer Gynt Suite

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The Issue Issue

Joseph Epstein has issues.
May 04, 2015

I have an issue with issue—with the word, that is. It pops up everywhere, meaning everything and meaning nothing. One hears of a pitcher who has rotator-cuff issues, of a landlord who has issues with pets in his buildings, of a bill up before Congress that poses jurisdictional issues. A weather reporter informs me that dressing warmly in a snowstorm is the main issue. The issue over reinstating the draft is whether soldiers serving only two years can be of serious military use.

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Measure for Measure

Joseph Bottum refuses to convert.
Mar 16, 2015

It used to happen regularly. Some poor science writer for a magazine or newspaper would try to humanize an astronomy fact: The distance light travels in a year is enormous!

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Car Talk

Victorino Matus, useless intellect
Feb 23, 2015

According to my mechanic, that burning smell emanating from my car’s vents was caused by an oil leak near the camshaft synchronizing sensor underneath the right side of the engine. Unfortunately I had no idea what he was talking about. He lost me at camshaft.

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Trophy Summer

Philip Terzian’s lone laurel
Feb 16, 2015

Anyone who has toured a house for sale in the past few decades knows that walking into a child’s bedroom is a little like entering a trophy shop. The trophies might be neatly arranged on shelves and tabletops, or strewn haphazardly across the floor; and they might be measured in feet, rather than inches, in height. But whereas trophies by the dozen would once have suggested the home of an Olympic champion—or the lair, at the very least, of a college All-American—today they largely signify participation. 

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Strait Man

Christopher Caldwell's Bosphorus Blues
Dec 15, 2014

Towards midnight one night last week I walked miles down the pitch-black European shore of the Bosphorus, the 15-mile channel that splits Istanbul and Turkey in half. To any watcher of TV news, that will sound nuts. Fifteen million people have converged on Istanbul in recent decades, cramming into just-thrown-up tenements and dirty slums. The demographics are skewed towards the young, the unscrupulous, and the criminal. Turkish youths do not figure prominently among America’s biggest admirers.

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Casual Podcast: Voice of Experience

11:20 AM, Dec 13, 2014

THE WEEKLY STANDARD Casual Podcast, with Philip Terzian his casual essay "Voice of Experience."

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It Ain’t My Nature

Joseph Epstein knows his nature.
Sep 15, 2014

This morning I was reading along in Vladimir Jabotinsky’s remarkable novel The Five, when I came to a chapter titled “Inserted Chapter, Not Intended for the Reader.” The chapter, it turns out, is about nature writing. Jabotinsky’s narrator, a writer, notes that a critic remarked on the absence of descriptions of nature in his work. He, the narrator, goes on to say the reader “doesn’t read descriptions of nature; I at least always skip over them mercilessly.” He goes on to mention that he doesn’t understand why God, among his other mistakes, created winter.

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Casual Podcast: The Family Man

Read by David Skinner.
9:15 AM, Jul 27, 2014

THE WEEKLY STANDARD Casual Podcast, with David Skinner reading his casual essay "The Family Man."

Remember, when you sign up for our digital premium access, many of our print magazine articles are available to you courtesy of our professional readers.

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The Daily Dishes

David Skinner, dedicated dishwasher
Jul 21, 2014

Recently I was fingerprinted for a work ID. Sitting at a little table across from a gentleman who, like many federal employees, wore his ID badge and metro card around his neck, I concentrated on rolling my right thumb just so over the scanner between us, from the leftmost edge of the nail to the flat, fleshy center before lifting straight up. Then I did it again. And again. And again.

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Casual Podcast: Stranger on a Train

Read by Christopher Caldwell.
10:15 AM, Jul 12, 2014

THE WEEKLY STANDARD Casual Podcast, with Christopher Caldwell reading his essay "Stranger on a Train."

Remember, when you sign up for our digital premium access, many of our print magazine articles are available to you courtesy of our professional readers.

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