Friday, October 30, 2020
Krasner was sworn in in January 2018. In 2018, there were 351 murders; 2019 there were 347 murders; and as of Oct. 28, there have been a whopping 404 murders, for a total of 1,102 murders, an average of 367 murders a year and counting.
Oh, and there’s this:
Krasner, a career criminal defense and civil rights attorney, who had sued the Philadelphia Police Department dozens of times over the decades, ran to be Philadelphia’s district attorney and received almost $1.45 million in campaign spending from George Soros in the process.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
As of Oct. 27, there have been 400 homicides committed in Philadelphia. Contrast that with the 275 homicides committed at this point in 2019, as well as the total number of 356 homicides committed in 2019. One homicide is one too many, and 400 homicides are way too many.
Gray believes that humans turned to philosophy principally out of anxiety, looking for some tranquillity in a chaotic and frightening world, telling themselves stories that might provide the illusion of calm. Cats, he suggests, wouldn’t recognise that need because they naturally revert to equilibrium whenever they’re not hungry or threatened. If cats were to give advice, it would be for
The vehicle was found at Logan Circle in the Center City neighborhood, WPVI reported. Police told the outlet they recovered propane tanks, torches, and what may have been sticks of dynamite.
Logan Circle, for those unfamiliar with the city, is where the Library, the Cathedral, and the Academy of Natural Sciences are located. Not far away is the Art Museum and the Rodin Museum.
I did a search on The Inquirer's website, but found nothing about this — though it has obviously been on TV. There was this, however: Overnight curfew lifted in Philly as tensions over the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr. continue.
What an informative headline. An overnight curfew would tend to be lifted when night was over. I can't find anything on The Inquirer's site about this, either: US Economy Grew by Record 33.1 Percent in Third Quarter. A similar story is also in the Daily Mail. I'm sure The Inquirer will get around to it eventually.
Hirsch’s scholarship rests on the hypothesis, validated by volumes of evidence from cognitive science, that language comprehension—particularly the ability to read with understanding—is not a discrete, transferable “skill,” like riding a bike, that can be learned, practiced, and mastered. Rather, it rests on a common base of knowledge, literary and cultural allusions, and idioms common to a nation’s “speech community.”
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
What about Moby Dick, Le grand Meaulnes, The Magic Mountain? I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
As we watch our culture succumb to the power of Pride, we are witnessing the gollumizing of our brothers and sisters. Demanding the right to self-destructive addiction, they are shriveling into pathetic wrecks of the people they are meant to be, while simultaneously making a wreckage of the society in which they are living the wreckage of their lives.
Getting the relation of transcendence and immanence right is a critical issue. Christians agree God is both transcendent and immanent, but the relation can be misconstrued. “False transcendence” sees transcendence and immanence as contraries; God is inaccessible and absolutely unknowable. “False immanence” also views the two as contradictory, claiming that an accessible God cannot be transcendent. A Christian view denies that transcendence and immanence are in tension; rather, they imply each other. God can be present in every time and place only if he transcends the limits of time and space. Thus, God isn’t immanent in spite of being transcendent, but immanent because he’s transcendent.
That last sentence is worth pondering.
Elected in 1844, Polk, as argued by author Hampton Sides, was the most effective and least corrupt president in U.S. history, although Polk was entirely lacking in charm, grace, elegance, and wit. With respect to Polk's effectiveness, though, he had a single-minded determination to expand his country's territorial dominance so that the United States stretched from the Atlantic to Pacific Oceans; moreover, the president was convinced that the nation must expand from the already established northern border (with Canada) to as far south and west as possible - going beyond the recently acquiredTexas so that the United States could also claim the territories we now know as New Mexico, Arizona, and California. This would require a remarkable strategy and relentless tactics. Certainly Mexico would not cede its territories without a fight, and the Native Americans would - as officials in Washington saw it - have to be dealt with forcefully.
With all these fantastic benefits to your health, there’s a whole host of reasons why you need to read that book instead of whatever else you’re supposed to be doing. Reading is also good for the soul, and it is one of the most effective escapist methods when the world gets hard. It also gives you a massive jumping-off point for talking to new and different people. You also have a whole community to engage with when you feel lonely. If none of your friends have read that book yet, you can guarantee someone online has. Reading is a key to other people.
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
… PHILADELPHIA AND THE NEW "TOLERANCE". (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Three years ago, CSS served 130 families superbly with a staff of ten. Today, despite the city’s punitive actions, 18 foster families have stayed with CSS, which can now afford only one staffer. The burden of the city’s trumpeted concern for equity and tolerance is being borne by real children who need safe and healthy foster homes; good foster parents eager to serve; and an excellent social service ministry blackballed simply because of the religious convictions that inspire and guide it.
In the meantime: National Guard Mobilized in Philadelphia After Night of Riots, Protests.
Since 1952, Philadelphia has been a one-party city. The first of the Democratic mayors — Joseph Clark, Richardson Dilworth — were quite good. So were some of the later ones — Jim Tate, Frank Rizzo (yes, actually), Ed Rendell, and John Street. But single-party rule is bad in the long run. The incumbent is a moron and his predecessor wasn't so hot either.
