Monday, May 04, 2015

Mark thy calendar …

… Zom(bie) Con: Feed Your Brrraaiins at Drexel’s Symposium on the Undead | Now | Drexel University.

Thought experiment …

Those saints who pledged their fealty to Our Lady, suppose their pledges were but acts of profoundest  imagination, and suppose imagination is the portal to being.

Science studies the important questions!

Everything We Know About Human Bathroom Behavior
...Men must abide by tons of unwritten rules. One academic codified the etiquette this way: “Do not stand directly next to another man at another urinal.” “Do not look at another user during urination, and, if possible, keep conversation to an absolute minimum.” “If you shake it more than twice, you’re playing with it.”
Men get pee-formance anxiety; women, not so much. There are two social phobias men have at a much higher rate than women: returning something to the store, and peeing in a public bathroom. And the closer men are to another person, the longer it takes them to get the flow going: In one study, the authors monitored a row of three urinals and clocked an average of 4.9 seconds if the subject was all alone, 6.2 if there  was a one-urinal buffer, and 8.4 at close range...

Surprised by life …

 as are we all: About Last Night | Tweets in search of a context: the impossible journey. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Today's music …

Leaning out...

...A Rare, Personal Look at Oliver Sacks’s Early Career
“My analyst tells me he’s never encountered anyone less affected by gay liberation. I remain locked in my cell despite the dancing at the prison gates.”

The way it seemed …

… Bob Dylan at Sheffield City Hall: from the archive, 1 May 1965 | Music | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Less-than-kindred spirits …

… CatholicHerald.co.uk — Book Review: Why Evelyn Waugh wanted Thomas Merton to shut up. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Love and money …

… How turning to Trollope saved my life - Telegraph. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

When I stumbled upon his work, I was looking for a way to understand the world, particularly1980s London. The ideals – some might say delusions – of the counter-culture were being replaced by an enthusiasm for money, efficiency and snobbery, especially among my generation. The people and problems Trollope described seemed then, as now, astonishingly contemporary.

Something to think on …

The real art is not to come up with extraordinary clever words but to make ordinary simple words do extraordinary things. To use the language that we all use and to make amazing things occur.
— Graham Swift, born on this date in 1949

A writer's notes …

… About Last Night | Powell’s proverbs. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

About time...

Healthy...or Not?

In recent years, health trends became status signifiers to which mainstream Americans aspired. A high-end health food store grew into a supermarket-chain juggernaut. Designer clothing is now yoga-wear. Refusing to vaccinate one’s children, or to eat gluten, became at one and the same time ways to announce that one is upscale, and ways to convey an ethical commitment to healthy living. It wasn’t about being snobbish toward families who consume “juice” drinks. It was about tsk-tsking their choices while slurping an $8 bottle of agave-sweetened, cold-pressed… fine, juice drink, but at least one that comes in a BPA-free bottle. “Healthy” living became associated with being upper class, and therefore glamorous. The pseudoscience embraced by the rich—a group who also have superior access to actual healthy living, as in proper medical care, safe places to exercise, and so forth—is now, in turn, marketed to the rest of the population

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Hey, this guy is good …

… T.E. Brown in the Garden | The Dabbler.

Nige is right about how Brown " avoids the vapid lyricism of many Victorian apostrophes to our feathered friends." But Brown also sounds surprisingly modern, in somewhat the same way as Hopkins. Both want to match language to his own manner of thinking and seeing, rather than make either conform to some currently fashionable mode of versifying. 

The future of journalism (contd even more)

On one hand, this means that news organizations like the Wall Street Journal are getting smarter, more attuned to the digital ecosystem, and more focused on their users, which may be good for business. On the other hand, the push to personalize the news involves a degree of targeting and profiling based on how users behave. It’s creating an environment in which readers are discovering the news, but the news is also finding them. Just as ads are increasingly mimicking editorial content, the news is coming under increasing pressure to borrow some of the logic and tools of advertisers.

And from the West Coast...

How Silicon Valley has prospered for 70 years

Haiku …


Sparrow on the bench
Right beside me. Not afraid.
In the park, of course.

#ThePitchforksAreComing

It turns out that the Wall Street bonus pool in 2014 was roughly twice the total annual earnings of all Americans working full time at the federal minimum wage.
You read that right
: Just the annual bonuses for just the sliver of Americans who work just in finance just in New York City dwarfed the combined year-round earnings of all Americans earning the federal minimum wage.

