Thursday, July 24, 2014

A thought for today …

All human wisdom is summed up in two words; wait and hope.
— Alexandre Dumas, born on this date in 1802

Beyond parody …

… Weird Al Yankovic Scores With ‘Mandatory Fun’ — NYTimes.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)






Mr. Yankovic’s late-career success marries the satirical approach to music he’s been plying since the late 1970swith the most up-to-date thinking in online marketing — a content bombardment, financial backing by popular websites and a catchy hashtag, #8videos8days.

The fickle finger of fame …

… Bliss Carnochan names the worst poet evah. | The Book Haven.

Who would've thought?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Attention, Texans …

… Texas Book Festival.



This gives you plenty of time to get ready.

Fleeting time …

… First Known When Lost: A Lantern.

Q&A …

… Women in Form: AE Stallings | Tupelo Quarterly. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Haiku …

A father and son
Playing with a soccer ball.
Weekday afternoon.

Travel advice …

… Move East, Young Nonfiction Author | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Compelling listening …

… When Falls the Coliseum � Lisa reads Live By Night by Dennis Lehane.

Hmm …

… The Millions : Here Come the Americans: The 2014 Booker Prize Longlist. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I'm surprised Sebastian Barry's The Temporary Gentleman didn't make the list.

Sic transit …

… Farewell to the Golden Age | Books and Culture. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… we face a revolution in reading not unlike the one Gutenberg introduced almost 700 years ago. Nowadays authors are coached on "building your brand" more than on improving their writing. Publishers care more about website stats and Twitter followers than the quality of an author's work.

Good advice …

… Stop Using 'Poet Voice' | City Arts. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I try to read my poems as if they were dramatic monologues, which they often. It seems to work. E. E. Cummings, though, had a very stylized manner, which also worked. Some poets just don't have good reading voices. Wallace Stevens tends to sound as though he's proofing legal brief. And best not go the Dylan Thomas route unless you have the voice.

A thought for today …

The more wild and incredible your desire, the more willing and prompt God is in fulfilling it, if you will have it so.
— Coventry Patmore, born on this date in 1823

Secret sauce...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bertrand Russell

On war and pacifism...

No thanks …

… Stand Up Naked and Turn Around Slowly | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog



Any sensible human learns early in life that living is a performing art and that one creates, as an actor might,  a role for oneself. One's truth is the truth from that perspective. Authenticity and exhibitionism are not the same thing.

Assent and affirmation …

… A Commonplace Blog: Choosing life in the face of death. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The thing to remember is what Naomi and I have learned from this six-and-a-half-year journey: life is not a matter of peak experiences, of amazing sights and even more amazing thrills, but of small pleasures—a good meal, a good book, good company, good conversation. Right there is where life needs to take hold of the gravely ill again.

Calling out …

… On the Cowardice of Literary Omphaloskepsis | Reluctant Habits



Ed links to the object of his vituperation in his first sentence. I found the piece interminably digressive and largely pointless.

Appalling …

… Jewish students extracted from Boston anti-Israel ‘die-in’ | The Times of Israel.



Posturing 15-watters. Admittedly, I am a gentile of the never-again generation.

You don't say …

… Ivy League Schools Are Overrated. Send Your Kids Elsewhere. | New Republic.

I taught many wonderful young people during my years in the Ivy Leaguebright, thoughtful, creative kids whom it was a pleasure to talk with and learn from. But most of them seemed content to color within the lines that their education had marked out for them. Very few were passionate about ideas. Very few saw college as part of a larger project of intellectual discovery and development. Everyone dressed as if they were ready to be interviewed at a moment’s notice.

I went to Penn's graduate school for one semester. Except for the guy who taught research methods, whose name I forget, it was a complete waste of time and money.

Moderation or abstention …

… Anecdotal Evidence: `Discontent Seeks for Comfort'.



Don Newlove used to review for me, and Debbie and I spent some pleasant times with him and his wife, Nancy, at their Greenwich Village apartment.

Not what you imagined...

RIP …

… Thomas Berger, ‘Little Big Man’ Author, Is Dead at 89 — NYTimes.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Enter now …

… Remember In November Nonfiction Contest | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Putting things in perspective …

… Physicist George Ellis Knocks Physicists for Knocking Philosophy, Falsification, Free Will | Cross-Check, Scientific American Blog Network. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Actually philosophical speculations have led to a great deal of good science. Einstein’s musings on Mach’s principle played a key role in developing general relativity. Einstein’s debate with Bohr and the EPR paper have led to a great of deal of good physics testing the foundations of quantum physics. My own examination of the Copernican principle in cosmology has led to exploration of some great observational tests of spatial homogeneity that have turned an untested philosophical assumption into a testable – and indeed tested – scientific hypothesis. That’ s good science.

Listen in …

… Podcast — Ron Slate: Buddy Rich’s Teeth and the Corruption of Reality | Virtual Memories.

A thought for today …

Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.
— Tom Robbins, born on this date in 1936

Monday, July 21, 2014

Appreciation …

… James Garner RIP — The Washington Post. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A tip for us locals …

… The Best Cheesteak in Philly- Joe’s Steaks and Soda Shop | Fox Chase Review.



Well, it wouldn't surprise me. There were some pretty good steak joints in the Northeast when I was growing up.

Doing it wrong, but getting it right …

… Vol. 1 Brooklyn | Review: “American Smoke,” Iain Sinclair’s History of the Beat Generation. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Ah, yes …

… Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene: A Walk Through The City: My changing landscape By Doug Holder. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I have had much the same experience myself lately.

Conversation …

… Does Poetry Matter? — Room for Debate —  NYTimes.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Poetry is a vocation. Those called to it, do it. Poets, like the poor, will be with us always.

I see...

I fear so …

… Old-Fashioned Jew Hatred Is Back | RealClearReligion.

Anyone with an Internet connection and some spare time can anonymously post vitriolic Jew hatred on message board after message board without fear of reprisal for what they really thing about the Jews. Vile hashtags such as #HitlerWasRight and #HitlerDidNothingWrong recently trended on Twitter.

Sobering thoughts …

… First Known When Lost: "For Ever Gone".


I have lately begun to think that the world is in the greatest danger since the 1930s, but that no one in authority today has anywhere near the stature of anyone back then.

Anchors aweigh …

… beyond eastrod: Blogging Note: Going, going, and gone . . the Navy gets its wings . . . I search for needles . . . and Beyond Eastrod goes into mothballs . . .



We await the sailor's return.

A certain kind of person …

… Anecdotal Evidence: `My Efforts at Their Best Are Negative'.

Pushback …

… Outbreak of Political Correctness in Science Media | RealClearScience.

In case you wondered …

… Why literature written out of the First World War is some of the last century’s finest writing - The Globe and Mail. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Writers about the Great War had to grapple with … loss of innocence in their work, a painful business that enriched their art. By contrast, writers who took the Second World War as their subject were not so shocked by the inhumanity of war, the incompetence of generals, or the cynicism of politicians. They came to their war harder, colder, less susceptible to ideals. Plus, they had a cause that needed no justification, whereas many British writers about the Great War ended up ambivalent or downright negative about their participation – another dilemma that deepened their work.