In the summer of 2020, seventeen Drexel University students, many of them international students, Zoomed into my Great Works class to explore Albert Camus’s The Plague. The students found themselves amazed at how eerily this World War Two allegory paralleled our own struggle with Covid-19. Many characters in the novel endure quarantine, exile, and the pain of separation from loved ones, and so did a number of my students.
… the indefatigable believer in Kant's intellectual approach to rational analysis leads authorities (and readers) to the inescapable truth.
People must have the right to mock whomever they want.
Monday, October 26, 2020
What a wonderfully accurate self-image, the clandestine poet! The principal job of the Office of the Revisor of Statutes is the compilation of the state’s official statutory code. Creating that code goes hand in hand with keeping quiet about political subjects; one could lose the job for being considered a partisan of any kind. The poet had to pose as tight-lipped civil servant; anything she said about public affairs for all those years had to be veiled, or “in code.”
I doubt if she had to “pose” at all. I would guess she understood perfectly well why, given her job, she had to keep her politics to herself.
“If Lawrence remains a great writer today,” Dyer opines,
that is due in no small part because his enduring freshness and force is found in the travel books, in poems that were scarcely even poems, and in the scatter of his essays. For Lawrence the novel, “the one bright book of life,” was the supreme test; that’s what he staked his life on. But many of his gifts were best displayed elsewhere.
I have heard that Lawrence's plays, which were ignored during his lifetime, have gained a certain popularity in Britain. I think he could be a fine fiction writer, but was best, like John O'Hara, with the novella and short story. "The Rocking Horse Winner" is wonderful. I think Studies in Classical American Literature us a masterpiece. And if Mr. Dyer thinks Lawrence's poems are scarcely poems, what must he think of Whitman, "the great poet [who] has meant so much to me," as Lawrence put it?
… the COVID-induced fear of large indoor gatherings may force a salutary breakdown of American schools into more manageable and recognizably human forms which are constructed on a scale in which each kid matters. In the words of political scientist Frank Bryan, author of Real Democracy and one of seven members of the graduating class of 1959 at Newbury High School in Vermont, ‘Keep it small. The basketball isn’t good, but everybody gets to play.’
The grade school I attended from fourth through eighth grade was quite small by today’s standards — my memory is guessing about 20, 25 kids per class — but staffed by the Religious of the Sacred Heart, ladies who were quite cultured. Mother Holmes, my sixth grade teacher, was one of the most important people in my life. I was blessed to reconnect with her via email toward the end of her life. (I should also mention Miss Parkinson, my fourth grade teacher.) These were people who encouraged us kids to make the long trek into the city and visit the Art Museum, the Rodin Museum, the Academy of Natural Sciences. I owe them so much.
Sunday, October 25, 2020
According to a 2013 study, fewer than 5 percent of college students knew the following: that Thomas Jefferson’s home is named “Monticello;” the name of the author of Brave New World; and that Madam Curie discovered radium or that Mozart wrote Don Giovanni. Additionally, compared with students in 1980, far fewer students knew that Paris is the capital of France.
While working on the book over several years, I also became more attuned to uncanny experiences and weird synchronicities. By the time I finished it, I found I was more of a believer in the mysterious and supernatural than when I began, which was not the outcome I expected.
I think my experience of the spiritual world has always been one of awe, fear, and dread: the “tremendum” in Rudolf Ottos’s definition of the numinous as “mysterium tremendum et fascinans.” It wasn’t ghosts and demons that most frightened me while writing; I was haunted by God.
A static, changeless world never existed, but after a certain age, at least, many of us like to imagine that it once did, by contrast with our restless, dissatisfied, jangling world in which nothing is solid, predictable, or lasting, and everything beautiful (we think) is in the process of being destroyed. Of course, such a vision will not appeal to those who do not believe that present mirth hath present laughter, and believe instead that what’s to come is sure to be better; when turn to murder books, they want something grittier, more truthful to reality, and possibly even more sordid. If squalor be the root of crime, give me excess of it.
What a wonderful paragraph. Of course, you have to know your Shakespeare.
— John Berryman, born on this date in 1914
Saturday, October 24, 2020
According to a 2016 survey, 95% of men and 81% of women in America have masturbated. Yet in the same poll, over half of respondents said they felt uncomfortable talking about it.
And maybe the rest were lying. But taking matters in hand in private is a little different from doing same during a zoom call. The good professor needs to find a better way to spend his time than defending this creep.
Most of these remind me of something a character in Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum says, that the conclusion arrived at by means of a counterfactual conditional proposition is always correct precisely because the premise is false.
… ‘The Walker’ Review: The Art of the Stroll. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
I have been a walker all my life. I have walked all over Philadelphia and Chicago, and a good bit of D.C. I have routinely walked Philadelphia's Wissahickon Park from Walnut Lane to Chestnut Hill and back and Pennypack Park from Frankford Avenue to Pine Road and back. That's a good many miles. I used to walk to and from The Inquirer every day. That's about 4.4 mikes a day. My vacations were spent hiking and climbing in upstate Pennsylvania. I also still routinely stroll around what we call Center City.
