Friday, October 24, 2014

Constant struggle...

And the winners are …

… First Kirkus Prizes go to Roz Chast, Lily King and Kate Samworth - LA Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Who knew?

… Love Is the Answer to Empire | The American Conservative. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



If I can paraphrase a D.C.-area punk rock band of 30-plus years ago, I used to work for my Senatron and I lived in Washingtron. (The senator was Pat Moynihan, who late in life called for the withdrawal of the U.S. from NATO, the reining in of the CIA, and the transfer of many federal government programs to the states. In today’s Senate he’d be considered a wild-eyed radical—though I think he might find an ally across the aisle in Rand Paul.)
Guess he didn't call for withdrawal from the UN because he used to be our ambassador to it. But I agree about transferring stuff back the states and reining in the CIA. That said, you need something more than grouchy nostalgia as a basis for political action.

Pushback …

… Barely Believable Bias |� ACTA.


The idea that bullying of this sort is in any way educational is a pernicious one. It discourages students with minority viewpoints from voicing their opinions and encourages professors to use class time for political grandstanding at the expense of time spent actually teaching.

Q&A …

… Playwright Tom Stoppard’s Surprisingly Relaxed Method - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

If you work everything out in advance, you’re forcing the play to follow what you’ve worked out, and you will inevitably get to a point where you’re cheating on the psychology of the character. If you let the plot be determined by what you feel is in the character’s mind at that point, it may not turn out to be a very good play, but at least it will be a play where people are behaving in a kind of truthful way.

Hmm …,

… Closing Our Browsers - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Some of my happiest memories are of browsing in bookstores. But I haven't done much of that in years. The only big one in Center City Philadelphia is Barnes & Noble on Rittenhouse Square, and I don't find it pleasant to browse there. There is, of course, Joseph Fox Books, but I don't get up that way too often these days. On the other hand, browsing online a few weeks ago, I discovered a book called What Can You Say About God (Except "God"), by William A. Luijpen, who wrote Existential Phenomenology, which was one of my metaphysics texts in college. It is the best book on God that I have ever read. It is out of print and I doubt I would have found it in any bookstore. 

RIP …

… Mystery writer Harold Adams dies at age 91 in Eden Prairie - TwinCities.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A thought for today …

The imagination, which synergizes intellect, emotion and instinct, is the perceptive organ through which it is possible, though not inevitable, to experience God.
— Denise Levertov, born on this date in 1923

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mind your language...

Shakespeare & Co...

Another busy day …

… for yours truly, including an orchestra concert tonight.

Happy birthday …

… to Ned Rorem, another of the symphonists I keep going on about. Note in particular the ravishing melody toward the end of the final movement.

An American hero …

War and remembrance …

… A Science-Fiction Classic Still Smolders - The New Yorker. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Beyond being a repository for his fears about the bomb, “A Canticle for Leibowitz” was a means for Miller to work through the trauma and guilt that haunted him from his wartime experiences, especially the bombing of the abbey at Monte Cassino. By his own admission, the Miller did not become fully aware of the driving force behind his novel until he was working on its third part. “I was writing the first version of the scene where Zerchi lies half buried in the rubble,” Miller recalled. “Then a light bulb came on over my head: ‘Good God, is this the abbey at Monte Cassino? . . . What have I been writing?’”

Until now …

… Unapologetic • Can't Stop. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Actually, I think one can know God as a presence. That, of course, is not the same as proving that He exists.



The way things used to be …

… Mining newspapers for poetry —  Book Patrol: A Haven for Book Culture. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A thought for today …

Art means to dare — and to have been right.
— Ned Rorem, born on this date in 1923

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hmm …

… How can we make the subject matter of philosophy of religion more diverse? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Theism, in a generic, omni-property sort of way, is one position that philosophers of religion commonly defend. The other is scientific naturalism. These seem to be the only games in town ….
Well, what other games would there be? Polytheism? That always has a supreme God. The world and life are understood as either mechanical or personal, random or purposeful.

Fiction, mystery, and magic …

… When Falls the Coliseum � Lisa reads The Wicked by Douglas Nicholas.

Telling ourselves stories...

Forgotten no more …

… Joseph Lee Scotland's Forgotten Poet remembered in new book | STV Dundee | Dundee. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Look and listen …

… BBC News - Clive James: 'I'd be lost without poetry'. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Thinking of Poe …

… PHILADELPHIA POETRY: BY LEONARD GONTAREK (October).

RIP …

Paul Craft, Witty Country Music Songwriter, Dies at 76 - NYTimes.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A thought for today …

There was a time when young people respected learning and literature and now they don't.
— Doris Lessing, born on this date in 1919

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

FYI …

… The Accidental Cootchie Mama.

Anniversary …

Malcolm Arnold, one of the great 20th -century symphonists I mentioned recently, was born on this date in 1921. This is the first movement of his second symphony. The other movements can be linked to easily.

One man's quest to beat the blues...

"...maker of all things visible and invisible..."


I fell over, as I walked the dogs this morning, while saying the Nicene Creed, fell over right over off the path in the picture, because I realized I was in the middle of this creation, of the all things visible and invisible, the trees and sun and clouds and grasses, the birds that were now beginning to wake and chirp, and the noise of the wind too, that blew through the trees and branches and leaves, making them move and dance, and the dogs and the dirt, the things in the dirt and holding the dirt together, and every other thing too, and me, and I just fell over, my legs wouldn’t hold me up, because they had gotten too weak to hold me up in the face of this overwhelming Power.

“Yes I did,” I heard the affirmation, and I sat a bit, took this picture and gathered myself and got up, for I had been knocked flat by the Glory of the Lord.

I then walked more, down the path and realized the bigger part of this, the hard part, is that I was created too for this moment and now to spread the Good News to you.


Lightness is all …

on Collection of Sand, essays by Italo Calvino, tr. by Martin McLaughlin (Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) | On the Seawall: A Literary Website by Ron Slate (GD). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The difficulties of life-writing …

… The TLS blog: The once and future biographer. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Q&A …

… My Very End of the Universe: The Absent Father | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

No mere invisible hand …

… Book Review: ‘How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life’ by Russ Roberts - WSJ - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Q&A…

… 10 Questions for Robert Milby | Fox Chase Review.

A thought for today …

Works of imagination should be written in very plain language; the more purely imaginative they are the more necessary it is to be plain.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge, born on this date in 1772

Devotional wondering …

… Marilynne Robinson's Lila Review | New Republic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)