Today's music …

The future of journalism (contd)...

RIP …

Ruth Rendell (1930-2015). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Neat …

… #ClickbaitBooks on Twitter.

Hmm …

… Maverick Philosopher: Does the Divine Transcendence Require that God not be a Being among Beings?
As I recall, for God, essence and existence are identical.. All other beings derive their being from his necessary being. God is not a being among other beings because God is the only being whose being is necessary, not contingent.

Listen in …

The Sound of Silence - Philosophy and Life.

Time, the critic …

… Anecdotal Evidence: `With No Claims to Immortality'.

Poet and swimmer …

… Beyond Eastrod: the journey continues: Lord Byron takes the plunge on this date in 1810.

Inquirer reviews …

… Alexander McCall Smith's 'Emma': A modern retelling of Jane Austen.

… Mona Eltahawy's 'Headscarves and Hymens': Potent and provocative.

… 'Year My Mother Came Back': Memoir of being several mothers.

… Deborah Cramer's 'Narrow Edge': Ecological tale of threat, hope.

Something to think on …

The happiest people seem to be those who have no particular reason for being happy except that they are so.
— William Inge, born on this date in 1913

Q&A …

 Riding the Blinds with Maggie Nelson | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

No respite from vanity...

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Haiku …


He feels pretty sure
This is where he will meet Death:
His little garden.

After all Zeno's problems still vex...

Amid hand-wringing about the decline of the humanities, the philosopher (and novelist) Rebecca Newberger Goldstein can write a book like Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away, confident that she’ll find readers eager to turn to philosophers for help in thinking about the meaning of life and how best to live it.

 ...The impetus for Goldstein’s ingenious, entertaining, and challenging new book is the theoretical version of the very practical problem I confronted when I graduated from college: Now that we have science, do we really need philosophy? Doesn’t science “bake bread” (not to mention make money) in a way that philosophy never has? Science is responsible for the grand upward march of civilization—so we are often told—but what accomplishments can philosophy claim?

Busy Hands are Healthy Hands!

As with Shop Class, Crawford’s earlier examination of “the de-skilling of everyday life” and a surprise bestseller of 2009, The World Beyond Your Head has bigger fish to fry than degree-toting snobs who look down on plumbers and mechanics. Crawford, who teaches in the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture and runs a small custom-motorcycle repair shop, believes that our culture’s denigration of skilled manual labor stems from a radical misreading of human nature and our proper relationship to the world. Grievous consequences flow from that mistake.

Quite a life …

… A Neurologist’s Awakenings - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
A few years later the author moves to America to pursue his medical career, living initially in California. He still rides his motorbike for hundreds of miles at a time, hangs out with a gang of Hells Angels, frequents Muscle Beach in Los Angeles, and begins using drugs regularly. He is sufficiently dedicated to power-lifting that he breaks the California record for the squat (recall the massive thighs). The sex proceeds sporadically, with one notably awkward incident involving his straight friend Mel. After Mel moves out, Oliver feels lonely and devastated. At this point he seeks escape in drugs, developing a serious four-year addiction to amphetamines: “The doses I took got larger and larger, pushing my heart rate and my blood pressure to lethal heights. There was an insatiability in this state; one could never get enough.” Not until he moves to New York, in 1961, and begins psychoanalysis does his addiction stop. (He has been in analysis for 50 years.)

Toys and memories …

… Zealotry of Guerin: I Have, I Had (Matta), Sonnet #240.

FYI …

… The Pennsylvania Center for the Book - Public Poetry Project - Current.


Mark thy calendar …

… Sahms-Guarnieri and Reutter in New Hope May 7th | Fox Chase Review.

Unsettling combination …

 Paul Davis On Crime: Good Drama, Bad History: Krauthammer on 'Wolf Hall'.

So, according to Mantel, “the Catholic Church is not an institution for respectable people.” What sort of people distort the historical record, Hilary? Of course, she is right to a certain extent. No practicing Catholic should be merely respectable. Merely respectable people are the ones who crucified Jesus.

Amazing that one is needed …

… A Bibliophile's Defense of Physical Books | The New Republic. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Today's music …

Alan Rawsthorne was born on this date in 1905.