This review, however, leads me to suspect that walking may be like humor — better enjoyed than written about.
Friday, October 23, 2020
… ‘He Mends Your Broken Bones’ a Response to Psalm 51. (Hat tip Dave Lull.)
Someone should email this to the Pope. I just bought the Kindle edition of Malcolm Guite's Faith, Hope and Poeetry.
the encyclical goes a little further than necessary, it seems to me, in considering all populism to be relatively respectable because the people are respectable, and populism is an expression of the people. But populism can also be an expression of the people’s violence—the very violence that democracy tends to channel. The case of Argentina, here again, might clarify the pope’s tendency. Peronism is a form of populism—anti-liberal and hardly democratic—for which Francis had a soft spot. The pope has sympathies for populist intentions, even when the results were (and still are) catastrophic.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
…the film includes a story of Francis “encouraging two Italian men in a same-sex relationship to raise their children in their parish church, which, one of the men said, was greatly beneficial to his children.” It also notes that in his 2013 book , Francis stated that laws “assimilating” homosexual relationships to marriage are “an anthropological regression,” saying that if same-sex couples “are given adoption rights, there could be affected children. Every person needs a male father and a female mother that can help them shape their identity.”
— Doris Lessing, born on this date in 1919
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
I suppose the most famous fictional abode for a character is Sherlock Holmes’s 221b, Baker Street. James Bond’s address and George Smiley’s have yet to achieve the same legendary status, but give them time.
… what do the more liberal among us call their secret Facebook group? Then it came to me — they just call it Facebook. And on Facebook, many of my liberal friends blast away without cause or concern that they are maligning unfairly people who they claim to love and respect. I have lost count as to how many real friends have posted “If you don’t agree with my political views, unfriend me.” Really? How tolerant of you. We’ve been friends for years, really? Your child played at my house countless times, really?
… Salvaging Secession. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Disagreements between independent political entities often leads to something called war. It was the southern secessionists who started the Civil War. Remember Fort Sumter?
I posted a link to this yesterday, but thanks to Blogger’s klutzy revisions it linked to my email. That is now fixed.
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
… E. B. WHITE’S “PLAIN STYLE” @75. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
It might seem self-evident that White the author practiced what Strunk and White the style gurus preached, but the truth is more complicated. Like Ernest Hemingway, who mocked his fans’ enthusiasm for the writing tips he dispensed, White had mixed feelings about being anointed a master of plain prose.
I read the 1959 edition not long after it came out, during the year I spent between high school and college. I never got the impression from it that the plain style was the only way of writing, but rather that it was the foundation for good writing. Once you had it down, you could safely go your way however and wherever you wished.
… Trio by William Boyd review – lights, camera, chaos. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
… brilliantly drawn, often grotesque characters make Trio Boyd’s funniest book since 1998’s Armadillo. I especially relished the horrible, Charles Hawtrey-esque actor Ferdie Meares, whose cameo in one of the film’s pivotal scenes is complicated by his insisted-upon right to deliver his dire comic catchphrase: “I’m excited! Are you?” Boyd, a screenwriter and occasional director himself, beautifully captures the chaos and exhilaration of a shambolic film set, in which unforeseen disasters andskulduggery create their own opportunities and problems.
Monday, October 19, 2020
The new version of Blogger is awful. I would like to return to the original version, which I was able to do until recently. One can't seem to get this message through to you in any way that I can discern. So I guess I'll have to find another platform for this blog. Talk about screwing something up.
If anyone knows how to get this through to Blogger, please let me know.
Wonder and Wrath is an apt title for a collection that both marvels at and rails against human frailty, against the backdrop of a fallen universe. The book’s seriousness lies in its sustained resistance to the easy way out: either to reject or embrace, without caveat, a cosmos that consists, in equal measures, of miracle and outrage.
As we might expect,
And a sample: “Rounding up the Mimes” by A. M. Juster.
(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
… with always a visionary glow: The Grandmothers, by Glenway Wescott (1927). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
“The east was covered with tiny clouds like the torn bits of paper which a newcomer finds in a dismantled house; the sun entered the sky like such a newcomer.”
I’ve spent a good bit of time in Wisconsin. I love the place.
I confess to feeling dubious about Garry Wills.
Sunday, October 18, 2020
The best way to remember our grandfather is to read his books. They are his memoir Witness (1952) and his later writings in Cold Friday (1964). Rather than a monument, he left testimony to read.
The CDC itself caused a stir at the end of August by estimating that the virus directly caused only 6 percent, or now just over 11,000 of the 187,000 attributed deaths. Most of these deaths were in the elderly.
The remaining 94 percent died with and not exclusively of the coronavirus. These people also were on average elderly and had 2.6 other health problems. This implies a good fraction who succumbed had three or more comorbidities. In other words, most deaths attributed to the coronavirus were in very sick people.